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De Palma a la Mod

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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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« October 2021 »
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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.
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Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
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Lights Out
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Montreal World Film Fest
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Murder a la Mod
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Phantom Of The Paradise
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Print The Legend
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Redacted
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Monday, October 18, 2021
SAM IRVIN RECALLS MICHAEL CAINE ON SET IN FULL DRAG
"I ALWAYS KNEW I'D EVENTUALLY GET AROUND TO PLAYING ME MUM"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/samandmichael.jpg

The other day, Michael Caine was said to have announced his "retirement" from acting. "I haven’t retired and not a lot of people know that," Caine tweeted later the same day. Somewhere in between all of that, Sam Irvin posted the photo above on Facebook, with the following caption:
Happy Retirement from Acting to 88-year-old Michael Caine (though I don’t believe a word of it — like Cher’s multiple retirements 😝😘). I had the honor and pleasure of working with Michael in 1979 on DRESSED TO KILL (I was Brian De Palma’s assistant). Here we are at base camp outside Michael’s trailer. When he appeared on the set for the first time in full drag as “Bobbie,” he broke the ice by saying, “I always knew I’d eventually get around to playing me mum.” Total gentleman. Consummate professional. Witty. Pure delight. We all adored him. Good luck to Michael on his new chapter as a bestselling author!

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, October 17, 2021
2-PART INTV - CHRIS SOLDO ON 'LIGHT THE FUSE' PODCAST
FIRST MOVIE WITH DE PALMA WAS 'SISTERS', WHEN HE WAS 15


The Light The Fuse page for the first part of the interview includes the photo below of Chris Soldo (on the right), in front of a board of shots for the tunnel sequence for Mission: Impossible. The photo description mentions that "they added red gels over the shots they completed." This board is mentioned in the episode.


Posted by Geoff at 5:00 PM CDT
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Saturday, October 16, 2021
SEAN PRICE WILLIAMS TO HOST 'PHANTOM' AT THE ROXY
FIRST OF A SERIES; MANHATTAN THEATER ASKED CINEMATOGRAPHER TO CHOOSE FILMS THAT HE LOVES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/seanpricewilliams.jpg

The Roxy Cinema shared this news yesterday:
Sean Price Williams Hosts A Screening of Phantom Of The Paradise in 35MM

Sean Price Williams is one of our favorite working cinematographers today, he is known for shooting movies for The Safdie Brothers, Alex Ross Perry, and Michael Almereyda, but he boasts an impressive list of over 102 credits. Sean also worked as an archivist and cameraman for the Maysles brothers for over a decade. You may have also caught him selling DVD’s at Kims Video in the east village in the early 2000’s. Sean is known for his unique vision and lushness that he brings to film. He is the favorite among many, but the other alluring part of him is his deep love and wealth of knowledge for cinema. He watches more movies than anyone else we know and has impeccable taste. So it naturally only made sense that we would want him to host a series of films he loves. The first one is this Thursday 10/21 at 7 PM. We scored a 35mm print of the Brian De Palma film Phantom Of The Paradise, on his recommendation of course. You can get tickets here

Following the screening will be a Q&A with Sean Price Williams.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Friday, October 15, 2021
PODCAST - AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS DISCUSS 'CARRIE'
WHICH AYA WATCHED FOR THE FIRST TIME AND LOVED
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/ayavspodcast.jpg

Aya Vs. The Big Boys - Episode 69 - Carrie (1976)

Posted by Geoff at 7:20 PM CDT
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Thursday, October 14, 2021
PERSPECTIVES - 'CARRIE' - 'GET TO KNOW YOUR RABBIT'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carrieshopping45.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, October 13, 2021
'FRIGHTENING ON A DEEPER LEVEL'
AN INSTAGRAM REVIEW OF 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE' BY RYAN A
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/phantompanels.jpg

Today on Instagram, Ryan A, aka ryan_spookynerd, posted the image above, along with such an exuberant appreciation for Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, it just has to be shared:
While I know I’ve never discussed any direct adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera, I can’t wait much longer to talk about this 70s reimagination. I’ll admit, my only REAL experience with the original is the 50s Universal version, which is pretty but somewhat underwhelming to me. Jumping right to the beast that is De Palma’s version, it makes me so genuinely happy that he came up with this wacky concept for this story, blending genres and classic literature in the dna of this film. This early in his career, De Palma already has already instilled his own subversive eye into film history. Knowing so little about this going in, the opening with the Juicy Fruits’ performance was a fantastic way not only to make me intrigued from the juxtaposition of the promotional material and this upbeat 50s jukebox song, but a fantastic tonal precedent the film immediately decides on. Winslow Leach is our protagonist, a songwriter who is desperate to be heard. We meet Swan, the owner of “The Paradise” an elaborate theater that houses only the most popular artists of the time, portrayed by Paul Williams, who does an outstanding job. Him and William Finley fit the bill perfect for this Faustian Tale, as the two make a deal, not without Winslow becoming disfigured shortly after. As we see Swan pulling the strings to make the paradise follow a course he paves, we see it largely from Winslow’s new and twisted perspective. This lends itself to De Palma’s voyeuristic fascination, as Winslow is as curious about how evil Swan’s plan of intellectual theft is as he is infatuated with how perfect Phoenix (Jessice Harper) can sing his music. And I feel ya Winslow, Jessica Harper is a scene stealer for sure, and I was genuinely surprised to see her in this, and sing as well as she does. Anyway, Swan oversees Winslow’s complete disfigurement, and continues to use his music for his own gain in a foreseeable portrayal. Winslow’s voice and appearance is an awesome exaggeration of his fate, and fits perfectly with the style of this story. The music in this film is fantastic, which is of course pivotal to this kind of story.

