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Friday, June 7, 2013
DE PALMA TALKS 'BLOW OUT'
IN SUNDAY NY TIMES ARTICLE SPARKED BY 'BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO'
The New York Times posted an article online today that will appear in this Sunday's print edition. The article, written by Mekado Murphy, focuses on movies about movie sound recordists, centered on the current release of Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio, and featuring quotes from Brian De Palma about Blow Out, which the article states is "probably the best known" among the handful of films "that put sound work in the spotlight."

"A person holding a microphone or sitting at a mixing board adjusting faders may not at first seem like the most compelling cinematic subject," Murphy writes. "The challenge is supplying creative visuals to illuminate characters focused on the aural."

A bit later in the article, Murphy brings De Palma into the discussion...

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Working on a larger spectrum was John Travolta, who played a sound recordist for B-horror movies who accidentally records the murder of a presidential hopeful in Mr. De Palma’s 1981 thriller, Blow Out. Mr. De Palma, known for his focus on visual style, drew from his own experience with a sound editor.

“When I was mixing Dressed to Kill, ” — his Psycho pastiche from 1980 — “I was working with sound effects editor Dan Sable, who had done a bunch of movies for me,” Mr. De Palma said by phone. “We were looking for an effect. We had some wind in the trees, and I heard the effect he used and said: ‘Dan, I’ve heard that same wind effect in the last three movies. Can’t you get me some new sound?’ ” (They both laughed; the next day Mr. Sable went out to record some new wind.) Mr. De Palma wrote a scene in Blow Out that is taken almost directly from this exchange.

While the film involves a serial killer and features elaborately staged action sequences, Mr. De Palma makes time for detailed moments that explore his main character’s work. In a crucial scene, he syncs his recording to film images of the same event. “I did this as an editor, and sound editors do it, but I don’t think anybody had ever seen the process,” he said.

The whirring reels, large recording equipment and rolls of audiotape seen in Blow Out and Berberian Sound Studio are artifacts of the pre-digital filmmaking eras in which these movies take place. The imposing hardware, as well as the sounds it produces, plays a supporting role, too. Joakim Sundström, the supervising sound editor for Berberian, said that his team used digital equipment but he gave the sound a retro feel.

“What I did was take the majority of sounds that were in the film and I retransferred them onto magnetic tape and quarter-inch tape,” Mr. Sundström said.


Posted by Geoff at 7:33 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013




Posted by Geoff at 6:56 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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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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Sunday, January 27, 2013
'BLOW OUT' UK STEELBOOK ARTWORK
ARROW VIDEO BLU-RAY EDITION COMING MAY 27
Arrow Video will release a BluRay SteelBook edition of Brian De Palma's Blow Out on May 27th. Below is a list of the special features expected so far:

Special Features:
- Limited Edition SteelBook packaging
- New, restored digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Brian De Palma
- Original Dolby 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Black and White in Colour: An Interview with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond
- Rag Doll Memories: Nancy Allen on Blow Out
- Return to Philadelphia: An interview with Producer George Litto
- A gallery of on-set photos by photographer Louis Goldman
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Michael Atkinson, a conversation between Quentin Tarantino and Brian De Palma and more to be confirmed!

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
'BLOW OUT' & 'DRESSED TO KILL' DVD DETAILS
ANGIE DICKINSON DISCUSSES DTK ROLE SCENE-BY-SCENE; MORE

The Carlotta Films DVD and Blu-Ray editions of Brian De Palma's Blow Out and Dressed To Kill are released in France this week, and Fiction Factory has details (as well as 2-minute teasers) about the new interview segments it filmed and provided for the new editions. "Rag Doll Memories: Nancy Allen on Blow Out" runs 21 minutes. "Black and White in Color: Vilmos Zsigmond on Blow Out," with a running time of 27 minutes, has the cinematographer discussing his work with De Palma on Blow Out, and "that film’s particular challenges, like flashing technique and split diopters," according to the Fiction Family web site. "Return to Philadelphia: George Litto on Blow Out" is an 18-minute interview with the producer.

"Lessons in Filmmaking: Keith Gordon on Dressed to Kill," with a running time of 30 minutes, has Gordon discussing the filmmaking lessons he learned while acting in Dressed To Kill. "Dressed in Purple: Nancy Allen on Dressed to Kill," with a running time of 22 minutes, has Allen talking "about her character, Liz, the costumes designed by Ann Roth, and her co-stars Angie Dickinson, Keith Gordon and Michael Caine. "Dressed in White: Angie Dickinson on Dressed to Kill," which runs 29 minutes, has this description: "Angie Dickinson remembers the shooting of Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill and discusses her role scene by scene." Also on the DTK DVD and Blu-Ray is "Symphony of Fear: George Litto on Dressed to Kill," which runs 17 minutes.

The Blow Out sets also include a 27-minute interview with Pino Donaggio in which he talks about his career as a violinist, then popular singer, and on through his ongoing collaboration with De Palma. There is also a 7-minute analysis of Blow Out by critic Jean Douchet. Both Blow Out and Dressed To Kill include an 8-minute introduction from Samuel Blumenfeld.


Posted by Geoff at 12:25 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, November 24, 2012 10:14 PM CST
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Thursday, November 15, 2012


Posted by Geoff at 12:08 AM CST
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Thursday, November 8, 2012
TRAVOLTA & WATERS IN CONVERSATION SATURDAY
TRIBUTE TO TRAVOLTA FUNDRAISER FOR MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL
The Maryland Film Festival presents "A Tribute To John Travolta" at the MICA Brown Center this Saturday (November 10) at 7pm. The event will raise funds for the festival, and will be highlighted by an "Open Conversation" with Travolta and John Waters, the fifth in the fest's annual "Open Conversations" series. Travolta will also be awarded the MFF "Reel Guy" for achievement in film.

In preparation for the event, director of programming Eric Allen Hatch has been reviewing several Travolta films on the MFF blog, including Blow Out. "Travolta is perfectly cast here," writes Hatch. "Already known as a stylish and dynamic star for his work on enduring favorites such as Grease and Saturday Night Fever a few years earlier, he begins the picture as an easily relatable leading man for the audience. Smooth and sly, he’s also heroic—ready to jump into the mouth of danger to save a stranger—and so it becomes all the more startling when obsession takes over, and his search for the truth recasts him as a figure on the margins."

Posted by Geoff at 7:05 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 7:06 PM CST
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Friday, October 19, 2012
DOUBLE DOUBLE DE PALMA WEEKEND AT THE AERO
'BLOW OUT' PAIRED WITH 'BLOW-UP', 'DRESSED TO KILL' WITH 'PSYCHO'

The Aero Theatre in Santa Monica has a couple of De Palma-related double features this weekend. Tonight at 7:30 (Friday) is Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, followed by Brian De Palma's Blow Out. Tomorrow night at 7:30 is Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, followed by De Palma's Dressed To Kill. In each case, the De Palma film will be screened via DCP, while the Antonioni and Hitchcock films will be screened from 35mm prints.

POST-ELECTION SSCREENING OF 'BLOW OUT' IN DALLAS
Meanwhile, our old friend Bill Fentum informs us that Blow Out, which involves the death of a presidential candidate just prior to an election, will have two screenings the night after the upcoming November election at the Magnolia in Dallas. The screening is part of a series at the Magnolia called "The Big Movie," which normally runs on Tuesday nights. However, since November 6 is election day, it appears they moved the screening that week to Wednesday, November 7.
(Thanks Bill!)

Posted by Geoff at 8:21 PM CDT
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Monday, July 16, 2012


Posted by Geoff at 11:23 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2012 11:24 PM CDT
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