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Saturday, February 9, 2013
'THE FURY' LIMITED ED. BLU-RAY COMING MARCH 12
AND 'CARRIE' UK BLU-RAY COMING MARCH 4
Back in Decmber, it was announced that Twilight Time will release a Blu-ray version of Brian De Palma's The Fury on March 12. A week or two ago, the cover art (at left) was revealed. Our old friend Bill Fentum notes in the comments below that the Blu-ray will include an isolated track of John Williams's score, as well as the theatrical trailer. The Fury Blu-ray will be a limited edition, to 3000 copies. The cover art is the original poster art for the film's original release, but with a new, crazy font (I liked the original one better).

Meanwhile, in the U.K., MGM had timed a Blu-ray release of De Palma's Carrie to coincide with the upcoming Kimberly Peirce remake. When the latter film's release was pushed back to October 2013, they almost changed the Blu-ray release date, as well, but now it looks like they will move forward with the original release date of March 4. The U.K. Blu-ray may or may not include a new 5-minute feature titled Bringing Back Carrie.
(Thanks to Chiel!)

Posted by Geoff at 6:38 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 9, 2013 7:47 PM CST
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012
R.I.P. CHARLES DURNING
APPEARED IN DE PALMA'S 'HI, MOM!', 'SISTERS', & 'THE FURY'; VOICE DUB IN 'SCARFACE'
Charles During, who appeared in three Brian De Palma films, passed away on Christmas Eve of natural causes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 89. Durning was a World War II veteran who was part of the D-Day invasion, and received a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts, the Hollywood Reporter article states.

One of his earliest film roles was as the snarly superintendent who shows Robert De Niro's character a New York apartment at the beginning of De Palma's Hi, Mom! in 1970. De Palma cast Durning in 1973's Sisters as the private detective who helps Grace track down the body of the man she sees murdered from her apartment window.

In De Palma's The Fury (1978), Durning took a serious turn as the director of the Paragon Institute, who studies psychic abilities, and who tries in vain to protect Gillian from the sinister grasp of Childress, played by John Cassavetes. Following an intense episode with Gillian on the stairs of the institute, Durning is chilling as, shot from above, he orders his staff to take precautions around the powerful psychic. Durning also provided an uncredited voice overdub as an immigration officer in the opening interrogation scene of De Palma's Scarface (1983).

Prior to Scarface, Durning had worked with Al Pacino on Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon. He would work with Pacino again in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy. Durning also worked with De Niro again in 1981, for Ulu Grosbard's True Confessions, which was based on the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, later the subject of De Palma's The Black Dahlia.

Rutanya Alda appeared in both Hi, Mom! and The Fury. A year after the latter, Durning and Alda both appeared in the cult movie When A Stranger Calls (and Durning later reprised his role in the 1993 made-for-TV sequel). In 1986, Durning appeared in Cassavetes' Big Trouble (Cassavetes would take acting jobs in films such as De Palma's The Fury in order to help finance his own independent features). That same year, Durning appeared in Tough Guys, which starred Kirk Douglas, the big name star of The Fury.

Just prior to the incident on the stairs in The Fury, Durning's character tells Gillian that at her age, his one great ambition was to be Fred Astaire. In fact, Durning was once a dance instructor at the Fred Astaire Dance Studios, where he met his first wife, Carol, a fellow dance instructor. Their daughter Jeanine Durning is a New York-based choreographer and modern dancer.

Durning is perhaps best known for his roles in George Roy Hill's The Sting and in Sydney Pollack's Tootsie, but he was nominated for supporting actor Oscars two years in a row: in 1983, for his role in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (for which Durning sang and danced), and, in 1984, for his role in To Be Or Not To Be. Durning also appeared in two Coen Brothers films, The Hudsucker Proxy and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, as well as a film by Billy Wilder, The Front Page. Durning was also a friend of Burt Reynolds, and collaborated with him on several projects.


Posted by Geoff at 6:18 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 12:53 AM CST
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Friday, September 28, 2012
'LOOPER' REVIEWS MENTION 'THE FURY' & 'CARRIE'
HARRY GEORGATOS: "THE BEST SCI-FI MOVIE SINCE 'INCEPTION'"

Earlier this month, The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips mentioned Brian De Palma's The Fury in his brief TIFF review of Rian Johnson's Looper, which opens in theaters today. According to The Boston Herald's James Verniere, "The film is set in a dystopian near-future in which 10 percent of humans have low-level telekinetic power." To Verniere, Looper evokes films such as James Cameron's The Terminator, De Palma's Carrie, and Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys (the latter being "light years ahead of Looper").

