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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
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De Palma/Lehman
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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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Monday, June 21, 2021
THE BOOK JENNY READS IN 'RAISING CAIN'
'THERESE RAQUIN' BY EMILE ZOLA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/jennysbook.jpg

When Jenny first appears in Raising Cain, behind Carter (or, er, who she thinks is Carter but who is actually Cain), she is holding a book. Jenny tells "Carter" that she is going to go lay down, and, continuing to hold her place in the book, carries it with her as she lays down on the bed and begins to read. Of course, Cain has designs of his own, and interrupts Jenny's book reading. In all of these shots, as framed in the film itself, it is not exactly easy to identify what book Jenny is reading. However, from looking at those shots of the book in the film and googling through dozens of Penguin Classics book covers, I was able to come to the conclusion that the book is Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola. And then I found a publicity still taken by on-set photographer Phil Bray that makes it clear as day.

Thérèse Raquin is a novel that deals with the subject of adultery, which, of course, is also a main subject of Raising Cain (if Laure falls asleep in Femme Fatale while watching Double Indemnity, it can also be suggested that Jenny falls asleep in Raising Cain while leafing through Thérèse Raquin). And, of course, Thérèse Raquin is the inspiration for the upcoming novel by Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman, to be titled Terry.

In a La Repubblica interview from last year, Brian De Palma is asked by Silvia Bizio whether he and Susan Lehman will write together in the future. "We have already written another book," De Palma responds. "It's called Terry. It is inspired by Emile Zola's Thérèse Raquin and it's about a film production that is making a film about the book. There is a love triangle in the film, a lover, and a murder. And the same thing happens among the characters who are making the film."

In March of 2019, in an on-stage chat at the Quais du Polar in Lyon, France, De Palma had mentioned Thérèse Raquin as both a film idea he's had for years, and also as the subject of their next novel. With Lehman on stage with him, the subject came up during the Q&A when an audience member asked De Palma, "Are there any French characters, authors or films that inspire you?"

"I've made a lot of movies here," De Palma began in response. "And Thérèse Raquin is an idea I've... always had an idea for a movie for. Thérèse Raquin's been made many times, but I think I have a new way of... in fact, that's sort of the subject of our next novel, isn't it? We love the French, that's why we're here. They're very kind to me."

In fact, De Palma was close to getting his film version of this story, to be titled Magic Hour, made in 2013 with producer Saïd Ben Saïd. The pair had just made Passion together the year before. Screen Daily's Geoffrey Macnab reported that Emily Mortimer was to play the lead in the film, which was described as a "loose adaptation of Emile Zola's Therese Raquin, featuring both period and contemporary elements." Macnab added that "the story is about a film director and two actors shooting a movie version of Zola's novel and finding that it reflects experiences in their own lives."

"IT IS A KIND OF FILM TESTAMENT"

Earlier in 2013, without naming the project, Ben Saïd told Nicolas Schaller about a film he was then developing with De Palma: "This is a film about cinema that is not devoid of humor or cruelty. It happens on a shoot between a director, an actor and an actress. De Palma wrote it by drawing on things that have happened to him. It is a kind of film testament."

Previously:
De Palma's Therese Raquin film titled Magic Hour
Emily Mortimer cast in De Palma's next film


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 12:02 AM CDT
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Sunday, June 20, 2021
BOOKS FOR FATHER'S DAY - 'THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT'
A PEEK AT THE SCREENPLAY FOR 'RAISING CAIN' WHEN IT WAS STILL TITLED 'FATHER'S DAY'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/usescover.jpg

Brian De Palma's original title for what became Raising Cain (1992) was "Father's Day". The early version of that screenplay had Jenny picking up a Father's Day gift for Carter: "a new edition of Bruno Bettelheim's The Uses Of Enchantment. Jenny picks it up and leafs through it. It's filled with beautiful color illustrations of all the classic fairy tales."

