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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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« February 2015 »
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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
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The Virtuoso
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Carrie...A Fan's Site

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No Harm In Charm

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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

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Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

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Guillotine

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italkyoubored

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Ferdy on Films

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EatSleepLiveFilm

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De Palma a la Mod
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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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Friday, February 27, 2015
PAPUSHADO LISTS DE PALMA AMONG INSPIRATIONS
'BIG BAD WOLVES' CO-DIRECTOR LISTS DUO'S FAVES, AND TALKS ABOUT BLENDING GENRES
Back in 2013, I posted some quotes from Fantasia Film Fest co-director Mitch Davis enthusing about Big Bad Wolves as a mix of the Coen Brothers, Park Chan-wook and Brian De Palma. Later that year, Quentin Tarantino declared the film his favorite of 2013.

Today, Impact's Sam Todd posted an interview with Navot Papushado, who co-directed Big Bad Wolves with Aharon Keshales. Prior to Wolves, the pair had made a feature called Rabies (pictured here), and they more recently provided a short film for the horror anthology ABCs of Death 2.

When asked by Todd to talk about what films or filmmakers have influenced Papushado and Keshales, Papushado replies, "Rabies was not only influenced by horror films. Our favourite directors, if I had to list them, would be Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski and William Friedkin. We realised that many of the great directors started in horror. Specifically for Rabies, we wondered what it would be like if Robert Altman directed a horror film, or something like Magnolia, where all these people are brought together by terrible circumstances. We drew inspiration from a lot of genres, horror films and just films we liked. We also took influence from recent Korean films, specifically their blending of genres, it’s dramatic, it’s horrific, it’s funny, it’s everything. We are great fans of the Coen brothers and Quentin Tarantino. Rabies was our first attempt at mixing it all up. We took everything we liked and mixed it up in one crazy film."

Near the end of the interview, Todd asks, "Which director should every aspiring filmmaker be familiar with?"

Papushado: "I’d go straight for the source: Sergio Leone, especially The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, it was the bible for me as a kid. I watch it every time I begin shooting a movie. Obviously Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, the way Spielberg uses the camera to tell a story is a masterclass, it’s the best school for moving the camera. Of course Tarantino and the Coen Brothers from recent years. I can’t not put Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma. Everyone is inspired by these 70’s filmmakers because they invented everything."


Posted by Geoff at 11:20 PM CST
Updated: Friday, February 27, 2015 11:27 PM CST
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Thursday, February 26, 2015
'SLIT' INFLUENCED BY GIALLO, DE PALMA
Slit, written, edited, and directed by Colin Clark, will be released online in the coming weeks, according to the film's Facebook page. The description at the Slit website reads, in part:

"Passion and murder are in store for two party girls whose steamy sexual encounter turns bloody when a black-gloved killer follows them home.

"Taking its cue from Italian 'giallo' thrillers of the 1970's, SLIT is a contemporary horror experience that mixes together a color-saturated visual style, vivid sensuality, and shocking violence, set to a pulsating synthesizer score.

"'Giallo' - Italian for 'yellow' - refers to a genre of films inspired by pulp mystery novels published in Italy with distinctive yellow covers. 'Giallo' films of the 1960's-1970's bear a distinct, baroque cinematic style -- and are known for their vivid colors and bizarre camerawork, fetishistic close-ups, iconic black-gloved killers, and nerve-jangling scores. Practitioners of the 'giallo' arts include Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Umberto Lenzi, and Lucio Fulci.

"SLIT was envisioned as a mashup between the sizzling eroticism of early Brian De Palma (his Body Double, Dressed to Kill and Blow Out are unofficial 'giallos') and the colorful-yet-brutal cinematic overkill of Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red), accompanied by an 80's-style electronic score reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder (Cat People, Scarface), Jan Hammer, or Tangerine Dream."

There is also a trailer for the film on YouTube.


