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Thursday, January 29, 2015
TWERPS SINGER LOVES DE PALMA FILMS
IF HE COULD CHOOSE WELL-KNOWN FILMMAKER TO MAKE VIDEO, WOULD CHOOSE DE PALMA OR SPIKE JONZE
Martin Frawley, singer/guitarist from the band Twerps, was asked by Under The Radar's Mark Redfern which well-known filmmaker would he most like to direct one of Twerps' music videos. Frawley responded, "Spike Jonze so we could do kickflips together. Or actually probably Brian De Palma, he has made some of my fave films of all time. I would have said Richard Linklater but his last score on Boyhood was cringe-worthy."

Posted by Geoff at 6:56 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, January 29, 2015 7:52 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
BOBBI ACTION FIGURE SELLS OUT - ONLY 10 MADE
RETROBAND PIECE WAS COMMISSIONED BY 'HANNIBAL' PRODUCER BRYAN FULLER
Aaron Moreno, aka Retroband, and Gabe Hernandez created an action figure of Bobbi, the killer from Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill. The 4" figure, which comes with a toy straight razor, was made available today, but quickly sold out. According to Broke Horror Fan's Alex DiVincenzo, "Only 10 exist, and they promptly sold out at $100 a pop."

The figure was apparently requested by the man behind NBC's Hannibal TV series, Bryan Fuller. Last night, Moreno posted a picture of the figure on the Retroband Instagram page, along with the message, "'Oh Doctor, I'm so unhappy. I'm a woman trapped inside a man's body and you're not helping me to get out.' Commission piece for our good pal @bryanfullergram! @worthyenemies and I had a blast working on this piece. Only a few will be available, if interested please visit Retroband.bigcartel.com."

At about the same time, Austin posted the pic on his Worthy Enemies Instagram page, with the message, "1980's Dressed To Kill. @retoband and myself worked on this thrasher earlier this month for the Creator of Pushing Up Daisies, Dead Like Me and the awesome Hannibal the series, #BryanFuller . It was a blast and if you would be interested in getting one, check out www.retroband.com. They are very very limited. Once their gone. POOF! Their gone!"

Back in May 2014, several people tweeted that the latest episode of Hannibal had reminded them of De Palma.

(Thanks to Phillip!)


Posted by Geoff at 6:43 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 5:58 PM CST
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015
KOEPP ON 'SNAKE EYES' ENDING
"IT DIDN'T END UP THAT MUCH DIFFERENT" - ALSO, 'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE'
David Koepp has a new movie in theaters, reteaming with Johnny Depp for the action/comedy Mortdecai (if this project seems wildly different from Koepp's previous directorial outings, it may be because it is not a project instigated nor written by Koepp himself). Koepp talked with Den Of Geek's Wil Jones, who asked him about the altered ending for Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes. "It had a different ending, yep," Koepp tells Jones. "And I’m trying to remember what the original ending was… [Gary Sinise’s character] didn’t die, Nic Cage’s character saved him at the end. It’s not uncommon to change things. It didn’t end up that much different, it’s just that they wanted the bad guy to get his comeuppance. So he did."

Interesting... in the past, all the talk about the ending has seemed to center on the idea of the big wave at the end, wiping things away like the fury of God. The fact that Koepp was the screenwriter, and they asked him to change it up, and that he remembers the big focus being on the bad guy getting his comeuppance, suggests that perhaps to test audiences, they wanted to see the bad guy get it better than he did with the wave.

In 2002, four years after Snake Eyes played in theaters, I was in attendance as De Palma told an audience at his retrospective at the Pompidou in Paris that the original idea was that a divine hand of judgement was delivering its wrath down on "Sin City." De Palma told the French audience, "They don't believe in that in America," referring to all the flack he got from test screenings and studio heads that the ending "just didn't work." De Palma finally decided to change Snake Eyes' ending of his own accord (he reportedly did not want the alternate ending included on the DVD because he did not want people to think that he was forced to change it), and he has claimed that he likes the new ending better. The tidal wave still exists in the final film, but does not play as big a part in the climactic happenings as De Palma had originally planned.

Click here to read Carla Gugino's recollections of the original ending, as well as a report from someone who has actually seen a version of the original ending, but with no sound effects or music soundtrack.

Back to the new Koepp interview-- Jones follows up his question by asking Koepp how he reacts to having to make changes such as that to his scripts. "When I write for someone else…," replies Koepp, "I think the [script] reaches it’s best state around the third draft. And I think after the third draft you kind of need to say goodbye, because it’s going to become something else. You can fight for things you believe in, but the number of fights screenwriters have won over everyone else can be counted on one hand. I always try to look at it like a writing experience; I get the script to the state where I’m really happy with it. And then I say bye, and it’s going to go off and make the presence it makes in life like a child! It’ll make mistakes and it’ll be a different thing, it won’t be yours."

