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Body Language (1992)

The ambitious Betsy is happy: she gets promoted to a leading management position. Her happiness is spoiled only a little by problems with a boyfriend who feels neglected and an harassing ... See full summary »


Dan Gurskis (story), Dan Gurskis (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Heather Locklear ... Betsy
Linda Purl ... Norma
James Acheson ... Victor
Edward Albert ... Charles Stella
Gary Bisig Gary Bisig ... Det. Gordon
Jeff Kizer ... Richie
Denise Dal Vera ... Clothing store clerk
Timi Prulhiere ... Hair salon stylist
Russ Fast Russ Fast ... Credit official
Juanita Wyndham Juanita Wyndham ... Personnel director
Joseph Burke Joseph Burke ... Executive #1
Dennis Bateman ... Executive #2
Corey Brunish ... Executive #3
Sadie Veraldi Sadie Veraldi ... Stella's secretary
Jan Brehm ... Secretary #1


The ambitious Betsy is happy: she gets promoted to a leading management position. Her happiness is spoiled only a little by problems with a boyfriend who feels neglected and an harassing boss. She realizes much too late that her secretary Norma is after her job and step by step tries to ruin her career and private life. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes looks do kill. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 July 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Spiegelbild See more »

Filming Locations:

Portland, Oregon, USA

Company Credits

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User Reviews

Persona in Orpheus
27 January 2003 | by petershelleyauSee all my reviews

Norma Suffield (Linda Purl) is the personal assistant to Betsy Freize (Heather Locklear), the `first female executive in the history of the Orpheus Capital Corporation'. However Norma appears to have killed Holly Anthony who was to be Betsy's assistant, since Norma is desperate to be in the company's executive program, though it is said she `has the right attitude but not the right stuff'. She forms a fixation on Betsy, copying her wardrobe, her hairstyle, dating her boyfriend Victor Keaton (James Acheson) who of course thinks Betsy works too much, and even using Betsy's toothbrush (ick!).

Although lit deliberately unflatteringly, Purl adds some odd touches to Norma - at one point imitating Locklear's intonation and vanity - and demonstrating schizophrenic behavior, without any awareness. When Victor tells her `I think I need a little bit of space' Purl's `What?' is a laugh of derision and disbelief. Locklear's emotional breakdowns reveal the lack of depth she has compared to Purl's displays of anger, notably when she snuffs out large candles with her hands.

The teleplay by Dan Gurskis and Brian Ross makes Betsy unintentionally patronising, by having her include the commas and full stops in her dictated letters. Orpheus is a company who stoops to employ the sleazy smirking Charles Stellar (Edward Albert) who tells Betsy `If you want to survive here without your pantyhose down, you better pull ‘em up'. The dialogue ranges from oblique with Detective Gordon (Gary Bisig) investigating Holly's murder `Right now I don't think anything. That just means I have to think everything', to witty when Gordon asks Betsy `The competition for upward mobility is fairly cutthroat, isn't it' and she replies `Yes, but not literally'.

Director Arthur Allan Seidelman seems to have his own kind of fixation - closeups of shoes, the kind that female corporate players wear that accompany short skirts and long legs. However he he does have a talent for cross-cutting between two different emotional states. If the slow motion he uses for Norma's knifing someone seems like a means of covering up Purl's inability to perform the act convincingly, and the titled camera-work to tell us Norma is irrevocably unbalanced by the climax a little too obvious, there is an amusing edit from the discovery of the dead Holly in the stationary cupboard by Betsy to Norma in bed with Victor.

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