SUNDAY TWEET - ADS FOR 'THE FURY' IN LONDON FROM 1978
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a la Mod:
The scene of the kidnapping of the two cops very quickly turns into a car chase and you don't feel very comfortable filming it.
Because I hate that. We've seen hundreds of them and it's very boring to watch. The best chase ever filmed is in William Friedkin's French Connection. If you don't have a better idea, it really isn't worth bothering to film a new one. I'm not like James Cameron, I don't enjoy filming endless chases with trucks, on bridges, it's not my style. It was my first time filming a car chase in The Fury. I took it as a challenge but quickly hated it. So I placed it in the fog to stylize it as much as possible. Because filming in a car, there is nothing more boring. What are you going to show? A guy moving the steering wheel, reflections on the windshield. There aren't many solutions to make it interesting.
No other director shows such clear-cut development in technique from film to film. In camera terms, De Palma was learning fluid, romantic steps in Obsession; he started to move his own way in Carrie—swirling and figure skating, sensuously. You could still see the calculation. Now he has stopped worrying about the steps. He’s caught up with his instructors — with Welles in Touch of Evil, with Scorsese in Mean Streets. What distinguishes De Palma's visual style is smoothness combined with a jazzy willingness to appear crazy or campy; it could be that he's developing one of the great film styles—a style in which he stretches out suspense while grinning his notorious alligator grin. He has such a grip on technique in The Fury that you get the sense of a director who cares about little else; there's a frightening total purity in his fixation on the humor of horror. It makes the film seem very peaceful, even as one's knees are shaking.
If this project, with its obvious echoes of Carrie, seems like an odd choice for De Palma to have chosen to follow, it appears that he looked upon it largely as a means to a particular end. At the time, he was keenly interested in doing an adaptation of Alfred Bester’s 1953 novel The Demolished Man, a sci-fi-thriller involving a murder in a futuristic telepathic society, and had even co-written a screenplay for it with author John Farris. As a way of working out the elaborate visual storytelling and special effects required to bring that project to life, De Palma elected to first make a film of Farris’s 1976 novel The Fury with the author doing the screenplay, changing a considerable amount of the narrative in the process.
De Palma's almost nonstop action carries the film along well (and distracts us from the holes in its plot), and Kirk Douglas was a good casting choice as the avenging father. In his best roles, he seems to be barely in control of a manic energy, and this time, being chased down the L tracks, he seems just right. Cassavetes always makes a suitably hateful villain (he plays the bad guys as if they're distracted by inner thoughts of even worse things they could be doing), and Carrie Snodgress, returning to movies after several years of voluntary retirement, is complex and interesting as the government employee who falls in love with Kirk Douglas.
Big-eyed and beautiful Amy Irving, vulnerable and tough at the same time, is just fine. She was Sissy Spacek's "friend" and final victim in De Palma's "Carrie," and I guess it's only fair that this time she gets to unleash the Fury in the final scene. Is it as scary as the final moment in "Carrie"? Not quite, but it'll leave your head spinning.
In the interview portion of the article, Irvin tells Bonilla that the book, the first in a series of memoirs, covers his life/career up until the time he met Brian De Palma. "And then, for 2024," Irvin says, "I will do the next volume of my ongoing series of memoir books, this one covering my De Palma years."
In the interview, Irvin talks about why the journal he had writen for the magazine Cinefantastique was never published:
Why did you stop publishing Bizarre?
The reason I stopped doing it, is that I ended up meeting Brian De Palma and had to start getting serious about figuring out a career in film. Between my junior and senior years of college, I ended up going to work for De Palma on The Fury. After I graduated, I became a full-time employee of De Palma as his assistant.
Then, I associated produced and was a production manager for his film Home Movies with Kirk Douglas and Nancy Allen. That's what launched my career.
When did you decide to step away from magazine writing to focus on your film career?
I became friends with Fred Clark, who was the editor of Cinefantastique. When I was working on The Fury, I got an assignment from Fred to write a journal on the making of The Fury. I still wanted to be writing for about horror movies and stay in that world.