Earlier in the interview, Jones asks Koepp about making Jim Phelps a traitor in De Palma's Mission: Impossible, as well as creating the character Ethan Hunt for Tom Cruise to play. "Tom was involved first," Koepp tells Jones. "He was interested in doing it, and he was producing it. And then Brian [De Palma] called me and said why don’t you take a crack at it. You have to consider who’s in it, and then make it work.

"The essential problem was Tom Cruise was the biggest star on the planet, and [the original TV show] was an ensemble that tilts towards no-one. I’d never viewed the TV show as sacrosanct. We had to acknowledge who our cast was. So I can’t remember whose idea it was, either De Palma or Steve Zaillian said let’s start by killing the team, lets just get rid of them. Because you had to work out how you get this ensemble piece into a star vehicle. So we killed everybody, and we were feeling very cheeky, and decided we’re going to do want we want, we’ll kill people, we’ll make the good guy the bad guy, and added in the new recruits. And I think it worked out well."


Posted by Geoff at 11:04 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 11:05 PM CST
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Monday, January 26, 2015
BAUMBACH'S 'MISTRESS AMERICA' AT SUNDANCE
GERWIG: "WHY DID WE GET THE 'BODY DOUBLE' HOUSE TO MAKE A FARCE IN?"
Noah Baumbach's Mistress America had its world premiere at Sundance Saturday. The film, co-written by and starring Greta Gerwig, was well-received by a "lively, laughing audience," according to The Wall Street Journal's Barbara Chai. At a Q&A after the screening, according to Chai, Baumbach explained that Mistress America was inspired by films he saw in the 1980s, when he was a teenager. "There was a subgenre of movies of people who get taken out of their comfortable lives to a strange environment," he told the audience, leading Gerwig to inject, "Something Wild, After Hours... Like being pulled into this crazy thing, and there’s a motorcycle!”

Here's the last part of Chai's article, in which Gerwig mentions another '80s film, Brian De Palma's Body Double:

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In Mistress America, Gerwig plays Brooke, a capricious, free-spirited woman who lives in Times Square and takes her future stepsister, Tracy (newcomer Lola Kirke), under her wing.

The film begins with scenes set on the campus of Barnard College, where Tracy’s a freshman, and Times Square, where Brooke hangs out. But as Brooke runs into financial trouble, she seeks help from an ex-fiance and former best friend who live in a lavish house in Connecticut – an entirely different environment from Manhattan.

In an extended sequence midway through the film, an ensemble of actors move in and out of rooms in the glass house and spout rapid-fire repartee at each other.

“When we got to the house, we loved doing something old-fashioned,” Baumbach said. “Something where you can see everybody in their environment, where the doors didn’t slam.”

Gerwig noted the irony of trying to film a screwball comedy “in a house with sliding doors. Why did we get the Body Double house to make a farce in?” she said, referring to the Brian De Palma thriller.

Baumbach, the director of films such as The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg and Frances Ha, said he often shied away from shifting the tone and environment of the story in his movies. But with Mistress America, “we had the guts to try it,” he said.

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Posted by Geoff at 1:36 AM CST
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Sunday, January 25, 2015
'LET THE RIGHT ONE IN' PLAY ADDS 'CARRIE' TOUCH
THEATER CRITIC SAYS IT WILL SHOCK NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU'VE SEEN DE PALMA'S FILM


The Wrap's Robert Hofler posted a review tonight of the National Theatre of Scotland's stage version of Let The Right One In, now playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. In his opening paragraph, Hofler writes, "For those veteran theatergoers who saw Paris but didn’t visit the Grand Guignol before it closed shop in 1962, the new stage adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel and screenplay Let the Right One In is a must-see. Stage director John Tiffany offers some superb reincarnations of the bloodsucking and bloodletting that distinguishes Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 vampire film, and he adds another grizzly touch, inspired by Brian De Palma, that will shock no matter how many times you’ve seen Carrie."

