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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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« September 2023 »
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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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Books
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Cop-Out
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Genius of Love
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Friday, September 15, 2023
AMAZING SENSE OF HUMOR/IRONY
GALE ANNE HURD'S HAPPY-BIRTHDAY TWEET TO BRIAN DE PALMA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetgalesept11th2023.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 11:33 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 13, 2023
WINSLOW'S VOICE ECHOES IN 'PASSION'
REMOVED FROM THE PREMISES
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/winslowremoved155.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 11:55 PM CDT
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Tuesday, September 12, 2023
LA-LA LAND TAKING PRE-ORDERS FOR SCARFACE ON VINYL
ANTICIPATED SHIPPING – JANUARY 2024
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/scarfacevinyllll.jpg

Here's the description at La-La Land Records:
La-La Land Records and Universal Pictures proudly mark the 40th Anniversary of the legendary 1983 big-screen gangster drama SCARFACE, starring Al Pacino and directed by Brian De Palma, with a world premiere vinyl LP release of Academy Award-Winning composer Giorgio Moroder’s (MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, AMERICAN GIGOLO, CAT PEOPLE, FLASHDANCE) original motion picture score.

SCARFACE – 40th ANNIVERSARY ORIGINAL SCORE is a limited edition 2XLP 33 rpm pressing on 180 gram colored vinyl that will be available in two exciting variants – “Chainsaw” Red Splatter and “Yeyo” Pure White! This deluxe release is the first time Maestro Moroder’s expanded film score is available on LP – a pitch perfect way to commemorate four decades of this landmark film.

When legendary director Brian De Palma needed the perfect musicscape for his game-changing gangster opus, he called upon renowned composer and electronic and pop music pioneer Giorgio Moroder to deliver – and did Moroder ever deliver… with a groundbreaking and absolutely iconic and influential synth film score.

Produced by Neil S. Bulk and Dan Goldwasser, and mastered in high-resolution by Chris Malone, this expanded LP unleashes Moroder’s classic film score across two records. Each vinyl color variant is limited to 750 units, and the gatefold jacket also houses an eight page insert with liner notes by writer Tim Greiving. The sharp art direction is by Dan Goldwasser. Finally… the world – and Moroder’s music of SCARFACE – is yours!!!


Posted by Geoff at 11:41 PM CDT
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Monday, September 11, 2023
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRIAN DE PALMA
PHOTOS FROM FILMING AND PRESENTING 'PASSION' IN 2012
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/passionvenicetiff.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:17 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 10, 2023
'AS GRAND A PIECE OF GUIGNOL AS I HAVE SEEN'
SUNDAY TWEET - ADS FOR 'THE FURY' IN LONDON FROM 1978
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/furyrialtoad45.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 10:49 PM CDT
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Friday, September 8, 2023
GOLD DERBY WRITERS RANK TOP 20 DE PALMA FILMS
"BLOW OUT IS A STERLING EXAMPLE OF WHAT DE PALMA DOES BEST"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/goldderby1.jpg

For the Academy Award-based blog Gold Derby, Zach Laws and Chris Beachum have posted, "Brian De Palma movies: 20 greatest films ranked worst to best. They start with The Black Dahlia at number 20, and then all the way up to Carrie at number 1. Here's part of the intro to the Article:
Although several of his films have either competed for or won Academy Awards (including “The Untouchables,” which brought Sean Connery a Best Supporting Actor trophy in 1987), De Palma has never personally been nominated for an Oscar. He has, however, competed at the Razzies a number of times, including for a few films (“Dressed to Kill,” “Scarface,” and “Body Double”) that have since been named as some of his best (the same, sadly, can’t be said for either “The Bonfire of the Vanities” or “Mission to Mars”).

De Palma’s reputation has grown among cineastes who appreciate his visual flair, his flashes of humor, and his fascination with gore. He was recently the subject of the career-spanning documentary “De Palma” (2016), directed by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow.

Tour our photo gallery of De Palma’s 20 greatest films, including a few gems for which he was undoubtedly snubbed at the Oscars.


