I first saw this film when it was released in 1984, was immediately captivated by it, and have re-visited it many times since then. Body Double may be my favorite DePalma film, even more so than Scarface since it blends different elements together so entertainingly. Body Double is of course a thriller, containing various Hitchcockian themes and devices for which DePalma has become famous. Its also a spoof of the porn industry, but it treats the porn business and B-movie slasher films in a refreshingly frank and candid manner. Its done with humor and without any moralizing, just another part of the business. Also, the LA locations, like the Tail O' the Pup hot dog stand and the futuristic Chemospehere house, not only lend the film authenticity, they really add to the memorable quality DePalma achieves.
I enjoyed the performances of Craig Wasson, Dennis Franz, and others, but Body Double may be best remembered for Melanie Griffith's breakthrough role. She's sexy and totally hilarious. Her list of adult acting "restrictions" is one of the all-time greatest monologues. Wasson, who I liked in Ghost Story, is similar to De
Palma's idol Hitchcock's hero in Vertigo Scotty (Jimmy Stewart). He is paralyzed by claustrophobia and "can't act." Wasson as Jake Scully is the perfect unpretentious "set-up witness." I can't fail to mention former Miss America Deborah Shelton as Gloria Revelle, one of the most beautiful women who ever graced the silver screen.
There's a lurid fascination about this film. Its got sex, voyeurism, a power-drill murder, and the most palpable claustrophobia I've seen. You've also the Frankie-Goes-To-Hollywood "Relax" tie-in. It will harken you back to the glory days of MTV. All in all, its great tongue-in-cheek entertainment and, for my money, the most notable voyeur fantasy movie ever.