Director Brian De Palma has for a number of years had a loyal following and he has made some classic movies, you only have to watch the excellent new documentary called De Palma to see that.
Body Double is one of those films that divides viewers and critics alike and it’s easy to see why.
Jake Scully (Craig Wasson), an unemployed actor, is asked to house-sit at a luxurious hillside apartment. As a bonus, the home offers Jake a telescopic peek into the bedroom of Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton), who performs an arousing striptease. When Jake discovers another man is also spying on Gloria, he begins an obsessive surveillance of her. Soon a grisly murder leads him into the world of X-rated film where he meets sexy porn queen Holly Body (Melanie Griffith), who is a key to the crime…
The movie has all the trademark De Palma touches, great direction and camera work and a gripping story which unfolds at a good pace but is let down by the last third. The film sadly starts to lose its way once Scully goes underground into the seedy porn industry, the pop video with him and Frankie Goes To Hollywood is hilarious but it seems to not know where to go plot-wise and the main villain is easy to guess early on. Sure there are some nice nods to Hitchcock as you would expect from this director but it never achieves the goals it set out to and we won’t mention the strange and bizarre ending.
The Blu ray release by Powerhouse in the UK is another winner, taken from the recent Sony 4K remaster it has great depth and nice film grain. Colours are solid and black levels as they should be, an excellent transfer. Audio has a choice of English LPCM 2.0 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Both sound good, I listened to the original stereo and it was clear and solid.
Great selection of extras are as follows (Don’t watch these before the film as they contain major spoilers):
- Pure Cinema (38 mins): an interesting and extensive interview with first assistant director Joe Napolitano
- The Seduction (17 mins): De Palma discusses the early treatment of the script
- The Setup (17 mins): an examination of the plot
- The Mystery (12 mins): Melanie Griffith discusses her nude scenes and De Palma’s shyness
- The Controversy (6 mins): the cast and crew discuss the film’s critical slating
- Isolated score track
- Original theatrical trailer
- Booklet with new and archival contents
- DVD edition of the film.
Another great release from Powerhouse, it is also region free for those in other territories and even if the film has its flaws it’s a super disc with a great selection of extras.
FILM: 7 PICTURE: 9 AUDIO: 8 EXTRAS: 9