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Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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Warren Beatty's
Howard Hughes
moving forward

Filmmaker Mike
Cahill believes
he has world's
first double-
vertigo shot

Rie Rasmussen
to direct remake
of Cronenberg's
Shivers

Mentor Tarantino
says she's the "perfect
choice" to direct

AV Club Review
of Dumas book

Spielberg Predicts
'Implosion' of
Film Industry

Scorsese tests
new Zaillian
script for
The Irishman
with De Niro,
Pacino, Pesci

James Franco
plans to direct
& star in
adaptation of Ellroy's
American Tabloid

Coppola on
his recent films:
"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
much more ambitious
and bigger in scope and
budget and ambition,
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
supernatural
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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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

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

Directorama

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
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema

LOLA

Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor

italkyoubored

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

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod
site

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Sunday, April 6, 2014
VIDEO: DE PALMA VISITS SCORSESE IN 1988
ALONG WITH JAY COCKS, AS SCORSESE EDITS 'LIFE LESSONS'


Thanks to Antonios for pointing us toward the video above, which is part two of seven of a cinéma vérité documentary, The Scorsese Machine, following Martin Scorsese as he edits Life Lessons with Thelma Schoonmaker in 1988. The Scorsese Machine, released in 1990, is part of a French documentary series called Cinéma, de notre temps ("Cinema, Of Our Time"). At the beginning of the clip above, on November 17th, 1988, Scorsese and Schoonmaker are visited in the editing room by her husband, Michael Powell, who arrives to celebrate Scorsese's 46th birthday.

Later in the clip, Brian De Palma and Jay Cocks visit Scorsese a day later to have some cake and celebrate. De Palma mentions to Scorsese that he begins mixing in January, and we can surmise that he is talking about Casualties Of War, which would be released the following summer. The three begin to discuss Scorsese's next picture, which ended up being GoodFellas, although that might not necessarily be what they thought might be his next picture at the time. But when Scorsese is asked if it will be a New York picture, he replies, "I don’t know, it might have to be Chicago." Then he starts laughing, pointing toward De Palma, who had just had great success the year before with a gangster picture shot in Chicago, The Untouchables. "Or maybe Toronto," says De Palma. Scorsese replies, "Toronto is a problem because it’s so clean." (A New York Times obituary of former New York film commissioner Richard Brick, who died this past Wednesday, explains that around this time, "the cost of shooting movies in New York had driven both independent and big-budget studio filmmakers to seek alternative locations, even when authenticity would seem to have been called for.")

When Scorsese tells the camera that he had mistakenly told them yesterday that he was 47 years old (he was 46), De Palma is reminded of something he "found out," and wants to tell Scorsese and Cocks. And when he starts whispering it, Scorsese says, "No-- you say that on the camera." De Palma shakes his head, saying, "No, you can't tell anybody." It sounds like he's saying something about Steven Spielberg, who would have been turning 42 exactly one month later. Scorsese mentions that "he" [Spielberg] came by a few weeks earlier. A couple of years later, Scorsese would make Cape Fear with Spielberg producing.

You can watch the entire documentary in easy order at The Playlist.


Posted by Geoff at 7:43 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 12:59 AM CDT
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Saturday, April 5, 2014





Posted by Geoff at 10:31 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 5, 2014 10:54 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
DE PALMA RETROSPECTIVE IN GERMANY
ADRIAN MARTIN & CRISTINA ALVAREZ LOPEZ TO PREMIERE AUDIOVISUAL ESSAY ON DE PALMA
ALSO WORKING ON DE PALMA BOOK, WILL DISCUSS 'PASSION' AT FRIDAY SCREENING

Metropolis Kino in Hamburg, Germany, has been running a fairly thorough Brian De Palma retrospective since February. It continues through April, and includes a screening of De Palma's Passion this Friday, which will be introduced by Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López, who also happen to be working together on a new book about De Palma. (The pair wrote a wonderful piece about Passion for L O L A last September.)

Following the screening of Passion Friday, Martin and López will present the world premiere of an audiovisual essay titled "Count It Out: Motifs and Structures in the Cinema of Brian De Palma." A rough translation of the Metropolis Kino description of the essay goes like this: "The title of Count It Out has a double meaning: on the one hand, it refers to the practice of De Palma, in the editing room, together with his editing masters to specify the assembly of a scene by the rhythmic tapping of his fingers. For another, it means: list-making, inventory." (If anyone has any better translations, please feel free to send them in or write them in the comments.) You can read descriptions of the series and the films at The Wayward Cloud.

