This R-rated film noir from 1981 has much to recommend it, including William Hurt when he still had hair, a scene-stealing Ted Danson (with black hair, prepster glasses, and cool dance moves), a vampish Kathleen Turner, and a baby-faced Mickey Rourke. What it has, mostly, is heat, and we’re not talking about the steamy stuff between Hurt and Turner, although that is plenty hot, too. Set during a heat wave in a fictional South Florida town (and filmed on location in Lake Worth, near Palm Beach), this movie is sweatier than Kevin Garnett in the fourth quarter.
Hurt’s shirt is drenched, Turner’s white linen frocks are unbuttoned down to there, ceiling fans whir, and the local police detective, played by J.A. Preston, sums up the collective spirit: “When it gets hot, people kill each other. It’s a crisis atmosphere. Pretty soon people don’t think the old rules are in effect.” Indeed.
Night scenes drip with humidity, punctuated by a cacophony of chirping crickets and clattering wind chimes that promise relief but don’t deliver. Shots of beach boardwalks, boat houses, tropical landscaping, and swaying palms deliver the look of sultry South Florida, but mostly, you will feel the heat sizzle from the screen as you watch. Keep the iced tea handy. --D.B.