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


« June 2016 »
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


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.
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
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
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Looking to offer a more thorough Brian De Palma retrospective, The Metrograph in New York has added screenings of De Palma's The Wedding Party (Saturday June 4th) and Home Movies (Sunday June 5th), each to be screened from VHS.

Posted by Geoff at 11:41 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Jim Hemphill, who wrote the program notes and article for American Cinematheque's upcoming Brian De Palma series, posted an interview yesterday with De Palma, Noah Baumbach, and Jake Paltrow. Here's a little excerpt:
Hemphill: The movie follows a very clear line from the beginning of De Palma’s career to his most recent work…was that structure there in the interviews themselves, or did you piece it together that way in the cutting room?

Baumbach: It was always designed to go from beginning to end. There were digressions – we’d be talking about The Wedding Party and that would lead to a point about Mission: Impossible – but we wanted a chronological account of his career. And we didn’t want to make a movie about what other people thought of him, which is why there are no other interviews – we wanted to document Brian telling it his way. In that sense it’s not a work of journalism or even analysis – it’s just about Brian sharing his story.

Paltrow: Those kinds of decisions and selections are where what you might consider the “directing” really comes in. You have this visionary director who you happen to be friends with, so that’s what you’re trying to channel – you don’t want to affect it with other people’s opinions. That’s something else.

Hemphill: Brian, was it different being interviewed by filmmakers as opposed to journalists or critics?

De Palma: Absolutely. There’s a big difference, because they've been through the same experiences and have the same concerns and therefore have a better understanding of what you’re talking about. I would encourage other directors to always have directors conduct their interviews! [laughs]

Hemphill: Did looking back at your career while shooting the documentary, and then again when looking at the finished film, change your opinions about any of your films?

De Palma: Not really. You know, some of the ones that got really negative reviews, like Bonfire or Mission to Mars…they’re skillfully put together. Maybe they didn't fit what the critics wanted from them at the time, but they kind of stand on their own.

Baumbach: Brian’s personality is so much a part of all of his movies, so even in the less well received ones there are always amazing De Palma sequences – you can watch any of his films and find things that are exciting in them.

Hemphill: Did you find your appreciation of any of the films increasing after making the documentary?

Baumbach: I think both of us found a deeper affection for Carlito’s Way. In the documentary Brian tells a story about the movie coming out in theatres and doing okay, and then him watching it at the Berlin Film Festival and thinking, “I can’t make a better movie than this.” I know exactly what he means, because from a filmmaking standpoint that is a great director harnessing all his power in one movie. It’s remarkable that way, and undeniably impressive.

Posted by Geoff at 7:55 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2016 1:48 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Posted by Geoff at 5:51 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 5:52 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

At Taste Of Cinema last week, Andrew Gunn posted "The 10 Best Scenes in The Movies of Brian De Palma." Choosing scenes from Mission To Mars (a film which, he suggests, doesn't really kick in until about a third of the way in), Snake Eyes, Carrie, and seven others, Gunn's article begins at number 10 with "The Sundial in Raising Cain." Although he calls it a "schlocky thriller," Gunn has some interesting things to say about the film, which he also refers to as "brilliant"...
Before Nicolas Cage there was John Lithgow, whose own brand of “mega-acting” sets the tonal barometer for this demented, schlocky thriller. Raising Cain is a series of rugs being gleefully pulled out from under your feet by a filmmaker who has just made Bonfire of the Vanities and has nothing to lose. It’s brilliant.

Lithgow has a ball playing a child-kidnapping madman whose evil twin is really a split personality, and whose dead father split personality is really his still-alive actual father, who’s also mad. Meanwhile Lithgow 1.0’s wife (Lolita Davidovich) has an affair with her old flame (Steven Bauer), a hunk in a sleeveless V-neck cardigan, and her vivid dreams-within-dreams give her a slippery grip on this tenth-year-of-a-soap-opera version of reality.

The climactic sequence begins with the line “You’re gonna kill somebody with that sundial!” and is structured according to the Mouse Trap formula (the board game, not the play). Disparate elements are wittily introduced – scalpel, bystanders, pram. Geography is established – motel walkway, elevator, parking lot. Characters’ objectives are set – patricide, rescue, escape. And when the trap is sprung, the perfectly choreographed chaos unfolds in glorious slow motion.

