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Domino is
a "disarmingly
work that "pushes
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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
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De Palma/Lehman
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in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

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

Supercut video
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edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


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Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
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AV Club Review
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Sunday, November 25, 2012
La-La Land Records announced on Friday that it will release an expanded 2-CD set of Ennio Morricone's soundtrack to Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. The set, timed to mark the 25th anniversary of The Untouchables, will be a limited edition of 3500 units, with liner notes by Jeff Bond. It will be available on the La-La Land Records website beginning December 4th, at 1pm pacific, according to a press release posted on the Film Score Monthly Message Board. Disc one will feature the score as heard in the film, while disc two, according to the press release, "features the Grammy award winning album presentation as well a number of bonus tracks including the unused song performed by Randy Edelman that was based on the love theme from the film. What makes this release extra special is now the fans of the score can hear both versions of the Maestro’s powerful score on cd – the film mix as well as the original album mix – both have never sounded better!" A full track listing can be found at Soundtrack.net.
(Thanks to Randy!)

Posted by Geoff at 10:31 PM CST
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
This interview is two months old, but it was kind of skipped over with all of the Passion news going on at the time. Actually, at the time, I had tried to embed the video interview to the De Palma a la Mod blog, but the embed code wouldn't work for some reason. (Update-- Go to the comments section below to see the embedded video, thanks to Rado!) MTV's Kevin P. Sullivan talked to Brian De Palma at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and De Palma told him that he was considered as director for two Alfred Hitchcock biopics that have appeared this year: The Girl, directed by Julian Jarrold, which premiered on HBO last month; and Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi, which hits theaters this week. The former puts a close-up on the relationship between Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren, who starred in Hitchcock's The Birds and Marnie. The latter, written by John J. McLaughlin (who had for a time worked on the screenplay to Parker with De Palma before that project was taken on by Taylor Hackford) looks at the making of Hitchcock's Psycho.

"They were all sent to me," De Palma told Sullivan, "so I know exactly what they're all about. I was the top of the list." De Palma, however, turned these projects down. "We should leave the man alone," he told Sullivan. "He's a great master, and these are kind of disturbing views of him and making these movies."

A Huffington Post article by Lynn Elber starts off with this:


After a private screening of HBO's "The Girl" held for Tippi Hedren, her friends and family, including daughter Melanie Griffith, the reaction was silence.

Make that stunned silence, as the room took in the film's depiction of a scorned, vindictive Alfred Hitchcock physically and emotionally abusing Hedren during production of "The Birds."

"I've never been in a screening room where nobody moved, nobody said anything," Hedren recounted. "Until my daughter jumped up and said, `Well, now I have to go back into therapy.'"


Incidentally, Tippi Hedron portrayed the mother of Melanie Griffith's character on the season premiere of FOX-TV's Raising Hope last month-- and if you'd kept the channel tuned for the program after that, you would have seen Griffith's daughter Dakota Johnson starring in the new show Ben and Kate.

Also in the MTV interview, Sullivan asked De Palma about the Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising. "It's quite a good script," De Palma told Sullivan, "but it's owned by Paramount. We had it together with different casts at different times, but it never seemed to work out. It's still there. I've always been amazed to think about how many scripts are sitting in studio vaults that are actually great scripts, that if anybody would go down and read them, they would be amazed at what's there. There must be tons of them."

Back on September 13, De Palma was asked about the prequel by Collider's Phil Brown. "I don’t know," De Palma said regarding whether the film will ever happen. "We’ve had it cast many times, but we’ve just never been able to get everything together at the same time. It’s owned by Paramount so there’s nothing I can do." When asked who he'd planned to cast in it, De Palma replied, "At one point I think I had Nicolas Cage playing Capone. Gerald Butler was going to do the Sean Connery part. I think we even had Benicio Del Toro as Capone at one point. We had so many great people attached. It’s one of those legendarily great scripts that actors would die to play, but we’ve just never been able to get it all together with Paramount."

Posted by Geoff at 9:52 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 11:01 AM CST
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The Carlotta Films DVD and Blu-Ray editions of Brian De Palma's Blow Out and Dressed To Kill are released in France this week, and Fiction Factory has details (as well as 2-minute teasers) about the new interview segments it filmed and provided for the new editions. "Rag Doll Memories: Nancy Allen on Blow Out" runs 21 minutes. "Black and White in Color: Vilmos Zsigmond on Blow Out," with a running time of 27 minutes, has the cinematographer discussing his work with De Palma on Blow Out, and "that film’s particular challenges, like flashing technique and split diopters," according to the Fiction Family web site. "Return to Philadelphia: George Litto on Blow Out" is an 18-minute interview with the producer.