Posted by Geoff at 12:46 AM CDT
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Monday, March 24, 2014
VIDEO: DE PALMA INTERVIEW


Thanks to Donald for letting us know about the TCM Cinéma video embedded above. Below is a transcript of what Brian De Palma says in the video:
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Well, you discover that you can tell stories in pictures, and you have these images, and you know how to photograph them, and you start out with a camera, and you take a lot of images, and you construct a story in which you employ these images, and then you put it up on the screen, and you see if anybody’s interested.

When I was very young, I was fascinated by computers. I built many of them, and won many science fairs.

[Talking about Blow Out] I was sort of fascinated by the fact that even if you had the correct information about the Kennedy assassination, no one would care. And I also wanted to create the mystery that can only be solved with filmic means. Only by syncing the sound, the basic building block of cinema solved the mystery. I wanted to use a purely cinematic visual to solve the mystery. And that’s why I think it’s so effective.

There’s a big white canvas up there. You can hold the audience with a series of images that are poetic and dramatic. And it takes a lot of thought in order to create these sequences. Non-verbal cinema is something that has almost died in the last couple of decades.

I like Rear Window. It’s a very clever idea, shooting everything from Jimmy Stewart’s point of view, and keeping the movie in the apartment of Jimmy Stewart, and dealing with the fact that he can’t get up and do anything, because he’s in a wheelchair.

Well, Hitchcock showed a way of telling a movie with pictures. And he was a genius at producing these sequences in his movies, and nobody really is following in that tradition.

And I remember seeing Vertigo when I went to college. Well, Vertigo is a movie that greatly affected me. I have used the idea and images in it throughout my career.

Some great cineaste once said the history of cinema is about men photographing women, and I think that’s pretty much true. I’ve made stories with lots of men in them, like The Untouchables, or Scarface, but if you’re interested in beauty, you’re interested in photographing women.

When I read about the incident in Iraq, about the rape and killing of an innocent Iraqi girl, I said, well, this is just like Casualties Of War, except it’s happening again. It was a great story, and a very tragic story. But our invasion and destruction of Vietnam was very much like the rape and murder of this girl. It was the best story from out of the Vietnam war. To me, it represented everything wrong we were doing there. [Now back to talking about Redacted] When I did the search about the original incident on the internet, it came up with all these blogs, and YouTube postings, and a montage of Iraqi casualties. [It was] totally original, in a whole new language, and that’s the form in which I told the story. I’d like to use their own dialogue, the real things that they said, but I couldn’t, because they were being prosecuted while the movie was being made. I’m afraid to say that if you haven’t learned from the lessons of the past, you’re doomed to repeat them, and obviously, America did not learn from those experiences in Vietnam. So maybe you have to tell the same story again so that maybe they’ll get it this time.

There were some very good reviews, but again, it was not an image of American soldiers that anybody wanted to see. Because it’s too disturbing. They don’t want to see the pictures. They don’t want to see the images. They don’t want to think that their soldiers are [anything] but valiant crusaders planting democracy in a mid-east country. And they’re difficult movies to get made, and you can only make them after you have some kind of success. And they sort of will not prevent you from making something that you think is important to be produced. Somehow because you’ve made a successful movie, they think you’re a charmed director, and you can make a success out of anything.

This is the Turner channel? I watch this channel a lot!


Posted by Geoff at 1:13 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 6:02 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014
BEN SACHS RECALLS LUNA'S 'ANGUISH'
"COMPARABLE TO DE PALMA IN ITS OVER-THE-TOP SUSPENSE SET PIECES & HALL OF MIRRORS PLOT"


Above is the opening image of Bigas Luna's Anguish, which the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs felt compelled to write about this week. Here's the opening segment of his Bleader blog post:
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Since invoking Spanish genre entertainment in my review of Non-Stop, I've been thinking a lot about Bigas Luna (Jamon, Jamon), the Spanish writer-director who passed away last year at the age of 67. Luna excelled at the flamboyant stylization that I associate with a particular strain of Spanish filmmaking, coupling deliberately outlandish plots with deliberately show-offy camerawork. "Luna's point," Fred Camper wrote of his 1998 film Chambermaid on the Titanic (released in the U.S. as The Chambermaid), "is that one can enjoy [overblown] fantasies and still acknowledge them as false," a sentiment conveyed by all of his work. Here was a filmmaker who worked hard but didn't take himself too seriously—even the shallowest movies of his I've seen have made me smile.

