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a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
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

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


« August 2008 »
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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

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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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Friday, August 22, 2008
Since it's a hot weekend to get out and meet people who have worked on various Brian De Palma films, it can't hurt to add one more. John Farris, who adapted the screenplay of his own novel The Fury for De Palma's 1978 film, will sign copies of his new book Avenging Fury tomorrow (Saturday, August 23rd) at the Eagle Eye Book Shop in Decatur, Georgia, from 12:30pm to 2pm. The new book is the fourth and final volume in the Fury cycle (officially dubbed the "Fury and the Terror" series). Farris will also sign 50 copies of the book for those who cannot attend the signing-- if you would like one of those signed copies, you need to e-mail the store's owner, Doug Robinson (doug@eagleeyebooks.com), as soon as possible. After collaborating on The Fury in 1978, De Palma recruited Farris to help him adapt Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man as a followup project. While the latter was never made, it remains De Palma's dream project to this day.

Posted by Geoff at 10:42 PM CDT
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If you're in the Philadelphia area this weekend, you can meet Nancy Allen at the 11th Monster-Mania Con, which runs today through Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Allen, who was once married to Brian De Palma appeared in four of De Palma's films: Carrie, Home Movies, Dressed To Kill, and Blow Out.

According to Rene Rodriguez at the Miami Herald, Angel Salazar will join the previously announced Steven Bauer at the Gusman Center 25th anniversary screening of Scarface tonight. Salazar, who played Chi Chi in Scarface, also appeared in De Palma's Carlito's Way. Aside from playing Tony Montana's sidekick in Scarface, Bauer has also appeared in De Palma's Body Double and Raising Cain.

Rodriguez' column today asks, "Where were you on Dec. 9, 1983?" Rodriguez continues:

I was a teenager at the Miracle Twin Theater on Miracle Mile, eluding aggressive ushers rigorously checking IDs and sneaking into the first afternoon screening of Brian De Palma's controversial, R-rated Scarface. Yes, it was a school day. But so much had been written about the film before its release, there was no way I could wait until Saturday or even later that day. Scarface had to be seen immediately.

Read the rest at the Miami Herald. (By the way, there is no longer any mention that Brett Ratner, who snuck onto the Scarface set as a kid and wound up as an extra in the background, will be in attendance at tonight's screening.)

Posted by Geoff at 2:44 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, August 22, 2008 4:09 PM CDT
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

In an essay for the Los Angeles Times this weekend, Peter Rainer asks, "What is going on in the zeitgeist when an African American is poised to become president and Robert Downey Jr. is in blackface?" Linking Downey's performance in the current Tropic Thunder to a more sophisticated version of free-form sketch comedy routines, Rainer proceeds to discuss a cultural history of blackface and whiteface minstrelsy where he suggests that the "Be Black, Baby" sequence in Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! helped to set a vaudvillean racial template that would morph into blaxploitation and rap music. Discussing Downey's riffs on race in the film, Rainer states that they "have an even earlier pedigree"...

Downey's father, Robert Downey Sr., directed 1969's funky, acidulous Putney Swope, about a Black Power takeover of a lily-white Madison Avenue ad agency. A year later, in Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom!, black militants stage an off-off-Broadway show called "Be Black Baby," during which, in white face, they force their white patrons to wear blackface and then proceed to terrorize them so they can better "understand" the black experience. The comic kicker comes at the end. Says one brutalized white guy, admiringly, about the evening: "It really makes you stop and think."

These underground movies, mostly forgotten now, nevertheless set the template for the scabrous racial vaudeville that morphed into the blaxploitation cycle right on up through rap. For white audiences, especially guilty liberals, the message in these movies was explicit: "We really are your worst nightmare."

HISTORICALLY, white actors in blackface incarnated the cruelest of racial caricatures. (Even when Fred Astaire in Swing Time wore blackface in tribute to Bill Robinson, it was implicit that Bojangles could never star in such a film.) But one cannot talk about blackfaced white performers without at the same time summoning up the camouflages worn by black actors -- worn, in many cases, to have any career at all. Throughout all too much of Hollywood's sorry history, particularly pre- Sidney Poitier, black performers, with no decent roles available to them, wore minstrel masks too. They acted out the demeaning images whites set for them (and still, like Robinson himself, they frequently managed to be more electric than their often starched-white counterparts). By the time the '60s counterculture came along, attitudes had shifted. Black minstrelsy became a put-on -- a weapon. Be black, baby.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, August 22, 2008 4:10 PM CDT
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Friday, August 8, 2008
Steven Bauer
, who co-starred with Al Pacino in Brian De Palma's Scarface, will attend a 25th anniversary screening of that film on Friday, August 22nd at the Gusman Center's Olympia Theater. Bauer will participate in an audience Q&A following the 8pm screening. According to Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald, Brett Ratner, who was inspired to be a film director when he snuck onto the Scarface set as a child and observed De Palma at work, will also attend the screening.

