770 Dressed to Kill

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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dwk
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:10 pm

Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#76 Post by dwk » Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:45 pm

Update, 8/6/15: Good news, everyone. The Dressed to Kill street date is moving to September 8. Thanks to the concerns of our customers and the efforts of reviewers at websites like DVDBeaver.com, who helped point out the problems with the release early, we were able to make the fix before the bulk of orders had shipped. We will, of course, replace any faulty copies that may find their way into circulation, but we are working to ensure that all customers, including those who have placed preorders, and all major retailers will have corrected product in time for the new street date. To be certain that you have the correct version, look for the words “Second printing” on the back of the package and on the disc.

criterion10
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#77 Post by criterion10 » Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:59 pm

dwk wrote:Thanks to the concerns of our customers and the efforts of reviewers at websites like DVDBeaver.com, who helped point out the problems with the release early
Lest we forget:
DVDBeaver on Dressed to Kill wrote:The more I look at it though - the more the Criterion appears correct to me.
Anyways, good on Criterion for properly correcting this release, and shame on the people still complaining online (I'm mainly talking about some of the comments I briefly read through on Blu-Ray.com).

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headacheboy
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:57 pm

Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#78 Post by headacheboy » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:32 pm

I just received this e-mail from amazon regarding my pre-order of Dressed To Kill:

Hello,

We're unable to fulfill your order for the items listed below because they aren't available from the supplier any longer. As a result, we cancelled them from your order and your original payment method wasn't charged.

Dressed to Kill (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

We're sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment this may have caused.

Thank you for shopping at Amazon.com.

Sincerely,

Customer Service Department
Amazon.com

This makes it sound as if the release will never happen. It seems to me that amazon could have explained somehow the old orders won't cut it and you'll need to reorder the item (which is at a lower cost now than it was previously).

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ccfixx
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:37 pm
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#79 Post by ccfixx » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:15 pm

headacheboy wrote:I just received this e-mail from amazon regarding my pre-order of Dressed To Kill:

This makes it sound as if the release will never happen. It seems to me that amazon could have explained somehow the old orders won't cut it and you'll need to reorder the item (which is at a lower cost now than it was previously).
I received the same e-mail earlier, too. Luckily, the price is sitting comfortably at $22.49 on there right now, so I didn't bat an eye to pre-order it right away again.

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manicsounds
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#80 Post by manicsounds » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:51 am


EricJ
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#81 Post by EricJ » Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:33 am

manicsounds wrote:blu-ray.com review of the corrected disc

Hitchcock's influence can easily be felt but the film most definitely has an identity of its own. Its attitude towards sex, in particular, gives it an edge that no other mainstream American film from the early '80s has.
Actually, I found it not so much "Hitchcock influenced" (any more than Blow-Out was "Antonioni influenced") as an almost uncanny dead ringer for Joe Eszterhas's style, back before Eszteras had even established himself...Maybe a future influence?
(The "humorous" scene at the end where Allen and Gordon have a detailed wrap-up discussion of sex-change surgery, while two little old ladies nearby look shocked, could have come straight out of Joe's early pre-Showgirls "Jagged Edge" era of sleazy mysteries.)

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Lost Highway
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#82 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:34 am

EricJ wrote:
manicsounds wrote:blu-ray.com review of the corrected disc

Hitchcock's influence can easily be felt but the film most definitely has an identity of its own. Its attitude towards sex, in particular, gives it an edge that no other mainstream American film from the early '80s has.
Actually, I found it not so much "Hitchcock influenced" (any more than Blow-Out was "Antonioni influenced") as an almost uncanny dead ringer for Joe Eszterhas's style, back before Eszteras had even established himself...Maybe a future influence?
(The "humorous" scene at the end where Allen and Gordon have a detailed wrap-up discussion of sex-change surgery, while two little old ladies nearby look shocked, could have come straight out of Joe's early pre-Showgirls "Jagged Edge" era of sleazy mysteries.)
The penultimate scene in Dressed to Kill, where Gordon explains the cross dressing killer's motive, is a take on the exposition heavy penultimate scene in Psycho. De Palma plays it for comedy, possibly to address criticisms levelled against the equivalent scene in Psycho that it was boring. Jagged Edge wasn't particularly sleazy apart from the explanation of the title and it certainly wasn't comedic. The scene wouldn't have fitted anywhere in with the tone of Jagged Edge, which was considered a classy thriller at a time when Eszterhas was still taken seriously. Do you mean Basic Instinct ? Only Verhoeven put a comedic/satirical spin on Eszterhas, like he did with almost anything else.