Posted by Geoff at 12:06 AM CST
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015
'CANON' PODCAST MAKES CASE FOR 'BLOW OUT'
DEVIN FARACI & AMY NICHOLSON WELCOME GUEST JEREMY SMITH TO TALK ABOUT DE PALMA


The Canon is a podcast that premiered last November in which Badass Digest's Devin Faraci and L.A. Weekly's Amy Nicholson discuss a movie with the aim of deciding whether or not it should be included in "The Canon" of the greatest films of all time. Sometimes the two disagree fervently, but not always. This week, they invited "Mr. Beaks" himself, Jeremy Smith, who chose Brian De Palma's Blow Out as the film up for discussion. And it is a lively discussion, touching on other De Palma films, his style, his themes, etc. All three are very positive about the film, and eager to talk about it. There's an interesting back-and-forth about style, and how much is too much. Well worth a listen, and afterward, listeners can have their say about whether Blow Out belongs in "The Canon" by commenting here.
(Thanks to Andreas!)

Posted by Geoff at 12:33 AM CST
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BUCKLEY ON LOOPING DIALOG FOR DE PALMA
AND THEN BEING ASKED TO PLAY THE GYM TEACHER IN 'CARRIE'
Betty Buckley was interviewed by the Miami Herald's Steve Rothaus, ahead of her concerts this weekend in Miami Beach. Buckley tells Rothaus a bit about getting her start on and off Broadway from the late 1960s to early 1970s, before entering the world of film:
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She then auditioned for Brian De Palma’s film, Phantom of the Paradise. “He didn’t pick me for that, but he hired me to do voices in three of his movies after that.”

Buckley says De Palma wanted her to re-record (“loop”) dialog for other actresses who were pretty but couldn’t act.

“I said, ‘Listen, Brian, you can’t do this man. There are all these people like me who are studying acting in New York or L.A. or wherever, paying for our classes and working really hard to become better actors and any one of these parts would be great debut parts for us. I’m just telling you right now, I won’t do this anymore.’ He was like, ‘Oh.’ Six months later, he called me and he gave me the book of Carrie. He said ‘This is my next movie. I want you to be the gym teacher.’”

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Posted by Geoff at 12:02 AM CST
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Monday, February 23, 2015
'UNTOUCHABLES' MONDAY NIGHT IN PASADENA
AND PRODUCTION DESIGNER WHO GOT HIS START AS A PA ON 'UNTOUCHABLES' SET
Thanks to Matthew for letting us know about Monday night's 7:30 screening (February 23) of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables at the ArcLight in Pasadena, California. The screening is part of the ArcLight's Road to Gold Academy Awards series.

A few weeks ago, Daily Herald columnists Jamie Sotonoff and Dann Gire wrote about Dan Clancy, a production designer who got his start as a production assistant on Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. The column began:
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The moment he stepped into the 1920s Chicago, Dan Clancy knew he'd found his life's calling.

"My dad told me that a movie filming in Chicago was looking for production assistants," the Park Ridge resident told us. "I got lucky enough to get on the movie 'The Untouchables.'

"It was amazing to meet Sean Connery, to meet Brian De Palma. That was pretty cool. On a street off Ogden Avenue on the West Side, they transformed the entire neighborhood into the 1920s and it was just mind-boggling! I saw that and said, 'I want to do this for the rest of my life.'"

That was 1986.

Today, Clancy works as a production designer after moving up through the ranks as a production assistant, set dresser, leadman and set decorator.

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KEVIN COSTNER IN CHICAGO

Meanwhile, Kevin Costner was on the promotion trail last month for Black Or White. The Chicago Tribune's Luis Gomez asked Costner if Chicagoans had showed any resistance to them while filming a movie that included Al Capone as a character.

"No, not at all," replied Costner. "They wanted to see Sean Connery and Robert De Niro. Dallas has a little bit of insecurity about what happened there with Kennedy [Costner filmed the 1991 John F. Kennedy assassination film, JFK in Dallas], but Chicago doesn't apologize for nothing. You don't apologize for Capone. We were here filming for two and a half or three months. I hadn't spent time in a big city before that. I also had never lived 15 floors up where you could look across and see your neighbor. I'd never experienced anyone that close to me in my life. You got to know a person without ever talking to them because you got to see the patterns of their life. You could almost turn into a peeping Tom here."