"Lessons in Filmmaking: Keith Gordon on Dressed to Kill," with a running time of 30 minutes, has Gordon discussing the filmmaking lessons he learned while acting in Dressed To Kill. "Dressed in Purple: Nancy Allen on Dressed to Kill," with a running time of 22 minutes, has Allen talking "about her character, Liz, the costumes designed by Ann Roth, and her co-stars Angie Dickinson, Keith Gordon and Michael Caine. "Dressed in White: Angie Dickinson on Dressed to Kill," which runs 29 minutes, has this description: "Angie Dickinson remembers the shooting of Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill and discusses her role scene by scene." Also on the DTK DVD and Blu-Ray is "Symphony of Fear: George Litto on Dressed to Kill," which runs 17 minutes.

The Blow Out sets also include a 27-minute interview with Pino Donaggio in which he talks about his career as a violinist, then popular singer, and on through his ongoing collaboration with De Palma. There is also a 7-minute analysis of Blow Out by critic Jean Douchet. Both Blow Out and Dressed To Kill include an 8-minute introduction from Samuel Blumenfeld.

Posted by Geoff at 12:25 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, November 24, 2012 10:14 PM CST
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Monday, November 19, 2012
About a week after it was announced that George Lucas was selling the Star Wars franchise to Disney, Entertainment Weekly's Carrie Bell asked Quentin Tarantino if he was interested in the upcoming movies. "I could so care less,” Tarantino responded. “No, sorry. Especially if Disney’s going to do it. I’m not interested in the Simon West version of Star Wars.” (Funny, but that sounds suspiciously close to how I feel about the Simon West version of Heat.)

Posted by Geoff at 10:55 PM CST
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Sunday, November 18, 2012
Spinoff's Katie Calautti posted a very interesting interview with Kimberly Peirce this week, in which the director discusses several aspects of her upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie. When asked what she thinks she brings to the project as a woman, following the male points of view that created the original novel and the Brian De Palma film, Peirce replies, "Well, let’s say as a director, because my femaleness comes and goes. [laughs] Stephen King is a man and he wrote the book, and the book is brilliant, so how did that happen? Well, what’s interesting is, you know the story: that he was working as a janitor and he found a bloody tampon and he thought it was really gross. Then he wrote about, ‘What if a girl was tortured by this bloody tampon?’ That’s fascinating. That’s a lot of fear around a period! So that makes sense, that a man would have that fear, and that a man could create this brilliant archetypal story from that. So I don’t know that male or female is what’s right, it’s just that the lens tips. So he tipped it a certain way, then I come in, and I can definitely see why a period is gross and a period is scary and why a girl going through that could be terrified. But you know, maybe in my experience there’s other things that I can bring to it – which is, I deal with that, I get it. But then we get to the mother/daughter relationship. Men have complicated relationships with their mothers, so they can understand that. I have a very complicated relationship with my mother, and there’s a lot of love, there’s been a lot of war, and there has been breakups. And that is something that most women will tell you, is your relationship with your mother can be very claustrophobic to women, can lead to breakups. So maybe there’s just things that I’ve experienced that I was able to bring to it."

Peirce also dicusses the difference in ages of Sissy Spacek, who was 27 when she played Carrie in De Palma's film, and Chloë Grace Moretz, who is 15 now as she plays Carrie for Peirce. Peirce tells Calautti that she did want to cast age-appropriate actors for her film, but she had to tell Moretz that to play Carrie, she would have to tone down the natural youthful confidence she has. "You have all this stuff that I’m glad you have as a human being," Peirce says she told Moretz, "but to be this character we gotta lose the confidence, we gotta lose the childishness, and we have to have a need for rebellion."

Peirce also discusses with Calautti the similarities between the horror genre and her previous films. "Well, Boys Don’t Cry was not exactly a romantic comedy. [laughs] But let’s just say my other movies are cousins of horror. It was fantastic, because I realized – it being the cousin of what I’ve done before, the structure’s the same. I still want you to be terrified, I still want you to be affected viscerally by everything. I still want you to dream, but I can have … there’s a more obvious fun, which is, you know, when the mother’s beating up the daughter I don’t want you to say, 'Oh, I feel bad' like maybe you felt in my other movies. I want you to say, 'Oh, God, that’s great – do it again!' There’s a moment when Margaret hits Carrie with the Bible, and every time I screen it everybody’s like, 'Wow, why do we like that?' Because there’s pleasure in the pain. So it’s about celebrating the pain. It’s a turning of the dial."

