Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:

De Palma a la Mod


De Palma Discussion


Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Are Snakes

De Palma & Lehman
thriller novel to be
published in France
May 16

De Palma Masterclass,
Casualties Of War,
and book signing
June 2 in Paris

Pics, quotes from
Tribeca Scarface reunion

Donaggio records
Domino score with
Massara in Belgium

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


« May 2018 »
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31


De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

Snake Eyes
a la Mod

Mission To Mars
a la Mod

Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags


The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema


Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor


Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
24 Frames Per Second

Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
Country Cinephile

So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

Cashiers De Cinema

This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds


No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod

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.
All topics
Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
Bart De Palma
Beaune Thriller Fest
Becoming Visionary
Betty Buckley
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Casualties Of War
Cinema Studies
Columbo - Shooting Script
Daft Punk
Dancing In The Dark
David Koepp
De Niro
De Palma & Donaggio
De Palma (doc)
De Palma Blog-A-Thon
De Palma Discussion
Demolished Man
Dionysus In '69
Dressed To Kill
Eric Schwab
Fatal Attraction
Femme Fatale
Film Series
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Happy Valley
Havana Film Fest
Hi, Mom!  «
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
Jared Martin
Jerry Greenberg
Keith Gordon
Key Man, The
Laurent Bouzereau
Lights Out
Magic Hour
Magnificent Seven
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Montreal World Film Fest
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
Noah Baumbach
Oliver Stone
Paranormal Activity 2
Parties & Premieres
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Pauline Kael
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pino Donaggio
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Responsive Eye
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Sean Penn
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Taxi Driver
Toronto Film Fest
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
Truth And Other Lies
TV Appearances
Untitled Ashton Kutcher
Venice Beach
Vilmos Zsigmond
Wedding Party
William Finley
Wise Guys
Woton's Wake
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
You are not logged in. Log in
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

As George Romero's Night Of The Living Dead is released as a Criterion Blu-ray, National Review's Armond White takes a fresh look at the film that, he states, "reinvented the horror film as a genre that relayed contemporary social anxiety — specifically about race." White contrasts the film with Jordan Peele's Get Out from last year, and along the way mentions Brian De Palma as a director who advanced from themes Romero had delved into:
Director George Romero consciously evoked racism’s rapacity and America’s horrific history of racially motivated lynching. Although Romero’s premise (co-written with John A. Russo) inspired the zombie genre that has become newly popular this millennium (it is a contemporary symptom of our subconscious social anxiety), his film, for all that, was not ahead of its time. In other words, it did not anticipate the insipid movie Get Out, which has become a favorite totem of self-congratulatory liberals intent on defending themselves against the stigma of racism. In that useless process, they make a mess of the millennium’s racial consciousness. Romero’s conceit has been misappropriated and transformed into the paranoia of victimhood, which reverses the lessons that Night of the Living Dead taught and trivializes what makes the film still fascinating, still unnerving.

Working outside the Hollywood film industry as a Pittsburgh-based veteran of industrial films, commercials, and political spots (such as for Republican John Tabor’s 1969 Pittsburgh mayoral campaign), Romero perceived the discontents that Hollywood largely ignored in ’68.

Consider that the film first appeared alongside the socially conscious Uptight (Jules Dassin’s ghetto remake of John Ford’s IRA classic The Informer) and Sidney Poitier’s pioneering romantic comedy For Love of Ivy — movies that showed Hollywood’s conscious response to America’s restless black presence. Nineteen sixty-eight was also the year of echt R&B (the alternately hopeful, despairing, and defiant “You’re All I Need to Get By On,” “I Wish It Would Rain,” “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”) and, ultimately, of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Although these connections in hindsight do not weigh upon Romero’s movie, the fact is that Night of the Living Dead edged beyond mainstream Hollywood liberalism; it was part of the same cultural ferment as those films and songs. It stands on its own as a surprisingly stark, unpretentious depiction of panic and compassion.

The scenes of Romero’s mobilized vigilantes hunting down zombies uncannily resemble the black-and-white TV-news footage of marauding southern whites in the civil-rights era. Romero flips our cultural perception to force a simple but disturbing point about America, then on the verge of collapse. Ben’s life is caught within the slight, slippery distance between homegrown terror and homegrown self-defense. At one point, Romero’s narrative, which already included snippets of TV and radio broadcasts, folds in on itself and becomes surreal. It climaxes with a shocking series of stills of Ben’s dead black body, being grappled by white men carrying stevedore hooks, then thrown upon a pile of corpses — a one-man holocaust montage.

