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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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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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The Virtuoso
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No Harm In Charm

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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
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The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

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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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Monday, May 23, 2022
TRAILER FOR NEXT YEAR'S 'MISSION IMPOSSIBLE'
Kittridge, YOU need to pick a side!

Posted by Geoff at 12:12 PM CDT
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Sunday, May 22, 2022
LINSON RECALLS PUTTING 'THE UNTOUCHABLES' TOGETHER
"I WANTED A HIGH-PRICED WRITER WHO WOULD DISTINGUISH THE MOVIE"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/untouchablescolorset.jpg

A few days ago, The Telegraph posted an article by Alexander Larman with the headline, "How The Untouchables took a baseball bat to the gangster movie." The subheadline reads, "Thirty-five years ago, the writer of Glengarry Glen Ross, the director of Body Double and De Niro's silk underwear somehow made crime pay." Here's an excerpt:
The idea of remaking the series as a film seemed to make commercial sense, especially after the enormous success of The Godfather and its sequel. Its studio Paramount turned to the producer Art Linson, who was responsible for successful comedies such as Car Wash and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and asked him whether he would be able to put together a similarly high-class package.

The offer left Linson with mixed feelings. He had never been an especially big fan of the original television series, but as he wrote in his memoir A Pound of Flesh: “I loved the subject matter... Al Capone, Eliot Ness, bootlegging, machine-gun violence and Chicago in the 1930s were a significant part of American folklore.” If he could attract the right filmmakers, it could have great potential. As he said: “I wanted a high-priced writer who would distinguish the movie, rather than approach it as another trashy remake chasing a famous title.”

Enter Mamet, who was not only a Chicago native, but a Pulitzer Prize winner for his play Glengarry Glen Ross. He had attracted plaudits for his screenplay for The Verdict, but that was a far more serious film. The Untouchables was intended to be a big summer blockbuster. If Mamet could be seduced, then the film could work. If not, it was barely worth making.

Linson’s first impression of the playwright was that “he reminded me of a Jew with a buzz cut trying to impersonate a biker”, and he liked him enormously. Mamet was less excited, and regarded the producer with a mixture of suspicion and distrust. Linson suggested that “I must have reminded him of a clammy rag salesman in casual clothes.” They met for lunch in SoHo in New York.

Linson had intended to offer Mamet a long and detailed pitch about the cultural and historical significance of the project, and why it would be of a piece with his career as a dramatist. It therefore came almost as a surprise to him that he instead blurted out: “Dave, don’t you think that the best career move for somebody who just won the Pulitzer Prize would be to adapt an old television series like The Untouchables for a s___load of money?”

Mamet, without missing a beat, agreed, and delivered his first draft within four weeks. Linson, who was used to writers taking up to a year, was impressed by what he read. Although the Capone character was thinly drawn, he could see that Jim Malone, in particular, would attract a major star, and described the screenplay as “emotional, witty and filled with unexpected, memorable exchanges that would distinguish it from the television series”.

But there were immediate difficulties. Mamet was unreceptive to rewrites and refused to spend more than a couple of days on them, and, after A-list directors turned down the screenplay, there was increasing unease at the studio about the project. As Linson said tactfully: “The first thing you notice about a Mamet script is that the characters do not always sound conversational in the way we are used to.”

The studio’s first reaction was to fire Mamet and hire a more conventional, pliable screenwriter, and when Linson dared to suggest to the playwright that he should be more responsive to executive notes, Mamet calmly said: “I weigh them before I throw them away.” If an A-list director could not be recruited, then, as Linson said: “The new version of The Untouchables would be headed toward the warmth and comfort of familiar mediocrity... written by committee and certainly without Mamet.”

Yet when the producer had a meeting with the “large, abrupt and seemingly stern” de Palma, who had expressed interest in directing, he was faced with another kind of difficulty. As he said: “You are instantly given the feeling that if he hasn’t yet scared the s___ out of you, he eventually will.” The legendary director of Scarface, Dressed to Kill and Carrie was not an easy or congenial man. Linson was explicitly warned that “with the two of us in the same cage, I would last for about a week.” De Palma needed a hit after two back-to-back flops in the form of Wise Guys and Body Double, so he committed to the project, but with reservations. “We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “This script needs to be addressed, and this picture is going to cost more than they think it is.”

