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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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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 31, 2021
HAPPY NEW YEAR - 1947
"ALWAYS SHE'D BE THERE - NEVER BETWEEN US, ALWAYS IN THE MIDDLE"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bdhny1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 10:42 PM CST
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Friday, September 24, 2021
LOVING THE 'UNLOVED'
SCOUT TAFOYA COUNTS 'THE BLACK DAHLIA' AMONG HIS FAVORITE DE PALMA FILMS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dahliastairs8.jpg

As we're still vibing on the 15-year anniversary of Brian De Palma's stunningly-personalized film adaptation of James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia, it's worth noting a mention of the movie from filmmaker and critic Scout Tafoya. Reviewing the new Apple TV+ sci-fi series Foundation for Cult of Mac, Tafoya delves into the backgrounds of its showrunners:

Foundation doesn’t prove as fearless about its antique roots. But in keeping the character of psychohistory alive (mathematics as a bulwark against religion, or at any rate a worthy twin), you can see Asimov with his sideburns and his new age techno-humanism in the great big towering storylines anyway. They’ve just been filtered through the aggressively middlebrow vision of showrunners David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) and Josh Friedman (Emerald City).

Friedman has done some interesting work in his time. But you’d be hard-pressed to locate anything as concrete as a sensibility from his shows, beyond a sort of desire to build great big worlds out of existing IP. He wrote the movie The Black Dahlia, which ranks as nobody’s favorite adapted screenplay, though I confess it’s among my favorite Brian De Palma movies.

Goyer is more troublesome. Having written both the exciting and edgy Blade and Christopher Nolan’s baggy and self-important Batman movies, and helping ensure the enduring monopoly of DC and Marvel comics at the U.S. box office, he was then given free reign to do whatever he wanted. This despite his having directed the abysmal likes of Blade: Trinity and The Unborn.

I can’t fully bring myself to write off Goyer because he seems to want to make better films than he frequently produces. Plus, once upon a time he wrote the excellent Dark City, one of the great out-of-nowhere science fiction movies made during my lifetime. (That’s the kind of thing Asimov probably would have liked.)


Back in 2014, Tafoya created a video essay about De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise for his video series, The Unloved. The series takes films that were received indifferently upon initial release and reveals the artistry that seemed to be overlooked in the critical and public dismissals of their time.

"Cult movies usually have to do something wrong in order to miss out on a first-run audience," Tafoya states in the video. "Idiosyncrasies and eccentricities pile up, and only a handful of people can see them as integral to the film's success as a crowd-pleasing oddity. In the case of Phantom Of The Paradise, the indifference that greeted it from critic and public alike seems much more baffling than its continued success in Winnipeg.

"It's easy to why Rocky Horror failed with mainstream audiences at first. It's entirely too pleased with itself, and features nothing in the way of sex or violence that audiences couldn't find in movies without self-conscious glam-rock all over the soundtrack. Phantom Of The Paradise had something to say, not to mention something to prove. Though it's rarely lumped in with many of its landmarks, the Phantom came out of the New Hollywood movement. By 1974, American artists were finally digging in and starting to take advantage of the creative autonomy offered by more adventurous studios. 1974 was a watershed year in particular, because it was when passion projects started flowing out of major studios. Directors were taking immense formal risks left and right, telling dark stories in daring ways, bowing to no one but their muse. There were huge successes, films that changed everything. And then there were films like Phantom Of The Paradise.

"Up until this point, Brian De Palma had been making bizarre little movies that mixed Godard and Hitchcock with abandon. Phantom Of The Paradise was his biggest film to date, and it remains his best. Perhaps sensing that he was the right man to make a crazed irreverent hash of classic literature, he grabbed his own pet influences to make a film that did for rock and roll what fellow enfant terrible Ken Russell had been doing for classical music."


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, September 15, 2021
15 YEARS AGO TODAY - 'THE BLACK DAHLIA'
RELEASED IN THEATERS ON SEPTEMBER 15, 2006
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bd55a.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 8:46 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 16, 2021 8:06 AM CDT
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Saturday, September 11, 2021
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BRIAN DE PALMA
REMEMBERING THE WORLD PREMIERE OF 'THE BLACK DAHLIA' 15 YEARS AGO AT THE VENICE FILM FESTIVAL
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dahliavenice.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 3:00 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 12, 2021 12:43 PM CDT
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Friday, February 19, 2021
NOTHING STAYS BURIED FOREVER
LOOKING BACK AT THE TRAILER FOR 'THE BLACK DAHLIA'