This cautionary filmmaking stings, largely because it shares in the media’s modern spectacle of annihilation but lacks today’s maudlin platitudes and arrogant gloating. (Fifty years ago, cinema was at its artistic peak, producing great works of social and psychic consciousness, such as Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers and Godard’s Masculin Féminin, which featured a brief reenactment of LeRoi Jones’s play Dutchman, an intelligent, provocative precursor of both Night of the Living Dead and Get Out.)

Romero’s crudely effective technique gave his topical issues the inexorable compulsion of a nightmare like Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), another evocation of frightening, unpredictable Americana. These movies are as terrifying as they are unpretentious. I never bought the idea that they are cathartic; their shock and psychological resonance result from the demonstration that when such racial fears are raised, there’s nothing to laugh about.


Not only is Get Out a poor example of the horror genre. Its generic mishap — combining fear and comedy to supposedly meaningful purpose — fumbles Romero’s (and LeRoi Jones’s) insight. Writer-director Jordan Peele reveals a lack of seriousness about both his subject and the history of politicized filmmaking. In 1970, Brian De Palma advanced from Romero and made his first great film, Hi, Mom! — a satire on activism and the media. Its climax parodied both avant-garde theater and Public Television reality, in an extended skit titled “Be Black, Baby!” that combined black racial anger, white racial fear, and the cultural establishment’s pretenses. In 1973, De Palma went further, with the horror film Sisters, another mixed-genre tour de force spotlighting an interracial liaison (Lisle Wilson and Margot Kidder) on a TV game show titled “Peeping Toms,” combining transgressive voyeurism and miscegenation.

Get Out fans probably don’t know these precedents. As victims of our disconnected culture’s amnesia and miseducation, they ignore Romero and De Palma’s once-countercultural experiments and investigations into racial anxiety, but then they fall for the mainstream media’s manipulation of social fears.

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 3:28 AM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Grady Tate, the drummer who played the infectious groove and sang lead vocals on the song Be Black Baby, died Sunday night "at his home in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan," according to NPR's Nate Chinen. He was 85.

The song Be Black Baby kicks off the second part of Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom!, with Tate's drumming seeming to carry the film into a whole new milieu. The effect is not unlike that of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood "Relax" moment in De Palma's Body Double, although in this case, the song, and Tate's voice, seem to echo consistently through the rest of the proceedings, especially in the wake of the harrowing satire of the film's showstopping "Be Black Baby" sequence.

Here's more from Chinen's informative Tate obit:

The precision and ebullient feeling in Tate's drumming made him a first call, in the studio and on tour, for many of the finest singers of the '60s and '70s, including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and Peggy Lee. He also had credits on some notable pop albums, like Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly and Paul Simon's There Goes Rhymin' Simon. He was the drummer for Simon & Garfunkel's famed 1981 reunion concert in Central Park, which sold millions of copies when it was released as an album the following year.

A generation of kids grew up hearing Tate's voice on the soundtrack for Schoolhouse Rock!, the series of educational cartoons broadcast on Saturday mornings by ABC. The songs were largely composed by Bob Dorough, who sang more than a few of them himself. But Tate was featured on some choice selections, including "I Got Six" from 1973, "Fireworks" and, in a vocal performance as soulful as it is numerically instructive, "Naughty Number Nine."

Tate's career as a vocalist was much more than a side hustle, though, stretching back to 1968 and his debut album, Windmills of My Mind. The title track — a cover of the theme from The Thomas Crown Affair, which won the Oscar for best original song that year — presents Tate the singer in full bloom. He's a suave, companionable stylist, with unlabored phrasing and a careful attunement to lyric and mood.

(In fact, both of Tate's Grammy nominations were for vocal performances: Multiplication Rock was up for Best Recording For Children in 1973, and his version of "She's Out of My Life," from the Jimmy Smith album Go For Whatcha Know, vied for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male, in 1986.)

Though he had the voice of a jazz balladeer, Tate muscled easily into soul and R&B. "Be Black Baby," released as a 7-inch single on the Skye label, is a funky exhortation that can now be found on the compilation Black & Proud Vol. 1 - The Soul Of The Black Panther Era. The song was also sampled on tracks by Big Daddy Kane and the Beastie Boys, and turned up in the 1970 cult film Hi, Mom! — an early Robert De Niro vehicle, directed by Brian De Palma.

