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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cult star Brinke Stevens, credited as "Girl #3 in Bathroom" in Brian De Palma's Body Double (1984), was asked by Fangoria's Sean Abley about "the weirdest film, TV show or commercial from which you still earn residuals"-- Stevens' reply:

I’ve made SO much money from Brian De Palma’s BODY DOUBLE, it’s kinda ridiculous. The residuals are now down to about $8 per check, but they still come in the mail. Back in the 1980s, I’d turned down that movie three times (my agent thought he was making a porno film), but I finally agreed to a meeting. De Palma and I got along great (I was a big fan of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE). At the end of our meeting, he said, “I really like you and want to use you in this film, but I’m not sure how yet. Just show up for work on Monday.”

I showed up at the studio on Monday. Every time De Palma walked past me, I’d raise an eyebrow, as if to ask “Got anything for me yet?” He’d merely shrug, and say, “Come back tomorrow.” I returned every day that week. Usually, I went home at the end of the day, not having worked at all. Finally, he put me in a few scenes, and my name is listed in the credits. With residuals, I’ve made over $10,000 for that almost invisible performance. But what a joy to hang out on-set for a week and watch such an interesting filmmaker in action!

Abley then tells Stevens, "OK, my friend, actor Michael Kearns, had the exact same story about BODY DOUBLE! He sat around for a week, then had three lines or something and continues to make bank from it! Nice."

Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman blogs about the recently deceased Marilyn Chambers, calling her "the first crossover adult star." After making her mark in adult films, David Cronenberg cast Chambers in the lead role of his 1977 horror film Rabid. Gleiberman runs a link from there to De Palma's initial idea to cast porn star Annette Haven in Body Double:

By starring in Rabid, Chambers effectively blazed a trail, one that, as it turned out, went cold fairly quickly. In our own time, we’ve seen adult-film stars become icons of kitsch -- like Ron Jeremy, the burly "Hedgehog" who gets cast in bit parts whenever a director wants to lend a comedy a bit of cheap “underground” cachet (e.g., Class of Nuke 'Em High 3), or Traci Lords, who has carved out a TV and movie career lampooning her earlier infamy. And, of course, the adult superstar Jenna Jameson is a one-woman self-promotion machine. Marilyn Chambers, though, enjoyed her short-lived mainstream breakthrough near the end of the porno-chic era, when it wasn’t just a cool-cred joke or a naked PR stunt. Her role in Rabid seemed to open the door to further possibilities. Seven years later, in 1984, director Brian De Palma flirted with casting another '70s adult-film star -- Annette Haven -- in the role of triple-X actress Holly Body in Body Double. But the idea fell by the wayside (there were reports that it was nixed by the studio), and the part went to Melanie Griffith instead. By that point, it was clear that these two worlds were not destined, at least in America, to do much in the way of cross-pollinating.

Posted by Geoff at 11:34 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:47 PM CDT
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Saturday, January 31, 2009
UPDATED February 3 2009

Pop Music Notes yesterday ran a post about music videos that have been reshot for certain markets. Included is a comparison of the three videos shot for Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax. The first one "featured what can best be described as a leather bar/sex club setting," according to the post, which was perhaps a little risque for regular music channels. Godley & Creme then directed a more standard performance video with a laserbeam theme. And later on, to help promote Body Double, which featured the song as kind of a centerpiece, Brian De Palma directed a video for the song that included scenes from his film. However, there is often confusion about this rare clip, as the scene in the film itself plays much like a music video (the clip taken directly from Body Double is all over YouTube, and that is the one originally posted at Pop Music Notes-- it has since been corrected).

The actual music video (posted above) features extra shots that are not in the film, including a close-up of the "Indian" walking around the club, and the members of the band on stage (laserbeams included), and later, looking through telescopes set up at the club's window and seeing several scenes from Body Double, including said "Indian" about to murder Gloria Revelle (the video ends with the suspension of the murder and the lead singer turning his head from the telescope, looking directly at the audience as he sings "Come" and the frame freezes-- as if to say "go to the movies to see what happens!"). Also included in the video is a very funny parody of Flashdance, a film De Palma was almost coerced into directing. Around 1982, De Palma had signed on to direct Flashdance believing that if he did this one for the team, the producer would help De Palma get his pet project on the Yablonski murders in gear. However, De Palma quit Flashdance after two weeks.

