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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

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Alfred Hitchcock Films

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and the Infield
Fly Rule

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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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De Palma a la Mod

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Last month, Nicolas Winding Refn released The Wicked Die Young on CD and vinyl. A compilation of music he listened to while writing and filming The Neon Demon, it includes Pino Donaggio's Shower Theme from Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill. "The fourteen tracks on this compilation represent the various ideas I had while preparing The Neon Demon and each song represents a specific emotion," Refn states in promotional materials for the collection. "Some of the tracks are from the past and some the present including new material by Cliff Martinez, Julian Winding, and Electric Youth. Since I wanted my film to be both a horror film and a melodrama with camp, glitter, and vulgarity, as well as a comedy and of course a little science fiction, all these various tracks made me able to step into a parallel world to tell the story."

Refn acknowledged two other De Palma/Donaggio collaborations last summer when Carrie and Body Double screened at Picturehouse cinemas in the U.K. as part of a series titled "Nicolas Winding Refn Presents…" Each film was promoted with Nicolas Winding Refn's verdict: "a visual feast" (Carrie), and, "They should make more movies like this nowadays" (Body Double).

Posted by Geoff at 10:49 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 4, 2017
Noomi Rapace is the subject of yesterday's "Early Works" column at VICE. Here's the last paragraph, as she told it to Larry Fitzmaurice:
I went right into Prometheus after Sherlock Holmes, and then I worked with Brian De Palma on Passion. Ridley and Brian are filmmakers from the same generation, and obviously I grew up watching Brian's work—Scarface, Carlito's Way. When I heard that he wanted to meet with me, I was quite shocked. It was interesting to work with him, because he knew exactly what he wanted. He did very long takes, sometimes for four minutes. When he had three takes, he was like, "I'm happy. I'm good. We're moving on." Very different from Ridley's films and what I was used to. I was like, "Whoa, wait! We're not doing coverage?" But he was like, "Honey, I'm editing in my head already. No need for that. We're moving on." He's someone who knows exactly what he wants. It was very different and interesting working with him.

Posted by Geoff at 3:03 AM CDT
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Variety's Elsa Keslassy and Hollywood Reporter's Rebecca Ford & Borys Kit all report that Brian De Palma is on board to direct Domino, a "contemporary high-voltage thriller" (Variety) that will star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game Of Thrones) and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men, The Neon Demon). The film, which will start shooting this summer, was written by Norwegian Petter Skavlan, best known for Kon-Tiki and Sophie's World. Prior to De Palma's involvement, Skavlan's fellow Norwegian Hans Petter Moland had been listed as the director at IMDB.

According to Keslassy, Domino "stars Coster-Waldau as a Danish cop who goes rogue with the help of a fellow police officer Hendricks to track down a suspect who killed his partner in Copenhagen while Europe is being targeted by terror attacks. What the pair doesn’t know is that the suspect they are chasing is working for a CIA operative and is on the trail of the ISIS cell behind the attacks."

Combine the above description with the Hollywood Reporter's: "The story follows a Copenhagen police officer (Coster-Waldau) who is seeking justice for his partner's murder by a mysterious man called Imran. He teams up with a fellow cop and his late partner's mistress (Hendricks), to hunt Imran down, but are unwittingly caught in a cat and mouse chase with a duplicitous CIA agent that will take them from Scandinavia to the sun-drenched landscapes of Spain."

Michel Schønnemann, who is producing Domino for Schønne Film in Denmark, is quoted by Keslassy: "I have been a huge fan of Brian De Palma ever since I saw Scarface in 1983. So it is with great pride that I look forward to produce Domino, a script I have developed together with screenwriter Petter Skavlan. From the start our ambitions have been to create a suspense-filled thriller in the line of such classics as French Connection; having Brian De Palma on board only heightens this ambition."

The film is being financed by Paris-based company Backup. David Atlan-Jackson, partner at Backup, is also quoted by Keslassy: "Working with Brian De Palma is like a dream, especially with such a classic-hollywood looking cast and a script that feels tailor-made for him."

Co-producers on Domino are Antonio Perez Perez’ Maestranza in Spain and Jaqueline de Gooeij for Zilvermeer in Belgium. The film will be introduced to buyers at the Cannes market later this month by IM Global.

This project is undoubtedly the film for which De Palma is said to have been seeking actors in Brussels. Last week, Brussels actor Mourade Zeguendi stated that he had been offered a role as a "Molenbeek terrorist" in an upcoming film being made by Brian De Palma, but turned it down. "Never in my life could I think I would refuse a role in a Brian De Palma film," Zeguendi says in a video he posted to Instagram and Facebook. "Imagine: something that you only encounter once in your life, and you say no. De Palma makes a movie in Brussels and the role they present to me: a terrorist from Molenbeek. So I said no."

