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

De Palma a la Mod


De Palma Discussion


Recent Headlines
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


« December 2010 »
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


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

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
Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
Bart De Palma
Beaune Thriller Fest
Becoming Visionary
Betty Buckley
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Casualties Of War
Catch And Kill
Cinema Studies
Clarksville 1861
Columbia University
Columbo - Shooting Script
Conversation, The
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
Dressed To Kill
Edward R. Pressman
Eric Schwab
Fatal Attraction
Femme Fatale
Film Series
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
Genius of Love
George Litto
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Ghost & The Darkness
Happy Valley
Havana Film Fest
Hi, Mom!
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
Jack Fisk
Jared Martin
Jerry Greenberg
Keith Gordon
Key Man, The
Laurent Bouzereau
Lights Out
Magic Hour
Magnificent Seven
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Montreal World Film Fest
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
Newton 1861
Noah Baumbach
Oliver Stone
Paranormal Activity 2
Parties & Premieres
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Pauline Kael
Peet Gelderblom
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pino Donaggio
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Responsive Eye
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Rotwang muß weg!
Sean Penn
Sensuous Woman, The
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Stephen H Burum
Sweet Vengeance
Taxi Driver
The Tale
To Bridge This Gap
Toronto Film Fest
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
Truth And Other Lies
TV Appearances
Untitled Ashton Kutcher
Untitled Hollywood Horror
Untitled Industry-Abuse M
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
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, as part of its "Legends" issue, the Hollywood Reporter published a familiar photo from George Lucas' 50th birthday party, except this time, while the poses of Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Brian De Palma, Lucas, and Francis Ford Coppola are exactly the same as previous versions of the photo that have been circulating for years (see photo to the left), two other big directors have suddenly popped up in the photo: Ron Howard, sitting to the left of Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis, who appears to have been inserted in between Lucas and Coppola. The version of the photo seen below the other one shows Coppola right next to Lucas at that moment in time. I had assumed that the new Hollywood Reporter photo was the real one, because I did not even consider that a publication such as the Hollywood Reporter would run a faked photo, and in an article that includes the following passage:

At one point, someone — no one now can quite remember who — called for a group shot. And with a click, a moment in time was frozen with seven of the era’s most prominent directors caught, for a second, in midcareer.

But then in a comment below, Greg pointed out that neither Howard nor Zemeckis is looking directly into the camera the way the rest of the table is. Greg also noted that the tablecloth in the top photo looks photoshopped. Perhaps this is a minor experiment by Lucas, who, according to Mel Smith (talking to the Daily Mail), is said to be "buying up the film rights to dead movie stars in the hope of using computer trickery to put them all together in a movie, so you’d have Orson Welles and Barbara Stanwyck appear alongside today’s stars." (And, of course, Zemeckis' films are filled with similar trickery.)

The photo was taken on May 14, 1994, at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, where he had invited his friends to come celebrate his 50th birthday. Incidentally, Zemeckis had worked with De Palma and Bob Gale circa 1986 on a screenplay for an idea De Palma had called Carpool, in which a murder is witnessed from a car's rearview mirror (shades of a scene in Body Double, made two years prior). De Palma has referred to this potential project as "Rear Window on wheels."

Posted by Geoff at 7:15 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:41 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (14) | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, December 23, 2010

Michael Cristofer talked to Movieline's Mike Ryan this week as Brian De Palma's film of The Bonfire Of The Vanities turns 20. Cristofer, who tells Ryan that he managed to stay away from Julie Salamon's book about the making of the film, The Devil's Candy, cited two simple reasons for the film's demise: Warner Brothers' undermining of De Palma's casting, and the sudden demand two or three weeks prior to shooting that the great, detailed script he and De Palma had worked on had to be cut down from 180 pages (a three-hour film) to around 110 pages (a two-hour film). Here is what Cristofer had to say to Movieline regarding what went wrong with Bonfire Of The Vanities:

Oh, it’s a very simple answer: When Brian De Palma and I were working on the script, Warner Brothers agreed that we would do a three-hour film. It was going to be a three-hour epic version of that book. I wrote a script that everyone around Hollywood and New York who read the script said that not only was it the best script that I had ever written, but it was one of the best screenplays ever written. And I say that humbly because it was Brian who really helped me a lot. I mean, we really worked closely on making that script. You know, he’s a genius. His IQ is like 160 or something. Really, it was a tough job and I had done a version of it and then Brian came on and then we really, really worked closely together. And he was storyboarding the whole script as we were writing it. I learned more about directing on that film then probably on any other film where I worked as a writer.

“And what happened was two things: Number one, Warner Brothers completely undermined Brian’s casting of the picture. I don’t remember who all of the people were meant to be. Tom [Hanks] was in, that was OK. But, you know, Bruce Willis, that part was supposed to be played by Michael Caine. There were other casting choices that Warner Brothers totally interfered with, and [the studio] threatened to throw Brian off of the picture if he didn’t comply.

And then, finally, like three weeks or two weeks before we started shooting, they gave us the news that the film had to be two hours. It had to be under two hours. So, what was a really terrific script, and what would have made probably a very good movie, ended up being edited down in the space of 48 hours. I mean, we just cut the sh*t out of the script. And, what happened, because of that, was it took on a kind of broader, cartoon sort of feel that just didn’t work. It just didn’t work. Because, you know, when you’ve got something that’s filled with detail and you take out all of the detail and make it shorter, it just got broader, broader, broader and broader.

“I think that’s what did it: It was 180 pages of script that we had to cut down to like 110. And we didn’t have the time to do it. There was no time do it. You know, we didn’t have four or five weeks, we had to do it overnight. I’ve actually never read the book that Salamon wrote, The Devil’s Candy. I’ve actually never read it because I manged to avoid her during the entire shoot. [Laughs] So I know a lot of other stuff went on, but the basic problem, that was it, as far as I was concerned. I look at it now and I realize the script is ruined, so the movie is ruined.”

Meanwhile, the blogger at MovieShlep thinks Bonfire Of The Vanities deserves a second look.

Posted by Geoff at 12:44 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 23, 2010 12:46 AM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, December 20, 2010
In a brief update for De Palma a la Mod, Brian De Palma says that he is still looking for a cast for The Toyer. You may be thinking, "What's that? Why are you putting a 'The' in front of 'Toyer'?" Well, it looks like that is the official title, according to a Production Weekly listing from last August. Not only that, but I have seen the screenplay, in which after a prolonged prologue, a title comes up on the screen that reads "The Toyer." This screenplay has about five main characters, but one character in particular requires a deft bit of casting along the lines of someone like Rie Rasmussen from Femme Fatale. And of course the two main characters have to be strong presences. It will be interesting to see who eventually fills in these roles.

De Palma also said that he and Edward Pressman and Paul Williams are currently looking for financial backers to get the stage version of Phantom Of The Paradise off the ground.

Posted by Geoff at 3:40 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (5) | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Something that seems to have slipped by underneath my radar is the fact that Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise is one of Guillermo Del Toro's very favorite films. In 2002, he told the Austin Chronicle's Marc Savlov that the film changed his life when he was young. Earlier this year, Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles mentioned Del Toro's dream of remaking Phantom Of The Paradise:

One night Guillermo Del Toro and I agreed that nobody that didn’t like PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE could be cool. And then we spent many hours as he told me why he wanted to remake it as I spent hours convincing him that it would never be as brilliant as the original. Then Guillermo cried in my arms and suckled upon my thumb. At least. That’s how I remember the conversation. I’ll never forget BNAT 1. Guillermo screened his 35mm print of this as we sat together, annoyingly singing out loud every lyric from memory.