In the Relax video, a man (who may or may not be a member of the band) dressed up as a woman in a wig and a dress (another De Palma staple given extra weight in a film called Body Double) does a Flashdance-type routine on stage that culminates with the money shot of the transvestite pulling the chain that lets the water loose onto his/her body as it sits in a chair, just as the music breaks (and just before the lead singer lets out the song's trademark "huh!"). As Drew points out in a comment to this post, the joke's origin also seems to lay in the fact that "the Flashdance filmmakers famously used a male body double for several of Flashdance-star Jennifer Beales' more complicated dance moves," including a breakdance audition scene. (Thanks, Drew!)

They should really include this video on any future DVD release of the film.

Posted by Geoff at 12:17 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 12:12 AM CST
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Intrada has just released a limited edition soundtrack of Pino Donaggio's score from Brian De Palma's Body Double. The complete soundtrack has never, to my knowledge, been officially released before. Selected tracks have shown up here and there on various collections, but this is the real deal. The Intrada web site states that this is the "complete score presented in brilliant stereo from original 30 i.p.s. multi-track session masters vaulted at Sony Pictures." The release marks volume 86 in the Intrada Special Collection, and is limited to 3000 copies. The CD has 21 tracks totaling over 68-minutes, and sells from the Intrada web site for $19.99. The web site describes Donaggio's Body Double score like this:

Pino Donaggio creates what might be his greatest masterpiece, compliments Hitchcock style visual set-pieces with massive musical set-pieces of his own. Signature display of Herrmann-ish strings, layers of bold over-the-top brass (particularly French horn) for claustrophobia sequences, sinous & sexy themes for sleaze elements, throbbing synths for graphic drill murder, dynamic orchestral action for final confrontation, you name it! At heart is primary love theme plus gentle secondary idea for high violins that lingers throughout... Savor every note, from smallest keyboard cues and intricate synth overlays through porno-film source pieces to framing vampire movie music and grandiose orchestral fireworks! Natale Massara conducts.

Posted by Geoff at 9:20 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:24 PM CST
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Sunday, November 9, 2008
As 24 Lies A Second webmaster Peet Gelderblom's new season of Directorama comics begins Monday (with the notorious "Alan Smithee" being thrown into the "negative space" mix), it seems a good time to post some links to a couple of interviews Peet has done in recent weeks to promote his new book, which collects the first series of Directorama webcomic filmstrips, along with 31 additional movie-related cartoons. You can buy the book from Lulu. You can listen to Peet discuss the book in an October 12th interview he did with our friends at the Movie Geeks United! radio show by clicking here. And a couple of weeks ago, Dennis Cozzalio, who provides the forward in the Directorama book, interviewed Peet at his blog, Sergio Leone And The Infield Fly Rule. In the latter, Cozzalio asks Peet about the first Brian De Palma films he'd ever seen:

Gee, I'm not sure. Either Dressed to Kill, Carrie or Blow Out. In my memory I discovered these three pictures almost simultaneously. Whatever it was, I watched it in horrible pan-and-scan and was mesmerized anyway. What really triggered my interest in De Palma were a few preview clips of Body Double on TV; that marvelous beach scene and a bit of Jake Scully running to save Gloria from that hulking Indian with the giant drill. I was too young to be allowed to see it in the cinema, but I made a vow to rent Body Double as soon as it became available. The restrictions for theaters were harsh, but in the early ‘80s a 13-year-old could go and rent Faces of Death and no one would blink an eye.

While 24 Lies A Second is defunct (the site's articles can now be found posted at The House Next Door), we look forward to a new series of Directorama strips.

Posted by Geoff at 9:58 PM CST
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