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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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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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Thursday, April 7, 2022
NICK BARTLETT ON CAINE'S LAYERED DTK PERFORMANCE
"IT'S ONLY WHEN YOU WATCH THE FILM AGAIN THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT HE'S DOING"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/cainandmirror65.jpg

Nick Bartlett at /Film today posted "The 23 Best Michael Caine Movies Ranked." While we're pretty sure that Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill would be a top five title for sure, Bartlett ranks it at number 15:
"Dressed to Kill," Brian De Palma's homage to "Psycho," casts Michael Caine in the largely thankless role of the psychiatrist whose patient is murdered and then gets drawn into the case when suspicion falls on another of his patients.

This is a tricky one. On first viewing, Caine's performance in "Dressed To Kill" seems a little odd and a bit wooden. It's only once you watch the film again that you understand what he's doing. He's essentially playing a role within a role, putting on a veneer of respectability that covers a sinister secret. De Palma makes excellent use of mirrors throughout, hinting at Caine's fractured psyche. However, Caine never tips his hand. It's a performance that takes on more and more layers once you know the plot, and it's a credit to Caine that the reveal is never laughable. Be warned though, the film was released in 1980, and some of the plot twists are more than a little problematic today.


Previously:
Nick Bartlett at /Film picks his favorite De Palma set pieces
Nick Bartlett again, this time ranking his top 14 Brian De Palma films

Posted by Geoff at 11:41 PM CDT
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Saturday, April 2, 2022
TARANTINO EXPLAINS 'THE PARAPHRASE REMAKE'
VIA THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DRESSED TO KILL & PSYCHO - IN PODCAST CONVERSATION WITH BILL MAHER
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dtklobbycardcrop.jpg

On a recent Club Random podcast with Bill Maher, Quentin Tarantino brings up the relationship of Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho to explain the concept of what he calls "the paraphrase remake."
Bill Maher: What kind of movies do you hate? Like, is there a type or kind… like, for me, I will watch romantic comedies – sometimes I only want to watch a romantic comedy – but I do find them… [laughing] they try my patience. And I don’t have a lot of respect. It’s a very… I guess the old-school ones with, like, Spencer Tracy…

Quentin Tarantino: Right, with Claudette Colbert, or something…

BM: Katherine Hepburn…

QT: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

BM: I mean, were they great?

QT: Well, the ones that were really funny kind of fall more into the category of screwball comedy. Which is where the romantic comedies of today came from.

BM: But it’s always a man and a woman, right?

QT: Yeah. Absolutely, yeah. And there’s a flirtation and there’s…

BM: You mean, like, It Happened One Night, and…

QT: Well, that’s a good example of one. Bringing Up Baby is a good example of one.

BM: What is, the Streisand - Ryan O’Neal movie…

QT: What’s Up, Doc? Yeah.

BM: …is a great one. Is that a remake of a…

QT: No, it’s not a remake…

BM: But it’s a tribute.

QT: Yeah, it’s kind of a paraphrase remake. All right, umm.. a special genre unto itself. It’s a paraphrase remake of the movie Bringing Up Baby.

BM: Right – Cary Grant…

QT: Yeah, Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.

BM: And Jimmy Stewart. Oh, no, that’s Philadelphia…

QT: That’s Philadelphia Story.

BM: Right.

QT: Okay, but the thing is like, a paraphrase remake is like the relationship that Dressed To Kill has with Psycho.

BM: Oh.

QT: Where it’s like, okay, so it’s not a remake of Psycho…

BM: I see…

QT: But…

BM: Right…

QT: There’s no way you’re watching Dressed To Kill and not thinking about Psycho.

BM: [Laughs]

QT: But the director knows that you’re watching Dressed To Kill thinking about Psycho, so he can actually hit Psycho points because you’re on the same wavelength now. And now he’s kind of remaking the movie without remaking it. Just doing his own twist on it.

BM: Right. I think it’s called a rip-off, but…

QT: No no no no, when it’s that done, when it’s done like that… okay, there’s “rip-off,” but Dressed To Kill and Psycho, no, he’s riffing.



Posted by Geoff at 5:31 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 23, 2022
'DRESSED TO KILL' EPISODE OF UNCUT GEMS PODCAST
"THERE'S SO MUCH THOUGHT GOING INTO EVERY SINGLE CRANE, EVERY SINGLE STEADICAM MANEUVER, EVERY SINGLE PAN..."
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/uncutgemspodcastdtk.jpg

Here's the website description of the latest episode of the Uncut Gems Podcast:
In this episode of the show we continue our DEPALMARCH marathon also known as 4 DECADES OF DE PALMA by moving up a decade from the 70s to the 80s in order to talk about arguably one of Brian De Palma’s most controversial movies, Dressed to Kill. Over the course of our discussion you will hear us talk about how De Palma’s directorial prowess and a knack for crafting memorable set pieces elevate the movie, how much it owes to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, how it is at its core a deeply personal movie, how it functions as an overt giallo film and much, much more!

