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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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De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
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Jim Emerson on
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Carrie: The Movie

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italkyoubored

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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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Friday, December 23, 2022
BRANDON MAGGART RECALLS CUT SCENE FROM DTK
"BY ITSELF, THE CUT SCENE WAS A GOOD SCENE, BUT IT DID NOT BELONG IN THE FILM"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/cleveland1.jpg

Fiona Apple would have been about two years old at the time that her father, Brandon Maggart, filmed a couple of scenes as "Cleveland Sam" in Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill. Maggart had been in the midst of filming his leading role in Lewis Jackson's You Better Watch Out, an Edward R. Pressman production. According to Wikipedia, the toy factory featured in that film "was a real toy factory in New Brunswick owned by Lynn Pressman, mother of the film's executive producer, Edward R. Pressman." Much to Jackson's chagrin, that film was retitled, and now is usually known as "Christmas Evil."

In his 2015 memoir Behind These Eyes Such Sweet Madness Lies (My Life On and Off the Stage), Maggart recalls taking a break from that film to work on Dressed To Kill:

I worked six weeks straight on Christmas Evil, six days a week. During that time, I had a two-day window that I used to work on the film, Dressed To Kill starring Michael Caine, Nancy Allen, and Angie Dickinson, directed by Brian De Palma. I was not in great shape for those two days, but we filmed one short scene and a second long scene with me and Nancy Allen in a hotel room. In the scene, Nancy was playing the hooker, and I was her John… a John who only wanted to talk. I wasn’t aware that the scene had not made the cut until I saw it in a theater. I had nice billing, but my on-screen time was about ten seconds. By itself, the cut scene was a good scene, but it did not belong in the film. Most of the scenes in the film were short and well-paced. Nancy lobbied to have it put back in for the European market but lost to her husband, her director, Brian De Palma.












Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Thursday, December 22, 2022
'OBSESSION' IS, IN A SENSE, DE PALMA'S 'MOST HITCHCOCKIAN'
BUT "IT IS ALSO THE MOST DE PALMA OF DE PALMA MOVIES," WRITES VINCE KEENAN
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/obsessionfamilydance.jpg

"Filmmakers were working in the Hitchcock style when he was operating at his peak, and they’re still doing so today," states Vince Keenan in the intro to an article posted today at CrimeReads. "Time for an appraisal of Alfred Hitchcock movies that were not directed by Alfred Hitchcock, although his spirit hangs over each and every one of them." In his "A Survey of Hitchcock Films Not Directed by Alfred Hitchcock," Keenan includes Brian De Palma's Obsession:
C’mon, you knew Brian De Palma would appear on this list. The only question is which Hitch-influenced De Palma movie to select? His filmography is studded with them, from Sisters (1973) to Femme Fatale (2002). I opted for the one that is, in a sense, the most Hitchcockian. De Palma and screenwriter Paul Schrader concocted the story for Obsession—about a widower who meets the doppelganger of his late wife—out of their admiration for Vertigo, and the film features one of the final scores by frequent Hitchcock composer Bernard Herrmann. It is also the most De Palma of De Palma movies; the plot, when all its twists are revealed, is both preposterous and deeply, deeply disturbing, yet De Palma’s technical skill—aided immeasurably by a bravura performance from Geneviève Bujold—vaults past the inconsistencies and unsavory elements to conjure an overpowering atmosphere of doomed romanticism.

Posted by Geoff at 10:15 PM CST
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Wednesday, December 21, 2022
CHLOE OKUNO TELLS VARIETY WHAT MAKES 'CARRIE' GREAT
"IT WAS SO BEAUTIFULLY & AUDACIOUSLY FILMED, A TESTAMENT TO THE BOLDNESS & VISION OF DE PALMA"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carriehair.jpg

As one of several essays contributed by filmmakers and actors as part of Variety’s "100 Greatest Movies of All Time" package, Chloe Okuno, director of Watcher, shares a few words about Carrie, as posted at Variety earlier today:
It’s an image that is so powerful it’s now seared into our collective memory — a skinny teenage girl in a baby pink prom dress, bathed from head to toe in blood, her eyes wide with cold fury as the school burns around her. In my estimation, few films have reached the heights of Brian De Palma’s classic tale of psychic vengeance.

