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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

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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« January 2015 »
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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
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The De Palma Touch

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Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

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The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

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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

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A Lonely Place

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italkyoubored

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Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
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Motion Pictures Comics

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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
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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.
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Thursday, January 22, 2015
REMASTERED & EXPANDED 'OBSESSION' SOUNDTRACK
ARCHIVAL EDITION LIMITED TO 3000 UNITS, AVAILABLE FEB 16 2015
24-PAGE BOOKLET INCLUDES NEW INTERVIEWS WITH PAUL HIRSCH & GEORGE LITTO



Thanks to Randy for passing along the news that Music Box Records will release a newly remastered and expanded edition of Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack to Brian De Palma's Obsession. The set, limited to 3000 copies, will be released February 16th. Here is the press release posted at Film Score Monthly:
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In collaboration with Litto Enterprises Inc., Music Box Records is very proud to present one of its most ambitious releases yet - a classic Bernard Herrmann score from one of his last efforts and an important milestone in his immense career for Brian De Palma´s classic melodrama Obsession (1976) written by Paul Schrader and starring Geneviève Bujold, Cliff Robertson and John Lithgow.

In a career often spent paying tribute to Alfred Hitchcock with the likes of Dressed to Kill, Blow Out and Body Double, Obsession even today stands as De Palma’s ultimate fever dream homage to the director who’d made Bernard Herrmann a household name as the romantic master of musical suspense during an eight film collaboration, no more so than with 1958s Vertigo. Yet Obsession’s reincarnation of that masterpiece showed just how devious De Palma always was in his admiration, cloaking a truly seditious plot twist that would’ve given even Hitchcock pause within sleek, star-filtered visuals.

Obsession remains his most fervently romantic, and dare one say innocent attempt to recreate the studio gloss of a time when outright violence and sex were left to the mind’s eye, its rage and sensuality truly made explicit in its music. It’s a powerful, stylistic subtlety that increasingly made Obsession into the filmmaker’s most discerning cult film.

When at last Herrmann returned to his grandly symphonic style for a movie with a major pedigree, 1976s Obsession resounded with more haunted passion than ever before. It was a much movie score as it was Herrmann’s own requiem for an uninhibited scoring style that had become a ghost of itself in Hollywood. He composed a stunning score, filled with powerful themes, ominously underlined by an organ, or a harp, sometimes with abrupt choral flourishes, in eerie evocations of a mystery. He again creates an unusual combination to underscore the drama: a large cathedral organ and tympani as primary musical signature characters, and a small choir of wordless and sighing female voices, horns, winds and strings. The score was nominated for an Oscar for 'Best Original Score' in 1977.

For this special archival edition 2-CD set, Music Box Records has gathered the best sources available to this day in order to present faithfully the original score written by the composer.

CD 1 presents “The Film Score'. With the precious technical assistance of our sound engineer, we did our best to reconstruct and restore the score from the 5.1 Music Stem (courtesy of Sony Pictures) and a safety copy of the original tapes. The result is stunningly convincing. As such, we kindly ask you to listen to our samples and make a decision on the quality yourself.

CD 2 presents 'The Original 1976 Soundtrack Album' (courtesy of Universal Music) that was edited from Herrmann’s sessions and was specially remastered for this edition. We also corrected the cue titles of the 1976 London Decca release which were misnamed and incomplete in tracks 4 and 5. Now you have the details of all the right cues used in the original LP.

Our release offers a rare opportunity to hear the magnificent romantic Herrmann score in two different presentations and preserves the composer’s own irreplaceable interpretation, bringing this marvelous music back to life just 40 years after it was written. This Deluxe Edition with slipcase is limited to 3000 units and includes a 24-page full-color booklet with in-depth liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, sharing his comments about the film and the score, including new interviews with editor Paul Hirsch and producer George Litto. Everyone will no doubt be 'obsessed' with this true original masterpiece!

