Brian De Palma

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Cold Bishop
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Brian De Palma

#1 Post by Cold Bishop » Fri May 28, 2010 8:16 pm

Brian De Palma (Born 1939)


”I have a strong stylistic orientation; I’m strongly aware of images. I think film is a graphic art form. The advent of sound attacked that a lot and film became a recording media. The silent directors had learned how to sell stories in a completely visual way and sound overwhelmed a lot of that. You have to create a story so the audience can see it instead of being told about it… But that takes a lot of thought, and few filmmakers know what it’s all about.”

~ Brian De Palma


Icarus (1960) [Short]

660124: The Story of an IBM Card (1961) [Short]

Woton’s Wake (1962) [Short] Carlotta (R2 France)

Jennifer (1964) [Short]

Bridge that Gap (1965) [Short]

The Responsive Eye (1966) [Short] Carlotta (R2 France)

Show Me a Strong Town and I’ll Show You a Strong Bank (1966) [Short]

Murder à la Mod (1968) Something Weird (R1)

Greetings (1968) Platinum Disc (R1) / Cinema Club (R2) / Gie Sphe-Tf1 (R2 France)

The Wedding Party (1969) [w/ Wilford Leach and Cynthia Munroe] Troma (R1) / Prism (R2 UK)

Dionysus (1970) [w/ Richard Schechner] Carlotta (R2 France)

Hi, Mom! (1970) MGM (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France) / Carlotta (R2 France)

Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972) Warner Archives

Sisters (1973) Criterion (R1) / Pathe (R2 UK) / Wild Side (R2 France)

Phantom of the Paradise (1974) Fox (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France)

Obsession (1976) Sony (R1) / Anchor Bay (R2 UK) / Films sans Frontieres (R2 France)

Carrie (1976) MGM (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France)

The Fury (1978) Fox (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France)

Home Movies (1980) Westlake (R1)

Dressed to Kill (1980) MGM (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France)

Blow Out (1981) MGM (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France)

Scarface (1983) Universal (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France)

Dancing in the Dark (1984) [Music Video] Sony (R1) [Bruce Springsteen - The Complete Video Anthology, 1978-2000]

Body Double (1984) Sony (R1) / UCA (R2 UK) / G.C.T.H.V. (R2 France)

Wise Guys (1986) Warner (R1 + R2 Au)

The Untouchables (1987) Paramount (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France + Blu-Ray)

Casualties of War (1989) Sony (R1) / UCA (R2 UK) / G.C.T.H.V. (R2 France)

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) Warner (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France)

Raising Cain (1992) Universal (R1 + R2 France) / UCA (R2 UK)

Carlito’s Way (1993) Universal (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France + Blu-Ray)

Mission: Impossible (1996) Paramount (R1 + R2 UK + R2 France + Blu-Ray)

Snake Eyes (1998) Paramount (R1) / Walt Disney (R2 UK) / Buena Vista (R2 France)

Mission to Mars (2000) Walt Disney (R1) / Touchstone (R2 UK) / Universal (R2 France + Blu-Ray)

Femme Fatale (2002) Warner (R1 + R2 UK) / TF1 (R2 France)

The Black Dahlia (2006) Universal (R1) / Entertainment in Video (R2 UK) / Seven7 (R2 France + Blu-Ray) / Dutch Film Works (Region Free Blu-Ray)

Redacted (2007) Magnolia (R1) / Optimum (R2 UK + Blu-Ray) / Gie Sphe-Tf1 (R2 France)

Forum Discussions

De Palma on DVD

Murder à la Mod (De Palma, 1967)

89 Sisters

Phantom of the Paradise

The Fury (De Palma, 1978)

Dressed to Kill (Brian De Palma, 1980)

Casualties of War SE

Carlito’s Way UE

Mission(s) Impossible

The Black Dahlia (Brian De Palma, 2006)

Redacted (Brian De Palma, 2007)

Web Resources

Film Reference Links and Article - Robin Wood and Joseph Milicia

De Palma a la Mod - Comprehensive unofficial De Palma fansite

[url=http]Le Virtuose du 7éme Art[/url] - French site with news, analysis and interviews

The Swan Archives -Phantom of the Paradise fansite from “The Swan Foundation” with history and analysis on the film

Phantompalooza - Another Phantom fansite, with emphasis on the cult fanbase

Carrie... A Fan Site


Nepoti, Roberto, Brian De Palma. Il Castoro cinema, 94. Firenze: La nuova Italia, 1982, revised edition, 1995.

Bliss, Michael, Brian De Palma. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1983.

Dworkin, Susan, Double De Palma: A Film Study with Brian De Palma. New York: Newmarket Press, 1984, revised edition, 1990.

Colmena, Enrique. Brian De Palma. Colección Directores de cine, no. 27. Madrid: Ediciones JC, 1987.

Bouzereau, Laurent, The De Palma Cut: The Films of America's Most Controversial Director. New York: Dembner Books, 1988.

MacKinnon, Kenneth, Misogyny in the Movies: The De Palma Question. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1990.

Gunden, Kenneth Von, Postmodern Auteurs: Coppola, Lucas, Depalma, Spielberg and Scorsese. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1991.

Salamon, Julie, The Devil's Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991.

Legrand, Dominique. Brian De Palma: le rebelle manipulateur. Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1995.

Gandini, Leonardo. Brian De Palma. I Grandi del cinema. Roma: Gremese, 1996.

Lagier, Luc. Visions fantastiques: Mission : impossible de Brian de Palma. [Paris]: Dreamland, 1999.

Ashbrook, John. The Pocket Essential Brian De Palma. Harpenden: Pocket Essentials, 2000.

Cantero Fernández, Marcial. Brian de Palma. Signo e imagen/Cineastas, 51. [Madrid]: Cátedra, 2000.

De Palma, Brian, Samuel Blumenfeld, and Laurent Vachaud. Brian de Palma. [Paris]: Calmann-Lévy, 2001.

Lagier, Luc. Les mille yeux de Brian de Palma. Paris: Dark Star, 2003.

Peretz, Eyal. Becoming Visionary: Brian De Palma's Cinematic Education of the Senses. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Selected Articles (Books)

Wood, Robin, “Brian De Palma: The Politics of Castration.” Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.

Amis, Martin. "Brian De Palma: the Movie Brute." The Moronic Inferno: and Other Visits to America. New York: Viking, 1987.

Graham, Allison, “‘The Fallen Wonder of the World’: Brian De Palma’s Horror Films.” American Horrors: Essays on the Modern American Horror Film. Ed. Gregory A. Waller. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.

Bernardoni, James. “The Hitchcockian Fallacy.” The New Hollywood: What the Movies Did with the New Freedoms of the Seventies. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1991 [on Carrie and Taxi Driver]

William, Paul. “Menstruation, Monstrosity, Mothers.” Laughing, Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Goetsch, Paul. “Atrocities in Vietnam War Movies: The Direction of Sympathies in Casualties of War.” Modern War on Stage and Screen. Ed. Wolfgang Gortschacher and Holger Klein. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997.

Hill, Mike. “Can Whiteness Speak? Institutional Anomies, Ontological Disasters, and Three Hollywood Films.” White Trash: Race and Class in America. Ed. Wray, Matt and Annalee Newitz. New York: Routledge, 1997. [on The Bonfire of the Vanities]

Hull, Stephanie and Maurizio Viano. "The Image of Blacks in the Work of Coppola, De Palma and Scorsese." Ed. Anthony Julian Tamburi et al. Beyond the Margin: Readings in Italian Americana, Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1998.

