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Saturday, July 2, 2011
'OBSESSION' REGION-FREE BLU-RAY OUT JULY 11
U.K. ARROW VIDEO RELEASE INCLUDES 'WOTON'S WAKE' & 'RESPONSIVE EYE'
DVD Beaver has a review (including several screen grabs) of Arrow Video's Blu-Ray edition of Brian De Palma's Obsession. The region-free package will be released July 11. And what a package-- included on a region-free disc for the first time are two of De Palma's early short films, Woton's Wake and The Responsive Eye (the review says the shorts are "in rough shape," but at least they are there. Also included in the package is an exclusive collector's booklet featuring a new essay on Obsession by Brad Stevens, and Paul Schrader's original, uncut screenplay for the film.
(Thanks to Sergio for the link!)

Posted by Geoff at 4:11 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 10, 2011
'OBSESSION' DVD DETAILS
AND LOU LUMENICK CALLS IT 'ONE OF THE GREATEST '70S MOVIES'

Arrow Films has posted a page for its Blu-Ray edition of Brian De Palma's Obsession, with a stated June 27 release date. However, it does not say anything about a standard DVD version (perhaps that may be released in August?). In any case, we now know that the short films included in the package will be De Palma's Woton's Wake and The Responsive Eye. Also included will be Paul Schrader's original uncut screenplay "in a perfect bound booklet," and a two-sided fold out poster.

Meanwhile, with the De Palma Suspense series going on at BAM, the New York Post's Lou Lumenick has declared his obsession for Obsession, even though he dislikes most of De Palma's other films. Lumenick thinks Obsession is one of the greatest films of the '70s, but was afraid that, watching it again after so many years, it might not hold up. To his delight, it did indeed:

Why does "Obsession'' stand out? I think it's because of screenwriter Paul Schrader, who shared DePalma's obsession with "Vertigo'' and wrote this movie just before his other '80s masterpiece, "Taxi Driver'' (which had Bernard Herrmann's final score). DePalma and Schrader sadly never worked together again. Reportedly, they had a falling out when DePalma, on Herrmann's advice, decided to scrap an epilogue set a decade after the main story (Schrader's original script, "Deja Vu,'' can be found on the French Blu-ray edition, which hopefully will be released in the U.S. by Sony).

The film's theatrical distributor, Columbia Pictures, understandably had some reservations about the movie's incest angle. DePalma brilliantly decided to turn Robertson and Bujold's wedding (their cake is a brilliant visual gag) and wedding night into a dream sequence. Subtlety is a not a term that can often be applied to DePalma's other work, but it's this uncharacteristic restraint that helps make "Obsession'' his masterpiece. The only time I met DePalma -- at a junket for his 1986 comedy "Wise Guys'' -- he seemed puzzled that someone would love what he considered one of his less successful movies.


Posted by Geoff at 9:22 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 11, 2011 6:37 PM CDT
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Saturday, March 26, 2011
'OBSESSION' DVD COMING AUGUST 30TH
SPECIAL FEATURES ARE STILL BEING WORKED OUT
British company Arrow Video has announced August 30th as the release date for its release of Brian De Palma's Obsession on DVD and Blu-Ray. They are still touting the same special features as mentioned earlier this month, although these are still being worked out.

Posted by Geoff at 1:23 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
NEW 'OBSESSION' DVD COMING THIS YEAR
DE PALMA FILM PLAYS ON TCM LATE NIGHT TONIGHT

We talked about the 35th anniversary of Carrie last week, but Brian De Palma released two films in 1976, and the other one, Obsession, is going to receive a lot of attention this year, as well. To start with, the film will be shown at 4am eastern Thursday morning on Turner Classic Movies. Later this year, British company Arrow Video will release Obsession on DVD and Blu-Ray. According to a forum post at Cult Labs, a newly released Arrow catalogue promises some enticing extras, including: the full original script by Paul Schrader, including a final act taking place years after the scene that concludes the final film (De Palma decided the film did not need this act, and it was never filmed, much to Schrader's chagrin); early short films from Brian De Palma; and a booklet by author and critic Brad Stevens. The catalogue description also promised more extras to come.

