Body Heat

Original Soundtrack

cover art for Body Heat OST

LP: Label X LXSE 1-002

  1. Ladd Company Logo [by John Williams]
    and Main Title (3:39)
  2. I'm Weak (3:15)
  3. Chapeau Gratis (1:12)
  4. Heather (1:58)
  5. I'm Frightened (2:33)
  6. Kill for Pussy (2:48)
  7. Us and Oscar (1:18)
  8. Surprise; explosion (2:30)
  9. Heather and Roz (1:36)
  10. Glasses (:46)
  11. Better Get Him (6:05)
  12. Matty was Mary Ann (4:16)


cover art for Body Heat Rerecord

CD: Varese Sarabande McNeely VSD-5951
Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joel McNeely

  1. Main Title (3:51)
  2. Ned (1:04)
  3. Matty's Place (1:35)
  4. I'm Weak (3:22)
  5. I'm Burning Up (1:18)
  6. Chapeau Gratis (1:25)
  7. Heather (2:11)
  8. Kill For Pussy (2:53)
  9. I'm Frightened (2:42)
  10. Surprise And Explosion (2:31)
  11. Heather And Roz (1:20)
  12. Gus And Oscar (1:22)
  13. Glasses (:52)
  14. Better Get Him (7:05)
  15. Matty was Mary Ann (4:19)

The Movie

James M. Cain was one of the pioneers and masters of the hardboiled fiction genre. He wrote two of the classics: The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. Both are about men who fall in love with dangerous women—men who become so blinded by lust that they would do anything to have her—including killing the woman's husband.

And that's the plot of Body Heat. William Hurt is a lawyer who's scratching out a living on the Florida coast when he meets and falls hard for beautiful Kathleen Turner, only to find out that she's married to a shady character (Dick Crenna). If you've read any of Cain's novels or seen the films, you know what happens. You know the ending, but writer/director Lawrence Kasdan did it right—it's a great ride.

This movie was my generation's Basic Instinct—a movie about steamy sex and murder, and it made Kathleen Turner a star.

The Music

This always struck me as Mike Hammer private eye music—the kind of saxophone heavy, lonely thing you associate with guys in snap-brim fedoras and trenchcoats and Colt 45's under their arms. The heavy sax gives it a distinction among Barry scores—I don't think this sounds like anything else he's done, with the possible exception of The Specialist. You get the feeling that everyone knew they were making a modern film noir—a retelling of The Postman Always Rings Twice, and rather than fight it they revelled in it. Barry's score works beautifully.

Release Notes

The original soundtrack was released in both LP and CD media on the Southern Cross label, and both went out of print. It quickly became a highly sought-after collectors item: John Williams fans also wanted it because it Williams's fanfare for the Ladd Company on it. For reasons I never understood, it didn't get much bootleg activy.

Joel McNeely rerecorded the music recently, so the score is now easily available. A piece of the score is also available on Barry's Moviola, and it also appears on a compilation called Body Heat: Jazz at the Movies.