It’s well written and is very pleasing to the ear. I’m not sure how involved in the screenwriting process Paul Williams was, but his soundtrack does a damn fine job of marrying Brian’s script. And man, “The Hell of It” is seriously the end credits song to beat. I love all of the horror references in here, from Phantom of the Opera, to Psycho, to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, etc, it goes to show how immaculate of a melting pot this story is. Orgies, soft slasher vibes, rock and roll obsession, all De Palma at his zaniest. Scenes of lurid violence are rather elegant, with beautiful settings like a rainy window, and bursts of color like the paint-red blood. The production design is my favorite part of this film, it has some of the most gorgeous sets ever put to film in my opinion. Jack Fisk’s eye for the aesthetic of Phantom of the Paradise is near unmatched, and the set dressing was done by Sissy Spacek. It’s consistently spooky, but retains it’s all out climactic insanity until the very end, where all hell breaks loose, and the sheer loss of control of the Paradise is frightening on a deeper level. This has to be one of the best films of the 70s, one of De Palma’s greatest works, and an absolutely insane ride from start to finish.


And then there was this from Amber Kloss, who attended the Jessica Harper double feature at the New Bev last week:


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, October 12, 2021
EDGAR WRIGHT CONTRASTS PAST & PRESENT IN 'SOHO'
REMEMBERING THE MARQUEE, AND 'MOD', A LOST FILM FROM FINLEY, DE PALMA, FIORE, RUBIN
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/soho1.jpg

MovieMaker's Tim Molloy posted an article today about Edgar Wright's new movie, Last Night In Soho:
“I sort of have this ongoing fantasy, like a lot of people do,” says Edgar Wright, director of Last Night in Soho. “And I don’t know whether it’s a fantasy or a malaise or something, where you just think about going back in the past, all the time. But then I think it’s always tempered with the knowledge that yes, it might be great to go back. But that doesn’t mean that everything was great then.”

As Thomasin McKenzie, who plays the protagonist of the film, puts it: “Nostalgia is a funny thing.”

It’s something Wright has always thought about, in 25 years of walking around Soho, seeing restaurants and clubs change even as the buildings stay the same. Strip clubs and dirty bookstores have given way to shoe-store chains. Packed record stores have turned into spacious restaurants. The Marquee, where Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie played early shows, has been converted into lofts.

“You can’t help but think about what these walls have seen in any building that you’re in, that’s 100 years old, or hundreds of years old,” says Wright.

Last Night in Soho is a grand, sweeping, elegant time warp of a film, set to arrive in theaters after many months of many people saying big movies are over. Wright began kicking around the idea for the film around 2013, then co-wrote the script with Oscar-nominated 1917 screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and began shooting it before the pandemic. When the streets went silent for a while, Wright seized on the opportunity to photograph one of the most celebrated neighborhoods on earth in empty stasis. Then the film did reshoots, and theaters reopened, and Wright saw a film in a theater for the first time in months, but not a new movie: A 35mm screening of Brian De Palma’s 1981 Blow Out, inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up, a film set in a swanky-to-seedy 1960s London milieu similar to that of Last Night in Soho. Time keeps collapsing in on itself, never more than in the recent past. We look to the future and hope for the past. McKenzie turned 19 during filming, 20 during reshoots.


In the early 1960s, De Palma worked on a lost documentary from earlier in the 1960s that was to be titled Mod. De Palma, Robert Fiore, Bruce Rubin, and William Finley had all shot footage in England. It was Finley's idea, circa 1964, a movie about mods and rockers within a then-burgeoning scene in London. In Justin Humphreys' book, Interviews Too Shocking To Print, Rubin explains that Finley's father had died and left him money, which he was going to use to finance the film. "And I was amazed at the audacity of somebody taking money that they had inherited and immediately spending it on making a movie," Rubin tells Humphreys. "But he was so enthralled by what was going on in London - the whole new music scene and he wanted to document it - to get it on film before it went away because this was the moment of birth for that whole [movement]. I mean, The Beatles were just coming out, and The Stones, and everybody - The Animals, Herman's Hermits, on and on."

