"A seduction. A mystery. A murder."
Another film dealing with voyeurism. My, how perceptions and attitudes swiftly zig-zag. In 1954's Rear Window it was a wheelchair-bound good guy photographer who spies on his neighbors, 1960's Peeping Tom he's depicted as an irredeemable murderer, 1964's Strange Compulsion dealt with it clinically in an exploitive sort of way. Body Double deals with it as one of the perks of living in a Jetsons style flying saucer-like California hillside highrise.
Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) is an actor in Hollywood, genre de jour is Horror film. Jake is playing an androgynous glitter bloodsucker in some low budget vampire flick. But Jake has a problem with claustrophobia, when he has to do a scene in a coffin he freezes, and gets fired.
Part Film Noir/Hollywood homage, part Hitchcock homage to Rear Window, and in one aspect also to Vertigo, part black comedy, director Brian De Palma gives us a nice peak into 1984 era tinseltown.
|Dennis Franz lt. and Craig Wasson - Claustrophobia!|
|Skully (Wasson) out of a job|
|"Hi Honey I'm Home"|
|Wifie riding the baloney pony|
|Sam Bouchard (Greg Henry)|
|Hitting it off|
|Gloria Revell (Deborah Shelton)|
|questioned by the police|
|Tail o' The Pup |
|Holly The Body (Melanie Griffith)|
|Male Porno Star: I'm not just a stunt cock, I'm an ACTOR!|
Craig Watson (The Outsider (1979), Carny (1980), Ghost Story (1981) The Pornographer (1999)) is highly believable as the good guy, a regular Joe Schmoe, he looks a bit like Bill Maher. Gregg Henry (Scarface (1983), Payback (1999)), is a chunkier Dan Duryea. Deborah Shelton (Dallas TV Series (1978–1991)) is the unattainable beauty, her part is mainly visual. Melanie Griffith (Night Moves (1975), The Drowning Pool (1975), Something Wild (1986), Mulholland Falls (1996), ) is coming to the end of her early eye candy phase in this. Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue TV Series (1993–2005)) plays the independent film director, and Guy Boyd (Ghost Story (1981)) plays the police detective.
Director Brian De Palma (Dressed to Kill (1980), Scarface (1983), Carlito's Way (1993), The Black Dahlia (2006)) is amusing himself and us with various genres and at the same time poking a little fun at Hollywood show business in general. A few vintage L.A. institutions are lovingly lensed, others i.e., Angels Flight are faintly hinted at in the inclined access railway to the Chemosphere House. The film also has some quite humorous lines.
Body Double was written by Robert J. Avrech (screenplay) from a story by Brian De Palma. The cinematography was by Stephen H. Burum (8 Million Ways to Die (1986), Carlito's Way (1993)) and the music was by Pino Donaggio (Don't Look Now (1973), Dressed to Kill (1980)). Screencaps are from the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD. Noir light 7/10