Posted by Geoff at 10:25 AM CDT
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Aspiring filmmakers are sure to learn some valuable lessons in making movies when Brian De Palma presents a cinema master class at this year's Montreal World Film Festival. The news was announced at a press conference this morning, in which the festival's slate of competition and non-competition films was also laid out. According to CJAD's Shuyee Lee, the festival's general director Danielle Cauchard said that there was no specific date set yet for De Palma's master class. "The date is not fixed yet," said Cauchard. "I tell you why, because he's staying for the whole festival." It is no surprise that De Palma will be around for the entire festival, which runs from August 21 through September 1. De Palma has long been known to attend the big autumn Canadian film festivals, especially the Toronto International Film Festival, where for two years in a row (in 2005 and 2006) he served as a mentor for that fest's Talent Lab, where emerging Canadian talents learn and practice filmmaking techniques from international masters of cinema. According to Brendan Kelly at the Montreal Gazette, De Palma's master class will take place at the Imperial Cinema.

Posted by Geoff at 8:47 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 8:50 PM CDT
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Friday, August 1, 2008
NASA announced yesterday that lab tests aboard its Phoenix Mars Lander have concluded that a soil sample taken from the surface of Mars does indeed contain water. The "surprising" results so far have led NASA to extend the spacecraft's mission through September 30th. Meanwhile, Pop Culture Examiner Dominic Patten has sarcastically suggested that Hollywood will soon jump on this new clue to life on Mars. "Of course," Patten writes, "you could just get the jump on everyone and rent Brian De Palma's 2000 flick Mission to Mars tonight." Doesn't sound like a bad idea...

Posted by Geoff at 11:19 AM CDT
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Posted by Geoff at 5:39 PM CDT
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Friday, July 25, 2008

The August issue of the U.K. magazine The Word includes an interview with Brian De Palma by New York-based arts writer Tom Teodorczuk. The interview, published to coincide with the DVD release of De Palma's Redacted in the U.K., was conducted prior to the announcement last month that De Palma had signed on to direct The Boston Stranglers. The headline reads: "His Iraq movie was 'blatantly dumped', spits Brian De Palma. So now he's making another one."

In the interview, De Palma discusses his reasons for making Redacted:

With the Iraq war, we have destroyed a country. What the hell are we doing there? We've got over two million refugees wandering around in Syria and Oman and it's like, "Oops! Sorry!" The catastrophe we've caused in the world in the last eight years - talk about a loose cannon. The rest of the world must be going, "What are they going to do next?" I think we've overextended. Look at the British empire 100 years ago and how that ended up. There's something wrong with this picture. Should we be making money from oil, defense contractors and creating a tabloid version of the war?

De Palma also discussed with Teodorczuk the public reaction to Redacted:

People react to the steam. You're always amazed when people don't look at what is on the screen, but I've noticed that a lot of times in my career. Instead they react to some political view or some notion of political correctness. This is another example of that. With Scarface, 20 per cent of the audience walked out when it was released. Some of the most commercial artists make a tremendous amount of money, everybody loves them and then when they die everybody forgets about them. Some of the most uncommercial artists, everybody's ranting and raving about them during their lifetime and yet often they make the movies that stick. You've got to take shots in your career.

Discussing the public indifference to films about the Iraq war, De Palma said that people "just don't want to know about Iraq or feel conflicted about what we're doing there." Saying he's "never had a movie that was so blatantly dumped" in all his life, De Palma concluded that "They can't all be hits. Most of them aren't, and if you're making hits all the time, something may be very wrong with what you're doing."

When Teodorczuk asked him what his next film will be, De Palma stated that he was working on another script about Iraq (which we know is currently titled Print The Legend-- Teodorczuk writes that this interview took place "on a bitterly cold morning in downtown Manhattan," which indicates that it was probably in the winter while De Palma was still in the process of formulating ideas for this new film). De Palma described the project:

It has more to do with the embedded reporter stories and how the information is spun and influenced in a way that's completely the opposite of what is actually going on. In terms of how it has been reported, the war is completely spun homogenised propaganda and I feel that the press is just an arm of the administration and the big corporations that are profiting from this war. It will also feature some women soldiers. It's about what they do to people who tell the truth about the war and how they get discredited and destroyed. Like with the Valerie Plame affair. Joe Wilson said he went over there and they weren't buying yellowcake and yet that kept appearing in Bush's speeches the whole time. Then he goes to the New York Times and they destroy him.

De Palma also mentioned to Teodorczuk that he would like to film William Boyd's The Blue Afternoon. "It would make a fantastic movie," De Palma said. "It's a book I've loved for years."

