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September 05, 1980 - Image 141

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-05

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The Michigan Daily Friday, September 5, 1980 Page 7-A
campy triue o error

Over the years, as this increasingly
gets to be a nation of cineastes, we've
gotten used to the idea of one director
quoting the work of another. But are we
ready for a director who quotes him-
splf? I don't think anyone is quite ready
fir Brian de Palma's Dressed to Kill, a
delirious crossword puzzle of movie

project to soften the blow of de Palma's
being fired from a more ambitious en-
deavor, to be replaced by the stolidly
reliable Sidney Lumet. Dotty and
madly stylish, with even more grand
set-pieces than a Bertolucci film
(though they're more like pop ditties
than operatic arias here), it's a giddy
thriller pushed well over the edge of

baroque ways that one is at once ap-
palled and insanely amused watching
it. It's even more of a crumbly-centered
exercise in florid nonsense than The
Fury, and those who found The Fury
brilliant (presumably because it had
the nerve to risk, and finally achieve,
ridiculousness for the sake of direc-
torial wizardry) may call this a
masterpiece-every sequence is, after
all, labelled "classic." De Palma's
funhouse flashiness is, at least, alive in
a way that most of the more intelligen-
tly controlled directors will never
achieve. They wouldn't dare. You may
not be sure whether the joke is on you,
on the characters, or whether it's back-
fired on de Palma, but he does get you
laughing-often in disbelief. Dressed to
Kill is a really terrible movie in just
about every conceivalbe way, but how
many films keep you rooted to your
seat, deathly afraid of missing some
new insane flourish?
THE STORY centers-for a
while-on a typical Hitchcocian
neurotic blond, Kate Miller (Angie
Dickinson), who lives in a chic Manhat-
tan apartment with her boorish
husband and junior-scientist, whiz-kid
teenage son. She spills her dissatisfac-
tions-most of them'sexual, due to the
hit-and-run bedroom polish of her
husband-to psychiatrist Dr. Elliot
(Michael Caine), and after an after-
noon session goes to a modern art
museum to meet her mother, who fails
to show up. In one of the most
elaborately constructed much-ado-
about-nothing set pieces ever filmed,
she follows a handsome stranger about

the museum forever, inadvertantly
drops her glove, and finally emerges
from the building to see her missing
glove dangling in come-hither fashion
from a cab window. She offers fumbling
thanks, is yanked into the car, and
relieved of all that nasty repression by
being practically ravished by the
stranger as the cab driver gawks and
repeatedly adjusts his rear-view mirror
for a better look.
After an afternoon of illicit bliss at
the man's apartment, she leaves
him-zonked out, just like her
husband-and departs. But during the
elevator ride on the way. out, she
remembers leaving her wedding ring on
the dresser, and returns to the seventh
floor. The elevator door opens, a
somewhat less pretty tall blonde looms
in, and if you haven't seen or heard
about Psycho, maybe you're one of the
estimated ten people in the U.S. who
might be genuinely surprised by what
happens next. The rest of the film is a
maze of chases as Dr. Elliot, the son, an
obnoxious police detective and a high-
class prostitute named Elizabeth
Blake (Nancy Allen), who had a glim-
pse at the murderer and must work
both to clear herself and elude the
killer, all struggle to locate the
mysterious "lady" in sunglasses with a
very large razor blade.
Psycho, de Palma derives his schock
value from withholding the violence for
as long as possible-and when it finally
arrives, it's always much, much worse
See CLSSIC, Page 8

After an afternoon business tryst, Manhattan strumpet Nancy Allen
discovers something of a mess in an apartment building elevator, and fails
to notice the blonde on the side, who has not been using that razor to keep
herself neat and pretty. One of the many hyperactive cresendoes in Brian de
Palma's latest thriller, 'Dressed to Kill.'

references and jokery. It begins with a
barely altered remake of the opening-
credit sequence from de Palma's own
Carrie, ends with a climax-the very
lase one in a film that's practically all
climaxes-idential to the same movie's
pinchline, and as if that weren't
en9ugh, what's in-between has been lif-
ted (as in shoplifted,. bodily) from Hit-
chcock's Psycho.
Dressed to Kill may have been
quickly tossed together from those
predecessors' remains as an easy

camp. It takes the director's
trademarks, and a truckload of Hitch-
cock's, to such ludicrous, half-serious
extremes that it seems like a parody of
a de Palma film-just as Robert Alt-
man's A Wedding seemed a mockery of
his own techniques, but where Altman
grew sour, de Palma gets wilder and
Dressed to Kill isn't embalmed, like
his last real failure, the 1976 Obsession
(which swiped its story from Vertigo);
it jumps around in such frantically

I -- - - - -- -- i


Sept. 5th: "BREAKING AWAY"
at MLB 3-7:30 and 9:30
Sept. 6th: "AND NOW FOR
at Angell Hall, Aud A-7:30 and 9:30

Mc DOV E~l
FRI, MON--7:00, 9:45
SAT, SUN-1:30, 4:15,
7:00, 9:45
Iyou must be 1S yrs and
prove it with a driver's
all seats $4.50
all seats $4.00
All seats $2.50 til 2:00 (or cap.)


Mediatrics has a full and exciting schedule lined up
for this season. Keep a lookout for a schedule avail-
able all over campus. For more information,
please call UAC at 763-1107.

- U*^Nann

Subscribe to The Daily--Call 7640558
'~ Presents


Liver Pills?
No, back-to-school supplies.



(Edmund Goulding, 1932)
GRETA GARBO stars as a fading ballerina who "wants to be
alone" with impoverished gentleman thief JOHN BARRYMORE.
"If you want to see what screen glamour used to be and what
originally, 'stars' were, this is perhaps the best example of
all time. GRAND HOTEL survives because of the same factors
that made it a huge hit in 1932 (it even won the Academy
Award as Best Picture-the force to the personalities involved
in the Omnibus story.'-Pouline Koel. With JOAN CRAWFORD,
min.) 7:00 ONLY.
(Victor Fleming, 1932)
JEAN HARLOW is at her sexiest as a loose woman on a rubber
plantation in Indochina. CLARK GABLE co-stars as the planta-
tion foreman and Harlow's lover. Into this den of iniquity
walks Mary Astor, cool as an aristocratic Cucumber and schem-
ing for Gable. This classic confrontation represents MGM adven-
ture/melodrama at its best. (83 min.) 9:00 ONly.

Remind yourself with
Carter's Hi-Liter.

Express yourself
clearly with
Carter's X-Pert
typewriter ribbon.



(Birds of a Feather)
(Edouard Molinaro, 1979)
Variation on a theme from GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER.
A gay nightclub owner in Saint Tropez and his live-in lover of
25 years, the tempestuous female impersonator Zaza, are
shocked to discover that the nightclub owner's son is planning
to marry the daughter of the highest national morality official.
When her parents decide to pay a visit to their future son-
in-law's home, the results are both poignant and hilarious. A.
surprisingly warm film, it portrays both the trials and joys of
gay life. French with subtitles. (99 min.) 7:00, 8:40, and 10:20.

I ~iinL~UI~LdEbij MEbLUL
I~~ hfauI EZYZ1F~'3W~

I Ad . =gym i m _r' 0 ' 1




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