Last week, Criterion released Del Toro's feature debut, Cronos, on DVD and Blu-Ray. One of the bonus features is called "Welcome to Bleak House, a video tour by del Toro of his office." According to Manekikoneko, the tour includes several mentions of Phantom Of The Paradise, with "models and everything." (Manekikoneko thinks Del Toro may have mentioned Phantom during the Cronos commentary track, as well, but does not remember for sure.) In any case, about a month ago, Del Toro moderated a discussion with fellow Phantom fan Edgar Wright, along with the cast and creator of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World at Los Angeles' Egyptian Theatre. At one point, Del Toro and Wright agree that they share at least two very favorite films: De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, and Mike Hodges's Flash Gordon, both of which were among the cinematic influences on Wright's Scott Pilgrim adaptation.

Posted by Geoff at 11:24 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:28 PM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Swan Archives has dug itself into the control room of Swan's Video Surveillance Center and opened up a new section that looks at Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise scene-by-scene. As can be seen from the snapshot above, frames from the film are used to explore each scene from a variety of angles, including an enormously entertaining amount of behind-the-scenes notes. Two of my favorites: the Archive notes that the whole idea of removing the prisoners' teeth is a direct reference to Nathanael West's 1934 novel, A Cool Million; and the Archive also points out that the incidental music arranged by George Aliceson Tipton for a scene in Phoenix's dressing room is really an arrangement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1. Each of these is highlighted with links to, respectively, the text of the appropriate page from West's novel, and audio clips of Beethoven and the Tipton arrangement. Put together with love and wit, these pages will keep any fan reading for hours. Bravo!

Posted by Geoff at 10:05 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 10:07 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, December 6, 2010
Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan opened in select North American theaters this past weekend, and the reviews comparing the film to the work of Brian De Palma and Roman Polanski are piling up. The initial Variety review compared Black Swan superficially to De Palma's Sisters and Femme Fatale, and a couple of the recent reviews add De Palma's Carrie into the mix, apparently due in large part to the mother role played by Barbara Hershey. Here's a rundown:

Ray Pride, New City
"Simultaneously pretentious and lurid, ripe with mirrors, doubles, mirrorings, dopplegangers, Black Swan‘s temper is pitched at the level of a Brian De Palma adaptation of Polanski’s Repulsion that’s convinced it’s being directed by Stanley Kubrick."

Scott Weinberg, FearNet
"Perhaps it's just because I naturally look for these sorts of things, but throughout the whole of Aronofsky's piece I caught glimpses of the early thrillers from Nicolas Roeg, Roman Polanski, Brian De Palma, Dario Argento, and (yes) even some quick dashes of David Cronenberg."

Richard Brody, The New Yorker
"Black Swan calls to mind, more dramatically and more deeply than anything since the heyday of Brian De Palma, the work—and the life—of Alfred Hitchcock, all the more so since Aronofsky brings Natalie Portman’s naturally cold performance style to bear on the character of Nina in precisely the way that Hitchcock brilliantly employed Tippi Hedren, in The Birds and Marnie, to embody a porcelain perfection that was essentially the subject of both films. All three films are stories of possessive mothers and absent fathers."

Richard von Busack, Mr. MovieTimes
"The wildness of Black Swan’s color is a treat in a cinematic world where we’re putting up with the worst color since 1932, thanks to endless computerized twiddling. Some of the awed reception of Black Swan seems to reflect the need for a great movie this time of year—or is it mindfulness of Michael Powell’s broken-hearted ghost, grieving at those who couldn’t succumb to The Red Shoes? Black Swan is less like Powell and much more like a Brian De Palma film, anyway—it’s a film of technical virtuosity, shock and voyeurism, but without De Palma’s sense of play or wit."

J. Hoberman. The Village Voice
"Not body but ballet horror, Black Swan is a Red Shoes/Repulsion/Carrie mash-up, slathered with Dario Argento cheese."