Horsley, Jake. “Pulp Culture - Brute Expressions of Rage.” The Blood Poets: A Cinema of Savagery 1958-1999. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 1999.

Fraiman, Susan. “Spike Lee and Brian De Palma: Scenarios of Race and Rape.” Cool Men and the Second Sex. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Gilbey, Ryan. “Brian De Palma.” It Don’t Worry Me: The Revolutionary American Films of the Seventies. New York: Faber and Faber, 2003.

Williams, Linda Ruth. “Brian De Palma: 'Sex Is Terrifying'" + “Interview: Brian De Palma.” The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.

Short, Sue. “Maternal Monsters and Motherly Mentors: Failed Initiations in Carrie and Carrie II.” Misfit Sisters: Screen Horror as Female Rites of Passage. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Kelly, Alison M. “The Queen Bee, the Prom Queen, and the Girl Next Door: Teen Hierarchical Structures in Carrie.” The Films of Stephen King: from Carrie to Secret Window Ed. Tony Magistrale. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Selected Articles (Online)

Truffot, Didier. “SISTERS : Les cicatrices du gros plan (Soeurs de Sang) de Brian de Palma / 1973.” Cinetudes April (2005)

Hughes. “MISSION TO MARS de Brian de Palma / 2000.” Cinetudes April (2006)

Devienne, Donald. “Sur BLACK DAHLIA de Brian de Palma (2006): ‘Le Spectacle doit continuer.’” Cinetudes Sept (2007)

Jerôme, “OBSESSION by Brian De Palma / 1975.” Cinetudes June (2006) [English Translation]

Greven, David. “Misfortune and Men's Eyes.” Genders 49 (2009)

Greven, David “Medusa in the Mirror: The Split World of Brian De Palma's Carrie.” Refractory: Double Trouble 14 (2008)

Taylor, Charles. “The Filmmaker Who Came in From the Cold.” Salon. (Article on Mission: Impossible circa 1995)

Uhlich, Keith. “Brian De Palma.” Senses of Cinema [Great Directors] June (2003)

Kakmi, Dmetri. “Myth and Magic in De Palma’s Carrie.” Senses of Cinema 3 Feb (2000)

Villella, Fiona A. “A Revelation: Carlito’s Way” Senses of Cinema 6 May (2000)

Kakmi, Dmetri. “The Key to De Palma’s Raising Cain.” Senses of Cinema 6 May (2000)

Wilson, Brian. “Greetings.” Senses of Cinema [Cinémathéque Annotations on Film] Oct-Dec (2008)

Selected Articles (Periodicals)

Aumont, Jacques. “Greetings.” Cahiers du cinéma n215 Sep (1969) [from the Berlin Film Festival]

Eyquem, Olivier. “Horror Show (Phantom of the Paradise).” Positif n168 Apr (1975)

De Palma, Brian. “Remembering Herrmann.” Take One: Film & Television in Canada 5 n2 May (1976)

Kael, Pauline. “The Current Cinema: The Curse.” The New Yorker 52 Nov (1976) [on Carrie]

Stuart, Alexander. "Phantoms and Fantasies: Brian De Palma." Films and Filming 23 Dec (1976)

Maffett, James D. “‘The Omen’ - ‘Obsession’: Different Approaches to the Supernatural.” Film Music Notebook 3 n1 (1977)

Cumbow, Robert C. and Grace A. Cumbow. “The New Life Begins: Dantean Obsession in ‘Obsession.’” Movietone News n53 Jan (1977)

Matusa, Paula. “Corruption and Catastrophe: De Palma's ‘Carrie.’” Film Quarterly 31 n1 Jan (1977)

Greenspun, Roger. "Carrie, and Sally and Leatherface Among the Film Buffs." Film Comment 13 Jan/Feb (1977)

Wood, Robin. "Yet Another Terrible Child." The Times Educational Supplement n3219 Feb 11 (1977) [on Carrie]

Bathrick, Serafina Kent. "'Carrie'; Ragtime: The Horror of Growing Up Female." Jump Cut: a Review of Contemporary Media n14 Mar (1977) [Link]

Citron, Michelle. “Carrie Meets Marathon Man.” Jump Cut: a Review of Contemporary Media n14 Mar (1977) [Link]

Lenne, Gérard. "Brian De Palma ou le Mélo-Thriller fantastique." Écran n56 Mar (1977)

Henry, Michel. “L'oeil du malin (a propos de Brian De Palma).” Positif n193 May (1977)
---- “Entretien avec Brian De Palma.” Positif n193 May (1977)

Childs, Mike and Alan Jones. “De Palma Has the Power: Brian De Palma and Sissy Spacek on ‘Carrie.’” Cinefantastique 6 n1 Summer (1977)

Kane, Pascal. “Note sur le cinema de Brian de Palma.” Cahiers du cinéma n277 Jun (1977)

Brown, Royal S. “Considering De Palma.” American Film: a Journal of the Film and Television Arts n2 Jul/Aug (1977)

Matusa, Paula. "Corruption and Catastrophe: De Palma's ‘Carrie.’” Film Quarterly 31 n1 Fall 1977

Guérif, François. “Fantôme de la cinémathéque.” Jeune cinéma n106 Nov (1977)

Garel, Alain. "Brian de Palma." Image et Son n323 Dec (1977)

Pirie, David. "American Cinema in the '70s: 'Carrie.'" Movie n25 Winter (1977/78)

Leaming, Barbara. "Towards a Psychoanalytic Reading of the System(s) of a Contemporary American Film." Cine-tracts 1 n3 (1978) [on Sisters]

Mandell, Paul. “Brian De Palma discusses ‘The Fury.’” Filmmakers Newsletter 11 May (1978)

Crawley, Tony. “The Sound and the Fury (Interview with Brian De Palma).” Films Illustrated 8 (1978)

Swires, Steve. “Things That Go Bump in the Night: An Interview with Brian De Palma.” Films in Review 29 Aug/Sep (1978)

Kael, P. "The Current Cinema: Shivers." The New Yorker 54 Dec (1978) [on The Fury]

Ehlers, Leigh A. “‘Carrie’: Book and Film.” Florida State University Conference on Literature & Film 4 (1979)

Boland, Bernard. “Furie.” Cahiers du cinéma n299 Apr (1979)

Jameson, Richard T. “Style vs. ‘Style.’” Film Comment 16 Mar/Apr (1980)

Hoberman, J. "De Palma: Dazzling." The Village Voice 25 Jul 23 (1980) [on Dressed to Kill]

Rosenthal, David. “Dressed for a Killing.” New York Magazine 13 Aug 4 (1980)

Appelbaum, Ralph. “Techniques of the Horror Film: ‘Dressed to Kill’ [Interview with Brian De Palma].” Filmmakers Film & Video Monthly 13 Sep (1980)

Morris, Gary. “Dressed to Kill and No Place to Go.” Film Comment 16 n5 Sep/Oct (1980)

Kaminsky, Stuart M. "'Dressed to Kill': An Appreciation." The Armchair Detective 14 n1 Winter (1981)

Glossop, Pat. "Cinematographer Ralf Bode: Adapting to the Story." Millimeter 9 Mar (1981)

Ryan, Tom. "Looking in on 'Dressed To Kill.'" Cinema Papers n31 Mar/Apr (1981)

Daney, Serge. “Douchet decortique De Palma.” Cahiers du cinéma n326 Jul/Aug (1981) [Interview]

Philippon, Alain. “Le psychiatre était blonde.” Cahiers du cinéma n326 Jul/Aug (1981) [on Dressed to Kill]

