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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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De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

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Entries by Topic
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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Tuesday, May 3, 2022
MEGAN ABBOTT'S NY TIMES REVIEW OF 'MAGPIE'
A NOVEL THAT BELONGS TO THE GRAND GUIGNOL SCHOOL OF THRILLERS AKIN TO DE PALMA'S CINEMA
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/magpie.jpg

At The New York Times, novelist Megan Abbott reviews Magpie, a psychological thriller by Elizabeth Day:
Early in “Magpie,” a twist comes that made me gasp out loud. And it’s the kind of twist that makes you re-evaluate everything you’ve read before. And the twist marks the novel — at least for its first two-thirds — as one of the Grand Guignol school of thrillers of which Gillian Flynn remains the current master and, as much as countless book jackets in recent years have asserted otherwise, few have approached her virtuoso, go-big-or-go-home approach. These novels — much like their cinematic equivalent, Brian De Palma’s giddy, baroque and self-referential thrillers — place their characters in increasingly extreme situations, requiring them to make hairpin turns or Jekyll-Hyde transformations that risk straining credibility. We watch Marisa, Jake and Kate make choices that strain credibility or at least consistency of character. But realism isn’t the point. It’s not about how things are but how they feel — and the deeper truths that can be mined within that feeling.

As we’ve seen with novels like Jessica Knoll’s “Luckiest Girl Alive,” this expressionistic style can be a wildly effective means of excavating the pains and terrors of toxic relationships, partner violence, trauma, mental illness. In the case of “Magpie,” the near-constant fever pitch of the narrative matches how it feels to be suffering through pregnancy anxiety, fears of romantic betrayal, in-law strife, body horror. And the spiraling energy at the center of the novel captures the way fertility struggles can serve as a tripwire, upturning everything else in one’s life, laying bare all one’s vulnerabilities.

And we’re in it with Day, along for the ride as each baroque plot turn mimics the many shocks of womanhood. The whiplash is part of the fun. But it’s the smaller stuff that really sings, such as the way Kate and Marisa look at each other’s bodies with both envy and repulsion. Their gazes are shot through the punishing lens of childbearing potential and male desire. One is the “Thomas Hardy milkmaid” and the other, a Breton-shirted gamin — each, at different points, a more desirable, or grotesque, vision of womanhood.

The dilemma with such novels, however, is that once you’ve raised the pitch that high, once all bets are off and narrators have shown their inevitable unreliability, how do you bring it home in a satisfying way? Few have been able to approach the audacity of, say, Ira Levin’s “Rosemary’s Baby,” in their relentless, go-for-broke commitment to a tone that requires the novelist keep escalating until a final operatic close that is, against all odds, bigger (and darker) than anything that’s come before.


Posted by Geoff at 11:55 PM CDT
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Sunday, May 1, 2022
JULY 2, DE PALMA-RAMA TRIPLE FEATURE IN THE POCONOS
AT THE MAHONING DRIVE-IN THEATER IN PA - 'CARRIE', 'BLOW OUT', & A "SECRET FILM"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/patriple.jpg

The Mahoning Drive-In, which is "nestled in the scenic Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania," is planning a triple-feature "De Palma-Rama" on July 2nd. Here are the details from a Mahoning Instagram post:
This July 2nd, prepare yourself for “De Palma-Rama!”, a 35mm triple feature of masterfully macabre movies from Brian De Palma, the man who made you shiver and shake, quiver and quake with his cinematic sizzlers since the 70s!

We’ll present three De Palma classics, two announced and on 35mm, followed by a digital secret feature that’s sure to get your pulse racing well into the wee hours!

We begin with a trip to the prom. Your date…CARRIE (1976)!

Based on Stephen King’s bestseller about a quite girl who’s pushed too far, and enacts revenge on her tormentors, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen @nancyallen624 and John Travolta @johntravolta star in this telekinetic shocker. If only they knew she had the power!

Up next, John Travolta returns in a starring role as a sound man who accidentally records something that powerful people would prefer he hadn’t, and must race against time to piece together a mystery and save lives…including his own. BLOW OUT (1981), De Palma’s take on Antonioni’s Blow Up '66. This thriller expertly mixes suspense, mystery and horror into gritty noir mix.

Our third feature will be another De Palma classic, but in the spirit of his work, we’re going to keep you in suspense until it hits the screen!