An Arrow Video representative involved in collecting materials for the upcoming package declined to unveil which of De Palma's short films might be included, but said they hope to have the whole thing ready for release by July of this year. De Palma's short films Wotan's Wake and The Responsive Eye were released a few years ago on a French DVD of Dionysus In '69. Significant shorts made by De Palma that have yet to surface include Icarus (a story about the god Pan arriving in New York that pokes fun at the very programmed dimension of modern life), 660214, The Story Of An IBM Card (influenced by Ingmar Bergman and starring Jared Martin as a painter who lets himself go to ruin), Jennifer (a sort of video diary of Jennifer Salt with a screenplay by Bruce Rubin), the NAACP documentary Bridge That Gap (filmed in New Orleans, it would make a nice supplement to Obsession), and Show Me A Strong Town And I'll Show You A Strong Bank, a documentary commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department, the filming of which also served as a partial kick-off point for a script De Palma wrote years later with Jay Cocks called Nazi Gold.

Brad Stevens compared Al Pacino's roles in De Palma's Carlito's Way and Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather Part III at Senses Of Cinema's Carlito's Way appreciation compilation.


Posted by Geoff at 2:54 PM CST
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
OBSESSION PREMIERES ON TCM TONIGHT
AS PART OF BERNARD HERRMANN SERIES
Brian De Palma's Obsession makes its premiere on Turner Classic Movies tonight at midnight, eastern time. TCM has been running a series on composer Bernard Herrmann every Tuesday in September, and tonight's line-up is of particular interest to De Palma fans, as it highlights some of Herrmann's post-Hitchcock works of macabre suspense. It starts at 8pm eastern with François Truffaut's Hitchcock homage, The Bride Wore Black, followed by Alastair Reid's The Night Digger (10pm eastern), which features a screenplay by Roald Dahl. Obsession follows at midnight, and then the TCM premiere of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver runs at 2am eastern. Then at 4am eastern, TCM is showing the 2004 documentary Scorsese On Scorsese. Time to set the DVR, or take the day off tomorrow.

Also, don't forget to check out Laurent Bouzereau's The Suspenseful World of Thrillers on TCM Friday night at 8pm eastern (repeated at 11pm eastern). The Washington Times' Gary Arnold has posted a review of the special, which features interviews with Paul Hirsch and David Koepp.

Posted by Geoff at 11:37 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 11:39 AM CDT
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Sunday, July 19, 2009
OBSESSION A 'CURIO OF CINEMA'
BUT VERTIGO FAN FINDS MUCH TO APPRECIATE

Jamie from London wrote about Brian De Palma's Obsession as compared with its inspiration, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, today at the Rituals and Dreams "towards the front, please" blog. Here is a notable excerpt:

The most crucial allusion, however, is the brilliant soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann that envelops the film and contributes so much to its atmosphere. He reprises chunks of the unforgettable Vertigo score; the Wagnerian Tristan chords, low, sombre organs, swirling strings and swishing harps. A recurring choral part is a little like Debussy’s Sirenes. The music brings you back to Vertigo like Robertson’s fixation brings him back to his wife’s death, always mulling things over and wanting to retrace his steps.

The camera movements have their motifs too; very slow tracking shots where the camera approaches locations of import, as if nervously, until the buildings loom over you; particularly in the opening credits as we ascend steps to the facade of San Miniato, the church atop Piazzale Michaelangelo in Florence. The famous 360-degree rotation from that chilling scene in Vertigo, where Kim Novak bleaches her hair and pins it up to “be Madeleine again”, is employed at key moments- when Bujold breaks into her predecessor’s bedroom, kept up like a shrine; when the pair have their reconciliation at the end. One nice scene has Robertson and John Lithgow eat breakfast in a café looking onto Piazza della Signorina; as each speaks the camera moves as a pendulum, Neptune and the other statues moving into focus, then out, the camera sent back and forth like a tennis ball.


Posted by Geoff at 9:43 PM CDT
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