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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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Monday, September 1, 2014
'DRESSED TO KILL' IN MELBOURNE SEPT. 20
NANCY ALLEN & KEITH GORDON TO PROVIDE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTRO FOR CINEMANIACS SCREENING
Cinemaniacs, a film society in Melbourne, Australia, will present a screening of Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill September 20th at The Backlot Studios. Cinemaniacs screens cult films and fan favorites once a month, and its theme this year is "I Love New York: Celebrating Films of the Big Apple."

Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon will provide an exclusive video introduction for the screening, and Allen has also sent along several signed 8x10's for the society to include as part of its prize giveaways that night. More details and trivia can be found on the Cinemaniacs Facebook page.

(Thanks to Justine!)


Posted by Geoff at 12:05 AM CDT
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Saturday, August 30, 2014
'PHANTOM' AT THE MET IN WINNIPEG NOV. 1ST
AND GLENN KENNY CAPSULE REVIEWS THE 'PHANTOM' BLU-RAY
Tickets go on sale this Tuesday (September 2nd) for a special dinner-and-a-movie event at the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre in Winnipeg, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. The event will take place November 1st, with a cocktail reception at 5:30pm, a buffet-style dinner at 6pm, and the movie itself at 7:30pm.

Phantompalooza's Gloria Dignazio tells the Winnipeg Free Press' Randall King that she brought her personal copy of the Blu-ray to the Met to test it out. King writes that she "was thrilled to note how much the refurbished Donald Street venue actually resembles the 'Paradise' of the film, especially in the scene in which Gerrit Graham's glam buffoon Beef is electrocuted onstage." Dignazio then adds, "It's gorgeous. The theatre has got two balconies on either side (of the screen) and we're actually going to put the Phantom mannequin up there in one of them. It's going to be pretty cool."

(Thanks to Rod!)

Meanwhile, Glenn Kenny posted a Blu-ray consumer guide on his Some Came Running blog, and included a capsule review of Scream Factory's Phantom set:

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The most eccentric of Brian De Palma’s ‘70s films, and if that sounds like a “and that’s saying something” kind of pronouncement, it sure is. But watch this and try to tell me I’m wrong. This new transfer has a very neon bright look, which seems appropriate to the pop art material. It is very different from the French version I got a few years back, which is much more subdued. And I never got the Arrow edition, which is apparently more subdued still. In any event, I like this garish version, makes the whole thing play like the sick live-action cartoon it at least partially is. And is also subjectively attractive to me. There’s a huge number of extras here, some more disciplined/informative than others. The De Palma interview is a real keeper. This is not a universally beloved movie—I saw a film critter of high standing, and not even a psychotronic-averse one, condemn it as “awful” on the Twitter machine just the other day—but if you DO love it, this is the edition to get. Guess where I sit on the issue. —A
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Posted by Geoff at 6:04 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, August 30, 2014 6:05 PM CDT
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Simon Abrams, RogerEbert.com

"I found The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears to be mesmerizing because it's a weird mix of De Palma-like precision, and Argento-esque immediacy. Which is to say: it feels like a formally accomplished experiment that doesn't need to add up to much to be really impressive. There's so much information swimming on the film's top-heavy surface, especially speculation about how guilt and voyeurism inevitably go hand-in-hand, that the plot's various gaps can be filled in a couple of different ways each time you rewatch it. Cattet and Forzani's confidence as image-makers forces interest in where they take Dan to next, even if it's ultimately nowhere more memorable than a bracing shot or two (the mirror-sex scene is especially memorable). I've deliberately kept the film's plot and many of its details a secret for that reason. The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears is a movie you really should see and judge for yourself since so much of its charms are visceral. It's a pleasure to behold because it doesn't try to be anything more than a beautiful, troubling trip."

