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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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« November 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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Blue Afternoon
Body Double
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Books
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Cannes
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Carlito's Way
Carrie
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Cop-Out
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Tuesday, November 30, 2021
'IT'S A WHOLE DIFFERENT LEVEL'
JEFF LIEBERMAN TALKS ABOUT BEING IMPRESSED BY ONE FILMMAKER IN THE 1970s - BRIAN DE PALMA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/earthquakescarface.jpg

"He doesn’t like slasher movies, mummies or zombies," begins the introduction to Phil van Tongeren's 2005 interview with Jeff Lieberman, recently posted at The Flashback Files. "He doesn’t even watch many horror movies. Still, Jeff Lieberman is best remembered for a trio of genre films he did in the late seventies and early eighties: SQUIRM (1976), BLUE SUNSHINE (1977) and the excellent JUST BEFORE DAWN (1981). After earning a living writing unproduced screenplays and directing documentaries, he returned to the genre in 2004 with the bitingly funny horror movie SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER, with which he came to the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival that following April in 2005. That’s where Phil van Tongeren had a long conversation with him about his career."

In the interview, Lieberman brings up Brian De Palma While discussing Blue Sunshine:

You just mentioned that BLUE SUNSHINE was compared to Cronenberg. I can see that. But when you made the film, was that something you were aware of?

No, because at the time I didn’t even see his movies. I saw SCANNERS. That’s the only one I saw. At that time there was only one filmmaker that worked in the genre that I even paid attention to and was impressed by. That was Brian De Palma. There wasn’t even a number two or three. I thought he was a genius. He was constantly being criticized for trying to be Hitchcock and I remember thinking about that when I learned filmmaking. I knew what it took to do what he does. Yeah, he was influenced by Hitchcock but his personality is in everything he does. Hitchcock never used the camera the way De Palma did, never had that incredibly vicious wit about everything he did. De Palma got really slick. And then after CARRIE he became mainstream Hollywood – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I can’t think of anybody working in the genre that had that kind of mastery that De Palma has and it’s strange that nobody even talks about it. John Carpenter and Wes Craven are not even in his league. It’s a whole different level.

If De Palma has one weakness it’s that he was too dependent on the material. I don’t care how good a filmmaker you are, you have to marry yourself to the material. I have the advantage of being a writer. If I didn’t write, how am I going to use my directing skills on a piece of material like SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER? What I want to express as a director goes hand in hand with what I want to express as a writer. I can’t find that out there. I wish I could, because writing is a bitch.

When watching De Palma’s movies while you were learning the craft yourself, did you want to make movies the way he did?

Yes, I did. I didn’t copy anything – I have enough of my own ideas – but there’s something in the adventurous spirit in the way he made films that I found very inspirational. Also the way he found humor in places where you never before thought you’d find it. He did that again and again. Even in SCARFACE you have that scene with the chainsaw in the bathroom. Any filmmaker would move the camera away from that, because you hear the chainsaw, you hear the screaming. There’s no need to show it. Let the imagination of the audience do the work. That’s pretty much how I would shoot it. But De Palma – and this is signature him – goes: Yeah, that’s what you think, but we’re going back in! That’s what I’m talking about. That is fucking brilliant! When I saw that, I thought: This guy hasn’t lost anything. At the time I wished he would just do horror movies and show everybody else his level. He was so fresh and incredible.

Before you made your debut with SQUIRM, did you have any film experience?

Yeah, I made SQUIRM when I was twenty-five. But the first film I ever did was called THE RINGER. It’s on the DVD of BLUE SUNSHINE as an extra. It’s a twenty minute short. I’m in it. It was the film that got me a job at Janus Films, an American distributor that was mainly founded on all the early Bergman and Truffaut movies. So, I got to see all the movies by Vittorio De Sica and Antonioni. When I saw BLOW-UP I knew I wanted to make movies. Before that I thought I was going to be a commercial artist. I went to art school, doing painting and drawing. I had no interest in movies when I was a kid, aside from the stuff all kids like. Monster movies at the Saturday matinee. But I never thought I wanted to make films until I saw BLOW-UP. You remember that one sequence in BLOW-UP where you just have the trees in the wind? That one sequence was like taking drugs, without taking drugs. Using sound and visuals in such a way that is exactly like a drug experience. That’s what made me want to make films.