Casting was a major issue. De Palma met with Kevin Costner for the central role of Ness; he was not especially interested in the part, and the actor was also an unknown quantity at the box office, having never carried a film of this kind before. But de Palma and Costner hit it off and, after failed attempts to interest Mel Gibson and Don Johnson in the role of Ness, the actor was hired and attention turned to the big-name stars who had to be cast in the roles of Malone and Capone.

De Palma stated from the outset: “We’ve got to get a movie star like Sean Connery to play Malone... if I kill [him] off in a movie, no one will believe it.” Like his idol Alfred Hitchcock, De Palma was notorious for killing off his leading actors in unexpected fashions – Angie Dickinson, the supposed star of 1980’s Dressed to Kill, is brutally murdered after 20 minutes – and Connery agreed to take on the role after meeting with Mamet and de Palma. His usual fee was $2 million, which would have wreaked budgetary havoc, but his canny agent Mike Ovitz negotiated another deal; Connery would take no upfront fee in exchange for a percentage of the gross if the film was a hit. He ended up making considerably more.

The casting of Capone was more difficult. It was felt that the character, who only appeared in three scenes in the original script, should be an outsized, almost grotesque presence; John Candy was at one point suggested in an example of casting against type. But it was instead felt that the British actor Bob Hoskins, who had brilliantly combined charm with menace in the gangster films Mona Lisa and The Long Good Friday, would do a better job, and so he was hired for a fee of $200,000.

Then de Palma casually mentioned that his friend and former collaborator Robert de Niro was interested in playing Capone. Not only would casting the most sought-after and acclaimed actor of his generation in the role give the project unimaginable kudos, but the presence of the man who played the young Vito Corleone in a pivotal role of this sort would be totemic.

Yet the budget was clambering higher and higher, and de Niro’s fee would run into the millions. Paramount were horrified, telling Linson that “we are not spending $20 million to remake a gangster movie…tell your director that he better start looking at himself in the mirror and coming up with the right answers.” A compromise was reached. Capone’s scenes were scheduled for the end of filming, and Hoskins was still available; as Linson said: “He was not as electrifying a choice, but he was the only choice.”

De Palma, meanwhile, began to conceive of operatic set-pieces that made his paymasters sweat with terror. A full-on Western shoot-out on the Canadian border, complete with cavalry charge; deeply expensive recreations of Thirties Chicago; a climatic gun battle at Union Station that De Palma saw as an opportunity to pay homage to Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. All of these would be hugely, ludicrously expensive. A reckoning was inevitable.

Paramount executive Ned Tanen called a meeting with Linson and de Palma shortly before filming was about to begin, in an attempt to keep costs down. The budget had been set at a maximum of $18 million, and the idea of its spiralling up to $20 million made the studio nervous. De Palma calmly outlined what he required; he wanted to hire De Niro as Capone, to indulge his penchant for epic and unforgettable action scenes and to make a modern-day gangster classic.

As he said: “If we stay with the cast we have, shorten the schedule and reduce the scale of the picture, [we] will end up with a movie that at best will be suited to ‘Masterpiece Theatre’. It is not the movie I want to direct. It will not work, and I cannot afford to make a movie that will not work.” Then he suggested what awaited instead. “When Bob De Niro kills somebody with a baseball bat, with me directing, it will never be forgotten.” Tanen was persuaded. A $22.5 million budget was agreed upon, and Hoskins was paid off, leading the actor to call de Palma and jokingly ask if there were any other films that he didn’t want him to star in.

Yet the casting of De Niro could have caused more trouble than benefit. Although the actor was only required for two weeks of filming, his obsessive attention to detail made his presence known far earlier. He refused to wear the (Giorgio Armani-designed) costumes, and instead demanded that his wardrobe as Capone be redesigned by Italian tailors, under his personal supervision; he even insisted on wearing a $3,000 suit that had been tailored by someone who had fitted Capone’s outfits. He gained 25 pounds for the role, and shaved his hairline so that his face looked wider and fatter.

