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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 houseewife and an investigation involving a young prostitution who witnessed the murder, the victim's teenaged son, and her psychiatrist. The original music score is composed by Pino Donaggio.

​Plot[edit | edit source]

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 appointmant, 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 stranfer. 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 whlie the man Waren 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. Mortifird, she leaves the apartment. In her haste, she has left her wedding ring on the nightsland, so she returns to retrieve it.

The evevator doors open on the figure of a tall, blond woman in dark sunglasses wieding a straight razor. Kate is violently slashed to death in the evevator. Ahigh-priced call girl, Liz Blake (Nancy Allen), happens upon the body. She catches a glimpse of the killer, therefore becoming both she 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.

Liz and Peter scheme to learn Bobbi's real name by getting inside Dr. Elltott's office. Liz batis the theapist by stripping to lingerie and coming on to him, distracting him long enough to make a brief and leaf through his appointment book. Peter is watching through the window when a blonde pulls him away. When Liz rerurns, a blinde with a razor confronts her; the blode outside shoots and wounds the blonde inside, the wig falls off, and it is Dr. Elliott revealing that he is also Bobbi who shot Bobbi is actually a female police officer, revealing herself to be the blinde who has been trailing Liz.

Elliott is arrested and placed in an insane asylum. Dr. Levy explains later to Liz that Elliott wanted to be a woman, but his male side would not allow him to go through with the operation. Whenever a women sexually aroused Elliott, Bobbi, representing the unstable, female side of the doctor's personality, became threatened to the point that it finally became murderous. When Dr. Levy realised this through his last conversation with Elliott, he called the police on the spot, who then, with his help, did their duty.

In a final sequence, Elliott escapes from the asylum and slashes Liz's throat in a bloody act of vengeance. She wakes up screaming, Peter rushing to her side, realizing that it was just a dream.

Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Michael Caine as Dr. Robert Elliott
  • Angie Dickison as Kate Miller
  • Nancy Allen as Liz Blake
  • Keith Gordon as Peter Miller
  • Dennis Franz as Detective Morino
  • David Margulies as Dr. Levy
  • Ken Baker as Warren Lockman
  • Susanna Clemm as Betty Luce
  • Brandon Maggart as Cleveland Sam
  • Norman Evans as Ted
  • Bill Randolph as Chase Cabby
  • Fred Weber as Miker Miller
  • Erika Katz as Girl in Elevator (Uncredited)
  • Marjorie Lee Thoreson as Nurse
  • William Finlet as the voice of Bobbi

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The way the movie is built reminds a lot about Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
  • Dressed to Kill's ending is similar to Carrie's ending. It shows Brian de Palma's signature in the movie

External links[edit | edit source]

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