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a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

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

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

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a la Mod

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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
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Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
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Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
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So Why This Movie?

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Nothing Is Written

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This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds


No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod

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A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015
The film world was rocked by tragedy late last night when it was reported that James Horner, Oscar-winning composer of the scores for Titanic, Braveheart, and many other films, died in a plane crash in California. He was 61. According to The Hollywood Reporter's Mike Barnes, "Horner was piloting the small aircraft when it crashed into a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara, officials said."

In 2005, Horner had been the original composer announced to score Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia. "For a long time," De Palma told me in 2006, "we were trying to make a deal with James Horner. And, we just couldn’t make it. They kept on negotiating, and this went on for like a year. And it also had to do with, you know, all the finishing of the movie. They kept on saying, 'We don’t have enough money for this, we don’t have enough money for that.' So I had to move the mix to Toronto in order to find a way to mix the movie within the budget they sort of came up with. And Horner was the same problem. A year ago, they said they had closed the deal, and of course it was never closed. And I had to start looking for other composers." Mark Isham ended up scoring The Black Dahlia.

Posted by Geoff at 1:03 AM CDT
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Monday, June 22, 2015
Colin Cameron, who portrayed the onscreen bass player for the ever-evolving house band in Phantom Of The Paradise, has passed away after a long illness. He was 73. Cameron was a member of Paul Williams' band in the 1970s, which is how he and others in Williams' band found themselves pretending to play their instruments as part of the Juicy Fruits and the Beach Bums in Phantom. While several of the other musicians did play on the Phantom soundtrack, Cameron actually did not. Even so, Cameron was a highly-respected fluent bass player who you can hear playing bass on the Williams-penned songs in The Muppet Movie, and who played on soundtracks and records by Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, Cher, Tina Turner, Kris Kristofferson, Del Shannon, Olivia Newton-John, and many many others. Over at The Swan Archives, the Principal Archivist writes of Cameron, "We're glad he was able to make it to the 40th Anniversary screening of Phantom at the Cinerama Dome last year, giving a lot of Phantom fans the opportunity to meet him."

Posted by Geoff at 12:03 AM CDT
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Posted by Geoff at 1:09 AM CDT
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Thursday, June 18, 2015
Earlier this month, I posted a quote from Giorgio Moroder, taken from an article in Entertainment Weekly, in which he talked a bit about working on Scarface, including writing the song She's On Fire (his favorite from that soundtrack). The other day, Complex's Brendan Frederick posted an interview with Moroder, who was asked about the process oof scoring Scarface. "When I met with the director Brian De Palma in New York," Moroder tells Frederick, "he told me about the movie and gave me the script. You had this character at the beginning who is a happy guy who made it to America, but then he gets into all kinds of problems with drugs. I went back to Los Angeles, and I composed a song even before I saw any scenes. And Brian liked the demo I did. I gave it that dark, hammering note—dong, dong, dong—to capture that feel of desperation. Sometimes, if you have the main theme done, then the rest is all relatively easy."


Frederick also asked Moroder whether he was familiar with the music of Kanye West, who has sampled the Scarface theme. "What I like about Kanye’s stuff is he always comes out with new sounds that are totally different. When I heard Mercy about two years ago, I said, 'What a weird song, and what an interesting sound.' The part when he sampled [Tony’s Theme] was quite clever because he took just those two chords, instead of sampling the whole phrase, which gave it that special sound. He did a good job with that one. And even the last song he did with Rihanna and Paul McCartney [FourFiveSeconds]—he’s inventive. I’m less connected to all his other affairs aside from music—calling himself the god of creativity and all that stuff. But he’s really good."

Posted by Geoff at 1:11 AM CDT
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The above poster by Stephen Romano imagines an R-rated sequel to Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. This is the 13th poster in Romano's "RETRO 13" series. "You’re going to see thirteen all-new movie posters," Romano wrote on Dread Central last March, "done in the exact style of the eras they represent, complete with fold marks and aging, and it will be the MOST authentic series like this ever created."

Here is Romano's introduction/description of the new poster from Dread Central:

This week we come to the end of RETRO 13. Yep, this is NUMBER 13, kids. And what could be finer for our climax than the resurrection of horror’s most beloved Faustian rock star and king of 1970s camp? I’ve saved one of my very favorites for last, and that’s The Phantom of the Paradise Must Die! An epic tale of lust and revenge, music and madness, with all of your favorite characters from the original back from the dead and ready to party in the ultimate rock show from beyond the gates of hell!

