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Friday, July 12, 2013
DE PALMA SETS RECORD STRAIGHT ON DAFT PUNK
WAS NEVER APPROACHED ABOUT DIRECTING A DAFT PUNK VIDEO;
"DAFT PUNK EXPRESSED AN INTEREST IN DOING SOMETHING WITH 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE'"

In a Twitter conversation last month, Empire magazine reviews editor Nick de Semlyen, who had just interviewed Brian De Palma, mentioned that De Palma was going to direct a music video for "the Paul Williams track" on Daft Punk's latest album, but that "it didn't work out."

Yesterday, The Playlist's Drew Taylor interviewed De Palma, and asked him about it. "I don't know where this rumor got started," De Palma said to Taylor. "Let's try to put an end to it here and now. Daft Punk expressed an interest in doing something with Phantom of the Paradise and when I was in Paris I met with them and we discussed it. They were in the process of finishing up their record." De Palma added, "It was never discussed, me doing a video for them. They expressed their excitement for Phantom of the Paradise and somehow, if we have a stage version, they might consider doing music for it. But that was as far as it went. It was very tentative, very initial discussions."

Taylor pressed on for more details about a stage version of Phantom. "They've tried to do a stage production for 30 years," De Palma told him. "Every once in a while there's a lot of excitement about it and then it fades away. It always seems like a good idea to me."

From 2009 until at least 2010, Paul Williams had been working with De Palma and Edward R. Pressman on a stage version of Phantom, something they have taken stabs at off and on for years. De Palma and Williams had tried to get a stage version going in 1987, and in 2003, Antonio Banderas discussed the possibility of taking on the title character for a stage version. For now, however, we have the incredible film from 1974. And, of course, the Baltimore Rock Opera Society.


Posted by Geoff at 5:22 PM CDT
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Thursday, June 6, 2013


Posted by Geoff at 12:29 AM CDT
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Monday, May 27, 2013




Posted by Geoff at 7:42 PM CDT
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
ARROW TO RELEASE 'PHANTOM' BLU-RAY
WITH SOME SORT OF ASSIST FROM THE PRINCIPAL ARCHIVIST
The Swan Archives posted news today that Arrow Video will release a Blu-Ray edition of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, targeted for later this year, along with Blu-Ray editions of De Palma's Sisters and The Fury. The best part of the news? The Swan Archives' Principal Archivist is helping out with the Phantom Blu-Ray package. Looking forward to it. We'll also mention here that Twilight Time will release a Blu-Ray edition of De Palma's Body Double on August 13. The edition, which will likely include an isolated score (no specific special features have yet been announced), will be limited to 3000 copies.

Posted by Geoff at 11:46 PM CDT
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Monday, May 13, 2013
SWAN ARCHIVES GETS BRIGHT LIGHTS TREATMENT
ROGER LEATHERWOOD EXAMINES WEBSITE'S COLLECTION OF 'PHANTOM' MATERIALS
At Bright Lights Film Journal, Roger Leatherwood has written a fascinating article about Ari Kahan's The Swan Archives, and its incredible collection of marketing and other materials related to Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise.

Leatherwood, author of the book Mondo Cine: The World of Film Exhibition and Archiving in Revolution, shows a particular interest in how Kahan has made his personal collection public, and how the internet has made it possible to digitally present these personally-owned artifacts to the world at large. In the process, notes Leatherwood, the site produces an historical record of a particular cultural time period. "Kahan revives leftover and obscure material," states Leatherwood, "and enables us to relive the time and context surrounding the film's release, recasting advertising messages and other devalued cultural memories as historical and archival evidence of its cultural positioning at the time of release and of how it was received." Read the full article at the link above-- it will make you want to delve into the archives again right after you're done.

Posted by Geoff at 12:08 AM CDT
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Friday, May 10, 2013
PAUL WILLIAMS ON WORKING WITH DAFT PUNK
"THERE'S A BIT OF A CONNECTION TO 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE'"


From Rolling Stone's post about the video by RJ Cubarrubia:
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"There's a bit of a connection based on my conversations with these two wonderful gentlemen to a film called Phantom of the Paradise," Williams said, referring to his starring role in the 1974 movie, "where . . . I think the sense of the mask and working from behind the mask may have been born." Williams said he became addicted to attention when he found success, becoming better at "showing off" than "showing up," and praises Daft Punk for obscuring their identities. "On that level, I love that they choose to be anonymous," he said. "They disconnect who they are to allow you to experience what they create."