Dressed to Kill may happen to anticipate the Eszterhas thrillers in its explicit sexual content (Eszterhas and Verhoeven did their own Hitchcock homage with Basic Instinct), but it's hard to deny that its deeply indebted to Psycho. The structure of the later film follows the earlier film closely and every major character has an equivalent. De Palma's baroque flamboyance is the opposite of Hitchcock's cool modernism, so Dressed to Kill is not quite a remake but it clearly engages in a dialogue with Psycho.

The key plot element most of the Eszterhas thrillers had in common, which Dressed to Kill lacks, is the protagonist (cop, lawyer, etc) falling for the suspect. Dressed to Kill, like Hitchcock's work, is clearly a director's film first and with the possible exception of the Verhoeven films, the Eszterhas thrillers don't seem to be concerned with formal experimentation. They are primarily concerned with the wheels of the plot mechanics grinding away.

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manicsounds
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#83 Post by manicsounds » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:57 pm

Anyone heard about an audio problem with the Unrated Arrow and Criterion Blus? Specifically at the elevator murder scene, the mono audio track is apparently a hybrid of the R-Rated version and the Unrated version. (Dont know about the MGM)

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goblinfootballs
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#84 Post by goblinfootballs » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:58 pm

I got a copy of Dressed to Kill during the flash sale. The outside package said first printing, which had me only slightly worried. I opened it up, and the disc said second printing. I checked the scene when Kate leaves the museum, comparing it against the review screen captures here, and confirmed it was the second printing.

I just watched it, and started watching the interviews, and noticed that the clips used in the Nancy Allen interview are from the squished version--definitely in the first scene between Liz & Marino. I rechecked that scene in the film--again confirmed second printing. In only a small sense, the messed up version lives on.

Edit: And of course the criterionforum review already pointed out the presence of squished clips in the interviews. Sigh.

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Lost Highway
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#85 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:18 am

I finally got this at a sale and now I'm torn between the Arrow and this. There is more fine detail in the Criterion and the image if far more subtle in terms of contrast but I'm not sure about the brighter, cooler, less saturated grade. The Arrow is probably too brown and warm, but the Criterion looks massively different from the way I'm used to seeing a film, which for me was always defined in hues of read. I'll probably get used to it and will come to like it. It could be argued that the film has a more nightmarish look now. Everything looks a little like when Madeleine Elster is reborn as walks through that ghostly, green hotel neon light in Vertigo. It just looks different from the film I know and love.

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PfR73
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#86 Post by PfR73 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:52 pm

manicsounds wrote:Anyone heard about an audio problem with the Unrated Arrow and Criterion Blus? Specifically at the elevator murder scene, the mono audio track is apparently a hybrid of the R-Rated version and the Unrated version. (Dont know about the MGM)
So I've been looking into this as I recently purchased the Criterion release (I already owned the Arrow Blu-Ray & MGM DVD), but haven't actually watched it yet. The only details I've found about this are linked from the DVDCompare page: http://dvdcompare.net/forums/phpbb3/vie ... 28&t=31754.

The Criterion release of DRESSED TO KILL (9-8-2015) may be the "unrated/uncut version." However, there is a very bad audio edit in its sole mono track that is essentially a hack job between the R-rated and unrated versions between 34:34 and 34:44. It's during the height of the action in the elevator murder sequence.
While the film/video is indeed that of the uncut version, the audio that's juxtaposed with it is absolutely NOT that of the uncut version (as we've known it to be from previous releases). It is a splicing of audio from the R-rated version and uncut versions, and has a very noticeably different rhythm because of it.
Another poster at another forum looked into and confirmed that the Arrow uncut blu-ray has a secondary 2.0 track that has exactly this same problem and/or is identical to that audio glitch on Criterion's sole audio track. In other words, likely not a "bad edit made by Criterion," but just them porting over faulty elements from another release and not realizing it.