You had some drug experience yourself back then?

It was the sixties. It was foremost in my mind, what LSD did and what other drugs would do, altering your reality. But hallucinations held no interest for me. To me it was all about heightening reality, seeing clearer. Reality is right in front of you. So, if you could project something without taking drugs, that would certainly be better. And with film you could do anything you want. That one sequence in BLOW-UP has no music. If you watch JUST BEFORE DAWN there are so many sequences with no music at all, where you just hear cicadas and the wind. That was me in my BLOW-UP mode. Brad Fiedel, who became a huge film composer, didn’t fight me on that. He got it and he complimented me on the way I used his music.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Monday, November 29, 2021
'PHANTOM' AT THE ROXIE IN SAN FRANCSICO, DEC 15
PODCAST/STAGE SHOW EVENT TO INCLUDE "A VERY SPECIAL SCREENING" & SLIDE SHOW WITH ARI KAHAN
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/phantomrevelation45.jpg

Ari Kahan will be on hand to present a "very special screening" of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise December 15th at The Roxie Theater in San Francisco. Kahan will also "share an incredible slide-show presentation," according to thepeacheschrist:
The FIRST EVER Midnight Mass Podcast screening is coming soon, Dec. 15th at @roxie_theater!!! Don’t miss this rare and special screening of Brian De Palma’s 1974 rock opus, THE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE! Join your hosts Peaches Christ & Michael Varrati for a stage-show version & recording of their Midnight Mass cult movie podcast before a rare screening of the film like you’ve never seen it before. To help them best delve into the psychotronic, Faustian world of this masterpiece they’ve invited Trixxie Carr to do a live performance. They’ll also be joined by the Phantom Mayor himself Ari Kahan, curator of The Swan Archives, which has been dedicated to the preservation of PHANTOM history since nearly the beginning. Ari will share an incredible slide-show presentation! And please don’t forget to DRESS UP for the glam rock lip-synch competition! Tickets are now on sale at ROXIE.com

Posted by Geoff at 11:17 PM CST
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Wednesday, November 24, 2021
HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY TO PINO DONAGGIO
REVIEW OF NEW AUTOBIOGRAPHY FROM ROLLING STONE-ITALY
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/pinobrianvenice2012a.jpg

Pino Donaggio, pictured above with Brian De Palma at the 2012 Venice Film Festival, turns 80 today. In an interview posted three days ago by Massimiliano Cortivo at Corriere Del Veneto, Donaggio refers to De Palma as "my brotherly friend," who he met in Hollywood as he began his "third life," writing music for images, for the cinema and also television.

Donaggio was celebrated in Venice the night before his birthday at Rossini Cinema. The evening was to begin by retracing "the life, career and music of the great composer, in a conversation that will also be an opportunity to present the book Come sinfonia (Baldini + Castoldi, 2021), a biography released in October, written jointly by the same Pino Donaggio with Anton Giulio Mancino." Afterward, there was a screening of the 2020 film The Big Step. According to the Rossini Cinema description, it is "the latest film set to music by Pino Donaggio, the story of two distant and unlikely brothers capable of dreaming and taking a big step towards the Moon."

Meanwhile, at Rolling Stone, Luca Barnabe reviews the Donaggio book in an article with the headline, "Pino Donaggio, an eighty-year long symphony" -- here's a Google-assisted translation:

Mr. Brian De Palma has no doubts: "The Blow Out score is my favorite. The main theme is very moving, especially the music on the credits, after the fade out with John (Travolta, ed.) covering his ears." That is only a hyper-cinematographic fragment, as well as hyper-musical, taken from the book Come sinfonia by Pino Donaggio and Antongiulio Mancino (ed. Baldini + Castoldi). That is the fresco of a life in music, a life in cinematographic art, but not only.

"Up there I hear the angels singing for us, sweetly / it's a song made of happiness" recited Donaggio - who turns eighty on November 24 - in the famous single Come symphony, also interpreted by Mina. It almost seems that the angels really played a decisive role in the life of the musician. "A film critic friend of Brian (De Palma, ed.), passing from London to the airport, had seen, bought and brought to America the LP of Don't Look Now […] Brian had exposed the problems he was encountering in finding a viable replacement for Bernard Herrmann. And his friend: "Look, when I got back from London I took the Don’t Look Now record. It is from a new composer ”. […] Why do I always talk about destiny? That copy will have been one of the last in circulation, because in the meantime the English record company had also gone bankrupt."