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
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Thursday, August 28, 2014
LITHGOW ON DE PALMA, ROBERTSON, 'OBSESSION'


John Lithgow shares his reflections on seven of his films with The Hollywood Reporter's Tatiana Siegel. Moving chronologically, he begins with Brian De Palma's Obsession:
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"I was of a different generation from Cliff Robertson, but we were playing best friends who age over 25 years. As a 25-year-old I had to play a 50-year-old, and as a 50-year-old he had to play a 75-year-old. He was very much of the movies and I was very much of the theater, so we sort of had to find common ground and that was a very odd experience, but you know we had Brian De Palma on our side. He was super, super prepared. He sort of tore a page out of the Alfred Hitchcock playbook. Everything was done in his mind and shooting a film was a necessary evil, because in his mind it was already done. The actors just had to deliver it. He spent a lot of time sitting in the director's chair just waiting for us to do our work."
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Posted by Geoff at 10:34 PM CDT
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
ZACHAREK TALKS DE PALMA ON CINEPHILIACS
SAYS HE DOESN'T GET ENOUGH CREDIT FOR EMOTIONAL DEPTH OF HIS FILMS
Stephanie Zacharek is the guest on the latest episode of Peter Labuza's podcast, The Cinephiliacs. Toward the end of their discussion, Labuza asks Zacharek to talk a little bit about why she loves the films of Brian De Palma:
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Labuza: Speaking of illusionists, Brian De Palma-- You’re a really big fan of him. Some might say that’s because you’re a Paulinista, to use your phrase. What makes Brian De Palma one of the great film artists for you? Because I certainly know I’ve been a big fan of his work, but what sort of, you know, trickery, brings you under his spell every time?

Zacharek: Well, I think a certain taste for kind of sick stuff. [They both laugh] But beyond that, I really love… I love this classical structure of his films, and the attention to… like so much attention to detail, which I really appreciate. And I love… there’s just a lot of passion in them. You know, particularly, I’m thinking of… I guess my two favorite films of his are probably Blow Out and Carlito’s Way. It’s really hard for me to choose between those two. And now also Casualties Of War. But to me there’s a lot of emotional depth in those movies that I don’t think people really give him credit for. You know, people are always talking about how kind of twisted he is, and what a trickster he is, and all that. And all the visual stuff, which of course, is all there, and I love all that stuff. It’s really fun. There’s also… sometimes I find his movies actually kind of painful to watch. There’s just like a lot of raw feeling in them, that is almost, like, hiding behind the technique. I don’t really know how else to explain it.

Labuza: Yeah. No, I think I see. I mean, I always think of, one of his most belabored movies, but Mission To Mars has that moment where Tim Robbins, sort of floating, he’s about to take off his helmet. And that scene always kills me. I don’t know why.

Zacharek: Oh, boy oh boy. I mean, well, the recurring theme in his movies is the man who is unable to save the woman, like John Travolta not being able to save Nancy Allen in Blow Out. And Michael J. Fox, you know, not being able to save that poor girl who is raped by his comrades. But here you have an instance of the woman not being able to save the man. As a woman, that’s kind of intense. I mean, I’m sure it’s intense if you’re a guy, too, but it’s just interesting to see the tables turned.

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Posted by Geoff at 11:53 PM CDT
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014
'CARRIE' MUSICAL TO BE 'COMPLETELY IMMERSIVE'
ALSO: MOREAU/'CARRIE' TUMBLR GOES VIRAL;
DE PALMA'S FILM PART OF VIENNA HORROR RETROSPECTIVE




Above is Gustave Moreau's Study for Lady Macbeth (1851), side-by-side with an image representing Sissy Spacek in Brian De Palma's Carrie. The comparison appears to have initially been posted three days ago on the Tumblr blog trophywivesclub, and has been reblogged and retweeted dozens of times since then.

Speaking of Carrie, De Palma's film is included in the Austrian Film Museum's upcoming horror retrospective, "Land Of The Dead." The retrospective, which runs from August 29 to October 15, covers the years 1968 through 1987, as a followup to last year's retrospective, which covered the years 1918 through 1967.

"For the culture at large as well as for horror films," the museum program explains, "'1968' marks a clear transition: In the U.S., the Production Code had just been abandoned, eliminating many constraints and allowing George A. Romero to lay the groundwork for a new era of horror with his debut feature, Night of the Living Dead. The film's pseudo-documentary style (necessitated by the miniscule budget) suffused Romero's taboo-breaking conceits with a hitherto unknown 'authenticity', while the allegorical potential of the zombie invasion inaugurated a new, 'direct' political dimension in the genre – images of a nation gripped by self-destructive chaos in the era of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. During the 1970s, American horror cinema would deliver a series of pungent, subversive visions in the guise of cheap exploitation, in radical opposition to the appeasing images of society in the media mainstream. As the key auteur of this movement – his Dawn of the Dead is unsurpassed among populist critiques of capitalism – Romero is the best-represented filmmaker in the series (which takes its title from one of his later political pamphlets). However, 1968 is also the year in which the global success of Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby turns the once-disreputable horror genre into an attractive option for bigger mainstream productions; its respectability is further certified by contributions from major art filmmakers such as Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf or Federico Fellini’s Toby Dammit."

