1984 / Director. Brian De Palma.
Review by Justine Ryan.
Struggling L.A actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) is asked to house sit by fellow actor Sam Bouchard (Greg Henry) while he is away. Upon his first night’s stay Jake is introduced to his sensuous neighbour, Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton), whom he watches perform sexy stripteases through a telescope each night. He soon becomes infatuated with her, following her around Rodeo Drive (in a stunning sequence), and soon meeting her only to discover that she is also being followed by a mysterious Indian before her death occurs.
BODY DOUBLE is finely tuned murder mystery, part erotic thriller and part slasher with many humorous moments peppered in there. Director Brian De Palma got a lot of flack when the film was released. Critics always seemed to accuse him of being misogynistic, which I personally disagree with. The way De Palma captures women in some of his films shows the range of their abilities from strength to vulnerability, which he does sensitively.
Melanie Griffith gives a charming and memorable performance as porno actress Holly Body, who helps Jake solve the murder and identity of the killer. This is easily my favourite role of hers. BODY DOUBLE is layered with plot twists and suspense, keeping the viewer on their toes. The best cinema is like a good seduction and De Palma knows (especially in his earlier films) how to invite us in and keep us there until the climax, making us voyeurs like Jake in a sense.
Another element that perfectly complements the film and one of the most memorable at least for me about the film, is the score by Pino Donaggio and conducted by Natale Massara (CARRIE, PIRANHA, DRESSED TO KILL, THE HOWLING, THE FAN, BLOW OUT, MERIDIAN, PASSION and more recently PATRICK). I have a huge unabashed love for Pino and in my opinion he is brilliant at conveying so many emotions in his various pieces of music.
The film was misunderstood by critics in its initial release but has since gained a cult following. A bare bones region 4 DVD was released a few years ago the film has since had a limited region 1 Blu Ray release in 2013, which is expensive in it’s price but fans don’t have to fear as last week Umbrella Entertainment released it on Blu Ray with the delicious featureless from the region 1 DVD from 2006 carried over.