At times Raising Cain plays like a TV movie directed by its own main character(s) but that’s only to trick you into forgetting that it’s directed by Brian De Palma.

This is summarised by a four-minute Steadicam shot in which Frances Sternhagen leads a walk-and-talk through a police station – she keeps taking wrong turns while the cops steer her in the right direction. Throughout the film, De Palma points your expectations, sympathies and fears one way only to head off in another, but despite the madness on display he’s always in complete control.

By the end we’re primed for anything, and the thrill of the climax comes from De Palma’s precise timing and orchestration as he resolves the film’s myriad conflicts in a single scene.

After Casualties of War underperformed (despite critical praise) and Bonfire of the Vanities flopped (having received none), Raising Cain was De Palma’s conscious return to the twisty-turny thrillers that made his name. He did the same thing ten years later, following a lukewarm response to Snake Eyes and the summary dismissal of Mission to Mars.

2002’s Femme Fatale is Raising Cain’s sexier stepsister, sharing a delight in frustrating and subverting audience expectations, and building to a similar Mouse Trap-style showdown.

Posted by Geoff at 12:48 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Huffington Post's Todd Van Luling captured some terrific anecdotes from Henry Czerny about filming his role in Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible. "Besides launching a series that continues to have box-office success," writes Van Luling, "the movie featured a sort of strange way to present intensity for a blockbuster: squeezing actors very, very close to each other and the camera."
“I’d never acted with a camera that’s basically hooked under my chin,” Czerny told The Huffington Post in a conversation for the 20-year anniversary. “I didn’t know what to do with it, but Brian was at the monitors and if he didn’t get what he wanted I’m sure he would have told me.”

The most extreme close-up Czerny experienced was when his character accused Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt of being a mole. The two sat in a restaurant surrounded by aquariums. Czerny wasn’t sure, but he thinks De Palma’s desire to feature those trapped fish led to the memorable camera angles. “He didn’t want the [viewers] to forget about the fish tank,” said Czerny. “So by putting the camera below, you have the character in close-up and the fish tank in the background hovering if you will.”

So, did Czerny worry about how he’d look with a camera so close to his face?

Czerny laughed in response to the question. He didn’t even know the camera would be there.

“If they’d told me, I would have paid more attention to those nose hairs. Maybe the hair department or the makeup department knew what was going to go on and then did that for me. [But] I had no idea.”

Czerny also recalled a scene when De Palma told him to get almost impossibly close to another actor.

After Hunt breaks into the CIA, Czerny’s character is telling an intelligence co-worker (played by Dale Dye) that they should send the CIA employee responsible for the mishap to Alaska.

De Palma apparently told the actors, “I need you a little closer,” so they shot again. Then, De Palma said something like, “No, no, closer! Like you’re almost kissing!”

“I just remember thinking, ‘I hope I brushed my teeth thoroughly,’” Czerny laughed.

Although Czerny thought it was sometimes “weird” to work within this method, he enjoyed being a part of what’s now considered De Palma’s signature style. “He’ll do a long tracking shot and then jump in for close-ups. It doesn’t allow you to leave the scene.”

In the article, Czerny also talks about how Cruise would regularly take members of the cast and crew out to a "cool establishment" in whatever big city they were filming in, to help release tension. One night in Prague, Czerny tells Van Luling, "I found myself sitting on a piano bench singing show tunes with Nicole [Kidman]. That was not something you normally get to do."

Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, May 27, 2016

Posted by Geoff at 8:13 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Screenwriter/director Jim Hemphill has posted an article in anticipation of the American Cinematheque series on Brian De Palma, which begins next week. "It takes a lot of confidence to begin a movie with a clip from perhaps the most famous film noir of all time," begins Hemphill in the article, "as Brian De Palma does in the first scene of his 2002 erotic thriller Femme Fatale. That film’s opening scene, which unfolds via a virtuoso long take in which we're introduced to the lead character and major themes of the film without a cut, begins with an image from Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity on a television and ends with a hotel room curtain being pulled aside to reveal the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. Inviting comparison with Wilder and referencing the most prestigious film festival on earth makes a bold statement right off the bat, but De Palma doesn’t merely invite the comparisons he’s making – he earns them, and then goes beyond Wilder’s influence to create a film that is both a superb example of the film noir form and a commentary on it, as well as an evolutionary step forward in terms of the tradition’s approach to women. While it would be a stretch to call Femme Fatale a feminist manifesto, in its own sly way it answers the charges of misogyny often leveled against film noir by setting in motion a gleefully complicated puzzle of a plot in which one commanding man after another finds his sense of order disrupted by the female jewel thief at the movie’s center. It’s not just that Laure (Rebecca Romjin) undermines the guys and their world; De Palma himself subverts a century of established cinematic 'rules' to place the audience in the position of the bewildered men stripped of their power – and he does it with so much pizzazz that we’re grateful to have the rug pulled out from under us."

Below is the closeing paragraph from Hemphill's article, and you can read the whole thing at American Cinematheque.
De Palma’s career is all the more remarkable for his ability to adapt to changing circumstances – both his own and those of the film industry at large. Regardless of the size of his canvas, the potency of his vision is undiluted, whether he’s working in the low-budget experimental realm (as in Redacted or early apprentice efforts like Murder a la Mod and Dionysus in ’69) or on the kinds of big-budget tent-poles that stifle less robust personalities. When De Palma takes a studio assignment on a film like The Untouchables or Mission: Impossible, he fuses his own preoccupations with the demands of the material in a way that serves both; his stylistic and thematic obsessions expand to broader dimensions thanks to their expression in a new form, and the films’ escapist set-pieces are more entertaining and charged with energy because of the artistic drives motivating them. There’s never any sense of De Palma following the old “one for me, one for them” (them being the studio) formula in his career – they’re all for him, and they’re all for us. It’s hard to think of a director whose work yields more rewards on repeat viewings, or whose dense visual representations and allusions gain more from being experienced on the big screen –making the Cinematheque’s retrospective one of the essential repertory events of 2016 thus far.

Posted by Geoff at 7:54 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"So, how was prom?"

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 12:12 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, May 23, 2016

Haleigh Foutch, Collider
Mission: Impossible 20 Years Later: How An Uneasy Spy Thriller Became a Blockbuster Franchise

"In a prime example of the way De Palma subverted the standard action format, the film’s most iconic set piece is a silent moment of acute accuracy and stillness. When Cruise repels down into that vault, surrounded by a gleaming white light that showcases his figure, form and every minute movement with exclusive intent, it’s not a matter of spectacle, it’s a matter of tension. It’s not about explosions or fisticuffs, it’s about control and technique, and a small-scale demonstration of the physical command that would come to define Cruise’s later career."

Thai Students Caught Cheating with Mission Impossible Spy Glasses

"A top Thai medical college has caught students using spy cameras linked to smartwatches to cheat during exams in what some social media users on Monday compared to a plot straight out of a Mission Impossible movie. Arthit Ourairat, the rector of Rangsit University, posted pictures of the hi-tech cheating equipment on his Facebook page on Sunday evening, announcing that the entrance exam in question had been cancelled after the plot was discovered. Three students used glasses with wireless cameras embedded in their frames to transmit images to a group of as yet unnamed people, who then sent the answers to the smartwatches."

Posted by Geoff at 8:21 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2016 8:22 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Some of the films at Cannes the past week and a half have reminded critics of Brian De Palma, with Body Double mentioned specifically in regards to two of them. Here's a roundup:


Screen Daily's Lee Marshall

"In some ways, Personal Shopper feels like a Gallic cineaste’s attempt to recapture some of the freewheeling, kooky genre-drama of a 1980s Brian De Palma movie – and there’s more than an echo of Body Double here – but what’s missing is the latter’s style and verve. The lack of glamour in [Kristen] Stewart’s introverted, depressed personal shopper character leaches into the visual style of a film that, with the exception of a couple of scenes set in a scary old house and a spoof period movie reconstruction, often feels flat and conventional."