Of the Luna works I know, I'm most partial to his English-language horror film Anguish (1987) because a large section of it takes place in a movie theater. It's comparable to Brian De Palma's work in its over-the-top suspense set pieces and its hall-of-mirrors plot. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend saving the rest of this post until you do. You'll have to rent it, though, as I doubt if any theater will revive it soon, for reasons I'll explain below.

Anguish begins as a quasi-spoof of psycho-killer movies, in which a timid optometrist (Michael Lerner, an actor I've always enjoyed for his resemblance to Randy Newman) murders people and plucks out their eyes while acting under the telepathic control of his overbearing mother (Zelda Rubinstein, best known as psychic Tangina Barrons in the Poltergeist movies). I say "quasi-spoof" because the scary sequences really deliver the goods. Like De Palma, Luna deconstructs the mechanics of suspense filmmaking without sacrificing suspense, acknowledging that sometimes it's just fun to be scared.

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Posted by Geoff at 8:29 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:30 PM CDT
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Sunday, February 23, 2014
SCORSESE RECALLS SEEING ARCHER FILMS ON TV
AND THEN CALLING FRIENDS LIKE DE PALMA & SPIELBERG TO HELP SEEK THEM OUT


The Guardian's Xan Brooks talked to Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker last Monday at the unveiling of an English Heritage blue plaque to commemorate Dorset House in London, which was the headquarters of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's film company, the Archers, from 1942-1947. Here's a brief excerpt from Brooks' article:
----------------------------------

"I could talk for hours, days, years about the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger," said Scorsese, who recalled being taken by his father to see The Red Shoes at the age of 10. The Raging Bull director said he first watched the bulk of the Archers' pictures on TV when he was a film student and has been obsessed with them ever since.

Scorsese explained that movies such as Tales of Hoffman or 1947's exotic nunnery saga Black Narcissus were typically shown in heavily abridged versions, broken up by commercials. "I would ring up other aspiring film-makers like [Brian] De Palma or [Steven] Spielberg and say, 'I just saw this incredible film about nuns in the Himalayas.' But we had to go searching for these movies. We couldn't read anything about them. I thought [the film-makers' names] were pseudonyms."

By the time Scorsese met Powell, in 1975, the British director had fallen on hard times and was largely ignored by the UK film establishment. Powell subsequently relocated to the US, where he married Schoonmaker, Scorsese's regular editor.

"Martin Scorsese infected me with the love of these films when we were working together on Raging Bull," Schoonmaker said. "Then later he introduced me to Michael Powell, which was another great blessing in my life." Powell died in 1990 at the age of 84.

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Posted by Geoff at 2:23 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014 2:25 PM CST
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Monday, January 20, 2014
TWO RANDOM RANKINGS OF DE PALMA'S FILMS
ONE GUY'S "GREAT" IS ANOTHER GUY'S "EH", ETC.
Two random rankings of the films of Brian De Palma have popped up on the web within the past few days. While there is some consensus between the two as to the greatness of films such as Carlito's Way, Body Double, and Hi, Mom! (give or take a few degrees), the lists are probably more interesting for their differences. Alex Winthrow, who rated every De Palma film for a directors series at his blog, And So It Begins (those are some of his rankings pictured here to the left), ranks the "Be Black, Baby" sequence from De Palma's Hi, Mom! as "masterful" (he gives the movie as a whole a C+), while The Boar's David Pountain ranks that film at number two on his "Top 10 Brian De Palma Films" list, writing, "No other work from this director does a better job of exploring his beloved themes of voyeurism and the relation between life and art. Watch this film and you’ll see it staring right back at you."

Winthrow is tone deaf to The Fury, stating that it "is two different movies needlessly cut into one," and wondering why "the film shows its climatic moment thirteen times." But he is passionate about De Palma's Snake Eyes, writing, "I love Snake Eyes. All of Snake Eyes. Not an opinion shared by many, I know, but I just can’t help it. I love the amount of detailed trickery it took to pull off its opening shot, I love Nicolas Cage’s showy, but dedicated performance, a sneaky Gary Sinise, a curiously sexy Carla Gugino – there’s simply nothing about it that I don’t enjoy. In many ways, Rick Santoro is the perfect role for Cage. He’s gaudy, dirty, but equipped with solid morals, albeit ones buried deep. The character allows Cage to be his most, well, Cagey, while also providing him moments of great torment. Cage’s character anchors the film, so I suppose if he doesn’t work for you, the film won’t either. To say it still works for me would be an understatement."

