Hello and welcome to the unofficial Brian De Palma website.
Here is the latest news:

De Palma a la Mod

E-mail
Geoffsongs@aol.com

De Palma Discussion
Forum

-------------

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

-------------

Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

------------

AV Club Review
of Dumas book

------------

« July 2020 »
S M T W T F S
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 31

Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

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

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

Astigmia Cinema

LOLA

Cultural Weekly

A Lonely Place

The Film Doctor

italkyoubored

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

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod
site

Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
All topics
Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
BAMcinématek
Bart De Palma
Beaune Thriller Fest
Becoming Visionary
Betty Buckley
Bill Pankow
Black Dahlia
Blow Out
Blue Afternoon
Body Double
Bonfire Of The Vanities
Books
Boston Stranglers
Bruce Springsteen
Cannes
Capone Rising
Carlito's Way
Carrie
Casualties Of War
Catch And Kill
Cinema Studies
Clarksville 1861
Columbia University
Columbo - Shooting Script
Cop-Out
Cruising
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
Domino
Dressed To Kill
Eric Schwab
Fatal Attraction
Femme Fatale
Film Series
Fire
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Fury, The
George Litto
Get To Know Your Rabbit
Ghost & The Darkness
Greetings
Happy Valley
Havana Film Fest
Heat
Hi, Mom!
Hitchcock
Home Movies
Inspired by De Palma
Iraq, etc.
Jared Martin
Jerry Greenberg
Keith Gordon
Key Man, The
Laurent Bouzereau
Lights Out
Lithgow
Magic Hour
Magnificent Seven
Mission To Mars
Mission: Impossible
Mod
Montreal World Film Fest
Morricone
Mr. Hughes
Murder a la Mod
Nancy Allen
Nazi Gold
Newton 1861
Noah Baumbach
NYFF
Obsession
Oliver Stone
Palmetto
Paranormal Activity 2
Parker
Parties & Premieres
Passion
Paul Hirsch
Paul Schrader
Pauline Kael
Peet Gelderblom
Phantom Of The Paradise
Pimento
Pino Donaggio
Predator
Prince Of The City
Print The Legend
Raggedy Ann
Raising Cain
Red Shoes, The
Redacted
Responsive Eye
Retribution
Rie Rasmussen
Robert De Niro
Rotwang muß weg!
Sakamoto
Scarface
Sean Penn
Sisters
Snake Eyes
Sound Mixer
Spielberg
Star Wars
Stepford Wives
Sweet Vengeance
Tabloid
Tarantino
Taxi Driver
Terry
The Tale
To Bridge This Gap
Toronto Film Fest
Toyer
Travolta
Treasure Sierra Madre
Tru Blu
Truth And Other Lies
TV Appearances
Untitled Ashton Kutcher
Untitled Hollywood Horror
Untitled Industry-Abuse M
Untouchables
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
Sunday, July 19, 2020
VIDEO REVISITS LOCATIONS FROM 11 DE PALMA FILMS
COVERS SEVERAL VISITS TO FILMING LOCATIONS OVER THE PAST 6 YEARS BY CARL RODRIGUE & FRIEND

A couple of years ago, I shared a video made by Carl Rodrigue and his friend from when they visited Mission: Impossible filming locations in Prague and London. Now the pair have put together a video (above) that collects their trips over recent years to filming locations from 11 of Brian De Palma's films.

In an email, Rodrigue writes:

These road trips about filming locations would not have been possible if I hadn’t met this friend, who is a not only a cinema buff, but also loves De Palma as much as you and I. Fun fact: we met on the Internet in 1996 looking for Murder a la Mod. We never found it of course and, as many De Palma fans, we had to wait until the Blow Out Criterion release to watch it.

Having said that, it’s a major treat to found yourself on any filming location, if you ask me.

Especially, the ones from De Palma’s movies!

Phantom of the Paradise

All pictures were taken in Dallas. We tried to visit the Greystone Mansion in California, but didn’t get the permission.

Same goes for the Majestic Theater in Dallas. Next time, we’ll buy tickets to see a show so we can enter.

Since we were not sure where the exterior scenes were shot, we still took pictures of the Majestic and I put one in the video.

Obsession

The street of the Courtlands' house is part of a walking tour you can take while in New Orleans. The house is apparently famous for being is some other movies as well as Obsession, we heard a guide saying. We had to wait for the tourists to leave to take our pictures.

Carrie

There are only three trees left near the place where Carrie walks.