This is just the beginning of one of the most significant musician-director collaborations in the history of cinema, Pino Donaggio-Brian De Palma, which would begin with Carrie (1976) and continued for eight films, to date, with Domino (2019), passing through such masterpieces as Dressed to Kill (1980), Blow Out (1981), Body Double (1984)... That journalist who, thanks to fate (the angels?), found Donaggio's score for Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (1973), was Jay Cocks, film critic for the weekly Time magazine at the time, then Scorsese's co-screenwriter.

As a symphony, it is a work-river of heartfelt, chiseled pages, full of plots, sub-plots and anecdotes. On the first score for De Palma, the musician recalls how the scene at the cemetery on Carrie's grave made "George Lucas jump out of his chair during a screening". Donaggio-Mancino's book is many things together, just like the artist at the center of the story, composer, violinist, songwriter, singer. It is a short story, a symphony in words (consisting of an introduction / overture and four chapters / movements), an essay on music and cinema, an adventure novel, autobiography and biography. The childhood of a brat in the Venetian streets, until today.

Donaggio is spoken of in the third person, as the protagonist of a novel of an incredible and "cinema" life. His speech is carried over between narratives and passions, from adolescence to pandemic contemporaneity. A flow of consciousness in words, fragments of dialogue between Donaggio and Mancino, defined by the musician as "one who doesn't understand anything about Venice." Monologues by Pino and scraps of old writings. An email from De Palma to Donaggio in which the director notes: "You write enchanting melodies, sensual music, suspense and simple heartbreaking emotional phrases that bring tears to the eyes of the spectators. You also know how to shock and amaze an audience. Together, we have always found the ideal piece of music to accompany my elaborate sets."

The style of the text, like the artist's musical one, is at the same time melodic, destabilizing, precise and dissimilar to the contemporary, at times baroque, poetic, poignant. Obviously, it is not limited to the scores for De Palma, but contains the whole range of experiences and personal works. From training (family of musicians) to private life, from pop songwriting (memorable songs, like Io che non vivo, brought to Sanremo in the 1960s) to pieces reinterpreted by others like Jannacci (Mario) and Mina, up to cinema.

A long list of hits: the surprising and experimental score for Don't Look Now, the collaboration with Dario Argento (Two Evil Eyes, Trauma), Nothing Left To Do But Cry for Benigni and Troisi, Don Camillo and the incredible popularity of the melody Why for Terence Hill, Così fan tutte for Tinto Brass, up to Don Matteo again with Terence. Donaggio seems to have plowed with the same professionalism in popular and author cinema, exactly as he has never made distinctions between classical music and songs since he was a child - in a family of musicians.

Hill himself writes in the short but poetic preface to the text: "The undisputed quality of this composer is known to all. The public's affection for Don Matteo is due to the sensitivity and depth of his music. It transports the viewer into a rarefied world where the desire for the transcendent becomes, even if only for a moment, a reality." To say it with Pino's mother, perhaps the fundamental teaching in life, perhaps to find the help of fate or angels, is: "Butite nel mar grando!" [Throw yourself into the great sea!]


In an interview from a year ago at Sorrisi, Donaggio told Andrea Di Quarto the story of meeting De Palma for Carrie like this:
“Bernard Herrmann had recently died and Brian didn't want the usual Hollywood musicians. A friend of his played that soundtrack of mine and the spark went off. Editor Paul Hirsch called me, who spoke Italian and who shortly after would win the Oscar for Star Wars. I didn't speak a word of English at the time, but I remembered my mother saying: "Butite nel mar grando" ("Throw yourself into the big sea", in Venetian, ed). I threw myself. There was an affinity with Brian from the start. I understood what music he wanted and went back to Venice. He heard the music only in the recording studio."

