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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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« April 2023 »
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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
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The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site

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No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

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The Master Of Suspense

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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
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The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
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A Lonely Place

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italkyoubored

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Nothing Is Written

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Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

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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, April 24, 2023
GENTLY MOCKING
BLOODY DISGUSTING COLUMNIST LOOKS AT DE PALMA'S "SELF-AWARE META COMMENTARY" BODY DOUBLE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/quietplease545.jpg

Last week, Bloody Disgusting's Joe Lipsett posted an editorial/"Sex Crimes" column headlined, "The Self-Aware Meta Commentary in Brian De Palma’s Body Double" -
As we’ve discussed in previous entries, Erotic Thrillers owe a great deal to Film Noir, which – thanks to the Hays Code – tended to end by reinforcing a morally black and white view of the world. Body Double refuses this script: not only does Holly disapprove of being forced into Jake’s crusade and nearly being buried alive, but the pair don’t wind up together. And while the end of the film confirms that Jake has overcome his claustrophobia and returned to work, the final scene plays like it is gently mocking Jake’s B-movie role as a pervy vampire who is still working with body doubles.

In this way, Body Double works both as a great Erotic Thriller, and as self-aware meta commentary by De Palma about the subgenre and his own reputation within it. That’s pretty clever.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, April 18, 2023
'THERE WAS NO BODY BECAUSE THERE WAS NO MURDER'
'SISTERS' AT 50-ISH
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/sisters50th16.jpg

Although Brian De Palma's Sisters premiered at Filmex in Los Angeles in November of 1972, it did not roll out into mainstream theaterical release until 1973. After seeing the film at Filmex, Paul Schrader wrote about it for LA magazine:

According to the catalog of the American Film Institute, Sisters carries a copyright date of April 18, 1973. This is when it landed in theaters in Los Angeles, although, moving throughout the U.S., it would not reach New York theaters until October of 1973. That month, De Palma was interviewed by The New York Times' Charles Higham:

De Palma gets up, coldly answers a persistent telephone caller, and then sinks back in his chair, looking tired and puffy. “I'm much happier with ‘Sisters.’ That is mine from beginning to end. American International took on the distribution — but they didn't tamper with it at all. It was shot on location on Staten Island, I liked the idea of a very suburban setting for a horror story about a small‐town girl reporter who sees a murder from her apartment window.”

Not all of “Sisters” was shot on Staten Island, however. “We built the set of the apartment where the murder takes place on East 4th Street, right next to the Cafe La Mama. I loved the voyeuristic mood of the story —here is this girl, this amateur sleuth, who gazes through windows and sees a man murdered and all kinds of horrifying things going on. Things half‐seen. Like most directors, I'm a voyeur at heart. I loved dragging the audience through the whole psychodrama of an insane situation. The audience becomes this girl, peering through a psychological hole. Since, in a way, I am the girl, the people out there can be her, too.”


 


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Monday, April 17, 2023
'SNAKE EYES' A SLEEPER FOR DE PALMA & CAGE
BARRY WURST AT HOLLYWOOD IN TOTO SAYS THRILLER BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN BOTH
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/snakeeyesmoralsplit.jpg

Barry Wurst at Hollywood in Toto looks at "why Snake Eyes brings out the best in Nicolas Cage and Brian De Palma" -
De Palma’s incredible one-take intro to Santoro and his sleazy existence shows us arounds corridors, up and down escalators down to ringside. It’s dialog-heavy, incredibly complicated in its staging and so exciting to watch.

One of Santoro’s best friends, Commander Kevin Dunne (Gary Sinise) sits alongside him on ringside seats. When a shot rings out and a powerful figure sitting near Santoro is now dead, the event erupts into anarchy.

Santoro and Dunne immediately sweep the area and round up the suspects. Who took the shot, why did they do it and is there one person responsible for the public assassination? How do you solve a murder that takes place in plain sight with “14,000 eyewitnesses?”

Because it’s De Palma, the expected Hitchcock visuals and themes are present. However, even with those aspects in place, there are more neo-noir themes on hand, as well as De Palma doing Robert Altman taking on “Rashomon.”

There’s a McGuffin about Air Guard Missile Tests but the core of the film is Santoro’s belatedly finding a moral center in a corrupt world.

De Palma is once again exploring media manipulation and distraction through large-scale diversion. It could be interpreted as political satire as just flat out American social commentary.

De Palma is dipping his toe into the “Blow Out” (1981) pool once more. “Snake Eyes” is a smaller film than De Palma’s anti-commercial, challenging tour de force of the original “Mission: Impossible” (1996) but still made with a bravado showmanship to match the work of his leading man.