Interestingly, The Uses Of Enchantment is one of three books that David Mamet recommends in the first part of his 1991 book, On Directing Film:

The mechanical working of the film is just like the mechanism of a dream; because that’s what the film is really going to end up being, isn’t it?

The images in a dream are vastly varied and magnificently interesting. And most of them are uninfluenced. It is their juxtaposition that gives the dream its strength. The terror and beauty of the dream come from the connection of previously unrelated mundanities of life. As discontinuous and as meaningless as that juxtaposition might seem on first glimpse, an enlightened analysis reveals the highest and the most simple order of organization and, so, the deepest meaning. Isn’t that true?

The same should be true of a movie. The great movie can be as free of being a record of the progress of the protagonist as is a dream. I would suggest that those who are interested might want to do some reading in psychoanalysis, which is a great storehouse of information about movies. Both studies are basically the same. The dream and the film are the juxtaposition of images in order to answer a question.

I recommend, for example, The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud; The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim; Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung.

All film is, finally, a “dream sequence.” How incredibly impressionistic even the worst, most plodding, most American movie is. Platoon really is not any more or less realistic than Dumbo. Both just happen to tell the story well, each in its own way. In other words, its all make-believe. The question is, how good make-believe is it going to be?


"The strange, perfect clarity of a dream" - Revisting Janet Maslin's 1992 NY Times review of Raising Cain


Posted by Geoff at 3:56 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 15, 2021
'THE STRANGE, PERFECT CLARITY OF A DREAM'
REVISITING JANET MASLIN'S NY TIMES REVIEW OF 'RAISING CAIN'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/raisingcainwrittendirected45.jpg

Thanks to a tweet from Metacritic for highlighting Janet Maslin's glowing 1992 review of Brian De Palma's Raising Cain, from The New York Times. With all due respect to the wonderful things Peet Gelderblom has accomplished, Maslin's review is a reminder that the true "director's cut" of Raising Cain was released in theaters in 1992:
A peaceful playground. A pleasant day. And two parents making small talk as they watch their children and then share a ride home. Dr. Carter Nix (John Lithgow), a child psychiatrist taking time off from his work to help bring up his daughter, engages a female friend in small talk about the legitimacy of conducting psychological studies on small children. The conversation starts innocently, but within moments -- during the course of an edgy, sustained driving shot executed with bravura ease -- it turns hostile enough to make Carter sneeze. Even worse, it makes Carter commit murder.

Bounding back gamely from "The Bonfire of the Vanities," Brian De Palma has vigorously returned to familiar ground. "Raising Cain," a delirious thriller starring John Lithgow as a man with at least three more personalities than he really needs, finds Mr. De Palma creating spellbinding, beautifully executed images that often make practically no sense. Working with an exhilarating sense of freedom, he seems to care not in the least what any of it really means. The results are playful, lively and no less unstrung than Dr. Carter Nix himself.

In his early days, Mr. De Palma sometimes labored to make his neo-Hitchcockian thrillers appear reasonable. This time that kind of strain is gone. So is the need to compare Mr. De Palma's latest psychological mystery, which he both wrote and directed, with any films other than his own. Less grisly and more mischievous than "Body Double," infused with the kind of free-floating menace that colored "The Fury," "Raising Cain" is best watched as a series of overlapping scenarios that may or may not be taking place in the real world. By the time it reaches its greatest feverishness, the film has featured a tussle involving three characters. One is real, one probably imaginary and one may actually be dead. At that point, it's hard to know for sure.

The Cain to whom the title refers is Carter's vicious alter ego, who likes to appear whenever a violent crime is in the wind. (This time, Mr. De Palma dispenses with the power drills and keeps the violence implicit and off screen.) Frequently shooting Cain from disturbing, tilted angles, Mr. De Palma may be promising to provide some kind of stylistic compass, but the film is often too caught up in its own craziness to keep track of that. Risky as it sounds, "Raising Cain" is enjoyable precisely because it makes the most of its own lunacy and stays so far out on a limb.