Other films in the retrospective include Dario Argento's Suspiria and Deep Red, Larry Cohen's God Told Me To, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, David Cronenberg's The Brood and The Fly, and many more. Also read: Twitch's Patrick Holzapfel - "Vienna In September: Be Prepared To Hear Somebody Scream In A Cinema Near You".

'CARRIE' AS ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERIENCE
Shades of Richard Schechner, La Mirada Theatre in Los Angeles will present Carrie The Musical as an audience-immersive theatrical event. According to the show's description, "Audiences will stand and move with the actors. Comfortable shoes and clothing are recommended. Wheelchair guests will be accommodated. The show contains the use of smoke and haze, strobe lights, special effects and loud music. CARRIE THE MUSICAL contains adult language, themes and nudity and is recommended for mature audiences." Performances will run from March 12 through April 5, 2015.

According to Playbill, producers Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman issued a statement in which they said, "The story of Carrie has endured in the popular consciousness for decades, but no one has ever experienced it from this point of view. The idea of placing the audience in the center of this world was just too tantalizing to resist. It's going to be thrilling."

The show's creators, Lawrence D. Cohen, Michael Gore, and Dean Pitchford, also issued a statement: "Director Brady Schwind is building on Carrie legacy with his own unique vision for our show. Making it an environmental experience for the audience is intriguing and daring – like the story itself. We look forward to this next chapter!"


Posted by Geoff at 11:23 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 11:03 PM CDT
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Monday, August 25, 2014
ELLROY REVISITS KAY LAKE, ELIZABETH SHORT
NEW NOVEL TAKES PLACE IN 1941; 17-YEAR-OLD SHORT IS LOVE-CHILD OF DUDLEY SMITH
James Ellroy's new novel, Perfidia, will be published next month. It is the first book of a planned second L.A. quartet, which will take place during World War II (Ellroy's original L.A. quartet covers the years 1946-1958). As Ellroy told The Channels' Emerson Malone a couple of years ago, the new quartet "takes characters from the original [one] and places [them] in Los Angeles during World War II as significantly younger people." And according to The Telegraph's Chris Harvey, two of Perfidia's main characters include Dudley Smith and Kay Lake. There is also a young Elizabeth Short. As Harvey reports:
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Short provides the most striking element of Perfidia. Ellroy has introduced the 17-year-old Boston native as the love-child of his fictional – and deadly – Irish cop Dudley Smith. He was gripped, he says, by the idea of showing Beth Short “breathlessly alive, sweet natured, presciently intelligent” … “just the idea that there is this wrenching love between this bad man and this young girl who will go on to have her life snuffed out”.

Ellroy is unconcerned that some might find this stretching credibility. “People are connected in ways that we can’t imagine. I’m sure you know people that I know. I might have petted your dog at one point. We’re out there, we’re one soul.”

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Posted by Geoff at 12:56 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 25, 2014 1:02 AM CDT
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Sunday, August 24, 2014


Posted by Geoff at 12:41 PM CDT
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Saturday, August 23, 2014
'WEDDING PARTY' PRODUCTION PHOTOS
FROM DE NIRO PAPERS AT HARRY RANSOM CENTER IN AUSTIN; EARLY 'HOME MOVIES' SCRIPT, TOO

Above is a snapshot taken by scholar Ethan de Seife during his visit to the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas, where they have collections donated by Robert De Niro, Paul Schrader, and David Mamet. I've been wanting to visit the Center myself after posting about the De Niro collection here some years ago. Hopefully I'll get out there soon to report in more detail about some of the Brian De Palma-related screenplays in the De Niro collection, with the actor's annotations included, as well as any other interesting items.