Kael, P. The Current Cinema: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Gadgeteer." The New Yorker 57 Jul 24 (1981) [on Blow Out]

Lucas, Tim. “Blow Out.” Cinefantastique 11 n3 Sep (1981)

Sragow, Michael. "Movies: 'Blow Out': The Sounds of Violence." Rolling Stone n351 Sep 3 (1981)

Ciment, Michel. “Blow Out.” Positif n248 Nov (1981)

Amata, Carmie. “Travolta and De Palma Discuss ‘Blow Out.’” Films and Filming n327 Dec (1981)

Ryan, Tom. “Narrative Manipulations: Brian de Palma's ‘Blowout.’” Cinema Papers n36 Feb (1982)

Chion, Michel. “De l’écoute comme désir.” Cahiers du cinéma n333 Mar (1982)

Garsault, Alain. “Un vrai moderne.” Positif n253 Apr (1982) [on Blow Out]

Rosenbaum, Jonathan and Serge Daney. “Entretien avec Brian de Palma.” Cahiers du cinéma n334/335 Apr (1982)

Horning, Beth. “‘Blow Out’: Fake Humanism.” Jump Cut: a Review of Contemporary Media n27 Jul (1982) [Link]

Gordon, Norman G. and Anaruth Gordon. "De Palma's 'Dressed to Kill': Erotic Imagery and Primitive Aggression." American Imago 39 n3 Sep (1982)

Asselle, Giovanni and Behroze Ghandy. “Dressed to Kill.” Screen 23 n3/4 Sep/Oct (1982) [about the feminist backlash against the film]

Westphal, Richard. “When the Screaming Stops: A Look at ‘Blow Out.’” Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities 2 n1 Fall (1982)

Steiner, Wendy. “Brian de Palma's Romances.” Michigan Quarterly Review 21 n3 Fall (1982)

Vertlieb, Steve. “Dressed to Thrill: The Illusory Frenzy of Brian De Palma.” Cinemacabre n5 Fall (1982)

Button, Simon. “Visceral Poetry.” Films n12 Nov (1982)

Eisen, Ken. “The Young Misogynists of American Cinema.” Cineaste 13 n1 (1983)

Gordon, Norman G. and Anaruth Gordon. “De Palma's Dreams: Terror and Trauma.” Dreamworks 3 n2 (1983)

Gordon, Norman G. “Family Structure and Dynamics in De Palma's Horror Films.” Psychoanalytic Review 70 n3 Fall (1983)

Brown, Georgia A. “Obsession.” American Film: a Journal of the Film and Television Arts 9 Dec (1983) [on Scarface]

Cleaver, Thomas Mckelvey. "Scarface". American Cinematographer 64 Dec (1983)

Kael, P. "The Current Cinema: A De Palma Movie for People Who Don't Like De Palma Movies." The New Yorker 59 Dec 26 (1983) [on Scarface]

Jaehne, K. "Scarface". Cineaste 13 n3 (1984)

Chute, David. "Scarface". Film Comment 20 Jan/Feb (1984)

Bautista, Jacquelin. “Intent and Effect in ‘Blow Out.’” Jump Cut: a Review of Contemporary Media n29 Feb (1984) [Link]

Horning, Beth. “Alienating Hopelessness.” Jump Cut: a Review of Contemporary Media n29 Feb (1984) [on Blow Out] [Link]

Chion, Michel. “Scarface.” Cahiers du cinéma n357 Mar (1984)

Fisher, William. “Re: Writing: Film History: from Hitchcock to De Palma.” Persistence of Vision: the Journal of the Film Faculty of the City University of New York n1 Summer (1984)

Tourigny, Maurice. "'Body Double': L'absurdite de l'imitation." 24 Images n22/23 Fall/Winter (1984)

Jacobson, Harlan. “Brian's ‘Body.’” Film Comment 20 Sep/Oct (1984)

Pally, Marcia. “‘Double’ Trouble.” Film Comment 20 Sep/Oct (1984)

Maslin, Janet. “De Palma acknowledges Hitchcock.” The New York Times 19 Oct (1984)

Denby, D. "Movies: The Woman in the Window." New York Magazine 17 Nov 5 (1984) [on Body Double]

Denby, David and others. “Pornography: Love or Death?” Film Comment 20 Nov/Dec (1984)

Kael, P. "The Current Cinema: Faked Out, Cooled Out, Bummed Out." The New Yorker 60 Nov 12 (1984) [on Body Double]

Rafferty, Terrence. “De Palma's American Dreams.” Sight & Sound 53 n2 (1984)

Hirschberg, Lynn. “Brian De Palma's Death Wish.” Esquire 101 Jan (1984) [on Scarface]

Chute, David. “Scarface.” Film Comment 20 Jan/Feb (1984)

Werba, Marco. "Pino Donaggio on 'Body Double.'" Cinemascore: the Film Music Journal n13/14 (1985)

Assayas, Olivier. “La place du spectateur.” Cahiers du cinéma n368 Feb (1985) [on Body Double]

Dumont, Pascal. "Body double." Cinema 85 n315 Mar (1985)
--- "Entretien avec Brian DePalma." Cinema 85 n315 Mar (1985)

Garsault, Alain. "Body Double." Positif n291 May (1985)

Stengel, Wayne. "Brian De Palma's 'Body Double' and the Shadow of Alfred Hitchcock." New Orleans Review 12 n3 Fall (1985)

Braudy, Leo. “The Sacraments of Genre: Coppola, De Palma, Scorsese.” Film Quarterly 39 n3 (1986)

Maclean, Robert. “‘The Fury’: The Metaphysics of Communication.” Literature/Film Quarterly 14 n2 (1986)

Wood, Robert E. “You've Got to Act: Escaping the Gaze in De Palma's ‘Body Double.’” Studies in the Humanities 13 n1 (1986)

Kael, P. "The Current Cinema: Drifters, Dopes, and Dopers." The New Yorker 62 May 19 (1986) [on Wise Guys]

Stengel, Wayne. "Voyeurism as Crime in Brian De Palma's 'Dressed to Kill.'" New Orleans Review 14 n3 (1987)

White, Armond. "On Valentine's Day: Amour Fools." Film Comment 23 n1 Jan/Feb (1987) [Includes discussion of Dressed to Kill]

De Palma, Brian. “De Palma’s Guilty Pleasures.” Film Comment 23 n3 May/Jun (1987)

Kael, Paulene. "The Current Cinema: Broad Strokes." The New Yorker 63 Jun 29 (1987) [on The Untouchables]

De Stefano, George. "Family Lies." Film Comment 23 Jul/Aug (1987) [on The Untouchables]

Harrell, Al. "'The Untouchables': A Search for Period Flavor." American Cinematographer 68 Jul (1987)

Krohn, Bill. “Lettre de Hollywood: La carte du desert.” Cahiers du cinéma n399 Sep (1987) [discusses The Untouchables]

Bonitzer, Pascal. “Le cafard au Lido.” Cahiers du cinéma n400 Oct (1987) [discusses The Untouchables]

Katsahnias, Iannis. “Les nouveaux moralistes.” Cahiers du cinéma n400 Oct (1987) [discusses The Untouchables]
--- “Eisenstein, Koulechov et nous.” Cahiers du cinéma n400 Oct (1987) [on The Untouchables

Rafferty, Terrence. "Vietnam's Agony." Sight & Sound 59 n1 (1989)

Smith, Gavin. "Body Count: Rabe and De Palma’s Wargasm." Film Comment 25 Jul/Aug (1989) [on Casualties of War]

Vincenzi, Lisa. “Pointed Visions.” Millimeter 17 Aug (1989)

