AS PSYCHO TURNS 50
Next month marks 30 years since Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill caused a sensation in theaters across America. As The Baltimore Sun's Michael Sragow suggests, there has been a lot of discussion about Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, which turned 50 this past week, "but nothing about the 30th anniversary of Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill." Sragow fills in that gap as a preview to tonight's screening of De Palma's classic at Baltimore's AFI Silver, calling De Palma "cinema's most underrated virtuoso." De Palma wrote the script "as if designing a set of booby-trapped Chinese boxes," writes Sragow. "The people he put inside them are one of the best ensembles ever to inhabit a blood thriller." I love what Sragow writes below about the subway scene, something that always strikes me as absurd everytime I watch the film, but in a kind of surrealist joke kind of way:
For all of its shocks, Dressed to Kill is often subtle and delicate. [Angie] Dickinson ponders picking up a sharkish-looking man in an art museum -- and De Palma registers every shift in her changeable mood with camera moves as poetic as the paintings on the walls. The film contains a terrific dated joke: at one point, [Nancy] Allen, pursued by the film's maniacal killer, runs into a subway station fit for Walter Hill's The Warriors. In 1980, before the city cleaned up its act, audiences roared at the sight of a woman seeking safety in the New York City subways.
But most of Dressed to Kill is timeless. With its most explicit surge of violence coming fairly early, this movie is a whodunit that's also a let's-hope-he-won't-do-it-again. In every decade from the 1960s on, De Palma has done terrific work. Why do you think we hear so little about Dressed to Kill and The Fury and De Palma's first masterpiece, Blow Out, also from his late-70s/early 80s heyday?
DTK PART OF "MASTERPIECES AD INFINITUM" EXHIBIT AT CENTRE POMPIDOU-METZ
Meanwhile, The Centre Pompidou-Metz opened last month in Metz, France, and according to The National's Natasha Edwards, features an exhibition titled "Chefs-d’oeuvre?" which "investigates the notion of the masterpiece." One of the galleries in this exhibit is titled "Masterpieces Ad Infinitum," which, according to Edwards, "covers the eclectic media, complexity and referentialism of contemporary art, where uniqueness and craftsmanship no longer apply, yet the notion curiously persists. In one room, three screens simultaneously show us suave James Stewart in Hitchcock’s Vertigo, which influenced the gallery scene in Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill, which is brilliantly parodied in Brice Dellsperger’s spoof Body Double 15."