Posted by Geoff at 7:34 PM CST
Updated: Monday, November 29, 2021 7:55 AM CST
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Tuesday, November 23, 2021
HE GOES AROUND THE WORLD TO FINALLY FIND HER IN PARIS
SOFILM LOOKS AT THE MAKING OF 'CASUALTIES OF WAR' AHEAD OF BOX SET FROM WILD SIDE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/ciak1depalma.jpg

Sofilm's Maxime Werner looks at the making of Casualties Of War:
1979: Veteran and playwright David Rabe attempts to resuscitate the project and goes to see De Palma, who had taken an early interest in Lang's story, when he was just an underground filmmaker unknown to the battalion. But it will take a few more years and a favorable alignment of the planets for the endeavor to succeed. 1987: two Vietnam films, Full Metal Jacket and above all Platoon, have just hit the box office, and De Palma is himself crowned with the triumph of the Untouchables, which places him in a position of strength in Hollywood. But this is not enough. To pass the pill of such a depressing and controversial project (to the point that the startled Paramount withdrew in favor of Columbia), you need a huge star. Luckily, Michael J. Fox, the youth idol since Back to the Future and the Family Ties series, is looking for more serious roles than he is usually offered. A simple reading of the script (written by Rabe) convinces him: Eriksson, it will be him. To play his nemesis, Sergeant Meserve, producer Art Linson debauchery Sean Penn, best known at the time for his escapades with his companion Madonna that made the tabloids cabbage. A few youngsters, real blue screen dicks, complete the cast: Don Harvey, John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo. It remains to find the girl. De Palma absolutely insists that she be Vietnamese, and not Thai or Filipino, for example. He goes around the world to finally find her in Paris. Her name is Thuy Thu Le, she is a student and sees an advertisement. She shows up for the audition and it is immediately overwhelming. Outrages will be her only film.

De Palma pushes the sliders of realism far. There is no question of reconstructing Vietnam in the Hollywood jungle of the studios. But it's 1988, and Vietnam itself is still not an option. So, go to Thailand, where an entire village is created from scratch. For the jungle scenes, the team sets up in an open pit, deep in the forest, with water ramps for the rain. While the technical team is busy, the actors are not to be outdone. Because you don't improvise yourself as a soldier, if only for the beautiful eye of a camera. Under the guidance of two Vietnam veterans, they undergo intensive training and learn to behave like a real patrol. For two weeks before filming begins, they eat C rations (the soldier's individual ration: canned fast food), take long walks through the forest carrying heavy M- machine guns. 60 or grenade launchers, learn to disassemble and reassemble their rifles. Problem: One of the instructors quickly turns out to be a berserk, the type who sets up assault simulations in the middle of the night, in corners infested with snakes. Even Sean Penn, even the most invested of the troop, ends up answering him: "Are you not a little sick? This is a movie we're making, not the war. The dingo is quickly replaced by Dale Dye, another veteran who also plays Captain Hill in the film. The experience helps to create bonds between the actors, to strengthen their sense of belonging to a group, but also to give everyone a place in this group, the one they will occupy in the film. Each becomes his character.

In full delirium Actors Studio, Sean Penn plays the game thoroughly, even if it means behaving like a bastard with everyone. It has to look true on screen. Poor John Leguizamo bears the brunt in a scene where, take after take, Sean slaps him heavily - for real, then. After the thirteenth take, Leguizamo begins to see candles. But, of course, it's Michael J. Fox who suffers the most from the Sean Penn "method", who doesn't speak to him. Never. Even outside filming hours: in the hotel restaurant, he sits at another table. The rest of the time he trains or spends some time with "his" soldiers. For the purposes of a scene where Fox has to act out anger, he goes so far as to stick a straight right before the take. "Sean treated him like crap," producer Art Linson will say. As for the famous trial scene where Penn whispers something inaudible in Fox's ear, De Palma says the actor horrors him with every take. Like, "I fucked your wife a few times and now it's gonna be your turn. "At the end of the shoot, Fox will send him a note:" I wouldn't say it was a pleasure, but that it was a privilege. "

The shooting is extremely trying, especially the jungle scenes. First there is the climate, the tropical heat which is around 50 degrees, the sun beating down hard, when it's not the torrential rain ... Enough to cause a lot of delay and put everyone on the edge. To wait between takes, while De Palma perfects one of his super-sophisticated camera moves that are his specialty, the actors brutalize themselves with a questionable local beer. It takes a month to get the first night fight scene canned, with one shoot every night. To make matters worse, poisonous insects and snakes are present. Sometimes someone yells "Cobra !! And the tray is cleared while specialists take care of the intruder. Under these conditions, anyone ends up getting sick one day or another. Michael J. Fox vomits almost after every dose, has a colic and ends up in the hospital coughing up blood. Everyone has one desire: to go home, to their country. We count the days. It may only be a movie, but you end up believing it. As Fox says, “I wouldn't say I'm a Method actor, but after 60 days in the jungle you hate everyone and want to get the hell out of here."