Richard Corliss, TIME
"It's reminiscent of older, better movies: the late-'40s backstage dramas A Double Life (Ronald Colman plays Othello and becomes fatally jealous of his actress ex-wife) and the classic ballet melodrama The Red Shoes; and of films about tender, troubled psyches — I won't say which ones — by Roman Polanski, Dario Argento, Brian De Palma, David Cronenberg and David Fincher. Black Swan also takes a view of women that might kindly be described as old-fashioned."

Dann Gire, Daily Herald
"Black Swan effortlessly escorts us into Nina’s paranoia with living daydreams and nightmares, some violent, some overtly sexual. Aronofsky dabbles in the sort of hallucinatory sleight-of-narrative perfected by Brian De Palma, but never crosses into the realm of exploitation or cheap shock value."

Jeannette Catsoulis, npr
"Gorgeous and glacial, ecstatically photographed and wonderfully acted — Cassel's wordless play of expressions when Nina finally kisses him in character as the Black Swan is remarkable — Black Swan feels frustratingly incomplete. Obsession and repression are powerful themes, but you have to take them somewhere. It's not enough simply to emulate Dario Argento's glam-goth palette, David Cronenberg's bodily invasions, Adrian Lyne's softcore menace (a nightclub scene is right out of Jacob's Ladder) and Brian De Palma's demented sensibility. For all the influences on display, the one filmmaker who might have taken Black Swan from the lurid to the lyrical is Polanski: Take a look at Catherine Deneuve cowering in her apartment in Repulsion and tell me I'm wrong."

Al Kratina, The Montreal Gazette
"Darren Aronofsky's latest film is nothing if not filmic insanity, with all the showy formalism of a Brian De Palma film mixed with the delirium of Oliver Stone and a rotten batch of mescaline. But there's something so captivating about it's swirling, deliberate psychosis."

Jordan Hoffman, UGO
"Dario Argento's Showgirls goes Lincoln Center? Sure, why not? Argento is just one beloved auteur who may come to mind. This tale of a young ballerina descending into a self-designed madness as she strives for artistic perfection had me flashing on the Brian De Palma of Sisters and Carrie and the Polanski of Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. One could also describe it as a feminine Fight Club. All of these analogies are valid (and all are comparisons to worthy films - even Showgirls) but what's most important (and what I hope doesn't get diluted amidst all the name-dropping) is that Black Swan is very much its own movie. Its balance of horror tropes and formidable performances against a high culture milieu is innovative and fresh and very, very watchable."

Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"This eye-popping, inspired and often-demented (in a good way) cross between The Red Shoes and All About Eve channels horror maestros David Cronenberg, Brian De Palma and Dario Argento. It’s also something of a companion piece to Aronofsky’s The Wrestler (the unsettling ending is very similar) but far surpasses the earlier film."

Benjamin Sutton, The L Magazine
"As for Hershey playing the mother of all mothering mothers, Brian De Palma’s Carrie repeatedly came to mind."

Damon Wise, Virtual Neon
"At the moment, the film, for me, is still too fresh to filter, but I suspect that once it has settled, and I've stopped wondering why it reminded me of films as diverse as Brian De Palma's Sisters, P&P's Black Narcissus and John Cassavetes' Opening Night, it will reveal itself as a film of great power and longevity."

Greg Christie, twitch
"Essentially, Black Swan is Repulsion & Perfect Blue by way of Showgirls with heavy influences of Brian De Palma & Kenneth Anger thrown in for good measure. In fact, I think I could easily liken this to the work of the Kuchar Brothers as well. With a combination like that, this should play like gangbusters for the cult set. The problem is that this isn't nearly as intelligent of a mindfuck as Repulsion or Perfect Blue. It tries to be a slow burn but comes across as just plain dull for the first hour. Until Natalie Portman starts to turn into a fucking Swan at the end of Act 2, nearly every line of dialogue and every character is about as cliché as they come. And for all of the hokey dialogue and sleazy sex, it lacks the guilty pleasure thrills of Showgirls or the full on psychedelic imagery of Mr. Anger."