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Posted by Geoff at 6:49 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
VIDEO: EPISODE OF 'CUT' LOOKS AT 'CARLITO'S WAY'

Posted by Geoff at 10:57 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 11:12 PM CST
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015
CRITIC LINKS 'SELMA' TO 'UNTOUCHABLES', 'POTEMKIN'
"PAY ATTENTION... THIS IS THE CASUALLY BRUTAL WORLD IN WHICH THESE CHARACTERS LIVE"


The Leader's Erich Van Dussen begins his review of Ava DuVernay's Selma by linking its approach with that of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables:

"Early in The Untouchables (1987)," writes Van Dussen, "director Brian DePalma constructs a quaintly banal Depression-era scene in which a young girl enters a corner market, carries on an innocent exchange with the shopkeeper – and is horrifyingly struck down with a sudden act of violence. That sequence could be dropped whole into a filmmaker's textbook, both for its narrative skills at establishing the vital stakes for the story that will follow and for its cinematic canniness at riveting our focus to the screen. Pay attention, it tells us, because this is the casually brutal world in which these characters live. If such a textbook exists, director Ava DuVernay has absorbed every page. Her third feature, Selma (rated PG-13), is a stirring account of a crucial few months in the civil rights battles of the 1960s, imbued with all the respectful dignity that such a subject demands."

Toward the end of the review, Van Dussen returns to the Untouchables theme:

"A scene early on echoes DePalma's Untouchables moment in its out-of-nowhere horror," Van Dussen states. "In another sequence, the retaliation of white Alabama troopers against King’s marchers during the first attempted Selma-Montgomery march is filmed as a kind of obscenely violent poetry that recalls the classic Odessa Steps scene in Battleship Potemkin (1925) for its portrayal of human suffering as a civic act."


Posted by Geoff at 3:00 AM CST
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Sunday, January 18, 2015
ALLEN, TRAVOLTA, ZSIGMOND & HIRSCH REUNITED
YESTERDAY, FOR DOC ABOUT CAREER OF VILMOS ZSIGMOND


Nancy Allen shared three pics from the set of Brian De Palma's Blow Out on her Facebook page today (the pics were originally posted to Facebook by Marc Olry). Allen then added a comment to her post, writing, "Wonderful reunion yesterday with John Travolta, Vilmos Zsigmond and Paul Hirsch. We were filming part of a documentary about the extraordinary talent and career of Vilmos Zsigmond."

Posted by Geoff at 5:22 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, January 18, 2015 5:24 PM CST
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Friday, January 16, 2015
COSTNER THANKS KASDAN, DE PALMA, ROBINSON, SHELTON
"THERE'S REALLY NOT ENOUGH WORDS-- YOU HANDED ME MY CAREER"
Kevin Costner was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award last night at the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards, presented by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Following an introduction by Rene Russo (a longtime friend of Costner's, fighting laryngitis) and Storage Wars auctioneer Dan Dotson, a montage of clips from Costner's films was screened, which included several bits from The Untouchables, highlighted by Costner's "You're not from Chicago" line in the movie. During his acceptance speech, Costner said, "I'd like to thank the directors who took a chance on me early: to Lawrence Kasdan, Brian De Palma, Phil Robinson, and of course, Ron Shelton. There's really not enough words-- you handed me my career."

Posted by Geoff at 12:13 AM CST
Updated: Friday, January 16, 2015 12:14 AM CST
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Thursday, January 15, 2015
NEW BOOK HAS CHAPTER ON DE PALMA
3RD VOLUME OF 'FAITH & SPIRITUALITY IN MASTERS OF WORLD CINEMA', PUBLISHED NEXT MONTH


Amazon link

Religious Imagery In The Films Of Brian De Palma
(blog post by Ryan M. Holt from February 28, 2014)


Posted by Geoff at 9:35 PM CST
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015
COSTNER TO GET BFCA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
AT BFCA CRITICS' CHOICE MOVIE AWARDS, JAN. 15 - LIVE ON A&E


Kevin Costner will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, during the BFCA Critics’ Choice Movie Awards on Thursday, January 15th. According to Variety's Malina Saval, the ceremony will be broadcast live on A&E. Saval quotes BFCA president Joey Berlin: "The choice of Kevin Costner to receive the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award was inspired by seeing his performance in Mike Binder’s terrific new movie, Black or White. Playing a grieving widower drawn into a custody battle over his adorable granddaughter, Kevin shows depth and range that reminds us of what a wonderful actor he truly is."

