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4.1 out of 5 stars37
4.1 out of 5 stars
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HALL OF FAMEon 9 November 2007
"Holly keeps this business where it belongs." says a sleazy TV interviewer with a smile, "In the gutter." He's talking about Holly Body (Melanie Griffth), star of Holly Does Hollywood. She's a porn queen with a tattoo on her bottom. Holly, or at least the tattoo, is the key to Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) identifying the killer who set him up.

Jake is a struggling actor who suffers from claustrophobia. He's not too bright, not too dumb, and he finds out the hard way that his wife is two-timing him. She owns their house so he has to move out. He finds a place to stay, housesitting for an absent owner a modernist home on a stalk that overlooks Hollywood. The guy who helped him find the place points out the owner's telescope, which in the evening can pick out a lush neighbor, a rich woman named Gloria Revel, who regularly does a strip dance in front of her window. Jake thinks he sees her being stalked and does some stalking of his own. One night through the telescope he sees her being attacked. He races over to save her but he's too late. The attacker uses a big power drill to kill the woman. Jake finds himself under suspicion and sets out to try to find out what was going on. And that sets up his meeting with Holly, his realization of what really happened, and his confrontation with the killer who is in the process of burying Holly alive.

This is a first-rate movie, in my opinion. De Palma is often accused of ripping off...I mean, paying homage to...Hitchcock, but Hitchcock didn't own the suspense/humor genre. He just did it better than most. Here, De Palma has come up with a clever plot that builds a nice head of tension and unease. And using the plot device of a second-rate, struggling actor trying to get ahead and the practicalities of the porn business, he comes up with a number of incongruous and funny situations. When Holly matter of factly lists the things she doesn't do..."no animal acts, no water sports, no..." (it gets more graphic), it's almost endearing. De Palma spends a long sequence with Jake following Gloria after he notices the guy who is really stalking her. The sequence takes us to an underground parking lot, an exclusive shopping mall, to Gloria's home on the side of an ocean-front hill, to the beach and through a pedestrian tunnel. There is almost no dialogue but the sequence builds a lot of tension.

Craig Wasson does a nice job as Jake, and Melanie Griffith, with her little girl voice combined with Holly's practical but honest nature, is memorable as Holly Body. The movie is twenty years old and has held up, in my opinion, very well.
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on 10 August 2008
A trash gem from Brian De Palma. Here, Rear Window meets Vertigo in the porn subculture of the 1980s Southern California. Jake, a bit actor in B films (played engagingly by Craig Wasson) finds his girlfriend sleeping with another guy and has to move from his home. A fellow actor needs someone (or so he says) to take care of his house while he is away on a trip, and Jakes agree to do the job. Before leaving, he shows him his favorite neighbor, a beautiful and sculptural woman who strips with her window open each night. Jake spies her with the house's telescope every night, becoming obsessed. He meets her once in the beach, and is able to help recover her purse from a thief, but is incapacitated by claustrophobia when the burglar runs through a tunnel. Eventually, Jake witnesses her brutal murder through the telescope by someone dressed as an Indian. But, if you've seen Vertigo (and know De Palma has been paying homage to Hitchcock in virtually all of his movies) you can imagine not everything (or everyone) is what is seems. Melanie Griffith is also great playing what could be described as the updated role Kim Novak played in Vertigo. Among the movie's odd touches: a musical interlude in a video form with 80s band Frankie Goes to Hollywood playing their hit single "Relax".
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on 10 May 2011
I highly reccomend Brian De Palma's Body Double from 1984. It's a stylish film, as you'd expect from De Palma. The film has nods to hitchcock in a similar way 'dressed to kill' did and some other De Palma films have, yet maintains an original feel due to a fast pace, shocks and twists, fantastic score music(by Pino Donaggio), good interesting casting and a crazy feel. This is possibaly my favourite De Palma film, and thats saying alot as he's made some of the greats. A film you can watch again and again. A film made for film lovers. The Dvd has a quality widescreen(1:1.85) picture and good sound.
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on 21 December 2009
Yet another twisted Hitchcock-inspired pseudo thriller from De Palma : Vertigo blended with Rear Window, along with the obligatory shower scene... Still, this one is very enjoyable, as the characters are pretty convincing (as others have already written, Craig Watson and Mel Griffith did both an excellent job), better than the candid, annoying couple portrayed by Travolta and Nancy Allen in Blow Out in my opinion. The script is also very good, with only a few dull moments. If you like De Palma, this is nearly as good as it gets.
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on 26 October 2014
Body Double Blu-Ray (Region B) (English Cover) Was quite happy with the picture and sound of Umbrella's release of Body Double, there's a decent amount of extras with it too. Worth having if you liked De Palma's Dressed to Kill and Blow Out.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 February 2014
Body Double is directed by Brian De Palma, he also co-writes the screenplay with Robert J. Avrech. It stars Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd and Dennis Franz. Music is by Pino Donaggio and cinematography by Stephen H. Burum.

Brian De Palma continued his crusade to push buttons of the sensitive whilst homaging his hero Alfred Hitchcock, with this cheeky, garish, sleazy thriller. Even when moving away from Hitch like movies, he created a storm with Scarface (1983), so the critics of 1984 wondered if a return to suspense thriller territory would put the director back on an even cinematic keel? Not a bit of it! The reaction to Body Double was ridiculously over the top, apparently a misogynistic homage to the porn industry, with exploitation gore thrown in for good (bad) measure, Body Double was the devil’s spawn in the eyes of critics. The public? Not so much, film was a sure fire hit at the box office.