Toubiana, Serge. “Le retour de Vietnam.” Cahiers du cinéma n424 Oct (1989) [discusses Casualties of War alongside Platoon and Bill Forsyth’s Breaking In]

Krohn Bill. “Sexe, fiction et documentaire.” Cahiers du cinéma n424 Oct (1989) [discusses Casualties of War]

Girard, Martin. "Victimes du Vietnam." Sequences: la Revue de Cinema n143 Nov (1989)

Hugo, Chris. “Three Films of Brian De Palma.” Movie n33 Winter (1989) [on Blow Out, Scarface and Body Double]

Mamber, Stephen. "Parody, Intertextuality, Signature: Kubrick, DePalma, and Scorsese." Quarterly Review of Film and Video 12 n1 (1990)

De Baecque, Antoine. “Le cauchemar d’Eriksson.” Cahiers du cinéma n427 Jan (1990) [on Casualties of War]

Katsahnias, Iannis. “Le spectacle de la guerre.” Cahiers du cinéma n427 Jan (1990) ) [on Casualties of War]

Fisher, Bob. "The Bonfire of the Vanities." American Cinematographer 71 Nov (1990)

McCarthy, Todd. "The Bonfire of the Vanities." Variety 341 Dec 24 (1990)

Hoberman, J. "War Zone." The Village Voice [36] Jan 1 (1991) [on The Bonfire of the Vanities]

Acker, Kathy. "The War at Home." New Statesman & Society 3 Jan 25 (1991) [on The Bonfire of the Vanities]

Kael, Pauline. "Vanity, Vanities." The New Yorker 66 Jan 14 (1991)

Katsahnias, Iannis. “Le bûcher des vanités.” Cahiers du cinéma n441 Mar (1991)

Vachaud, Laurent. "Le bûcher des vanités." Positif n362 Apr (1991)

Harkness, John. "The Bonfire of the Vanities." Sight & Sound 1 May (1991)

White, Armond. “Brian De Palma, Political Filmmaker.” Film Comment 27 May/Jun (1991) [on The Bonfire of the Vanities]

Lindsey, Shelley Stamp. "Horror, Femininity, and Carrie's Monstrous Puberty." Journal of Film and Video 43 n4 Winter (1991)

Johnson, Steven R. "Innocence + Exploitation: America in the Grip of 'Carrie.'" Delirious: the Fantasy Film Magazine n1 (1992)

Angeli, Michael. "They're more than just a pair of characters: John Lithgow takes on five roles in one movie." The New York Times 141 Aug 2 (1992)

Hoberman, J. "Paint It Black." The Village Voice 37 Aug 11 (1992) [on Raising Cain]

Taubin, Amy. "The Master of Jeopardy." The Village Voice 37 Aug 11 (1992) [on Raising Cain]

Plunket, Robert. "Brian De Palma." Interview 22 Aug (1992)

Dhairyam, Sagri. "Between Hysteria and Death: Exploring Spaces for Feminine Subjectivity in De Palma's 'The Sisters' and 'Body Double.'" New Orleans Review 19 n3 Fall (1992)

Muse, Eben J. "The Land of Nam: Romance and Persecution in Brian DePalma's 'Casualties of War.'" Literature/Film Quarterly 20 n3 Fall (1992)

Spear, Bruce. "Political Morality and Historical Understanding in 'Casualties of War.'" Literature/Film Quarterly 20 n3 Fall (1992)

Jousse, Thierry. “Citizen Caïn.” Cahiers du cinéma n460 Oct (1992)

Hardesty, Mary. "Cain's Cameraman Is Able Ally." American Cinematographer 73 Nov (1992)

Vachaud, Laurent. "L'esprit de Cain." Positif n381 Nov (1992)

Keogh, Peter. “Out of the Ashes.” Sight & Sound 2 Dec (1992) [on Raising Cain]

Romney, Jonathan. "Raising Cain." Sight & Sound 2 Dec (1992)

Strauss, Frederic. “Brian De Palma.” Cahiers du cinéma n462 Dec (1992)

Harper, P. B. “Playing in the Dark: Privacy, Public Sex and the Erotics of the Cinema Venue.” Camera Obscura n30 May (1993). [on Dressed to Kill and Frank Ripploh’s Taxi zum Klo]

Hoberman, J. "Street Life." The Village Voice 38 Nov 16 (1993) [on Carlito's Way]

Strauss, Frédéric. “Hi, Mom!” Cahiers du cinéma n17 Hors série Dec (1993)

McMahon, Kathryn. "'Casualties of War': History, Realism, and the Limits of Exclusion." Journal of Popular Film and Television 22 n1 Spring (1994)

Huppert, Isabelle, Thierry Jousse and Camille Nevers. “Entrevue avec Brian De Palma.” Cahiers du cinéma n477 Mar (1994)

Ostria, Vincent. “Passage de la boule blanche.” Cahiers du cinéma n478 Apr (1994) [on Carlito’s Way]

Rauger, Jean-François. “La mort aux trousses.” Cahiers du cinéma n478 Apr (1994) [on Carlito’s Way]

Rouyer, Philippe. “Le film criminal américain.” Positif n397 Mar (1994)
---and Laurent Vachaud. “Entretien avec Brian DePalma.” Positif n397 Mar (1994)

Rouyer, Philippe. "L'impasse." Positif n397 Mar (1994) [on Carlito's Way]

Smith, Jack. "The Sound Track." Films in Review 45 May/Jun (1994) [on Carlito's Way]

Gruner, Elliott. "Rape and Captivity." Jump Cut: a Review of Contemporary Media n39 Jun (1994) [on Casualties of War] [Link]

Hendershot, Cyndy. “The Possession of the Male Body: Masculinity in ‘The Italian’, ‘Psycho’ and ‘Dressed to Kill.’” Readerly/Writerly Texts: Essays on Literature, Literary/Textual Criticism, & Pedagogy 2 n2 Spring/Summer (1995) [Also collected in her book, “The Animal Within: Masculinity and the Gothic”]

Ingersoll, Earl G. “The Construction of Masculinity in Brian De Palma’s film ‘Casualties of War.’” Journal of Men’s Studies 4 n1 Aug (1995)

Brill, Lesley. "'A Hero for our Times': 'Foreign Correspondent,' 'Hero' and 'The Bonfire of the Vanities.'" Hitchcock Annual Fall (1995)

Carlson, Jerry W. "Down the Streets of Time: Puerto Rico and New York City in the Films 'Q&A' and 'Carlito's Way.'" Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities 16 n1 (1996)

Tarantino, Quentin. “Emotion Pictures: Quentin Tarantino Talks to Brian De Palma.” Projections n5 (1996)

Bergery, Benjamin. "Imaging the Impossible." American Cinematographer 77 Jun (1996)

Friend, Tom. "Man with a 'Mission.'" Premiere 9 Jun (1996)

Rafferty, Terrence. "The Illusionist." The New Yorker 72 Jun 3 (1996) [on Mission: Impossible]

Hoberman, J. "Old Warriors." The Village Voice 41 Jun 4 (1996) [on Mission: Impossible]

Hampton, Howard. "Mission." Film Comment 32 Jul/Aug (1996)

Arroyo, Jose. "Mission: Sublime." Sight & Sound 6 Jul (1996)

Krohn, Bill. “Tornadoes, Martiens et ordinateurs.” Cahiers du cinéma n505 Sep (1996) [discusses Mission: Impossible]

Pirie, David. "Wave Theory." Sight & Sound 6 Sep (1996) [on Mission: Impossible]

