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Recent Headlines
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Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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De Palma interviewed
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The former
De Palma a la Mod
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Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Raising Cain  «
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Sunday, August 9, 2020
'YOU SHOULD SEE THE EXPRESSION ON HER FACE...'
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rcexpression1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 1:15 AM CDT
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Thursday, July 30, 2020
'TENEBRAE' & 'RAISING CAIN' SIDE-BY-SIDE VISUAL
COURTESY A TWEET FROM CLINTON BROWN
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tenebraeraisingcain2.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 23, 2020
'VIDEO REWIND' BLOG LOOKS BACK AT 'RAISING CAIN' VHS
"SEEING JOHN LITHGOW'S FACE ON THE VHS IN THE VIDEO STORE WAS A SHOCK"
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/videorewind.jpgIn the "Video Rewind" column this month at Morbidly Beautiful, Jason McFiggins recalls discovering Raising Cain on VHS back in 1992:
As someone who primarily knew John Lithgow as the lovable goofball dad in the 1987 family film Harry and the Hendersons, seeing his face on the VHS of Raising Cain in the video store was a shock. Lithgow’s face is slightly angled and tilted down, his eyes looking up from a shadowed face torn down the middle with one side blackened, only the eyes and mouth an electric white like an eerie photo negative.

It’s a jarring image made more dangerous on the poster by two people in a passionate embrace below Lithgow’s frightening image, giving the feeling that these two lovers are in for a world of trouble. The wonderfully cheeky tagline above the two lovers explains the tear dividing Lithgow’s face: “When Jenny cheated on her husband, he didn’t just leave… He split.”

Pulpy psycho-thrillers were how Brian De Palma made a name for himself as a filmmaker, but he also had mainstream Hollywood success with The Untouchables (1987) and would hit big in 1996 with Mission: Impossible starring the biggest star on the planet, Tom Cruise. In 1991, De Palma was coming off The Bonfire of the Vanities, one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history, and searching for his next project. Perhaps looking to right the ship, De Palma returned to familiar ground with a film in the suspense/thriller genre, the director’s first since 1984’s Body Double.

De Palma had an idea from years before when a friend who was a child psychologist took time off from his practice in order to observe the development of his own child full time. This friend planned to write a book about his experience and observations. And while De Palma found this to be strange, he began thinking about the situation from the angle of a mystery/thriller movie.

He started to craft a story in his head about Dr. Carter Nix and his wife Jenny, an oncologist who worries about the fascination her husband has with their daughter Amy, unaware of what is really going on inside his head. De Palma titled the movie Raising Cain.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, April 24, 2020 7:52 AM CDT
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Saturday, February 15, 2020
DRAWER FULL OF VALENTINES - RAISING CAIN
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING - NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rcvalentine1.jpg

 


Posted by Geoff at 9:38 AM CST
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Monday, July 29, 2019
'RAISING CAIN' ACTION FIGURE BY READFUL THINGS
PIC OF ONE-OF-A-KIND ART PIECE POSTED TODAY ON INSTAGRAM
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/cainreadfulthings.jpgReadful Things makes limited, customized action figures for all kinds of horror movies. Today, the artist behind Readful Things posted this out-of-the-blue wow Raising Cain figure to their Instagram page, with the caption, "Rectifying my lack of John Lithgow figures." As of yet, this piece has not showed up for sale or Ebay auction, and not sure if it will or not. For now, just the idea of it seems amusing enough...

Posted by Geoff at 10:27 PM CDT
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Thursday, March 28, 2019
VISUAL RHYMING - DON'T LOOK NOW - RAISING CAIN
JUXTAPOSED IN TWEET FROM ROBIN FENDER
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/roegcain.jpg

After watching the Peet Gelderblom re-cut of Brian De Palma's Raising Cain, Robin Fender tweeted the above juxtaposition as part of a series of tweets about the film. "Many winks/homages to #Psychosis in # Raising Cain," Fender states, "starting with the fate reserved for the main female character (as in Dressed To Kill)...Funny how the beginning of the movie - Jack & Jenny inside a heart on a television screen - ironically adulterates the adulteress of the female character. DePalma remains virtuoso and relevant in his frame compositions...In any case, DePalma uses screens / images here to reveal or pervert the truth, or even to fragment the personality of the child psychiatrist...Although TDI [Trouble Dissociatif de l’Identité/Dissociative Identity Disorder] may be a controversial diagnosis in the psychiatric community, it provides a great deal of inspiration for screenwriters. #Raising Cain is a little #Split before its time!...