Of course today it seems all very tame, where not even a simulated drilling killing can raise the temperature of the audience, or that frank sexual language and bare bodies no longer makes cinema goers blush. On reflection now it’s easy to view De Palma’s movie as a visionary piece of work, a film gently poking the ribs of Hollywood and the MPAA, and as was always the case with his 70s and 80s work, he was a director who easily elicited a response from his audience. And with his box of cinematic tricks still impressive before he became over reliant on them, Body Double is a fascinatingly lurid viewing experience.

That it’s Vertigo and Rear Window spliced together is a given, but that doesn’t make it a bad film, besides which it bears the De Palma stamp as well, undeniably so. Plot finds Jake Scully (Wasson), a struggling actor with claustrophobia, thrust into a world of murder, obsession, deceit and paranoia, for when he house sits for a newly acquired friend, he spies a sexy lady through the telescope apparently being stalked by an odd looking Native American. To reveal more would spoil the fun of anyone watching for the first time, but suffice to say that Jake has entered the realm where neo-noir protagonists wander around wondering how and why they are in this mess.

It’s pulpy and pappy, but in the best ways possible, and unlike many other films made by directors who ventured into similar territory, it’s never boring (hello Sliver). Cast are appropriately cartoonish or animated, the twists fun if not hard to see coming, and with De Palma’s visual panache cosying up nicely with Donaggio’s musical score, Body Double is fine entertainment brought to us by a director with a glint in his eye. 8/10
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on 21 August 2001
Having seen this movie twice -the first time I couldn't believe the audacity of De Palma- the second viewing confirmed his flashy trashy technique and story telling abilities, I can only say he bettered himself with Carrie and Blow Out. The acting is suitably over the top when required,the dialogue cheesy at times, and the special effects/bloodbath all adding up to his better works. A must see for anyone with a strong "stomach" and sense of daring- You will be rewarded.
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on 9 June 2006
this seems inspired by the giallo movies of the 70's , but de palma is more sophisticated and blends hitchock rip-offs with dario argento visuals, and makes it a style of his own. the performances here are right on the spot: craig wasson is simply great as the flawed hero, melanie griffith is at her best as the pornstar.

this is a strange movie, and not for all tastes, but it's rewarding. the suspenseful chase in the shopping mall is a high point. and one thing that most reviewers forgot: it's a somewhat cynical view on hollywood: some actors do b-movies and others do porn. and de palma does a mainstream movie saying: these characters aren't worse or better than mainstream actors. that's the real idea behind... body double. get it?

it's funny how most people focus on the violence towards women or performances or plot holes. great movies are about vision, they are poetry on the screen. and, like it or not, de palma is a poet.
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on 3 September 2015
After struggling actor Jake Scully finds his girlfriend in bed with another man, he moves out and accepts an offer from fellow struggling actor Sam Bouchard to house-sit for a few weeks.

Apart from getting to live in an ultramodern house, he also get to watch a neighbour do a sexy dance in front of her window every night at exactly the same time.

He becomes infatuated, following her around and eventually meeting her. She also has another admirer however and while watching her one night through his telescope, Jake sees her murdered by this other man.

The police are dubious about what he claims to have seen, but the case takes a bizarre turn when, while watching TV, he sees a porn star do the exact same dance he had watched for all those nights.

He soon realises he has been an unwitting accomplice in a complex plot.

De Palma has always referenced Hitchcock in his movies, and here, it's his rear window, and the concept is as bonkers and as brilliant as the decade it was made in.

There are many interpretations of the films narrative, and this is why it demands repeat viewings. Is it all in Jakes head while he is suffering his bout of claustrophobia? So the only parts of the film that are real are the initial scene with him in the coffin, and then him being helped out of the coffin. After all, the majority of the film is almost dreamlike, thanks to the wonderful eye De Palma has, most noticeably the scene in the shopping mall where Jake sees the Indian following his victim from afar.

The film can be seen as a wonderful epitaph to the decade that fashion, music and taste forgot, and no matter how garish the make up, clothes and sets are, it just adds so much t the narrative.

It's a definite conversation piece, there are plot holes aplenty, but this just adds to the argument of where reality ends and the subconscious starts in the films narrative.

And it also adds much evidence to my theory that 1984 was the best year for movies ever.

It's a bonkers piece for sure, but it's thrilling, and never let's up the craziness.

Essential viewing.
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on 10 November 2013
I have always been a fan of Brian De Palma's work and found this curiosity both entertaining and absorbing. De Palma takes you through the murky world of the soft porn industry with a carefully crafted thriller. The film opens with a fantasy/horror film production our hero is appearing in which sets up the mainstream of the film. Our hero the leading actor suffers from claustrophobia in a really bad way that he cannot continue filming as he is shut in a tight space and is unable to perform his role. This leads to him being fired and then a series events lead him to be a resident of a high rise but secluded plush apartment.
He starts watching a neighbour who every night performs a erotic dance act with all the curtains open so anyone with a good vantage point can have a good ogle. This takes place for a couple of nights and gradually our leading man becomes more and more obsessed with her, to the point he starts following her. This film has a similarities with Hitchcock's Vertigo, (no bad thing). And you are drawn very cleverly in to the story as it unfolds. The film also has humour and also a strange cameo apperance from Holly Johnson and co. I would recommend it, but then I am biased as I think Mr De Palma is a very talented film maker.
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