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De Palma a la Mod


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a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
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


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario


AV Club Review
of Dumas book


« March 2022 »
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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

The Swan Archives

Carrie...A Fan's Site


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


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

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Icebox Movies

Medfly Quarantine

Not Just Movies

Hope Lies at
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Motion Pictures Comics

Diary of a
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So Why This Movie?

Obsessive Movie Nerd

Nothing Is Written

Ferdy on Films

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This Recording

Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds


No Time For
Love, Dr. Jones!

The former
De Palma a la Mod

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Monday, March 7, 2022

Ida Random, the production designer on Body Double, received a Lifetime Achievement Award this past Saturday from the Art Directors Guild. The award was presented to her by Kevin Costner. Deadline's Scott Huver reports that Costner's tribute "included the revelation that he might not have an an acting career without her intervention." Huver continues:
From the stage at the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown, an admittedly nervous Costner – who’s worked with Random on his directorial efforts including The Postman – recounted the critical impact she had when he was an extra on the 1981 film Frances, on which Random served as art director.

“For six years I’d been trying to break into Hollywood, and despite all my best efforts, I was just unable to get a SAG card,” said Costner, who had a minute appearance in a scene set in an alleyway outside a theater where actress Frances Farmer, played by Jessica Lange, was exiting after appearing in the play Golden Boy.

“I’m singled out among the extras by casting director Elisabeth Leustig, who would later go on to become my casting director on Dances with Wolves,” he continued. “She walked me up to Ida, who I couldn’t help but notice on the set having been there for three days. She [Ida] was really Annie Hall before there was Annie Hall, if you know what I mean. She always seemed to be around the camera and without notice, she would move into the set as if no one was watching, pick up a book and move it. In fact, she would pick up anything – lamps, ashtrays, pictures…Anything that seemed to be bothering her she would just move it, maybe inches.”

“Suddenly I find myself standing in front of her, and she’s looking at me, and it’s safe to say that I had gone from thinking she might be in trouble [for moving things] to now wondering if I was,” Costner explained. “She looked at me in a very real way, and I don’t know how else to describe it. I had no idea what I had done or what she was looking for…What she couldn’t have possibly known as I waited for her to speak was how shamefully desperate I was to be seen as an actor.

“After a long moment – an Ida Random moment, you’d have have to see one to know one – she turned to Elizabeth said ‘This works.’” Because he fit in Random’s aesthetic vision for the scene, Costner got to deliver a single line – “Goodnight, Frances” – “and it would change the trajectory of my career.”

As he told the story, Costner choked up, and attendees were caught up in his emotional moment.

“I’ll never forget you, Ida,” he said. “You changed my life that night.”

He continued, “That’s what Ida does: She changes lives. She makes things better, sometimes by inches…She’s the director’s best friend and confidant. She’s the actor’s biggest cheerleader as she walks them through her perfect sets…You’re a filmmaker in every sense of the word, adding your most personal touch to the movies you call your paintings.”

With this, it seems like a good time to post this excerpt, highlighting Ida Random, from Susan Dworkin's 1984 book Double De Palma. The photo at the top of this post, taken by Ralph Nelson, comes from Dworkin's book, as well.

Posted by Geoff at 10:36 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2022 8:06 AM CST
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Friday, March 4, 2022

While promoting the new movie Big Gold Brick, Andy Garcia was asked by ComingSoon.net's Tyler Treese about The Untouchables:
This is kind of hard to believe, but The Untouchables turns 35 this year. That was your big breakout role, and you’ve done so much great work since then. How do you view the legacy of that film?

People dig it. People dig that movie and it holds up really well. Some movies you do, then you revisit them and you go “Eh,” but this movie holds up so well, it’s such a great film for all the reasons you know. The script by David Mamet, the execution by Brian De Palma, and then all the wardrobe, the actors that are in it. Ennio Morricone’s work and the scores, all the elements in this movie really, really hold up to a great film forever, really. So I was honored to be a part of it. It was a privilege.

You talked about the great actors. Being that young, and being around so many huge stars. Was it a bit intimidating when you were filming that?