Tune in and enjoy!

Hosts: Jakub Flasz & Nicolò Grasso

Featuring: Randy Burrows


Previously:
Uncut Gems Podcast kicks off "DEPALMARCH" with Phantom Of The Paradise discussion

Posted by Geoff at 11:36 PM CDT
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Monday, January 17, 2022
'DRESSED TO KILL' - 'LAST NIGHT IN SOHO' MATCH-UPS
PUT TOGETHER BY 9.a.r.t, POSTED ON INSTAGRAM
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dtklnis.jpg

Instagram user 9.a.r.t put together the above set of echoed images from Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill and Edgar Wright's latest, Last Night In Soho. Scroll through 9.a.r.t's post there to see larger comparisons and a couple of bonus shots of the white coat for further comparison.

Previously:
Edgar Wright contrasts past & present in Soho


Posted by Geoff at 6:01 PM CST
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Thursday, January 13, 2022
ARTIST ERNESTO RENDA ON THE CUTAWAY
IN HIS PIECE, "VIEW OF DOWNTOWN FROM SOUTH STREET SEAPORT (AFTER DRESSED TO KILL (1980))"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/ernestorenda7.jpg

On Instagram a few days ago, ​artist Ernesto Renda shared images of his new piece, "View of Downtown from South Street Seaport (after Dressed to Kill (1980))". The piece -- wax pastel on canvas, glue relief on board, 12 x 18 x 2 inches -- focuses on a cut from Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill, from Kate screaming orgasmically in the back of a taxi, to the "view of downtown" mentioned in the title. In De Palma's film, shot by Ralph Bode, the camera tilts down from the skyward glimpse of the World Trade Center towers (where, incidentally, Liz and Peter will meet up for lunch near the end of the film), and then pans right to show the taxi arriving at the man's apartment building. In his Instagram post, Renda also shared the two stills he focused on from Dressed To Kill:

In a scetion on his website, Renda describes his interest in "inserts and cutaways" --

Inserts and cutaways are shots used to avert the viewer's gaze from some intense or visceral sight onto something else. They are a sort of dissociation from the visible. I'm interested in the way that film images, as dialectical medium, form meanings together. In these types of sequences, the director imbues the second shot with the ecstasy, pain, intensity of the first shot.

What interests me as well is when these shots are used to convey the ambivalence of the non-human world or the surroundings of the characters. An example would be a scene "behind closed doors" cutting to the literal closed-door to express the intimacy, privacy, and secrecy of the action.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Friday, January 14, 2022 12:29 AM CST
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Tuesday, December 21, 2021
SAM IRVIN ON LIV ULLMANN & 'DRESSED TO KILL'
ULLMANN, THEN JILL CLAYBURGH, WERE BOTH APPROACHED FOR ROLE THAT ANGIE DICKINSON KNOCKED OUT OF THE PARK
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/ullmannirvin.jpg

Last week, along with the images above, Sam Irvin posted a "Happy Birthday" tribute to Liv Ullmann on his Facebook page:
Happy 83rd Birthday to Liv Ullmann!
Imagine this: Liv Ullmann getting stabbed to death in the elevator in Brian De Palma’s DRESSED TO KILL. Huh?!
Little known factoid: Liv Ullmann, the brilliant muse of Ingmar Bergman in CRIES AND WHISPERS, PERSONA and FACE TO FACE, was Brian De Palma’s first choice to play the role of “Kate Miller” in DRESSED TO KILL — the role that ended up being played so iconically by Angie Dickinson.

The character gets shockingly stabbed to death in an elevator — an homage to Janet Leigh’s character “Marion Crane” getting stabbed to death in the shower in Hitchcock’s PSYCHO.

In both movies, it was essential to cast big-name stars in these parts to make it all the more shocking when they are unexpectedly bumped off early in their respective scenarios.

In the summer of 1979, when DRESSED TO KILL was in preproduction, I was working as Brian De Palma’s assistant. I was 23 — and a very big fan of Liv Ullmann — who had won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in THE EMIGRANTS (1971) and nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Actress in THE EMIGRANTS and FACE TO FACE (1976). So, you can imagine my excitement when Brian handed me a copy of the DRESSED TO KILL script and said, “I want you to hand-deliver this to Liv Ullmann at the Majestic Theater. She is expecting you in her dressing room.”