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Saturday, November 20, 2021
VIDEO - MARIO TOSI TALKS ABOUT FILMING 'CARRIE'
INTERVIEW COMES FROM THE 2016 SCREAM FACTORY EDITION OF 'CARRIE'

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Friday, November 19, 2021
LAURA MCLAWS HELMS ON BOUTIQUE IN MURDER A LA MOD
"FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS PARAPHERNALIA WAS THE PLACE TO SHOP AND BE SEEN"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/paraphernailia1.jpg

On her Instagram page yesterday, fashion/cultural historian Laura McLaws Helms posted clips from Brian De Palma's Murder a la Mod, with the following caption:
Andra Akers and Margo Norton browse the racks and try on dresses at Paraphernalia and other NYC boutiques while discussing men and love in 'Murder à la Mod,' 1968. As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, 'Murder à la Mod' is Brian De Palma's solo directional debut and was thought lost for decades, until it was rediscovered ten years ago. With it's all-white interior, Paraphernalia was “a determinedly with-it New York boutique” (in the words of Mademoiselle magazine) that opened in September 1965 with backing from the mass-merchandiser Puritan Fashions (who was also responsible for launching Mary Quant on to the American fashion scene with their Youthquake concept). Located on Madison Avenue between 66th and 67th streets, Paraphernalia was really the first of its kind—a boutique that displayed clothes like an art gallery, all sleek chrome surfaces and hip salesgirls. Ulrich Franzen designed the interior, while the clothes were designed for the in-house label by all the hippest young designers—the first cohort included Deanna Littel, Carol Friedland, Joel Schumacher, and 23-year-old Betsey Johnson, while later Dimitri Kritsas, Michael Mott, Elisa Stone, and Diana Dew all designed for the label. It’s unique situation—money, support and the manufacturing capabilities of the mass-market—allowed Paraphernalia designers to create truly avant-garde designs from plastic, metal, and paper, along with ones that lit up, at the same time as keeping all prices under $99. For a couple of years Paraphernalia was the place to shop and be seen—the Velvet Underground played the opening and Warhol's stars often picked up a new outfit on their way out for the night. Unfortunately the desire to keep prices down forced the production of more clothes and the franchising of stores, leading to an oversaturation of the market and a diffusion of the brand name—by the mid-70s Paraphernalia was no more. It's always exciting to come across these legendary boutiques on film, especially when shot in an unstaged, guerrilla manner such as this. I don't know the name of the other boutique(s) they visit, so if anyone recognizes them please let me know. 🖤🤍🖤

On October 30th, McLaws Helms posted clips from the cemetery sequence in De Palma's film, with this description:

Andra Akers and a mysterious trunk collide in Calvary Cemetery, Long Island City, in Brian De Palma's solo directional debut ‘Murder à la Mod', 1968. Released in only one cinema in NYC at the time, this film was thought lost for decades and only found again ten years ago—if you are a fan of De Palma this film is definitely worth a watch as it lays out so many of the stylistic, technical and thematic fixations that have defined his later films ('Carrie' et al). Her outfit is really the crème de la crème of mod fashion, though I'll post the best fashion clip from this movie in a few days. 🖤🤍🖤


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, November 20, 2021 10:10 AM CST
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Thursday, November 18, 2021
A SPELLBINDING HORROR MOVIE, AND A CHARACTER STUDY
REVISTIING ROGER EBERT'S REVIEW OF 'CARRIE' FROM 1976
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carriethree.jpgOriginally published in the Chicago Sun-Times in November of 1976, Roger Ebert's review of Carrie:
Brian De Palma's "Carrie" is an absolutely spellbinding horror movie, with a shock at the end that's the best thing along those lines since the shark leaped aboard in "Jaws." It's also (and this is what makes it so good) an observant human portrait. This girl Carrie isn't another stereotyped product of the horror production line; she's a shy, pretty, and complicated high school senior who's a lot like kids we once knew.