He was even reputed to have worn silk underwear to understand the arrogance and entitlement of the crime lord that he was playing. It seemed a piece of extraordinary method-heavy self-indulgence, but it worked electrifyingly. As Linson said: “Without uttering a word, by merely strolling to his position in front of the camera, Capone-De Niro suddenly became sly, dangerous, confident and even witty.” The gamble had paid off spectacularly.


Posted by Geoff at 9:54 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, May 22, 2022 9:59 AM CDT
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Thursday, May 19, 2022
COLLIDER WRITER LINKS 'BLOW OUT' & 'STRANGE DAYS'
"CINEMA OF MEMORY SURVEILLANCE"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/interrogatingwitness55.jpg

A couple of days ago, Collider's Benjamin Crabtree posted an article headlined "Blow Out, Strange Days, and the Cinema of Memory Surveillance" --
While Blow Out taps into a sound-based investigation of the central characters’ lived experience of a possible political assassination, Strange Days continues the previous film’s subversive tradition through the virtual reality-based reliving of salacious scenarios and traumatic events, eventually revealing the role of police corruption in the death of a famous rapper. Although the two films stand apart as equally fascinating and foundational artistic statements in their respective director’s filmographies, their similar invocation of Hitchcockian intrigue à la Rear Window within unique genre frameworks of political mystery and science-fiction unify the films as a cinematic bridge between the disillusioned patriotism of Reaganite optimism and the convoluted communication of the early digital age, presaging the prominence of surveillance in the twenty-first century.

Although De Palma locates Blow Out comfortably within the framework of Reagan-era nationalism and the ensuing American insularity, it is essential to acknowledge the integral role that Nixonian disillusionment and the subsequent cinematic thrillers of the 1970s played in formulating the subtext for De Palma’s masterpiece. In the wake of Watergate and the atrocities of the Vietnam War, the New Hollywood leaned into a renewed manifestation of genre filmmaking that mirrored the political paranoia and personal discontents of the era.

Releasing revisionist thrillers that bordered on nihilistic like Alan J. Pakula’s conspiracy-centric stylized statement The Parallax View and Sydney Pollack’s annihilative mystery Three Days of the Condor to incredible acclaim and box office success, the cinematic landscape of the 1970s tapped into the disturbingly relevant well of national distrust and political turmoil to draw in audiences by empathizing with their existential fears. Perhaps more elegantly and precisely than its predecessors, Blow Out equally politicizes and personalizes both the fear of being watched and the anxiety of seeing something dangerous, incriminating, and potentially life-threatening.

Opening with a “movie-within-a-movie” sequence of the b-level horror film Co-Ed Friendly, De Palma immediately establishes the poetic paranoia that pervades the film by placing the audience into the first-person perspective of the sorority serial killer villain, indicting the audience of their own cinematic “surveillance as entertainment.” Although the point-of-view cinematography from the perspective of a serial killer stalking girls in and around a sorority house foreshadows the eventual government-backed, cover-up “serial killings” by Burke (John Lithgow) in the film’s second half, the opening sequence also builds an atmosphere of dread and doubt that functions as a critique of Reagan era optimism through a tragically honest approach to political corruption and lurid criminality throughout the film.

When Jack (John Travolta) is tasked to search for new wind for the fictional film’s atmosphere and a new scream to add to the Psycho-like shower murder in the film’s first, the first-person voyeurism that the cinematography evokes also becomes an auditory construct, as John Travolta’s protagonist invites us into his sonic perspective through his recording of nature sounds and accidental capturing of audio from a car crash.

