Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 14th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1984
Director: Brian De Palma
Writers: Robert J. Avrech, Brian De Palma
Cast: Craig Wasson, Gregg Henry, Melanie Griffith, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd, Dennis Franz, Barbara Crampton, Brinke Stevens
BluRay released: July 2nd, 2014
Approximate running time: 114 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: R 18+ (Australia)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: $19.99
Riding high after the after the success Scarface and more determined than ever to push the boundaries of the thriller genre after battling censorship issues over that film. Brian De Palma would set out to make what is arguably his most audacious film of his career with Body Double. And creatively with Body Double like he would once again pay homage once again to Alfred Hitchcock. With the premise of the film drawing inspiration from Vertigo and Rear Window.
Though there is a familiarity to the subject, the end result is something that fare exceeds its inspirations and stands firmly on its own. The meticulously laid out narrative is a deception laced labyrinth that culminates with a very satisfying resolution. Pacing is never an issue as this moves along briskly and each new twist is given an ample amount of time to fully resonate. The characters are well defined and their motivations are well executed.
Visually this film does not miss a beat, especially when it comes to moments of deception. With this film’s tongue and cheek title being a subtle clue about the events which have transpired. Another area where this film excels includes, its ability to create sustained moments of suspense. And nowhere is this more evident than the where the protagonist sees that the woman he had been watching is in peril.
Performance wise the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s most memorable performance being Melanie Griffith (Fear City, Something Wild) in the role of Holly Body, an adult film star who holds the key to discovering the truth. Other standout performances include, Craig Wasson (Ghost Story) in the role of Jack Scully, the pepping tom protagonist who is drawn into a web of deceit, Gregg Henry (Raising Cain) in the role of Sam Bouchard and Deborah Shelton in the role of Gloria Revelle, the woman whose life is in danger.
The Thriller genre like all genres has its tropes and with Body Double Brian De Palma pushes these elements to their breaking point.
Body Double comes on a 25 GB single layer (22.2 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. My only previous viewing experiences of this film have all been via DVD and though there are other Blu-ray releases for this film out there. I have not seen them and therefore cannot comment on them. Though this transfer is a marked improvement over the versions I have previously seen. With that being said, this transfer still leaves room for improvement.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced throughout. The more ambient aspects of this audio mix are well represented and range wise this audio mix sounds robust when they need too.
Extras for this release include, four featurettes: The Setup (16 minutes 54 seconds), The Seduction (16 minutes 44 seconds), The Mystery (12 minutes 15 seconds) and The Controversy (5 minutes 32 seconds).
Topics discussed in these featurette’s include, explanation of what a body double is, the origins of the film premise, how the film was originally planned to be shot in New York and why it was relocated to Los Angeles, how De Palma originally wanted to hire an adult film actress in the role of Holly Body and how the actress he wanted helped him in his research of the adult film industry, how studio executives blocked him from hiring an adult film actress, preproduction, finding the right Los Angeles locations, the cast and Melanie Griffith’s performance, voyeurism and Alfred Hitchcock’s influence, the visuals, key moments in the film, Pino Donaggio’s score, shooting the porno trailer and music video with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, De Palma discusses what he would change about the film, how the film received negative reaction when it was first released and how it has since become a cult film.
Overall Body Double gets a strong release from Umbrella Entertainment.