But for now, we have these bits and pieces via de Seife, who explains in the post linked to above that he is working on "a book-length re-evaluation of De Palma’s work." He further explains, "To my mind, De Palma is the most talented of the directors of the so-called 'Film School Generation.' He’s also the most misunderstood: critical writing on his work has been stuck in the same ruts (Hitchcock, violence, misogyny) since the 1970s. It’s getting boring. A filmmaker as gifted as he is deserves better."

The photos above show De Niro in some color production photos for The Wedding Party, the first feature film for both De Niro and De Palma. In his post, de Seife also includes a snapshot of the Wedding Party screenplay, featuring some of De Niro's notes.

Here is an excerpt of some of de Seife's other findings:

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The film Hi, Mom! is a vicious satire of Vietnam-era politics and liberal empty-headedness; it remains one of the most subversive of all American films. Much of its deserved reputation for challenging satire rests on the infamous “Be Black, Baby” sequence, in which the members of a black radical group stage a work of participatory theater designed to allow white people to “experience” blackness. Patrons are subjected to all manner of abuse… and then rave about the show. It’s a deeply ambiguous and still pretty shocking scene.

De Niro’s own notes for this scene are, in total: “At ‘Be Black, Baby’ play where I play a cop and beat up the white liberals painted black.” The paucity of this description itself speaks to the importance of improvisation to both De Niro’s and De Palma’s art; this, in turn, reveals a great deal about the nature of the film’s production.

The most intriguing of my finds in the De Niro papers pertains to a De Palma film in which De Niro does not even appear. De Palma made Home Movies in 1980 in an unprecedented collaboration with film students at Sarah Lawrence. In the collection was a treatment (a kind of synopsis) of the script dated from 1970; apparently De Niro had been considered for a part in it. The treatment differs in significant ways from the film as it was made a decade later, and those differences themselves may also prove revelatory of De Palma’s evolution as an artist.

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Posted by Geoff at 11:00 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, August 23, 2014 11:00 AM CDT
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Friday, August 22, 2014
'PHANTOM' IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
"THE FILM'S NEW POPULARITY HAS LED TO TALK OF COMIC BOOKS, REMAKES & STAGE ADAPTATIONS"
An article by Marc Spitz in the New York Times looks at the "new popularity" of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. The article, which includes quotes from De Palma, several members of the cast, as well as Swan Archives' Ari Kahan and Phantompalooza's Doug Carlson, will be included in this Sunday's print edition of the newspaper. De Palma has mentioned several times in the past that the idea for Phantom formed after he'd heard a muzak version of a Beatles song in an elevator, but I don't recall him ever specifying which song before. It turns out it was the Beatles' most epic song. For this article, De Palma tells Spitz, "I heard a Beatles song, ‘A Day in the Life,’ coming out like Muzak. I saw the way that this stuff was getting corrupted."

GERARD WAY & 'THE BLACK PARADE'
For its "Most Anticipated Albums Of 2004" issue, Alternative Press reported that My Chemical Romance had been working on an album that the band described as "loosely based on Brian De Palma’s Phantom Of The Paradise." The magazine states that that album would become Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, but the opening track on the band's epic followup, The Black Parade, has definite echoes of Paul Williams' Phantom songs. My Chemical Romance's frontman Gerard Way (the band officially disbanded last year) tells Spitz that, by his estimation, he has seen Phantom 30 times. "When I was doing ‘The Black Parade,’” Way tells Spitz, “I thought about the film all the time, about its message of sacrificing integrity in order to reach more people.”

PRESSMAN: "WE'VE BEEN APPROACHED BY A NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN BOTH EUROPE & IN THE STATES"
Spitz' article concludes with the following three paragraphs:

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The film’s new popularity has led to talk of comic books, remakes and stage adaptations. “We’ve been approached by a number of people both in Europe and in the States,” Mr. Pressman said. “There was a false start years ago doing it in Las Vegas.”

Mr. Williams, who said he is working with [Guillermo] del Toro on adapting the director’s film “Pan’s Labyrinth" into a musical, said he could be on board for a stage version: “I still think it’s a great idea. I’d like to see it done.”

Mr. Williams, who in the fall will release a self-help book he helped write, seems to have the phenomenon in perspective. “Do not write something off as a failure too quickly,” he said. “The fact that it disappeared made it the great success it is today.”

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Posted by Geoff at 12:13 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 11:37 PM CDT
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