In a manner similar to the accidentally photographed murder at the center of Michelangelo Antonioni’s groundbreaking arthouse film Blow Up, Blow Out sees Jack unravel at the seams as he attempts to uncover and bring to justice the assassination of Pennsylvania Governor George McRyan through his audio recording. Echoing the first-person perspective of the “film-within-a-film” opening, a sequence at the center of the film sees the audience take on the audiovisual point-of-view of Jack as he relives the moment of recording the potential assassination, aligning the audience within the protagonist’s multi-sensory perspective as he grapples with the government conspiracy in which he is caught.

While it is entirely possible to call Jack’s unintentional surveillance of the tragedy a positive example of seeing the truth in the midst of a dishonest political yarn, the psychic and bodily fallout of the recording suggests that his accidental anti-government observation is an impossible task in the midst of the corrupt behemoth of Reaganite American politics. The film’s final sequence at the firework-laden “Liberty Festival” sees the personal and political consequences come to the forefront, as Jack witnesses and records the murder of Sally (Nancy Allen), the former governor’s escort whom he liberated from the sunken car in the film’s inciting incident, by the government-hired assassin Burke.

By juxtaposing the death of Sally against the backdrop of a joyous patriotic celebration, De Palma finalizes the critique of the American political establishment as an ironic and corrupt force of destruction that wears a mask of individual freedom and nationalistic optimism. The haunting final moments see Jack forced to surrender to his own exploitation and personal paranoia as he offers Sally’s final scream as the sound effect for the film from the reflexive introduction, emphasizing a devastating poetic continuation of surveillance and conspiracy through the cinematic form.

Building on the foundation of Blow Out’s approach to voyeurism and political intrigue, Kathryn Bigelow’s underrated and unfortunately difficult-to-find Strange Days extends the structures of surveillance into the realm of human memory, as the film’s policeman-turned-illegal memory dealer protagonist Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) is forced to confront the ethical fallout of his VR-style memory archive. In a manner similar to Blow Out’s meta-cinematic opening, the introductory sequence of Strange Days showcases the first-person perspective of a restaurant robbery as recorded on the memory-sharing device. While the scene ends in the tragic death of the memory’s “protagonist,” the camera cuts from the point-of-view memory to Lenny’s shocked removal of the memory-viewing apparatus.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, May 18, 2022
BILL PANKOW TALKS ABOUT CLIMAX OF 'DOMINO'
"I HAD PUT IN THIS SORT OF ACTION TEMP SCORE - WHEN BRIAN SAW IT, WE PUT IN BOLERO"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dominoballet3piece.jpg

Yesterday saw the Blu-ray release of Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale, from Scream Factory. Each of the two new interviews included in this new edition mentions De Palma's Domino. Gregg Henry mentions that he was offered an unspecified part in Domino, but the timing never worked out with his schedule. Meanwhile, editor Bill Pankow brings up his own work on Domino to illustrate how De Palma's music choices serve to highlight his films' visual focus:
That film didn’t turn out as well as Brian probably would have liked, but that’s another one where there’s a big scene at the end in the bullfighting arena, and the terrorists are there, and I had put in this sort of action temp score. And then when Brian saw it, we put in Bolero. And it’s interesting because he really wants the visuals to command the audience’s attention. And he wants to pick and choose the places where the music leads you in a certain direction, or makes you… or emphasizes what he thinks you might want to feel for the character at that time. And so the Bolero was just something that could keep the audience involved, but really the visuals are what are so engaging. That was true in that scene, and obviously true in the opening scene of Femme Fatale, as well.

Posted by Geoff at 11:25 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 19, 2022 7:28 AM CDT
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Monday, May 16, 2022
DETAILS FOR UK EDITION OF 4K UHD UNTOUCHABLES
DOUBLE-SIDED POSTER, ART CARDS, BUSINESS CARDS, & SPECIAL FEATURES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/4ksteelbookuntouchables2.jpg

From The Hollywood News:
According to an official press release, received today from Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, The Untouchables makes its 4K Ultra HD debut on June 6, 2022 on 4K UHD + Blu-ray Special Collector’s Edition SteelBook, which includes the 4K Ultra HD™ feature film, Blu-ray™, poster, 6 art cards and 2 business cards.

