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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

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

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

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

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

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

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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« July 2021 »
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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
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The De Palma Touch

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Carrie...A Fan's Site

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No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

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The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

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and the Infield
Fly Rule

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Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

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Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
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Guillotine

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italkyoubored

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De Palma a la Mod
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Entries by Topic
A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Sunday, July 11, 2021
CANNES - CRITIC FEELS 'CARRIE' VIBES FROM 'CLARA SOLA'
THE WRAP'S STEVE POND: "SIMULTANEOUSLY ODD, DISQUIETING, AND RICHLY REWARDING"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/clarasola.jpg

Following yesterday's post about a direct connection to Carrie in Fear Street Part Two: 1978, today we look at a review of Clara Sola, which The Wrap's Steve Pond reports is "the first feature from Costa Rican-Swedish director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén." The film premiered at Cannes Thursday as part of the Directors Fortnight sidebar. "A quiet character study that somewhere along the line morphs into a Costa Rican version of Carrie," begins Pond, "Clara Sola mixes religion, mysticism and sexuality in a way that feels simultaneously odd, disquieting and richly rewarding. It starts out beautifully restrained and ends up somewhere else entirely, but it’s all the more interesting for its split personality.

Here's more from Pond's review:

The film’s star, Wendy Chinchilla, is also making her feature-film debut; she’s a Costa Rican dancer with no experience in film but a powerful presence that speaks volumes through stillness.

Chinchilla plays Clara, a 40-year-old woman with a spinal condition that keeps her in pain. She spends her life, it seems, communing with her horse, Yuca, and bowing to the demands of her mother, who tells the townspeople that Clara is a healer who has seen the Virgin Mary and has cured cancer. She trots Clara out for healing rituals in their small home, but otherwise keeps her daughter under her thumb, going so far as to refuse a local doctor’s advice that Clara get an operation to fix her spine.

“God gave her to me like this,” her mother says. “She stays like this.”

Clara, for her part, submits to the restrictions that have been placed on her; she’s too meek to challenge her mother, or too beaten down to resist anymore. She has no agency in her own life, a fact that is presented simply, with relentless understatement.

When Clara rebels, she almost seems to do it unconsciously, with small signals that she may be experiencing a very belated sexual awakening. She absently touches herself as she watches TV, until her mother freaks out, grabs Clara and rubs her fingers in hot chiles; Clara complies, passive and still.

At first, the movie connects with that stillness; it sits back and quietly observes, with little or no music for long stretches. When the music does come in, it’s usually spare: plucked strings and little else. The look and feel of the film is grounded in earth and mud and bugs and rain, but there’s also a gentle mysticism at work that’s familiar to lovers of South and Central American cinema.

Clara’s mother demands that her daughter never change, that she live in plainness and in pain and care only about healing others, or at least convincing others that she can heal them. But slowly, we see Clara’s rebellion begin to manifest: At first she simply declares that she wants a blue dress, a prospect that shocks her mother – but it’s clear that what she really wants is to be touched, to embrace the physical in a way she’s never before done.

As Clara’s passion begins to awaken, so does “Clara Sola.” When she sees her young niece having sex with her boyfriend, she masturbates in the woods and is immediately surrounded by fireflies. At a certain point, it does seem that she has powers – but do those powers come from the religious shrine in the living room, or from emergingn sexuality?

You won’t necessarily find the answer in Álvarez Mesén’s film, but you will find a movie that itself becomes more aggressive along with its heroine. And when things comes to a head at her niece’s 15th birthday party, it’s hard not to think of the climactic prom scene in Brian DePalma’s “Carrie” – not in the sense of buckets of blood or anything like that, but in the way both films suggest that repressing female desires via religion or anything else can end very, very badly.

That sequence, and the enormously evocative but ambiguous one that follows to end the movie, are nothing like what you might expect during the opening stretches of “Clara Sola.” Álvarez Mesén may be a first-time feature director, but she has enough control to take an austere, unsettling drama with a touch of magical realism and turn it into a wild ride, all without losing its complicated heart.