I can’t exactly remember the first time I saw “Carrie,” only that I was young enough for it to be one of those films that gets under your skin and stays there. It was so beautifully and audaciously filmed, a testament to the boldness and vision of De Palma, where every moment is staged with operatic style. But just as crucially, Stephen King’s story tapped into something primal in the way that all the best horror does. Carrie’s telekinesis is a cathartic expression of the intensity of her feelings — the subconscious made manifest. For a lot of young people, and most especially for a lot of young women, we might have seen something of ourselves in this story of repressed, feverish emotion. An outsider misunderstood. The rawness and cruelty of youth.

All of this is so perfectly and brilliantly captured by Sissy Spacek. Her Carrie White is deeply strange but still incredibly sympathetic, terrifying one moment and broken the next. It’s a commanding performance that meets the heightened tone of De Palma’s film, but it is still so recognizably human. There is similarly excellent work from the entire cast, from Piper Laurie’s righteously unhinged portrayal of Carrie’s religious fanatic mother to Nancy Allen’s gleefully vicious Chris Hargenson.

Carrie’s” status as a horror icon is undisputed. The vengeance she unleashes on her classmates in the prom sequence is masterful — as thrilling and horrifying today as it was in 1976. And yet, I think a large part of the resonance of De Palma’s film comes from the fact that it gave an enormous amount of power to a historically powerless archetype: a teenage girl. There are many ways to interpret “Carrie,” but ultimately, that for me is the source of its greatness.


Posted by Geoff at 10:40 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2022 10:46 PM CST
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Sunday, December 18, 2022
1972 WB INSERT PROMO SLATE INCLUDES 'RABBIT'
TWEETED BY ADSAUSAGE ARCHIVES, INSERT APPEARED IN 1972 ISSUE OF THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/1972wbinsertinhr585.jpg

On Saturday, @adsausage tweeted all the pages of a Hollywood Reporter insert from 1972, featuring Warner Bros.' upcoming slate for that year. This included, of course, Brian De Palma's Get To Know Your Rabbit. Some of the other films included in the insert are Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up, Doc?, John Boorman's Deliverance, Don Siegel's Dirty Harry, Sydney Pollack's Jeremiah Johnson, and Paul Williams' Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues. The latter marked John Lithgow's film debut.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Saturday, December 17, 2022
DE PALMA & ARGENTO, BETWEEN HITCHCOCK & BUNUEL
ALSO, CHABROL
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/spellbound155.jpg

In an article about Dario Argento's Dark Glasses in the Summer 2022 issue of Cinema Scope, Christopher Huber writes:
Argento's filmmaking is best understood as a type of crazy poetry rather than storytelling - as John Carpenter put it, "Dario can influence and has influenced people with his absolute courage of what he can do on the screen." While Carpenter has understandably often been grouped with Argento due to their shared love for the fantastic and an unmistakable (audio-)visual approach toward their material (even as Carpenter is more into classical storytelling), a better match for Argento may be found in another American auteur who is only four days younger than the Italian master: Brian De Palma, who is also often misunderstood as a technically brilliant yet hopelessly uneven Hitchcock disciple. (When Argento choreographed a Trussardi fashion show in the '80s, crowding the catwalk with signature touches from murder to a rainstorm, he memorably used Pino Donaggio's theme from De Palma's Body Double [1984] - and soon hired Donaggio himself). In the cases of both filmmakers, the Hitchcock angle has led to overlooking many other strands that coalesce in their work. Most importantly, De Palma shares with Argento a (slightly more submerged) surrealist streak; if their overbearingly strong stylistic signatures weren't pointing in the opposite direction, one should rather think of them as heirs to Buñuel.