Legacy bonus content is as follows:

  • The Script, The Cast
  • Production Stories
  • Re-Inventing the Genre
  • The Classic
  • Original Featurette: “The Men”
  • Theatrical Trailer

 


Here are the purchase page links at Zavvi and Amazon.co.uk. The U.S. edition will be released on May 31, 2022.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, May 14, 2022
CARLITO'S WAY IS 'A STEALTHY NEO-NOIR CLASSIC'
DANILO CASTRO WRITES ABOUT DE PALMA'S FILM AS HIS FAVORITE NEO-NOIR IN NEW ISSUE OF NOIR CITY
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/noircitycarlito25.jpg

"The last of the Mo-Ricans: @DaniloSCastro dishes on CARLITO'S WAY in the new issue of NOIR CITY," Noir City Magazine tweeted the other day. A digital version or print copy of the issue can be ordered via the Film Noir Foundation. Meanwhile, here's a bit from Danilo Castro's article:
Carlito's Way has a cult following today, but the perception of it as a minor rehash has mostly stayed intact. And therein lies the problem. Carlito's Way is not a lesser gangster film. It's not a gangster film at all. It bypasses the highs of Scarface to explore the lows of the subsequent hangover, and the result is a stealthy neo-noir classic I never tire of watching.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Friday, May 13, 2022
MORRICONE 'CINEMA SUITES' INCLUDES A DE PALMA SUITE
THE SCORES FOR THIS NEW RECORDING WERE COMPLETED BY MORRICONE MONTHS PRIOR TO HIS DEATH
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/cinemasuites0.jpg

"Prior to his death at the age of 91 in July of 2020, composer Ennio Morricone completed the scores for this recording, which features his longtime violinist, Marco Serino," Stereophile's Sasha Matson states in a review of Ennio Morricone: Cinema Suites for Violin and Orchestra. Matson continues:
This collection of suites is a product of Morricone's reworking of his own scores for film, intended for concert performances. I am not often a fan of rerecordings of film music: I prefer to hear the music tracks used, as typically found on albums designated "original motion picture soundtrack." This collection is of another kind altogether: well-thought-through compositional variations on the original music, beautifully performed by the Haydn Orchestra and conducted by the composer's son, Andrea Morricone. With a career output exceeding 400 film scores, Morricone gathered excerpts from 14 of them to create these suites, organized by films and their directors.

Included are a "Sergio Leone Suite," a "Giuseppe Tornatore Suite," and a "Brian De Palma Suite." Putting Morricone's best foot forward, the collection opens with three themes from Once Upon a Time in America, one of the greatest meldings of music and visual drama ever melded. The simplest musical materials get to the emotional heart of that great film about love and memory in such a powerful way that I tear up when I hear it. The solo violin part features Morricone's fine melodic gifts, thematic materials as used in the films but also newly created lines handed back and forth between violin and orchestra. In a fine interview, Marco Serino describes Morricone "reworking existing scores with me as soloist in mind ... talking in depth about the solo part and the scoring for orchestra." Playing gorgeously his Matteo Goffriller violin made in Venice in 1768, Serino gives voice to a great composer commenting on his own life's work.—Sasha Matson


The "Brian De Palma Suite" consists of two parts: Main Theme from Casualties of War, and Death Theme from The Untouchables.

The editorial review at Amazon reads:

For twenty years Marco Serino was Ennio Morricone’s violinist, the soloist on his film soundtracks and on world tours where they were reworked for the concert hall. In January 2020, after what proved to be his last public concert, at the Italian Senate in Rome, Morricone finished the transcription of this magnificent and unpublished collection, which recasts the themes of his most famous scores in suites transcribed for violin and orchestra. The work was carried out in close collaboration with Marco Serino and dedicated to him as a fruit of the artistic partnership between the two men. The collection alternates between pieces already performed in concert and others that are heard in this version for the first time. A year and a half after the composer’s death, this extraordinary document, a testimony to friendship and professional esteem, now becomes a recording project with the collaboration of Andrea Morricone, the composer’s son, who conducts the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento.