Posted by Geoff at 12:12 AM CST
Updated: Monday, February 23, 2015 12:16 AM CST
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Saturday, February 21, 2015
'BODY DOUBLE' AT ALAMO IN KANSAS CITY SUNDAY
BADASS DIGEST: "ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING FILMS OF DE PALMA'S CAREER"
If you're in Kansas City on Oscar night tomorrow, you can catch Brian De Palma's Body Double at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 6pm. In preparation for screenings at multiple Drafthouse locations across the country, Badass Digest's Jacob Knight has written rather lovingly about the film. "The choice to make Scully as vanilla pudding as possible is deliberate," Knight states of the main character played by Craig Wasson, "and it’d feel like an insult to Wasson if the actor weren’t so knowingly game for the entirety of the movie’s near two-hour runtime. Yet there’s an almost impish glee Wasson conveys as he goes from helpless Peeping Tom to gullible murder suspect to undercover porn hustler in a mere matter of Acts. To criticize Scully for being a schmuck is missing the point entirely, for we are all dopey, doe-eyed adventurers in this cum-stained playground just looking for something to get off on.

"But even if a viewer can’t get over Wasson’s jokingly willful naïveté, it’s hard to imagine anyone who truly loves cinema dismissing the virtuoso display of craftsmanship De Palma yet again employs in service of creating this sticky jungle. As Scully stalks, De Palma yet again unleashes his love of the Steadicam, transforming a California shrine to consumerism (The Rodeo Collection at 421 Rodeo Drive) into a veritable maze through which his camera can cruise. Later, De Palma stops the entire film dead in its tracks in order to stage an elaborately choreographed song and dance number set to Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s 'Relax,' all of which ends in a round of softcore pawing. Had De Palma been allowed by the studio to execute his original concept (he wanted Body Double to be the first big budget picture to sport unsimulated sex scenes), it would’ve resulted in the most cinematically daring act of onscreen sex ever created. All the while, Pino Donaggio’s twinkling pianos, shimmering synths and soft drums add a playful sheen of eroticism, as the composer (and longtime BDP collaborator) seems most at home in this den of misdeeds.

"None of this would matter if it weren’t for Holly Body (Melanie Griffith), the gyrating soul living in the movie’s black heart. De Palma initially cast Annette Haven, but Columbia Pictures made the director rethink the role once they discovered that she was an actual porn queen, having starred in numerous classic fuck films since 1973. But Columbia’s pearl-clutching became a blessing in disguise for the director, as Griffith ends up giving the greatest performance of her entire career. Holly Body is a marvel of a character, completely sexy while never once relinquishing control to her male counterparts. When propositioned to star in the fake movie Scully’s producing, she rattles off a litany of lewd acts that decimates the impotent actor’s confidence. The woman is a professional, direct and to the point, and no man is going to dictate what she does with her body just because he’s offering a paycheck. Griffith straddles the line between pixie dream girl and art rock ass-kicker with such command that it’s impossible to look away from her whenever she’s on screen. Casting a real life porn star in the role would’ve been a great gimmick, but we would’ve never been graced with such a scene-stealing performance."

Near the beginning of the article, Knight writes about one of the movies De Palma had picked for his "Guilty Pleasures" article in a 1987 issue of Film Comment. "Amongst the apologetics," Knight writes, "was a 1981 slice of smut titled Nightdreams, directed by FX Pope. In reality, FX Pope doesn’t exist. The name was a nom de skin, belonging to commercial photographer and artist Francis Delia who, along with partner Stephen Sayadian, designed ads for everything from Hustler magazine to key art for major motion pictures. Included in their portfolio of immaculately designed one sheets (which also boasts John Carpenter’s The Fog and Escape From New York) was the iconic image for De Palma’s own Dressed to Kill. The admiration wasn’t one sided; in Nightdreams, Delia and Sayadian recreated the image from the piece of art they invented to help sell De Palma’s infamous murder mystery, repurposing it into one of the most harrowing scenes in the history of hardcore."