There is a difference, though. She has telekenesis, the ability to manipulate things without touching them. It's a power that came upon her gradually, and was released in response to the shrill religious fanaticism of her mother. It manifests itself in small ways. She looks in a mirror, and it breaks. Then it mends itself. Her mother tries to touch her and is hurled back against a couch. But then, on prom night...

Well, what makes the movie's last twenty minutes so riveting is that they grow so relentlessly, so inevitably, out of what's gone before. This isn't a science-fiction movie with a tacked-on crisis, but the study of a character we know and understand. When she fully uses (or is used by) her strange power, we know why. This sort of narrative development hasn't exactly been De Palma's strong point, but here he exhibits a gift for painting personalities; we didn't know De Palma, ordinarily so flashy on the surface, could go so deep. Part of his success is a result of the very good performances by Sissy Spacek, as Carrie, and by Piper Laurie, as Carrie's mother. They form a closed-off, claustrophobic household, the mother has translated her own psychotic fear of sexuality into a twisted personal religion. She punishes the girl constantly, locks her in closets with statues of a horribly bleeding Christ, and refuses to let her develop normal friendships.

At school, then, it's no wonder Carrie is so quiet. She has long blond hair but wears it straight and uses it mostly to hide her face. She sits in the back of the room, doesn't speak up much, and is the easy butt of jokes by her classmates. Meanwhile, the most popular girl in the class devises a truly cruel trick to play on Carrie. It depends on Carrie being asked to the senior prom by the popular girl's equally popular boyfriend -- he's one of your average Adonises with letters in every sport. He's not in on the joke, though, and asks Carrie in all seriousness.

And then De Palma gives us a marvelously realized scene at the prom -- where Carrie does, indeed, turn out to be beautiful. There's a little something wrong, though, and De Palma has an effective way to convey it: As Carrie and her date dance, the camera moves around them, romantically at first, but then too fast, as if they're spinning out of control.

I wouldn't want to spoil the movie's climax for you by even hinting at what happens next. Just let me say that "Carrie" is a true horror story. Not a manufactured one, made up of spare parts from old Vincent Price classics, but a real one, in which the horror grows out of the characters themselves.The scariest horror stories -- the ones by M.R. James, Edgar Allan Poe, and Oliver Onions -- are like this. They develop their horrors out of the people they observe. That happens here, too. Does it ever.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Wednesday, November 17, 2021
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1976
THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEWS 'CARRIE' - THE DAY AFTER THE FILM OPENS THERE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/nydailynews1976.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 6:28 PM CST
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Tuesday, November 16, 2021
JACK FISK TALKS TO L.A. MAG ABOUT THE HOUSE IN 'CARRIE'
"I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST REMARKABLE - YOU LOOK AT IT AND IT WAS WEIRD; SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH IT"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/paxtonrealty55.jpg

Did you know that Paxton Realty is named after the late actor Bill Paxton? According to a fantastic article today in Los Angeles Magazine, by Jared Cowan, Paxton worked on Carrie as one of Jack Fisk's assistants in the art department. 45 years after the release of the film, the article looks at the town where Carrie's house was located, and where some of the film's scenes were shot:
King’s novel takes place in the fictional town of Chamberlain, Maine. (A coastal village of the same name exists in the town of Bristol, Maine, but it’s not the location depicted in the novel.) The film, however, takes place in a small, unnamed bedroom community where everybody knows everybody.

“I had sort of conceived it as a town anywhere in America, one of those sort of all-American towns,” says production designer Jack Fisk, who had previously worked on De Palma’s 1974 cult horror musical Phantom of the Paradise. “What I like to do on films is make them universal when we can, so that everybody can appreciate them, and not be too specific about where it is. … [Carrie] seemed like such a universal story, you know, teenage revenge. That’s what Brian used to tell Sissy all the time: ‘It’s a story of teenage revenge.’” Fisk and Spacek met while working on Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973) and married in 1974.

While Carrie features only a dozen locations, Fisk says he put about 6,000 miles on his car driving around the L.A. region looking for spots to shoot the film. The hardest to find was Carrie’s house. Fisk says the problem in some of the usual places, like South Pasadena, is that over time the houses had gotten bigger as people added on to them.

