Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 201: Fri July 20

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.

 

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