Jesse Hawken, via Twitter
"Black Swan is Brian De Palma's first film since Redacted."

Posted by Geoff at 6:11 PM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It is well known that Brian De Palma used a body double for Angie Dickinson's opening shower scene in his 1980 film Dressed To Kill. Now old school De Palma regular Rutanya Alda has revealed that she provided the orgasmic vocals for Dickinson's character, Kate Miller, as she is ravished by a stranger in a taxi cab. Alda, who appeared in several early De Palma films (Greetings, Hi, Mom!, and The Fury), was the guest of honor November 19th at the New York Film Academy Screening Room, where she took part in a Q&A hosted by New York filmmakers Bryan Norton and Joe Zaso. The video above, featuring clips from several of Alda's films, was played at the start of the evening. The video concludes with the aforementioned scene from Dressed To Kill, with a note of trivia superimposed that reads, "As favor to Brian De Palma, Rutanya dubbed Angie Dickinson's hilarious moans of pleasure in this scene from DRESSED TO KILL." Jed Central has a brief account of the evening.

There have been other known or rumored instances of voice dubs in De Palma films. Dressed To Kill features another familiar voice as "Bobbi," the alter ego of Michael Cain's Dr. Elliott, voiced by William Finley, and heard within the diegesis of the film only on an answering machine. It is rumored that Helen Shaver dubbed the voice of Deborah Shelton in De Palma's Body Double (which would mean, perhaps, that Shaver's is the voice of passion in that film's "yes/no" make-out scene just outside the tunnel). Charles Durning provided a voiceover dub for the opening interrogation scene in Scarface. And finally, Amy Irving provided a favor to De Palma by dubbing the voice of the young Vietnamese-American woman played by Thuy Thu Le in the final scene of Casualties Of War. After all this dubbing, it is interesting to watch Shelton show off her lip-synching abilities in this commercial (circa early 1990s) below: 

Posted by Geoff at 11:39 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 7:19 AM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, November 28, 2010

Posted by Geoff at 9:51 PM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Well, just a week after the news about the Kritzerland release of the complete Pino Donaggio score to Brian De Palma's Carrie, Varese Sarabande has announced a limited edition release of the soundtrack to Donaggio's second collaboration with De Palma, Home Movies (thanks to Randy!). This release, which features all of the same tracks as the original vinyl release, is limited to 1000 copies, and is expected to go fast, so if you want one, don't hesitate.

Meanwhile, earlier this month (on November 9th), Donaggio was a special guest at Cinema Detour's celebration in Rome of De Palma's 70th birthday. The event was a presentation of the recently published Italian study, The Writing Of The Gaze: The Cinema of Brian De Palma, edited by Massimiliano Spanu and Fabio Zanello. Four of the book's authors were in attendance: M. Deborah Farina ("De Palma Underground: The Independent Production"), Domenico Monetti ("Sound and Vision: Images With Sound in Blow Up"), Diego Mondello ("Scarface and His Followers"), and Edvige Liotta ("Shapes of Utopia: Notes on Mission to Mars"). The evening concluded with a screening of De Palma's award-winning short Wotan's Wake, a rare treat in Italy (and in the U.S.!).

Posted by Geoff at 12:51 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, November 25, 2010 2:40 AM CST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, November 18, 2010

If you've been thinking things have been quiet over at Virtuoso Of The 7th Art lately, now you know why-- webmaster Romain Desbiens has been busy making a short film of his own. Frénésie (which translates into "Frenzy," although Desbiens says there is no link with Alfred Hitchcock's film) is a comically disturbing Polanski-esque trip into the absurd. Desbiens says he took a bit of inspiration from Brian De Palma with some high-angle shots, and a nod to Dressed To Kill in the subway scene. Desbiens had hoped to submit Frénésie as part of a French festival of short films in December, but battles with the producer of the film will keep it underground for now.

Posted by Geoff at 12:02 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, November 18, 2010 10:59 AM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink | Share This Post