And last month, in MovieMaker's "Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker" column, Luca Guadagnino had this to say:
Sometimes my favorite movie is the one I most recently watched. Recently, I watched a movie from one of my favorite filmmakers, Claude Chabrol, and the movie is called Betty. So now that has become one of my favorite movies. It’s an incredibly beautiful film, a portrait of a very troubled soul, Betty, and a complete, intellectually honest representation of the pleasant and the unpleasant. This movie never tries to categorize victimhood, or dimensions of power. It’s more about the complexity of relationships within a given state of being. And the character played by Marie Trintignant is undeniable for me. It’s truly sublime and the way in which Chabrol directed the movie, his choices, the way he creates suspense… You know, he, with Brian De Palma, is one of the greatest Hitchcockian directors. Brian De Palma was going this direction and Chabrol went that direction, but in a way, they both are Hitchcockian people. The way in which Chabrol builds suspense out of the morality at stake is just sublime.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, December 18, 2022 4:23 PM CST
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Friday, December 16, 2022
RADIO SPOTS FOR 'GET TO KNOW YOUR RABBIT'
A FILM THAT CLICKED WITH MOVIE JAWN'S ROSALIE KICKS IN 2022


Movie Jawn editor-in-chief Rosalie Kicks includes Get To Know Your Rabbit in her article "Flicks That Kicks Uncovered in 2022" -
This zany film from Brian de Palma is not perfect but sure did stick with me.

It might be due to turning 39 years of age and my brain telling me its now or never, but 2022 really has turned out to be the year of contemplation for the old sport. This movie struck a lot of personal chords as it tells the story of a guy that leaves his silly, stuffy, nonsensical corporate job to pursue a life more serious, freeing and sensible as a tap dancing magician. Trained by the illustrious Orson Welles he sets out to achieve his dreams and escape the rat race. This is just one of several films I watched this year that I am taking as a sign to take the plunge.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Thursday, December 15, 2022
A PERFECTLY REALIZED SCENE IN THE MIDST OF A HUNDRED
SLANT'S ERIC HENDERSON REVIEWS SCREAM FACTORY'S NEW 4K ULTRA HD EDITION OF 'CARRIE'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carriepencil.jpg

If yesterday's problematic description of Brian De Palma's Carrie from the Library of Congress left a bittersweet taste lingering, today we have a nice write-up of the film via Slant's Eric Henderson, who seems to understand De Palma's work on a much deeper level:
Brian De Palma’s Carrie may be about high school, but it was perhaps the director’s first completely mature film, at least equaling the nearly concurrent release Obsession in gothic pathos. Based on Stephen King’s first novel, famously written in near-poverty as the future bestselling mogul tried to make ends meet by teaching English to high school kids, Carrie turns a fairly contemptuous source text (in the book, Carrie is nearly as unappealing as her tormentors) into, as Pauline Kael said, a “teasing, lyrical thriller.” It brought both De Palma and King into mainstream visibility, kick-started the careers of nearly everyone involved (or, in Piper Laurie’s case, provided an unexpected return to form playing horror cinema’s ultimate mom from hell), won two acting Oscar nominations, and earned fantastic reviews and word of mouth. Surely this represents De Palma’s first great selling out, right?

Absolutely not. Carrie, a profoundly sad horror comedy about a dumped-on, telekinetic outcast whose late-blooming menstrual cycle and sexual maturation react violently with her fundamentalist mother’s psychological chastity belt, is the film in which De Palma discovered that his destructive sense of humor could be synthesized with his graceful visual sensibilities in a manner that would accentuate both. The linearity of King’s storyline (actually, the linearity of screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen’s version of the novel, which was told via a fussy collage of news articles, testimony, and Reader’s Digest memoirs) has the preordained momentum of Greek mythology; some of the shots of a blood-soaked Carrie standing above her peers at the fateful prom were lifted from the theatrical performance De Palma shot of Dionysus in ’69.