In his ever iconoclastic manner, De Palma discussed his anti-establishment view of politics when Teodorczuk asked him his take on the upcoming U.S. Presidential election:

Bush has got us into a tremendous amount of trouble but it doesn't really matter who the next President is. I'm not part of the liberal establishment that has a political agenda. I don't think the liberal establishment wants to take responsibility for this war. They blame it on Bush but they were complicit in prosecuting it. Do I have strong political views? You bet. I think the best way to express them is in your work and then get the hell off the stage. Then again, you don't make movies like Mission: Impossible because you have strong political statements to say about the CIA.

When asked by Teodorczuk if he'll ever make another blockbuster, De Palma discussed his ambivalence at working on genre pictures:

I don't know. I'm really at an age where I don't think I have to prove anything to anybody anymore, least of all myself. It's like, "Do you really want to go through all that?" Worse than being dead is being hot. But if you want to continue making movies, you have to make genre pictures every once in a while that make people a lot of money. Since I can get very interested in the visualization of action, I can work in those genres like with The Untouchables or Mission: Impossible. I do it every once in a while. Everybody says, "Oh, you're back", but it's not where my heart lies.

Posted by Geoff at 2:36 AM CDT
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Artie Traum
, who as a member of the trio Children Of Paradise wrote and recorded songs and music for Brian De Palma's Greetings in 1968, died Sunday at his home in Bearsville, New York, following a battle with cancer. He was 65. World Music Central's T. J. Nelson has posted an obituary, which makes mention of the fact that Traum was also "an enthusiastic documentary filmmaker." Another obit by Jeremiah Horrigan at the Times Herald-Record describes Traum as a vital musician "at the down-home, finger-pickin' center of Woodstock's musical family." The music in Greetings is terrific, and really marks the film as a sixties artifact with its Byrds/Monkees-like theme song, and instrumental passages that highlight a freewheeling, anything goes attitude. I especially love the crazy paranoid plucking that percolates the scene where Lloyd meets the conspiracy nut in the bookstore. Great stuff.

Posted by Geoff at 11:12 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Michael Guillen
has riffed off a nice summary of the links between The Man Who Laughs, The Dark Knight, and The Black Dahlia in a two-part piece stemming from a recent screening of The Man Who Laughs at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. In part one, Guillen describes in well-researched summary how Conrad Veidt's Gwynplaine inspired the creation of the Joker. Then, in part two, Guillen explores the themes that link The Man Who Laughs with The Black Dahlia and The Dark Knight. Discussing the "problematic erotic triangulation" between Lee, Bucky, and Kay in The Black Dahlia, Guillen writes:

That triangulation is articulated through a scene in De Palma's film where Lee, Bucky and Kay—in what Village Voice critic J. Hoberman terms "an unlikely date"—catch a screening of Leni's The Man Who Laughs. In a September 2006 interview with Daily Breeze reporter Jim Farber, Brian De Palma stated, "If this film works, it's because I stayed scrupulously on the Ellroy road. I didn't try to change things. What I did do was try to find visual equivalents for some of the things he's doing in the book, like introducing a scene from the German Expressionist silent film The Man Who Laughs, rather than having somebody have to explain what that key image is all about. I tried to keep very much to Ellroy's story structure and the way he explains things, which sometimes explains nothing." Expressionistic dualism, anyone? De Palma's strategy in this scene is to observe how The Man Who Laughs reveals the varied interiority of his three main characters. As Armond White delineates for Cineaste, "Bucky is transfixed, Lee is bemused and Kay is frightened—reflecting their individual response to life's horrors." (Cineaste, 12/22/06). Hoberman qualifies Kay's "agonized response to [Gwynplaine]'s scarred face" by reminding that the audience soon discovers she herself has been branded.

By the way, we can add Keith Uhlich to the list of Dark Knight critics getting tons of hate mail for disliking the film. Uhlich does, however, make a De Palma reference in his review of the film at The House Next Door. Uhlich makes a quick comparison between the nightmare at the end of De Palma's Dressed To Kill, where Bobbi kills a nurse and then dons her uniform to escape a mental institution, and the Dark Knight sight of Heath Ledger's Joker moving through a hospital wearing a nurse's uniform.

Sure, we've seen plenty of critics compare The Dark Knight to De Palma's The Untouchables, but somehow we missed Dave Poland's early review of Nolan's film, where he stated that Nolan here is reaching for "a Godfather-esque effort" that nevertheless shoots itself in the foot by being too long, and yet not long enough. Poland writes:

This is not a Batman movie… this is a 2008 version of The Untouchables with The Batman as Elliot Ness, The Joker as Al Capone, much better toys, and, it seems, a topper. Great. But the topper is a bit unwieldy, in that it makes the film too long to sustain by pushing beyond the main story – De Palma and Mamet’s The Untouchables was 119 minutes – and too short to do the second push of Nolan’s thematic idea real justice at 152 minutes. Unlike many long films, the problem with The Dark Knight is that it is too short.

Posted by Geoff at 11:36 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 20, 2008 6:14 PM CDT
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