Repertory Picks

Lethal De Palma in Massachusetts

In Theaters — May 4, 2017

At the stroke of midnight on Saturday, the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts, will pull back the curtain on one of Brian De Palma’s most shocking and psychologically penetrating films, 1980’s Dressed to Kill, presented in all its 35 mm glory. De Palma is at the top of his game in this stylized Manhattan-set mystery, about an unhappy housewife (Angie Dickinson) who winds up brutally murdered, setting off a search for the killer that involves her psychiatrist (Michael Caine), her son (Keith Gordon), and a call girl who witnessed the crime (Nancy Allen). Equal parts terrifying and funny, the movie quickly develops into an intoxicating metacinematic thriller, featuring an array of explicit references to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, among them a bifurcated narrative structure and an opening shower scene. In his liner essay for our release of the film, critic Michael Koresky investigates how Dressed to Kill fits into De Palma’s “grand project of showing us Hitchcock’s thrillers stripped of pretense and elegance,” building upon the Master of Suspense’s 1960 film in particular “to call attention . . . to the workings of cinema and what it means to be a movie watcher.”

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