The die-hards among you already know there was never a 1979 sequel to Phantom of the Paradise, but wouldn’t it have been damn cool if there had been? I can see it all now: legendary genre director Brian De Palma (desperate for a hit) and legendary songwriter/actor Paul Williams (stoned out of his mind)—collaborating one more time on a film that never would have been made in the real world. In our bizarro universe of infinite possibilities, the fat cats at 20th Century Fox somehow miss the fact that the original film made exactly nothing and failed with every citric in America who saw it. They also approve a ridiculously whopping EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR budget and pump every available resource into getting the sequel made (that was a bloody fortune in 1979; remember Star Wars only cost TEN MILLION a few years earlier) and then, of course, the film goes millions over budget, with fistfights and temper tantrums on set, affairs and lawsuits and drug binges on screen and off screen, as the film becomes the most controversial and talked-about Hollywood train wreck in recent memory. Finally, the results are unleashed on an unsuspecting public in the glorious summer of Alien and Phantasm and Mad Max. Is the film any good?

Well, fuck YES it is, people. It’s the sequel to Phantom of the Paradise.

Starting with a bang, the fallen Winslow Leach strikes a deal in hell with the Devil, played by John Lennon (in one of an unprecedented fifty-seven celebrity rock star cameos), and returns to Earth to haunt his one true love, Phoenix, played again by Jessica Harper—who has become the biggest rock star in history after the climactic events of the first film. Having only two weeks before his contract with hell expires, Winslow again becomes THE PHANTOM, wreaking a bloody vengeance on those who dare to cross Phoenix, including Beef, who was electrocuted in the first film and yet inexplicably has returned to Earth as a gay vampire. After a hilariously protracted battle, they all end up joining together to stage an epic rock opera production of Faust, which will open the gates of hell and bring about a “fiery apocalypse of music and mayhem.”


The evil Swann (again played by Paul Williams) also returns to earth, motivated by greed and vanity, having made an even darker deal with the BIG GUY UPSTAIRS—with just 48 hours left on his contract. The war is waged on stage, in a musical finale pitting titan against titan. If Swann wins, he will rule the earth and regain his fame as the number one rock star in history. If the Phantom wins, the universe will fall into fire. And so THE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE MUST DIE!

No other film in 1979 was as batshit crazy as this motherfucker.

And it’s our final film.

So please… if you are a fan of the RETRO 13, seek out the original Phantom of the Paradise and all the other movies I’ve championed here. They are some of my favorite films and some of the best ever made in our beloved genres. I’ve had great fun with this series and hope to return one day with a sequel of my own. Perhaps RETRO 13 PART 2? Anything is possible in a bizarro universe of infinite possibilities. So keep your eyes peeled. We may not be quite done yet, kids.


Posted by Geoff at 1:14 AM CDT
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Saturday, June 13, 2015
An interesting excerpt from an Cannes 2015 interview with Louder Than Bombs director Joachim Trier, posted yesterday by The Upcoming's Christian Herschmann:

Herschmann: How did the diary of Conrad, Isabelle’s youngest son, take shape – a multilayered compilation of a young boy’s mindset and perception?

Trier: We had to write it and then write it again and again and again during editing; it was like making a feature film, that diary. We have many versions of it and I’m very happy with the one we used. We even have the clip from Opera by Dario Argento in it. One of our producers is Italian and knows Dario Argento and we got that through him. We wanted to get different elements of different cultural expressions into the diary. We tried to find poetry in the truth of the character. I love the film Kes by Ken Loach. My favourite moment in that film – the one where I always cry – is when the kid, who doesn’t know how to express himself, is suddenly asked by his teacher to talk for the first time and tell them how he takes care of his bird – he knows the boy is with this bird all day. And the kid speaks for the first time and talks freely about who he is. That’s not exactly what we’re doing, but I wanted Conrad’s diary to be a revelation of the discrepancy between his social inability and his inner life, which is so rich.

It is not only a written text in the film, but presented in a very visual way, as a montage of imagery. You used a similar technique in Oslo, August 31st and they both work very well. How did you become interested in this form of expression?

I went to the National Film and Television School in London, we called it National Social Realist Film and TV School. Steven Frears was a teacher there and Mike Leigh, people that I now admire tremendously for their skills in drama, but at the time I was really into Antonioni, Alain Resnais and Brian De Palma. I wanted montage and the break of the image and the form to be really at the essence of what I did, and I think I changed. Also by going to that school, I discovered Ken Loach and the fact that, in the middle of social realism, there is poetry and truth and not only social commentary hitting you on the head. In the best of these films there’s something more that transcends. However, I still have one foot in that kind of formalism. Showing thought patterns in cinema through montage I find very interesting. And it’s been appropriated by commercials, but I always try to show that it could be more expressive and, ideally, more complex.

What do you mean by thought patterns?

The train of thought. How people think. The structuring of thought, which I think is the temporal experience of images on the screen. We always talk about stories, because it’s a literary term and it’s very easy to say, but the fact is we’re watching images in time and they either correlate or don’t with our sensomotoric thought patterns. And it sounds very technical, but I feel it’s a fact, you’re actually dealing with theme and image when you make a movie, all the time. It can be quick or slow: how do you pace the information? Is it possible to express, to show thinking literally, the association chain of a young boy thinking randomly about his life? Yeah, let’s try. That’s what I mean with thought pattern.