I had never noticed anything seeming out-of-sync or out-of-sorts with the action the multiple times I watched the Arrow disc.

Curious, I decided to try making a video in Final Cut where I did a split-screen of the video tracks & overlaid the audio tracks from the MGM DVD Unrated Cut, Arrow Blu-Ray, & Criterion Blu-Ray for the entire murder scene.

Strangely, the first thing that I discovered is that all 3 discs do not have the exact same audio/video sync. When the video of all 3 is synced to the exact same point (I used the elevator door opening to first reveal the killer), the audio of the MGM DVD is 1 frame behind the Criterion Blu-Ray & the Arrow Blu-Ray is 3 frames behind the audio of the Criterion. Once I rectified this, I put the MGM mono in the left channel & put both the Criterion & Arrow mono tracks in the right channel.

I determined that the audio discrepancy takes place for about 6 seconds starting with the shot where blood splatters on the floor indicator lights and goes until the killer is slicing the side of Angie Dickinson's face. As best as I can determine, all the sound effects themselves are the same, but what is different is the music. The MGM DVD has quieter music for the first few seconds of the shot of the floor indicator lights before the loud blasts from the brass section begin. The Criterion & Arrow tracks have the brass section blasting as soon as the shot begins; this causes the blasts to happen in a different rhythm in each track. But I will say, I really had to play it over & over, panning from one channel to the other, directly comparing them before I could figure out what the difference was. For a long time while working on it, I thought there wasn't any detectable difference. Once I knew what I was looking for, I could confirm this is, in fact, the way the music plays in the R-rated Version (blasts as soon as the shot begins).

But, as I continued to go through the entire murder sequence I did discover that at a few points, the audio slid out-of-sync & the split-screen footage didn't match up. It actually led me to believe that, at least cut-wise, the MGM DVD made errors with the Unrated Version and indicates that overall the Criterion & Arrow Blu-Rays may be truer to what the "Unrated Cut" is supposed to be than the MGM DVD.

1) There are actually 2 points where the Criterion & Arrow discs have an extra frame compared to the MGM disc [timestamps will differ due to extra Criterion logo on Criterion disc]
-At 34:44 (Criterion)/34:20 (Arrow), when the killer slams Angie Dickinson against the wall of the elevator, there is one extra frame before the cut to the overhead shot.
-At 35:00 (Criterion)/34:26 (Arrow), the shot of Angie Dickinson's face sliding down to the bottom of the frame has one extra frame before the cut to the overhead shot

2) There is a shot that is complete different on the Criterion & Arrow discs compared to the MGM disc. The MGM disc may have incorrectly used a shot from the R-Rated Version.

The MGM DVD R-rated Version has the killer slash Angie Dickinson's throat before the 2nd interlude with Nancy Allen & the business man ("Double, huh?" "You didn't hear it from me."). The R-rated Version then cuts back to this shot of Angie DIckinson slumped against the wall
with her eyes closed:

Image

The MGM DVD Unrated Version has the "Double, huh?" conversation take place before the throat slashing. It cuts from this shot

Image

to the same shot of Angie Dickinson with her eyes closed:

Image

The Criterion & Arrow Unrated Versions cut from this shot:

Image

to a shot of Angie Dickinson with her eyes open:

Criterion
Image

Arrow
Image

The eyes closed/eyes open shots each play for the exact same number of frames, but they are completely different takes.

The R-Rated/Unrated/TV Comparison featurette (created for the MGM DVD and carried over to both the Arrow & Criterion discs) shows the "eyes closed" shot in both cuts

Image

Image

So this either means A) MGM messed up the Unrated Version on the DVD release by using a wrong take & missing a couple frames (concordantly using this incorrect version in their comparison video), or B) they messed up the Unrated Version 2 times for Hi-Def release (since the Arrow & Criterions match on every frame & take, but use 2 different masters) by including a take that was never supposed to be in the film. I think A) is the more likely answer. So each release seems to have a slight flaw, but I think overall, the Criterion & Arrow releases are the better ones.

I've uploaded the comparison video I made to YouTube. You can hear the difference by panning the speaker balance on your system. (I edited out the extra frames from the Criterion & Arrow discs in order to keep all the sound in sync, because what I was really trying to figure out was the audio difference.)

