Body Double (De Palma, 1984): Hackney Picturehouse, 10.50pm
This late-night screening gets another airing on Saturday 21 July.
One of the highlights of the year on Friday and Saturday night this week, two very rare screenings of Brian De Palma's underrated mid-1980s Hitchcockian thriller. Highly recommended.
Chicago Reader review:
'It pains me to say it, but I think Brian De Palma has
gotten a bad rap on this one: the first hour of this thriller represents
the most restrained, accomplished, and effective filmmaking he has ever
done, and if the film does become more jokey and incontinent as it
follows its derivative path, it never entirely loses the goodwill De
Palma engenders with his deft opening sequences. Craig Wasson is an
unemployed actor who is invited to house-sit a Hollywood Hills mansion;
he becomes voyeuristically involved with his beautiful neighbor across
the way, and witnesses her murder. Those who have seen Vertigo
will have solved the mystery within the first 15 minutes, but De Palma's
use of frame lines and focal lengths to define Wasson's point of view
is so adept that the suspense takes hold anyway. De Palma's borrowings
from Hitchcock can no longer be characterized as hommages or even
as outright thievery; his concentration on Hitchcockian motifs is so
complete and so fetishized that it now seems purely a matter of
repetition compulsion. But Body Double is the first De Palma film
to make me think that all of his practice is leading at least to the
beginnings of perfection. With Gregg Henry and Melanie Griffith' Dave Kehr
If you want to read more about this movie there's Susan Dworkin's Double De Palma, an on-the-set account of the making of the film, plus a very thoughtful chapter in Misogyny in the Movies: the De Palma Question by Kenneth Mackinnon.
Here is an extract.