This post is being republished as part of ClassicBecky's and Dorian'sThe Best HitchcockMovies (That Hitchcock Never Made) blogathon. Click here to read other entries in the blogathon.
This discussion of Body Double (1984) between film fans from different generations assumes that you’ve seen the film. But if you haven’t—or have, but need a plot refresher--here’s a synopsis:
Actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) experiences a debilitating episode of claustrophobia on the set of a low-budget horror film. Dismissed for the day, he discovers his girlfriend Carol making love to another man. Later, he learns that he has been fired from the movie. Since Carol owned the house they shared, Jake needs to find new lodgings. His luck improves when another actor, Sam, offers a house-sitting gig. One of the perks of the observatory-like house is a telescope aimed at the window of an attractive woman who performs a provocative dance routine every night. Jake becomes obsessed with his "window" neighbor, but becomes concerned when he spies another man watching and following her. (Body Double is rated R for adult themes, nudity, and violence.)
Rick29: Sark, you once said that De Palma’s best Hitchcock homages were the ones where he took Hitchcockian themes and turned them on their head. I think Body Double is a great example of that. On the surface, Body Double is a suspense film--and a very good one. But underneath the surface, it's a witty film about acting and deception. When Jake freezes up while reliving the "sardine game" in his acting class, the teacher yells at him: "You've got to act!" That's just what everyone around Jake does throughout the rest of the movie. Alexander Revelle acts the role of Sam who, in turn, acts the role of "the Indian." Holly acts out of the role of Gloria. Even Jake gets in the game, acting out the role of an adult film producer. The scene over the closing credit is a perfect coda, where De Palma shows us a body double in a shower scene in the horror film. Holly, who is standing beside the lead actress, tells her: "I bet this will get you a lot of dates." Thus, more deception will be promulgated!
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