Come early for themed eats, limited merch, live dj, raffles, photo ops & more..

General Gates at 6pm each night.
Showtime at Sundown.


Posted by Geoff at 11:48 PM CDT
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Friday, April 29, 2022
DE PALMA TURNED SPLIT-SCREEN INTO OPERATIC ART FORM
SAYS ANNE BILLSON AT THE GUARDIAN, DISCUSSING SPLIT-SCREENS & VARYING ASPECT RATIOS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/sistersplitrunning75.jpg

In an article today with the headline, "You’ve been reframed: how playing with split-screen and aspect ratio went mainstream," The Guardian's Anne Billson offers a concise sort of chronology of the use of split-screen in cinema:
Michael Bay once described his bombastic film-making style as “fucking the frame”, but if any director fornicates with the frame it must surely be Gaspar Noé, who blitzes us with flashing neon, 360-degree camera movements and intercourse closeups. So it’s a surprise when his new film, Vortex, begins with an elderly married couple (played by Françoise Lebrun and Italian horror maestro Dario Argento) sitting serenely on their Paris balcony.

When the soundtrack plays a lovely Françoise Hardy song, you wonder if Noé has mellowed. But wait! If he doesn’t actually shag the frame here, he fiddles with it in two ways. First, the square-ish Academy ratio (1.37:1) of the serene prologue expands into a letterbox shape. Second, that widescreen divides into two side-by-side images, shot simultaneously with two cameras, enabling us to watch as Lebrun’s character, stricken by dementia, meanders around their cluttered flat, while Argento’s, wrestling with health issues of his own, nixes their adult son’s suggestion they move into a care home. Vortex could be Noé’s toughest watch yet – but this is due to its brutal honesty, and not because of the split-screen, which pays devastating emotional dividends.

Most of today’s cutting-edge directors have at some point used split-screen sequences in their films. The effect still seems mildly adventurous, though it has been around since the birth of cinema. Lois Weber’s Suspense (1913) uses an innovative triangular split that still looks startling. In the last reel of Abel Gance’s 1927 epic Napoléon, the Academy screen opens out into three sets of film projected side by side to form a widescreen triptych. Split-screen was often used, with unobtrusive matting, to show one actor playing identical twins in the same frame, or as a witty ploy to sidestep censorship, making it look as though unmarried couples, such as Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant in Indiscreet, or Doris Day and Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk, are sharing a bed rather than just talking to each other on the phone.

Split-screen is perfect for phone calls: see Mean Girls. But as Guy Ritchie’s retro-styled The Man from Uncle reminded us, it’s an aesthetic we associate with the 1960s. Genius credits designer Saul Bass used split-screen montage for the opening of Grand Prix (1966); when Film Dope asked him about the technique a few years later he said: “I think it is terrific at expressing muchness, but I suspect it’s not capable of expressing deep feeling.” Bass’s split-screen is based on multiplication of a single image, but one year after Grand Prix, Christopher Chapman demonstrated his innovative “multidynamic image technique” in A Place to Stand, a landmark short made for the Ontario pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. (Earworm warning: I saw this film 50 years ago, and the maddening theme song has been lodged in my head ever since.) Chapman presents multiple panes in various sizes and shapes on a single screen; sometimes the images in the panes move independently, sometimes as components of one big picture.

Steve McQueen saw A Place to Stand at an advance screening in Hollywood and was impressed. One year later, Norman Jewison inserted split-screen sequences into The Thomas Crown Affair, including the opening credits, and McQueen playing polo. That same year, in The Boston Strangler, Richard Fleischer divided his screen to show a creepy phone caller, the recipient of the call, and the call being traced, all at once. Spilt-screen enabled Michael Wadleigh, director-cinematographer of Woodstock, to show crowd reactions in the same frame as the performers, while in 1973, Soylent Green employed it in the opening credits to encapsulate the “muchness” of proliferating industrialism and pollution.

The director most associated with split-screen is Brian De Palma, who turned it into an operatic art form. In Sisters, he shows the point of view of a dying murder victim at the same time as a witness looking back at him, and in Phantom of the Paradise he ramps up tension between the planting of a bomb and its explosion. Many mainstream audiences encountered split-screen for the first time in Carrie, when the traumatised antihero wreaks telekinetic carnage at her prom. De Palma told Cinefantastique magazine: “I felt the destruction had to be shown in split-screen, because how many times could you cut from Carrie to things moving around? You can overdo that.”