As soon as we put a foot on the college where the volley ball scene was filmed, we went to talk to a guardian who was there and we were taken to the principal’s office. We explained our project, but didn’t have the permission to take pictures while students were there, and our tight schedule meant we were not able to wait.

We were a little discouraged as we encountered the same reception at the next college where Carrie walks out from the fire, but since the movie was made, it was changed to a museum, so we got lucky there.

Another luck : we found the road where Chris and Billy try to kill Carrie just a few weeks before we left for our second road trip.

The Fury

Again, our tight schedule prevented us from visiting other locations from The Fury. But we can agree on the fact that it’s one of the best scenes of the movie if not the best.

Dressed to Kill

The museum shots you see are not exactly the same as the movie, since that portion was in renovation when we visited. Still, the architecture is the about the same on all floors, so it wasn’t too hard to take pictures that look like the ones in the movie.

We were also amazed to find the painting you see at 2:08, so I to put it in the video.

Blow Out

It took us a while to get access to the bridge – it’s harder / more complicated than we first thought. And even then, as you’ll see in the first picture, we were on the opposite side. By the way, I don’t know how many accidents there are there, but as you can see, the barrier is still damaged! :-o

Do I have to tell you that the murder shot was taken in the men’s bathroom, and not the women's? ;)

Also, we went two times to Philadelphia. The first time, the place where Sally is killed was closed. Fortunately we got lucky the second time!

Body Double

Maybe the biggest disappointment of all was not getting permission to take pictures at the Beverly Hills mall.

It’s very hard to get a good shot of the Chemosphere House since vegetation and other houses are in the way.

While we were figuring how to take pictures of the beach house, a gentleman saw us and let us enter. Sometimes, it seems that our Quebec accent helps. People understand how far we've come and will give us freebies like this. That’s how we were able to get the picture you see at 3:09.

The tunnel is now closed – since many years ago, it seems – but you could still see the façade from the beach.

The Untouchables

I remember I told you about the time I went to Chicago in 2015 when the staircase was in renovation. Talk about a MAJOR disappointment! Still I took some other pictures in 2015 and of course we put Chicago on our map for the road trips of 2016 and even 2019.

We took a diner at the Houndstooth Saloon.

Maniacs that we are, we went all the way to Montana for the frontier scene.

I’m especially proud of the Capone shot on the stairs (3:39). I took it in 2015 and didn’t have the pictures of the movie with me that time, but I still got the right angle.

As for the church, what can I tell you? This one of my favorite shots of all time: the hands near the camera, the heads further and the depth of field which leads us all the way to the back of the church. This is badass composition. No wonder I used it as the thumbnail. ;)

Casualties of War

Not much to be said here since, as you know, these shots were the only ones possible to take.

Oh and yes, for the first one we had to stand there for a little while waiting for the tramway to come and be able to take matching pictures.

Raising Cain

The manager of the Raising Cain motel was kind enough to let us take our pictures. Very appreciated. Another time where our Quebec accent might have helped.

We took more pictures at the park, but the scenery sure changed a lot since 1992.

Another treat was to be able to take as many pictures as we wanted inside the police station of Raising Cain (in fact a town mall). We have documented pretty much the whole sequence-shot.

Mission: Impossible

Finally for Mission: Impossible, pretty much all the pictures are from the video I made in 2018. The only new one is the 5:12 one which I found a way to insert here.

I don’t know if I told you back then, but remember when Tom Cruise says to Emmanuelle Béart: “There was nobody on the bridge.” ? Well, I have been in Prague for a week, and went to Charles bridge maybe five or six times at different hours trying to get these kind of shots.

Tom Cruise is a liar : There’s ALWAYS someone on the bridge.

So that’s about it. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We have many more pictures, so I’ll let you know when I’ll make some new videos about single films.

In the future, a third and final road trip in the States would include the east coast; especially in Miami for Scarface and New York for Carlito’s Way, Sisters, and some other shots from Dressed to Kill.


Posted by Geoff at 7:33 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2020 7:38 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Saturday, July 18, 2020
KOCH'S 'SISTERS' ADAPTS ITALIAN POSTER FOR COVER
NEW GERMAN EDITION INCLUDES THE USUAL EXTRAS, PLUS A 20-PAGE BOOKLET BY JAKOB LARISCH
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/sisterskoch1.jpg

Koch Films has just released a German Mediabook edition of Brian De Palma's Sisters. The set includes one Blu-ray and two DVDs with all the usual extras, plus a 20-page booklet by Jakob Larisch. I think they did a fine job with the cover, which is an "adaptation" of the Italian poster for Sisters (see below).