Anger, Cédric. “Le simulacre simulé.” Cahiers du cinéma n507 Nov (1996) [on Mission: Impossible]

Jousse, Thierry. “Mission: Impossible, de la série au film.” Cahiers du cinéma n507 Nov (1996)

Katsahnias, Iannis. “Le monde-regard de Brian De Palma.”Cahiers du cinéma n507 Nov (1996) [on Mission: Impossible]

Vachaud, Laurent. "Mission: Impossible." Positif n429 Nov (1996)

Magid, Ron. "Making 'Mission' Possible." American Cinematographer 77 Dec (1996)

Scorsese, Martin. “Our Generation.” Projections n7 (1997)

Welsch, Tricia. "At Work in the Genre Laboratory: Brian De Palma's 'Scarface.'" Journal of Film and Video 49 n1 (1997)

du Mesnildot, Stéphane. “La mort à Grand Central.” Cinémathéque n11 Spring (1997) [on Carlito’s Way]

Leitch, Thomas M. “The Hitchcock Moment.” Hitchcock Annual Fall (1997)

Librach, Ronald S. “Sex, lies, and audiotape: Politics and Heuristics in ‘Dressed to Kill’ and ‘Blow Out.’” Literature/Film Quarterly 26 n3 (1998)

Likavec, Brenda. "Names and Symbols: The Different Levels of Interpretation in Brian De Palma's 'Phantom of the Paradise.'" Michigan Academician 30 n3 (1998)

Anger, Cédric. “Improve Your English (and Your Peep Art).” Cahiers du cinéma n524 May (1998) [on Greetings]

Hoberman, J. "Lost in the Funhouse." The Village Voice 43 Aug 18 (1998) [on Snake Eyes]

Pizzello, Chris. "Ringside Riddle." American Cinematographer 79 Aug (1998) [on Snake Eyes]

Anderson, John. "Snake Eyes." Film Comment 34 Sep/Oct (1998)

Burdeau, Emmanuel. “Jouissance de l’oeil.” Cahiers du cinéma n529 Nov (1998) [on Snake Eyes]

Deloorme, Stéphane. “A mainte reprises.” Cahiers du cinéma n529 Nov (1998) [on Snake Eyes]

Strick, Philip. "Risky Business." Sight & Sound 8 Nov (1998) [on Snake Eyes]

Viviani, Christian. "Snake Eyes: sous la peau du serpent." Positif n454 Dec (1998)

Berthomieu, Pierre. “Démesures sans espoir - L'Impasse, Mission: impossible, Snake Eyes.” Positif n455 Jan (1999)

Vachaud, Laurent. “Entretien avec Brian DePalma - Le casino, c'est l'enfer sur terre.” Positif n455 Jan (1999)

Faucon, Térésa. “Dessine-moi un raccord...” Cinémathéque n15 Spring (1999) [on Carrie]

Lucas, Tim. "Sisters." Video Watchdog n64 (2000)

Salamon, Linda Bradley. "Postmodern Villainy in 'Richard III' and 'Scarface.'" Journal of Popular Film and Television n2 (2000)

Leneker, Mark. "'Mission to Mars': Scoring Session." Soundtrack!: the Collector?s Quarterly 19 Spring (2000)

Magid, Ron. "Angry Red Planet." American Cinematographer 81 Mar (2000)
---"Space Race." American Cinematographer 81 Mar (2000)

Martin, Kevin H. "Mission Accomplished." Cinefex n81 Apr (2000)

Anger, Cédric. “‘J’ai mis en suspense ma série de films cyniques.’” Cahiers du cinéma n546 May (2000) [Interview]

Burdeau, Emmanuel. “L’intouchable.” Cahiers du cinéma n546 May (2000) [on Mission to Mars]

Delorme, Stéphane. “Mission to Venus.” Cahiers du cinéma n546 May (2000)

Strick, Philip. "Mission to Mars." Sight & Sound 10 May (2000)

Valens, Gregory. "Mission to Mars." Positif n472 Jun (2000)

Lagier, Luc. “‘Conversation secrete’ et le cinema paranoiaque.” L'Avant-Scene Cinema n494 Sep (2000) [includes discussion on Blow Out]

Coykendall, Abigail Lynn. “Bodies Cinematic, Bodies Politic: The 'Male' Gaze and the 'Female' Gothic in De Palma's Carrie.” Journal of Narrative Technique 30 n3 Fall (2000)

Lalanne, Jean-Marc. “Où est le sang des vierges.” Cahiers du cinéma n550 Oct (2000) [discusses Carrie in light of Esther Kahn and The Virgin Suicides]

Thoret, Jean-Baptiste. “Le split-screen.” Cahiers du cinéma n26 Hors série Nov (2000)

Jameson, Richard T. “Audacity, mayhem and images you don't forget: Brian De Palma, the subject of a monthlong retrospective, has become a genre himself.” The New York Times 29 April (2001)

Smith, Gavin. “Dressed to Kill.” Film Comment 37 n4 Jul/Aug (2001)

Rehm, Jean-Pierre. “Les nouvelles vacances d’Hercule.” Cahiers du cinéma n27 Hors série Nov (2001) [discussion on several contemporary sci-fi films, including Mission to Mars]

Delorme, Stéphane. “De Palma avant De Palma.” Cahiers du cinéma n565 Feb (2002)

Alison, Yves. “Entretien avec Brian De Palma: Femme Fatale.” Avant-Scéne Cinéma 512 May (2002)

Joyard, Olivier. “Les vacances de monsier De Palma.” Cahiers du cinéma n568 May (2002)

Lalanne, Jean-Marc. “Histoire d’un oeil.” Cahiers du cinéma n568 May (2002) [on Femme Fatale]

Rouyer, Philippe. “Brian De Palma.” Positif n495 May (2002)

Apiou, Virginie and Angelo Cianci. “Brian De Palma.” Synopsis n19 May/June (2002) [Interview]
--- “Femme Fatale.” Synopsis n19 May/June (2002) [De Palma discusses three scenes from the film]

Greven, David. “The Most Dangerous Game: Failed Male Friendship in De Palma's Snake Eyes.” CineAction! 58 June (2002)

Salamon, Julie. “Looking back at the bonfires, personal and professional.” The New York Times 16 June (2002) [Link]

Morales, Juan. “No longer a bad boy, but still his own man.” The New York Times 3 Nov (2002)

Thoret, Jean-Baptiste. “Action mutante.” Cahiers du cinéma n30 Hors série Nov (2002) [overview of his work up to Blow-Out]

Smith, Gavin. “Dream Project: The Name of the Game Is Déjà Vu in Femme Fatale.” Film Comment 38 n6 Nov/Dec (2002)

Beck, Jay. “Citing the Sound: 'The Conversation,' 'Blow Out,' and the Mythological Ontology of the Soundtrack in '70s Film.” Journal of Popular Film and Television Winter (2002)

Burdeau, Emmanuel. “De Palma, premier salut.” Cahiers du cinéma n585 Dec (2003) [on Greetings]

Grand, Gilles. “L’opéra rap de Tony Montana.” Cahiers du cinéma n589 Apr (2004)

Bégaudeau, François. “Femmes des années 70.” Cahiers du cinéma n596 Dec (2004) [discusses Sisters]

Edwards, Kim “Get Away From Me, You Bitch!” Screen Education 41 (2006) [on the role of mothers in Carrie and Alien]

Eagan, Daniel. “Dahlia Deceptions.” Film Journal International n109 Sep (2006)

Alleva, Richard. “L.A. Stories: ‘Hollywoodland’ and ‘The Black Dahlia’.” Commonweal 133 n17 Oct (2006)

