Taglines: She taught him everything she knew – about passion and murder.
Ned Racine is a seedy small town lawyer in Florida. During a searing heatwave he’s picked up by married Matty Walker. A passionate affair commences but it isn’t long before they realise the only thing standing in their way is Matty’s rich husband Edmund. A plot hatches to kill him but will they pull it off?
Body Heat is a 1981 American neo-noir erotic thriller film written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan. It stars William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Richard Crenna, and features Ted Danson, J.A. Preston, and Mickey Rourke. The film was inspired by Double Indemnity and Out of the Past.
The film launched Turner’s career—Empire magazine cited the film in 1995 when it named her one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History”. The New York Times wrote in 2005 that, propelled by her “jaw-dropping movie debut [in] Body Heat… she built a career on adventurousness and frank sexuality born of robust physicality.” The film was the directorial debut of Kasdan, screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
About the Story
During a particularly intense Florida heatwave, inept lawyer Ned Racine begins an affair with Matty, the wife of wealthy businessman Edmund Walker. They go to great lengths to keep their affair a secret, but Ned carelessly propositions an old school friend of Matty, Mary Ann Simpson, thinking she was Matty. Matty soon makes it clear to Ned that she wants to leave Edmund but also wants his money, explaining that a divorce would leave her with very little due to their prenuptial agreement. Racine suggests the only option is to kill Edmund. While planning the murder, Ned consults one of his shadier clients, Teddy Lewis, an expert on incendiary devices, who supplies him with a bomb.
Racine drives to the Walker estate at night and kills Edmund. He places the body in an abandoned building in which Edmund had a business interest, and uses the incendiary device to make it look like he died during a botched arson job. Ned is contacted by Edmund’s lawyer about a new will that Racine supposedly drew up on Edmund’s behalf, which was witnessed by Mary Ann Simpson. The new will is so poorly prepared it is declared null and void, resulting in Matty inheriting the entire fortune. Matty later admits to Ned that she forged the will.
Two of Ned’s friends, assistant deputy prosecutor Peter Lowenstein and police detective Oscar Grace begin to suspect Ned of involvement with Matty in her husband’s death. The men reveal to Ned that Edmund’s steel-rim glasses, which he always wore, were not on him at the time of the explosion, and are nowhere to be found. Mary Ann Simpson has also disappeared. Nervous about the will, the glasses, the suspicions of the police, and Matty’s loyalty, Ned happens upon a lawyer who once sued him over a mishandled legal case. The lawyer reveals that to make amends, he recommended Ned to Matty Walker, and admits to telling her about Ned’s lack of competence as a lawyer.
Lowenstein warns Ned that someone kept calling his hotel room on the night of the murder but never got an answer, thereby weakening his alibi. Lewis tells Ned that a woman came to him for another incendiary device, and he showed her how to booby trap a door. Matty calls Ned to tell him the glasses are in the boathouse on the Walker estate. Ned goes to the boathouse late at night and sees a long twisted wire attached to the door. When Matty shows up, Ned confronts her at gunpoint and tells her to get the glasses. Matty walks toward the boathouse and disappears from view; the boathouse explodes. Grace finds a body that is identified as Matty Walker (née Tyler) through dental records.
Body Heat (1981)
Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, J.A. Preston, Mickey Rourke, Kim Zimmer, Jane Hallaren, Lanna Saunders
Screenplay by: Lawrence Kasdan
Production Design by: Bill Kenney
Cinematography by: Richard H. Kline
Film Editing by: Carol Littleton
Costume Design by: Renié
Set Decoration by: Rick Gentz
Music by: John Barry
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: August 28, 1981