De Palma’s technique, though, reaches a new volatility here. Half Phantom of the Paradise, half Obsession, Carrie is hysterical in every sense of the word. Laurie has said that she saw the film as satire, claiming that it was difficult for her to film Margaret White’s perverse death scene—being pinned to a doorway by flying knives until she resembles the Christ-as-pincushion shrine that Margaret keeps in Carrie’s punishment closet—without laughing. She later admitted to being disappointed that the film wasn’t inherently a comedy, not realizing that it was. Maybe the humor isn’t always as broad as Margaret heaving and moaning in ecstasy as Carrie gives her the vaguely incestuous gift of martyrdom, but it’s always there, and usually bittersweet.

Take the scene in which Carrie realizes that she actually likes Tommy Ross (William Katt). De Palma begins by showing Carrie sitting in class with pencil eagerly poised to transcribe Tommy’s poem as their tweedy teacher, Mr. Fromm (Sydney Lassick), reads it aloud to the class. The camera swirls around to show the entire class slacking, yawning, exchanging jocular smirks to indicate that they know the poem’s true author was Tommy’s girlfriend, Sue (Amy Irving). Tommy ends up in severe close-up while a split diopter shot puts Carrie in the background behind Tommy’s impressive blond mane. “It’s beautiful,” she murmurs, her hair like bundled hay in front of her face. Even the teacher piles on, sensing the emotional vulnerability as an opportunity to attain camaraderie with his indifferent students. “You suck,” Tommy says, even more covertly than Carrie, before Mr. Fromm’s request for a repeat begets the response: “I said ‘aw shucks.’” Tommy’s chiseled features melt into a triumphant cackle.

A perfectly realized scene in the midst of a hundred (many of which have little to do with the horror of mind-controlled fire and everything with the horror of teenage responsibility), Tommy’s social triumph under the wire stands in mockery of Carrie’s inability to do the same. And when Tommy silently demands “What’s that?!” in slow motion after Chris Hargensen’s (Nancy Allen) revenge is fulfilled at prom and Carrie is splashed with blood, the realization of that disparity comes to pass and the resulting inferno must be carried out.

Whether intimate or flamboyant, Carrie’s style is insistently sensual: Carrie running her finger along the definition of “telekinesis” in close-up, Miss Collins’s (Betty Buckley) gym class doing detention calisthenics to the accompaniment of a blaxploitation-esque “Baby Elephant Walk,” Carrie and Tommy swirling in rapture courtesy De Palma’s Tilt-O-Whirl cam, Pino Donaggio’s tempestuous chamber music leading up to the bucket drop, Carrie seeing red in kaleidoscope as her sanity burns. It’s as passionate, erotic, and clumsy as the descriptor “sensual” implies.


Reviewing the new Scream Factory 4K Ultra HD edition of Carrie, Henderson has this to say about its key added bonus feature:
Joe Aisenberg, author of Studies in the Horror Film: Carrie, saddles up to lecture on a film he’s spent a considerable amount of time studying. His track is balanced nicely between production details gleaned from his interviews with cast and crew, and critical observations about the film’s form (taking great care to point out any moment that De Palma’s staging expresses the shifting power dynamics without underlining it). I haven’t heard Lee Gambin and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas’s commentary recorded for the Arrow Video edition to know if it’s on the same level, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Posted by Geoff at 6:43 PM CST
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Wednesday, December 14, 2022
'CARRIE' VOTED INTO NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS: "DE PALMA MIXES UP A STYLISH CAULDRON OF HORRIFIC SCENES"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carriethree.jpg

Ballots, please...

Brian De Palma's Carrie is one of 25 films that have been voted in as this year's additions to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The announcement was made earlier today. The Hollywood Reporter's notes that De Palma's Carrie "puts a Sissy Spacek film in the registry for the third time (following Badlands and Coal Miner’s Daughter)." The article also includes the Library of Congress description:

Carrie (1976)
De Palma stands as an icon of the new wave of filmmakers who remade Hollywood and its filmmaking conventions beginning in the 1960s and ’70s. After some intriguing independent efforts, De Palma burst onto the national spotlight with this film. Never one to feature subtlety in his work, De Palma mixes up a stylish cauldron of horrific scenes in Carrie, adapted from the Stephen King novel. Combine a teen outcast with telekinetic powers facing abuse from cruel classmates and a domineering religious mother, and you have a breeding ground for revenge, with the comeuppance delivered in a no-holds barred prom massacre. Its flamboyant visual flair and use of countless cinema techniques may occasionally seem overdone, but its influence remains undeniable to this day, often cited by other critics and filmmakers for its impact on the horror genre.