Posted by Geoff at 7:18 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 12, 2022
TROMA BOUGHT 'WEDDING PARTY' FROM WILFORD LEACH
LLOYD KAUFMAN RECALLS MEETING DE PALMA AT THE THALIA IN 1971 FOR 'BATTLE OF LOVE'S RETURN' PREMIERE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/weddingpartycannon55.jpg

At Den of Geek today, Tony Sokol asks Troma's Lloyd Kaufman how Troma came to distribute The Wedding Party, a film by Brian De Palma, Wilford Leach, and Cynthia Munroe:
Most people don’t know Troma’s connection with Robert De Niro and Brian De Palma on The Wedding Party. What was the role beyond distribution?

Brian De Palma and Paul Williams, and the toymaker [director Ed Pressman], we all knew each other because they all went to Harvard, and there was some exchange between the Yale film society and Harvard’s filmmaking community. Brian De Palma actually showed up at the Thalia, a great art house. That was the only theater I’ve ever been in where the seats in the front were at a higher altitude than the seats in the back. It made our movies look a lot better to the people in the back.

The Battle of Love’s Return opened there, and Brian De Palma showed up that night. I was friendly with one of the producers. We had nothing to do artistically with it, but if you look at The Wedding Party, De Niro looks like he’s 15 years old. We bought a package of movies. Whenever we had money, we bought. We would buy collections of movies because small companies can’t stay in the business. We did buy Greetings and another one, but it turned out the guy who sold it to us was a grifter, so we don’t own them. We got fucked. The Wedding Party we bought from Woodford Leech.


A couple of notes: Kaufman certainly means Wilford Leach, not Woodford Leech. The Battle of Love’s Return premiered in 1971, years after The Wedding Party had been completed (and one year after Hi, Mom! was released).


Posted by Geoff at 11:33 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 11, 2022
GASPAR NOE TRACES HIS INTEREST IN SPLIT SCREEN
RICHARD FLEISCHER, BRIAN DE PALMA, PAUL MORRISSEY
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At RogerEbert.com, Carlos Aguilar asks Gaspar Noé, "Can you trace your interest in using split screen to a particular film or piece of art that you encountered before you started working on Lux Æterna in 2019? Or was this an aesthetic choice that was born specifically for this premise?"
As everybody else, I had seen many movies with the split screen effects. Movies from the seventies, like the ones of Richard Fleischer, like “The Boston Strangler.” I had also seen movies by Brian De Palma with split screen since, but probably the movie that impressed me the most about the use of split screen is a movie that was not released in the states, but it was released in France, although it was an American movie. In France it was called “New York 42nd Street,” but in America the name it had was “Forty Deuce.” It was a theater play that Paul Morrissey adapted into a film with two cameras. I guess it was for legal rights that it was not released here. You can barely find it on a bootleg DVD with French subtitles.

I was a film student when I saw that feature film that was shot from the beginning to the end with the split screen and I said, “Wow, that looks great. It's a great idea.” Unfortunately, they didn't really think how to make it more powerful. And so, I’ve had that movie in mind all my life. When I started shooting my previous movie “Climax,” the [fashion] brand Saint Laurent proposed to give money to make a short film. They said, “It can be five minutes long or it can be 70 minutes long. Whatever you want, but just use actors that are icons of our brand and use our clothing.”

I had an idea to do with Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg, but we had a limited budget, so we decided we could shoot this short film in five days. The first day of shooting, I tried to film it as I had I shot “Climax,” which means I wanted to shoot it with long master shots and we were so unprepared that at the end of the day, I had like a six-minute shot that wasn't working. And I said, “Well, now I have four days left. I cannot keep on working this way because I'm not prepared enough and there are too many people around.” I decided that from the second day on, I would shoot with many different cameras.