Snake Eyes” isn’t an action movie but a thrillingly staged mystery, which made it an odd attraction during the summer of 1998. Coming off of his back-to-back blockbusters of “Con Air” and “Face/Off” and the surprise hit of “City of Angels” earlier in the year, Cage was on a roll that lasted for years.

Playing Santoro, Cage is on fire from his first entrance. The character simmers down as the discoveries of the investigation become increasingly grave. Cage is not being over the top but playing a brash, inhibition-free jerk whose lack of a moral center changes drastically in a single evening.

There is no convincing naysayers who loathe any period of Cage’s work, whether it’s his early post-“Peggy Sue” choices, his commercial breakthrough after winning the Oscar, or the on-again-off-again era of wild creative peaks and valleys he’s currently in.

Cage always takes big swings and is rarely (if ever) accused of being subtle.

Nevertheless, the actor’s willingness to give nearly every project he takes on an above and beyond approach, giving it his all when the movie itself may not need or deserve it, has made him one of my favorites.

Alongside his incredible turn in Werner Herzog’s off-the-wall “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” (2009), this is my favorite of his “big” performances.

In both cases, the initial bravado of the characters masks the moral rot beneath, as both characters find a form of redemption but, in the end, haven’t entirely reformed their wicked ways.

The shot of a bloodied bill and the final, painful look Santoro gives it, says everything about the character and how far he’s come. It’s the film’s most important shot and solidifies the film’s neo-noir identity.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, April 16, 2023
PODCAST - FILM AT FIFTY DISCUSSES 'SISTERS'
"HORROR FROM THE '70S TAKES SOME WEIRD, WILD TURNS"

Posted by Geoff at 3:16 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 15, 2023
CUSTOM 'ONE-OF-A-KIND' PHANTOM FIGURINES
FAN-MADE BY "ROSS AND SANDI BLAIR"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rosssandiblair1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 13, 2023
ANGIE DICKINSON ON DE PALMA, 'A VERY SERIOUS FILMMAKER'
'RIO BRAVO' AND 'DRESSED TO KILL' REMAIN TWO FILMS SHE SEEMS ESPECIALLY PROUD OF
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/brianangiesteps55.jpg

Variety's Todd Gilchrist spoke with Angie Dickinson ahead of her appearance tonight at the TCM Film Festival, where she was to introduce a 4K restoration of Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo. Toward the end of the conversation, Dressed To Kill comes into the picture:
Are there other films from your career you’re especially proud of?

I don’t know. “Rio Bravo” is one that just holds up no matter when. “Dressed to Kill,” I would like to have been in it just a little bit more before they knocked me off.

Audiences have embraced that film more in recent years. How was Brian De Palma to work with?

He was great and he [allowed] no fussiness. It was hard work because he was a very serious filmmaker, and then he took on serious subjects, so you have to do it that way. But he was a master director — oh, my God.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, April 12, 2023
PRESSMAN SON REMEMBERS FATHER'S LAST DAY
WITH FAMILY & COMPANY GATHERED, WATCHED 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE' TOGETHER
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/pressmans.jpg

Sam Pressman, son of Edward R. Pressman, wrote a guest column that was published at The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday - here's an excerpt:
A life well-lived is best directed by doing what you love with people you love. And my father, Edward R. Pressman — a film producer, jazz lover, student of philosophy, constant reader and Dodgers fanatic who would have turned 80 on Tuesday — had a life filled to the brim.

On Jan. 17, in the last moments of my father’s life, his family and his company, which has always been family to Ed, surrounded him. We listened to “Gassenhauer,” the theme of Badlands, my father’s fourth film as a producer. He looked so peaceful and beautiful.

Earlier, on this last day, we watched Phantom of the Paradise. I’ve always been in awe of that film. The joy and chaos that is in each frame; the music that, like old souls, lasts forever. You can feel the way that Ed and director Brian De Palma were experimenting together, pushing cinematic boundaries while also not knowing where the boundaries lay.

The film begins with the song, “Goodbye Eddie, Goodbye.” The lyrics read, “We’ll remember you forever, Eddie, through the sacrifice you made. We can’t believe the price you paid for love.”

What sticks with me is love. My father really loved a lot. He didn’t have to say a lot. I could feel it in the slightest curl of his smile or the gesture of his hands. He loved his family. He loved my mother, Annie. He loved film. He loved working. He loved his company. He loved the Hollywood and independent film community.