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knives
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#87 Post by knives » Mon May 08, 2017 9:48 pm

While super entertaining this came across as the weakest of the '80s thrillers. The big problem is how thinly sketched the characters are making them not rise above the genre parody they seem born out of. Nancy Allen, while giving a great performance, just isn't given the opportunity to play someone as sad and complex as, say, Travolta in Blow Out while the rest of the characters are too tertiary psychologically to really fill the void. Makes one appreciate how much De Palma improved as he went along.

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Lost Highway
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#88 Post by Lost Highway » Wed May 31, 2017 7:20 am

knives wrote:While super entertaining this came across as the weakest of the '80s thrillers. The big problem is how thinly sketched the characters are making them not rise above the genre parody they seem born out of. Nancy Allen, while giving a great performance, just isn't given the opportunity to play someone as sad and complex as, say, Travolta in Blow Out while the rest of the characters are too tertiary psychologically to really fill the void. Makes one appreciate how much De Palma improved as he went along.
I disagree that Nancy Allen's character is less complex than the character she played in Blow Out, it's just that she's more of an R-rated screwball heroine in this, a smart, capitalist, crime solving prostitute. How often do you get that ? I don't believe a character who is a sex worker needs to be "sad" to have depth.

You are looking in the wrong place anyway, Angie Dickinson gives the performance of her life as the sexually frustrates, yearning housewife on whom fate plays cruel tricks. De Palma isn't a director who I go to for character studies and I don't think the characters in later thrillers like Body Double or Raising Kain have more depth than those in Dressed to Kill. Genevieve Bujold in Obsession and Sissy Spacek in Carrie are as complex as any character in De Palma's films and they predate Dressed to Kill.

If Blow Out is the most soulful of his thrillers, that may be because the two lead roles were written as far older characters. While Travolta and Allen are fine, knowing that I always felt both were slightly miscast as people who've run out of options. Not that I don't love that film, I do.

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knives
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#89 Post by knives » Wed May 31, 2017 10:22 pm

I was comparing Allen's character to Travolta's as a lead character.

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colinr0380
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Re: 770 Dressed to Kill

#90 Post by colinr0380 » Mon May 28, 2018 4:39 am

Watching Dressed To Kill again last night, I absolutely love that wordless Angie Dickinson scene at the opening of the film. OK, so the character meets a horrible end but that art gallery scene really puts us deeply into the head of woman with frustrated hopes and desires, and there is so much emphasis put onto looking at Dickinson's face and seeing the emotions pass across it that it makes what turns out to be a supporting character feel emotionally real (which is very similar to Janet Leigh's section of Psycho of course!). I like that we get paired moments of being so flustered by something happening (the flirtation becoming actual touch; the thank you note turned horrible punchline to the brief encounter) that she forgets objects in her haste, with one situation ending 'happily' (albeit with a twist) and one ending horribly, as almost 'missing her chance' for a liaison in the art gallery turns into fatefully returning back into the killer's grasp after returning back upstairs for her discarded on the bedside wedding ring.

The other paired scene I like are the two involving Dennis Franz's policeman that both involve client confidentiality from different levels of society - the more distanced conversation with Michael Caine's psychiatrist about his patients and his reluctance to break the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship even after a crime has been committed getting set against the Nancy Allen character's profession as a prostitute (on the front lines of sex rather than dealing with desires abstractly in the mind!) where even if she wanted to, it would be difficult to break the client's confidentiality because of the general anonymous nature of sex work!
SpoilerShow
And those two characters get equated together ever more strongly through the course of the film, as the 'effortlessly real woman' set against the frustrated one being suppressed by her male side. Allen's character is regularly thrown into situations and has to deal with them, whilst Caine's character is left quite alone on the fringes of the narrative and given space to just be inside his own head (which is maybe a class comment - that privilege allows space to be alone and unharassed, even as a potential key suspect in a murder investigation!), at least until a couple of amateur investigators step outside of societal bounds and forcibly 'out' him!
The other stylistic moment that I really liked was that amazing zoom in shot as Caine opens the drawer of his cabinet to show the space where the straight razor was. Weirdly that also reminded me a lot of the way that De Palma filmed the opening of the drawer of Christine's sex toys in the much later film, Passion!

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