There are a lot of memories in the film, a lot of dreams…

That’s what we constitute our identity on, these frail things that we believe are truths about ourselves and that’s very scary and also liberating. AndI feel the film is very much about that: the questioning of identities.

Posted by Geoff at 2:48 PM CDT
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Thursday, June 11, 2015
Christopher Lee died over the weekend at the age of 93. In 2001, at the age of 79, when he was in the midst of making films with George Lucas, Peter Jackson, and Tim Burton (among others), Lee talked to The Guardian's Will Hodgkinson about the Gothic Hammer Horror films he'd made between the 1950s and the 1970s. "Hammer was an important part of my life, and generally speaking, we all had a lot of fun," Lee said at the time. "Fun seems to be a three-letter word these days, although with directors like Tim Burton and George Lucas, it's fun, fun, fun while working yourself to death. But if you compare those Hammer movies to what has been made in the last 20 years, Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Wes Craven, Tim Burton and Peter Jackson have all said the same thing to me: 'We were brought up on your movies.' And it certainly shows in theirs."

Posted by Geoff at 7:26 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Director Nicolas Winding Refn has partnered with Milan Records to create a line of deluxe vinyl soundtrack LPs, curated by Refn himself. NWR editions of Oldboy and It Follows are now joined by the soundtrack to Refn's own Bronson, which was released yesterday. July 14 will see the release of Basil Poledouris’ score for Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop.

In an interview with Noisey's Joseph Yanick, the following exchange takes place:

Noisey: What are some other films and/or filmmakers that have soundtracks that particularly inspire you?
Refn: There are a couple of films that define the combination of music and images. The greatest achievement in that collaboration is, of course, Once Upon a Time in the West. That is the most consequential, orgasmic arena of music and images. That’s where it’s like, ‘Fuck. How the hell do you do that.’ And then you have Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo and Ennio Morricone. There’s Psycho with Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann and, even though North by Northwest, Rear Window, and Vertigo have better soundtracks, Psycho is really where it comes together in a different way. Of course you have Fellini and a lot of Dario Argento’s early films, especially his work with Goblin. Suspiria is wonderful. You also have, of course, Martin Scorsese’s ability to use music in his films. I remember when I saw Mean Streets when I was nine years old, and I still remember the scene when Robert DeNiro walks in to “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (Rolling Stones), and being like, ‘fucking hell, now I know how it works.’

Noisey: Absolutely, Scorsese kind of transformed the use of pop music in cinema.
Refn: Yea, it’s unique but you know what is weird, for everyone (whether it is Kubrick or Scorsese, or even like the work that Pino Donaggio did with Brian De Palma — and of course, we are not even touching the whole Asian world. All of the Japanese filmmakers that use composers well) all lead back to one movie…Scorpio Rising by Kenneth Anger. That was the first time that a filmmaker would use pop music of its time to underscore the emotion with the images. Its very interesting that it all leads back to that film.

Posted by Geoff at 3:00 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 3:02 AM CDT
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Monday, June 8, 2015

Posted by Geoff at 11:07 PM CDT
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Sunday, June 7, 2015
In this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly (June 12 2015), Giorgio Moroder gives Clark Collis "the stories behind the songs." One of the songs Moroder talks about is She's On Fire, which was sung by Amy Holland for the Scarface soundtrack. "Brian De Palma called me and said he's doing a remake of the old movie Scarface," Moroder tells Collis. "I read the script and loved it. I went to where they were filming some of the last scenes of the movie, so I got a little bit involved during the shooting. She's On Fire has some great lyrics and the melody's great. It's my favorite one off Scarface. I never tried [cocaine] and I'm so happy [I didn't]. I think I'm the only one in Hollywood, in the music business, who did not try it."

Meanwhile, last month, the New York Post posted an excerpt from Juan Reinaldo Sanchez' recent book, The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo. The excerpt suggests that there was a whole lot of truth to the premise of De Palma's film:

"In 1980, after weeks of negotiation, 100,000 Cubans were permitted to seek exile in the United States. Fidel Castro allowed them to go to the port of the town of Mariel and embark for Florida.

“It has been said that the Comandante took advantage of the situation by emptying the prisons. It is completely true: I saw him selecting them personally. I was present when they brought him lists of prisoners with the name, the reason for the sentence, and the date of release.

“Fidel read them and with a stroke of a pen designated which ones could go and which ones could stay — ‘yes’ was for murderers and dangerous criminals, ‘no’ was for those who attacked the revolution. In total, more than 2,000 criminals found themselves free…in the streets of Miami.”

Posted by Geoff at 3:40 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, June 7, 2015 3:42 PM CDT
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