Grady Tate was born in Durham, North Carolina on January 14, 1932, and began singing in church at age 4. Not long afterward, he began playing drums; he was entirely self-taught.

After graduating from high school, Tate served four years in the Air Force, playing in a show band whose resident arranger was the trumpeter Bill Berry. He returned to Durham to study theater arts, literature and psychology at North Carolina College. Then he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked briefly as a postal carrier before joining the organist Wild Bill Davis on the road.

Tate moved to New York in his late 20s, but not in pursuit of a musical career: he enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to study drama. His training as an actor was curtailed after saxophonist and flutist Jerome Richardson recommended him to Quincy Jones, who had just lost his drummer. The association with Jones led in turn to session work and a six-year stint with Doc Severinsen's Tonight Show Band on NBC, from 1968 to '74.

For a certain pop-culture fan base, Tate will always be legendary for his cool, undulant drumming on the soundtrack to David Lynch's show Twin Peaks. Angelo Badalamenti, the composer, recently relayed Tate's joke that the score only ever inhabited two tempos: "slow, and reverse." But in addition to his delicate brushwork on the original Twin Peaks series, Tate is featured in the soundtrack to Twin Peaks: The Return, which aired this year.

One track, named in his honor, amounts to nearly two minutes of drumming in the foreground, in snappy waltz time. The track, "Grady Groove," captures the inherent musicality in Tate's beat, a gift both rare and so natural that it can still be easy to overlook.

Survivors include Tate's wife, Vivian, and a son, Grady Tate, Jr.

Posted by Geoff at 4:16 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, August 4, 2017
The Daily Herald's Robert Horton mentions Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! in his insightful review of Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit:
Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to win the Best Director Oscar (for “The Hurt Locker”), and her reputation is largely associated with the formidable kinetic skills she brings to action pictures such as “Strange Days” and “Point Break.”

What’s less known about Bigelow is that she came of age in the conceptual-art scene in New York in the 1970s, and that her master of fine arts thesis film for Columbia University consisted of two men pummeling each other while a professorial observer spouted French theory about the nature of violence.

In short, Bigelow brings a lot to the table. This is truer than ever in “Detroit,” a hot-button horror show that returns Bigelow to her roots in a way that is both fascinating and difficult to watch.

The film begins in patchwork fashion: Detroit racial tension escalates in July 1967. For its first 20 minutes, the movie is a mosaic, complete with archival footage of President Lyndon Johnson and Michigan Gov. George Romney.

In a slow, sneaky way — I can’t think of many movies that have edged toward disaster quite this sinuously — a musical interlude (singers denied their moment on stage when the theater is evacuated because of the violence outside) gradually lead us into what turns out to be the main subject of the film. Lead singer Larry (a remarkable performance by Algee Smith) and buddy Fred (Jacob Latimore) escape the dangerous streets by checking in at the Algiers Motel.

Before long, they’re swept up in police action, as a group of young black men and two white women are beaten and threatened by white policemen. This nerve-shredding situation (based on fact) occupies the long center section of the film.

Detroit” is written by reporter Mark Boal, who also scripted Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker.” Part of the goal here is journalistic, an observational look at how racial violence explodes — one never doubts that the movie is being made now because of the Black Lives Matter movement and the violence that birthed it. But it seems to me that what Bigelow does with the premise dates back to her conceptual-art days.

The shakedown sequence in “Detroit” goes on so long and contains so much excruciating punishment that it turns into something close to ’60s-era guerrilla-theater, where an unsuspecting audience is put through the wringer. (Brian De Palma used this technique, while simultaneously satirizing it, in his 1970 film “Hi Mom!”)

The sequence is too much, a depiction of cruelty that becomes almost sadistic itself. It’s almost nauseating at times. But Bigelow is trying to get us to feel something — what it’s like to be terrorized by the forces that are supposed to be protecting us, for one thing — and she will violate our assumptions about movie-watching in order to do it.

Bigelow and Boal have brilliantly created a bitter pill. We want oppressed characters to fight back and triumph, and there’s no triumph here. There is only one, strangely magical interlude, when Larry and Fred get loose from the terror for a moment — but just for a moment.