The new Netflix movie I Care A Lot, written and directed by J Blakeson, opens with an effective slow motion sequence, with voiceover, set to the song "Dirge" by the band Death in Vegas. It took me a long minute to figure out why the song felt so familiar to me: the track was, of course, used in the trailer for Brian De Palma's adaptation of James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia. It had been a long time since I looked at that trailer, and I did not remember the blue-ish lights at the top and bottom of some of the film projections showing Mia Kirshner's embodiment of Elizabeth Short on film. A flourish for the trailer, in one freeze-frame the blue and its surroundings turn to black-and-white. Back to "Dirge", here's a paragraph from the Death in Vegas Wikipedia page that mentions all the films, trailers, and commercials that have used the song:
The band's second album, The Contino Sessions (1999), marked a slight change in direction with more attention to live instrumentation than their first and the inclusion of guest vocalists (including Dot Allison, Bobby Gillespie, Iggy Pop, and Jim Reid).[1] Although predominantly rock-influenced, the album still retained some electronic elements, in particular the opening track "Dirge" with its drum machine-based rhythm track. "Dirge" was featured on a Levi's jeans commercial, as well as the second instalment of The Blair Witch Project, and was used in the trailer for the 2006 film The Black Dahlia. The song was also used in the trailer for the 2013 film Cheap Thrills and used in the 2002 film 28 Days Later; at the end of the 2009 remake of The Last House on the Left; near the end of the Being Human episode "The Longest Day"; and in the second episode of season two of Misfits. Along with "Aisha" (with vocals from Iggy Pop), "Dirge" helped the band gain more recognition, culminating in a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2000. "Dirge" was the subject of a lawsuit by the band Five or Six, as it borrowed extensively from their song "Another Reason". The matter was settled with Five or Six receiving a writing credit.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 20, 2021 1:18 PM CST
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Saturday, November 16, 2019
ARMOND WHITE LINKS BDP's 'DAHLIA' TO QT's 'HOLLYWOOD'
"THE SPECTER OF GRUESOME REAL-LIFE TRAGEDY UNDERNEATH ALL THE HOLLYWOOD HISTORY"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bdbettyasscarlettsmall.jpg

Yesterday's post about The Black Dahlia reminds me that earlier this year, Armond White mentioned Brian De Palma's film in his review of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood, which White states "is easily Tarantino’s best film." From National Review:
Movie-actor sympathy is QT’s obtuse version of humanism; his hipster notion of relationships rarely goes beyond clichéd cleverness. The behind-the-scene moments in Once Upon a Time don’t seem as authentic as the early-Sixties sex-and-ambition revue in Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, or as insightful as the Hollywood-blacklist parodies in the Coen brothersHail, Caesar! An interlude about the vanity of Bruce Lee (played by Mike Moh) gives the impression that QT forgot exactly what movie he was making; like Jackie Brown, it’s not convincing.

In Jackie Brown, QT was so absorbed in fetishizing Blaxploitation lore and his star Pam Grier (whom he called “the queen of women” the first time I met him) that instead of reexamining the era when his obsessions were born, he updated it poorly, and Grier wasn’t actress enough to reclaim her Foxy Brown crown. In Once Upon a Time, QT exults in a period re-created solely through cultural artifacts: pop songs, TV shows, movie posters, theater marquees, and incessant, maddening radio advertisements. The specter of gruesome real-life tragedy underneath all the Hollywood history and pop effluvia gives him something new: poignancy.

Brian De Palma already made this ambivalence poetic in The Black Dahlia — especially the memorable sequence where the audition of tragic Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirschner) as Scarlett O’Hara distilled her all-American drive and pathos. Despite crude technique, QT reveals his awareness of Hollywood desperation, found in society’s changing sexuality, especially when dealing with the Manson girls. Going back to the Sixties hippie era, QT evokes the cultural differences between middle-class California conservatism (embodied by inside-outsiders Rick and Cliff) and Manson’s dangerously radical counterculture.

These tense, lewd scenes (anchored to Margaret Qualley’s Pussycat, a brazen free-love druggie, Dakota Fanning’s fanatical Squeaky Fromme, and Rick’s meeting with a precocious child star, loaded with pedophiliac undertones) suggest more than Manson’s psychotic influence. QT seems to be getting at a modern crisis. Manson’s maenads — dirty, barefoot examples of Dionysian abandon — provide the most fascinating sequences of QT’s career. A plot digression features Bruce Dern as a blind, wizened, weakened victim of his own lusts as well as of female opportunists, a Harvey Weinstein figure.

At the screening I attended, most of the audience went into quiet shock during QT’s finale, an extended sequence of conventional action-movie moral reckoning. It hit them on another level than the earlier, poorly imitated scenes of mock-TV violence (for a cineaste, QT’s images are surprisingly imprecise). In this riposte to #MeToo diabolism, Tarantino finally finds a social context that challenges his audience. And while the Motion Picture Academy previously rewarded QT for disgracing both the Holocaust and slavery, this might be an even hotter topic, and it needs a better follow-through than his slasher-movie tropes. But, admittedly, this display of cheap revenge is his career highpoint.