 

"I also like how Brian DePalma reverses certain codes: normally, a rebound would have revealed that a certain character was actually fictional, a hallucination of the main protagonist; here, the twist is to prove the existence of this character...#Raising Cain is a very personal film for DePalma, which directly evokes elements of his own journey (the adultery of a parent experienced as traumatic life event, his father doctor ...)."


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, March 29, 2019 12:30 AM CDT
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Monday, January 21, 2019
2 WRITERS DISCUSS STYLE & POLITICS OF 'RAISING CAIN'
AT ALCOHOLLYWOOD, LOOKS AT ORIGINAL THEATRICAL VERSION AS WELL AS THE RE-CUT
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/raisingcainbanner.jpg

"In anticipation of M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass, two writers go back and forth on the style and politics of Brian De Palma’s multiple-personality thriller Raising Cain." Thus goes the introduction to a post at AlcoHollywood from last week, with the headline, "Of Two Minds: Dissociating Ourselves from Raising Cain." The two writers are Gena Radcliffe and Chris Ludovici, with the latter's words in italics, in order for the reader to differentiate between the two as they go back and forth.

"Brian De Palma’s movies aren’t about sense, they’re about emotions," Ludovici states early on. "His movies are visually opulent and voyeuristic, they’re about watching people do things, and what they do is betray one another. From his personal passion projects to his massive studio blockbusters the issue of trust and how it’s impossible appears again and again."

Looking at the original theatrical version of Raising Cain, Radcliffe states, "It’s rare to find a movie that would benefit from being longer, but Raising Cain could have used another twenty or even thirty minutes. It’s edited down to within an inch of its life so that the entire plot confusingly feels like it takes place on the same day. Key elements are explained rather than shown, and the characters are thinly drawn, verging on stereotypes — the wisecracking cops, the concerned best friend, the handsome love interest, the German-accented psychiatrist. Jenny is an aggressively off-putting 'heroine,' and all we really know about her is that she’s a doctor who had an affair with a dying patient’s husband, kissing him right in the hospital room. We don’t even really know much about Carter, other than he has multiple personalities, and is hyper-focused on his young daughter, in a way that could be unhealthy, but who can say for sure, because it’s never explored."

"MOSTLY JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT," SHE SAYS

Radcliffe later continues:

Still, it can’t be emphasized enough that John Lithgow makes a feast of his roles, playing sinister, sympathetic, campy, and compelling all at the same time. The scenes when Carter’s "twin” Cain mocks him are both funny and tragic, in a “Gollum looking at himself in the water” way. De Palma’s love of Hitchcock-style imagery serves this movie particularly well, a good reminder that you’re not watching anything that’s supposed to be a realistic depiction of DID. Raising Cain isn’t a bad movie, it’s just confounding, an interesting premise that needed more structure, and more fleshing out.

And, as it turns out, there’s a twist in the making of the movie itself.

The strange pacing and editing were a last-minute decision for De Palma after the original cut tested poorly with audiences. Why anyone thought that a psychological thriller would work better if it was harder to follow is unknown, but that’s how it was released, much to De Palma’s regret. Twenty years after Raising Cain was released, a filmmaker from the Netherlands, mostly just for the hell of it, recut the film so that it more closely resembled the original script. Nothing was added or taken away, scenes were merely moved around so that the plot was somewhat more linear. The recut got back to De Palma, who was so pleased with it that he petitioned to have it added to the 2016 Blu-Ray release, claiming that it was the way the movie was always meant to be seen.

In the interest of good journalism (and because I had to see if it really did improve whatever the hell is supposed to be happening), I watched the recut, and you know what? It actually works pretty well. It opens with Jenny reconnecting with Jack, and her bizarre excitement over the prospect of cheating on her husband, which is reminiscent of Dressed to Kill, though she doesn’t pay for it in quite so gruesome a fashion as Angie Dickinson does in the earlier movie. The gauzily lit, soap operatic “lovers reunited” plot ends with a flashback of Jack’s terminally ill wife seeing them kiss and literally dying instantly, providing a delightfully effective bridge from romantic melodrama to psychological thriller.