And while Winthrow is disappointed by Mission To Mars, Pountain, ranking the film at number nine, feels that it is "in serious need of reappraisal." Pountain writes, "A film giddy off the wonders of life, Mission To Mars is an absorbing tribute to man’s potential for self-discovery through outward exploration. It’s also a testament to one man’s ability to take a Hollywood hack job with a corny script and turn it into a personal project with truly kick-ass results."

Another film they disagree on is The Black Dahlia. Winthrow calls it "one of the worst films everyone involved has been a part of. The plot is needlessly complicated, the execution of the story is puzzlingly clunky, and the acting is universally stiff." Meanwhile, Pountain, who generally seems more in tune with and more enthusuastic about De Palma's cinema, mentions The Black Dahlia as a "pretty great noir fever dream."

Pountain is also passionate about De Palma's latest, Passion, a film Winthrow feels is "too frenzied for its own good." As a remake of Love Crime, Pountain contrasts it with Kimberly Peirce's Carrie remake. "It isn’t just a film directed by Brian De Palma," writes Pountain. "It’s A Brian De Palma Film. This is evident in its formal detachment, its intense Pino Donaggio score, its indulgence in his pet themes such as voyeurism and sexual obsession, its inspired use of split screen, its playful references, its lack of true closure, its disorienting use of dreams and also, unfortunately, in its financial failure."


Posted by Geoff at 2:53 AM CST
Updated: Monday, January 20, 2014 2:55 AM CST
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Friday, December 27, 2013
DE PALMA RETROSPECTIVE IN CHICAGO

WEDNESDAYS, JANUARY 8 THROUGH MARCH 12

The University of Chicago's Doc Films will host a Brian De Palma retrospective on Wednesdays, beginning January 8 with Scarface, and concluding on March 12 with Femme Fatale. Most of the films will be screened from 35mm prints, but Phantom Of The Paradise and Body Double will each be screened in DCP. The series includes an intriguing choice at its halfway point: on February 12th, it will screen Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura.

Dan Wang, who programmed the retrospective, writes in its introduction, "When Brian De Palma was to give a Q&A at Lincoln Center in Manhattan this summer (on the occasion of the wider release of his latest film, Passion), I asked the guy at the ticket office if he expected a long line. He doubted it. 'De Palma isn't really relevant anymore,' he said. I ended up sitting on the floor at the back of the hall behind a concrete pillar, despite showing up an hour and a half early; half the line was turned away.

"One can see what he means. De Palma's favorite themes--dangerously erotic women, voyeurism, psychological horror--seem like the titillations of faded era. Compounding these obsessions is his insistence on an extremely smooth, controlled and virtuosic style that's hopelessly far from current anti-formalist vogues. Recent hits like Aronofsky's Black Swan (2010 ) and Soderbergh's Side Effects (2014 ) tell De Palmian stories but dress them up in camera and video production styles currently in fashion (i.e. on YouTube ) ;hence the rejection of De Palma's importance is also the rejection of a particular, classical way of making films.

"De Palma is still relevant because his films remind us of the exhuberant joy of intelligent filmmaking--of an attitude to film worlds that Godard called, in reference to Hitchcock, the 'control of the universe.' Even his worst films have moments that leave one gasping at their beauty; his best ones feel like a confirmation of everything movies ought to be. In this partial retrospective (De Palma has an output that sprawls in genre and ambition of some thirty films ), we feature a mix of De Palmas: movies of psychological horror (Sisters, Raising Cain), gangster films (Scarface, The Untouchables, Carlito's Way), a musical (Phantom of the Paradise) and, of course, classic, pervy, Hitchcockian, joyous De Palma (Hi, Mom!, Body Double, Femme Fatale)."

And here is the retrospective's description of the L'Avventura screening: "Before Blow-Up moved De Palma, L'Avventura won a prize at Cannes. People saw something new: framing a shot like composing a painting; objects as well as characters telling a story and provoking a mood; spontaneous, even random, dialogue. One can be impatient. One can also let go of expectations of quick excitement and tidy plot resolution, absorb the imagery and the sadness of the characters, turn inward, and reflect on a different movie experience."


