Body Double

Body Double

DVD - 1998
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A house-sitting actor finds himself obsessed with his beautiful neighbor. When she is brutally murdered, he engages the unwitting key to the crime, porn queen Holly Body, to help him catch the killer.
Publisher: Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, [1998]
ISBN: 9780767818049
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 114 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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Dec 12, 2018

Spoilers ahead: I’m surprised (maybe not) by some of the bad reviews on this site for this film. I saw this movie when it came out in the 80s and it opened to glorious reviews. I grew up on Hitchcock films and already knew it was an homage to Vertigo with a taste of Rear Window thrown in for good measure.

DePalma has a unique style that was heavily influenced by French Cinema Verite and Hitchcock. And I love it!

I think Roger Ebert (R.I.P.) said it best:

"Body Double" is an exhilarating exercise in pure filmmaking, a thriller in the Hitchcock tradition in which there's no particular point except that the hero is flawed, weak, and in terrible danger -- and we identify with him completely. The movie is so cleverly constructed, with the emphasis on visual storytelling rather than dialogue, that we are neither faster nor slower than the hero as he gradually figures out the scheme that has entrapped him. And the casting of a Hitchcockian average guy also helps.“

I couldn’t agree more. I personally like Craig Wasson.

When watching Vertigo back to back with this film, I think Wasson is more believable than Stewart. Jimmy Stewart overacts his version of the Vertigo character (see his fainting scene). I think people are amazed by Hitchcock’s Plots, editing and camera movements. They were evolutionary for the time frame they were made. But not particularly the heavy handed and / or hammy acting in his films.

It’s fun to think back how shocking and controversial (not the pornography and nudity rampant in the film) but the scene DePalma created of a three foot drill bit going through the second story floor (and out the first floor ceiling) as it drips with blood and kills our heroine with our hero struggling to save her and reluctantly watching from below.

Maybe those who see this film now in the new millennium feel about the acting as I feel about seeing Vertigo (so many years after it’s initial release). I can concede to that.

Along with Pino Donaggio’s heavy score (meant to be reminiscent of Bernard Hermann’s for Hitchcock) is also Deborah Shelton’s acting who does play it heavy in this film. And rightfully so, since she is meant to be mysterious and almost ‘mythic’ as a beautiful woman admired and obsessed from afar (even her dialogue was dubbed with another actress’s sexier, breathier voice to reinforce the illusion). So when we see Melanie Griffith’s Holly Body we are hit in the face with the stark contrast of the brash reality of a streetwise but dopey ‘working girl’. Everyone else in the cast (Henry, Franz and Boyd) is gritty and spot on.

Only major complaint: DePalma could have cut down the amount of time of the ‘carousel shot’ of Wasson and Shelton’s kiss in, at least, half.

This will always be one of my favorite DePalma films (also see: Untouchables, Blow Out, Carlito’s Way and Dressed to Kill).

Jul 28, 2016

A cult auteur who came of age in the 70s, Brian De Palma has inspired strong opinions on either side. Some see him as a clever genre master who is a legitimate heir to Hitchcock, while others deride his lurid use of sex and violence and his often derivative themes and style. For an auteur, he's made a lot of crap, including "Mission to Mars," "Raising Cain," and "Snake Eyes." For me his best film is "Blow Out," his most enjoyable is "Phantom of Paradise," his most underrated is "Casualties of War," and his most overrated is "Scarface." 1984's "Body Heat" is an inane mix of sex and violence that I guess is an erotic thriller, but it's neither. I mean, there is a lot of gratuitous nudity, but it's more comic than sexy. Inspired by the use of a body double for Angie Dickinson on "Dressed to Kill," it's the familiar Hitchcock plot of an innocent man drawn into violence and mystery. There's also a generous dollop of "Rear Window" (voyeurism) and "Vertigo" (obsession). It's all very obvious and very silly. You probably could find a more leaden and talent-less leading man than Craig Wasson (even his name is boring), but it would take a while. A young Melanie Griffith plays a porn actress name Holly Body. Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" is
prominently featured. Overall, an embarrassingly bad and profoundly un-entertaining film.


if you haven't yet seen this film, then i suggest that you continue to wait; truly wretched!
the score/soundtrack is the only remotely, redeemable aspect of this stinker. woof!!

aaa5756 Mar 15, 2012

This movie was entertaining but not one of my favorite for this year. “Not too bad---good performance--good T and A show”.


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