Fred promised that The Fury would be on the cover. So, I interviewed everybody on the film from Kirk Douglas down, including composer John Williams and the editor Paul Hirsch, who edited Star Wars. Then, Fred saw Star Wars. He decided to bump our issue, so he could do a double issue on Star Wars. Okay, fine. Star Wars deserved it.
In the meantime, I insisted to Fred that, “You've got to run my interview with Amy Irving. You can't wait, because she talks about for the very first time ever, her relationship with Steven Spielberg. They were living together and it had not been revealed anywhere. I have this huge scoop.
What was the result?
So, Fred assured me that he’d run the Amy interview in the Star Wars issue, as kind of a teaser for the big coming issue on The Fury. Then, The Fury opens. Fred sees it, hates it, and decides that he is not going to put it on the cover. He cuts my journal on the making of it in half and on the cover, he instead puts the composer Hans Salter, who composed some of the scores of the 1940s Universal horror movies. I love Salter and his scores, but could there be anything less commercial? It felt like such a slap.
De Palma was not happy, and I was embarrassed. It made me look bad. I felt really bad about the whole thing.
It put such a bad taste in my mouth, that when I got asked to do articles on other films that I was working on, like Dressed to Kill, I just ended up turning it down. It kind of extinguished my wanting to continue to be a journalist in that realm. Instead, I focused on being a director.
Here's a portion of the obituary from Nola.com:
Patrick McNamara, an actor, director, teacher and producer who established the short-lived Energy Theatre in New Orleans in the mid-1970s, died of pneumonia on Jan. 2 at Ochsner Medical Center, his wife, Carol Stone, said. He was 80.
“Patrick was the most interesting person I ever knew. Nobody wore a coat of so many colors like he did,” said Amanda McBroom, an actress, singer and songwriter who performed in “A Witness to the Confession” at Energy Theatre.
“He was interested in everything, and he was really talented at so many things. He had a divine combination of extreme compassion and humor and lightness with a major dark streak … in the middle of all the light. … He loved the uncertainty of life.”
A native New Orleanian who graduated from De La Salle High School, McNamara grew interested in acting when he performed in plays at the University of New Orleans to improve his public-speaking skills, Stone said.
After a brief stint at Tulane Law School, he moved to New York to embark on a full-time career as an actor, starting in Ellen Stewart’s Café La Mama Experimental Club, an avant-garde troupe in Manhattan’s East Village. He also taught voice, and he performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
“He found amazing things to do,” Stone said. “His spirit was magical. Whatever he pursued, he pursued it as far as he could.”
He amassed a long list of film credits, including Brian De Palma’s “Obsession,” which was shot in New Orleans, two movies directed by Steven Spielberg – “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “1941” – and the comedies “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” in which he played Bill S. Preston’s father. His television appearances included “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
Although his given name was Patrick John McNamara, he was often billed as J. Patrick McNamara because when he joined Actors’ Equity, he was told another Patrick McNamara was already in show business, Stone said. He solved that problem by putting his middle initial first.
“He was a solid actor,” said David Cuthbert, a former theater critic for The Times-Picayune. “He was believable, and he was real. You’d look at him in ‘Close Encounters,’ and you’d see the same things you’d seen onstage.”
McNamara returned to New Orleans to found Energy Theatre, which opened in March 1974 in the Prytania Theater in Uptown New Orleans. The first attraction was the musical revue “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” Audiences loved it, he said in a 1976 Times-Picayune interview, but the theater was never more than 40 percent full, and local actors resented that no local performers were in the cast.
Moreover, he said, “I’m one of the world’s worst fundraisers.”
McNamara staged strong plays, including “That Championship Season,” “The Hot L Baltimore” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” with Geraldine Fitzgerald, but audiences didn’t come. In the newspaper interview, he announced he was moving to Los Angeles.
Energy Theatre “should have lasted longer than it did,” Cuthbert said.
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