Body Double (UK - DVD | BD)
Chris checks out Powerhouse's Blu-ray review of this Brian De Palma feature...
Brian De Palma, the modern master of suspense, invites you to witness a seduction, a mystery, a murder. Starring Melanie Griffith as porn star Holly Body, this hyper-suspense classic takes the viewer on a roller-coaster ride.
Jake Scully (Craig Wasson), an unemployed actor, is asked to house-sit at a luxurious hillside apartment. As a bonus, the home offers Jake a telescopic peek into the bedroom of Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton), who performs an arousing striptease. When Jake discovers another man is also spying on Gloria, he begins an obsessive surveillance of her. Soon a grisly murder leads him into the world of X-rated film where he meets sexy porn queen Holly Body (Melanie Griffith), who is a key to the crime... (Taken from the official synopsis.)
Derived from a Sony 4K master of a restoration supervised by Grover Crisp, Powerhouse's release of Body Double looks pretty damn impressive. Grain is finely resolved, resulting in a wonderfully detailed image, particularly in the close-ups. Colours are well-saturated and appear natural enough for the most part, and both brightness and contrast are well-handled (no crush here). The master itself is very clean, with no obvious or memorable instances of print damage to report, while any digital tinkering is so minor as to be imperceptible. An impeccable encode is just the icing on the cake of this very accomplished presentation. While I could probably ramble on for another couple of paragraphs, waxing lyrical about every little facet of the transfer, there’s honestly no need. All I really need say is that this is one of the most visually impressive catalogue titles I’ve seen.
The disc includes two English audio tracks: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo. I'm all for authenticity when it comes to the viewing experience, so the inclusion of the original audio track is welcomed, but I decided to view the majority of the film with the 5.1 track to see if it made for a satisfying experience. The bulk of the action takes place up front even with the surround track, but that’s actually not a bad thing. I find that multi-channel remixes work best when used to subtly enhance, rather than completely remix, an existing stereo track. As such you’ll find that dialogue remains firmly centred and the discrete effects played across the frontal array. The rears are employed to good effect for occasional atmospherics, as well as allowing the score and music some room to breathe. Bass is used sparingly to lend weight as and when necessary. The constituent elements of the track are well balanced and there are no audio anomalies to report. All things considered, Body Double sounds great.
Although not as exhaustive as some catalogue titles, Powerhouse's Body Double includes a decent selection of extras, once again combining material available elsewhere on Blu-ray into the definitive collection of supplemental features for this particular feature (the Powerhouse release of Christine was similarly blessed). Here's a complete run-down of everything this limited edition has to offer:
- Craig Wasson Interview (1984, 8 mins): archival NBC interview conducted by Bobbie Wygant
- Pure Cinema (2015, 38 mins): extensive interview with first assistant director Joe Napolitano
- The Seduction (2002, 17 mins): De Palma discusses the first treatment of the script
- The Setup (2002, 17 mins): an examination of the plot
- The Mystery (2002, 12 mins): Melanie Griffith discusses her nude scenes and De Palma's shyness
- The Controversy (2002, 6 mins): cast and crew discuss the film's critical reception
- Isolated score: experience Pino Donaggio’s original soundtrack music
- Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
- Original theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Ashley Clark and archival reprints, including a lengthy 1985 interview with De Palma
- Limited Dual Format Edition of 5,000 copies
This is the second of Powerhouse's initial batch of Blu-ray releases that I've had the pleasure of reviewing, and it manages to live up to the high standards set by the company's release of Christine. It's audio-visually superior to the vast majority of catalogue titles in my collection and includes a solid assortment of supplemental features. As far as I’m concerned it’s another home run for the Indicator Series and probably represents the best available version of the film on home video. That’s a very impressive feat for such a new label and as such this release comes highly recommended.
Oh, just in case it’s not totally clear from the above, the booklet and DVD copy are only included with the first 5,000 units. After those are sold out the title will be reissued as a BD-only release, so if you’re a collector it’s probably advisable to pick it up sooner rather than later.
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Chris Gould
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 24th October 2016
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, LPCM 2.0 English
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: Interviews, Isolated Score, Promotional Material
Easter Egg: No
Director: Brian De Palma
Cast: Craig Wasson, Gregg Henry, Melanie Griffith, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd, Dennis Franz
Length: 114 minutes
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