I did most of my work with The Untouchables with [Sean] Connery. [Robert] De Niro was obviously [Al] Capone, but I didn’t have, other than scenes in the courtroom, we didn’t really have the opportunity to interact that way. But Connery, I worked with all the time. Of course, he was a hero of mine growing up in the sixties. He was James Bond. He was the hero of our times, and so getting a chance to work with him was a great honor. I wouldn’t say the word “intimidated” because that’s my job. You’re coming there, you got to take care of your character. You got to take care of what you’re there to deliver. But I was extremely, obviously respectful and enjoying the proximity to someone that when you’re young, you’re in awe of. You’re so inspired by. But once you start working, once you start working he’s [Jim] Malone and I’m [George] Stone and all that disappears in a sense, you know?

Posted by Geoff at 12:55 AM CST
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Thursday, March 3, 2022

Following this week's season two finale of Euphoria, RCA Records has released a digital version of John Williams' soundtrack music from Brian De Palma's The Fury, according to Film Music Reporter. This new edition mentions "HBO's Euphoria" in the title of the opening track, now streaming just about everywhere.

Euphoria taps John Williams' Theme from The Fury
Sam Levinson's Euphoria keeps De Palma vibes in its feverish mix

Posted by Geoff at 7:47 PM CST
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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Today, Rolling Stone posted its list of "The 100 Greatest Movies of the 1980s." Two Brian De Palma films made the list, at very far ends of the spectrum: at #20, it's Blow Out, with a paragraph about it by Scott Tobias:
Brian De Palma’s satirical thriller brought his entire arsenal of Hitchcockian effects to bear on a decade of American misadventures, referencing the conspiratorial mood surrounding Chappaquiddick and Watergate, and the feeling that country was held hostage by the elite. It’s also one of the great movies about the movies, casting John Travolta as the sound editor for Z-grade slashers who witnesses (and records) a car crash involving a major political figure and a prostitute (Nancy Allen). Like Blowup and The Conversation, the two films that inspired it, Blow Out posits the idea that the painstaking construction of a truth that could be deceptive, dangerous, or all of the above. But as the fireworks of Philadelphia’s Liberty Day celebration pop off and the screams of ordinary people go unheard. the scary part is that it might not matter at all.

Coming in at #96 is Scarface, with a paragraph from David Fear:
“Say hello to my little friend!” Brian De Palma’s controversial remake of Howard Hawks’ 1932 mobster movie hands Al Pacino a license to kill and chew abundant amounts of scenery, and not necessarily in that order. It’s been embraced by an entire generation of fans and a good portion of the hip-hop community for it’s over-the-top portrayal of the aspirational gangster life, from the copious amounts of commodified cocaine to its garish portrayal of Miami’s good life — the name “Tony Montana” is now synonymous with kingpin panache, yayo-fueled luxury, and bootleg bootstrap-capitalism. Even without the quotable lines every few minutes (“All I got in this world is my word and my balls, and I don’t break ’em for no one!”), it’s a memorable update of the old chestnut about crime paying off handsomely before the inevitable fall, ’80s style.

(Thanks to Brian!)

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2022 12:11 AM CST
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Monday, February 28, 2022

Posted by Geoff at 12:08 AM CST
Updated: Monday, February 28, 2022 5:57 PM CST
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Sunday, February 27, 2022

Posted by Geoff at 11:43 PM CST
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Tonight is the season two finale of HBO's Euphoria. Each episode this season has been directed by Sam Levinson, who has also written or co-written the entire series so far (and also directed most of season one, as well). Last week's episode (episode 7) ended with the image above as its final shot, before a "To Be Continued..." was added to the right of the shocked face of Cassie, her eyes wide, looking into the school theater as she breathes, audibly, onto the window of the door in front of her. A Sissy Spacek-as-Carrie vibe is unmistakable, as viewers have just seen Cassie subjected to what she surely feels is the most shocking rejection she could possibly experience at the moment, and she turns her attention to the person she holds responsible.

A poster for Brian De Palma's Carrie appeared way back in episode two of season one, on the apartment wall of a character named Tyler, who gets an unexpected (and unwelcomed) visit from Nate:

That same episode featured a poster from another De Palma film, Scarface, on the wall of the drug dealer Fezco:

Episode four of season one found Levinson staging a carnival in which all of the series' main characters attend in one form or another, with a bit of a Bates High/prom-like tension to the various proceedings. That same episode ends with Rue and Jules on a bed that rotates into flashes of their relationship, set to a Pino Donaggio cue from Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now, "Laura's Theme". IndieWire's Steve Greene mentioned it in an article from 2020 about the music in Euphoria, for which he talked with Labrinth, who composes music for each episode, and music supervisor Jen Malone:

Finding that synergistic energy between music and picture doesn’t happen by accident. The shifting nature of TV refinement meant that it was never one clear-cut task after another. Labrinth said work on the carnival sequence came while he was juggling 20 other cues. Clearing part of Pino Donaggio’s score from “Don’t Look Now” for the show’s breathtaking rotating bed scene meant that Malone had to make calls to Italy in the middle of the night on a 48-hour deadline.