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
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Saturday, January 24, 2015
ARMANI SAYS FAVE DESIGN JOB WAS 'UNTOUCHABLES'
"I WAS ABLE TO FULLY EXPLORE MY LOVE FOR THE ELEGANCE OF THE 1920s & 1930s"


Yesterday, The Financial Times posted a conversation between Giorgio Armani and Jessica Chastain. In JC Chandor's A Most Violent Year, Chastain's character has just seen Paul Schrader's American Gigolo (which was the first film Armani designed costumes for), and she "wants to express her status by wearing fashionable clothing," Armani states. "I used archival garments that were representative of my work at the time." At the start of the conversation, Armani explains, "The process of making a costume depends on the type of film and the relationship I have with the director. But the real work takes place around the character and the physicality of the actors. I think firstly of the character, of what she does, and how she moves. I imagine her in real-life situations but I model the clothes on the actress. It’s exciting work, as the clothes are silent protagonists of the story and have an important place in the narrative."

At the conclusion, Armani looks back at two early highlights in his film career: "I’ve now designed the costumes for 225 films. My favourites were those I created for The Untouchables, [directed] by Brian De Palma, because I was able to fully explore my love for the elegance of the 1920s and 1930s. But my first film collaboration happened by chance, like all really exciting adventures, when a young film-maker named Paul Schrader asked me to dress Richard Gere. Schrader was fascinated by the modernity of my style. The film was American Gigolo and the rest, as they say, is history."

In a separate article posted about a year ago at the London Evening Standard, upon the release of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street (for which he also designed the costumes), Armani further discussed designing for the two '80s films:

American Gigolo:
"Richard Gere has a different body type to Leo [DiCaprio]. He has an incredible sensuality and wears every look so naturally, so he was a pleasure to dress. It was 1980 but there was a modernity to the plot, which put a handsome, alluring man at the centre of a psychological thriller.

"At that time, I was motivated by the desire to modernise menswear. In most other areas, new technology was moving forward at a fast pace, but in the field of men’s clothing we were still tied to more or less the same clothes as our fathers and grandfathers wore. I wanted to use softer fabrics and rethink the suit, getting rid of most of the linings and fillings. The unstructured result was a truly new look that preserved its precision while becoming more body-conscious and more comfortable."

The Untouchables
"The time of Prohibition, big gangsters and the first police heroes fighting against the Italian-American Mafia fascinates me. It was a courageous, almost epic, period. It holds major appeal, like all great battles between good and evil: a sheriff and his men fighting against the bad guys, like in the Westerns of the last century, but the fact that it was based on real events made it more fascinating.

"In those years, the volumes were generous and a little bit heavy, with big overcoats completed with the ubiquitous Borsalino hat. The real clothing from that period was quite far removed from my vision as a designer; it was precisely those volumes that, starting in the late 1970s, I wanted to lighten up. So for the film we sought a compromise — credible clothing for the period but more in keeping with my aesthetic.

"I am not sure Kevin Costner changed a great deal between this film and when I dressed him for The Bodyguard in 1992. The Untouchables made him an international star, while The Bodyguard confirmed his status as a sex symbol. What might have happened between the two films is an increase in the public’s estimation of him, but his qualities as an actor remained unchanged."


Posted by Geoff at 2:29 PM CST
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Thursday, January 22, 2015
REMASTERED & EXPANDED 'OBSESSION' SOUNDTRACK
ARCHIVAL EDITION LIMITED TO 3000 UNITS, AVAILABLE FEB 16 2015
24-PAGE BOOKLET INCLUDES NEW INTERVIEWS WITH PAUL HIRSCH & GEORGE LITTO



Thanks to Randy for passing along the news that Music Box Records will release a newly remastered and expanded edition of Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack to Brian De Palma's Obsession. The set, limited to 3000 copies, will be released February 16th. Here is the press release posted at Film Score Monthly:
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In collaboration with Litto Enterprises Inc., Music Box Records is very proud to present one of its most ambitious releases yet - a classic Bernard Herrmann score from one of his last efforts and an important milestone in his immense career for Brian De Palma´s classic melodrama Obsession (1976) written by Paul Schrader and starring Geneviève Bujold, Cliff Robertson and John Lithgow.

In a career often spent paying tribute to Alfred Hitchcock with the likes of Dressed to Kill, Blow Out and Body Double, Obsession even today stands as De Palma’s ultimate fever dream homage to the director who’d made Bernard Herrmann a household name as the romantic master of musical suspense during an eight film collaboration, no more so than with 1958s Vertigo. Yet Obsession’s reincarnation of that masterpiece showed just how devious De Palma always was in his admiration, cloaking a truly seditious plot twist that would’ve given even Hitchcock pause within sleek, star-filtered visuals.