Posted by Geoff at 10:17 PM CDT
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Saturday, July 10, 2021
'CARRIE' PLAYS INTO 'FEAR STREET PART TWO: 1978'
"FEAR STREET EVENTUALLY ADMITS ITS CARRIE WHITE FIXATION", ACCORDING TO DEN OF GEEK REVIEW, & OTHERS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/fearstreet.jpg

Netflix is in the middle of releasing its Fear Street trilogy of horror films. Wildly spinning off from the book series of the same name by R. L. Stine, each film is directed and co-written by Leigh Janiak. After premiering Fear Street Part One: 1994 last week, yesterday saw the premiere of Fear Street Part Two: 1978. Set just two years, then, after Brian De Palma's Carrie was released in theaters, Fear Street Part Two: 1978 is said to have some very direct connection to De Palma's film and Stephen King's novel:

David Crow, Den Of Geek

As with Fear Street Part 1 before it, 1978 wears its influences on its sleeves. The previous film was set in 1994 and opened with the biggest star in the cast, Stranger ThingsMaya Hawke, getting viciously slaughtered, a la Drew Barrymore in Scream. By contrast, Fear Street Part Two pulls from slower burning horror movies.

When we properly begin the film in its ’78 setting, we meet Sadie Sink’s Ziggy Berman, who is being tortured at the hanging tree by her summer camp’s resident mean girls. This plays like it’s straight out of Carrie, both the Stephen King novel published in 1974 and Brian De Palma’s zeitgeist-shattering adaptation from 1976.

Fear Street eventually admits its Carrie White fixation, even having Ziggy reverse engineer the famed “pig blood” sequence from that movie to get back at her Queen Bee tormenter. The new movie also references a few of the tracking shots from the actual slasher movie landmark of 1978, Halloween. But when everything’s said and done, Fear Street Part Two is about the Friday the 13th of it all.


Casey Chong, The Cinemaholic
In keeping with the spirit of ‘Friday the 13th’ and its like-minded genre films, Janiak doesn’t forget to throw in some obligatory sex/nude scenes in between. And while ‘Fear Street Part Two: 1978’ may have primarily devoted to the aforementioned summer-camp slasher subgenre, there’s a scene directly referenced from the iconic scene of Brian De Palma’s ‘Carrie’.

Mekado Murphy, New York Times
10 Influences That Explain Why ‘Fear Street’ Seems Familiar

Carrie

In the 1978 installment, the bloody prom prank from Stephen King’s novel (and subsequent Brian De Palma film) factors into the plot with the ridiculed-but-resilient Ziggy Berman (Sadie Sink), who seeks revenge on those who have wronged her. But in “Fear Street,” pig’s blood is replaced with a much more squirm-inducing alternative. Nonetheless, Ziggy harbors Carrie qualities, as an outsider who frequently faces the derision of other campers and constructs ways to fight back. She doesn’t have to turn up the revenge quite to Carrie levels, though. The killer on the rampage can do that.


Posted by Geoff at 6:47 PM CDT
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Friday, July 9, 2021
REMEMBER ROLLING OUT OF THE THEATER & LOVING IT
ON PODCAST 'LIVING IN THE PAST', "TWO MIDDLE-AGED GUYS" RECALL SEEING UNTOUCHABLES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/livinginthepast.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2021 1:43 PM CDT
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Thursday, July 8, 2021
'60 SECONDS OF CONVINCING PASSIONATE SOUNDS'
"PLUS TWO-AND-A-HALF MINUTES OF BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAMS"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rutanyaarticle1982.jpg

The article clipping above comes from the November 30, 1982 edition of the Mansfield News Journal in Ohio.

Previously:
Angie's voice was Dressed up...


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, July 7, 2021
ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW - SALAMON & MANKIEWICZ
MANY "BELOW-THE-LINE" PEOPLE INVOLVED WERE HAPPY TO PARTICIPATE IN NEW PODCAST INTERVIEWS

Also, TCM tweeted a couple of snippets from Salamon and Mankiewicz intros from De Palma night:

July 4 vid tweet

July 5 vid tweet


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, July 6, 2021
EP. 2 OF TCM PODCAST DELVES INTO CASTING 'BONFIRE'
SCREENWRITER MICHAEL CRISTOFER: "IN A NEST OF VIPERS, THE LEAST POISONOUS IS YOUR SYMPATHETIC CHARACTER"

Here's the TCM description of the episode:
Episode 2: Reaching for the Stars – and Paying the Price
Tom Hanks signs on to play amoral stockbroker Sherman McCoy, and he’s so beloved that nobody recognizes how wrong he is for the part. There's immediate pushback against Bruce Willis as the other male lead, since his role was written as British. But the hardest decision comes when the director insists that a Jewish judge be played by a Black actor, to soften the film’s racial tensions.

