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Karoline Herfurth
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Rie Rasmussen
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Mentor Tarantino
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AV Club Review
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Coppola on
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"What I was
trying to do with
those films was to
make three student
films in order to
try and set a new
trajectory and try to
say, 'Well, what
happens if I have no
resources?' Now, having
done that, my new
work is going to be
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and bigger in scope and
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but now building on a
new confidence or
assurance. The three
little films were very
useful. I'm glad I did
it. I hope George Lucas
does it, because he
has a wonderful personal
filmmaking ability that
people haven't seen
for a while."

Sean Penn to
direct De Niro
as raging comic
in The Comedian

Scarlett to make
directorial feature
debut with
Capote story

Keith Gordon
teaming up
with C. Nolan for
thriller that
he will write
and direct

Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

-Picture emerging
for Happy Valley

-De Palma's new
project with
Said Ben Said

-De Palma to team
with Pacino & Pressman
for Paterno film
Happy Valley

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De Palma interviewed
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Carrie...A Fan's Site


Paul Schrader

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Scarface: Make Way
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Intrada this week released a new edition of Pino Donaggio's soundtrack for Brian De Palma's Blow Out. The soundtrack has long been out of print, following an initial release on Prometheus Records in 2002.

In a "Tech Talk" piece on the Intrada web site, the producer of this edition, Douglass Fake, explains, "After Pino Donaggio recorded his 55-minute score for Blow Out on 2″ 24-track tape at A & R Recording Studios in New York City, he mixed and edited approximately 48 minutes of it down to ¼″ 15 ips two-track stereo for inclusion on a possible soundtrack album. The album never materialized and those two rolls of stereo tape are all that has survived of the score. They are the source of this current CD, made available courtesy of MGM and housed in perfect condition in their vaults. Fortunately, what the composer chose to prepare for his potential record represented the majority of what he had recorded, covering every one of the key sequences of the picture and score.

"Donaggio’s music is a meld of his infectious synthesizer-led rhythmic voice from lower-budget horror scores of the era and a richly melodic, dynamically vivid orchestral score worthy of the best A-list pictures. In fact, as the movie opens with the editing of a low-budget horror movie-within-a movie titled Coed Frenzy, the composer gets to provide his own score-within-a-score, infusing the pseudo-sleaze music with a rhythmic and harmonic language essential to the architecture of the actual Blow Out score itself. This balance between popular vernacular and symphonic colors throughout provides the score with a distinct and very rewarding flavor.

"There were several changes made during postproduction in the use of music and the scenes for which the cues were composed, resulting in many sequences playing in a different order from what was originally intended. For this CD, the sequencing of the music follows the film in its final form. The closing 'End Credits' music has also been included at the beginning of the CD simply to 'bookend' the score.

"For those interested, the following cues comprise the roughly seven minutes of music not included on the surviving master tapes: 'Shower Scene' (M4), played over the closing portion of 'Coed Frenzy Disco,' 'Sally’s Theme' (M7), 'Replay Of Sounds' (M9), 'Burke Changes Tire' (M10), 'Manny’s TV' (M19), 'Watch Wire' (M31), 'Karp’s Hotel' (M44) and a very brief cue simply titled 'Photos Of Sally,' heard right after Jack arrives at Karp’s residence.

"The presence of EQ and reverb on the tapes indicated the composer had already prepared a sound that met with his satisfaction. Although we mastered the 1981 audio using 2014 technology, we have avoided any artificial 'pumping up' of the original, composer-approved sonics. We also kept noise reduction and other sonic alterations to the music down to a minimum. What you hear is pretty much what the composer intended.

"The music speaks for itself."

The CD, which will be "available while quantities and interest remain," can be ordered from Intrada for $19.99 plus shipping. A handful of the tracks can be sampled at the site.

(Thanks to Randy!)

Posted by Geoff at 5:48 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 6:44 PM CDT
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Posted by Geoff at 7:06 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The great image above, showing Brian De Palma overseeing John Travolta during the shooting of a scene in Blow Out, while Vilmos Zsigmond crouches below the camera, showed up at The Auteur's Tea Room this past February.

Blow Out will be screened this Thursday at Austria's Albertina Museum, as part of an exhibition revolving around Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up. The latter film will be screened after Blow Out, and the night of screenings will conclude with Christian Marclay's Up and Out, which juxtaposes the images of Blow-Up with the soundtrack from Blow Out. The films are part of an overall Blow-Up exhibit which includes stills from Antonioni's film, along with "photographs illuminating the cultural and artistic context of the film production, London of the Swinging Sixties," according to the Albertina web site.

(Thanks to Rado!)