Posted by Geoff at 1:09 AM CST
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Monday, December 23, 2013
EXPERIMENTAL FILM SOCIETY'S FAVE FILMMAKERS
DE PALMA MAKES IT ONTO FIVE OF THEIR LISTS
Experimental Film Society member Rouzbeh Rashidi "asked members of EFS, some of its friends, associates, critics, programmers, and filmmakers to send in lists of their twelve favourite filmmakers for publication on the EFS website. The criteria were simple: to list the filmmakers who had the most impact on your life and art." Brian De Palma appeared on five of the lists submitted.

In his introduction, Rashidi adds, "Contributors all found the task hard, even almost impossible, but in the end they all submitted a list of more or less twelve names. I personally am a huge fan of such lists and make them all the time. They are fun, revealing and, I believe, something we're all curious about. Obviously, they are subject to change as we grow and develop, and the love/hate relationship we inevitably have with them (so much has to be left out!) is amusing and challenging. I was very surprised with the results and hope you enjoy reading them."

Those listing De Palma as one of their twelve favotite filmmakers are Hamid Shams Javi, Kamyar Kordestani, Adrian Martin, Michael Koresky, and David Del Valle. Check out the lists here.

(Thanks to Chris!)


Posted by Geoff at 9:57 PM CST
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013 9:59 PM CST
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
EXCERPT: SCRIPT ABOUT MAKING OF 'JAWS'
SCENE FEATURES DE PALMA, SPIELBERG, MILIUS, SCORSESE, LUCAS DISCUSSING HOLLYWOOD
The Black List of best unproduced screenplays for 2013 was unveiled this week. It includes two screenplays about the making of Steven Spielberg's Jaws, and at least one of them includes Brian De Palma as a character, along with fellow "movie brats" Martin Scorsese, John Milius, George Lucas, and (of course) Spielberg. That screenplay, titled The Shark is Not Working, was written by Richard Corinder. Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere shared these samples from Corinder's screenplay:


In his post, Wells says the script is "about 28 year-old Steven Spielberg going through hell to make Jaws in ’74 and ’75." He adds that he's "skimmed through about half of it. It’s funny, smart, very well-written, entertaining. But I mainly like it because it simultaneously (a) makes fun of Spielberg for being a talented but shallow popcorn shoveller, and (b) admires and sympathizes with the poor guy for managing to survive a hellish production experience. The big breakthrough happens when Spielberg hits on the idea of (a) barely showing the shark and (b) deciding to rely on John Williams‘ creepy music to excite the audience’s imagination."

The other Black List script about the making of Jaws is The Mayor of Shark City, written by Nick Creature and Michael Sweeney. Wells points to a SpecScout coverage page for the latter screenplay, in which the truncated synopsis is as follows: "STEVEN (5) is at the cinema with his father ARNOLD (age 35). They are seeing The Greatest Show on Earth, Steven’s first movie experience. The young boy is blown away by the magic of cinema, and is captivated by his wonderful imagination. Steven’s imagination takes over as the screen is spilled open by a giant wave of rushing water. STEVEN (27) a scrawny man with shaggy hair awakens from a nightmare. He is being tormented by the film shoot he is directing, Jaws. The film production is now over 80 days over schedule. It is now a year prior to the shooting of Jaws. A young and energetic Steven Spielberg enters RICHARD ZANUCK’S office (38) a hotshot producer at Universal studios. Steven notices the manuscript titled Jaws that captures his eye. Without permission, he steals a copy of the script to read. Immediately, he is engrossed in the engaging story of a killer shark. His vivid imagination takes over as he dreams of what the movie can look like. Steven knows that he must direct this film. He begs Zanuck for the opportunity but is told that they already have a director for the project. Meanwhile, PETER BENCHLEY (33) the..." [the synopsis cuts off there for casual browsers]

The locations listed at SpecScout for The Mayor of Shark City are as follows: "1950s/1960s Locations/Decor for FLASHBACKS Old Movie Theater, middle-class home, Vietnam mockup on soundstage, submarine, aircraft carrier, fighter plane cockpit, underwater, fantasy meteor shower, fantasy animatronic Disneyworld-style ride. 1970s Locations/Decor Universal studio bungalow, Hollywood hills home, New York upmarket club, Hollywood production and studio executive offices, Martha's Vineyard, Old fishing ship, Soundstage (Universal Studios stage 12), Harbor, Hotel, Bar, Diner, Beach, Ferry, Cabin, Ocean, Tavern, Small town Movie Theater, Large Movie Theater, Cinerama Theater, Drug Store, Sunset Boulevard."


Posted by Geoff at 12:56 AM CST
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