After arriving in London ("there was a whole group of us," Rubin says in the book), Finley asked if Rubin would go to France with De Palma to pick up a light Eclaire sound camera, mentioning that he also needed another person to work on the film. Rubin had known Fiore from film school, and De Palma had known Fiore, as well. Fiore happened to be on a Fulbright grant in Paris, "and so he agreed to come back from Paris with us to work on the film," says Rubin, adding that they all had "an incredible two days" in Paris before heading back to London, where they worked on the film for two weeks, "through Christmas and New Year's."

Rubin continues in Humphreys' book:

"Bob Fiore and I went to Birmingham, I think... We drove up there and we went to the Beatles' Cavern (The Cavern Club in Liverpool] and there was a group showing there that night called Herman's Hermits. We got permission - I had a card that said I was from ABC News. I don't know how I got it but people thought that's who I was. They made a lot of things available. We went in and I had enough film to shoot one act of the concert. And it was Herman's Hermits, so I got the camera and Bob Fiore was my sound man at that point. I shot this amazing, exciting number using every element of the zoom lens. It was really very, early '60s exciting experimental cinema. I really shot a great roll of film of Herman's Hermits.

"And then, right after it was done, and we were out of film, the announcer onstage says, 'And, now, everybody - here's Herman!' I had shot the whole backup group without their leader, so I had wasted every bit of film of some of the most brilliant filmmaking of all-time.

"We were very ragtag as a group and we did what we could do. We did shoot some stuff of a group called The Who in a room in a hotel but nobody had ever heard of them, really, but people were saying, 'This is going to be a big group.' It was a small hotel performing area in a restaurant, like. I did shoot some of their performance."


I asked De Palma about this film in 2002. "It was never finished," he said. "The whole thing was sort of financed with some friends and I think they ran out of money. But I shot a lot of stuff, needless to say. I shot stuff in London, a lot of the rock and roll groups. I shot The Who at the Marquee Club, I shot the Rolling Stones at Fourteenth Street. I shot Peter Gordon. And then I think Bob Fiore went over and shot a lot of the Manchester groups. But we shot all this footage and then I think the producers ran out of money. And that was the end of it."

Previously:
Big-Screen Blow out at BFI Southbank


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 13, 2021 10:22 PM CDT
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Monday, October 11, 2021
'PHANTOM' HAS REVIEWER FEELING THE COLOR OF SOUND
ALSO, SCREENING TONIGHT AT NASHVILLE'S BELCOURT, AND OCT 27 AT MERCURY CX IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/phoenixaudition55.jpg

"I don’t know how else to describe Phantom of the Paradise than to say it’s the living, breathing embodiment of rock and roll. It’s all in the attitude, a Serge-Gainsbourg-setting-flame-to-a-500-franc-bill-on-live-French-television kind of attitude. And a gesture clearly evidenced in Brian De Palma’s handling of the original source material, which includes the literary likes of Faust, Phantom of the Opera, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. But you may find something beautiful from this onslaught of inspirations. And you don’t need the help of the illicit to hear it. The color of sound."

So begins Daniel Hrncir in his review of Phantom Of The Paradise, posted the other day at Full Circle Cinema. After delving into the plot of the film, Hrncir continues:

I’ve probably already given you the wrong impression of what I think is Brian De Palma’s best. The plot itself may seem like a downer if it was not for the film succumbing to sheer excess. What a concept for our twentieth-first-century streaming age, where everything has a standard of quality, but not a twinge of soul. Hollywood, so wanting to please the greatest numbers, forgoes the opportunity to challenge its audiences. Meanwhile, De Palma spends every minute challenging his audience with a spectacular mess. And in doing so, Phantom of the Paradise becomes something truly great.

At one moment in the film, Winslow plants a bomb beside a performance of bikini-glad girls and beach boys to get back at Swan. And I tell you what, I laughed. Not because I condone terrorism, but that these surfer teens go up in flames and Swan does not even react. Once again, De Palma employs his split-screen technique in this scene and it’s chaotic, to say the least. Voices off-stage clash with the performance itself in a manner befitting The Velvet Underground’s ‘The Murder Mystery’. And even if you evenly split your eyes between both scenes simultaneously, you still wouldn’t be able to grasp the buzzing activity. You would have to split your ears to catch it all too. But that is okay. It is okay for a movie to trip you up, to confuse or confound you. More movies need to do that.

It would be remiss of me not to mention some of Phantom of the Paradise‘s sweeter moments. Yes, there are blood and guts for the hard rock fans, but much to be had for the sentimental Carpenter fans too. I must confess that I am a Jessica Harper fan, and some of my favorite moments come through with her performance as Phoenix. I had no clue that she could sing, and neither did Winslow and his discovery of her at an audition. Again, excess.