Posted by Geoff at 10:31 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, July 18, 2020 10:33 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, July 17, 2020
TARA CULP'S NOTES - ENNIO & 'MISSION TO MARS'
DE PALMA'S ASSISTANT FINDS NOTE SCRAP TUCKED AWAY IN AN OLD BOOK
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/taraculpnotes.jpg

Tara Culp, who was Brian De Palma's assistant from around the days of Snake Eyes through Mission To Mars, posted the image above to her Instagram today. Scribbled on a Mission To Mars production pad, the notes provide an interesting glimpse of what it must have been like trying to set up times to meet with Ennio Morricone.

"I found this tucked away in an old book yesterday," Culp writes in the Instagram post. "It's from my Hollywood days. Working tirelessly as an assistant to Brian De Palma. It reminded of a time when we were shooting in Montreal, this powerful creative group of women on the set in high positions where asking me 'What do you want?' We would like to help you fulfill your dreams. They saw I was in a power position, they were from a different culture they were seeing something in me that I could not see quit[e] yet. The problem was I did not know what I wanted. This experience thrusted me into analysis in a attempt to figure it out. I worked hard and what I found was a different path. Now I am at that point again in my life. What is my purpose now wnd in addition how can I help younger women find calling. It's all about communication and a thirst for learning from others. Keep talking, keep helping and Happy Filmmaker Friday and just to keep it as real as possible life really is a shit show right now :)"


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, July 16, 2020
VIDEO - VENOMOUS PINKS PAY PUNK TRIBUTE TO 'CARRIE'
SHOW-STOPPING SEQUENCE PAYS DEEP HOMAGE TO DE PALMA'S FILM, USING VOICES FROM SOUNDTRACK


The video above for The Venomous Pinks single "I Really Don't Care" was photographed and edited by Alexander Thomas. It features a punk rock homage to Brian De Palma's Carrie that goes so far as to use Piper Laurie's and other voices from the kaleidoscope section of De Palma's film. It's all in loving tribute, as Jennifer Goldberg's article today in the Phoenix New Times explains:
Name a more iconic horror movie scene than Sissy Spacek getting drenched in pig's blood in Carrie.

We'll wait.

The signature Brian DePalma split-screen effect, the jeering crowd, the humiliation that gives way to unrestrained female rage — the elements that make Carrie a stone-cold classic are present in the new music video for "I Really Don't Care" from The Venomous Pinks.

"I’m pretty grateful for my bandmates," says Drea Doll, vocalist and guitarist for the band. "They let me run with any crazy idea I have."

Director Alexander Thomas asked her what her favorite horror movie was, and a concept was born.

Doll says, "Carrie is truly, I feel, one of the first feminist horror movies. We figured, 'Let’s do the prom scene, an homage to it where it’s a punk-rock prom.'"

In the video, The Venomous Pinks are the live entertainment at the fateful dance. Dressed in matching pink satin shirts, they finish the song as the room burns around them.

Bassist Gaby Kaos takes lead vocals on the track; she wrote a version of the song years ago in response to a bad relationship. In a press release, she says she wrote the song after leaving a boyfriend who wanted her to give up her dreams of a music career.

These days, the song has taken on an additional meaning — namely, that the band won't let anything stop them from accomplishing their goals.


Posted by Geoff at 11:30 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
POSTER & TRAILER - GELDERBLOM'S 'WHEN FOREVER DIES'
ARCHIVAL FILM WILL PREMIERE AUGUST 31 AT IMAGINE FILM FESTIVAL
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/whenforeverdies3.jpgBack in March, we posted about Peet Gelderblom's When Forever Dies, described as "an archival fiction film assembled from fragments of hundreds of largely forgotten movies, most of which are rarely seen today." At that time, prior to COVID-19 shutting down so many things worldwide, When Forever Dies was to have its world premiere at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam in April. We are happy to see that the now-completed film will premiere at a hybrid edition of the Imagine Film Festival on August 31st.

The When Forever Dies website features the official trailer for the film, as well as the When Forever Dies timeline, which provides a picture of how the film is made up of many films, most of them unseen, from across 125 years of cinema. The site also includes filmmaker bios, Gelderblom's video introduction to the project, and more.

