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

De Palma a la Mod

E-mail
Geoffsongs@aol.com

De Palma Discussion
Forum

-------------

Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

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

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

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

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

-------------

Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

------------

AV Club Review
of Dumas book

------------

« August 2019 »
S M T W T F S
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

Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

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

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

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 ал
Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
BAMcinématek
Bart De Palma
Beaune Thriller Fest
Becoming Visionary
Betty Buckley
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Books
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Cannes
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Carrie
Casualties Of War
Catch And Kill
Cinema Studies
Clarksville 1861
Columbia University
Columbo - Shooting Script
Cop-Out
Cruising
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
Dick Vorisek
Dionysus In '69
Domino
Dressed To Kill
Eric Schwab
Fatal Attraction
Femme Fatale
Film Series
Fire
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
George Litto
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Ghost & The Darkness
Greetings
Happy Valley
Havana Film Fest
Heat
Hi, Mom!
Hitchcock
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
Jared Martin
Jerry Greenberg
Keith Gordon
Key Man, The
Laurent Bouzereau
Lights Out
Lithgow
Magic Hour
Magnificent Seven
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Mod
Montreal World Film Fest
Morricone
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
Newton 1861
Noah Baumbach
NYFF
Obsession
Oliver Stone
Palmetto
Paranormal Activity 2
Parker
Parties & Premieres
Passion
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Pauline Kael
Peet Gelderblom
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pimento
Pino Donaggio
Predator
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Redacted
Responsive Eye
Retribution
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Rotwang muß weg!
Sakamoto
Scarface
Sean Penn
Sisters
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Spielberg
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Sweet Vengeance
Tabloid
Tarantino
Taxi Driver
Terry
The Tale
To Bridge This Gap
Toronto Film Fest
Toyer
Travolta
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
Truth And Other Lies
TV Appearances
Untitled Ashton Kutcher
Untitled Hollywood Horror
Untitled Industry-Abuse M
Untouchables
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
Saturday, August 24, 2019
GUS WOOD ON DE PALMA'S 'MAD MUSICAL DREAM'
'PHANTOM' IS "A DARK, VIOLENT MOOD SYMPHONY AS FUNNY AS IT IS EMOTIONALLY HARROWING"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/plunger1.jpg

At 25 Years Later, Gus Wood enthuses that Brian De Palma "is an artist at his best when he aims for the impossible. By that metric," Wood continues, "the quintessential film might be Brian De Palma’s mad musical dream, The Phantom Of The Paradise. Equal parts baroque, funny, violent, and frantic, the horror-satire-rock-n’-roll-musical-comedy is the director’s masterpiece."

Wood goes on to look at Phantom Of The Paradise as a film that "brilliantly functions in two ways: as an exploration of the form (in this case, the form of the musical) and a satire of the setting"...

De Palma knows musical theatre and understands the internal logic (or lack thereof) in its narrative mechanisms. The film’s obsession with songs-as-expression and reductive treatment of certain plot points highlight this knowledge.

For example, when Jessica Harper’s character faces the notorious casting couch, De Palma turns this into a choreographed dance in the background. Starlet after starlet jumps on the couch, gets ravished by a jean-jacketed oaf, then rolls away for replacement. Like a stage musical, Phantom of the Paradise gives its audience all it needs to know in a few key visuals, more interested in symbolism than outright depiction. A similar treatment exists in Winslow’s persecution, harassment by police and escape from prison. These are necessary to the plot but irrelevant to De Palma’s emotional arc. Thus, he cooks them down into opulent signifiers.

When it’s time for music, however, De Palma grants loving attention to each note and gesture. He uses the music of the film to give insight into the inner monologue of the characters. De Palma’s musical numbers become exposition, not of the plot, but of feeling. He obliterates the subtleties of the human heart amidst blasts of synth and guitar.

When the wounded Winslow returns to The Paradise to confront Swan, he simply finds the mask and becomes the phantom. However, it doesn’t turn into a generic Vincent Price-esque slasher revenge film. Swan traps the scarred and vulnerable Winslow into another devil’s bargain for musical perfection, fame, and the chance to turn his beloved Phoenix into a star. De Palma is not content with a horror film, a musical, a comedy, or a biting satire. He wants all of it on stage, parroting the excesses of the story’s setting.

Satire of Setting

Above any genre convention or label, Phantom of the Paradise exists as a testament to its time. Paul Williams not only stars but also contributes his musical talent and “been-there” candor to the proceedings. This blesses the film’s portrayal of music with the kiss of one of its Popes. Every character glistens, baptized in the sleaze of an early, ballsy De Palma.

Like Paul Thomas Anderson’s love letter to the seedy porn of Los Angeles’ Golden Age in Boogie Nights (1997), Phantom is interested in the people, places, and things that made up a world De Palma longed for. Swan’s crisp suits, greased smile, and mirrored full of writhing women act as garish dreams of an outsider looking in. This is De Palma fogging the window to rock n’ roll’s hedonistic delights.

There’s also a dark side, as De Palma exposes the sadism of the business behind the music. Jessica Harper’s Phoenix is cruelly buffeted from humiliation to humiliation before her big break, her wide-eyed wonder at every abuse and opportunity acting as a first verse to the song she would later dance to in Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1978). Swan’s appetites don’t just limit themselves to sex, money, and fame. He craves eternal youth and the domination of others, the way artists can become predators when corrupted by the business.

Fade Out

Brian De Palma lends his usual idiosyncratic style to Phantom of the Paradise while also bowing to both the musical and the rock music scene as style elders. It’s a dark, violent mood symphony as funny as it is emotionally harrowing. We decide an auteur’s success by his riskiest endeavors and this is Brian De Palma’s masterpiece.


Posted by Geoff at 11:40 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

View Latest Entries