Posted by Geoff at 9:12 PM CST
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THERE WAS A TIME
WHEN DE PALMA'S 'HOME MOVIES' WAS SHOWN ON THE MOVIE CHANNEL

Posted by Geoff at 7:41 PM CST
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Friday, February 20, 2015
SEAN PENN RECEIVES HONORARY CESAR
SCENES FROM 'CASUALTIES OF WAR' & 'CARLITO'S WAY' INCLUDED IN TRIBUTE


Sean Penn received a standing ovation tonight at the 40th César Awards ceremony in Paris, as Marion Cotillard presented the actor/director with an Honorary César. Prior to handing him the award, Cotillard delivered what a journalist at La Parisienne describes as "a long love letter to Sean Penn, 'a free man who rebels, who questions'." A rundown at Pure People says that Cotillard was brought to tears by the tribute. Speaking in English as he accepted the César, Penn said, "I've always had an affinity for French cinema, it maintains, in my opinion, all of these virtues and encourages the dreams of actors, actresses, and directors. A refuge when things got too cynical. (...) the French artists were able to wear the colors of cinema." According to other tweets from viewers watching the ceremony, there was some sort of montage included in the tribute that included some of Penn's scenes from Brian De Palma's Casualties Of War and Carlito's Way, among many others.

Posted by Geoff at 5:40 PM CST
Updated: Friday, February 20, 2015 6:39 PM CST
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DE PALMA'S 'GOLDEN RULES OF SHOOTING A SEX SCENE'
AND OTHER ARTICLES UPON THE UNLEASHING OF 'FIFTY SHADES OF GREY'
As Fifty Shades Of Grey was released in theaters last weekend, several outlets posted articles discussing histories of sex scenes and sex thrillers in movies. Also making the rounds was a MovieMaker article from 2013: Things I’ve Learned: Brian De Palma’s Golden Rules of Shooting a Sex Scene. The article had appeared on the last page of the print edition of MovieMaker's 2014 Complete Guide To Making Movies (which came out in 2013), and was posted online in August of 2013. The article is by Brian De Palma, as interviewed by K.J. Doughton.

In the article, De Palma provides seven key things to think about when creating sex onscreen. Quoting the article here would mean truncating too much to do anything much justice, but some interesting notes include: "In Body Double, I spent a lot of time searching for the right cinematographer. I actually did screen tests for different DPs. I had these incredibly attractive women, and I wanted to make sure they were lensed correctly. That’s when I discovered Steven Burum, and I used him for many films after that."

Item #4 - "Don’t underestimate the power of a kiss. Watching Alfred Hitchcock, the first thing you learn about kissing is that you have to see the actor’s faces. You have to see them reacting to the kiss. Watch Cary Grant kissing Ingrid Bergman in Notorious. A lot of filmmakers think that just showing people kissing each other, and having a very good time, is enough. But so often their eyes are closed, and you can’t see their faces. The audience is completely shut out. In Hitchcock movies, you can see that they are kissing each other on the neck, and talking. They’re kissing lightly on the lips, and you can see their eyes. You see how they’re reacting. That’s what creates the eroticism of the scene."

And item #7 - "Watch Ryan’s Daughter. There’s one great lovemaking scene in Ryan’s Daughter. She finally has a rendezvous with a military man. It’s exquisitely well done. You really feel the sense of nature surrounding the eroticism. Because [director David] Lean had an idea! Take a girl in a field and make love to her. The feel and the sensuality of the nature around them as they’re getting into the lovemaking—it’s quite good." [When De Palma says that Lean had an idea, it's a callback to his point #3 - "You need some kind of conceptual idea."]