Finally, Calautti asks Peirce if she felt any pressure to compete with the famous ending of De Palma's version. "Well," she tells Calautti, "Brian said to me, 'So what are you gonna do about that end?' And I was like, 'Brian, I know you revolutionized cinema …' [laughs] Of course it’s on my mind! I’m not blind to the brilliance of his movie, but I’m also not blind to the fact that I can’t go down a road that he’s done. You have to be mindful. And I just don’t think you have to try to duplicate something that is so unique and so brilliant and revolutionized cinema. I mean, maybe I should be bolder and do it, but I think I’m a little too wise to. So I think you do something different, I think you just make sure your movie is what it is and that it fires on all cylinders as much as you can. And if you find yourself in a situation where you can top it, do it. But you probably won’t."

Posted by Geoff at 11:56 AM CST
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 7:01 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, November 18, 2012 12:44 AM CST
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Megan Abbott's latest book, Dare Me, takes place in the world of high school cheerleading, and has been described as Heathers meets Fight Club. Abbott is currently working on the screenplay adaptation of Dare Me for a film version in development with producer Karen Rosenfelt at Fox 2000. In an interview with William Boyle at Fiction Writers Review, Abbott discusses, among other things, the influence of David Lynch and Brian De Palma on Dare Me. Here are the first few paragraphs of the interview:

William Boyle: You cited Twin Peaks as a big influence on The End of Everything and you mentioned Laura Palmer in your article about competitive cheerleading for The New York Times a few weeks ago. I feel David Lynch’s presence in Dare Me, as well. There’s a Laura/Donna dynamic between Beth and Addy and a very palpable erotic tension throughout. Did Lynch influence Dare Me?

Megan Abbott: With me, it’s never one-to-one or conscious exactly. But this is interesting: when I had the title for The End of Everything I watched Mulholland Drive again and it’s a line in that film: “This is the end of everything.” Someone told me, “Oh, it’s also a line in your first book” [Die A Little], which I had written the year Mulholland Drive came out, so clearly that line is/was tattooed in my brain. So I think it mostly comes out in unconscious ways.

But that’s a great analogy. The Laura Palmer/Donna relationship is such a fundamental female friendship dynamic and that’s a perfect example with Beth and Addy. There’s always the one friend who takes all the air out of the room or is such a presence and the other one who is secondary and is longing to be that bigger person. There are those moments when Maddy comes and looks like Laura and then Donna realizes that she’s going to be dethroned again. There’s something about that complicated female dynamic that I think has been a pulse through a lot of my stuff.

And then sometimes I look at Lynch when I’m trying to add odd tensions to a scene. I get that a lot from him. It’s never direct either. But I’ll just sort of watch a bunch of his stuff to remind myself of why things are scary that wouldn’t necessarily seem scary. There’s a scene in Dare Me where Beth is talking about a dream she had and that definitely feels like a Lynch kind of thing. You know, when someone’s telling you the dream, but they’re telling it in a way that it becomes terrifying to the listener.

Also, in Lynch’s films everything is infused with eroticism. That’s something that’s probably characteristic of maybe all my books, but certainly the last two where it’s adolescence, so it takes over everything anyway.

William Boyle: Early in the book you confront the fetishization of cheerleaders head-on: “All those misty images of cheerleaders frolicking in locker rooms, pom-poms sprawling over bare bud breasts. All those endless fantasies and dirty-boy dreams, they’re all true in a way.” This put me in mind of Brian De Palma. It’s almost as if you’re playing a kind of trick he’d play, making us believe that’s true but yet undermining it with the portrait of the Cheerleader Real that you wind up painting. Was that your intention?

Megan Abbott: Absolutely. De Palma. I can never think of a female locker without thinking of the beginning of Carrie, which is exactly what “dirty boy-dreams” I had in mind. And it’s funny because I always feel like I go both ways with that. I love De Palma. I’m a big De Palma fan. And I want to diffuse the fantasy, but then it also turns out to be partially true. That’s always the thing—it’s the two sides of me. My Times essay is my intellectual take. I want this to be real. But when I write, it’s a different part of my brain—it also wants it partially to be a fantasy. And for it to be a fantasy part of it has to be true. So there are moments in the book where the fantasies are made real, they are kind of literal, there is a sensory pleasure the girls get from each other’s bodies even in just touching each other during stunts. I wanted that to be in there. The sort of thinking feminist part of my head wants to puncture this stuff, but the other part of me knows it is part of the Real in some ways, that all fantasies have some basis in reality. People always say De Palma’s a misogynist, but I think he’s actually really a feminist. And I think he gets to have it both ways. I mean, that’s sort of his trick. He’s making fun of it, but he’s still indulging it.

