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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
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De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


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De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

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Carrie...A Fan's Site

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No Harm In Charm

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and the Infield
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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

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Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
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Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

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A Lonely Place

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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, June 17, 2024
TRIBECA - DE NIRO & SCORSESE DISCUSS MEETING VIA DE PALMA
DURING "DE NIRO CON" PRESENTATION OF 50TH ANNIVERSARY MEAN STREETS


From a Variety article by William Earl, headlined, "Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro Go Deep: The Pair Reflect on Meeting Via Brian De Palma, How Their Partnership Thrives and Paying the Mob to Make ‘Mean Streets'" -
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro presented their first collaboration, the 1973 crime drama "Mean Streets," and then discussed the film during a De Niro Con presentation at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The celebration of the film's 50th anniversary took place Saturday at the Beacon Theatre, where the screening was followed by a conversation between Scorsese and De Niro, moderated by legendary rapper Nas.

While "Mean Streets" was the beginning of their 10-film, 50+ year creative journey together, Scorsese said their introduction first came at a Christmas dinner where they were urged into conversation by another to-be-legendary filmmaker: Brian De Palma. Although the pair grew up just two blocks away and heard talk of each other in the neighborhood, they had never been properly introduced until that fateful night.

"Bob was sitting there after dinner and then he looked at me and they had gone inside or something," Scorsese said. "He said, ‘You used to hang out with so and so and so and so.' I said, ‘Yeah, how do you know?' And he said, ‘I'm Bobby.' I said, ‘Bobby? Bobby. Oh, my God. We had seen De Palma after doing "Hi, Mom!" After you did that, he said, "You got to meet this guy."‘ Then he had seen ‘Who's That Knocking,' and it was very accurate as to the nature of that subculture in the neighborhood. He identified with that, so when ‘Mean Streets' was finally put together, he came on."


Previously:
DE PALMA HELPED TO EDIT MEAN STREETS, WHICH IS TURNING 50 THIS YEAR

Posted by Geoff at 7:08 PM CDT
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Friday, June 14, 2024
SISSY SPACEK TO APPEAR AT PLAZA CLASSIC FILM FEST IN JULY
IN EL PASO, TEXAS, SHE'LL BE ON STAGE BEFORE COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER - WITH CARRIE TO SCREEN AFTERWARDS


Sissy Spacek will appear at a screening event for Coal Miner's Daughter on July 27 at the 2024 Plaza Classic Film Festival in El Paso, Texas. According to a festival Facebook post, Spacek will take the stage of the Plaza Theatre at 7pm for a Q&A, and the film will follow afterwards, at about 7:30. Brian De Palma's Spacek-starring Carrie will screen in that same theater at 10:30 that evening. Here's the news item:
Academy Award winner — and Texas native — Sissy Spacek will appear at the 17th annual El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival, which runs from July 18-28 in and around El Paso’s historic and restored Plaza Theatre.

Spacek will appear with Coal Miner’s Daughter at 7 pm Saturday, Juy 27 in the Plaza Theatre. She received the Academy Award for her inspired portrayal of legendary country singer and songwriter Loretta Lynn in the 1980 Michael Apted classic, in which Spacek did her own singing.

Sissy Spacek has been one of the industry’s most respected actresses in a career spanning six decades. Her many honors include an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, five additional Oscar nominations, a Grammy nomination, three Golden Globe Awards, and numerous critics awards.

Born in Quitman, Texas, Spacek aspired to be a singer-songwriter before her acting career took off. She first gained the attention of critics and audiences in Terrence Malick’s widely praised Badlands, on which she met production designer Jack Fisk, with whom she celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary this year.

Spacek earned her first Academy Award nomination for her chilling performance in the title role of Brian de Palma’s Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel (also showing in PCFF 2024). Other notable film credits include Three Women, Fisk’s Raggedy Man, and Oscar-nominated performances in Missing, The River, Crimes of the Heart, and In the Bedroom. Other film credits include The Straight Story, JFK, and The Help. She also starred in Netflix’s Bloodline, Hulu’s Castle Rock, and Amazon Prime Video’s Homecoming and Night Sky, with a recurring role in FX’s forthcoming Dying for Sex.