'DRESSED TO KILL' AS THE FATHER OF THE EROTIC THRILLER AS WE KNOW IT TODAY
Prior to the release of 50 Shades Of Grey, Calum Marsh wrote a piece for the National Post with the headline, "Fifty Shades of Grey’s eroticism won’t deliver the thrill of the genre’s predecessors." That's an interesting statement being projected prior to seeing the actual film, but the point of the article echoes something De Palma states in the MovieMaker article above: "The cultural climate is too permissive, too inured, for people to be shaken by a bit of BDSM," Marsh surmises. In the 2013 MovieMaker article, De Palma had said, "Today, there’s such an incredible amount of lovemaking and nudity on cable television, and in pornography on the Internet. You see bodies photographed from every conceivable angle, doing every conceivable thing, so you really have to think hard to approach eroticism with a fresh idea. Just showing people kissing, people fucking—it’s of no interest to me."

In the National Post article, Marsh runs through a quick, brief history of the increasing permissiveness of mainstream cinema between the '60s and '70s. "Thrumming deep beneath these developments," writes Marsh, "was the bass line of the exploitation film. And it would be this strain, with its extravagant vulgarity and sensationalism, that would eventually bring sex to the popular imagination. Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill, released in 1980, was indebted in many conspicuous ways to Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom and especially Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, both from 1960. But unrestrained by the strictures of the period, De Palma was free to adopt the format and amplify the sex and violence — to remake Psycho, in essence, with the lurid panache of a liberated age.

"Dressed To Kill was a hit: it earned nearly $32-million against its slender $6-million budget, suggesting to financiers around Hollywood that this sort of risqué genre film — owing in large part to the scandal it invariably aroused — could be hugely lucrative, so long as they were marketed in such a fashion to exaggerate, rather than downplay, their more disreputable qualities. Thus the erotic thriller was born."

On February 6th, The Toronto Sun's Liz Braun posted a mostly-annoying article looking at "erotic fails on the big screen," featuring a list of "The Top 20 Unsexy Sexy Movies." Paul Schrader's The Canyons topped her list, followed by Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls at #2. Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut was listed at #11. De Palma made her list twice, albeit near the bottom: #17 - Body Double - "The usual: a peeping Tom, the porn industry and construction tools used to ventilate people. Or maybe not. Brian De Palma challenges you to question what you see in this thriller, a challenge made tougher by all the naked breasts in your face. Just sayin'." And then she lists Femme Fatale at #19 - "A diamond thief (Rebecca Romijn) who seduces men and women alike in her line of work swaps identities with a wealthy French woman, takes a bubble bath, meets Antonio Banderas and discovers the whole thing was a dream. What the — ? Funny how often director Brian De Palma's name turns up in detritus like this."

The New Zealand Herald's Dominic Corry posted a similar article on February 11, but his mention of De Palma was positive. Discussing Showgirls, Corry writes, "Verhoeven famously later said that in retrospect, he believes he should've put a serial killer plot into Showgirls to distract the audience from the film's crude commentary on the American dream. Which is about as awesomely cynical a thing as you could imagine a director saying, and I love it. Ahead of seeing the film, I already feel like this kind of thinking may have suited Fifty Shades of Grey. A knife-wielding murderer can justify a lot of lovey-dovey cheese. Hire Verhoeven or Brian De Palma to direct it, and we might actually have something interesting."

And finally, in the wake of the box office results from the opening weekend of Fifty Shades, Entertainment Weekly's Nicole Sperling has posted an article with the headline, "Dirty Money: 11 Highest-Grossing R-rated Erotic Dramas of All Time." She starts off with Dressed To Kill at #11 - "This erotic crime thriller from Brian De Palma stars Michael Caine as both a New York City psychiatrist and a deranged transgender patient and is best known for the brutal elevator murder scene—which DePalma calls the best he’s ever done. The movie generated great reviews and became an inspiration to filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino. The original version was trimmed after the MPAA gave it an X-rating and the film earned $32 million at the box office."


Posted by Geoff at 2:56 AM CST
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Thursday, February 19, 2015
'CARRIE' IN MANCHESTER, ENGLAND THURSDAY
PROJECTED FROM BLU-RAY, PART OF STEPHEN KING SEASON
Brian De Palma's Carrie will be projected from Blu-ray Thursday night, as part of Grimm Up North's Stephen King Season, at the Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester, England. The other films in the series are Tobe Hooper's Salem's Lot, the anthology Creepshow, and Mary Lambert's Pet Sematary.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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