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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


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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

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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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Thursday, April 23, 2009


Jack Cardiff, painter, cinematographer, and director, has passed away at the age of 94. Cardiff was the cinematographer on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes, a film that has had a significant influence on Brian De Palma. Cardiff also shot Alfred Hitchcock's Under Capricorn, and several other Powell/Pressburger films, among many many others. An obituary from the BBC discusses the painterly eye Cardiff brought to his film work:

Cardiff re-wrote the rules of cinematography, bringing a painter's eye to the craft. Indeed, he cited Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh and Caravaggio as inspirations for the light and colour of Black Narcissus.

He was a painter himself, and portraits of some of the actors with whom he worked have been exhibited.

In Michael Powell's The Red Shoes, the 18-minute dance sequence by Moira Shearer, filmed by Cardiff, was described by Martin Scorsese as "a moving painting".

"Michael was a great man to work with," Powell once said. "I was the sort of person to suggest a lot of crazy ideas, and he took them seriously."

He worked on another Powell classic, A Matter of Life and Death.

Posted by Geoff at 10:16 PM CDT
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Jeremy Richey at Moon In The Gutter has posted a nice collection of select images from Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale, as part of an ongoing series called "Images From The Greatest Films Of The Decade." Richey writes that "every shot in this film screams Brian De Palma. Had I never seen the film, I would still be able to immediately name who directed it just from these ten shots without problem. Femme Fatale will no doubt be one of the most controversial choices for this series, but it is still the only film of the decade that I literally stood up and applauded for at the end."

Posted by Geoff at 2:06 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cult star Brinke Stevens, credited as "Girl #3 in Bathroom" in Brian De Palma's Body Double (1984), was asked by Fangoria's Sean Abley about "the weirdest film, TV show or commercial from which you still earn residuals"-- Stevens' reply:

I’ve made SO much money from Brian De Palma’s BODY DOUBLE, it’s kinda ridiculous. The residuals are now down to about $8 per check, but they still come in the mail. Back in the 1980s, I’d turned down that movie three times (my agent thought he was making a porno film), but I finally agreed to a meeting. De Palma and I got along great (I was a big fan of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE). At the end of our meeting, he said, “I really like you and want to use you in this film, but I’m not sure how yet. Just show up for work on Monday.”

I showed up at the studio on Monday. Every time De Palma walked past me, I’d raise an eyebrow, as if to ask “Got anything for me yet?” He’d merely shrug, and say, “Come back tomorrow.” I returned every day that week. Usually, I went home at the end of the day, not having worked at all. Finally, he put me in a few scenes, and my name is listed in the credits. With residuals, I’ve made over $10,000 for that almost invisible performance. But what a joy to hang out on-set for a week and watch such an interesting filmmaker in action!

Abley then tells Stevens, "OK, my friend, actor Michael Kearns, had the exact same story about BODY DOUBLE! He sat around for a week, then had three lines or something and continues to make bank from it! Nice."

Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman blogs about the recently deceased Marilyn Chambers, calling her "the first crossover adult star." After making her mark in adult films, David Cronenberg cast Chambers in the lead role of his 1977 horror film Rabid. Gleiberman runs a link from there to De Palma's initial idea to cast porn star Annette Haven in Body Double:

By starring in Rabid, Chambers effectively blazed a trail, one that, as it turned out, went cold fairly quickly. In our own time, we’ve seen adult-film stars become icons of kitsch -- like Ron Jeremy, the burly "Hedgehog" who gets cast in bit parts whenever a director wants to lend a comedy a bit of cheap “underground” cachet (e.g., Class of Nuke 'Em High 3), or Traci Lords, who has carved out a TV and movie career lampooning her earlier infamy. And, of course, the adult superstar Jenna Jameson is a one-woman self-promotion machine. Marilyn Chambers, though, enjoyed her short-lived mainstream breakthrough near the end of the porno-chic era, when it wasn’t just a cool-cred joke or a naked PR stunt. Her role in Rabid seemed to open the door to further possibilities. Seven years later, in 1984, director Brian De Palma flirted with casting another '70s adult-film star -- Annette Haven -- in the role of triple-X actress Holly Body in Body Double. But the idea fell by the wayside (there were reports that it was nixed by the studio), and the part went to Melanie Griffith instead. By that point, it was clear that these two worlds were not destined, at least in America, to do much in the way of cross-pollinating.

