IMPRESSED BY 'SISTERS', MORTGAGED HOUSE FOR 'OBSESSION', PRODUCED 'DTK' & 'BLOW OUT'
George Litto, agent turned producer and then Filmways chairman, died April 29 at the age of 88. Litto began his long association with Brian De Palma when Edward Pressman was shopping for deals to distribute De Palma's Sisters, and asked Litto to come see the movie. Sitting in a theater in New York, Litto did not know who Paul Hirsch was, but Hirsch happened to be sitting right behind Litto. Litto turned to Hirsch when it was done, and said, "You know, I can sell this film. But the best thing in this film is the director. I think the director has a future."
Shortly thereafter, De Palma asked Litto to represent him, but Litto told him he wasn't going to be an agent much longer, that he was going to produce. He said he was going to quit being an agent in a year, and De Palma told him, "I'll be happy to have you for a year." Litto's daughter, Andria Litto, tells The Hollywood Reporter's Mike Barnes that Litto went on to mortgage his own house in order to finance De Palma's Obsession. Litto was also instrumental as a reference for Paul Monash, who wasn't quite sure about hiring De Palma as director of Carrie.
Litto went on to produce two highly regarded De Palma films: Dressed To Kill and Blow Out. On the latter film, Litto agreed with Hirsch and Nancy Allen that there should be a happy ending. De Palma did not agree. In a Fiction Factory interview from Carlotta's 2012 DVD edition of Blow Out (quoted in the Douglas Keesey book, Brian De Palma's Split-Screen), Litto says, "I always felt that the girl should be saved in Blow Out and they should go see Sugar Babies, but [De Palma's] view was different, and the film still has many admirers that way. But I was a firm believer in the Hitchcock concept: you meet two people you like; they get into jeopardy; and you root for them to extricate themselves safely."