Meanwhile, The Philadelphia Enquirer's Edith Newhall visited a Jon Manteau exhibition, titled "Philadelphia Historical Artifacts," and ends her article with the following:


The second time around, I accepted that I could not take in absolutely everything in this show and that allowing for the occasional serendipitous encounter might be the best approach. The individual works that make up wall-mounted rows of dozens of postcard-size painted digital scans of Philacentric photographs, which at first I'd found almost off-putting in their multitude and abundance of Philly references, turned out to be consistently clever and affecting. I came across my favorite pieces (besides the painted carpets) on the wall of the back office: three ink-jet prints of views of Philadelphia from the 1970s (I.M. Pei's Society Hill Towers among them) poured with house paint that simultaneously reminded me of Gene Davis Franklin's Footpath, painted on the Parkway in 1972, and Brian De Palma's Blow Out.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 2:49 AM CDT
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Monday, April 28, 2014
James Schamus, who has worked as screenwriter and producer on several Ang Lee films, among others, submitted a Crtiterion Top 10 list last week that includes Brian De Palma's Blow Out, as well as a shout-out to Chris Dumas' book Un-American Psycho. Although the Criterion site is apparently formatted to list everything in order, Schamus notes in his introduction, "So which top ten shall it be today? Well, in no particular order..."

Schamus groups the last two, #9 and #10, together: Abbas Kiarostami's Close-up and Brian De Palma's Blow Out. Here's what he says about them: "Close-up and Blow Out make a great double feature, mainly because their titles sound so cool together but also because you can’t find two better examples of wickedly smart and politically alive 'self-referential' cinema that couldn’t be less doctrinaire. Also, because including Brian De Palma proves I’m not a total snob and allows me to plug one of the funniest and most intelligent books of film theory of the past decade, Chris Dumas’s Un-American Psycho."

Posted by Geoff at 5:26 AM CDT
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nancy Allen posted the picture above to her Facebook page tonight, an early "Throwback Thursday" post. As Allen points out, behind Brian De Palma's head on the left, Vilmos Zsigmond can be seen.

In other news, Nancy Allen has been added to the Days Of The Dead: Indianapolis conference, which takes place the weekend of June 27th-29th. P.J. Soles is also scheduled to be there, as is Dario Argento.

Posted by Geoff at 11:52 PM CDT
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Posted by Geoff at 11:19 AM CDT
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Nancy Allen posted the above photo to her Facebook page yesterday, with the comment, "Throwback Thursday: Post Blow Out get together with John Travolta and John Lithgow."

Posted by Geoff at 1:06 AM CST
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Friday, January 24, 2014
Joe Swanberg shot 24 Exposures prior to last year's Drinking Buddies, but it is being released in theaters and VOD today. The Los Angeles Times' Gary Goldstein says that while Swanberg "is on to something" in 24 Exposures, "unfortunately, this would-be erotic thriller is just too unfocused and slapdash to satisfy its promise. With vague echoes of such art-meets-murder films as Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up and Brian De Palma's Blow Out, Swanberg attempts to provoke and grip. But he fails on both counts in telling this tale of Billy (Adam Wingard), a 'personal fetish photographer' whose violence-laced work begins to parallel a murder being investigated by a depressed cop (Simon Barrett)."

The Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl also finds the film's thriller/horror elements disappointing, and criticizes Swanberg's seeming use of nudity for nudity's sake. "Nobody's arguing that nudity precludes the possibility of serious artistic intent," states Scherstuhl, "except maybe those dopes who complain that the flesh bared on Girls doesn't seem to be there to inspire masturbation. 24 Exposures, on the other hand, seems crafted for viewers to watch with their hands in their pants. Yes, as the horny photographer and his girlfriend (Caroline White) hook up with their models, there are clever feints toward parody and criticism of godawful erotic thrillers, but the point of the many nude scenes never feels like anything more than the nudity. Swanberg has made an inspiring career out of rejecting the aesthetic crimes of Hollywood. It's dispiriting, then, that he so doggedly indulges in its tradition of male gazing. This is strict T&A, in a literal sense — just tits and ass, often gamely fondled.

"It's cheerful T&A, at least, and the women are allowed to be chatty, likable people, their characters always eager participants in their fetishization. If there's any artistic breakthrough it's in Swanberg's reclamation of the humanity of softcore, a project he's verged upon before: The women who get naked are the kind these indie filmmakers happen to know and like, a different set than the ones usually hired for movie erotica. Expect bobs, pores, nerves, and an affable freshness, and none of the steely, professional determination of the starlets of the Cinemax circuit. And don't expect to watch these women (all white) suffer acts of violence — there's none of that feeling, familiar from too many horror flicks, that at some level the filmmakers enjoy seeing women suffer.

"Granted, the female cast here all poses for Billy's crime-scene photo shoots, which involve ripped bras and tights, bathtubs of stage blood, and Laura Palmer–style corpse makeup. Since this is also something of a (gentle, self-referential, dissatisfying by design) horror film, those scenes of play-acted murder get juxtaposed against one that's meant to be real in the movie's story. It's a disorienting fakeout, as graceful as De Palma, and perhaps something of a commentary on the aestheticized sexual brutality of CSIs, SVUs, and every Shannon Tweed vehicle, but the deepest the movie digs into it is Billy admitting that he doesn't want to think too hard about what gets him off. (That could be the movie's thesis statement.)"