 


Posted by Geoff at 10:46 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, September 8, 2023 10:55 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 7, 2023
NEW - DE PALMA EPISODE OF 'WATCH WITH JEN' PODCAST
MEGAN ABBOTT & ALISON GAYLIN JOIN JEN JOHANS, WITH PETER AVELLINO AS DE PALMA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/watchwithjen.jpg

From the Watch With Jen episode description:
This week, I am honored to welcome a dynamic duo of acclaimed bestselling crime writers to the podcast & two women who've both won the Edgar and numerous other awards. Additionally, good friends who've also collaborated on the graphic novel NORMANDY GOLD, it's the wonderful partnership of Megan Abbott & Alison Gaylin. Author of such must-reads as DARE ME, THE TURNOUT, & GIVE ME YOUR HAND, Megan Abbott's latest novel BEWARE THE WOMAN is a modern gothic nightmare that you won't be able to put down. Alison Gaylin is the author of such gripping works as IF I DIE TONIGHT, NEVER LOOK BACK, & THE COLLECTIVE, & her latest title is a brand new Sunny Randall novel, ROBERT B. PARKER'S BAD INFLUENCE.

Joining me to discuss the career of Brian De Palma, one of our most singular yet controversial filmmakers, in this breathlessly paced, contemplative & infectiously fun conversation, the two writers share their thoughts on the director's works, legacy, critics, popular sources of debate, & the films SISTERS, BLOW OUT, & BODY DOUBLE. As a fun bonus for listeners, similar to the way that I wove voice-over into an earlier fourth-season episode with Megan Abbott devoted to Paul Schrader, once again, I've recruited the vocal talents of a friend (today, in the form of past guest Peter Avellino) to read excerpts from past De Palma interviews I discovered & enjoyed during my research.


Posted by Geoff at 11:08 PM CDT
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Wednesday, September 6, 2023
'A MUSICALITY COMPARABLE TO HIS VISUAL STYLE'
10 YEARS AGO, DE PALMA'S PASSION ARRIVED AS A MIDNIGHT MOVIE AT CHICAGO'S MUSIC BOX THEATRE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/passionnaughty45.jpg

Brian De Palma's Passion made the rounds in U.S. theaters ten years ago - The Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs wrote about it:
Brian De Palma’s Passion came to town last Saturday for a surprise weeklong run at the Music Box Theatre, and continues through the weekend as a midnight show. I caught up with the film the other night with an audience of 15 or 20 (the Music Box’s main auditorium hadn’t felt so cavernous since that midnight screening of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls a few months back), and I was surprised not to have seen more people in the room. The movie finds De Palma at his most playful (or grandiose, depending on your point of view) since Femme Fatale—it’s the sort of movie his fans usually eat right up. (I’m not even a De Palma fan, and I had loads of fun watching it.) As for what the movie’s “about,” allow me to recycle this passage from Jonathan Rosenbaum’s 2002 Reader essay on Femme Fatale, as it applies equally to Passion:

[It’s] as if [De Palma] set out to combine every previous thriller he’d made in one hyperbolically frothy cocktail. So we get split-screen framing; bad girls; sweetie-pie male suckers; verbal and physical abuse; lots of blood… lyrically rendered catastrophes; noirish lighting schemes favoring venetian blinds; it-was-all-a-dream plot twists; scrambled and recomposed plot mosaics; obsessional repetitions of sound and image; pastiches of familiar musical pieces; nearly constant camera movements; and ceiling-height camera angles. Best of all, we often get several of these things simultaneously.

I’m not sure if De Palma himself considers Passion to be “about” anything. In the movie’s most impressive set piece, Noomi Rapace’s character watches a ballet production of Afternoon of a Faun while, on the other side of the split-screen, her business rival (Rachel McAdams) gets murdered in a characteristically (for De Palma) elaborate way. Is the filmmaker equating his filmmaking with more abstract arts like symphonic music or dance? (The title would seem to suggest as much.) De Palma has repeated certain motifs so many times that they no longer refer to anything besides themselves. Passion often seems to be after the sort of formal purity that Keats saw in his Grecian urn, with the qualities listed by Rosenbaum serving as De Palma’s clay.