Posted by Geoff at 11:34 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:47 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Brian De Palma will narrate at least one episode (maybe two-- see below) about his own films as part of ReelzChannel's Hollywood's Best Film Directors series, which premieres later this month. The press release promising 52 half-hour episodes states that each episode will be narrated on-camera by the featured director. The "unique series will provide viewers with fun and entertaining insights into the making of their favorite movies... featuring some of Hollywood's most influential and innovative minds--all telling their personal stories in their own words." The press release further states that each episode "will give viewers a personal and insightful look into the lives, influences and original style of today's top movie makers." ReelzChannel CEO Stan Hubbard states in the press release, "Hollywood's Best Film Directors is a fantastic series that gives viewers a look inside the movie-making process from the rare first-person perspective of A-list directors." The Reelz website currently lists 26 directors as part of the series-- either each director will have two half-hour episodes, or the other 26 have not yet been produced. Aside from De Palma, the other directors taking part include Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Paul Verhoeven, David Fincher, Michael Mann, Robert Zemeckis, and William Friedkin, among several others.

Posted by Geoff at 11:53 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:13 PM CDT
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Monday, April 13, 2009
After 29 to 30 hours of deliberations, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury this afternoon announced their verdict, and Phil Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Lana Clarkson, who was shot in the mouth at Spector's mansion after meeting him hours earlier while working her job as a nightclub hostess. According to an AP story, "prosecutors argued Spector had a history of threatening women with guns when they tried to leave." The article also states that this "was Spector's second trial. His first jury deadlocked 10-2, favoring conviction in 2007."

Clarkson had a small part in Brian De Palma's 1983 film Scarface. The actress had answered a reader's question about her role in Scarface in a June 2002 posting on her now defunct website, livingdollproductions.com:

Yes, indeed you did see me in the Babylon club scenes in Scarface. The director, Brian De Palma hired 12 Screen Actors Guild members, ladies, whom he put under contract for a couple of weeks. This was to avoid any union problems or restrictions while he was in creative mode. It was an interesting set to be on, though I wish I'd had more to do. I was taller than most of the "gang" members and therefore, was basically window dressing. Regardless, it was a great opportunity to watch artists of [Al] Pacino and De Palma's caliber work. Mr. Pacino was always in character, even when in his trailer which was just down from mine. I often overheard him speaking to his dresser in his Tony Montana accent. He's an extremely intense and focused actor who is a joy to be around because of his commitment. Steven Bauer was dreamy, Michelle Pffeifer, nervous and De Palma drank lots of coffee and smoked lots of cigarettes. I think they were all under a lot of pressure form Universal. We worked hard, right up 'till Christmas Eve. I got on a plane the next morning to join my family in Hawaii. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Posted by Geoff at 5:18 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, April 13, 2009 9:48 PM CDT
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Financial Times' Nigel Andrews looks at the fifty-year anniversary of the French New Wave through a Quentin Tarantino lens, where Godard is "Mr. Red," Truffaut is "Mr. Pink," and Chabrol is "Mr. Black," etc. Andrews writes:

And no group portrait of the “Reservoir Frogs” is complete without the man known affectionately, as “Frog One”, after the mastermind in French Connection II. André Bazin, critic and essayist, mapped out a new direction for French cinema. He was valuable even in catalysing the energies of those who disagreed with him. His vision of a seamless realism based on the plan-séquence (uninterrupted take) so irritated Godard that it helped create the acts of defiance, like A Bout de Souffle, by which the pupil shook off the teacher.

Or, to maintain the metaphor, by which the new criminal shook off the old lag and mentor. For the New Wave was a crime: that was its beauty. It was an outrage against law, order and aesthetic decency. If you have doubts that that was its spirit and agenda, look at the films. See what a preponderance are stories involving crime. In their early years Godard, Truffaut and Chabrol could hardly pick up a camera without depicting robbery or violence. The overthrow of society and culture was both their missionary activity and their favourite story.

Posted by Geoff at 6:24 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 5, 2009 6:25 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 2, 2009
Michael Caine discussed some of his film roles in an article published yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. Here's what he said about working on Dressed To Kill:

That was my only foray into transvestism. It was a very scary movie. I was a great fan of Brian De Palma. He came to me because every American actor turned him down. I'm sure because it was transvestism. But I wasn't afraid of that. I had never done it. But I must say that women's clothes are very uncomfortable. I hated them. Also, I had padded knickers because you have to put on hips. Fortunately for me, there was a real girl who did a lot of [the scenes]. She was 6 feet 2, the same as me and when we got made up, we looked very, very much alike.

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2009 11:59 PM CDT
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Armond White on Fast & Furious in the New York Press:

[The] closest [director Justin] Lin gets to bliss is the hokey moment Dom psychically imagines a road incident involving his ride-or-die lovematch, Michelle Rodriguez. Lin spins the camera 360 degrees as the past envelops Dom’s consciousness. It updates Brian De Palma’s breathtaking Vision on the Staircase sequence in The Fury, yet nothing else in Fast & Furious justifies such an hallucinatory leap.