In remembering my father, a lot of people speak about his determination. When he committed to a film he never gave up. I think a lot of that strength came from his childhood. His family and childhood friends shared a lifelong bond that gave him the strength to never be afraid.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Monday, April 10, 2023
'SISTERS' HAS IT ALL FOR HMSG PODCAST
INTRIGUE, SPLIT SCREENS, GORGEOUS CINEMATOGRAPHY , SAVVY CHARACTERS, & BIRTHDAY CAKE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetsistershmsg.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, April 8, 2023
PRODUCTION DESIGNER NORMAN REYNOLDS HAS DIED
CREATIVE CORE OF STAR WARS & INDIANA JONES ALSO WORKED ON DE PALMA'S 'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/normanreynolds.jpg

Norman Reynolds, the production designer on Mission: Impossible, has passed away at age 89. Steve Knibbs at the BBC shared the news:
Norman Reynolds, the British production designer and art director who won two Oscars for his work on Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, has died.

Reynolds, 89, worked as art director on Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977 and took over from John Barry as production designer for the sequels.

Steven Spielberg previously said Reynolds was the "creative core" of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films.

"He possessed that rare combination of humility and utter genius," he said.

Reynolds' notable design work included Yoda's planet of Dagobah, the carbon freezing chamber in which Han Solo was encased in carbonite and The Emperor's throne room.

The latter was reimagined as part of a destroyed Death Star in The Rise of Skywalker in 2019.

His influence on the Star Wars universe is still seen today with many of his designs incorporated in the look of the Disney+ series, The Mandalorian.

Spielberg asked Reynolds to work as production designer for Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, for which he won his second Oscar.


In a 1996 American Cinematographer article by Benjamin B, Reynolds discussed working with Stephen Burum on Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible:

Like an IMF mission, the production of the film was a race against time, shooting on location in Prague and London, and on sets built within the vast Pinewood Studios soundstages. However, the film's British production designer, Norman Reynolds, notes that the film's European locales merely enhance its essential spirit. "Mission: Impossible is an American action film, in the best sense of the term," he says.

Reynolds, who earned two Oscars for his memorable design work on Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, is well-positioned to comment on the relationship between the production designer and the cinematographer. “The designer [helps to set] the picture's tone in visual terms. Now that's apart from the cameraman, who obviously has the ultimate control in that area, because he can make it dark, light, colored or whatever. So what we designers do is very much in the hands of cameramen. I certainly stay in touch with the cameraman as much as I possibly can.

“While we were in Prague, Steve was obviously very involved in location scouting and preparing things, so there were times when he and I were separated. But when we moved to the studio, I involved Steve as much as possible in the set design. It was quite selfish really, because the easier I made Steve's job, the better the film was going to look. We liked working together, and that's really the name of the game."

In planning their visual design, Burum and Reynolds referred solely to the script and not at all to the television series. In fact, Burum confesses to having never really watched the TV show. "I remember a little from college, but I never got a chance to see an entire episode," he admits.

Following the natural divisions of the script, Burum created a different lighting approach for the missions in Prague, Virginia, and on the TGV train, producing a visual diversity and rhythm that enriches the film. The cinematographer summarizes the three moods he sought to evoke as "old Europe, America and new Europe."

...

The high-tech CIA computer room set is a good example of the collaboration between production designer Reynolds and Burum. Reynolds drew his inspiration from his previous set designs in Star Wars to create a space that was also a self-contained soft light source. This futuristic white room is a seamless integration of luminescent plexiglass panels with dozens of photofloods and 216 diffusion behind them. The effect is an expanse of shadowless whiteness. To ensure the purity of the white light, Burum overexposed the panels by about three stops to "burn out any color. It's an old photographic trick: if you want to get rid of oversaturation, you overexpose, and if you want heavy saturation to get a weird color, you underexpose."

Cruise wore a black outfit to retain contrast and sharpness in the extremely soft light. Burum says that much of the suspense in Mission: Impossible was created by trapping the protagonists in confined spaces. "Throughout the picture, the characters are stuck in airplanes, in elevator shafts, in air-conditioning ducts. There's no place to hide. If you get caught in a tunnel and there's somebody coming, you have no way out — it's that feeling of being completely vulnerable at all times."



Posted by Geoff at 10:09 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 8, 2023 10:11 AM CDT
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Friday, April 7, 2023
'SNAKE EYES' POSTER DESIGNED BY BRANDOM LIM
FOR LAST NIGHT'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY SCREENING OF DE PALMA'S FILM IN TORONTO
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/brandonlim2023med.jpg

Also, see post from @wereallylikeher.

Posted by Geoff at 12:22 AM CDT
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