Posted by Geoff at 8:09 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2020 8:13 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
OLIVER STONE MEMOIR EXCERPT ON 'SCARFACE' - EW.COM
"DE PALMA, IT SEEMED TO ME, WAS MORE INTERESTED IN 'THE BIG PICTURE'"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/scarfacestone1.jpg

Oliver Stone's memoir, Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador, and the Movie Game, will be published July 21, 2020 (a week from today). Yesterday, Entertainment Weekly posted an excerpt from the book's section on Scarface. Here's an excerpt from the excerpt:
Meanwhile, Bregman went painstakingly through the script with me, with Pacino separately making incisive suggestions. We never discussed the Born on the Fourth of July debacle, but as I grew to know Al better, I found him surprisingly humorous, coming up with one-liners to fit Tony Montana, whom he was evolving into with a broad Cuban accent and all. It surprised me that Al had never snorted cocaine or known anything about drugs. According to Marty, he’d had a serious problem with alcohol when younger but was now completely dry. Yet he had no problem behaving onscreen like the ultimate coke addict. Al definitely belonged to the “Method” school of acting, worshiping the aloof Lee Strasberg, who with his wife seemed to be making a rather good living teaching theater to a new generation. Al also kept a respected acting coach, Charlie Laughton, close to him, which greatly irritated Marty, who still wanted to“manage” Al in all ways, particularly his “warped” thinking. Al, to my mind, always had one goal — the play. Nothing else seemed to exist.

I continued to refine the script, and without much delay, Ned Tanen at Universal, Bregman’s friendly studio, agreed to make the movie for some $14 to $15 million, which was quite good for a violent gangster film that, even on paper, was gathering a reputation for being “over the top” — another Midnight Express type of extravaganza from Oliver Stone, now paired with the excessive and violent Brian De Palma, who’d made Dressed to Kill and Carrie. Bregman asked me to take DePalma down to see the locations and meet the figures I’d come to know while researching. Brian was a cold man, like Alan Parker — it comes with the territory — but he wasn’t threatened by me and seemed to want me around. So did Bregman, who stayed very much in control of the film, sitting with Brian through every casting call. At one session I attended, I fought hard for Glenn Close to play the role of Al’s mistress in Scarface, as she’d been great in the reading. I’d written the original Elvira role as an upper-class New York girl whom I knew, slumming in South Beach with a gangster boss when Tony meets her. Marty dismissed my idea as nuts — “She’s got a face like a horse!” He was married to a beautiful actress, Cornelia Sharpe, a blond, and generally had a big thing going for blonds. Marty and De Palma ultimately chose a twenty-four-year-old newcomer, Michelle Pfeiffer, who scored hugely in the film and went on to a distinguished career. But at the time, I had to grudgingly rewrite Elvira’s part down to make the role more of a materialistic South Beach bimbo.

Al asked Marty to keep me on the set to help him, presumably with a director he wasn’t quite sure of. At first I was glad to stay on, although I was being paid only in per diem to cover my expenses, but I regarded it as a learning experience. Al was still, at this time, quicksilver of nature, turning on a dime, very sensitive to his environment, eyes, ears, skin on fire. If he saw a new face on the set, he’d react. He was just that way. At all costs I’d avoid his line of sight when he was in acting motion lest my concentration disrupt his own — somewhat like particle waves. Billy Wilder described this sensitivity in recounting how Greta Garbo banned him from Ninotchka for appearing in her sightline. It wouldn’t be easy to direct Al, but De Palma seemed indifferent to that; he was never really an actor’s director like Lumet, whom Pacino had wanted. De Palma, it seemed to me, was more interested in the “big picture,” and in that vision actors were more or less an important part of the scenery.



Posted by Geoff at 12:49 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2020 12:52 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (5) | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, July 13, 2020
'DRESSED TO KILL' ALTERNATIVE POSTER BY NICK CHARGE
AND HORROR BFFs DISCUSS DTK ON CORPSE CLUB PODCAST
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dtknickcharge.jpg

This past April, we saw alternative poster art for Body Double designed by Melbourne illustrator Nick Charge. This month, Charge has shared new art for two more Brian De Palma films: Blow Out (see Charge's poster here) and this one above for Dressed To Kill.

Meanwhile, at Daily Dead, you can listen to the latest episode of the Corpse Club podcast, in which "Horror BFFs" Heather Wixson and Patrick Bromley discuss Dressed To Kill. Here's the brief Daily Dead description:

Over the last several years on Daily Dead, we've celebrated the 30th anniversaries of notable horror and sci-fi movies in our "Class of..." retrospective series, and this year we're switching things up by commemorating movies that are celebrating their 40th anniversaries!