Many of the compositions exhibit classical virtues of symmetry and opposition. De Palma regularly dresses the dark-haired Rapace in all-black and the blonde McAdams in white or red. Even before De Palma starts introducing preposterous coincidences and double crosses, the characters register as doppelgangers—Rapace’s flat underplaying seems intended to compliment McAdams’s exuberant hamminess (which is a hoot, by the way). Likewise, the women’s professional rivalry—a totally arbitrary power struggle within a multinational advertising firm—is underscored by intimations of sexual attraction. Once De Palma establishes these basic oppositions, he goes wild finding different ways to recombine—and re-double—them. When McAdams’s character confesses to having a twin sister, it feels inevitable.

Passion is a superficial film, but not an empty one. Amidst in the visual motifs, De Palma manages to touch on the following themes: corporate power, advertising, sexual desire, sadomasochistic relationships, and longing for love. The movie doesn’t offer a coherent statement about any of these subjects, though De Palma interweaves them with a musicality comparable to his visual style. There’s an odd poignancy to those moments where the themes related to dominance intersect with those related to vulnerability, suggesting that the pursuit of classical synthesis carries the risk of annihilation.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 5, 2023
'YOU CONNECT WITH THEM IN A DIFFERENT WAY'
WES ANDERSON SHARES WITH VOGUE SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO SEE HIS FILMS FIRST
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/henrysugarvenizia.jpg

A day after Wes Anderson premiered his new short film, an adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, at the Venice Film Festival, Douglas Greenwood interviewed Anderson for Vogue:
You’ve now exclusively adapted Roald Dahl for the screen. Is the way you visualize his writing unique, in that sense?

Well, I think it probably just sort of happened. I wanted to do Fantastic Mr Fox because I wanted to do a stop motion animated film, and it's one I loved as a child and I just kind of mixed those two ideas together. Then I got to know the family. I had some conversations with them and I think Liccy [Felicity Dahl, Roald’s wife] probably said, “Is there another one you like?” So Henry Sugar was set aside for me. It’s not necessarily that I think Dahl is the most adaptable writer, although he might be one of the most adapted writers ever, maybe the most. I genuinely would rather take the inspiration of someone and combine it with something else that might be informed by what I’ve read that I can create my own version from.

Does this company work across all four of these short films?

Yes, but different mixtures. Poison is Benedict, Ben Kingsley, and Dev Patel. The Ratcatcher is Ralph, Rupert, and Richard. But they’re all mixtures of the same group.

Who did you show a film to first after you’ve finished?

My wife and daughter are coming in and out of the cutting room with some regularity. They have their own comments, but it tends not to be the finished thing. Juman, my wife, might say, “Okay tell me when you want me to see the whole thing.” But I have a few friends I rely on. I used to do a thing where I’d try to show a new film to directors I know who can give me [their] take. There was a period of time when I had a whole group. Actually some of them died; when we made Fantastic Mr. Fox we showed it to Mike Nichols and to Jonathan Demme.

Do you have others you rely on now instead?

I have Roman Coppola, my old friend. He’s one person I have to turn to for help. Then I have a little trio of directors: Noah Baumbach, Brian de Palma, and Jake Paltrow. The four of us have a little club that we do in New York. The three of them will watch something [I’ve made], often together, or if one of them is doing something we all see it. It’s a little like knowing someone else who’s a policeman or who's been in a war zone. You can describe it, but someone who’s been there, you connect with them in a different way.


Posted by Geoff at 11:13 PM CDT
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Monday, September 4, 2023
'BLOW OUT OFFERS THE MOST UNSETTLING OF CONCLUSIONS'
COLLIDER'S PATRICK FOGERTY ON DE PALMA'S "UNIQUE & GRIPPING THRILLER"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/pinpoint55j.jpg

Today, Collider posted an article by Patrick Fogerty with the headline, "The Best Scream on Film Wasn’t in a Horror Movie" --
What's so fascinating about Blow Out is de Palma's ability to take what can be considered the rather bland and mundane science of sound and use it as a frame for a thoroughly absorbing and gripping tale of conspiracy, deceit, and dirty tricks. Jack is shown in the Philadelphia night, equipped with headphones and a narrow boom microphone that he moves slowly through the nearly-still evening air, trying to record varied ambient noises. He picks up the conversation of a distant couple who wonder why Jack is looking at them, followed by a staccato-sounding thump. De Palma pulls close focus on a bullfrog on the river's shore, replaced shortly thereafter by the familiar sound of a hooting owl. What would normally be a dull montage instead becomes an engrossing glimpse into how those background noises audiences hear when they're viewing their favorite films come to be.

