Dressed to Kill (1980)

Dressed to Kill (1980)

Taglines: The latest fashion in murder.

While taking a shower, Kate Miller, a middle-aged, sexually frustrated New York City housewife, has a rape fantasy while her husband stands at the sink shaving. Later that day, after complaining to her psychiatrist Dr. Robert Elliott about her husband’s pathetic performance in bed, she meets a strange man at a museum and returns to his apartment where they continue an adulterous encounter that began in the taxicab.

Before she leaves his apartment, she finds papers which certify that the man has a venereal disease. Panicked, Kate rushes into the elevator, but has to return to his apartment when she realizes she’s forgotten her wedding ring. When the elevator doors open, she’s brutally slashed to death by a tall blonde woman wearing dark sunglasses. Liz Blake, a high-class call girl, is the only witness to the murder and she becomes the prime suspect and the murderess’s next target.

Dressed to Kill is a 1980 American erotic thriller film written and directed by Brian De Palma and starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, and Keith Gordon. It centers on the murder of a housewife and an investigation involving a young prostitute who witnessed the murder, the victim’s teenaged son, and her psychiatrist. The original music score is composed by Pino Donaggio.

Dressed to Kill (1980) - Angie Dickinson

About the Story

Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson) is a sexually frustrated housewife who is in therapy with New York City psychiatrist Dr. Robert Elliott (Michael Caine). During an appointment, Kate attempts to seduce him, but Elliott rejects her advances.

Kate goes to the Metropolitan Museum where she has an unexpected flirtation with a mysterious stranger. Kate and the stranger stalk each other through the museum until they finally wind up outside, where Kate joins him in a taxi. They begin to have sex and continue at his apartment.

Hours later, Kate awakens and decides to discreetly leave while the man, Warren Lockman (Ken Baker), is asleep. Kate sits at his desk to leave him a note and finds a document indicating that Warren has contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Mortified, she leaves the apartment. In her haste, she has left her wedding ring on the nightstand, so she returns to retrieve it.

The elevator doors open on the figure of a tall, blond woman in dark sunglasses wielding a straight razor. Kate is violently slashed to death in the elevator. A high-priced call girl, Liz Blake (Nancy Allen), happens upon the body. She catches a glimpse of the killer, therefore becoming both the prime suspect and the killer’s next target.

Dr. Elliott receives a bizarre message on his answering machine from “Bobbi” (voice of William Finley), a transgender patient. Bobbi taunts the psychiatrist for breaking off their therapy sessions, apparently because Elliott refuses to sign the necessary papers for Bobbi to get a sex change operation. Elliott tries to convince Dr. Levy (David Margulies), the patient’s new doctor, that Bobbi is a danger to herself and others.

Police Detective Marino (Dennis Franz) is skeptical about Liz’s story, partly because of her profession, so Liz joins forces with Kate’s revenge-minded son Peter (Keith Gordon) to find the killer. Peter, an inventor, uses a series of homemade listening devices and time-lapse cameras to track patients leaving Elliott’s office. They catch Bobbi on camera, and soon Liz is being stalked by a tall blonde in sunglasses. Several attempts are subsequently made on Liz’s life. One, in the New York City Subway, is thwarted by Peter, who sprays Bobbi with homemade mace.

Dressed to Kill Movie Poster (1980)

Dressed to Kill (1980)

Directed by: Brian De Palma
Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, Susanna Clemm, Amalie Collier, Mary Davenport
Screenplay by: Brian De Palma
Cinematography by: Ralf D. Bode
Film Editing by: Gerald B. Greenberg
Costume Design by: Gary Jones, Ann Roth
Set Decoration by: Gary J. Brink
Art Direction by: Gary Weist
Music by: Pino Donaggio
Distributed by: Filmways Pictures
Release Date: July 25, 1980