It's been 12 years since Tony Scott's Domino was released in theaters. We'll see if the title sticks for this new film, or if it gets changed somewhere along the way, during production.

Posted by Geoff at 5:39 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 4, 2017 3:12 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Michelle Pfeiffer talks with Darren Aronofsky for the cover story of the April 2017 issue of Interview. At one point, Aronofsky steers the conversation to Brian De Palma's Scarface. "How’d it happen?" Pfeiffer says. "I’m very willful, you know. I’m a survivor. It’s in my nature. I don’t look so tough, but I am. And I think I was able to hide behind the tough exterior of that character, who was just sort of tuned out and tuned off, drugged. I can tell you that I was terrified. And it was a six-month shoot I think. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and I were really the only females. It was a boys’ club. And it was also the nature of the relationship, for Tony Montana to be very dismissive of my character. So I would go to sleep some nights crying."

Mark Margolis, who played Alberto "The Shadow" in Scarface, has appeared in several of Aronofsky's films.

Posted by Geoff at 9:20 PM CDT
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Robert De Niro and Al Pacino took part in a Godfather cast reunion interview Monday morning on NBC's Today. At one point, host Matt Lauer asked them if there was a rivalry between them in those days (the 1970s and 1980s)...

De Niro: No, no, no. You know, we’ve known each other a long time. We were up for the same parts. But that’s what it is. But not a rivalry…

Pacino: We sort of grew up together.

De Niro: Yeah… Once I told him, one night, I think I remember… what was… [leans toward Pacino] what was the De Palma…

Pacino: Scarface!

De Niro: [smiling] Scarface. I said, if you don’t do it, I’m gonna do it.

Pacino: That might have motivated me.

Posted by Geoff at 2:18 AM CDT
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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Here's a roundup of recent movie reviews and essays mentioning Brian De Palma in one way or another:

Rodrigo Perez on Thirst Street (The Playlist)

"To keep it indie 100 for a minute and hopefully not sound too obscure, if indie filmmaker Alex Ross Perry was to

Roman Polanski what his paranoiac feature Queen Of Earth was to Polanski’s The Tenant, then director Nathan Silver is to Rainer Werner Fassbinder what Thirst Street is to the German New Wave director’s Lola. Plus, well, throw in a little additional devilish Polanski for good measure, too.

Don’t be confused. This is all to say director Nathan Silver’s latest feature, the Euro-arty-influenced Thirst Street, a wry and disturbed look at lust and longing, is a terrific, vintage homage, and a deliciously arch little treat (and made by Washington Square Films, the same company that produced Queen Of Earth). Starring the exceptional and fetching Lindsay Burdge (A Teacher), who walks a thin line of heightened melodrama, sly comedy and sincere emotional distress, the actress carries the brittle movie on her back, but never falters while sticking the landing of its tricky tenors.

"In the vein of psychosexual thrillers of the ’80s or ’90s, with a ’70s throwback twist, Silver’s reading is more psychosexual comedy, as Thirst Street is slippery and mischievous in its depiction of anxiety and obsession — an easy cliff to fall off if you’re going to paint your heroine as a shrill nut job. Thankfully, Thirst Street is too smart and artful for that.

"Burdge stars as Gina, a emotionally despondent flight attendant reeling from the loss of her fiancé who, in a lonely, paranoid and jealous fit at her long stretch of absences away from home, suddenly committed suicide. Sweet but emotionally off-center from the tragedy, Gina sticks close to her flight attendant gal pals as they hit Paris for a brief overlay. Wallflowering through an evening of drinks, her friends bribe a tarot-card reader to bring her good fortune. The fortuitous moment changes her mood and eventually lands her in the arms of Jérôme (Damien Bonnard), a charming and sophisticated French louche (who doesn’t look dissimilar to Gina’s ex). A one-night stand ensues and really, that should be it, but a magical connection is made, at least for Gina, which sends her on a possessed mission to find Jérôme and essentially insinuate herself into his life. Quickly unhinged, Gina falls head over heels, over heels and over heels. It’s a glorious splatter, a warped tour through 1970s, European-flavored psychodramas, again, many of which Polanski was the grandmaster of. Throw in a soupçon of feathery fantasy, a DePalma diopter shot or two and sweaty Serge Gainsbourg lecherousness, and the recipe is complete.

"Narrated with delectable dry and deadpan wit by Anjelica Huston (an awesome get whose value to the tone cannot be understated), her purposefully emotionless, hilarious delivery is your first clue as to the askew nature of the movie. Esther Garrel co-stars as Clémence, an ex-girlfriend who becomes increasingly annoyed with Gina’s unwanted and ubiquitous presence.