Obsession remains his most fervently romantic, and dare one say innocent attempt to recreate the studio gloss of a time when outright violence and sex were left to the mind’s eye, its rage and sensuality truly made explicit in its music. It’s a powerful, stylistic subtlety that increasingly made Obsession into the filmmaker’s most discerning cult film.

When at last Herrmann returned to his grandly symphonic style for a movie with a major pedigree, 1976s Obsession resounded with more haunted passion than ever before. It was a much movie score as it was Herrmann’s own requiem for an uninhibited scoring style that had become a ghost of itself in Hollywood. He composed a stunning score, filled with powerful themes, ominously underlined by an organ, or a harp, sometimes with abrupt choral flourishes, in eerie evocations of a mystery. He again creates an unusual combination to underscore the drama: a large cathedral organ and tympani as primary musical signature characters, and a small choir of wordless and sighing female voices, horns, winds and strings. The score was nominated for an Oscar for 'Best Original Score' in 1977.

For this special archival edition 2-CD set, Music Box Records has gathered the best sources available to this day in order to present faithfully the original score written by the composer.

CD 1 presents “The Film Score'. With the precious technical assistance of our sound engineer, we did our best to reconstruct and restore the score from the 5.1 Music Stem (courtesy of Sony Pictures) and a safety copy of the original tapes. The result is stunningly convincing. As such, we kindly ask you to listen to our samples and make a decision on the quality yourself.

CD 2 presents 'The Original 1976 Soundtrack Album' (courtesy of Universal Music) that was edited from Herrmann’s sessions and was specially remastered for this edition. We also corrected the cue titles of the 1976 London Decca release which were misnamed and incomplete in tracks 4 and 5. Now you have the details of all the right cues used in the original LP.

Our release offers a rare opportunity to hear the magnificent romantic Herrmann score in two different presentations and preserves the composer’s own irreplaceable interpretation, bringing this marvelous music back to life just 40 years after it was written. This Deluxe Edition with slipcase is limited to 3000 units and includes a 24-page full-color booklet with in-depth liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, sharing his comments about the film and the score, including new interviews with editor Paul Hirsch and producer George Litto. Everyone will no doubt be 'obsessed' with this true original masterpiece!

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Posted by Geoff at 6:49 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
VIDEO: EPISODE OF 'CUT' LOOKS AT 'CARLITO'S WAY'

Posted by Geoff at 10:57 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 11:12 PM CST
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015
CRITIC LINKS 'SELMA' TO 'UNTOUCHABLES', 'POTEMKIN'
"PAY ATTENTION... THIS IS THE CASUALLY BRUTAL WORLD IN WHICH THESE CHARACTERS LIVE"


The Leader's Erich Van Dussen begins his review of Ava DuVernay's Selma by linking its approach with that of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables:

"Early in The Untouchables (1987)," writes Van Dussen, "director Brian DePalma constructs a quaintly banal Depression-era scene in which a young girl enters a corner market, carries on an innocent exchange with the shopkeeper – and is horrifyingly struck down with a sudden act of violence. That sequence could be dropped whole into a filmmaker's textbook, both for its narrative skills at establishing the vital stakes for the story that will follow and for its cinematic canniness at riveting our focus to the screen. Pay attention, it tells us, because this is the casually brutal world in which these characters live. If such a textbook exists, director Ava DuVernay has absorbed every page. Her third feature, Selma (rated PG-13), is a stirring account of a crucial few months in the civil rights battles of the 1960s, imbued with all the respectful dignity that such a subject demands."

Toward the end of the review, Van Dussen returns to the Untouchables theme:

"A scene early on echoes DePalma's Untouchables moment in its out-of-nowhere horror," Van Dussen states. "In another sequence, the retaliation of white Alabama troopers against King’s marchers during the first attempted Selma-Montgomery march is filmed as a kind of obscenely violent poetry that recalls the classic Odessa Steps scene in Battleship Potemkin (1925) for its portrayal of human suffering as a civic act."


Posted by Geoff at 3:00 AM CST
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Sunday, January 18, 2015
ALLEN, TRAVOLTA, ZSIGMOND & HIRSCH REUNITED
YESTERDAY, FOR DOC ABOUT CAREER OF VILMOS ZSIGMOND


Nancy Allen shared three pics from the set of Brian De Palma's Blow Out on her Facebook page today (the pics were originally posted to Facebook by Marc Olry). Allen then added a comment to her post, writing, "Wonderful reunion yesterday with John Travolta, Vilmos Zsigmond and Paul Hirsch. We were filming part of a documentary about the extraordinary talent and career of Vilmos Zsigmond."

Posted by Geoff at 5:22 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, January 18, 2015 5:24 PM CST
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