Posted by Geoff at 11:09 PM CDT
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Monday, April 11, 2022
VULTURE'S EROTIC THRILLER AMA FROM FRIDAY TWITTER
ANGELICA JADE BASTIEN DOVE RIGHT IN TO ANSWER QUESTIONS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/vultureerotic0.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 1:36 AM CDT
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Friday, April 1, 2022
CRITICS POLL OF 1970s CINEMA FINDS 'CARRIE' AT #50
THE FURY WAS ON 2 INDIVIDUAL LIST SUBMISSIONS; 1 LIST-MENTION EACH FOR HI, MOM!, SISTERS, PHANTOM, OBSESSION
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/carriehousereturn.jpg

"Participants were asked to submit 15 films (unranked)," explains World of Reel's Jordan Ruimy of his critics poll of the best movies of the 1970s. "The results are a top 100 filled to the brim with classic after classic. The ‘70s are known as the Golden era of American cinema for a reason, and that means that some masterful films such as Five Easy Pieces, Last Tango in Paris, Marathon Man, and The Parallax View couldn’t even sneak into the top 100."

Francis Ford Coppola has four films in the top ten: The Godfather (#1), The Godfather, Part II (#4), Apocalypse Now (#6), and The Conversation (#8).

Brian De Palma's Carrie makes the list at number 50, having appeared on ten of the individual lists. Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now also appeared on ten individual lists, but is ranked at #49 -- it seems mostly coincidence that #49 and #50 both feature scores by Pino Donaggio (three other films surrounding these two films in the ranking also appeared on precisely ten lists). Our old friend David Greven has Carrie on his list of 15 films, as well as three other De Palma films:

David Greven (Professor/USC)

THE GODFATHER, PART II
3 WOMEN
AUTUMN SONATA
DEATH IN VENICE
THE STORY OF ADELE H
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
KLUTE
TAXI DRIVER
THE EXORCIST
OBSESSION
CARRIE
THE FURY
SISTERS
IT'S ALIVE
DOG DAY AFTERNOON


Armond White also included The Fury, the only De Palma film on his list:
Armond White (National Review)

Nashville
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Last Tango in Paris
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Godfather, Part II
Mean Streets
1900
Taxi Driver
MASH
Ryan’s Daughter
The Warriors
The Godfather
Sounder
The Fury
Women in Love


Greven's mentions of De Palma's Sisters and Obsession were the only mentions of those two films, but two other critics' lists each included its own De Palma favorite. Tina Hassannia's highly unique list included Hi, Mom!, and Kevin Laforest included Phantom Of The Paradise on his list:
Tina Hassannia (Slant Magazine)

Celine and Julie Go Boating
Still Life
F for Fake
Badlands
Don’t Look Now
The Brood
Solaris
California Split
Hi, Mom!
Real Life

Kevin Laforest (Extra Beurre)

Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Annie Hall
Apocalypse Now
A Clockwork Orange
The Godfather
The Godfather: Part II
Halloween
Jaws
The Long Goodbye
Phantom of the Paradise
Rocky
Stalker
Suspiria
Taxi Driver
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 5:52 PM CDT
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Tuesday, March 29, 2022
COLLIDER WRITER PICKS '5 MOST UNDERRATED' DE PALMA
RAISING CAIN, FEMME FATALE, HI, MOM!, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, BODY DOUBLE
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/ff3onset55.jpg

"This is a piece about the Brian De Palma films you may have heard about but haven’t seen," Collider's Nick Laskin states in the introduction to his list of "5 Most Underrated Brian De Palma Movies." Laskin continues, "The under-the-radar ones, the ones that your cinephile friends have probably been bugging you about. Honestly, we could think of five more just off the top of our heads, but hey, this list is far from a bad place to start." Here are five quick pull-quotes from each of Laskin's five choices:

Raising Cain (1992)

De Palma has always known exactly what to do with the effete menace exuded by actor John Lithgow, particularly in early masterworks like Obsession and Blow Out. De Palma’s go-to tactic with Lithgow? Cast him as a bad guy, and make him as creepy as possible. In Cain, the veteran actor comes completely unglued, playing a respected psychologist who is revealed to be quite dangerous when he learns of his wife’s infidelity.