Posted by Geoff at 11:44 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:45 PM CST
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Sunday, January 11, 2015
'UNTOUCHABLES' GAME FROM OCEAN SOFTWARE
WRITER RECALLS HOW HOLLYWOOD-BASED GAMES INFORMED MEMORIES OF THE FILMS
Eurogamer's Graeme Virtue posted an article today about Ocean Software's video game adaptation of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, which he recalls came out a couple of years after the film. "Things only get confusing in the late 1980s and early 1990s," states Virtue, "when Ocean Software were licensing major Hollywood action films willy-nilly, then enthusiastically marketing their game tie-ins to consumers who were often too young to go and see the actual movie. In these cases, the experiences of game and movie sometimes become so entwined that it's impossible to separate the different memories." Here's an excerpt in which he provides details of the Untouchables game:
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The Untouchables, which arrived on 8-bit and 16-bit almost two years after Brian De Palma's 1987 movie had been a sizeable critical and commercial hit, felt marvellous at the time: an expansive, polished Prohibition-era shoot-em-up that offered up six relatively distinct mini-games. Thankfully, none of them involved completing a sliding block puzzle of Sean Connery's scowling face as Irish beat cop Malone, although many included the illicit thrill of a bootleg liquor gauge, even if your dogged G-Man was mostly destroying the booze rather than imbibing it. My experience on the Spectrum should have been the most lo-fi of all the home computer versions, but it somehow seemed like the classiest - enviably crisp sprites rendered in a consistent palette of black and cool blue, accompanied by a series of digitised mugshots that kinda, sorta looked like at least some of the actors.

Intentionally or not, The Untouchables was also a system-seller, as the downside of having six completely different levels was having to load almost every single one of them separately. Ownership or access to a disk-drive-enabled Spectrum +3 was absolutely essential for maximum enjoyment. On old-fashioned cassette, the tussle for Chicago supremacy between Eliot Ness and Al Capone became a downtime-punctuated crawl. To exacerbate matters, the first level was actually the worst - a platform scramble round an anonymous warehouse, with you as Kevin Costner's dourly single-minded Ness, tasked with gathering evidence against the notorious crime boss through the time-honoured process of wasting gangsters, hopping between precariously-stacked pallets and picking up violin cases to access a Thompson sub-machine gun.

Even Ocean must have suspected that floaty platforming didn't showcase their game at its best, as they widely released the second level as a demo instead. This turned out to be a masterstroke, because that instalment - based on a bootlegger shoot-out on a bridge at the Canadian border - is the best of the lot. In the spirit of the arcade game Cabal, it's a thrilling shooting gallery where your character is also visible on-screen, rolling across the ground while firing off rifle rounds and destroying hooch barrels. A separate binocular scope nominally shows where you're aiming, but it's pretty easy to gauge from the trail of dustclod ricochets and trenchcoat-wrapped bodies you leave in your trigger-happy wake.

The third level, where you heft a shotgun in a tense alleyway shootout and swap between your four Untouchables to keep the mission-vital ones alive, is almost as good. But it's level four - where the action switches from side-on to top-down - that is especially memorable, as it recreates the most iconic scene in the movie, a haphazard shootout at a railway station that takes place while a baby's pram bumps through the crossfire. It was De Palma's celebrated, agonisingly drawn-out tribute to the Odessa Steps massacre in the silent movie classic Battleship Potemkin.

Just as BDP atomised and expanded what must have been a pretty sparse page of script - there's no dialogue, apart from a mimed scream of "my baby!" from the panicking mother - so the game extends it even further, charging you with managing the health of both Ness and the baby. Admittedly, it's another shooting gallery, albeit one that gives you the morally questionable option to use the pram as a temporary shield, safe in the knowledge that you can subsequently hustle it toward a restorative first-aid kit at the next landing. But 25 years on, another thought occurs: did The Untouchables accidentally invent the dreaded escort mission?