Meanwhile, that Scarface poster has continued to show up throughout season two:

Reviews of Sam Levinson's Assassination Nation mention De Palma's Scarface and Blow Out

See also:
Euphoria stamps its intro to Season 2 finale with John Williams' theme from The Fury
After appearing in Euphoria, RCA Records releases digital soundtrack from The Fury

Posted by Geoff at 8:31 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, March 6, 2022 12:59 PM CST
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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

"We pull directors names out of a bag & watch their films chronologically." So reads the bio/description on the Instagram page of philm_philes, aka Hayley & Joshua. Last week, Hayley and Joshua began watching Brian De Palma's films, chronologically, beginning with Murder a la Mod. "It’s not a great film by any stretch of the word," Hayley wrote of Murder a la Mod, "but there’s plenty of imagination, blossoming skills, and some unexpected twist and turns, and at the beginning of a career that’s what matters." When the philm_philes got to The Wedding Party a couple of days later, they acknowledged that the latter is De Palma's first feature film. "The movie hit me like a ton of bricks," Joshua said of The Wedding Party two days ago. "I thought it was hilarious and unbelievably well made (especially considering this is technically De Palmas first movie). The dialog, editing, pacing and absolutely enthralling choices made by background actors you may see once for 20 seconds help deepen for me what would otherwise be a pedestrian take on young men and their loose grasp on commitment."

Tonight, the philm_philes watched Phantom Of The Paradise -- here are their reactions:

Joshua: on paper, there was almost a zero percent chance I was gunna dig this movie. Turns out I’m very thankful movies aren’t paper. What a ride! Why does no one talk about this movie?!??! And De Palma’s directing MAKES this film.

Hayley: THIS MOVIE RULES! It’s as if Phantom of the Opera and Rocky Horror made a baby on acid.

Posted by Geoff at 11:45 PM CST
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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

You'll recall that this past October, a group of South Bay teenagers hosted a screening of Carrie inside the gymnasium from Brian De Palma's film. Now, as Fangoria's Phil Nobile Jr. reports, Kenny Caperton is working up an even bigger event screening in that same location:
We love Kenny Caperton. He’s the Halloween fan who built and lives in a replica of the Myers House, as covered in FANGORIA v2, #1. Kenny is our kind of cinephile; he not only walks the walk, he lives the life. In the damn Myers House. Respect.

One would think that amount of dedication would scratch any horror location fan’s itch for good, but not Kenny. Kenny has, for the last couple of years, curated a traveling film screening series called On Set Cinema, and its premise is simple: you watch a classic horror movie at the location where it was filmed. From Friday the 13th to Rocky Horror to Twilight and beyond, Kenny hosts amazing fan events where you can enjoy a movie with fellow fans in the environs where it all happened.

And this summer, Kenny wants to ask you to prom. Carrie White’s prom, to be specific.

On July 30th, fans will gather at the Hermosa Beach Community Center Gym to pose for prom photos, compete in a costume contest, and watch the 1976 Brian De Palma classic Carrie with Tommy Ross himself, William Katt!

And here are the full details from On Set Cinema, via The Myers House:

SATURDAY, JULY 30, 2022: CARRIE (1976)


 Hermosa Beach, California • Bates High School Gymnasium

On Set Cinema cordially invites you to be our date to the Bates High School “Love Among The Stars” senior prom! Cover up those dirty pillows and head with us to Hermosa Beach, California on Saturday, July 30, 2022 for a very special screening event of one of the greatest movies in horror film history ...CARRIE! And I'm excited to announce that everyone's favorite prom king, Tommy Ross (William Katt) will be a special guest at this event! He will be signing autographs, taking prom photos with fans and doing a Q&A before the screening. I'll be showing the film inside the actual gymnasium from the movie! So many great scenes were filmed here - including where Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) gets the girls to line up after they humiliate Carrie in the girl's locker room and tells them about her detention deal, also where Carrie (Sissy Spacek) tells Miss Collins outside that she was invited to the prom and of course where the infamous prom takes places! Just the exteriors of the prom were filmed at this location - the interior was a massive set constructed for safety reasons because of all of the fire special effects, but this is where the iconic shot of Carrie covered in blood, walking from the burning gymnasium takes place! There will be music, silver stars, streamers, dancing, a prom photo backdrop with a blood bucket, a King & Queen costume contest and a glorious screening of Brian De Palma’s cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s groundbreaking first ever published novel, CARRIE! Fans are encouraged to dress up for the prom or in costume as your favorite character from the movie, but of course it's not required to attend. This is going to be an absolutely unforgettable experience for Carrie fans! ...here piggy piggy.

