Body Double (1984) / Thriller-Mystery
MPAA Rated: R for strong sexuality, nudity, graphic violence, and language
Running Time: 114 min.
Cast: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd, Dennis Franz
Small role: Steven Bauer, Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Director: Brian De Palma
Screenplay: Robert J. Avrech, Brian De Palma
Review Published December 30, 1997
A struggling actor (Wasson,, Rollercoaster) finds a job housesitting for a rich friend of another actor. While there he spies on a neighbor (Griffith, Working Girl) who has a naughty habit of doing a striptease every night. He becomes infatuated by the woman and decides he wants to meet her, taking to following her around wherever she goes. He begins to suspect she is in trouble when a suspicious Native American follows her around as well. He suspects she will be murdered.
Two parts Vertigo, one part Rear Window, and one part De Palma. Mix them together and you have this wonderful mix of great and awful known as Body Double. Even when it's bad, it's never boring, and De Palma, while no Hitchcock, does a nice job faking it sometimes. He must surely love the guy, considering he lifts the dolly in/zoom out shot twice, and the woman who he watches is named Revelle (Hitch's wife's last name). Unfortunately De Palma isn't blessed with a talent for writing, or timing, and the cast is somewhat less than Jimmy Stewart/Kim Novak/Grace Kelly caliber.
You'll love it while it's on, but you may hate yourself in the morning -- a definite guilty pleasure.
©1997 Vince Leo