Leading up to today's release of the second episode, TCM had a night of Brian De Palma films last night, which kicked off with The Bonfire Of The Vanities. Podcast hosts Ben Mankiewicz and Julie Salamon discussed Brian De Palma's career before and after the first three films (Bonfire, Obsession, and Sisters). Here are a couple of image captures from those discussions:


Posted by Geoff at 10:11 PM CDT
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Monday, July 5, 2021
IT'S BRIAN DE PALMA NIGHT TONIGHT ON TCM
AHEAD OF TOMORROW'S RELEASE OF "DEVIL'S CANDY" PODCAST EPISODE 2 - "THE PLOT THICKENS"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tcmprimetime75.jpg

It's prime time tonight on TCM, with five films directed by Brian De Palma. The night begins at 7pm central with The Bonfire Of The Vanities, followed by four superb De Palma thrillers, going deep into the night: Obsession, Sisters, Blow Out, and Body Double. Here's an article about it from TCM's Frank Miller:
From improvisatory comedy to classic horror films and thrillers, Brian De Palma has established himself as one of the screen’s foremost stylists, and one of his films in particular is the subject of TCM’s podcast The Plot Thickens: Season 2 - The Devil’s Candy. Drawing on influences as disparate as Andy Warhol, Jean-Luc Godard and, of course, Alfred Hitchcock, he’s created a body of work — 32 narrative features to date along with shorts, documentaries and music videos — among the most distinctive in modern cinema.

Along the way, he brought Robert De Niro to the screen for the first credited time (in 1968’s Greetings), introduced Martin Scorsese to De Niro and screenwriter Paul Schrader and helped George Lucas write the opening scrawl for the first Star Wars film. Along with De Niro, De Palma also fostered the careers of John Lithgow (in Obsession, 1976); Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Amy Irving and Nancy Allen (in Carrie, 1976); and Melanie Griffith (in Body Double, 1984). He has been honored with awards from the Berlin and Venice Film Festivals and Amnesty International (for his 2007 political thriller Redacted) while also receiving a record six nominations for the Razzie Award for Worst Director. [Editor's note: blah-di-blah-di-blah.]

The Newark, NJ, native was studying physics at Columbia University when he fell in love with film after seeing Citizen Kane (1941) and Vertigo (1958). While earning an MA in theater from Sarah Lawrence College, De Palma shot his first film in 1963, The Wedding Party (1969), co-directed with Sarah Lawrence professor Wilford Leach and fellow student Cynthia Munroe and starring De Palma’s friend De Niro along with Jill Clayburgh and De Palma regular William Finley. Because of a dispute with financial backer Stanley Borden, the film was held from release until after De Palma’s comedy, Greetings brought attention to De Palma and De Niro.

De Palma moved from comedy to suspense for the first time with Sisters (1972), starring Finley, Jennifer Salt and Margot Kidder. This was also the first of two De Palma films (along with Obsession) scored by Bernard Herrmann, one Hitchcock’s key collaborators. De Palma’s first major hit was the Stephen King adaptation Carrie, which brought Spacek and Piper Laurie Oscar nominations. He scored another major hit with his remake of Scarface (1983), starring Al Pacino, followed by the equally successful The Untouchables (1987), which brought Sean Connery an Oscar. He also helped launch Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible film franchise in 1996, though he declined an offer to direct the 2000 sequel.

De Palma’s films are distinguished by a variety of techniques, including the use of split-screen, long pans, tracking shots and unusual angles. He is also noted for quoting generously from other directors, most notably Hitchcock, whose Vertigo inspired both Obsession and Body Double. Others he has cited as inspiration include Michelangelo Antonioni, whose Blowup (1966) is reflected in De Palma’s Blow Out (1981), and Sergei Eisenstein, whose Battleship Potemkin (1925) is referenced in the staircase shoot out of The Untouchables.

TCM presents five of De Palma’s films, including three network premieres:


You can read Frank Miller's plot descriptions of the five films at TCM.com, but the three TCM network premieres are The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Blow Out, and Body Double.