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

"There are, at a conservative count, four different movies inside Olivier Assayas' new film, led by his Clouds of Sils Maria star Kristen Stewart, and two of them might even be quite good. There’s the full blown ghost story, complete with creaking floorboard, haunted house, CG-phantasms-hanging-out-of-chandeliers-spewing-ectoplasm, which is unexpected. There’s the straight-up grief movie, in which a twin mourns the recent death of her brother while the others in his life circle around her anxiously, which is promising but underdeveloped. There’s the Brian De Palma-esque elaborate and illogical murder mystery with added modern tech aspects (texting), which is twaddle. And there’s the fashion industry/celebrity satire part which is a lot of fun, because we get to see Kristen Stewart topless and trying things on, looking at jewellery, sneaking a go in her employer’s haute couture, forking over thousands for perfectly unremarkable handbags and generally purchasing the clothes that, at least half the time with Personal Shopper, the emperor isn’t wearing."

Allan Hunter, The List

Personal Shopper is "an awkward fusion of ghost story, celebrity culture satire and half-baked Brian De Palma-style thriller. There are enough intriguing elements to keep it watchable but it never manages to gel into a coherent whole...

"...Assayas heads off the rails when he attempts to shoehorn way too many other elements into the story. We also spend time following Maureen on her day job among the haute couture houses and Cartiers of Paris, choosing items for her demanding celebrity boss Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten). Perhaps part of Maureen even wishes she was Kyra and that is what leads to the De Palma-inspired secret stalker, who acts like a refugee from Scream and urges Maureen to give in to her secret desires. Unfortunately, their cat and mouse games are played out in exchanges of text messages, which makes for deadly dull cinema. In some respects, Personal Shopper is rather stylish, with hints of Polanski and even Kieslowski in the execution, and Stewart’s nervy, edgy performance nearly manages to keep everything on track. Almost but not quite is the final verdict."

No De Palma reference in this next one, but interesting as a counterpoint to the negative reviews above:

Guy Lodge, Time Out London

"Among the many things that appear to be on Assayas's mind is the disembodied – and disembodying – nature of modern-day communication and social media, which makes ghosts of us all to those with whom we text far more than we talk. Perhaps no film has ever made the mobile phone quite such an instrument of tension: the on-screen iPhone ellipsis of an incoming message takes on a breath-halting urgency here.

"For the preservation of enjoyment, no more should be revealed about the film's gliding, glassy sashay through multiple, splintered genres and levels of consciousness – except to say that Assayas, working in the high-concept, game-playing vein of his Irma Vep and demonlover, is in shivery control of it all. And he's found an impeccably attuned muse in Stewart, who wears the film's curiosity with the same casually challenging stride that she does – in a key scene of sensual self-realisation – a jaw-dropping silk-organza bondage gown."


Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

"Not unlike Brian De Palma, another filmmaker who likes to skirt the boundaries of good taste, Verhoeven has inspired no shortage of gender-based arguments over the years: Whether his female characters are misogynist constructs or avatars of empowerment is a topic open to continual debate and reappraisal. That seems unlikely to change with his latest work, Elle, a breathtakingly elegant and continually surprising French-language thriller that brought the 69th Cannes Film Festival competition to a rousing close on Saturday."

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

"Michèle also finds herself curiously attracted to Patrick (Laurent Lafitte), her married neighbour across the road – and in a sequence worthy of Brian De Palma, she pleasures herself while peering at him through a pair of binoculars from her study window, while he sets up an outdoor nativity set."


Rodrigo Fonseca, Omelete

"It's a gory, bloody, and erotic thriller that evokes David Lynch (in Mulholand Drive) and Brian De Palma (in Body Double), making direct reference to Under the Skin (2013), with Scarlett Johansson."

Luca Celada, Golden Globe Awards

"What starts out as a glossy, Brian De Palma-style thriller soon veers sharply into David Lynchian territory and finally into surrealist horror. It turns out this is not All About Eve, nor Star 80 after all, but another Refn taunt which embraces camp and revels in horror to the extreme. And there is nothing like cannibalism and necrophilia to set Cannes tongues wagging."

Neon Demon Press Conference

Journalist asks Refn if the film was inspired by Brian De Palma at all, because it reminded him of De Palma's Dressed To Kill. Refn responds, "Well, I love Brian De Palma. I mean, who doesn't love Brian De Palma?"

Posted by Geoff at 4:19 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 2:29 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post