Zap 2 It's Geoff Berkshire states, "Sci-fi fans will spot traces of seminal works by James Cameron, David Cronenberg, Terry Gilliam, Brian De Palma and even Robert Zemeckis as the movie unfolds, and yet Looper remains uniquely its own."

Closer to home, reader Harry Georgatos confirms that Looper carries the influence of The Fury, and adds that it is "the best sci-fi movie since Inception."

Posted by Geoff at 7:17 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 7:19 PM CDT
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CRITIC: 'PRODIGAL' OWES DEBT TO 'THE FURY'
KENNETH BRANAGH FEATURED IN SHORT FILM, PART OF 'STARS IN SHORTS' ANTHOLOGY

Benjamin Grayson was assistant to Kenneth Branagh on last year's Thor, and now Branagh stars in Grayson's short film Prodigal, about a father who tries to keep his daughter away from two competing organizations out to harness her "special abilities" for their own purposes. The short is included in a new anthology, Stars In Shorts. The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck says the collection of shorts has no apparent overall theme, and is a mostly "rewarding grab bag." However, "The sole dud of the bunch is Benjamin Grayson’s sci-fi effort Prodigal," states Scheck, "with Kenneth Branagh as the ominous representative of a villainous organization intent on capturing a young girl with psychic powers. Even at 25 minutes, it seems overlong compared to Brian De Palma’s The Fury, to which it bears an obvious debt." Neil LaBute also has a short in the anthology called Sexting, "in which Julia Stiles, playing an aggrieved mistress to a married man, delivers a nearly eight-minute monologue directly to the camera," according to Scheck.

Posted by Geoff at 12:51 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 6, 2012
MICHAEL PHILLIPS ON 'LOOPER'
"MYSTERIOUS YOUNG BOY WHO CLEARLY HAS AN OLD VHS COPY OF 'THE FURY' STASHED SOMEPLACE"
The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips filed a report from the Toronto International Film Festival tonight, which includes his brief initial thoughts on the opening night film, Rian Johnson's Looper. "Writer-director Rian Johnson's ambitious action picture," writes Phillips, "co-stars a hardscrabble and convincingly Kansas-located Emily Blunt as the guardian of a mysterious young boy who clearly has an old VHS copy of Brian De Palma's The Fury stashed someplace."

Posted by Geoff at 9:32 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 9:33 PM CDT
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Friday, June 8, 2012
1978 VIDEO INTERVIEWS FOR 'THE FURY'
DE PALMA, YABLANS, IRVING, SNODGRESS EACH SIT DOWN WITH AUSTIN'S CAROLYN JACKSON
The Texas Archive of the Moving Image includes a collection of on-camera interviews conducted by Austin TV personality Carolyn Jackson. Among the videos in this collection are four conversations that appear to have been part of a press junket for The Fury in 1978, featuring director Brian De Palma, producer Frank Yablans, and actresses Amy Irving and Carrie Snodgress. De Palma explains how they shot many of the special effects sequences in the film, and Yablans mentions The Demolished Man. I cannot seem to get these videos embedded here, but go to each of the following links to watch them:

Brian De Palma
Frank Yablans
Amy Irving
Carrie Snodgress

Posted by Geoff at 12:28 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 8, 2012 7:04 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 7, 2012
'THE FURY' TO SCREEN AT ACTIONFEST 2012
STUNTMAN MICKEY GILBERT TO DO Q&A AT NORTH CAROLINA EVENT APRIL 13
Although it is not mentioned yet on the event's official web site, Brian De Palma's The Fury will be presented by Mickey Gilbert at the 2012 ActionFest, which runs April 12-15 in Asheville, North Carolina. Gilbert, who is picking up a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's fest, was the stunt coordinator on The Fury. He also worked as a stuntman on Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, which will also be screened at the festival. According to Mountain Xpress, Gilbert will provide an introduction and Q&A at the screening of The Fury, which will be held at 7:30pm Friday, April 13th, at The Carolina theater in Asheville.

Posted by Geoff at 4:15 PM CDT
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Saturday, September 24, 2011
FILMMAKER RETRACES 'FURY' LOCATIONS
PLANS TO RETRACE 'THE UNTOUCHABLES' FOR NEXT YEAR


Hervé Attia enjoys visiting movie filming locations, but he takes the practice a step or two farther than that: he films approximations of the angles used in the old movies and then edits them side-by-side (often in split-screen) with the original scenes, even inserting himself in the picture, mimicking the actors for good measure. For Brian De Palma's The Fury, Attia visited the Chicago area locations used in the film, adding a coda at the end in which Attia appears to receive a power transfer from a statue that looms over the slow motion escape scene. This final idea was suggested by Jean-François Doppagne, who helped Attia film the video above. At the end of the video, there is a preview for Attia's coming attraction, for which he plans to revisit the Chicago locations used in De Palma's The Untouchables, but he is not stopping there-- he also plans to go to Great Falls, Montana, to cover the film's battle on the Hardy Bridge as best he can. Attia plans to have his Untouchables video completed in 2012.