"Shot by venerable indie DP Sean Price Williams (Heaven Knows What, Listen Up Philip, Queen Of Earth), the cinematographer must have had a blast imitating Fassbinder’s Douglas Sirk-inspired look from Lola (DP Xaver Schwarzenberger) and its dreamy gaze and saturated colors. Williams is just one of the many contributors here that elevate already rich material. Visually, Thirst Street is enchanting, expressing with bold feeling all of Gina’s strange obsessions. Composer Paul Grimstad’s gauzy and atmospheric soundtrack only bolsters the fraught and theatrical mood."

Katie Walsh on Unforgettable (Los Angeles Times)

"Unforgettable is tawdry, sometimes cheesy, and definitely soapy. There are some insane choices made in the production design, which is actually perfect for a movie like this. It’d be all too easy to write it off as 'guilty-pleasure' material, a higher-budget Lifetime movie. But that would denigrate female-driven entertainment that deals with the melodramas of the mind, body and soul from a woman’s perspective. Though this movie has its outrageous moments, Di Novi puts the female emotional journey front and centre and treats things respectfully.

"But every erotic thriller needs some crazy, and thank goodness for Heigl’s full commitment to her character’s insanity. That campiness is needed in a picture like this, allowing the audience relief from the tension while we giggle at her enthusiastic hair brushing or wild-eyed mania. In a final scene, she’s swathed gloriously in a mint caftan, her hair flowing. She calls to mind that other unforgettably controlling mother, Margaret White, from Brian De Palma’s 1976 film Carrie, played by Piper Laurie, who earned an Oscar nomination for that role. Heigl channels Laurie’s performance with her lilting tones and soft savagery. It’s a uniquely feminine kind of villainy that’s transfixed us since classical Hollywood, and Di Novi and Heigl understand it implicitly in order to execute it perfectly."

David Edelstein on Free Fire (Vulture)

"But Wheatley, for all his gifts, doesn’t quite hit his marks. Free Fire cries out for a spatial-temporal genius like Brian De Palma — though I imagine De Palma would have quickly gotten bored with the limited premise. When all hell breaks loose, you lose your bearings (who is with whom?), and the van that crashes with the still-blaring John Denver 8-track cassette is a good comic idea made excruciating by … too much John Denver. The movie is meant to be a nihilist joke, but it’s all fodder if you don’t give a damn about who’s being annihilated."

Jeff Simon recalls 1991 press screening of Reservoir Dogs (The Buffalo News)

Wheatley admits Scorsese was partly responsible for him becoming a filmmaker in the first place. Having Scorsese around to advice him during the making of "Free Fire" was a rarity. Compared to having to deal with a studio executive, it was like being steadied by "a kindly hand rather than a niggling presence."

Where does all this droll movie excess come from?

Consider Toronto's Varsity Theater a quarter of a century ago. It was, in 1991, a shabby, dirty and unhealthy room to begin with but, on this day, it was so full of people that some were trying to sit on the floor. It's a "Press and Industry Screening" for the film that was that year's buzz champion, Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs."

The room is packed with "press and industry" people from all over the world -- people who don't give a fig for luxury or comfort when the prospect of seeing a great film is nigh. Rex Reed sat directly behind me. Filmmaker Brian DePalma sat a couple seats in front of me and to the left. By the time we were all watching Michael Madsen merrily dancing around to Stealer's Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You" and slicing a bound cop's ear off, it was obvious that we were experiencing a new way of portraying movie criminals and the violent, sadistic things they do.

If sadism wasn't a defining characteristic of their endeavors, stupidity might be. That notion fully entered the pop cultural worldview in 1985 with the advent of the Coen Brothers' first film "Blood Simple." But some other things happened in that theater on that day.

--- Film Festivals -- and the kind of international "Press and Industry" people they attract -- were confirmed as a new audience for cinematic innovation in commercial films (not just art films.) In this case, it was ultra-violent excess conveyed with sardonic humor.

--- A new kind of film intellectual was born. Tarantino was a film intellectual from the video store, not the library or the cinematheque. There was very little that was bookish about him. He'd seen all these movies because he was a store clerk, not because a library told him to and a cinematheque scheduled them for him to see.

Wheatley likes to tell people that he's influenced by Tom and Jerry. He is, himself, a former animator. "Free Fire" then is taken from all kinds of sources, he said. "Silent cinema. And Hanna Barbera cartoons. And things like that." And it's what happens when you take it all "full throttle."