Klawans, Stuart. “Dead Flowers.” Nation 283 n11 Oct (2006)

Aubron, Hervé. “A plat.” Cahiers du cinéma n617 Nov (2006) [on The Black Dahlia]

Grand, Gilles. “Les silences d’un sourire rouge sang.” Cahiers du cinéma n617 Nov (2006) [on The Black Dahlia]

Fuller, Graham. “Bushwacked by Hollywood.” Sight and Sound 16 n11 Nov (2006) [on Hollywoodland and The Black Dahlia]

Taubin, Amy. “The Black Dahlia.” Sight and Sound 16 n11 Nov (2006)

White, Armond. “The Black Dahlia.” Cineaste 32 n1 Winter (2006)

Douchet, Jean. “Mi ami et faux fréres.” Cahiers du cinéma n621 Mar (2007) [discusses The Black Dahlia alongside the DVD releases of The Departed and Miami Vice]

Burdeau, Emmanuel. “Venise, cap sur l’image.” Cahiers du cinéma n627 Oct (2007) [on Redacted from the Venice Film Festival]

Kaufman, Anthony. “Brian De Palma Explains Himself.” The Village Voice 3 Oct (2007)

Arthur, Paul. “Atrocity Exhibitions.” Film Comment 43 n6 Nov/Dec (2007) [on Redacted]

Cashill, Robert. “Outside the Green Zone: An Interview with Brian De Palma.” Cineaste 33 n1 Winter (2007)

Jones, Kent. “Redacted.” Film Comment 44 n1 Jan/Feb (2008)

Aubron, Hervé. “L’image de la fin.” Cahiers du cinéma n631 Feb (2008) [on Redacted]

Burdeau, Emmanuel. “LÃ .” Cahiers du cinéma n631 Feb (2008) [on Redacted]
--- “En ligne avec Brian De Palma.” Cahiers du cinéma n631 Feb (2008) [Interview]

Delorme, Stéphane. “Farce d’attaque.” Cahiers du cinéma n631 Feb (2008) [on Redacted]

Tessé, Jean-Philippe. “Réseau de Redacted.” Cahiers du cinéma n631 Feb (2008)

Westwell, Guy. “Redacted.” Sight & Sound 18 n5 May (2008)

Provencher, Ken. “Redacted’s Double Vision.” Film Quarterly 62 n1 Sep (2008) _______________________________________________________________________________________
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domino harvey
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#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 28, 2010 8:28 pm

You might add the 80s and 90s Project threads, where De Palma came up in discussion

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Re: Brian De Palma

#3 Post by Cold Bishop » Fri May 28, 2010 10:40 pm

Well, the discussions are smaller than I remembered so here they are.

From the 1980s Project:
tojoed wrote:Ok. My #1 is Brian de Palma's Blow Out. Are you going to start a thread for They All Laughed so we can post our thoughts on it?
HypnoHelioStaticStasis wrote:I'm usually pretty quiet on this board, but I also want to express my admiration for Blow Out, one of the best, most believable political thrillers made in this country. Travolta, Nancy Allen and John Lithgow all outdo themselves (Travolta was never better), and the photography has this sinewy, muscular edge to it to that is hard to pin down; the whole package has a tough, somewhat distanced feel about it, until the amazing emotional climax, where you can feel the weight of all that's happened very unexpectedly crashing down on the viewer (not unlike the lead character...). De Palma's most impressive film, and one of the few I actually like.
brendanjc wrote:I decided against trying to submit a list this go around in fear of just voting for the same old American films and pushing off some more interesting titles I'd like to explore in the future - I've barely seen any foreign or art films from the 80's compared to pretty much any other decade.

I do have to wonder a bit about all the praise for Blow Out I've seen throughout this thread though. I watched it for the first time this past weekend and, while I definitely liked it, I couldn't help but feel like it completely lost me at the end. I am a huge fan of De Palma's direction, but as always his writing is the weak point.
About the endingShow
From the point where Travolta gives Allen the tapes and sets her up with a wire you could see exactly where the film was going to go, but worse than that, it didn't make any sense. So, the pair are suspicious of the "reporter" who called, why not just both go confront him in a massive public space? Travolta has already met the guy, he'd know what was up immediately - tragedy averted. Then you have the strange car chase where Travolta barrels into a crowd, gets knocked unconcious, and wakes up where it has awkwardly become pitch dark where it had just been broad daylight. And further on, Lithgow chucks the tapes off into the water on the dark abandoned dock, then instead of doing her in there, he drags his captive through a bunch of crowds to a highly visible point atop a building next to a fireworks display in front of a flag to kill her, a place Travolta easily spots them and no one else notices. It was painfully transparent from the point this sequence started that she was going to die and Travolta was going to use her scream in the film (the film that they constantly kept cutting back to to remind you about throughout), so obvious that when he gets to those final scenes his inevitable reactions were hilarious (his goofy breathing when she dies, "blowing out" maybe?, his breakdown in the final scene while her scream is playing over and over).
I wanted to believe going into this that De Palma could make a real serious thriller but it was just more of the same borderline camp I've come to expect from his work. That's not to say I didn't like it (I mean, the spinning camera in the erased-tapes scene, the horror spoof intro, and the recording scene on the bridge - now a frog! now an owl! - are enough to ensure I'll probably watch it again), but nothing about it screams out "great film". It certainly isn't one of the most believable thrillers I've seen, as someone else put it earlier, and not just because of the flaws I already pointed out - the killer is flat out ridiculous, like Malkovitch in In The Line Of Fire without even an attempt to give him a creditable motive. He was so over the top that I was actually disappointed that the film didn't shift more towards a bit of a slasher movie confrontation at the end - I think that would have been much more satisfying and believable, the irony of being in a good horror movie and not realizing it would have been interesting, and De Palma could have still worked in his little zinger in the final scene.
domino harvey wrote:Blow Out A conflicting response from me on this one. De Palma is clearly having the time of his life here, and his infectious energy is shown in the framings and use of bright colors. But for a film devoted to sound, the picture rarely indulges in aural pleasures. Perhaps that's what makes the best scenes the opening and the scene where Travolta plays all the magnetized tapes simultaneously. For a man who worships Hitchcock, De Palma blows it in the last act by setting up the perfect chase: A woman wired for sound and an expert sound tech trying to chase her down using only aural clues. But then he picks up only on sounds any shmoe could have figured out (Fireworks!) and inexplicably drives his car through a parade (Though this fits in with the footage he hoards as well, which so clearly shows the gun blast that it's absurd). True, the finale in front of the flag is gorgeous (one of the few times I've found fireworks beautiful), but the elements were there for this to be so much more. I thought making Lithgow a lone wolf conspirator was an interesting approach and Franz pretty much walked away with the film whenever he was on screen. I hissed at the jokey ending. A mixed bag, ultimately.