Posted by Geoff at 4:40 PM CDT
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Sunday, May 5, 2013
VIDEO: PAUL WILLIAMS ON-STAGE DISCUSSION
FOLLOWING JANUARY 2013 SCREENING OF 'PHANTOM' AT MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE

Posted by Geoff at 6:54 PM CDT
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Monday, April 1, 2013
ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS ADDED TO SWAN ARCHIVES
SPACEK'S PURCHASE NOTE FOR PINK SATIN, GRAHAM'S RENTAL RECEIPT FOR GUITAR, ETC.
Ari, the Principal Archivist at The Swan Archives, continues to uncover and present amazing artifacts from the production of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. He recently added loads of new items, mostly to the Promotion and Production pages, including: De Palma's bill for the Los Angeles hotel he stayed at during the shooting of the film; a handwritten and signed note from Sissy Spacek in which she records that she spent $16.12 "for pink satin for Phoenix's dressing room" (likely at Goodwill, according to the site); Gerrit Graham's rental receipt for Beef's guitar; and so much more.

There is a letter from Edward Pressman to 20th Century Fox highlighting holes in the studio's New York marketing for Phantom just a week prior to its premiere. Pressman presents a laundry list of concerns, from lack of posters in New York, to wondering when the radio promotion will begin in New York (and wondering when the records will get to the DJs), to what celebrities will be coming to the New York opening. "Brian says Kristoferson and Coolidge want to come," Pressman writes. "Bette Midler wants to come, according to Lloyd, and, he said, Jagger and Alice Cooper. Do you want to contact Pat Luce, Paul Williams, etc. to get some more names?"

Have a look around the archives for these and much more.


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 12:20 AM CDT
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
DETAILED REPORT FROM JAN. PHANTOM SCREENING
PAUL WILLIAMS: "WE WERE WATCHING THE WAR NEWS LIKE IT WAS THE EVENING'S ENTERTAINMENT"


Dread Central's Heather Buckley has done us all a great service by posting a detailed report from last month's screening of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise at New York's Museum Of The Moving Image. The screening was part of a weekend-long series in tribute to Paul Williams, who attended each film. Buckley writes that following a brief introduction, Bibbe Hansen, "a staple of the Warhol scene and mother to musician Beck," spoke to the audience, "and noted her 'small' part in the film as a background performer, which she shot for over two months in Dallas, Texas. Though her part was going to be bigger, she is seen for a short while wearing 'a really bad perm; it was the 70s.'”

Buckley continues:

"Then Susan Finley spoke (wife of the late William Finley—The Phantom), who can be seen at the end of the film donning the Phantom’s mask. She spoke about the shock the filmmakers and actors had when it came out as a 'stillborn baby.' In retrospect she said, 'My son once told me when Columbus’ ships showed up on the horizon, the natives didn’t recognize them because they had no frame of reference. And I feel that way about Phantom. It did not fit a genre; no one knew what to make of it. No one knew whom it was speaking to or what it was about. The marketers and promoters didn’t know where to put it. And that’s because it is a very original film that has a lot of say about a lot of things.' Lastly she noted it would have made [her husband] Bill very happy to see everyone in attendance that evening."

After a description of the film (and the 35mm print, which she says was flawless), Buckley provides a long transcript of Paul Williams' post-screening Q&A, which is full of great highlights:

Williams on elements that went into the story: "It was a time with the Vietnam War, and we were sitting and watching the war news, eating our TV dinners and it was like this horror story was becoming entertainment. Watching the news like it was the evening’s entertainment, with the footage of Vietnam. That started to move its way into the story.”

Buckley: "As for finding Jessica Harper during rehearsals, De Palma and Williams had all the women sing Leon Russell’s song Superstar (with the famous lyric, 'Long ago and oh so far away, I fell in love with you before this second show.') He walked up to Harper while she was practicing the tune, and upon hearing her soft lovely voice, much like Winslow did in the film: '…I was like, "Yeah!" I mean, Jessica has a beautiful voice. And then she came in to audition, for Brian and she sang… and I was like, "No, no, sing it to yourself like you did before." And I think that’s where that moment in the film came from, she was just stunning.'”