Posted by Geoff at 8:45 AM CST
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Friday, November 15, 2019
JEMIMA ROOPER RECALLS NUDE SCENE IN 'BLACK DAHLIA'
"I KNEW THAT I WAS PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE TO BE TOPLESS..."
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bdshowtime4small.jpg

The Telegraph's Chris Harvey interviewed Jemima Rooper for an article that posted earlier this week:
In 2013, she appeared in a Harvey Weinstein film – One Chance, the true story of Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts. She met the producer but was never alone in a room with him, and has a surprising insight from the shop floor, “Controversially, there's this feeling, when someone who has the power to make careers doesn't really give you a second look, or isn't really bothered about you… it's incredibly annoying. Not that I wanted that kind of attention.

On the first day of filming, she adds, “his PA appeared with a whole load of new costumes and it was all massive high heels, short skirts, basically sexing up the character. I was supposed to be the weird, funny girlfriend… She was sent to do it, to make me feel comfortable about it. If Harvey himself had come along and said, I want you in a miniskirt and high heels, I’d have been, excuse me? Then you hear these awful stories of these girls and because it was probably a woman who said, ‘Harvey really wants to meet with you,’ those women were really sort of complicit in allowing that to happen.”

The moment she found most embarrassing, she says, was when she was cast in Brian De Palma’s 2006 adaptation of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia, with Scarlett Johansson. “I got three scenes in a big movie and one of them was a 1930s porn film with another girl. I was 22… I knew that I was probably going to have to be topless… and when we did the porn element, there was a point when Brian was asking if my pants could come off, and I was like, oh my god, what do I do? When you’re doing a small part, you don’t feel like you can just go, ‘hang on, I need to call my agent.’ You want to be amenable. Luckily, he saw I had two tattoos on my back and said, they’ll take too long to cover with make-up. I was so happy. I’ll probably get tattooed underwear now.”


Posted by Geoff at 7:15 AM CST
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Saturday, February 13, 2016
JOSH FRIEDMAN'S TWITTER 'ASK ME ANYTHING'
'BLACK DAHLIA' SCREENWRITER ON THE LONGEST SCRIPT HE EVER WROTE, MORE





Posted by Geoff at 6:43 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, February 13, 2016 6:43 PM CST
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015
JAMES HORNER DIES IN PLANE CRASH
AWARD-WINNING FILM COMPOSER ALMOST SCORED 'THE BLACK DAHLIA'
The film world was rocked by tragedy late last night when it was reported that James Horner, Oscar-winning composer of the scores for Titanic, Braveheart, and many other films, died in a plane crash in California. He was 61. According to The Hollywood Reporter's Mike Barnes, "Horner was piloting the small aircraft when it crashed into a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara, officials said."

In 2005, Horner had been the original composer announced to score Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia. "For a long time," De Palma told me in 2006, "we were trying to make a deal with James Horner. And, we just couldn’t make it. They kept on negotiating, and this went on for like a year. And it also had to do with, you know, all the finishing of the movie. They kept on saying, 'We don’t have enough money for this, we don’t have enough money for that.' So I had to move the mix to Toronto in order to find a way to mix the movie within the budget they sort of came up with. And Horner was the same problem. A year ago, they said they had closed the deal, and of course it was never closed. And I had to start looking for other composers." Mark Isham ended up scoring The Black Dahlia.

Posted by Geoff at 1:03 AM CDT
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Monday, May 4, 2015
ELLROY: 'DAHLIA' SCRIPT WAS NOT GOOD
NOT WITH FINCHER, AND THEN NOT WITH DE PALMA
James Ellroy, promoting his latest novel, Perfidia, tells Telerama's Laurent Rigoulet that the screenplay for the film adaptation of his book The Black Dahlia was not good. The screenplay was written by Josh Friedman, working under the direction of David Fincher. When Fincher dropped out, De Palma took over direction of the project, retaining Friedman as screenwriter. After talking about watching TV series such as The Killing, Homeland (Season One), and Mad Men, Rigoulet asks Ellroy if he is ever asked to work on such series, which leads him to mention that he is currently working on a series with Fincher, which leads him to talk about the Dahlia film:

"Sure, they want Ellroy," Ellroy tells Rigoulet. "One only has to look at all the ideas that True Detective pinched from me! I hate that series, it's a handjob. They order a lot of things from me, but it rarely leads to anything. It takes so much money and compromise ... I'm currently working with David Fincher on a series that would take place in Hollywood in the 50's. The hero is the private detective Fred Otash, who investigated the stars and was in league with tabloids, like in Confidential. I always admired Fincher. He had long tried to adapt The Black Dahlia, but his script was not good, and it was then taken and killed for the version that was released in 2006, directed by Brian De Palma. When the project collapsed, Fincher shot Zodiac, a beautiful thriller about obsession, and one of my favorite movies, much better than LA Confidential."

(Thanks to Luu!)


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 12:05 AM CDT
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