• Location: Hermosa Beach Community Center Gym - 710 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
• Date / Time: Saturday, July 30, 2022
- 5:00pm: Event check-in starts
- 5:00pm - 7:00pm: Music, dancing, prom photos
- 5:00pm - 7:00pm: William Katt autograph signing and meet & greet with fans
- 7:00pm: William Katt Q&A
- 7:30pm: King & Queen costume contest (winners get prizes, including William Katt signed item)
- 8:00pm: Screening of “CARRIE” (1976, Rated R - 1h 38m)
Facebook event page /
IMDb / Movie trailer

• Admission: $50.00 *** CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS ***

- AUTOGRAPH & SELFIE COMBO: $40 - 1 autograph (your item or his item) from William, 1 photograph (your camera) with William at table
- $40 for each additional autograph - you can get as many as you want!

Posted by Geoff at 7:37 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 22, 2022 7:45 PM CST
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Sunday, February 20, 2022

"I’ve reviewed quite a few Brian De Palma movies for this website," begins Dr Lenera at Horror Cult Films, "and I know that fellow De Palma fans Bat and Mocata have done some too, but something is missing when one of his most iconic pictures is still unreviewed, a film that inspired scores of rap artists who seemed to misunderstood its message, a very clear message that crime actually doesn’t pay. Most gangster movies would claim to say this, but they can’t help but glamourise crime and the gangster life style – and I’m not saying that it’s a problem, it’s good to be shown how seductive it is. Take Henry Hill’s one-take stunning entry into the Copacabana Club in Goodfellas; it transmits to us perfectly that he’s ‘made it’, that he’s enjoying the life that he wanted to lead. But Tony Montana; he may gaze at the smartly dressed guys and the pretty ladies going into the lush nightclubs and want some of that, but once he gets it he’s miserable. “Go and have some fun” says somebody to him, but he never does that, he just wants more and more even though he doesn’t know what to do with all this ‘more’ except get more high. He wanted what he saw as the American Dream, “The money, the power and the women”, but can’t enjoy it. Many years ago I read several books collecting the reviews of Pauline Kael and I recall her describing Scarface as “The Brian De Palma film for those who don’t like De Palma films”. I guess that she said that because, while it’s still unashamedly melodramatic, it’s more sociological than usual, less stylised, lacks his wry humour, and has no Alfred Hitchcock. And it’s most definitely a film of its time, in fact one of the defining films of the ‘80s though not looking at the decade in a good way. It still definitely shows De Palma’s mastery of cinema, in a genre that he would revisit; not very well the first time, very well the second. Here he turned out one of the most entertaining of gangster pictures, despite its reputation for extreme violence which isn’t entirely warranted even by the standards of the time."

After going a bit into the production and plot details, Dr Lenera continues:

The overall message of the film can be summed up by the scene where he’s relaxing in the grand bath in his grand mansion ranting at people on his TV screen and also the people around him. The world may his his but he can’t enjoy it. Many claim Pacino’s performance to be over the top but I don’t think it really gets there; he’s playing a mouthy lout whose every other word is “f***”, but the performance is controlled. Pacino doesn’t make Tony sympathetic, yet we can still identify with him in a way even if we don’t like ourselves for doing so. This is because most of us have visions of being able to be rich and powerful and not have to actually do much in the way of work to achieve this. Turning to crime for this to happen is surely a temptation when the ‘right’ way seems impossible. The image of Tony sitting at his desk desperately plunging his face into a pile of cocaine for reasons of both boredom and wanting some energy perfectly sums up how it can all go wrong even if you get ‘there’. “In a way Tony is a near-compendium of common criminal personality traits; laziness, low self-esteem, the idea that the world owes him, pipe dreams, a chronic inability to be happy etc.