Posted by Geoff at 12:17 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, February 26, 2017
I really enjoyed seeing Jordan Peele's uproarious Get Out in a packed theater a couple of weeks ago, and found it to be one of the more creative films I've seen in a while. National Review's Armond White is not a fan, and mentions Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! a couple of times in his review, which is titled "Return of the Get-Whitey Movie"...
Get Out does not rank with America’s notable race comedies — Brian De Palma’s Hi, Mom!, Ossie Davis’s Gone Are the Days! (Purlie Victorious), Robert Downey Sr.’s Putney Swope, Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback, Hal Ashby’s The Landlord, Rusty Cundieff’s Fear of a Black Hat, Skin Game or any of the genre spoofs by the Wayans family, particularly the ingenious Little Man, or the recent Eddie Murphy films (The Klumps, Norbit, Meet Dave, A Thousand Words) that are so personal and ingenious, they transcend racial categorization.

But unlike Eddie Murphy, a masterful actor with a mature sense of humor, Peele fails because has not created credible characters. Chris and his ghetto friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery), who works for the TSA, are attitudes, not complex beings. The other blacks Chris encounters as servants on Rose’s family estate are no better than Trayvon Martin–type effigies — zombie-like when not sorrowful and tearful. Exploiting black people’s tears, paranoia, and pain without providing reflex is offensive — whereas the great “Be Black, Baby” sequence of Hi, Mom! caught audiences in their own racial prejudices and forced them to laugh. (Here, LaKeith Stanfield’s impersonation of comic Dave Chappelle’s still-puzzling neurosis is too alarming to laugh at.)

Peele’s self-congratulatory revenge humor has one particularly notable irony: It’s tailored to please the liberal status quo. His pace seems slow largely because the jokes are obvious: Bitch-goddess Rose trolls black sports websites in her bedroom, which is covered with basketball posters, recalling Scatman Crothers’s Afro erotica in The Shining. Chris even gets confined in a symmetrically furnished den with a 1960s TV console, Kubrick-style.

Once again, the 1960s serve as a race hustler’s vengeful reference point. But when the get-whitey genre was initiated in those blaxploitation movies made after the turmoil of that decade, artists from Melvin Van Peebles and Larry Cohen to Bill Gunn and Gordon Parks toyed with various genres to dramatize American social and economic circumstances. Black political consciousness was being realized on screen for the first time. Get Out is the recrudescence of Obama-era unconsciousness. Reducing racial politics to trite horror-comedy, it’s an Obama movie for Tarantino fans.

Posted by Geoff at 4:07 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Den Of Geek's Tony Sokol interviews Lara Parker, who appeared in Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! in 1970, along with her real-life children. At that time, Parker was in the midst of her regular job, portraying the witch Angelique on ABC-TV's serialized drama Dark Shadows. "Lara Parker created one of the strongest woman characters on TV at the same time as what was called Women’s Lib was growing," Sokol states in his introduction. Early in the interview, this leads Sokol to ask Parker if she sees characters such as Angelique and Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha on Bewitched as historic symbols of Women's Lib...
I've been asked that so many times because the women's movement had begun. Looking back historically, Angelique was one of the earliest strong women characters portrayed on television. She was really the first “Bitch Witch” that became so popular later. But at the time I wasn't aware of being any kind of social figure. I just felt that I had a good part and I was happy to have a job and go to work and be an actress. It's a gift. But I certainly didn't see myself in the larger sense of being any kind of a social influence.

I think it's rare to pick up on that in the moment. I think only looking back I see that I was actually fortunate to be, in a small sense, one of the movers and shakers in the women's movement.

I see you as more than that. I happen to be a big Brian De Palma fan and you were also part of the New York City independent film revolution. At the time, were you aware of how different Hi Mom! was from the Hollywood machine?

Well again, no. Brian De Palma cast me and they actually put in my two children. He was doing improvised theater. We were improvising on film, without lines, without a character to play. It was a whole different thing and I actually was not very good at it. But, yeah, I was aware that there was an experimental film movement, very much so, yes. It was actually very politically focused.

Hi Mom! has some kind of show [in] it called Be Black Baby where the people were all dressed up in black face. I was very young and I wasn't really very aware of what Brian De Palma was trying to do. He was young too. He was experimenting but he went on to do some wonderful films.

Posted by Geoff at 12:58 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Deadline's Nancy Tartaglione posted an informative summary yesterday of Quentin Tarantino's masterclass on the cinema of 1970, which took place Wednesday night at the Lumière Festival in Lyon. According to Tartaglione, Tarantino told the packed auditorium of about 2000 people that for four years now, he's been researching 1970 as a turning point for American and international cinema. Introducing it as a "work in progress," Tarantino said, "Am I going to write a book? Maybe. Is it going to be a six-part podcast? Maybe. A feature documentary? Maybe. I’m figuring it out."