Horror BFFs Heather Wixson and Patrick Bromley continue Daily Dead's Class of 1980 retrospective series with a look back at Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill on this episode of Corpse Club!

Listen as Heather and Patrick take a deep dive into the classic horror film, from De Palma's innovative directing and clever camerawork to the film's killer mystery, psychological layers, and intriguing performances by a talented cast including Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Keith Gordon, Nancy Allen, and Dennis Franz.

So, whether you're no stranger to Dressed to Kill or you're gearing up for a first-time viewing, sit back, relax, and enjoy a special Class of 1980 edition of Horror BFFs!


Posted by Geoff at 8:06 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, July 12, 2020
CINEMA CATS - SCENE STEALER SUNDAY - 'FEMME FATALE'
"FINAL MEWSINGS: CURIOSITY FORTUNATELY DID NOT KILL THIS CAT!"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/ffcinemacats.jpg

"Our Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer) Sunday cat makes an adorable appearance at the beginning of this Brian De Palma film," Cinema Cats teased in a Twitter post this morning. Of course, the film with the "kitty cameo" is Femme Fatale, in which "the cat plays with the camera, thinking it is a toy," during the film's opening heist sequence at Cannes. "Eventually the cat jumps down from the computer and Racine can continue with his work," the post continues, using frames from the film, as well as a brief video gif. "Final Mewsings: Curiousity fortunately did not kill this cat!"

Posted by Geoff at 8:40 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, July 12, 2020 9:17 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, July 10, 2020
GUADAGNINO EXPECTS HIS 'SCARFACE' TO BE 'TIMELY'
BOTH PREVIOUS VERSIONS "CAN STAND ON THE SHELF AS TWO WONDERFUL PIECES OF SCULPTURE"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/elvira4.jpg

Today at Variety, Brent Lang interviews Luca Guadagnino, and asks him about his upcoming remake of Scarface:
You have about a half-dozen projects listed as in development on your IMDB. What’s behind that?

I am a relentless workaholic. I’m someone who has never tried any drugs, because I’m too scared for my own health. But I feel like when I was born, I fell on a “Scarface” mountain of cocaine, because I work 13 hours a day.

Are you working on a sequel to “Call Me By Your Name”?

I call it a second chapter, a new chapter, a part two or something like that. I love those characters. I love those actors. The legacy of the movie and its reception made me feel I should continue walking the path with everybody. I’ve come up with a story and hopefully we will be able to put it on the page soon.

You’re also attached to a remake of “Scarface.” What attracted you to that project?

People claim that I do only remakes [ed. note: Guadagnino previously remade “Suspiria” and his film “A Bigger Splash” was inspired by “La Piscine”] , but the truth of the matter is cinema has been remaking itself throughout its existence. It’s not because it’s a lazy way of not being able to find original stories. It’s alway about looking at what certain stories say about our times. The first “Scarface” from Howard Hawkes was all about the prohibition era. Fifty years later, Oliver Stone and Brian De Palma make their version, which is so different from the Hawkes film. Both can stand on the shelf as two wonderful pieces of sculpture. Hopefully ours, forty-plus years later, will be another worthy reflection on a character who is a paradigm for our own compulsions for excess and ambition. I think my version will be very timely.

What have you been watching during lockdown?

I watched again “Comizi d’amore” (Love Meetings) by Pasolini. I saw a great movie called “The Vast of Night,” and I watched for the second or third time “Doctor Sleep,” which is a movie I admire greatly.


Posted by Geoff at 5:49 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
JUSTIN CHANG ON MORRICONE & 'MISSION TO MARS'
"IT'S THE MUSIC YOU MIGHT EXPECT TO HEAR AS YOUR LIFE FLASHES BEFORE YOUR EYES"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/m2mspacewalk1.jpg

Posted yesterday afternoon at the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang's "Appreciation: ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ to ‘The Untouchables’: Ennio Morricone made music a movie star" begins rather unexpectedly:
It’s hard for me to recall the most vivid moments in “Mission to Mars,” Brian De Palma’s outer-space drama from 2000, without hearing the great music of Ennio Morricone.

That probably isn’t how you expected this to begin, but then, Morricone had a thing for unusual overtures, so bear with me. At one point in “Mission to Mars,” the astronaut characters maneuver their way through the vast emptiness of space — a moment of visual awe to which Morricone supplies a lyrical counterpoint that is at once weirdly playful and hauntingly spare. He helps transfigure the scene from a purely technical endeavor into a kind of weightless dance, a zero-gravity ballet. And when the adventure reaches its climax, Morricone rises to his own peak of spiritual and emotional extravagance — a mighty convergence of strings, celestial voices and insistently brassy melody. It’s the music you might expect to hear as your life flashes before your eyes.