Posted by Geoff at 11:44 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 14, 2024 11:45 PM CDT
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Thursday, June 13, 2024
THE BLOG 'EVEN BETTER' TAKES DEEP DIVE, RANKS DE PALMA FILMS
DOMINO, PASSION, REDACTED ALL MAKE TOP 20, FEMME FATALE "ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE CENTURY"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/evenbettermontage0.jpg

"Last month was De PalMay," write Elliott Duea and Shawn Cook at the blog Even Better. "This month, we ranked his greatest movies." Their rankings of Brian De Palma's top 20 films feels fresh and fascinating, and the writing is insightful. Here's the intro:
Not going to say there’d be no Even Better without Brian De Palma, but he certainly helped get the ball rolling on this thing. Last spring, we embarked on our first joint project — watching as many De Palma pictures as we could in the month of May. And thus De PalMay was born. (Yeah, it doesn’t really rhyme or make any phonetic sense, but you’ll have to roll with it.) We watched a whole bunch of his movies last year, and dedicated the 2024 season of De PalMay to an even more robust slate of big blindspots and classic rewatches, in preparation for a combined ranking of his 20 best films, which you’ll find below.

More than most of his contemporaries, De Palma’s kind of a Rorschach test for moviegoers: to some, he’s the guy who directed Scarface and Mission: Impossible. Others, the voyeuristic pervert who mastered the erotic thriller. Or maybe, the (fossilized) assessment of a schlocky Hitchcock imitator. A deep dive into his work reveals all of these and more — a lot of Hitchcock, a little bit Godard, a bit more Brecht. But all told, he’s far greater than the sum of his influences, bending their approaches to become one of the greatest film stylists of all time and an expert practitioner, refracting the history of cinematic form into a language all his own. Few modern filmmakers have traversed the boundaries of the studio system and bristling outsider irreverence quite like De Palma, emerging with their techniques and identity so fully intact.


Posted by Geoff at 10:53 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2024 10:55 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
PAYPHONES IN DE PALMA (PART 18) - ONE MORE FROM SCARFACE
FROM THE PAN AM METROPORT, TONY CHECKS IN ONE MORE TIME BEFORE HEADING HOME
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/payphonepanam255.jpg

Paragraph from Glenn Kenny's new book, The World Is Yours: The Story of Scarface:

From another phone booth, this one at the 60th Pan Am Metroport, an airport shuttle for the very comfortably well-off in a hurry, Tony learns that things have gone off at home, too. The bodyguard nicknamed "Nick the Pig"-who Elvira called her "only friend" before walking out on Tony (she was being sarcastic, they weren't close), tells Tony that Manny's been gone the past couple of days. Also, Tony's mom called, looking for Gina. Hmm. Elvira has not called.

Posted by Geoff at 6:35 PM CDT
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Monday, June 10, 2024
CINEMAEDITOR MAGAZINE - 'CUTS WE LOVE' - 'BLOW OUT'
2-PAGE SPREAD BY ADRIAN PENNINGTON IN LATEST ISSUE, WITH QUOTES FROM PAUL HIRSCH
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/cinemaeditor2024.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 11:42 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, June 10, 2024 11:52 PM CDT
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Sunday, June 9, 2024
MTV ORIGINALLY AIRED 9-MINUTE 'DANCING IN THE DARK'
COURTENEY COX RE-CREATES HER DANCE FOR CURRENT TIKTOK TREND
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/2024tiktokdeadline.jpg

I didn't just dream it - it really exists and it really did play. I distinctly recall seeing a full-on version of the video for Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark" when MTV premiered it almost 40 years ago, in 1984. It was the year of the Purple Rain, and MTV would make a big deal about world premiere videos. I remember being ready for the world premiere of this new Springsteen video, and I distinctly remember an intro, prior to the song proper, where Courteney Cox and her two friends were buying T-shirts before the concert. I have not been able to find anyone besides myself who remembers seeing this version of the video.

Back a few years ago, I contacted someone who knew a lot about Springsteen, and who had written up a detailed article about the scrapped Jeff Stein version of "Dancing In The Dark," prior to Brian De Palma being brought on to direct, and this person had not heard of a longer version, and had never seen it. I've searched for the long, full version of the video in archives around the web, but have only ever been able to find the standard version, which begins by showing Springsteen's foot stomping on the stage, to the beat of the song.

"NINE-MINUTE CLIP"
Last week, while searching around through the archives of Billboard Magazine, I did land on this passage in the July 21, 1984 issue, in a "Music Monitor" article written by Faye Zuckerman, which describes De Palma as "hard at work" in St. Paul the week before "on a nine-minute clip for 'Dancing In The Dark.'"

In 2017, Courteney Cox described the intro portion of the Springsteen video to Sam Jones:

So it was shot in St. Paul, Minnesota. And actually, the story was going to be a … it was a bigger story than just what you saw in the video. They filmed this… it was me and two other girls, we were buying T-shirts, we were putting on make-up in the bathroom. It was like a whole little thing about, “Oh, my God, I’m so excited about this concert – I can’t wait, I can’t wait.” And we get there and then one of us gets picked out of the audience. So they filmed all this stuff, but they didn’t show that – they just showed, you know, that part [she means the famous dancing part].