"Now in its eighth edition," reports Tartaglione, "this is a festival close to Tarantino’s heart. It’s largely a retrospective with hundreds of restored films, thematic strands and uncovered gems. This year, the filmmaker has curated a group of 14 films from 1970 which he’s been presenting throughout the week."

A list of those 14 films can be found at Beverly Cinema. They include four intriguing double-features, and six stand-alone screenings:

Love Story by Arthur Hiller (1970, 1h39)
Deep End by Jerzy Skolimowski (1970, 1h40)

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage by Dario Argento (1970, 1h32)
The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun by Anatole Litvak (1970, 1h45)

Claire’s Knee by Eric Rohmer (1970, 1h45)
Le Boucher by Claude Chabrol (1970, 1h33)

The Kremlin Letter by John Huston (1970, 1h40)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes by Billy Wilder (1970, 2h05)

Five Easy Pieces by Bob Rafelson (1970, 1h38)

Beyond the valley of The Dolls by Russ Meyer (1970, 1h49)

M.A.S.H. by Robert Altman (1970, 1h56)

The Liberation of L.B. Jones by William Wyler (1970, 1h42)

Drive, he said by Jack Nicholson (1970, 1h35)

Zabriskie Point by Michelangelo Antonioni (1970, 1h40)

In addition to all of that, Tarantino was also on hand to present Saturday night's opening film, George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which, at the beginning of 1970, garnered an Academy Award nomination for best picture.

Tartaglione's article includes a passage in which Tarantino discusses his love for Altman's M.A.S.H. ("it was the first movie to truly deal with the dilemma of Vietnam"), although he and Altman did not like each other.


Here's more from Tartaglione's article:

Asked why he has chosen to focus on 1970, Tarantino cited the 2009 book by Mark Harris, Pictures Of A Revolution: Five Movies And The Birth Of The New Hollywood. The book chronicles the “real emergence of the New Hollywood,” Tarantino explained, and noted that “By the end of 1967, new Hollywood had won, only they didn’t know it yet. And Old Hollywood was over by 67 even though they didn’t know it yet.” He called Pictures Of A Revolution “the best cinema book written this decade.”

By 1970, Tarantino said, “New Hollywood was the Hollywood and anything that even smacked of Old Hollywood was dead on arrival.” The filmmaker said he became interested in when the revolution was won and, “not coincidentally, I was alive in 1970 and very conscious at 7 years old when my parents were taking me to all types of movies.” Now researching that year, he said, “the more I started going to the library and looking up newspaper articles of what it was like, I realized New Hollywood had won the revolution but whether it would survive wasn’t clear. Cinema had changed so drastically that Hollywood had alienated the family audience.”

And, although they were big fans, “the hippie audience wasn’t really moviegoers. Society demanded (the Hollywood new wave) but that doesn’t mean that they supported it as a business model and it made me realize that New Hollywood cinema from 1970-76 at the very least was actually more fragile than I thought it was. That experiment could have died in 1970.” He cited films like those that he’s showing here along with Carnal Knowledge, The Godfather, The Exorcist and Chinatown. But if MASH or Five Easy Pieces hadn’t worked in 1970, “It’s doubtful there would have been a Godfather or an Exorcist.”

But, he hasn’t set out to make a Top 10 list. “Oddly enough, it was the films on the lower end of the Top 30 or 40, which, while they weren’t as good, in a weird way were more interesting to me… I’m always going to come at it from a critical or cinephile perspective but I wanted to put that in the minor and make it more as a historian or a sociologist.”

As part of his research, Tarantino says he’s been watching prints, DVDs, old videos and cable as well as reading reviews from the day. “That’s how I found the think pieces of the time. ‘What’s wrong with movies?’ ‘Movies have become scary,’ ‘Can Hollywood survive’.” It was a time “like a werewolf where the skeleton changes in An American Werewolf In London,” he said to laughter.

Patterns have emerged during the research. “There were a lot of promises made of possibilities of a new cinema. It was almost like, could Hollywood handle this kind of freedom? Could the public handle it? The freedom seemed limitless. Directors could adapt any book, could shoot anything. There were no restrictions and that was maybe untenable.”

“If you ask me, the promise was fulfilled,” he continued. But there were casualties. That included the possibility that a new “genuine black cinema” would emerge. He cited Hal Ashby’s The Landlord (written by Bill Gunn), along with Ossie Davis’ directorial debut Cotton Comes To Harlem and Melvin Van PeeblesWatermelon Man. He also pointed to films such as Paul Bogart’s Halls Of Anger and Brian De Palma’s Hi, Mom! which were making an impact.