Posted by Geoff at 12:02 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2011 12:04 PM CDT
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Saturday, July 16, 2011
AMC BLOG LISTS 'DE PALMA'S BEST MOVIES'
WITH A COUPLE OF SURPRISING CHOICES
Yesterday, AMC-TV Blog's Robert Silva posted a nicely-written list called "Flashback Five - Brian De Palma's Best Movies." Calling De Palma "the most unappreciated of the so-called Movie Brats," Silva goes on to add, "Gifted with an impeccable visual style, his pulp stories are always more complex than they appear at first." AMC notoriously screens De Palma's Scarface repeatedly throughout the year, so it is no surprise to see that film listed at number one. But look at what Silva picks for number 2-- The Fury. "Contrary to common belief," Silva writes, "The Fury isn't all about exploding heads but rather a visceral exploration of young people on the cusp of adulthood who find themselves victimized by adults. The flick is a stylistic tour de force, with the director's signature plot puzzles and self-referential violence. And then there's the top-notch cast: you wouldn't expect to find Kirk Douglas and John Cassavetes in a thriller about psychic warfare, but here they are."

Time and time again it seems like The Fury is said to be too complicated, or too bogged down in the action plot of Douglas' character, or Robin isn't in the film enough, etc., etc. They have been showing this film on cable quite a bit lately, and every time it comes on, I get engulfed in its sumptuous images and intricate plot. De Palma pulled off a lot of terrific, interesting visual tricks with this film, almost like a kid in a candy store. And the performances are excellent. I recently read someonoe complain that the staircase shot, where Amy Irving appears to be standing in front of a giant movie screen showing an incident that happened with Robin in that same staircase, was somehow a shoddy effect. On the contrary, I feel the effect is very powerful, with the camera moving around Irving, watching the action unfold. It is a key part of The Fury's motif of "letting the screen fill your mind." So it is nice to see someone do a list such as this, and to put The Fury up so high.

Filling out Silva's top five are Blow Out ("a heady mix of Blow-Up, The Conversation, and The Parallax View"), Carrie (the prom sequence is "a masterpiece of apocalyptic glitz"), and The Untouchables, another AMC mainstay. Silva then adds a list of "Honorable Mentions," essentially giving us his top ten De Palma films, which includes one film that I never expected to read about on an AMC blog: Redacted. "With this Iraq-war movie," Silva writes of his number three honorable mention, "De Palma trades his sumptuous visuals for lo-fi digital camerawork that proves just as dazzling. Still, there's no shortage of the director's usual violence in this YouTube video from hell." Filling out the honorable mentions are Body Double (#1), Carlito's Way (#2), Dressed To Kill (#4), and Mission: Impossible (#5). Of the latter, Silva writes, "Some complain about a labyrinthine plot, but this is still one of the most stylish event movies of the nineties, with a knockout sense of visual storytelling."


Posted by Geoff at 6:59 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, July 16, 2011 7:01 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 12, 2011
PATRICK BILLINGSLEY, 1925-2011
CHICAGO-BASED ACTOR APPEARED IN 'THE FURY' & 'UNTOUCHABLES'
Patrick Billingsley, a charismatic University of Chicago mathematics and statistics professor who also acted on stage, television, and film, died April 22nd following a brief illness. He was 85. Billingsley made his film debut as a CIA agent in Brian De Palma's The Fury, and also played a bailiff in De Palma's The Untouchables (both were filmed in Chicago). Here is an excerpt from the Chicago Tribune obituary (written by Margaret Ramirez):

Mr. Billingsley joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1958 as an assistant professor in statistics, attaining the rank of professor in statistics and mathematics five years later.

He started acting as a hobby in 1969 and performed in numerous plays for the Court Theatre. In 1977, while performing in a production of "The Lover" in 1977, he was spotted by a talent scout who asked if he would like to audition for a film. To his surprise, he got the part.

In "The Fury," Mr. Billingsley played a bad guy with a simple objective: Kill Kirk Douglas.

In a 1978 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Billingsley commented on the similarities between teaching and acting.

"Teaching has a little bit of show biz," he said. "When you teach, you perform in front of an audience. That's much like acting. As a teacher you're used to being onstage."


Posted by Geoff at 12:16 AM CDT
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