CraveOnline's Brian Formo adds that "there is a great Brian De Palma film within 24 Exposures. It is also filled with some perfectly framed De Palma moments: peering at women through blinds, sterile unfulfilling design of homes and offices, a third act that reveals that it never knew where to go with the narrative and explains it away in very writer-ly fashion."

Posted by Geoff at 1:51 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, January 25, 2014 11:01 AM CST
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Saturday, November 16, 2013
The Globe And Mail's James Adams has written an article headlined "The art of JFK: 10 works to remember." Introducing his list, Adams writes, "The President’s assassination and the events surrounding it have been a fount of inspiration for artists (and ‘artists’) of all stripes in the past five decades. Herewith some examples of their insinuation into the warp and woof of popular culture." Amidst works by Andy Warhol, Don DeLillo, and Lou Reed, Adams includes the Zapruder film itself ("the 26-second precedent-setter for the 'convulsive beauty' of Bonnie and Clyde, The Wild Bunch, Taxi Driver and Scanners", etc.), as well as Brian De Palma's Blow Out.

"Films have feasted heartily on the assassination," Adams writes of the latter, "using it as either direct inspiration or riff bait. Blow Out’s one fun, heady concatenation, at once a variation on Antonioni’s Blow-Up and an interpolation of the themes and events of JFK’s assassination with Ted Kennedy’s 1969 Golgotha at Chappaquidick. John Travolta stars as the Zapruder-like witness – except here it’s a microphone and tape-recorder, not a Bell & Howell camera, that make him one troubled man."

Posted by Geoff at 8:32 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, November 16, 2013 8:34 PM CST
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Projection Booth yesterday posted a three-hour podcast centered around Brian De Palma's Blow Out, including new interviews with Nancy Allen, Dennis Franz, producer Fred C. Caruso, and Bill Mesce Jr., the latter having won the Take One magazine screenwriting contest for what was known at the time as Personal Effects. The first hour of the podcast features the show's hosts, Mike White and Rob St. Mary, discussing many facets of Blow Out with Jamey Duvall of Movie Geeks United. At about the 49-minute mark, the Mesce interview begins. Mesce says he was never a De Palma fan, but knew he was a stylist, so instead of focusing on plot, he wrote what he thought was a very De Palma-esque script. However, he laughs that with this one, De Palma decided to do a non-De Palma-esque movie. Ultimately, Mesce says, De Palma's film kept a few lines of his dialogue, and that the closest to an entire scene of his that was kept was when Sally goes to visit Manny in order to get the negatives of the photos he took.

The Fred Caruso interview begins around the 1:36 mark. Caruso tells the podcast that it was his idea to include the Mummers Parade in the film's final act, as well as the fireworks going off in the background. Caruso says there was a big question from the studio and producer George Litto about whether Nancy Allen's character should die at the end. But De Palma said, look, that's the ending. If they like it, fine, if not, so be it. He also mentions that De Palma drew his own storyboards and had his entire office filled with them, from the first scene to last.

The Nancy Allen interview begins around the 2:06 mark. She talks about the heart and warmth that John Travolta brought to what on the page was a very dark piece. She also talks about how she and editor Paul Hirsch thought Travolta had to save the girl, but "John and Brian said nope, that's not happening." She also talks about the remake of Carrie (which she doesn't seem to have seen at the time of the interview), saying she is not a fan of remakes. She doesn't see the point unless you can somehow make it better, and doesn't think that is possible with Carrie. She and Paul Verhoeven did a Q&A after a screening of Robocop last year, and when someone brought up the upcoming remakes of that film and last year's remake of his Total Recall, Verhoeven said, "It's very depressing. I should be dead." Allen laughed and said she really gets that. Allen also confirmed that it was really her scream in Blow Out.

At about the 2:42 mark, there is a conversation with Dennis Franz, who at first says he does not remember much about Blow Out, having only watched it once around the time it was first released. But after the host mentions some things, Franz begins to remember a little more, including the fact that it was shot in Philadelphia, where Franz met his future best friend, who happened to be De Palma's driver at that time. Franz recalls De Palma calling him as Dressed To Kill was in theaters, saying, "Looks like we have a hit on our hands." De Palma asked Franz if he was interested in a part in this new thing he was working on. After listing off some of the potential roles, De Palma laughed. "Why are you laughing?" Franz asked him. De Palma said he had this character named Manny Karp. Franz immediately said, "I'll take it. You're laughing about him, I like the name, I'll take it." Franz told the podcast that once De Palma starts a job, he crawls into his shell and focuses, while Allen, who De Palma was married to at the time, enjoyed being social and having people over, which weighed on De Palma a little bit after long days on the set.

Posted by Geoff at 12:55 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 4:58 PM CST
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