After about the 45-minute mark, the “director’s cut” more or less follows the theatrical cut. While the movie still, in the end, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, it no longer quite feels like being thrown into the deep end of a pool without a life preserver. Not having to focus so much on trying to figure out what’s happening (it’s safe to assume that probably about 45% of it is only occurring in Carter’s fractured mind) allows plenty of opportunity to really see just how great John Lithgow is. He’s not just sad and a little scary, he’s hilarious, abruptly changing his facial expressions from “evil” to “innocent” in some scenes like he’s a human Looney Tunes character. It’s obviously an intentional choice, and even better when compared to how straight all the other actors play their roles. Lithgow is at his best when playing perhaps the most dangerous personality, “Margo,” who says nothing, smiles sweetly, and headbutts old ladies; regrettably she doesn’t show up until the last fifteen minutes of the movie. If Raising Cain still feels too short, it’s simply because we don’t get enough of Lithgow taking a potentially touchy subject matter and brilliantly, gleefully, riding it into camp oblivion.


Meanwhile, interspersed with Radcliffe's words, Ludovici continues to describe the autobiographical aspects of De Palma's work:
There’s a war raging inside of Brian De Palma. As a child he won a regional science fair by building his own computer, he went to college to study physics before being seduced by filmmaking. His best films and sequences have an almost clockwork construction, they’re known for their long uninterrupted takes that suggest fascination but also distance. His movies are often simultaneously horrific and clinical in a way that suggest a bloodless, pitiless scientist running rats through a lethal maze.

But that intelligent, scientifically minded child had a chaotic home. His father (a respected Philadelphia doctor) was a serial adulterer and the young De Palma followed him around and photograph him with various women, he even created a time-lapse camera so that he could stake various locations out without being there. Once, he threatened his father with a knife after ambushing him and one of his conquests at his office.

That tension between the thoughtful intellectual and the furious adolescent is the fuel that makes De Palma’s work go. And it changes the purpose of detached distance that he also seems to take from his subjects too. Maybe he doesn’t hold his subjects at arm’s length because he doesn’t care about what happens to them; maybe it’s because he doesn’t trust what he would do if he got too close.

At their core, his DID movies are about how, at the end of the day, we also can’t really trust ourselves. We might think we’re better and more knowledgeable than the people around us, but we’re not even safe from ourselves. There are no safe places in Brian De Palma’s world – not even inside our own minds.


Read the whole thing at AlcoHollywood.

Posted by Geoff at 12:15 AM CST
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Friday, October 26, 2018
GELDERBLOM ANNOUNCES 'KALEIDOSCOPE' FEATURE
WILL WRITE/EDIT/DIRECT USING FOOTAGE FROM FORGOTTEN FILMS TO TELL "ONE BIG STORY"
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/peetannounces.jpgDuring yesterday's Amsterdamned presentation of Raising Cain Re-Cut, Peet Gelderblom announced that he will "write, edit and direct a feature film entitled Kaleidoscope. A unique collaboration with Eye Filmmuseum and production company Tangerine Tree, in which footage from a multitude of forgotten films - silents, documentaries, propaganda, animation, advertising and educational video’s - will be combined to tell one big story." Sounds intriguing!

Posted by Geoff at 10:40 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 27, 2018 12:34 PM CDT
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Saturday, October 20, 2018
GELDERBLOM TO PRESENT RAISING CAIN RE-CUT
AMSTERDAMNED FILM FEST NEXT WEEK ALSO INCLUDES DE PALMA'S 'BODY DOUBLE' & 'PHANTOM'
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/cainamster.jpgPeet Gelderblom will be present for a Q&A following an Amsterdamned 2018 screening Thursday (October 25th) of his Re-Cut of Brian De Palma's Raising Cain. The Amsterdamned Film Festival takes place Wednesday October 24th through Friday October 26th. The screening of Raising Cain Re-Cut is part of a special Amsterdamned focus on De Palma at this year's festival. Screenings of Body Double and Phantom Of The Paradise will also be included.

In addition, Gelderblom tells us that he will be announcing an upcoming project at Amsterdamned: his first feature film. All the best to you, Peet!

 

Visit Peet Gelderblom at Directorama.net


Posted by Geoff at 1:35 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, October 21, 2018 9:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, July 3, 2018
PODCAST FLASHBACK - HUNTER LURIE TALKS DE PALMA
LURIE, WHO PASSED AWAY YESTERDAY AT 27, DISCUSSING 'RAISING CAIN' & 'MISSION TO MARS'
http://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweethunterlurie.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 11:29 PM CDT
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