From the 1990s Project:
Zumpano wrote:Was surprised to see these on the Cahiers list:

Mad Dog & Glory (McNaughton)
Innocent Blood (Landis)
In The Mouth of Madness (Carpenter)
Face Off (Woo)
Snake Eyes / Mission Impossible (DePalma)
Scream (Craven)

Are they just French or should I be re-watching some of these? Many I haven't seen in a while (since the theater), or not at all (Innocent Blood; love Landis but the DVD is non-OAR). Mad Dog I've been meaning to re-watch purely for Murray. But, Snake Eyes? Face Off? Really? Help me out guys, s'il vous plait?
domino harvey wrote:Well, Scream and In the Mouth of Madness are both incredibly self-reflexive films about cinema, it shouldn't be a surprise to see them on a Cahiers list. And they love DePalma, so again, no shock there. Haven't seen the others so I can't speculate there
domino harvey wrote:I shouldn't even be posting in here given that I still have some 80s films to discuss in that thread, but I did see my first film for the 90s project. At the risk of alienating myself further from the board, I found Brian DePalma's Snake Eyes to be vastly superior to Blow Out! I probably joined in on the piling-on of DePalma and this film sight-unseen in the past, but for all its problems, this movie does a much better job of fulfilling its potential than other DePalma films I've seen. True, it pretty much falls apart in the last act (Everything after the stairwell scene appears to be from a different draft of the film), but that first hour is one hell of a kick. Admittedly I'm a sucker for films set in real time (though not enough to list, say, Nick of Time), but the energy of the picture extends past the "one"-shot opening into the back-trackings, false flashbacks, and Lady in the Lake-aping that soon follow. Wikipedia says an entire action sequence was cut from the ending of the film in post, which might explain why it feels so lifeless compared to what came before-- perhaps the best later bits directly referenced this MIA sequence?
RobertAltman wrote:I almost agree, certainly it´s much a much better film than its reputation might suggest. For DePalma Snake Eyes is in many ways a "been there, done that" film, just like Carlito´s Way. Still, the execution is top notch, and both films have great repeat value. These are both beautiful films and very entertaining. Whatever flaws they have (there are plenty in Snake Eyes), DePalma more than makes up for it with his infectious enthusiasm for the material.

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Re: Brian De Palma

#4 Post by Numero Trois » Sat May 29, 2010 3:12 am

brendanjc wrote:I do have to wonder a bit about all the praise for Blow Out I've seen throughout this thread though. I watched it for the first time this past weekend and, while I definitely liked it, I couldn't help but feel like it completely lost me at the end. I am a huge fan of De Palma's direction, but as always his writing is the weak point.
I pretty much agree with that. Too many of his films veer to conventional storytelling. Though on the positive side, at least he's not soulessly slick like so many others in the field. You never get the impression that there's a mere technician behind the lens.

One where he did get it right was Dressed to Kill. One of his few where the plot is as inspired as the direction. The tension just keeps building from the start; everything is balanced right. Especially memorable was Dennis Franz's role as Detective Marino. It's hard to go wrong with a character who's more Sipowicz than Sipowicz. Sling away if you must, but I actually prefer it over its inspiration, Hitchcock's overpraised Psycho.

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Re: Brian De Palma

#5 Post by Cold Bishop » Sat May 29, 2010 6:50 am

Too many of his films veer to conventional storytelling.
Well, I'd have to disagree there. Not only because the cinema has grown so literal minded that any pure visual storytelling in a commercial film is far from conventional, but also in regards into what I assume you really mean, that his films work along the lines of conventional "narratives". To some degree, yes, his film work in commercial genres, and the plots to his films seem to stick largely to the expected form of those genres. However, I don't think his use of plot has ever been more than the need to provide a framework on which he can hang his ideas. Which isn't to say he isn't a storyteller. But if a narrative is a sequence of events, then the totality of the sequence is of a subordinate position to the potential of the individual segments that comprise the narrative.

To some degree, the plots are interchangeable, and if provided with a completely different conspiracy story, or erotic thriller story, he may have been able to craft the same film as Blow Out or Dressed to Kill by hanging (and reworking) the same set-pieces on the new stories. Plot is just the skeleton. The actual flesh of his films is everything going on above (or beneath) the propulsion of plot.

This is reflected to some degree by the way he often says he comes up with his films, often thinking of terms of set pieces. Once he begins to see enough connections between several of them, he'll begin to craft a connecting narrative around them. A silent seduction in an art gallery. A 360 degree chase/standoff in an airport terminal. Both the concealment and investigation of a crime told simultaneously through split screen. A public assassination filmed in a single take. These set-pieces, to some degree, work autonomously from the story that there suppose to be constructing. In some cases, when presented with a script not written by himself, he'll first go to work to see if there's any way to take any of the unused set-pieces he's already worked out, and find a way to rework them so that they fit into the new narrative (for example: the art museum scene above being a leftover from his unmade adaptation of Cruising).

It many ways it creates a "cinema of moments" - better term may be "cinema of set-pieces" - which is something I greatly admire in his films. If Hawks said a good film is two great scenes, and no bad ones, De Palma tries to make every scene a great one, or at the very least, a distinct and visual one. He disrupts the classical narrative mode of rising and falling action, tries to eliminate exposition, and when it cannot be eliminated, uses the techniques of style, blocking and framing to raise the exposition to something beyond the connective tissue between the "important" scenes. Take the interrogation scene from Dressed to Kill, after the murder: on paper, it may seem like a simple scene of exposition, establishing the characters and motives for the second half of the film. But the introduction of eavesdropping into the scene changes the entire dynamic. De Palma's editing and framing begins to draw connections between people in completely different rooms in the precinct. The entire sequence becomes about subjectivity, perspective and suspicion: who's watching who, who's listening to who, who's suspecting whom of what? Exposition gets transformed to the level of set-piece.

While they may have different thematic concerns and techniques, I feel this emphasis on "moments/set-pieces" is something he shares with another filmmakers I admire greatly: Leos Carax. They're both strongly visual filmmakers, grounded in a nostalgia for the "pure" cinema of the silent filmmakers. They both have a infectious joy for the process of filmmaking that shines through every scene. As such, both refuse to let a moment of their films go to waste, always thriving to turn what lies in front of their cameras into a purely cinematic moment. Of course, Carax is a poet, who allows the film to follow his exuberant, romantic whims. De Palma structures himself around the discipline of genre and their established narrative conventions.

This is where the pastiche of Hitchcock comes in. I think he explained himself once by saying Hitchcock had mastered cinematic narrative storytelling completely, and that he turned to him for reference the same way a grammar student turns towards Webster's. He finds in Hitchcock (or Antonioni or Michael Powell or so on) stock scenarios from which he can call on, whittle down to their bare essentials, rework into new combinations and provide the foundation for the story he wants to tell. It's even where the the constant self-reflexivity that started with Dressed to Kill - which uses the same framing device as Carrie - emerges. But it's not him being a rip-off artist or redundant. There not old ideas, not of other filmmakers or himself. Rather they're new ideas told through familiar means of expressions. A poet may have the iambic pentameter; a composer may have the sonata principle; De Palma has the codification of genre and the basic narrative scenarios of his favorite filmmakers (and his most successful hits). It would be stretching it to call him a "termite artist" - he's a clear product of the auteur-driven movie brat generation, and as his "personal projects" like Blow Out and Femme Fatale show, he's not just working in commercial genre out of economic necessity - but he clearly enjoys "subverting" mainstreams genres, as shown by his reliance on subtext, and the way mise-en-scene often reveals a far more complex story than the plot would have you believe.*

The transformative power of mise-en-scene is a key for such a visual filmmaker - although one should probably say sensual filmmaker, as sound and music still play a large role - as De Palma. It's the key that allows him to turn something like Mission to Mars, probably the most conventional and un-De Palma of all his scripts, and come out with a film that is so quintessentially De Palma, precisely in the way it lays bare his reliance on the sensual apparatus of the cinema to tell his story. As an example, two scenes from the two films in question, Dressed to Kill and Blow Out:

1) One of my favorite self-reflexive moments in all of De Palma: the "nightmare" strangulation scene in the insane asylum from Dressed to Kill. On one hand, the set-piece approach to film becomes apparent here, the scene seems largely disconnected and superfluous to the rest of the film, and the narrative information it adds to the plot - allowing the escape of an important character - seems largely insignificant to the movement of the scene. Instead, the sequence works well when looked as a self-contained segment, the final crane shot, separating the spectators from spectacle, changing the entire meaning of the scene. On a hospital sick bed, sex and violence meet, and when penetrated with the gaze of the spectator, give metaphorical birth to the cinema itself. The moment may not add much to the plot, but it says much about De Palma's view of the cinema, and specifically, of his own films.