We had two cameras on the set and the guy who was playing the director of the making-of in the movie had a small video camera. I said, "Let shoot every single with two or three cameras and I'll see how to edit the movie, but it will not be a movie with just master shots." In the editing process I decided to use the split screen or the triple screen. I really enjoyed doing a very playful edit with one, two, or three screens inside the screen. One year after doing this short film that became at 52-minute movie and was shown theatrically in many countries as a feature film, I did another short film for the same brand called “Summer of ‘21.It's on YouTube and Vimeo. Once again, I filmed that with two cameras and it's a split screen fashion film that I am really proud of.

After those experiences with fashion short films, why did you feel that this formal choice could also work for “Vortex”?

Last year in the month of January, I came back from seeing my father in Argentina and my French producers suggested I do a confinement movie. Confinement movies are those kinds of productions in which you have one or two actors in one single apartment because we could not shoot in the streets. I said, “I have an idea. It's about an old couple. We could make it using split screen. We would see the lives of the two members of the couple. It would be shot with two cameras.” In my head, because I was already used to the split screen, I thought it would make even more sense than for the two shorts I had done before.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 10, 2022
SPACEK SAYS TEENAGERS SHOW HER THEIR CARRIE TATTOOS
WHILE DR. STRANGE REVIEW SAYS "A BLOODIED WANDA IS THE SPITTING IMAGE OF SISSY SPACEK IN CARRIE"
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At The Irish Times today, Simon Hattenstone profiles Sissy Spacek:
Mary Elizabeth Spacek was born on Christmas Day 1949 in Quitman, Texas. Her family were well established – her paternal grandfather was the mayor of Granger, Texas, her father a county agricultural agent and her mother a typist at the county courthouse. Her two older brothers called her Sissy and that is how it stayed.

Spacek’s childhood was idyllic. She fished with her brothers, rode a horse called Buck, went barefoot throughout the summer, watched matinees at the local picture house and performed in talent contests from the age of six. It all came to an end when Robbie, an outstanding athlete, became ill. At 17, she spent the summer with the actor Rip Torn and his wife, Geraldine Paige, in New York to “get out from under” the unfolding family tragedy. Spacek had planned to go to the University of Texas, but Robbie’s death changed everything. After finishing high school, she returned to New York in the hope of becoming a great folk singer.

It didn’t quite work out. In 1968, under the nom de plume Rainbo, she recorded a hilarious single called John You Went Too Far This Time, declaring her love for John Lennon while berating him for posing nude with Yoko on the Two Virgins album sleeve. She also sang with a group called Moose and the Pelicans, who released a likable version of She’s a Rebel. When she was dropped by her record label, she turned to acting. Within a few months of starting at Lee Strasberg, she had been cast by Malick in Badlands, where she met her husband, Jack Fisk, the film’s production designer.

With Badlands, she says, she discovered just what was possible in movies. “It was when I realised film can be art. And I was working with people – Terrence Malick, Jack Fisk, Martin Sheen [who played her boyfriend, Kit]– who had such passion. Their passion for their work ignited something in me. I had all that experience growing up, good and painful and joyous, and now I had a place to put it.” Spacek looked so different from most Hollywood starlets – red-haired, ferociously freckled, short, slight and childlike. She seemed feral one minute, serenely beautiful the next. Badlands taught her how little you had to do or say in films to make an impression. Often she expressed more with those huge blue eyes than with her words.

She lights up when she talks about Badlands. But, to be fair, she lights up when she talks about so many of her movies. In Coal Miner’s Daughter, she got to sing Lynn’s songs and won a gold disc for the soundtrack. “When we decided to go with Michael Apted, someone said to me: ‘Why did you decide to go with an Englishman?’ Well, he grew up in a coal-mining community and he didn’t bring any of the country cliches that are so prevalent. And gosh, what a great artist. You know, it’s all about the director.”

Despite winning the best actress Oscar for Coal Miner’s Daughter, it was Carrie that made her most famous. Even now, she says, teenagers show her their Carrie tattoos. “Who knew that Carrie would be around like 100 years later? Every year a new generation of young people see it.” As much as anything, Carrie is about the pain of adolescence. “So many kids feel tortured when they’re in middle school and high school. Bullied and misunderstood. Stephen King hit a nerve with that. It’s a universal story.”