But I'm here to tell you, dearly beloved, that they did show it...! At least that once.

Meanwhile, from the Deadline article by Glenn Garner:

A decade before Monica Geller came into our living rooms, Courteney Cox was just Bruce Springsteen‘s biggest fan.

The Friends alum threw it back to her appearance in Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 music video for ‘Dancing in the Dark’ as she jumped on a TikTok trend that asks parents how they danced during the decade.

“1980’s dancing…in the dark,” Cox captioned the video.

In the clip, she begins dancing to the 1984 synth-pop hit ‘Smalltown Boy’ by Bronski Beat, which is commonly used with the social trend.

Looking uncomfortable during her dance, Cox then strips off her hoodie to reveal the same Springsteen t-shirt she wore in the “Dancing in the Dark” video as the track changes and she recreates her dance.

Cox was 20 years old when she was selected by director Brian De Palma from a casting call for the video, which was filmed at the opening night of Springsteen’s Born in the USA Tour in Saint Paul, Minnesota and featured The Boss pulling her out of the crowd to dance on stage with him.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, June 10, 2024 12:52 AM CDT
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Saturday, June 8, 2024
PAYPHONES IN DE PALMA (PART 17) - BODY DOUBLE
"I've got to talk to someone. Today. The Beach Terrace motel? I'll wear something special. You'll see."
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bdphone455.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 11:51 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, June 8, 2024 11:56 PM CDT
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Thursday, June 6, 2024
'COLDER THAN GIORGIO MORODER'S BEATS'
"ALL ELBOWS & DOOMED MALAISE" - METROGRAPH'S LUKE GOODSELL ON THE PERFORMANCES OF MICHELLE PFEIFFER


Metrograph in New York will kick off a "Piping Hot Pfeiffer" series later this month, which will include Brian De Palma's Scarface in the mix. To get things going, Luke Goodsell writes about "the empathetic performances" of Michelle Pfeiffer for the Metrograph's Cracked Actor column. Here's the first portion:
“Life’s a bitch,” snarls Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, avenging anti-hero for the Riot Grrrl era, midway through 1992’s Batman Returns. “Now, so am I.” It may not be her most subtle work, yet there’s something about that brash, bratty aphorism that cuts to the essence of the former SoCal pageant queen turned Hollywood’s most luminous—and perhaps unusual—late 20th-century superstar. The line on Pfeiffer has long been that she had to prove her talent against the limitations, such as they were, of her remarkable looks, but her beauty—and the ways in which she toyed with and subverted it—is inseparable from her craft onscreen. No two Pfeiffer performances are the same, yet each is infused with her gestural flair, her essential humanity, and her empathy for eccentrics and outsiders.

For all of Pfeiffer’s pop culture ubiquity throughout the ’80s and ’90s, few multiplex stars were as elusive, as hard to get a handle on. Though a sex symbol, she was never a femme fatale like Sharon Stone; she could play quirky and romantic, but she wasn’t an American sweetheart like Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan; a serious talent, she was rarely considered in the company of Meryl Streep or Jodie Foster. None of them, of course, could go toe-to-toe in a warehouse with Coolio—as Pfeiffer did, cheekbones tilted to infinity, in the rapper’s iconic music video for “Gangsta’s Paradise”—let alone whip heads off mannequins while shrink-wrapped in a leather cat-suitor hold a live bird captive in their mouth. (Surely the wildest performance in a multi-million-dollar blockbuster with a Happy Meal tie-in.)

Pfeiffer’s unlikely journey from surfer chick to super freak might begin with her childhood relationship to her image. “When I was very young I never thought I was attractive,” the self-described tomboy, nicknamed “Michelle Mudturtle” in elementary school, told Interview in 1988. “I looked like a duck.” Born to working-class parents in Midway City, Orange County, the young, wild-child Pfeiffer spent a listless adolescence hanging out with surfers at Huntington Beach and working a checkout job at Vons, before entering, and winning, the Miss Orange County Beauty Pageant in 1978 (“A softball player who also oil paints, she’d like to become an actress,” announced the emcee). A run of movie and TV bit parts followed, invariably featuring the aspiring starlet in hot pants or padded bras (she was billed only as “The Bombshell” on the 1979 series Delta House). Her first major role arrived in 1982’s ill-fated Grease 2, as the gum-snapping gang leader of the Pink Ladies: sassy in leather and full of bad-girl longing, like Debbie Harry if she’d been a Shangri-La. When the movie flopped, she could barely convince Brian De Palma to cast her in his 1983 remake of Scarface. It turned out to be a career-maker. Gliding into the picture in a bias-cut silk dress as zonked-out trophy wife Elvira Hancock, she’s colder than Giorgio Moroder’s beats, all elbows and doomed malaise: a disdainful, dead-eyed foil to Al Pacino’s hubristic Cuban drug lord. Debuting the killer eye-roll that would become an ace in her arsenal, Pfeiffer’s Elvira is a mistress of the dark whose soul is more corroded than the criminals she’s caught between—a rotted avatar of WASP consumption and American complicity.