The serenity of the scene is shattered when the sound of screeching tires is heard in the distance. De Palma's camera focuses on Jack's recording equipment, with Jack's modulometer quickly ticking upward. The camera zooms in on the boom microphone itself, then moves to Jack's left headphone as a growing roar, something like a strong breeze, becomes louder. A sense of anxiousness pervades the moment, even though audiences are seeing only pieces of hardware. A sudden bang like a gunshot rings out, the modulometer springs to its highest level, and for the first time, de Palma's visuals move from the tightness of the technical fixtures to the view of a car careening out of control, crashing into a wooden bridge barrier and plunging into a river.

Jack manages to rescue the passenger Sally, but the driver, the governor of Pennsylvania and a presidential hopeful, perishes in the accident. It turns out Sally was the governor's paid companion for the evening, and the City Hall "guys in suits" do their best to keep that aspect of the incident quiet. The accident is blamed on a blown out tire on the governor's car, but Jack the expert sound technician swears he heard a bang before the blow out. Having recorded the sound of the entire crash sequence, Jack becomes obsessed with proving that someone deliberately shot the governor's car tire, causing it to hurdle into the water. Leave it to de Palma to turn a simple search for a sound effect into an intricate political white-knuckler.

Once the plot gets going, the concept of Jack's search for the perfect horror movie scream seems to disappear, but de Palma maintains focus on how sound technology is the key to cracking the case. A magazine publishes a series of shot-by-shot pictures of the crash that a photographer with nefarious intentions (Dennis Franz) has captured, which Jack then splices into film format and syncs up with his sound recording, proving his theory that the car's tire was shot out by someone hiding in the nearby brush (a subtle nod by de Palma to the famous Abraham Zapruder film of the JFK assassination). Meanwhile, a hired hit man named Burke (John Lithgow) is dispatched to take care of Sally, the woman who knows too much, before the real story gets out. Burke dupes Sally into believing he's a local Philadelphia news reporter who wants to interview her about the car accident and the proof that she and Jack have about the truth behind it. Jack is suspicious, however, so for extra protection, he wires Sally for sound before her meeting to ensure her safety and to make sure he has documentation of the conversation should the reporter be up to no good.

Immediately upon Burke introducing himself to Sally, what Jack picks up on Sally's mic convinces him she's in danger. As Burke and Sally move through a busy Philly commuter station, Jack tries to pinpoint their location by listening to the surrounding sounds — approaching train horns, subway turnstiles, the whistling of the metal tracks. After a harrowing eight-minute sequence, Jack is finally able to locate Sally based on the booming noises from a nearby fireworks display. Sally lets out a horrifying scream, but it's too late. She's murdered by Burke before Jack can reach her. Blow Out ends where it began, with Jack and his director in the screening room watching a cut of their slasher film. But now, the showering coed's silly howl has been replaced by Sally's final, tragic scream recorded by Jack. "Now that's a scream!" the overjoyed director says to Jack. A despondent Jack mutters, "It's a good scream. It's a good scream." So it was Nancy Allen's Sally who provided the best horror movie scream that, ironically, occurred in a non-horror film. And it shook moviegoers to their cores.

Blow Out's shocking, grim ending was too much for audiences to handle, and the film was a rare flop for de Palma, earning just $12 million. Despite its poor box office performance, critic Roger Ebert gave it four stars and commended de Palma for his focus on the scientific aspects of filmmaking. "This movie is inhabited by a real cinematic intelligence. The audience isn't condescended to," Ebert wrote. "In sequences like the one in which Travolta reconstructs a film and sound record of the accident, we're challenged and stimulated." And in his review of the film, Vincent Canby of the New York Times understood what it was all about, writing, "If you insist that the story be plausible, you'll miss the enjoyment of the film. You'll also miss the film's real point, which is that recording of the perfect scream." Blow Out offers the most unsettling of conclusions — that the ultimate horror movie scream can only be obtained from someone who is truly experiencing the ultimate horror.


Posted by Geoff at 8:58 PM CDT
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