(Thanks to Chris!)

Posted by Geoff at 10:41 PM CST
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Monday, December 12, 2022
GALE ANN HURD - 'WHAT I WAS DOING IN 1992'
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER CHECKS BACK 30 YEARS AFTER FIRST 'POWER LIST' OF WOMEN
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/galepressphoto75.jpg

"In honor of the 30th anniversary of The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment issue, THR spoke with some of the powerhouse women that were featured in the very first list in 1992," begins an article posted Monday at The Hollywood Reporter. "From the likes of Sherry Lansing, Kathleen Kennedy, Gale Ann Hurd, Debbie Allen and more, nine women share what they’ve learned, the challenges they faced and how they’ve seen the industry evolve over the years." Here's an excerpt from the section on Hurd:
Gale Ann Hurd

Film and TV producer, including The Walking Dead franchise

What I was doing in 1992 Brian de Palma and I were in post-production on Raising Cain, which we filmed and posted in the Bay area. I was also in post on The Waterdance, written and co-directed by Neal Jimenez, which premiered at Sundance and won the Spirit for best first feature (over Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs!). I was coming off Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was the world’s top-grossing film at the box office, and had an overall deal with Universal Pictures.

Most memorable challenge Juggling motherhood — my daughter was born in September of 1991 — and my career, [a challenge that] continued until my daughter went off to college.

Progress that women in entertainment have made It isn’t as rare to see women succeeding as producers, directors and writers, but the industry still isn’t a gender meritocracy.

Advice for new women on Power 100 Your perseverance is as important as your talent.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Saturday, December 10, 2022
DON JOHNSON ON THE DE PALMA FILM HE TURNED DOWN
"I WAS OFFERED A MOVIE THAT WENT ON TO BECOME A VERY BIG MOVIE"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/donandkevin.jpg

Talking to Collider's Maggie Lovitt, Don Johnson mentions "a story that I don't think I've ever revealed to anyone" --
When you look at your resume, you see all of these very iconic characters. What is it like for you as an actor to have those iconic characters on your resume and for that to be what people recognize you for?

JOHNSON: For me, I mean, I just have this blessed career, and that people, my fans and the audience out there, tend to follow me into whatever adventure I'm going on. The biggest challenge was to break the stereotype of Sonny Crockett.

To that end, during that time - I'll tell you a story that I don't think I've ever revealed to anyone - I was offered a movie that went on to become a very big movie. The character was a slick-dressing - it was a period piece - but he was a slick-dressing guy, and it was all about the bad guys and the FBI, and all that stuff, and at the time I said, "Okay, I've got to not do this if I want to have a career outside of the slicky boy hero type. I've got to not take this part," even though I know it's going to be pretty good, and I loved the director. He was a friend of mine. It was a Brian De Palma film, I'll give you that much.

I turned it down, and I've struggled with that over the years, but I also think that it was the difference between me being identified forever as Sonny Crockett, even though it was a different film. It's just kind of when you do something that's similar, then you further get yourself put into a box of, "Oh, well this is who he is," and it's a challenging thing. So, I've been very fortunate in that I've been able to play a variety of different characters, and the audience will follow me and go with me everywhere, and honestly, I think it comes down to the training and the preparation.


In the De Palma documentary, De Palma told Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow that for The Untouchables, "Well, first we had to find Eliot Ness, and I wanted to use Don Johnson, because I knew Don, and he was very big in Miami Vice now. And Art [Linson] felt very strongly about Kevin [Costner]..."

Posted by Geoff at 4:57 PM CST
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