Femme Fatale (2002)
...to date, it is simultaneously one of the horniest and most elegant Hitchcock homages that this master craftsman has ever given us.

Hi, Mom! (1970)
The “Be Black, Baby!” sequence is an uncomfortable, barn-burning stunner, and almost surely one of the more purely provocative sequences that De Palma has ever committed to film.

Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Many day-one De Palma heads have this retro oddity in their personal top five, and for good reason: from a standpoint of pure visual technique and jaw-dropping cinematic invention, Phantom can feel, as you watch it, like nothing less than one of the coolest American movies ever made.

Body Double (1984)
Body Double is, yes, vulgar, ridiculous, offensive, and pretty much every other pejorative you could think to throw at it. It’s also by far De Palma’s most under-valued work on the whole: a brutal vivisection of voyeurism, entitlement, male ego, and the pomposity of Hollywood, disguised as Dressed To Kill 2.0. Even when the movie’s heart is scurrilous and perverse, its technique is so assured as to be downright classical in its composition.

Posted by Geoff at 11:24 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 9, 2022
KARINA LONGWORTH PODCAST DIVES INTO 'EROTIC 80s'
AND INTO THE 'EROTIC 90s' - DE PALMA & OTHERS DISCUSSED ON NEW SEASON OF 'YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dtkmedium1.jpg

The Hollywood Reporter's Mia Galuppo reports that the new season of Karina Longworth's podcast You Must Remember This, premiering April 5, will discuss erotic films of the 1980s and 1990s, with each episode devoted to one year:
Longworth spent much of the early COVID-19 pandemic watching movies from these two decades, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “One thing that became clear to me is that the world has changed in many ways that are very evident in cinema.” Racism, sexism and homophobia were far more prevalent in these movies, says Longworth, but “at the same time, there was this sense that a lot of really big, hit movies — that reflected the culture — dealt with people’s sex lives in a way that movies don’t do anymore, at least Hollywood movies. I wanted to try to figure out why that was.”

The season will be split into two parts, with “Erotic 80s” set to premiere on April 5. The second part — “Erotic 90s” — will premiere in the fall. Episodes will focus on erotic thrillers, body horrors, neo-noirs and sex comedies, and tackle the fall of the MPAA’s production code and the brief legitimacy of the X-rated movie, among other touchstones.

Some films discussed in the season will be American Gigolo, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Fatal Attraction, as well as works from Steven Soderbergh and Brian De Palma, among others. Each episode will focus on one year, discussing movies and stars, with the season culminating in the year 1999, focusing on Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut.

Longworth says that, while the pandemic has kept her traditional avenues of research like the Academy’s film archives shuttered, she turned to vintage magazines as source materials. “I am reading this vintage issues of People or Playboy, Us Weekly, GQ, Vogue, and seeing how different stars and filmmakers are being presented through the media,” says Longworth. She was particularly surprised to see the anger that surrounded the release of Flashdance, from critics to industry execs.

You Must Remember This, which won a 2021 iHeartRadio podcast award, is presented in partnership with podcast studio Cadence13. Recent seasons have focused on gossip columnists Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper, and the lives and careers of Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin.

“I don’t want anybody to be turned off because this season is so recent compared to talking about the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s,” notes Longworth. “What I am trying to do is put the ’80s and ’90s in the context of 20th century Hollywood and talk about the things that happened in the ’20s and the ’30s have a direct relationship to these movies.” The host surmises: “I am always excited to get people to watch movies that they maybe wouldn’t have watched otherwise or to look at movies that they think they know in a different way.”


Posted by Geoff at 11:17 PM CST
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Wednesday, March 2, 2022
'BLOW OUT' #20 ON ROLLING STONE'S '80s MOVIE LIST
'SCARFACE' RANKS #96
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/blowoutconspiracy265.jpg

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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Thursday, February 10, 2022
5 DE PALMA EPISODES - SCHLOCK & AWE PODCAST
DOUBLE-FEATURE PODCAST PAIRS A DE PALMA FILM WITH SOMETHING ELSE THE PAST FEW WEEKS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/schlockandawe1.jpg


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CST
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Tuesday, February 1, 2022
NICK BARTLETT AGAIN -
THIS TIME RANKING HIS TOP 14 BRIAN DE PALMA FILMS
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/tweetnickb.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 1:18 PM CST
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