The fact that "Raising Cain" is beautifully made is, of course, another attraction. The film offers no warning as to when Mr. De Palma will launch into a spectacular tracking shot (a stunning one involving Frances Sternhagen goes on for about five minutes) or spin out a multi-tiered, slow-motion operatic showdown. The cinematographer Stephen H. Burum, whose several other films for Mr. De Palma include "The Untouchables," gives "Raising Cain" a crisp, handsome look that helps to ground its fanciful story in some sort of reality. As it means to, the film has the strange, perfect clarity of a dream.

Some of "Raising Cain" really does consist of dream sequences, although of course Mr. De Palma has fun by failing to specify where they begin and end. Carter has his own set of hallucinations, involving Cain's evil aphorisms ("The cat's in the bag, and the bag is in the river") and Carter's attempts to shake off very persistent childhood demons.

Carter's wife, Jenny (Lolita Davidovich), is confused in her own right once her former lover Jack (Steven Bauer) makes an unexpected appearance on the scene. Jenny's purchase of two clocks, one for Jack and one for Carter, affords the director many opportunities to play tricks upon the audience, as do Jenny's sexual reveries about Jack. These sequences, also startlingly photographed, have a way of featuring Carter lurking somewhere in the back of Jenny's mind.

Mr. Lithgow has a field day with an indescribably loony role, one that amounts to an open invitation for scenery-chewing excess; instead, this subtle, careful actor stays very much in control. Even in a woman's black wig, barefoot and wearing a raincoat, Mr. Lithgow manages to seem remarkably restrained. Miss Sternhagen also stands out as someone who is very much on the film's peculiar wavelength, although by the time she appears, fairly late in the story, it has all gone well over the edge. It is she, as someone who knew Carter and his even crazier father (also played by Mr. Lithgow), who reveals that their early troubles were once the basis for a television mini-series. That's one of the few things in "Raising Cain" that makes perfect sense.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, December 31, 2020
SLOW MOTION TO MIDNIGHT
HAPPY NEW YEAR
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rc1159medium.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 10:43 PM CST
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Sunday, December 20, 2020
MIDDLE CLASS FILM CLASS WATCHES 'RAISING CAIN'
AND WE LEARN THAT RYAN MURPHY WAS AT THE 'RAISING CAIN' PRESS JUNKET
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/mcfcrc.jpg

The three young movie fans who produce the Middle Class Film Class podcast had a fan suggest that they watch Raising Cain -- and so they did, and then discussed the film for the November 24th episode (the Raising Cain discussion begins at about the 56-minute mark). It's a very interesting listen for several reasons, as the friends seem to not be very familiar with the films of Brian De Palma. For instance, aside from John Lithgow, who they agree is "jarring" to see as "a middle-aged man with hair," the name that sticks out to the host as he reads the cast list is Gregg Henry -- not because Gregg Henry has worked so often with De Palma, but because "he's in every single one of James Gunn's projects."

There is some back-and-forth about whether or not Raising Cain is meant as any kind of comedy or not-- the one guy of the three who likes the film the most is the one who sees more deliberate humor in the film. There is also discussion of the camera work, and the one-shot exposition scene down into the morgue, although they are confused at the "weird" way the camera tilts with the characters as they walk down the stairs.

In the final leg of the podcast, they call Greg Srisavasdi of the Cinemaddicts podcast, who is introduced as a major De Palma fan. Srisavasdi tells them the story of the Rasing Cain press junket: how a press screening had garnered bad buzz for the film, and so the morning after, the producers were trying to play up Raising Cain as a comedy to the media at the scheduled press junket. Then Srisavasdi drops a stunning bit of revelation: "One of the former press junketeers, press members, who was part of that roundtable, was Ryan Murphy."

