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A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
DE PALMA & TARANTINO IN CONVERSATION, 1994
ONE-HOUR BBC VIDEO ON TARANTINO, "HOLLYWOOD'S BOY WONDER"


The 1994 BBC video above includes an excerpt from a conversation between Quentin Tarantino and Brian De Palma. A transcript of the full conversation appears in the John Boorman-edited Projections 5, as well as in Brian De Palma: Interviews, edited by Laurence F. Knapp. Prior to the excerpt, Tarantino shows a scene from De Palma's Casualties Of War (which he says is probably his favorite war movie), describing how he watched the film while he was writing Reservoir Dogs as sort of a guide for the emotions of his film. Tarantino also flips through his De Palma scrapbook for the camera. (And you'll note that the video begins with music from Blow Out, followed by soundtrack clips from the other two movies Tarantino named at the time (along with Blow Out) as his three favorite movies, Taxi Driver and Rio Bravo.)

Posted by Geoff at 6:54 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 7:35 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 7, 2013
SPRING SPECIAL: 'WOTON'S WAKE'
EARLY DE PALMA SHORT INCLUDED ON 'SOMETHING WEIRD' DVD COMPILATION
Beginning with this post, and leading up to the U.S. release of Passion, I'll be moving through Brian De Palma's filmography movie-by-movie, chronologically, to post links, etc., to articles, essays, and other items that may have fallen through the cracks of this site within the past couple of years. We start the "Spring Special" with Brian De Palma's early short, Woton's Wake, which sometime last year was included on the DVD compilation The Weird World Of Weird, Volume 2, from Something Weird Video (the same company that a few years ago released the first-ever DVD or video edition of De Palma's Murder A La Mod). Thanks to Chris for bringing this release to my attention.

As noted back in 2011, Arrow Video included Woton's Wake as an extra feature on its Obsession Blu-Ray. The Digital Fix's Mike Sutton wrote of the short, "Woton's Wake, from 1962, concerns one Woton Wretchichevsky, a sculptor who kills people with a blow torch. He's played by William Finley, an actor who has appeared in eight of De Palma's films and also did the voice for Bobbi on the answerphone in Dressed To Kill. There's no dialogue in the film but there are songs which comment on the action. It all ends with an orgy and the outbreak of war. Needless to say, this is hopelessly pretentious but it's also - presumably intentionally - quite funny and the black and white compositions are striking."

About a year ago, Mikael Gaudin-Lech posted an essay about Woton's Wake at Stardust Memories. "A mythological digression," states Gaudin-Lech, "Woton's Wake is a wandering made of odds and ends, nightmares and dreams, cardboard and ghosts, figures of haunted expressionism (currently in the spotlight at the Cinematheque) which reflected 'the eternal concern of the German soul which seeks to meet in dreams and fantasy' [H. Eisner Lotte quote from 'Notes on the style of Fritz Lang', in La Revue du Cinema, February 1947]. Similarly, if 'burning from within is what best characterizes the Murnalien actor' (Hervé Joubert-Laurencin), Woton embodies this character's internal combustion, a monstrous creature who disappears behind distorting makeup, ablaze, making his entire grotesque face unrecognizable (fire, smoke, scabs, hair pieces, makeup)."

Later in the essay, Gaudin-Lech, while describing the first scenes of Woton's Wake, notes a direct reference to Alain Resnais' Hiroshima, mon amour, which is one of the published screenplays that appears on the bookshelf at the start of the film (see image above). "In the foreground, Woton, Nosferatu hybrid and elusive, haunting the rooftops, surprises an embracing couple with an ignited blowtorch, creating a vivid picture that obviously brings to mind the bodies of Hiroshima, mon amour. Using canted angles, fades, close-ups, a persistent contrast between the white of the sky and the black of the buildings, highlighting the salient edges of natural scenery and the thrust of its frames, DePalma transforms the film school where his film was shot into a universe dreamlike and strange, made of rubble and devastated warehouses in disarray. Of course, the German Expressionist cinema was summoned, but also abstract art, the underground cinema shot in Bolex 16mm, contemporary architecture..."


Posted by Geoff at 10:57 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 7, 2013 11:01 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 6, 2013
RACHEL VISITS JIMMY KIMMEL MONDAY
PROMOTING MALICK'S 'TO THE WONDER', IN LIMITED RELEASE & VOD NEXT FRIDAY
Thanks to Rachel McAdams Online for noting that Rachel McAdams will visit ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live this Monday night (April 8). McAdams will be there to promote Terrence Malick's To The Wonder, but of course there is always a chance she might mention her work in Brian De Palma's Passion, which will be released in about two months. To The Wonder will be in limited release, as well as VOD, beginning Friday, April 12. McAdams is in the Malick film for only about 15 minutes. World's Michael Leaser praises McAdams' work in the film, writing, "In 10-15 minutes of screen time, Rachel McAdams gives perhaps one of the most impressive performances of her career as an old flame of [Ben] Affleck’s character. Her vulnerable, lonely visage, eager for joy, reflects best the longing and searching all three of these characters experience."

Posted by Geoff at 10:54 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013 10:56 AM CDT
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Friday, April 5, 2013
'PASSION' VIDEOS - DE PALMA, MCADAMS, RAPACE
DE PALMA TALKS ABOUT HOW ISABELLE'S WORKING METHODS ARE MUCH LIKE HIS OWN


"It's very much the way I work. I mean, so much of what I photograph or put into my movies comes from my dreams and my subconscious. I'm up in the middle of the night, I sleep for a couple of hours, and get up with a new idea, and that's very much the way Isabelle is. She... Creativity comes from these things that occur while you're unconscious."