Pfeiffer’s performances in both films—sizzling with “don’t call me baby” insouciance—have a sly, comedic edge; she knows when to play off and when to undercut the tough-guy pretense with which she’s surrounded. Still, it would take time before Hollywood recognized the gift beyond the glamor. If George Miller’s The Witches of Eastwick (1987)—a pop-feminist whirligig in which Pfeiffer, Cher, and Susan Sarandon summon the devil (Jack Nicholson) to do their bidding—had tapped the actor’s comic abilities and made her a marquee star, then it was Jonathan Demme’s Married to the Mob (1988) that opened up her full, expressive range as a performer. Outfitted in leopard print, frosted lipstick, and a Long Island accent, Pfeiffer’s low-rent mob princess on the lam sparkles with charisma and screwball timing—not to mention a ferocious right hook, delivered to camera, and by extension, any lingering doubters. The performance showcases Pfeiffer’s keen sense of rhythm, her versatility, and empathy; fusing inventive physical comedy with emotional vulnerability—her posture can sharpen and slacken on a dime—she transforms what might have been a caricature into a rich portrait of a woman stumbling toward a liberating sense of self.


Posted by Geoff at 11:15 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, June 6, 2024 11:18 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 5, 2024
PAYPHONES IN DE PALMA (PART 16) - TONY MONTANA IN NEW YORK
"OKAY, WHAT ABOUT ELVIRA? DID SHE CALL?"

Posted by Geoff at 11:40 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 4, 2024
TWEET - NICK NEWMAN ON 'DOMINO'
PLUS A FLASHBACK TO NEWMAN'S REVIEW OF THE FILM FROM FIVE YEARS AGO


Excerpt from May 2019 Domino review by Nick Newman, The Film Stage -

So: Domino. The latest from Brian De Palma hits film culture not unlike a moody son trudging to their graduation party at a parent’s behest, a master of big-screen compositions relegated to VOD for those who bother plunking down. That tussle between pedigree of talent and nature of distribution foretells the chaos within: at one moment lit like a Home Depot model living room–a fault I’m more willing to chalk up to incomplete post-production, less likely to blame on Pedro Almodóvar’s longtime DP José Luis Alcaine–the next photographed and cut as if an old pros’ sumptuous fuck-you to pre-vis-heavy and coverage-obsessed action-filmmaking climate, the next maybe just an assembly of whatever master shots the team could scrounge together during those 30 production days. To these eyes it’s a chaotic joy; nearly malicious, deeply serious about the wounds of contemporary terrorism, and smart enough to pull off a mocking of the circumstances around those fighting it.

I have seen Domino twice and express little reservation saying its plot, courtesy of scribe Petter Skavlan, rests somewhere between formalist window dressing and outright catalyst for those plug-and-play habits. Be even a little versed in De Palma and you know what’s to come: God’s-eye (or director’s; same difference) surveillance shots, split screens as an actual plot device, a melodramatic thread over which to lay molasses-thick Pino Donaggio cues treating much of this as a big joke; the plot-setting incident being yet another assault on a stairwell.

Make no mistake, it’s mostly staged for campiness. More often than not that De Palma touch is zooming in on the specter of terrorism until it can find something ridiculous, heightened, thrilling in their possibilities. The rub is that Domino comes into a world with too many scarring reflections of itself to sit right. How amusing that a director so fascinated with the voyeurism-violence dichotomy would make a terrorist thriller about insurgents using the power of propaganda. Its own protagonist (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, carrying a blankness that lets every expression running across his face draw the movie’s emotions in even bigger lines) makes note of their formal sophistication: “even a drone shot!” But the movie’s high-wire act between gawking and actually showing can suddenly yank any fun from our grasp. Safe to say that watching Domino less than a month after the livestreamed Christchurch massacre–among the best warning signs of how deep into horror our world’s being brought–makes for one of De Palma’s few setpieces wherein aesthetic pleasure stings like sin.


Posted by Geoff at 11:09 PM CDT
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