Previously:

Ryan Murphy's Ratched amps up Hitch & De Palma
Ryan Murphy's Scream Queens opens with Carrie joke
Ryan Murphy talks American Horror Story: Freak Show

American Horror Story: Freak Show Tips Hat to De Palma
Murphy Says AHS Season Under the Influence of De Palma
Carrie Cues & Echoes of Sisters as American Horror Story Begins Its Second Season


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, December 23, 2020 12:21 AM CST
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Sunday, November 29, 2020
SPANISH BLU OF 'RAISING CAIN' HAS SPLIT COVER CHOICES
INCLUDES GELDERBLOM RECUT, INTRO, VIDEO ESSAY, & 28-PAGE BOOKLET
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/spanishcaincarter.jpg

Reel One Entertainment's new Spanish Blu-ray edition of Brian De Palma's Raising Cain offers the buyer's choice of cover, with exclusive art by David Ribet. One shows Cain, and the other shows Carter. Both of them contain the theatrical version of the film, as well as Peet Gelderblom's recut, in which he reassembled the film according to De Palma's original screenplay. Also included are Gelderblom's intro to the recut, his video essay, and a 28-page booklet, which includes a forward by Albert Galera, curator of a 2018 De Palma exhibition in Catalonia, Spain, and coordinator of that exhibition's accompanying book, De Palma vs De Palma.

Posted by Geoff at 10:54 PM CST
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Sunday, August 9, 2020
'YOU SHOULD SEE THE EXPRESSION ON HER FACE...'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rcexpression1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 1:15 AM CDT
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Thursday, July 30, 2020
'TENEBRAE' & 'RAISING CAIN' SIDE-BY-SIDE VISUAL
COURTESY A TWEET FROM CLINTON BROWN
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tenebraeraisingcain2.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Thursday, April 23, 2020
'VIDEO REWIND' BLOG LOOKS BACK AT 'RAISING CAIN' VHS
"SEEING JOHN LITHGOW'S FACE ON THE VHS IN THE VIDEO STORE WAS A SHOCK"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/videorewind.jpgIn the "Video Rewind" column this month at Morbidly Beautiful, Jason McFiggins recalls discovering Raising Cain on VHS back in 1992:
As someone who primarily knew John Lithgow as the lovable goofball dad in the 1987 family film Harry and the Hendersons, seeing his face on the VHS of Raising Cain in the video store was a shock. Lithgow’s face is slightly angled and tilted down, his eyes looking up from a shadowed face torn down the middle with one side blackened, only the eyes and mouth an electric white like an eerie photo negative.

It’s a jarring image made more dangerous on the poster by two people in a passionate embrace below Lithgow’s frightening image, giving the feeling that these two lovers are in for a world of trouble. The wonderfully cheeky tagline above the two lovers explains the tear dividing Lithgow’s face: “When Jenny cheated on her husband, he didn’t just leave… He split.”

Pulpy psycho-thrillers were how Brian De Palma made a name for himself as a filmmaker, but he also had mainstream Hollywood success with The Untouchables (1987) and would hit big in 1996 with Mission: Impossible starring the biggest star on the planet, Tom Cruise. In 1991, De Palma was coming off The Bonfire of the Vanities, one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history, and searching for his next project. Perhaps looking to right the ship, De Palma returned to familiar ground with a film in the suspense/thriller genre, the director’s first since 1984’s Body Double.

De Palma had an idea from years before when a friend who was a child psychologist took time off from his practice in order to observe the development of his own child full time. This friend planned to write a book about his experience and observations. And while De Palma found this to be strange, he began thinking about the situation from the angle of a mystery/thriller movie.

He started to craft a story in his head about Dr. Carter Nix and his wife Jenny, an oncologist who worries about the fascination her husband has with their daughter Amy, unaware of what is really going on inside his head. De Palma titled the movie Raising Cain.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, April 24, 2020 7:52 AM CDT
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Saturday, February 15, 2020
DRAWER FULL OF VALENTINES - RAISING CAIN
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING - NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/rcvalentine1.jpg

 


Posted by Geoff at 9:38 AM CST
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