Liv was currently starring on Broadway in Richard Rodgers newly-musicalized version of I REMEMBER MAMA. I would be going to drop off the script between a matinee and evening performance.

I arrived at the stage door with a large envelope in my hand. I knocked and after a few seconds, the door cautiously cracked open as though it were a speakeasy. A crusty old doorman peered out from the shadows and said, “Yeah?”

“I’m here to see Ms. Ullmann,” I explained in my best business-like voice.

The doorman gave me the once-over, spotted Ullmann’s name written on the envelope, concluded I was just a messenger boy — which, admittedly, was pretty much what I was. He sneered, “A delivery? I can take it to her.”

He creaked the door open a little further and held out his gnarly hand, expecting me to give him the package.

As if. I wasn’t going to give up the chance of meeting Liv Ullmann when I’d already come within breathing distance. I gulped and stood my ground. “I have been instructed to deliver this to Ms. Ullmann personally. She is expecting me. My name is Sam Irvin. From Brian De Palma’s office.”

Poker-faced, the doorman said nothing for what seemed like an eternity.

Finally, he withdrew his empty claw and shut the door in my face.

Had I been summarily rejected? Should I knock again and demand to speak to someone higher up the food chain? My job was on the line! With all sorts of desperate thoughts running around in my brain, the door suddenly popped back open.

“Ms. Ullmann will see you now,” the doorman grunted, annoyed that he’d been out-maneuvered.

I stepped inside and followed him to her dressing room. He knocked and walked away. The door swung open with a breeze of perfume to reveal the resplendent, welcoming smile of Liv Ullmann attached to her entire being. In person. Yep. I was starstruck.

She graciously greeted me. We exchanged small talk. I gave her the script and she said, “Tell Brian I am looking forward to reading it. Thank you for bringing it to me.”

I departed on Cloud 9 and floated back to Brian’s office. Mission: Accomplished.

Sadly, Liv eventually passed on the project.

Nancy Allen, who played “Liz” in DRESSED TO KILL, recalled, “Liv was Brian’s first choice. He wanted it to be out of character for the actress who played the part to be having the sexual encounter with the stranger in the museum. Someone you might think of as sexually repressed. I suggested he send her flowers and take her to lunch. Ultimately she declined the role because she didn’t want her children to see her in that way.”

Then Brian had me deliver a script to the wonderful Jill Clayburgh, hot off her Oscar nomination for AN UNMARRIED WOMAN (1978). A long-time friend of De Palma’s, Jill had made her movie debut in his early feature film THE WEDDING PARTY (1969) opposite the young Robert De Niro. My encounter was brief and similar — but equally cherished and memorable. Unfortunately, she also ended up passing due to scheduling conflicts.

Ultimately, Angie Dickinson ended up with the role and knocked it out of the park.

Nevertheless, it is intriguing to imagine what the movie would have been like with Liv Ullmann in the role.

You MUST read my first-hand inside chronicle on the making of DRESSED TO KILL on which I worked as director Brian De Palma’s assistant! The recent issue of BOOBS AND BLOOD No. 4 is entirely devoted to my memoir of DRESSED TO KILL! 56 pages! 13,000 words! 175 photos!

And it’s for a great cause, too! All profits from the sale of the magazine go to the breast cancer charity Keep a Breast Foundation.

The DRESSED TO KILL Special Edition of BOOBS AND BLOOD No. 4 is available to order here:
https://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1877350

Thank you to editor-publisher Miles Flanagan!
www.boobsandblood.com


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Thursday, December 9, 2021
DRESSED TO KILL, WALKIN' TALL
STEVEN SPIELBERG'S DIALOGUE TWEAK IN WEST SIDE STORY NODS TO HIS FRIEND, BRIAN DE PALMA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/wwsjets.jpg

"So listen, everybody dress up sweet and sharp," says Riff, played by Russ Tamblyn, in the 1961 film version of West Side Story. "Meet Tony and me at the dance at, uh, 10. And walk tall!"

In his new version of West Side Story, Steven Spielberg tweaks that dialogue a little bit, and he manages to cleverly throw in a nod to the title of a Brian De Palma film from 1980: "Be there, 10PM, punctual-like, dressed to kill, walkin' tall!"