“I wanted a house that looked like it was in a small town, and it looked isolated and it looked quirky, unusual,” says Fisk.

Taking into account Margaret White’s extreme Christian fanaticism, Fisk had the idea to model the Whites’ home after a type of uniquely Philadelphia row house. Known fondly as a Trinity, or a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, it gets its name from three single-room floors that are connected by a steep, winding staircase. In the late ‘60s, Fisk lived in one such house with David Lynch during their time at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

One day, Fisk and his Volkswagen ended up in the Ventura County town of Santa Paula.

“I drive by this house and the dormer [window] upstairs is off-center and it looked so bizarre,” says Fisk. “It being off center, it’s like something an architect would never do,” he adds. “I thought it was just remarkable. You look at it and it was weird; something was wrong with it.” The house on North 7th Street between Santa Barbara Street and Main Street was one-and-a-half stories, not the triptych that Fisk had in mind, but it felt isolated and atypical. Fisk estimates that the house was only about twenty-five feet by twenty-five feet. “It was bizarrely small and singular.”

“It was a really old, beautifully done, wood frame house, and we couldn’t find anything like that [in L.A.].” says Dow Griffith, whose first location manager job was Carrie.

A 1981 Ventura County Cultural Heritage Survey of Santa Paula noted that the house was built around 1900 in the Vernacular Victorian style with Eastlake details. The survey rated the house in fair condition.

Santa Paula exteriors appear onscreen for about five minutes of Carrie’s 98-minute running time, but they set the tone of the entire movie. White picket fences, kids riding their bikes on sidewalks and Santa Paula’s Main Street all added to the small town aesthetic and mood the filmmakers were after.

“We basically modeled things on the Santa Paula location that we found for Carrie’s house and that sense of Anywhere, USA,” says Griffith.

Located along California State Route 126 just fourteen miles east of Ventura, Santa Paula wasn’t convenient in proximity to any of the film’s L.A. locations. Palisades Charter High School, the Hermosa Beach Community Center, the Cahuenga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, Morningside Elementary School in San Fernando, and the gymnasium set built at the Culver Studios all made up Bates High School – named after Norman Bates. There are seventy miles between Santa Paula and the Farmer John slaughterhouse in Vernon – where Billy Nolan (John Travolta) and pals acquire the film’s infamous pig’s blood. But, in terms of film production, what Santa Paula lacks in convenience it makes up for with an abundance of character.


In another section of the article, Cowan talks to "Santa Paula native and retired Santa Paula Police Sergeant Jimmy Fogata:
Fogata, who is also on the board of the Santa Paula Historical Society, was fourteen or fifteen when the filmmakers of Carrie shot a scene in the front yard of the Craftsman home built in 1911 that’s been in his family for about seventy years.

In the film’s opening, Carrie – scared and traumatized after getting her period for the first time – is tormented by her bullying classmates in the girls’ locker room. Carrie is dismissed from school for the day and walks home along a lush, tree-lined street, her school binder clutched to her chest. A boy on a bicycle weaves in and out of the tree line, taunting the demure teenage girl with the insulting nickname, Creepy Carrie. A quick, piercing glance in the boy’s direction sends him tumbling from his bike and onto the Fogata family front yard located at 601 East Santa Paula Street.

“I remember watching them shoot it. They must have shot it twenty times to get the fall right,” says Fogata.

This being before the days of star trailers and massive base camps, Fogata says that craft service was set up on his front porch and his mom opened up the house for the cast and crew.

“I remember John Travolta was sitting in my living room; Sissy Spacek was sitting in my living room. It was kind of their relaxing area,” says Fogata.

Over the years, Fogata’s house has been seen in numerous movies, commercials and music videos, he says, but he remembers Carrie being the first. The same trees from the aforementioned scene are prominent in the music video for Stevie Wonder’s Grammy-nominated, 1987 single, “Skeletons.”


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Monday, November 15, 2021
GALLERY OF CARROT STICKS FROM DE PALMA FILMS
WITH A CAMEO FROM MARY & MOE'S MEAT MARKET, C/O SCORSESE'S 'WHO'S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carrots1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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