Her performances of ‘Special To Me’ and ‘Old Souls’ do nothing to further the plot, and yet I am so captivated by these moments. They remind me so much of why I fell in love with movies in the first place. I guess it all feels so real in its amateurishness. Nothing about her dancing or singing feels blocked or scripted to tedium like in a Lin-Manuel Miranda production. At the outro of ‘Special To Me’, Harper lets it all loose with a dance off-stage, only to walk back exorcised of her need to move and groove. I wouldn’t even call it particularly good dancing, but that is beside the point. Her sheer confidence makes it a higher art, with an authenticity that goes beyond what the written script calls for. Disney only wishes it could capture such magic.


Meanwhile, Phantom Of The Paradise screens tonight at The Belcourt in Nashville, as part of its "Music City Mondays" series. And on October 27th, the Mercury CX Cinematheque in Adelaide, South Australia will screen a Jessica Harper double feature: Phantom Of The Paradise, followed by Shock Treatment.

Posted by Geoff at 8:11 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 10, 2021
'SISTERS' ON FSR 10 BEST HORROR-OPENING-CREDITS LIST
SCORED BY BERNARD HERRMANN, SEQUENCE WAS EDITED BY PAUL HIRSCH FROM A SWEDISH DOC LENSED BY LENNART NILSSON
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/lennart.jpg

"The main title sequence Benny had insisted on began to take shape," writes Paul Hirsch about Sisters in his book, A Long Time Ago In A Cutting Room Far, Far Away. "We found a Swedish documentary that featured the world's first intra-uterine photography of developng fetuses. Borrowing shots from it, I constructed a montage of close-ups of body parts: a hand, an eye, an ear, and so on. In the final shot we reveal that there are two babies, twins. It was very effective and laid the groundwork for the movie's backstory.

"Benny's music, when it arrived from the sessions in London, was astounding to me. The main theme was based on the universal child's singsong playground taunt, nya-nya nya-nya nyaahh-nyaahh. His deranged version of this melody included metallic sounds; tubular bells struck with hammers, which suggested knives; and also Moog synthesizers howling a kind of demented accompaniment. The effect is immediately unsettling, even overwhelming. Variety's review of the film would later say that 'Herrmann's score would make blank film compelling.'"

Two days ago, Meg Shields shared a few words about the title sequence from Sisters, as it was included at number seven on Film School Rejects' "10 Best Opening Credits Sequences in Horror Films"...

Featuring cinematography by accomplished Swedish medical photographer Lennart Nilsson, the opening sequence to Brian De Palma’s Sisters is an unnerving melding of the satanic and the sacrosanct: two fetuses, rendered alien, imposing, and devilish under Nilsson’s macro lens. As the titles roll and the embryonic humans loom, the aural anxiety is ratcheted up to a fever pitch thanks to the shrieking strings of Bernard Herrmann, whose plinking, swooping score endows each close-up image with an uncanny sense of monstrosity. A montage of sinister fetus close-ups is the perfect way to kick off a film at the intersection of Hitchcock, giallo, and the psychosexual sci-fi fare of David Cronenberg. Sisters embodies essential 1970s genre film wickedness. And what could be more wicked than endowing the unborn with a palpable sense of menace?

Posted by Geoff at 7:23 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, October 25, 2021 12:22 AM CDT
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Saturday, October 9, 2021
DOUBLE DE PALMA - SCARFACE & CARRIE
ELVIRA & MISS COLLINS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/elviramisscollins75.jpg

After watching that Scarface montage again the other day, I connected this shot of Elvira at the end of the montage to the scene of Miss Collins urging Carrie to look at herself.

These two shots, Scarface on the left and Carrie on the right, move via slow zoom, from a seemingly positive atmosphere, into a face reflecting something dark on the horizon. Michelle Pfeiffer's Elvira comes at the end of the "Push It To The Limit" montage of Tony Montana making his moves - the music, which up to this shot has been upbeat, takes on an increasingly dark, ominous tone as the camera moves into Elvira's face, which may or may not be looking into a mirror. It will be Elvira who eventually says, "Can't you see what we're becoming, Tony? We're losers."

Meanwhile, Miss Collins is genuinely positive about helping Carrie envision herself going to the prom, and as the camera zooms past Carrie to focus on Miss Collins, there's a sense that she is also reflecting on her own days in high school, leading, finally, to concern - about Tommy and Sue's intentions in having Tommy ask Carrie to the prom. The scene cuts to Sue and Tommy in Miss Collins' office, and we hear Miss Collins' angry voice from there as we linger for a moment on this final reflection in the mirror.


Posted by Geoff at 7:07 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, October 9, 2021 7:12 PM CDT
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