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Body Double [VHS]

3.6 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Writers: Brian De Palma, Robert J. Avrech
  • Producers: Brian De Palma, Howard Gottfried
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home E
  • VHS Release Date: January 30, 1996
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303589162
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,956 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Even Brian De Palma's staunchest defenders had to swallow hard with this gaudily gory bauble of a thriller that is built around a gruesome (yet surprisingly wittily staged) stalking and murder involving a female victim and a killer with a giant power drill. This is De Palma at his most sensational, in a story about a B-movie actor with career problems (Craig Wasson) and a habit as a voyeur. He witnesses the aforementioned murder, then teams up with a porn actress (Melanie Griffith) to try and find the killer. De Palma has a blast going inside the porn film industry, and even films a pseudo rock video with one-hit wonders Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Wasson is an unlikely leading man, bland and pasty, but he's perfect in the role of a decidedly imperfect hero. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
...with my parents.

I'll never forget seeing this movie in the theaters with my parents. We happen to see the quite young daughter of a really good couple friend of my parents, right before we went into the theater to watch this. My parents had no idea how bad this one was. My mother, just out of the blue, invited the young lady to join us. Brian DePalma has always been one of my favorite directors, and I only had a slight hint of how bad/good this would be. Well, I don't need to tell you the rest of the story, if you've seen this movie. My parents apologized profusely to her parents, later after we watched it. AND I WAS LOVING IT!!!

I bought this on laser disc right when it came out, and recently, about 1 year ago, bought the DVD. I really like the movie, one of my favorite Brian DePalma flicks. I'll tell you some of my favorite parts.

1) The music playing, when Scully, the Craig Wasson character, gets excused from his movie scene, and is driving home to spend some unexpected quality time with his live in girlfriend. That is probably the greatest sound track music I've ever heard, by Pino Donaggio.

2) The edit cuts, between the viewing of the murder, through the eyeglass, that Scully is looking through, and the real life view, in the living room of the murder victim. I still remember the sound effects and cries of pain by the actress.

3) The twirling effect of the cameras, when Scully and the female are kissing no the beach (no, it didn't make me dizzy, like other reviewers.)

4) The "B" Acting of Melanie Griffith. You' d think she really was a porn star, the way she's acting.

5) The police detective that interviews Scully. That guy was so creepy. Reminds me of the actor Fred Gwynne. Very entertaining.
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Format: DVD
In the early 1980s, Brian De Palma made two movies about obsessed voyeurs with Blow Out and then Body Double. With its perceived misogynistic views of women exacerbated by the violence depicted towards them and the ample use of nudity, the film became a lightning rod for controversy when it was initially released. This new Special Edition is a double-dip for this title with brand new extras and new interviews conducted with cast and crew made specifically for this release.

Throughout his career, De Palma has been dogged with the criticism that he blatantly rips off the films of Alfred Hitchcock. And to be fair, there are several overt references in Body Double. Like Jimmy Stewart's character in Vertigo, Jake has a debilitating fear that affects him at the worst possible moments. He also ends up remaking a woman into an idealized version of one he was obsessed with previously, much as Stewart does with Kim Novak's character in Vertigo. And like Stewart's character in Rear Window, Jake witnesses a crime being committed from afar and is powerless to stop it.

Body Double shows the ugly, moral tawdriness of the bottom rungs of the Los Angeles acting scene. When we first meet Jake he's in danger of being fired from Z-grade horror film. De Palma has crafted a beautifully structured thriller with a mystery that we piece together along with Jake.

"The Seduction" examines the origins of the film. De Palma got the idea for it while working on Dressed to Kill and originally set it in New York City but he spent a lot of time in L.A. while making Scarface.

In "The Setup" De Palma explains that the premise of Body Double is a postmodern spin on Hitchcock, specifically Vertigo. He also talks about the notion of voyeurism and how he called attention to it repeatedly.
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Format: DVD
Controversial movies like this always result in a lot of contradictory feedbacks. After reading all other viewers' comments, I just want to add a few things. 1. If you label this movie as a "porn" or "soft porn", you may never have watched a "real" porn flick, or you must have missed one topnotch line in the "porn film shooting" scene of this movie, a line that defined so well the difference between erotic and pornographic cinema (a crew member asked the director, "so where's the come shot? I thought we were doing "Body Talk", not "Last Tango".) 2. It's quite unfair to blame Brian de Palma for "borrowing" Hitchcock's ideas from "Vertigo" or "Rear Window". Because if that's true, Hitchcock would have been pleased to see his ideas beautifully revived and enhanced in this very entertaining thriller. Over the years, I personally don't find all Hitchcock films as enjoyable as they used to be, while some of Brian de Palma tend to become classics themselves. There's something to make me think of Hitchcock though: Twenty-one years after Tippi Hedren gave a pretty nice performance in "The Birds" (1963), her daughter Melanie Griffith really delivered a much better one in "Body Double" (1984).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The DVD actually contains a cropped fullscreen version of the film, not the original widescreen version.

[...] Body Double is currently only available in a fullscreen version.

My 4-star rating is for the film, not the DVD.
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It's one of those films that sticks with you for a while after watching it. The soundtrack is what really makes the movie, but also the fact that Melanie Griffith plays a porn star makes you want to watch the film even more. It's a cult classic is what it is, something fans of Brian De Palma would appreciate watching from time to time again.
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