In the movie, the sharp suits for gangsters and G-Men alike were designed by Giorgio Armani. The score was just as lavish and lovingly tailored: a sumptuous, thrilling, Oscar-nominated suite by Ennio Morricone, It's unclear whether Ocean ever had the option to try and recreate the work of the Italian master, although 8-bit sound chips would certainly have struggled to recreate the querulous mouth organ and slightly detuned piano that characterise his soundtrack.

Instead, they opted for a very different but ultimately inspired route. Jonathan Dunn, Ocean's astonishingly talented in-house maestro, adapted the chirpy rags of Scott Joplin, imbuing the game with a bouncy, cheery energy that - while slightly at odds with the demands of mowing down dozens of wise guys - gives it an undeniable vim and vigour. It may have triggered a little cognitive dissonance in historians and cinephiles - ragtime was on its way out by the time Prohibition kicked in, and the syncopated style was also indelibly associated with The Sting, another sharply-tailored period piece - but it undeniably helped synthesise a cohesive identity for a potshot-pourri of a game. Deployed alongside the uniform colour scheme, it helped bind the disparate levels together, and make The Untouchables one of the most aesthetically successful video game movie adaptations of all time.

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Posted by Geoff at 7:20 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, January 11, 2015 7:21 PM CST
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Saturday, January 10, 2015
OSCARS TO HOST 'PHANTOM' SCREENING JAN 23
DOUBLE FEATURE WITH 'ALL THAT JAZZ' PART OF CONTEMPORARY COSTUMING THEME
On January 23rd, the Oscars will host a double feature with the title "Street Clothes: Contemporary Costuming in New Hollywood." The two movies that will make up the double feature are Bob Fosse's All That Jazz (at 7:30 pm, from DCP) and Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise (at 9:50 pm, in 35mm). The screenings will take place at the Bing Theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Oscars web page description of Phantom includes a sentence about the costumes:

"Writer-director Brian De Palma remade Gaston Leroux’s classic novel The Phantom of the Opera as a horror-rock musical that has remained one of his most visually dazzling movies. Winslow Leach (De Palma regular William Finley) is a talented but naïve songwriter whose ambitious rock version of Faust is stolen by Machiavellian music mogul Swan (Paul Williams, who also wrote the Oscar-nominated song score). Driven mad by a disfiguring accident, Winslow faces off against Swan for the love of beautiful young singer Phoenix (Jessica Harper), culminating in a thrilling finale that shows off De Palma’s pictorial and editorial mastery. A box office disappointment at the time of its release (except in Winnipeg), Phantom has been elevated to cult status, and Rosanna Norton’s imaginative and eye-popping costumes – a direct influence on Daft Punk’s leather-bound, helmet-clad aesthetic – help bridge the film’s wildly disparate genres."

Posted by Geoff at 11:36 AM CST
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Friday, January 9, 2015
DE PALMA RETROSPECTIVE IN BARCELONA
RUNS JANUARY 14-30 AT PHENOMENA, "THE ULTIMATE CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE"


Thanks to Jordi for letting us know about an upcoming Brian De Palma retrospective, not in Brazil this time (see two recent posts here and here), but in Barcelona, Spain. The retrospective, titled "Under the Gaze of Brian De Palma," runs January 14-30, and takes place at a new cinema in Barcelona, Phenomena, which bills itself as "The Ultimate Cinematic Experience." The series kicks off Wednesday with De Palma's Scarface, followed by Carrie (Jan. 16), Dressed To Kill (Jan. 16), The Untouchables (Jan. 18), Phantom Of The Paradise (Jan. 21), Raising Cain (Jan. 23), Obsession (Jan. 23), Mission: Impossible (Jan. 25), Carlito's Way (Jan. 28), Body Double (Jan. 30), and closing with Blow Out (Jan. 30).

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CST
Updated: Friday, January 9, 2015 11:58 PM CST
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