RACHEL: DE PALMA HAS "CLEAR VISION", YET HAS NO FEAR ABOUT MAKING CHANGES ON SET


"It's been great. It's been really lovely, because he has such a clear vision of this film. You know, he has said that he has it all mapped out in his head. And, you know, shot-by-shot. Which can sound quite scary, because you think, 'Is there room for anything else?' And then you get on set with him, and he's so open and receptive and collaborative, he gives great direction, and, you know, I don't know if this just comes with experience, but he doesn't seem to have any fear when it comes to making changes, or opening things up... You know, it's been quite calming. [Laughs] It's been a really nice combination of things."

NOOMI ON THE POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN HER CHARACTER AND RACHEL'S


"They are like kindred spirits, they are quite similar, but Christine, Rachel's character, is my boss, and I'm working for her, so in the power position, she's stronger than me. And so it's like a dance between us, in a way... I like that it's... In every scene we've been doing, it's so many different things going on... and sometimes I feel like, 'Whoa! I've got to get my head around this, and straighten out what's really going on', because they're playing so many games, these like mind games with each other."

Posted by Geoff at 6:10 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 6, 2013 7:57 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 4, 2013
NEW TRAILER FOR 'CARRIE' REMAKE

Posted by Geoff at 7:38 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2013 9:54 PM CDT
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Career of Paul Thomas Anderson in Five Shots from Kevin B. Lee on Vimeo.


Posted by Geoff at 10:58 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013
UNUSED COVERS FOR CRITERION'S 'BLOW OUT'
TWO DESIGNS BY F RON MILLER ATTEMPT TO HIGHLIGHT THE STORY'S TECHNOLOGY
At left is one of two unused designs created by F Ron Miller for the Criterion edition of Brian De Palma's Blow Out, which was released on DVD and Blu-Ray two years ago this month. Below is the text Miller included in his blog post today of the two designs (go to the link to see the other design).
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"These are a couple of unused cover concepts for The Criterion Collection edition of Brian De Palma's Blow Out. The brief at the time was to bring the technology of the story somehow on to the cover design. John Travolta plays a movie soundman who's an ear-witness to a murder. His tools of the trade are a microphone and a reel-to-reel recorder. There's a terrific shot of the tire going pop and it seemed a natural to me to fuse it with an image of a tape reel. When the Travolta character retreats to his sound studio to piece together the crime he attempts to synchronize it with a moving image --thus the perforated audio tape with the X that marks the spot. This was one of those titles where the type was freighted with specific requirements. The stars names have to appear above the title in the same size and color as the film title. It's a tricky proposition when their names are as long as they are and the film title is as short as it is. Eric Skillman came up with the cover that was ultimately used. He cleverly laid type over space and objects in the frame which helped to direct the eye and let the title be readily seen."

Posted by Geoff at 11:31 PM CDT
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Monday, April 1, 2013
ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS ADDED TO SWAN ARCHIVES
SPACEK'S PURCHASE NOTE FOR PINK SATIN, GRAHAM'S RENTAL RECEIPT FOR GUITAR, ETC.
Ari, the Principal Archivist at The Swan Archives, continues to uncover and present amazing artifacts from the production of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. He recently added loads of new items, mostly to the Promotion and Production pages, including: De Palma's bill for the Los Angeles hotel he stayed at during the shooting of the film; a handwritten and signed note from Sissy Spacek in which she records that she spent $16.12 "for pink satin for Phoenix's dressing room" (likely at Goodwill, according to the site); Gerrit Graham's rental receipt for Beef's guitar; and so much more.

There is a letter from Edward Pressman to 20th Century Fox highlighting holes in the studio's New York marketing for Phantom just a week prior to its premiere. Pressman presents a laundry list of concerns, from lack of posters in New York, to wondering when the radio promotion will begin in New York (and wondering when the records will get to the DJs), to what celebrities will be coming to the New York opening. "Brian says Kristoferson and Coolidge want to come," Pressman writes. "Bette Midler wants to come, according to Lloyd, and, he said, Jagger and Alice Cooper. Do you want to contact Pat Luce, Paul Williams, etc. to get some more names?"

Have a look around the archives for these and much more.


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 12:20 AM CDT
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Sunday, March 31, 2013
VIDEO: JEAN DOUCHET ON FOUR DE PALMA FILMS
'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE', 'BLOW OUT', 'DRESSED TO KILL', 'CASUALTIES OF WAR'
French film critic and historian Jean Douchet does an annual lecture series at Institut Lumiere, and this year focused on four films of Brian De Palma. Videos of the analyses, which took place March 15 and 16, were posted online this past week. (Thanks to Alexandre!)


Posted by Geoff at 2:09 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 30, 2013
'SINISTER' DIRECTOR INFLUENCED BY 'BLOW OUT'
"DE PALMA MADE SOMETHING SO COMPELLING OUT OF A GUY SITTING ALONE IN HIS OFFICE"
Scott Derrickson's Sinister was released on DVD recently, and spoke with Film School Rejects' Jack Giroux about the influence of Brian De Palma's Blow Out on his film.

"For me," Derrickson told Giroux, "the biggest influence of Blow Out was seeing how De Palma made something so compelling out of a guy sitting alone in his office. It was the specifics of [John] Travolta’s action that made it all work – the originality of the sound/picture technology he was working with. That made me think that the Super 8 film and projector needed to be not only authentic but interesting in the details. There’s a lot of footage of the projector and of editing the film, which comes straight from Blow Out. And I also think the more general idea of a murder mystery explored through film technology had a lot of influence on the script."

Posted by Geoff at 8:20 PM CDT
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