Critically scorned upon release, “Mission to Mars” may not be the picture that springs most readily to mind when we think of this great Italian maestro turned Hollywood legend, who died Monday at the age of 91. If we must think of a “Mission” movie, surely it should be Roland Joffé’s “The Mission” (1986), a historical epic perhaps most fondly remembered today for Morricone’s lush oboe themes, as well as his clever dialectic of classical European and indigenous South American instruments. And if we must invoke one of Morricone’s signature scores for De Palma, one of his favorite collaborators, surely it should be “The Untouchables” (1987), which sets an old-timey underworld mood from the outset — all those low, sinister five-note progressions, timed to a succession of quick, metronomic pulses.

You surely have your own well-worn favorites. But Morricone was a dizzyingly prolific and madly inventive artist, and his career, during which he scored more than 500 films, is much more than a compendium of the obvious and the iconic. Any appreciation at this early stage will but scratch the surface of a mighty edifice that spanned nearly 70 years and ran from giallo horror flicks to classic westerns, and which could apply itself, with equal passion, to the most restless experimentation and the most sentimental bathos. The famously outspoken Morricone certainly had his own singular view of what constituted his best and worst work, and was never afraid to fly in the face of public opinion.


In the article, Chang describes further how Morricone's music is linked to the movies he composed for. "Listen to any Morricone score and 'accompaniment,' a word that critics sometimes default to when writing about film music, starts to feel even less adequate than usual," Chang states. "The effect of his work was not simply to achieve an ideal, harmonious balance of sound and image; he was a far more demonstrative artist than that. More often than not, he seemed all too willing to challenge the image, to draw out the image to languorous extremes, to pummel the image into lyrical submission."

Toward the end of the article, Chang mentions several filmmaking collaborators and the Academy Awards before bringing it back to Mission To Mars:

The Morricone signature is present even in his more restrained, less demonstrative scores for pictures like Gillo Pontecorvo’s “The Battle of Algiers” (1966). In that masterwork of ripped-from-the-headlines realism, Morricone’s terse, electrifying percussion seems to merge with the pounding footfalls of soldiers marching up and down the steps of the casbah. But the effect is entirely different when you watch a film like Marco Bellocchio’s 1965 debut feature, “Fists in the Pocket,” a startling angry-young-man portrait that finds an exquisite contrast in Morricone’s crooning, tinkling lullabies.

He wrote much of his music for films directed by fellow Italian artists, among them Bellocchio, Bernardo Bertolucci, Lina Wertmüller, Sergio Corbucci, Dario Argento and Pier Paolo Pasolini, whose transgressive magnum opus, “Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom,” proved a fascinating if far-from-intuitive fit. At the opposite extreme was perhaps the composer’s most frequent collaborator, Giuseppe Tornatore, whose “Cinema Paradiso,” a soft-bellied ode to the magic of movies, might not have been the Oscar-winning art-house favorite it became without Morricone’s gently treacly imprint.

He earned one of his six Academy Award nominations for original score for Tornatore’s “Malèna” (2000), a choice that is viewed most charitably, in retrospect, as a sign of just how revered Morricone had become in Hollywood. It also revealed how eager the motion picture academy was to recognize him after nominating him for his superior work on Terrence Malick’s glorious “Days of Heaven” (1978), “The Mission,” “The Untouchables” and Barry Levinson’s “Bugsy” (1991).

He received an honorary Oscar in 2007, placing him in the company of numerous other venerated artists who were given the academy’s ultimate consolation prize. But Morricone would triumph on his own terms eight years later, finally earning his first and only scoring Oscar, for Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” (2015) — and becoming, at that point, the oldest winner of a competitive award in Academy Awards history.

While that particular score may not rank among his best work, there is something undeniably poignant about Morricone getting his successful final boost from Tarantino, who spent much of his career so lovingly and lavishly quoting the maestro’s greatest hits in movies like “Kill Bill” and “Django Unchained.” Tarantino knew that Morricone’s music was something primal and even physical in its presence, something that seemed to bubble out of the landscape itself. And those landscapes could be as different as a dust-choked Leone desert or the deadly Antarctic tundra of John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982) — or, yes, the vast expanse of De Palma’s outer space, one of many cinematic cosmos that Morricone colonized with his own limitless sense of possibility.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer|Latest|Older