That's because in the movies of 2017, "full throttle" visuals don't have to be translated into other languages. Accents are so thick in "Free Fire" that a good 25 percent of the dialogue is incoherent. It scarcely matters. You know what you're watching, whether you live in Roanoke or Rangoon or Reykjavik.

When you've had part of a career in animation, you're familiar with a movie world of violence that doesn't affect characters. Think of all the things that happened over the decades to poor Wile E. Coyote in Chuck Jones' seven-minute masterworks about The Road Runner.

At the same time, Wheatley points out that there's a crazy kind of realism to "Free Fire" -- the difficulty, for instance, of hitting a moving target when you're shooting, and the ability of people to keep going after getting hit with many gunshots. "It's not unrealistic," says the man whose basic idea for the movie came from an FBI report talking about that very thing.

And, as he says, nice things and happy endings are "well-covered in America" at the movies and on TV, but "actual reality is not so well covered."

Armond White on The Assignment (National Review)

"The Assignment is less thrilling than [Walter] Hill’s career comeback Bullet to the Head (2012). The Assignment’s imperfection cannot be overlooked: Actress Michelle Rodriguez doesn’t achieve Frank’s androgynous potential. Her full-frontal nude strut is as phony as Mark Wahlberg’s rubber phallus in Boogie Nights, and she portrays Frank’s machismo with the same sullen sneer that reviewers foolishly equated with Brando in Rodriguez’s debut film, Girlfight (2000). Scenes with a working-class nurse (Caitlin Gerard) make Rodriguez’s acting limitations painfully apparent. Frank should have been as fascinating as the cross-gender characters in Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In, Brian De Palma’s Raising Cain, or Hill’s plastic-surgery classic Johnny Handsome, in which Mickey Rourke movingly portrays a man whose facial reconstruction reveals the good or evil potential in those around him. As bold as The Assignment is, Hill nonetheless must struggle with Hollywood’s sexual sanctimony."

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 1, 2017 12:32 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 27, 2017
In a video posted yesterday to Facebook and Instagram, Brussels actor Mourade Zeguendi stated that he had been offered a role as a "Molenbeek terrorist" in an upcoming film being made by Brian De Palma, but turned it down. "Never in my life could I think I would refuse a role in a Brian De Palma film," Zeguendi says in the video. "Imagine: something that you only encounter once in your life, and you say no. De Palma makes a movie in Brussels and the role they present to me: a terrorist from Molenbeek. So I said no."

Two more actors then commented on Zeguendi's Instagram post, saying that they also refused the role in De Palma's upcoming, unnamed film. After Nasrdin Dchar commented, "Me too!", Fouad Hajji chimed in, commenting, "Happy to know that I was not the only one. After refusing, although I know I made the right choice. I was still hanging a few days .... :( ."

Cinematographer Mounir Ben Bachir asked in the comments if Zeguendi was told what the movie is about. "I can just tell you that Arabs will kill whites lol," replied Zeguendi.

Later, speaking by phone to De Standaard's Jeroen Struys, Zeguendi said, "I've got my belly full of this kind of typecasting." Sounding indignant, Zeguendi added, "I am fed up. Apparently, someone with a darker skin always has to play someone with only one characteristic: his skin color. That hurts me. There is a difference between playing a Mafioso and a terrorist. And when I heard that phrase: 'terrorist from Molenbeek', I said stop. This is not Afghanistan here, huh. As a father, a Belgian and an inhabitant of Brussels, I say: stop. Stop with that simplistic view of the world."

Struys' article continues:

More than a criminal with Moroccan accent

Zeguendi broke in 2009 with Les Barons, about four friends in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Their philosophy is that everyone in the world has a limited number of steps available. However, Zeguendi seems to be awarded a limited number of steps in his career. "After the success of Les Barons, I received offers enough for starring. I have to refuse that one by one because they were all stereotyped portraits of the immigrant."

Over the past few years he has had to take pleasure in supporting roles, in which he often excels. "Little roles, but at least characters that were more than a criminal with Moroccan accents."

An article posted Friday by Anealla Safdar at Al Jazeera quotes Zeguendi's original video and then the Standaard interview, adding that the actor was thanking his fans for their support of his stance. Following all of that, here is the rest of the Al Jazeera article:

By the time of publishing, De Palma's representative had not responded to Al Jazeera's request for further comment.

Zeguendi, a 36-year-old actor, has appeared in more than 20 films and television series, and performs in theatre.

Joseph Fahim, a film critic, programmer and a lecturer based in Cairo, told Al Jazeera that Zeguendi's stance was "commendable".

