Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Body Double (1984)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Body Double (1984)

In Brian De Palma's sensationalist erotic thriller - homage to Alfred Hitchcock's films: Rear Window (1954) (with a voyeuristic theme), Dial M for Murder (1954) (about a husband's plot to murder his wife), and Vertigo (1958) (with scenes of stalking), criticized for being misogynistic and violent:

  • the opening title credits sequence - a schlocky, B-movie horror-tinged segment with wolves howling and red blood dripping off names of cast members, and the camera's pan down into a graveyard's open coffin - during the film's first "film within a film" - of working LA actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) entombed and reclining inside the open box as an undead vampire; he froze with claustrophobia when he turned toward the camera with a frightful look; the director Rubin (Dennis Franz) became worried: "Action, Jake. Jake! Action. Cut. Look, Jake, what's your problem, huh?...Something's the matter with him. That's all right, Jake, just relax"
Opening Credits Sequence ("Film within a Film")
  • the title screen was a matte-painting backdrop being wheeled away by two nameless film-crew members on the studio's backlot
  • the set-up: hard luck and out-of-work LA actor Jake, fired due to his claustrophobia, and emasculated after catching his live-in girlfriend Carol (Barbara Crampton) having sex with another man; but then, Jake was 'hired' to house-sit in a Hollywood Hills mansion, arranged by fellow actor Alexander Revelle (alias 'Sam Bouchard') (Gregg Henry), who claimed he was Seattle-bound, and urged Jake to spy on a pretty neighbor
  • the scenes of Jake voyeuristically watching through a high-powered telescope as a beautiful, rich Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton), an auto-erotic exhibitionist, brunette dancer-neighbor in a nearby apartment, stripped within easy view and performed a self-pleasuring dance night-after-night
Jake Stalking Gloria in a Beverly Hills Mall and at the Beach
  • the lengthy sequence of an infatuated Jake's cat-and-mouse stalking of the mysterious Gloria through an upscale Rodeo Drive (Beverly Hills) mall - who was also being tailed by a black-hatted, sun-glasses-wearing, menacing creepy individual; Jake watched voyeuristically as Gloria tried on a pair of panties in an open-curtained dressing room within a store; the sequence ended with Jake and Gloria kissing on the beach (with obvious back-projection) - using a stunning, Vertigo-like 360 degree revolving camera, until she declared: "I can't do this" - and ran off
  • the infamous and tense phone cord strangulation/erect power drill murder of Gloria by her husband (disguised as the creepy Indian character - and spoiler: later revealed to be "Sam Bouchard"), as Jake attempted to reach her and rescue her, although thwarted by her dog
The Phallic-Drill Murder of Gloria by Disguised Killer
  • Melanie Griffith's breakthrough role as porn queen Holly Body, the film's 'body double', when Jake suddenly realized while watching a promotional porn video that she was the one dancing in the apartment
  • the famous use of British pop band Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax" for the 'film within a film' porn shoot - Jake went into undercover mode as a nerdy newcomer to porn in order to meet Holly; during the X-rated filming of a short music video with her, Jake asked in his opening ironic line: "I like to watch," followed by Holly's seduction: ("Makes you hot, doesn't it?...Makes me hot too. Why don't you come over her, and I'll show you how hot"); Jake became so involved in the scene (he fantasy-imagined being in the arms of Gloria for a moment, as the camera spun around 360 degrees) that when he made love to her, the 'money shot' was not visible to the startled cameraman
Jake in Another "Film Within a Film" Porn Shoot with Holly Body
  • Jake expressed a desire to hire Holly to be in his own porn film ("I want you in my picture"); she asserted upfront, to prevent misunderstandings later on: "I do not do animal acts. I do not do S & M or any variations of that particular bent. No water sports either. I will not shave my pussy, no fist f--king, and absolutely no coming in my face. I get $2,000 a day and I do not work without a contract"; when he asked about a routine of "a woman alone, getting herself off, it's got to be really hot," she claimed that self-pleasuring was her speciality: "I have a routine that is a sure-ten on the peter meter"; Jake was tipped off that the "show" ("masturbation routine") that Gloria had put on in the house nearby had been performed by Holly: ("That was you in the Revelle house!"); she confessed to Jake that she had been hired to perform for two nights only; her revelation would ultimately help him to unravel the conspiracy behind Gloria's murder
  • the revelation and unmasking of the disguise of "Sam Bouchard" as the rubber-faced killer-Indian - actually Alexander Revelle, the separated and disgruntled murderer of wife Gloria Revelle, when he admitted angrily to Jake: "You ruined my surprise ending" - Jake was paralyzed with claustrophobic fear after falling into a deep earthen burial pit until he visualized saving himself, and fought off Alexander - who ended up getting pushed backward to his death in the churning reservoir water below
  • during the closing credits, Jake was recast as a full-time actor performing again in a cheap vampire horror film; in the filming of a Psycho-like shower scene in a vampire horror film, with Holly watching from the side, Jake was in the shower with the lead movie actress (Denise Loveday) when 'body double' Mindy was substituted for the lead actress (to provide the nudity); after, Holly advised the robed actress watching the nude double off-screen - "You know what? You're gonna get a lot of dates when this comes out"

Title Screen: A Matte Painting

Carol (Barbara Crampton)

Jack's Invitation by Alexander Revelle To Voyeuristically Peep

Exhibitionist Neighbor
Gloria Revelle
(Deborah Shelton) ?

Promotional clip of Porn Queen Holly Body in X-rated Holly Does Hollywood

Unmasking a "Disguised" Alexander Revelle (alias Sam Bouchard)

"Sam" Speaking to Jake Paralyzed in Deep Earthen Burial Pit

Holly to Actress: "You're gonna get a lot of dates..."


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