But “Blaxploitation” ended up taking the place of this promise, said Tarantino. Despite being a fan of that genre, he said, “Now I see Blaxploitation did derail a real rising voice.”

Same goes for erotic cinema. “There was the promise that eroticism in cinema would be taken out of the raincoat crowd and would achieve mainstream success and play in nice theaters, particularly for couples. We had some wonderful artists at that time like Russ Meyer and Ken Russell. That worked for a little while but ultimately a lot of them went back to porno and sexploitation.”

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016 1:17 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, August 4, 2016
The New York Times has a "Metropolitan Diary" column in which people are encouraged to send in submissions about life in the city. Dr. Stanley Shapiro sent in the following entry, which was posted to the NY Times August 1st:
Dear Diary:

Recent news coverage regarding a documentary about the film director Brian De Palma reminded me of the day in 1970 when he and Robert De Niro came to our I.M. Pei faculty/grad student building at New York University on Bleecker Street (now called Silver Towers).

The film, called “Hi, Mom,” continued the story of the antihero in “Greetings,” who was now a peeping Tom. My apartment was the object of his obsession, since it was opposite their other site on Greene Street.

Mr. De Niro was handsome and polite and smiled at our 6-month-old. Mr. De Palma shrugged around our place checking camera angles. I think we got $100 and moved out for 24 hours.

When we came back, they were still working on a scene with the actress Jennifer Salt, who was in a flimsy robe and getting ready to reshoot a nude scene in our bathtub. She was apologizing/explaining to my young wife about how acting and real life were not necessarily the same.

Maybe we should find a DVD of this film to revisit our cheap Danish Modern furniture. I seem to remember an orange foam rubber couch.

Posted by Geoff at 2:45 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, August 4, 2016 2:48 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ari Bass produced a short film featuring Allen Garfield in 2000: Men Named Milo, Women Named Greta.

Posted by Geoff at 9:14 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 9:14 PM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, March 29, 2015
From Armond White's review of Etan Coen's Get Hard, posted at National Review:

"[Get Hard] centers on the story of 'incarceration expert' Darnell Lewis (Kevin] Hart), who prepares convicted executive James King (Will Ferrell) to serve his upcoming sentence for fraud; the premise is winningly smart, unflinching, and ideologically complicated.

"Lewis in fact is a law-abiding black family man who wants to finance his own car-wash business. He is only pretending to be an ex-con, but King, an aloof white millionaire who lives in a Hollywood mansion, willingly believes Lewis’s miscreant shtick.

"With 30 days to go before King’s prison sentence begins, Lewis and King riff on a masculine survival crash course. The title comically alludes to a cultural shift in values since Bob Rafelson’s 1975 Stay Hungry: A defensive coarsening replaces the former all-American drive to succeed; the reference to erection suggests that we now pornographically fetishize macho traits. These traits include language, dress, and grooming styles from baldness to beards that have trickled upward from prison subculture. As Ferrell’s King learns to cuss, fight, and display “mad-dogging” facial expressions, he relishes “an ambrosia of primal sensations.” ... It’s the perfectly clueless flip side of Hart’s Lewis admitting “I don’t have to be a thug to portray a thug.”

"Though Get Hard is a minor film, it’s pertinent social satire. It reveals how easily The Wire’s stereotypes can arouse predictable responses, including the usually unacknowledged mix of fear and pleasure — satirized adroitly by Hart, Ferrell, and writer-director Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder). King has the statistic “one in three black men will find themselves incarcerated” in his head along with the usual attendant fantasies. The frequently, shamelessly, hilariously nude Ferrell makes himself the exposed buffoon-victim of racial and political stereotypes, as he haplessly mimes the black thug of popular imagination — one of the best parodies of its kind since the 'Be Black Baby' sequence in Brian De Palma’s 1970 Hi, Mom!"

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, March 29, 2015 11:11 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Romain at the Virtuoso of the 7th Art sends news that Carlotta will release a DVD of Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! in France May 5th. The DVD will include an introduction by Samuel Blumenfeld, co-author of Brian De Palma: Conversations with Samuel Blumenfeld and Laurent Vachaud, and an analysis by legendary French filmmaker and critic Jean Douchet, as well as other bonus features.

Posted by Geoff at 9:03 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 8, 2010 1:07 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older