Meanwhile, in an interview with The Guardian's Ryan Gilbey, Spielberg talks about being the last one of the "Movie Brats" to make a musical:

The most famous and widely cherished film-maker in history is all twinkling eyes and gee-whiz charm today. He is about to turn 75 but first there is the release of his muscular new take on West Side Story, which marks his third collaboration with the playwright Tony Kushner, who also scripted Munich and Lincoln. Spielberg is at pains to point out that this not a remake of the Oscar-laden movie but a reimagining of the original stage musical. “I never would have dared go near it had it only been a film,” he says. “But, because it’s constantly being performed across the globe, I didn’t feel I was claim-jumping on my friend Robert Wise’s 1961 movie.”

Spielberg and West Side Story go back further than that. He was 10 when he became obsessed with the Broadway cast album, which his father brought home in 1957. He even got in trouble for belting out the show’s comedy number Gee, Officer Krupke. “With my dad right across from me and my mother next to me, I sang, ‘My father is a bastard / My ma’s an SOB … ’ Oh my God, they got so mad. ‘You can’t say “bastard” at the dinner table! Where did you learn that?’ I said, ‘It’s on your record!’”

It was Jerome Robbins who had the idea of transposing Romeo and Juliet to New York’s Upper West Side. Leonard Bernstein provided the score, Arthur Laurents the script and a young greenhorn named Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics. Tony and Maria, played in Spielberg’s version by Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler, were the star-cross’d lovers, while two warring gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, stood in for the Montagues and Capulets. Which gang did the young film-maker run with during his adolescence in Arizona and California? “Me in a gang?” he splutters. “Yeah, right! No, I was in the Boy Scouts of America. And a movie club. My friends and I made movies on 8mm when we were 12 or 13 so I was just part of that nerdy, geeky little club.”

He did, however, come to be known in the 1970s as one of the Movie Brats, so-called because they were the first generation of US film-makers to have absorbed much of their education from the screen and went on to electrify and transform Hollywood. Of that quintet – Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese were the others – Spielberg was the only one who hadn’t made a leap into musicals. “Francis did it with Finian’s Rainbow, Brian with Phantom of the Paradise, Marty with New York, New York. I do think you have to consider American Graffiti to be George’s musical. Which means all the Movie Brats have done it now, and I was the last. I’m proud to be the caboose.”


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2021 7:54 AM CST
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Tuesday, November 2, 2021
KINO LORBER - NEW HDR 'DRESSED TO KILL' RESTORATION
SUPERVISED BY BRIAN DE PALMA, FROM A 16-BIT 4K SCAN OF THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dtkposterinvitessmall.jpg

Two days ago, Kino Lorber Studio Classics posted this announcement on its Facebook page:
Coming Soon on 4KUHD!
BRAND NEW Dolby Vision HDR Restoration to be Supervised by Brian De Palma!
From a 16-Bit 4K Scan of the Original Camera Negative!

Dressed to Kill (1980) Starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon & Dennis Franz – Shot by Ralf D. Bode (Saturday Night Fever) – Music by Pino Donaggio (Body Double) – Written & Directed by Brian De Palma (Carrie, The Untouchables).


"The Blu-ray disc will include the bonus features, region free," Kino Lorber replied to a question in the comments about this upcoming edition. When someone asked about Blow Out, Kino Lorber responded, "We asked for Blow Out, it was not available."

Posted by Geoff at 11:16 PM CDT
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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
JEN'S REACTION VIDEO - FIRST VIEW OF 'DRESSED TO KILL'
"OHHH, MY... SHE'S NOT CONCERNED ABOUT STRANGER DANGER"

Posted by Geoff at 11:50 PM CDT
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Monday, October 18, 2021
SAM IRVIN RECALLS MICHAEL CAINE ON SET IN FULL DRAG
"I ALWAYS KNEW I'D EVENTUALLY GET AROUND TO PLAYING ME MUM"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/samandmichael.jpg

The other day, Michael Caine was said to have announced his "retirement" from acting. "I haven’t retired and not a lot of people know that," Caine tweeted later the same day. Somewhere in between all of that, Sam Irvin posted the photo above on Facebook, with the following caption:
Happy Retirement from Acting to 88-year-old Michael Caine (though I don’t believe a word of it — like Cher’s multiple retirements 😝😘). I had the honor and pleasure of working with Michael in 1979 on DRESSED TO KILL (I was Brian De Palma’s assistant). Here we are at base camp outside Michael’s trailer. When he appeared on the set for the first time in full drag as “Bobbie,” he broke the ice by saying, “I always knew I’d eventually get around to playing me mum.” Total gentleman. Consummate professional. Witty. Pure delight. We all adored him. Good luck to Michael on his new chapter as a bestselling author!

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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