Posted by Geoff at 5:41 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 4, 2021
FAST FRIENDS - 'THE FURY' & 'BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES'
"BEST THING FOR A TOOTHACHE"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/sipthis40.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, July 3, 2021
'WELL, WHY DON'T YOU COME UP AND BRUSH MY HAIR...'
A BRIEF LOOK AT A SCENE FROM MAMET'S 'UNTOUCHABLES' SCREENPLAY AND THE FILM ITSELF
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/brush0.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Friday, July 2, 2021
DE PALMA RECALLS WORKING WITH ELFMAN, & MORE
AS PART 2 OF DE PALMA/LEHMAN INTERVIEW HITS TODAY ON 'LIGHT THE FUSE' PODCAST
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/mimondobackcrop.jpg

"We are once again joined by the legendary filmmaker, Are Snakes Necessary? author and director of the first Mission: Impossible film Brian De Palma and his co-author Susan Lehman," begins the description of the new episode of the podcast Light The Fuse, which is hosted by Charles Hood and Drew Taylor. "In this episode we discuss the unmade prequel films to some of his earlier projects, why he isn’t interested in Mission: Impossible sequels, and what happened with the musical score (with Alan Silvestri replaced by Danny Elfman). We also get into some potential future projects, which is really exciting."

As you can imagine, there is a lot to digest from this episode (the YouTube version is embedded below). For now, let's look at the episode's discussion of Elfman/Silvestri:

Charles: So the music -- obviously, Alan Silvestri was on, and then was taken off. And then Danny Elfman came on. And you've worked with so many incredible composers in your career. I would love to hear how that whole process went down, and then also would love to know why never again with Elfman? because the two of you seemed like a match made in Heaven.

De Palma: Well, you know, the great composers, the problem is, you know, they're not always available. Because they're working all the time. With Alan, it was just, we were recording, and it just didn't work. And Tom was very unhappy with it. And I'm used to working with composers and going in and changing this, and moving this around, and it just... there was no sort of chemistry between Alan and I. And when we saw that Danny was available, we immediately snapped him up. And I, as Paul, I know, has detailed, explained to you, I mean, I literally spent four weeks sitting next to him, going over every cue in Mission: Impossible. In order to get us ready to record in four weeks. And he did an amazing job.

Drew: So you wanted to work with him again?

De Palma: Who?

Drew: Danny.

De Palma: Oh, of course! I mean, I've worked with all the great composers. I've missed a few, but, you know, I started with Bernard Herrmann, so...

Charles: Ha ha ha, not too shabby.

De Palma: Yeah, you can't start any better, basically.


Here's how Paul Hirsch describes the Silvestri/Elfman switch in his book, A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away:
The first day of recording the music was exciting, as always. This day, however, was special, because the famous theme of the Mission: Impossible TV series, originally composed by Lalo Schifrin, was the star, more so than any other element. The orchestra performing the theme was being videotaped for the press kit. After the hoopla of laying down a good take of the main title, Alan began recording the first cue for the Prague sequence. After just a few notes, Brian turned to Cruise, who was sitting next to him, and said derisively, "It sounds like the 'Song of the Volga Boatmen.'"

I knew then that we were in trouble. Tom picked up on Brian's unhappiness and seemed to share it. Once a negative comment like that is made, it can poison everything,

As hard as it is to believe, not once since Brian and Alan first met had they spoken again. Brian never called up and said, "Hey, Alan, I was wondering if you could play me some of what you are writing, just to make sure we are on the same page." And not once had Alan called Brian to say, "Hey, Brian, I'd like you to hear some of what I have in mind for the film, just in case you want to make any changes."

So here we were on the day, and Brian was unhappy. He huddled with Cruise and the head of music from the studio. The next thing I knew, the rest of the recording session was canceled and Alan was being replaced. We had used a track from Dead Presidents for temping the CIA scene, and as is often the case, the temp led to hiring the composer. It had happened on Sisters and again on Steel Magnolias, and now it happened again. Danny Elfman, a brilliant composer, had written that track and was available. All of a sudden, Danny was in.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Once the deal was in place, Brian asked me to go with him to Elfman's house in Topanga Canyon. We waited while Danny was finishing up a phone call in another pat of the house. The room was decorated with strange, creepy objects, of which I remember two. One was a foot-high human skeleton in a jar. The other was a cat lying on the sofa, seemingly asleep, but when I stroked it, I realized that it was dead and stuffed.

In his studio, Danny had a large monitor in front of a keyboard, and he and Brian settled in to look at a scene together. We didn't stay long, and the next day Brian told me that Elfman had asked him not to have me accompany him to the house anymore. Brian went back and worked with him every day for weeks. He confided to me that he had never worked so hard with a composer in his life.

I couldn't resist pointing out, "If you had worked like this with Alan, he would have written you a great score."



Posted by Geoff at 5:05 PM CDT
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