Williams says he regrets not having Gerrit Graham sing his own songs on the soundtrack.

Williams on bringing Phantom to the stage: "So many times, before I die, now I’m not hoping that I’ll know how many years I’ll be able to tag onto my time right now, but I would like to think that before I hit room temperature, I’ll get to see this on stage."

Williams: "I think Brian had a real love affair with Hitchcock. He had a great sense of moving camera; there’s a shot in there, I don’t know if you know the one I’m talking about, the shot where The Phantom gets his costume, that’s Ronnie Taylor, the camera operator, who later became a cinematographer, and won the Oscar for Ghandi. It was him carrying a camera on his shoulder because there was no Steadicam yet, going up and down those stairs, again and again to get a shot, so it would end up… it’s just brilliant camerawork."

Williams: "I don’t remember Brian giving any of us a lot of direction. I think that his amazing work is in creating a story and a script and an environment. You have to understand that I had and have such a massive ego that’s a little out of balance. I was in the middle of my ‘what I really want to do is direct’ period, I remember walking up to Brian, and we were shooting at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, and he’s moving the camera up to shoot footage of me up in the balcony, and then he moves the camera down and shoots something there and going back up… and I remember jumping up and saying ‘Any idiot would know that you put a Chapman crane on the stage and swing the arm back and forth!’ and Brian was lining up his shot, he didn’t even look away from lining up the shot, and said ‘Stage won’t support a Chapman crane.’ And, umm… OK. Went back into my little dressing room, sat down, and was like, ‘I think I’ll keep my mouth shut. He knows what he’s doing.’ I think that he had a relationship with Bill Finley and the other actors and all that was possibly… there were moments where you watch a director like him or some of the guys that I’ve worked with over the years, the best ones will take an actor, and it’s a private moment between the two of them, so he never said from the back of the room, ‘Jessica, you need to be that,’ If he said anything, I think he probably took her or me aside and said quietly, ‘This is getting a little big, maybe you want to tone it down a bit.’ Or every director has his own way of saying two words, ‘Louder’ and ‘Faster.’”


Posted by Geoff at 12:26 AM CST
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Monday, February 18, 2013
BEN SACHS ON 'PHANTOM' / '2001' SITUATION
"GREAT FUNHOUSE OF A MOVIE" WAS "PERFECT FIT FOR CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE"
The Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs posted a recap today of part of last weekend's 70-millimeter screenings at the Music Box Theatre, providing some rationale as to how Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise ended up thrilling a crowd teetering on disappointment after finding out that a much-anticipated screening of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey had to be cancelled. Here is what Sachs writes about it:
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"Sometimes anticipation can bring out the best in a crowd. Case in point, the hundreds of people who went to the Music Box Theatre on Friday night to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on 70-millimeter—as part of the theater's two-week celebration of that format—didn't seem to mind waiting outside in the cold for nearly an hour, nor did they complain much when the film didn't start on time. Even when an unforeseen technical problem forced the screening to be canceled altogether, the house remained pleasant, with most of the audience staying put for a free screening of Brian DePalma's Phantom of the Paradise. (The problem was fixed in time for the subsequent screenings of 2001.)

"The promise of seeing something new, or at least novel, appeals to the child in each of us. It must be linked to the thrill of unwrapping a gift. Regardless of whether the present turns out to be a pair of socks (or, to cite one of the snoozefests in the current Music Box series, Lord Jim), there's undeniable satisfaction in knowing someone wrapped it up nice to gain our attention. P.T. Barnum demonstrated time and again that a good showman can make an audience feel good even about being taken in by a hoax; the buildup, which grows in direct proportion to the size of the audience, becomes a spectacle in itself.

"As it turned out, Phantom of the Paradise was a perfect fit for Friday night's carnival atmosphere. It's a great funhouse of a movie, complete with scary clowns and oversized sets (by the great Jack Fisk, who also worked on The Master, screening next weekend in the 70-millimeter festival). Even on plain old 35-millimeter, it was a blast on the Music Box's big screen. DePalma made the film at the height of his abilities as a showman (just after Sisters and not long before Carrie), indulging in split-screen sequences, cartoonish sight gags, and elaborate camera movements that exist just to call attention to themselves."


Posted by Geoff at 7:56 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 7:57 PM CST
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