"[But] does it herald a possible future resistance on part of Arab actors for these kind of roles? I doubt it," he said. "For every Zeguendi, there will be dozens of other actors willing to snatch the chance to work with someone like De Palma and justify their decision."

He said that several other artists had refused similar roles on account of being typecast, but not all decisions are made public "because actors usually refuse to sever their relationships with directors".

"So maybe it is actually brave of him to publicise this," said Fahim.

Posted by Geoff at 5:25 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 6:04 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brian De Palma's Carrie will be the Late Night Grindhouse feature this Friday and Saturday (April 28 and 29) at the Moolah Theatre & Lounge in St. Louis. The film will begin at midnight both nights, with a Psychotronic Pre-Show at 11:30, including a "Horror Prom Photo Booth." Tickets are $7.

Posted by Geoff at 12:00 AM CDT
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Clifton James, who had appeared in two Brian De Palma films-- The Untouchables (1987) and The Bonfire Of The Vanities (1990), passed away Saturday at the age of 96. His daughter, Lynn James, told the Associated Press, "He was the most outgoing person, beloved by everybody. I don't think the man had an enemy. We were incredibly blessed to have had him in our lives."

Most of the articles about James' passing highlight his role as a redneck sheriff in two James Bond films starring Roger Moore: Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man With the Golden Gun (1974). "His daughter noted that her father sometimes said actors get remembered for one particular role out of hundreds," states the Associated Press article. "His is the sheriff's, but he said he would have never picked that one," said Lynn James. During the prime of his career, the article states, James "loved working on the stage in New York."

Here's part of an obituary written by Meagan Navarro at ScreenRant:

James was born May 29, 1920 in Spokane, Washington as the oldest of five siblings, and the only son. His mother was a teacher and his father a journalist. He was raised near Portland, Oregon during the height of the Great Depression. A decorated World War II veteran, James served nearly five years in the South Pacific and has earned numerous decorations for his service including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.

After leaving the Army, James took classes and acted in plays at the University of Oregon before moving to New York to launch his acting career. His first stage appearance was The Time of Your Life, and he continued to perform in numerous stage plays on Broadway.

Despite being a northerner with a love of theater, his most famous role came on film as the tobacco spitting southern sheriff from Louisiana in 1973’s Live and Let Die. The stark comedic contrast to Roger Moore’s cool, sophisticated James Bond proved to be so popular with audiences that the writers wrote the comic-relief character into the next James Bond film, 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun. This entry saw the popular character bringing even more comedic relief to the film as it took the southern sheriff out of the south and into Thailand. His knack for portraying a cigar-chomping, tobacco chewing southerners carried over in many other film roles, as in his role of Carr in Cool Hand Luke. James also acted opposite to Bruce Willis in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Robert De Niro in an uncredited role as a district attorney who prosecuted Al Capone in The Untouchables.

On television, James had appeared in Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Dukes of Hazard, Lewis & Clark, The A-Team, Dallas, and more. As a lover of celebrating holidays with his wife, Laurie, James once played Kris Kringle in a 1996 episode of long-running soap opera All My Children. Perhaps his most notable television role, however, is that of powerful Houston lawyer Striker Bellman in the soap opera Texas, from 1981 to 1982.

James leaves behind his wife, his five children, 14 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, as well his two younger sisters Cicely and Beverley. He will be missed.

Posted by Geoff at 3:21 AM CDT
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A lean and mean weeklong series of films starring Robert De Niro begins tomorrow at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. Titled "NO BULLS**T: Starring Robert De Niro", the series, which runs April 12-19, "is all killer and no filler DeNiro," writes The Interro Bang's Earl Douglas, "showing why he is one of the most decorated and beloved actors of our time." Two Brian De Palma films are included: Hi, Mom! (April 13 and 15) and The Untouchables (April 13 and 16). The bulk of the series is made up of De Niro's collaborations with Martin Scorsese. Here's the rundown from Douglas:
On May 8th, Robert DeNiro will be honored at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s 44th Annual Chaplin Award Gala. As a primer to this vital fundraiser, The Film Society will host a one week retrospective featuring his best performances. It will include his seminal work with director Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King Of Comedy, Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear), Michael Mann (Heat), Brian DePalma (Hi Mom!, The Untouchables), and the late Sergio Leone (Once Upon A Time In America). Seeing any of these films are essential, but the real treat in the series is DePalma’s black comedy, ‘Hi Mom’, which featured DeNiro in one of his earliest starring roles; and Once Upon A Time In America, Leone’s 1984 epic which has been restored to its original 3 hour-plus cut.

The other two films in the series are Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter, and Martin Brest's Midnight Run.

Posted by Geoff at 1:35 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 1:38 AM CDT
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