Posted by Geoff at 12:50 AM CST
Updated: Friday, November 16, 2012 4:41 PM CST
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Posted by Geoff at 12:08 AM CST
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
As co-creator Ryan Murphy stated last month, the current season of American Horror Story is under the influence of Brian De Palma. The first episode featured repeated music cues from Pino Donaggio's score for De Palma's Carrie, and the whole season so far has echoes of De Palma's Sisters here and there. Tonight's episode introduced a new character: a Nazi hunter named Sam Goodwin, played by Mark Margolis, who is perhaps best known as Alberto "The Shadow" in De Palma's Scarface. Margolis also made an uncredited appearance as a patient in De Palma's Dressed To Kill, another film Murphy mentioned as a direct influence on this season of American Horror Story. (Margolis has also gained recognition of late in another Scarface-influenced TV show, Breaking Bad.)

Margolis and Al Pacino appear in the upcoming Stand Up Guys, which, judging by the trailer below, has surface echoes of De Palma's Carlito's Way. And when Margolis appears in the trailer as some kind of crime boss ordering a hit on Pacino, who has just been released from prison, one can't help but think of their roles in Scarface, where Pacino as Tony Montana ends up killing Margolis' Alberto, and sealing his own fate in the process. Stand Up Guys is directed by Fisher Stevens, who incidentally once dated Scarface's Michelle Pfeiffer for about three years in the early 1990s. The film had its world premiere last month at the Chicago International Film Festival, and The Hollywood Reporter's Duane Byrge called it "a raunchy and touching comedy" that "lubricates its old joints—of the plot, genre and actors—quite entertainingly." Variety's Alissa Simon states that the film incorporates "conventions from and sendups of countless other pics," but feels that the "talky, tongue-in-cheek feature is most likable when the main characters are simply playing off each other."

Posted by Geoff at 11:27 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 11:33 PM CST
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Ipsilon's Francisco Valente posted an interview with Brian De Palma yesterday, in relation to the De Palma retrospective currently running at the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival. Here are some of De Palma's quotes from the article:

On the turmoil of the 1960s:

"The Vietnam War and the assassination of Kennedy made us aware that the government was deceiving us. When we realized that they lied about the war, and when we saw that the government was making excuses for the Kennedy assassination, none of that made sense to our eyes. For us, who trusted in our political leaders, it was a revelation. Today, obviously, we doubt everything they say."

On Redacted:

"With Iraq, we fell, again, to the lie of a war, and we sent kids there helpless to fight for something that they had no idea what it was. They had horrific experiences and then they too responded to them in a terrible way."

On establishing the idea of deception with the viewer:

"Film can be the art of deception. You can create movies that lie and deceive the public with pictures, and there are elements of it in my movies."

On the visual language of motion pictures:

"Many of the images developed in the movies are inspired by the material with which we work, but the advantage of thriller and horror films is that they rely on a specific visual language... Voyeurism is a staple of the cinema. It is intrinsic to the art, because the movie has to do with observing an action: we're pointing a camera at a person who pretends to not have a lens pointed at her... There is a vast reservoir of movies from the past which show how the way to tell a story visually has evolved, something that originated in the silents. We saw what happened when sound came in and made films in static forms, which worsened with television."

On beauty in cinema, and studio resistance:

"Beauty is an important idea for me, and there is not enough beauty in film, because it costs a lot of money to the studios... Making Scarface was a terrible struggle. Studios said it was too violent, and they had immense fear. We always find that kind of resistance in the industry and I don’t believe this has improved in the last two decades."

On the pictures getting smaller:

"Much of what we see on the screens [phone] and television coverage is just for boring dramatic events, instead of formats that seem to have the aspects necessary to tell a story in a visual way. They’re not able to create exciting visual experiences, which I feel are an important part of the cinema: large images made for a big screen... A film like Lawrence of Arabia or Once Upon a Time in the West would not make sense on a small screen. This part of the achievement has been lost today, and we see how movies are mechanical and do not have well choreographed sequences. And images that are repeated endlessly because they are programmed by a computer."

And in closing, Valente notes that De Palma's cinema has a sentimental layer underneath the suspense, and quotes De Palma once more:

"I'm drawn to classical tragedy because I see it as a way to tell a more emotional story. I'm only interested in art that is emotional, that withstands the test of time."

Posted by Geoff at 1:08 AM CST
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