You could say that Tony sells his soul, but did he have one in the first place? He doesn’t show much of one when he’s with Elvira who becomes the trophy wife of two kingpins; ignored, bored and driven to addiction to the Bolivian marching powder. Okay, Tony acts like he’s really keen on her at first, but even then it seems like she’s just something that he wants to own which will in turn raise his status. Michelle Pfeiffer brings some real sadness to a role that would probably be criticised today because now all female characters have to be strong, though I will admit that her sudden switching from disdain and even revulsion [seemingly more of class than anything else] of Tony is a bit hard to swallow. In any case, Tony, just like his predecessor in the 1932 version which this does resemble in a few ways, has much stronger feelings for another female – his sister Gina There’s a poignant scene where he visits the house of Gina and their mother and gives them money. Mother doesn’t want any of it because she knows that her son has got it by doing bad things, but Gina secretly accepts it, Tony telling her to go out and have fun. But unfortunately Tony doesn’t let her have very much fun, In fact he goes berserk whenever he sees her with another man while we slowly zoom into Tony’s face and a loud sinister musical chord comes on the soundtrack, in an example of the kind of dramatic heightening of something that isn’t done much today and which critics and audiences may not take seriously. But this was 1983 and Brian De Palma, so you’re never going to get subtlety anyway. This subplot reaches a climax which borders on high camp but does so in the very best way and is acted with not just power but genuine sincerity by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

Elsewhere characters may speak in dialogue which borders on being parodic, but they don’t seem to come out of the dictionary of gangster stereotypes – well, as much as it existed back then. Of course there are hardly any Cubans in the cast, but then some of us wax wroth for the days when people didn’t whinge about things like that. We could have done with more scenes involving Harris Yulin’s bent cop Bernstein who extorts money in return for police protection; the two exchanges between him and Tony really fizzle. But we get a very good idea of how this organisation works and flourishes. Nothing after the chainsaw scene is as grim despite a helicopter hanging and loads of bloody shootings. Like many films in this genre, the much ballyhooed violence takes up very little of the running time, though we do get a classic climax of carnage where we finally, yes, get that well known line about Tony’s little friend. There’s no doubt that the De Palma quirkiness that us fans love so much has been deliberately minimised, but would really be appropriate for this particular film anyway? We do get a nightclub shootout which is proceeded by a man wearing a bizarre head mask dancing on stage, and a superbly suspenseful section involving a slow car pursuit where Tony has to kill someone and reveals that, though it’s hard to believe, there are limits as to what he’s willing to do. Camerawork tends to be slower and more unobtrusive than usual for a De Palma film, but we still get some fine things like a cut to a city in sunset which, when we adjust our eyes, we is really part of the front of a lavish restaurant as the camera slowly zooms out to reveal a little sandwich van parked near it but virtually insignificant by comparison, with Tony and Manny working in it.

There’s a considerable smoothness to the edits and the lensing, but that still allows the cinematography by John A. Alonzo to gloriously show the pull and the sexiness of what Tony desires replete with vibrant colours, then close in on small, tight compositions as Tony’s world shrinks. Giorgio Moroder’s score is only slightly less conspicuous than what you’d get from De Palma’s usual composer Pino Donaggio and is truly essential to the experience of Scarface. His electronic compositions provide a mood perhaps of a lifestyle and a culture that has no real depth, which is all surface, and which doesn’t have the comfort of real luxury. Having Moroder also write and produce nearly all of the pop songs heard [usually in the nightclubs] means that there’s a synchronicity of sound throughout; so many films separate the songs and the score in a jarring way. Moroder’s main theme [sadly not properly available on the soundtrack album] has a mock grandeur that suits what we’re watching, while Gina’s theme is unabashedly sentimental, an illustration of Tony’s feelings for her. They once tried to re-do the soundtrack with rap music. Much as I love Moroder’s work, it would have been an interesting exercise that I’d have liked to see, though it may have glorified Tony and the criminal life too much, something the film as it stands doesn’t. Perhaps its most incisive scene has a very high but very unhappy Tony, in possibly his only real moment of clarity, going on to customers in a restaurant about how they need him and telling them to “Say goodbye to the bad guy”. This suggests that, incredible though it may seem, we need people like Tony Montana so we can blame him for things and feel better about ourselves. In short, the bad needs to exist so we can have the good.

Posted by Geoff at 5:45 PM CST
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