Although we are barely halfway into the 80's, there is no doubt in my mind that the 1981 suspense film Body Heat will make my list as one of the best films of the decade. With that prejudice firmly established, I approached Bodies In Heat with a degree of caution. To my surprise, and delight, it was a pleasurable experience!
Patterned after its namesake, Bodies In Heat has all the trimmings one expects from a classy thriller: tough cops, a gorgeous femme fatale, sleazy underworld type (to contrast with the Fat Cats) and, not by coincidence, murder.
The plot unfolds: Harry Reed (Herschel Savage), a moderately successful police detective, gets a call from the very beautiful, very rich and very bored Maura DeSalvo. Her jewel-encrusted wristwatch has been stolen and the poor dear just must have it back. Harry and his partner Tracy Storm (Lisa DeLeeuw) are the investigative team, and before you can say "Double Indemnity", the sparks begin to fly between Maura and Harry.
Although Harry may be stunned by Maura's good manners, he doesn't let that stop him from having a fun time, such as taking advantage of a hooker held for questioning or seducing the young female dispatcher in the office. But love burns in his heart, leading a path back to Maura. After they consummate their affair, they muse over disposing her cruel husband (Eric Edwards), but this is only a daydream until Harry produces an untraceable poison. The game is afoot, as Holmes would say (and I don't mean John!).
It would spoil the fun to reveal any more. Let it suffice to say that they don't call them "femme fatales" for nothing!
Everything about Bodies In Heat is top-notch. Annette Haven is perfectly cast as Maura. Her astonishingly fresh features have made her the number one adult female star in my book. One of her drawbacks (in the past) was a lack of intensity and emotion during sexual encounters, but here it is a positive boon, as it compliments her character. In a superbly handled scene that could never make it in an "R" film, Haven underplays her disgust at having to satisfy her husband's sexual whims by brusquely wiping off his semen from her abdomen. In addition, the first coupling between Harry and Maura is a blazer. Savage and Haven are a good-looking team, both passionate and tender. Aided by director/cinematographer Vatelli's floating camera, their scenes are memorable.
Only one scene disrupts the mood and continuity of Bodies In Heat a totally superfluous pool party near the end. replete with blaring rock music and airheaded chicks, it severely rocks the picture just when it begins to gather steam. Up until that point, director Vatelli infuses a timeless quality to Bodies In Heat, and blame must rest squarely with producer/writer Jerry Ross for trying to "beef up" the production.
Taken on the whole, this is still a minor quibble, as the film stands on its own regardless of the interruption. Even the supporting cast shines. Fortunately, Lisa DeLeeuw does not even disrobe in this picture, which is a little lost as she is a far better actress than lover. And Eric Edwards is positively heartless as the jealous hypocrite Lawrence DeSalvo.
Compliments go to the production crew for adding little touches, such as the R.I.P. note hung on the broken fan in Harry's cramped office, as well as the cool jazz score heard throughout most of the movie. You won't get burned by Bodies In Heat - just a little hot!