Posted by Geoff at 9:48 PM CDT
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Okay, so I promised a couple of additional posts about Greetings for the weekend-- I guess for me, the weekend is still blobbed into this week. Anyway, two Sundays ago, MovieMan0283 posted a very nice essay about Greetings, which he said "presents us with a fully-formed vision, however different from the vision [Brian] De Palma later cultivated." MovieMan0283 feels that De Palma's early film was a different animal than the mumblecore stylings of the average independent film from young directors of recent years. And while De Palma would go on to make films that were more deliberately planned and shot, MovieMan0283 nevertheless sees that "there are signs that the filmmaker behind Scarface and Carrie is also the mind behind Greetings"...

For one thing, despite some intentionally sloppy stagings (De Palma sees Godard's jump cuts and raises him a jump cut in which the background and positions of the characters also changes) there's an obviously gifted eye behind the camera. One sequence is particularly striking: as the tired trio parade in Central Park, trying to keep one potential draftee awake so that he'll flunk his examination the next morning, one of the scruffy group breaks away to chat with a street personality, a photographer displaying his increasingly fuzzy blow-ups of a single photograph, interpreting their aesthetic while simultaneously acknowledging the debt to Antonioni's Blow-Up (a constant reference for De Palma here; particularly in relation to the examination of the Zapruder film). Meanwhile, as the zoom lens moves in closer and closer the two remaining buddies, punch-drunk from a night of staying awake, continue to cavort in the background, De Palma holding them in the increasingly tight shot as the heady dialogue continues in the foreground. Here and elsewhere, he's able to balance multiple elements for a dizzying kinesthetic effect.

The artist in the scene mentioned above (and in the Greetings shot above) is Richard Hamilton, who is considered one of the fathers of the "pop art" movement (a movement that is satirized in Greetings when Robert De Niro's Jon labels his voyeuristic project "peep art"). At left is the piece Hamilton is showing to Gerrit Graham's Lloyd, titled "A Postal Card for Mother," in which a series of blow-ups of a beach scene are folded out accordion-like from the source photograph. The same year that Greetings was released, Hamilton designed the famous-iconic cover for the Beatles' "White Album," as well as the poster inserted inside the double-LP package, for which he asked for and was given hundreds of unpublished photos of the band to sort through.

MovieMan0283 goes on to discuss how Greetings seems to capture a moment from the 1960s when "new" and "old" coexisted:

The movie opens and closes with a television set, clearly situated in some unseen person's kitchen, on which LBJ gives a crowing, preening speech about the war. Greetings' compulsive references extend outside of the cinema (which is already more than most contemporary movies can manage) to the outside world and its frantic, apocalyptic, painfully immediate zeitgeist, something which contemporary Hollywood had more or less walled off (though fissures were beginning to appear in that particular wall). Indeed, Greetings seems to be broadcast from an alternative history: one in which American cinema was as engaged with political and cultural reality as European cinema or American music. The movie hits all the 60s touchstones, which works only because it takes them all for granted: there's the jingle-jangle folk rock of the title track, the cinematic array of Jules et Jim-esque tricks which De Palma employs, frank sexuality and nudity which earned the film an "X" rating (coupled with a sexism often crossing over into misogyny which, joined by constant reference to "fags" and a cavalier attitude towards racial epithets, reminds us that the 60s rebellion was not as PC as preachy leftists, not to mention preachy conservatives, would have us believe).

The 60s - and Greetings - are close enough to the 50s for some macho, un-PC social attitudes to remain (even as the movie's characters mock social conventions and Establishment politics). The film is so close to the clean-cut Camelot of '63 that the Kennedy references seem au courant, yet it is also close enough to the 70s to employ the stylistic range and adult content which that decade would make de rigeur. This, to me, captures the fascination of the 60s in a nutshell: not so much that the era represented the "new" as that it represented the crosshairs of "new" and "old" where World War II was something people in their thirties remembered while schoolchildren would grow up to found dot-com companies, where the traces of classical black-and-white cinema still lingered but the wide-ranging possibilities of the movies' future was just barely over the horizon. The changes happened so fast that for a brief moment, "new" and "old" co-existed - it was modern America's adolescence and Greetings captures that moment beautifully.

Posted by Geoff at 2:29 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2009 11:29 PM CDT
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Friday, March 27, 2009

This is the full cover of the bestseller seen in the woman's apartment (with a bookmark hanging out the top) in Greetings. As a bestseller, the book and its cover were widely known at the time of Greetings' release. The Boston Strangler earned author Gerold Frank the Edgar Allen Poe Award in 1967 for Best Fact Crime Book from the Mystery Writers of America. It can be surmised that the juxtaposition (see the first photo in the post from yesterday) of the naked woman waiting and the cover of this book would have been a jolt to the average viewer in 1968 (even if they had not read the book, being a bestseller, most would have been familiar with the cover all over store shelves everywhere). A bookmark hanging out of the book in the still from Greetings indicates that the woman is reading the book, yet, via a computer date, she trusts a virtual stranger, letting him into her own apartment and allowing him to roam around freely.

Posted by Geoff at 2:32 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2009 11:33 PM CDT
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