Although 26-year-old Spacek was playing a schoolgirl in Carrie, she had already been working for eight years. Did she feel much older than the characters she played? Yes and no, she says. “I had maturity because of what I had lived through already, but I’ve always been connected to the inner child. I just am.” I can still see that inner child today, I say. She beams. “You think so? As a person, I do. I’m excited about people, I’m excited about work, I’m excited about children. I’m pretty passionate. I don’t feel lukewarm about things. I’m either all in or not at all.”

Incredibly, Spacek was nominated for five Oscars between 1977 and 1986. “I went from one film to another, working with great directors. It was a wonderful time. The artists ruled in the 1970s. We were making low-budget films that the studios didn’t care about, so they’d leave us to our own devices.”


Meanwhile, Carrie is mentioned in a review or two of Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:

Mark Feeney, The Boston Globe:

Drollery is in fairly short supply. In keeping with the Scarlet Witch’s witchiness, this is the closest the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come to including a horror movie. Is Raimi returning to those “Evil Dead” roots? An eye emerges in a very familiar forehead. An alternate Strange looks like a cross between a zombie and the Phantom of the Opera. Skeletal souls of the damned fly through the air with the greatest of unease. In several sequences, a bloodied Wanda is the spitting (or bleeding) image of Sissy Spacek in “Carrie.”

Noel Vera, BusinessWorld's Critic After Dark
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda a.k.a. The Scarlet Witch provides the electric charge that jolts this patchwork mess to life. Her quest to seek her lost children is a struggle any parent, or anyone who’s lost a loved one can understand. That furtive thought lurking at the back of one’s grieving mind: “Maybe if I bring them back” — the results may never be good, but we’re not being honest if we say we never entertained such thoughts.

And Raimi plays it up; wraps Olsen in shadows as she strides forth with red LED eyes, splatters her face with drying blood (Brian de Palma’s Carrie much?). As far as gore goes, this is Parental Guidance Raimi, barely worth mentioning, but one look at Olsen’s wild despairing face and you know where the true horror lies: this is love without hope seeking a way to keep itself alive, knowing what it’s doing is wrong wrong wrong, lying to itself constantly that maybe somehow somewhere there’s a way. I saw the movie with some people, and one of them remarked: “I kept rooting for the evil witch.” I can relate to that and suspect Raimi can too — at one point we see Wanda’s imagined children watching TV, and on the small screen was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I remember Woody Allen in Annie Hall saying “I immediately fell for the Wicked Queen.”

Multiverse of Madness is pretty good, perhaps the best Marvel since Raimi’s own Spider-Man movies and, really, it’s hard to fault the picture for anything save for flaws that don’t really matter (rigorous plotting, realism, characterization of everyone not played by Olsen). Oh! And timing — over a month ago A24 released Everything Everywhere All at Once and what Dr. Strange achieved for $200 million the Daniels did for only $25 million; the universes are wilder (Paint Universe and Dispersing-Cubes Universe vs. Hotdog Fingers Universe and Just Rocks Universe), the MacGuffin even more bizarre (Book of Vishanti, meet The Everything Bagel). Perversely, the fight sequences in Everything are superior because: 1.) very little if any of it involves CGI, and 2.) it’s performed mostly by Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh — talk about low-tech, they are perfectly capable of and do the action for real. Yes, Olsen was affecting but Michelle Yeoh, I submit, has the richer role, playing Loser Evelyn, Movie-Star Evelyn, Sausage Fingers Evelyn, and so on. And none of this is arbitrary; turns out almost every Evelyn is a result of a choice her character makes or fails to make (the rest were created by the choices of people who have affected Evelyn, or basically everyone else), suggesting the branching, bewildering complexity of even such an ostensibly low-profile life. In effect The Daniels now are what Raimi was when he first started, directing his own scripts with almost no resources — and this I see is where I first came in; pardon me while I let myself out the side door.


See also:
CBR.com: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness turned one character into a horror archetype by homaging Brian De Palma's Carrie

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2022 9:34 PM CDT
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