2) The finale to Blow Out which both of you have problem with, either for narrative conventionality or for wasting the potential of its premise. While I can understand your points, I think you have to understand what De Palma does before you write off what he doesn't. The entire scene is based off the contrast between background and foreground, between drama and its setting. The background: Parades. Fireworks. The American Flag. The Bicentennial. Philadelphia, the home of this country. In a manner, America itself. The foreground: Murder. Failure. The culmination of a conspiracy that has its thematic roots in JFK and Watergate. The final ironic contrast: Travolta's crushing personal failure, while he's surrounded by symbols celebrating America, may be a predictable image, but its crucial to what De Palma is trying to say about his country. At its Bicentennial, emerging into its third century, America is emerging a country bathed in paranoia, cynicism, hopelessness and trauma. After Vietnam, JFK, Watergate, the Culture Wars of the Seventies - which De Palma certainly took part in - this is De Palma's view of America..

This was afterall, De Palma's personal dream project after the success of Dressed to Kill and as such, one where subtext can't be taken lightly. The final use of the scream - the "jokey ending" I'm assuming dominoharvey hissed at - isn't a joke at all. Much has been made critically about Blow Out and its role as a movie about filmmaking itself. As such, the ending, once again, is about De Palma's view of the artists role to his work. Like Jack, the artist is left to take his traumas - personal, social, political, sexual, etc. - and relive it in his films, burying it beneath the auspices of commercial genres. With the final scene, you are given a visual demonstration of the manner in which De Palma has been working since Sisters up until the recent more politically straightforward Redacted: conventional narratives concealing personal stories.

*[If I could step off-topic for a moment: As time go on, this sort of "subversive" filmmaking is the only type I have much hope for in reconciling the the dilemma of art and commerce in the current phase of American filmmaking. As corporate hegemony drives the need for more infantile, crowd-pleasing films in the commercial sphere; As "serious" cinema is continually marginalized into smaller-and-smaller art-house audiences, or constrained with their own brand of middlebrow bourgeois formulas, I find the need for it all the more pressing. All the more surprising that it's the type of filmmaking that seems to have vanished the most. De Palma, and his peers of subversive genre filmmaking in the 80s - chief among them being Paul Verhoeven and Walter Hill - have been driven out of Hollywood, their brand of "commercial" genre growing more and more incompatible with Hollywood. The potential for snobbish oversight not withstanding, I don't see much in modern commercial Hollywood stepping up to the plate. Tarantino's a fanboy favorite (and De Palma admirer) but his brand of genre has grown increasingly myopic and insular, and the subtext of his films, if Inglourious Basterds is any indication, is either too buried, confused or incoherent to be of too much value. Wayne Kramer's wonderful Running Scared failed, and he seems to have retreated in to that aforementioned middlebrow formulism since. At risk of sounding too much like Armond White, I actually find some elements of interest in the various Neveldine-Taylor collaborations (the Crank films, Gamer) but I'm ultimately coming to the conclusion that the filmmakers may simply be too meatheaded to bring their ideas to their logical conclusion. They are far too inundated by trash culture to successfully send it up. One problem is that, except for the superhero genre, the consistency of commercial genres seem to be in disarray. Formally, the films are also largely incompatible with a person like De Palma. While more visually stimulated than ever, the overblown, in-your-face visual approach of "commercial" Hollywood has never been more antagonistic towards thematic subtext, and the "hyperrealist" aesthetic and overediting practically shuts out the transformative mise-en-scene that gives that subtext its power.]

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Re: Brian De Palma

#6 Post by colinr0380 » Sun May 30, 2010 6:23 pm

I wonder if that's why Mission To Mars doesn't really work (for me at least) - because it feels a lot more impersonal and disinterested than any of De Palma's previous films. Even Mission: Impossible feels like it has some moments or sequences that stand out as the film's reason for being. Though that might be because Mission: Impossible has that sense of paranoia familiar from some of De Palma's previous works, and Mission To Mars's failure could be seen more as De Palma being unable to escape from the somewhat stifling restrictions that a space-set science fiction film imposes.

Anyway, to add to this thread I'll also reproduce my post from a couple of years ago on the Underrated thread about Body Double:
I don't know whether this was underrated by anyone but me, but I recently watched Brian De Palma's Body Double again after being underwhelmed by it when I first saw it around six years or so ago. It is difficult to describe what changed in that time, but I guess it must have just been the frame of mind I was in when I saw the film again but on this viewing the excesses, the artificiality, the shifts in tone seemed to work perfectly. Maybe it is a film that works better on later viewings when you can lose yourself in the various sequences without thinking about where the plot is going, or even if there is a plot, and if there is why we are spending so much time just following a person around a shopping mall.

However, there is a definite plot to the film. The main character, Jake, is used then abandoned after he has served his purpose, all without realising he has been used, and that lack of awareness is beautifully captured in the film -there is no cut away to people drawing up their plan and then finding the dupe, so the audience is just as duped as Jake is. Both Jake and the audience is then left abandoned by the narrative after the murder, they aren't needed any more and are left to figure out what to do next in the film (or in the audience's case, to try and figure out what to make of the film itself!), and that is one of the things that fascinates me about the film - the way that Jake seems in limbo, aimless and drifting, going to auditions early on and seemingly getting a job house-sitting through sheer luck of being in the right place at the right time rather than through having any actual skills (and indeed having whatever skills he has learnt as an actor denigrated at the actual auditions, little knowing that he was successfully auditioning for a real life part!); and picking up clues by chance (such as seeing Holly Boddy in the porn film). There is a kind of arbitrariness running through the whole film that was very disconcerting on first viewing, but becomes very enjoyable on seeing it again with a prior knowledge of the plot.

It feels a good move to have the film identify so strongly with the main character that it takes on the same arbitrariness, so suddenly the audience realises that the person they've been identifying with has been manipulated (or more accurately guided by people aware of the main character's interests) all along. There are moments early on where I think we are shown that while we are following Jake's actions subjectively, we shouldn't really be identifying with him - it makes that long sequence of following (or more accurately stalking) Gloria early on become much more powerful as I think the audience are slowly meant to realise how creeped out they are by his actions. It seems that the introduction of the killer and the cat and mouse game around the shopping mall seems to start by suggesting that it is meant to give motivations to our heroes actions - that he wouldn't be following Gloria or watching her through the telescope each evening if she wasn't in danger (much as Scotty In Vertigo needs to be contracted by the worried husband who fears Madeline is a danger to herself before he is allowed to follow her). It is as if the killer allows the main character to become a voyeur without guilt, because he is doing it for a reason - the end justifies the means.

Yet that is turned on its head with the murder, which the main character is unable to prevent. However so far, so Vertigo (with a dash of Rear Window)! But while that film was above all about obsession, Body Double is less about obsession than voyeurism, a combination of the two Hitchcocks in a new crude, yet complex, form - the main character just thinks he was in love with the woman opposite but he was really just idealising her as a beautiful straight-laced woman by day but sexy dancing minx in the privacy of her own bedroom after dark. The realisation that what he has fallen for was the combination of two women, one real and unaware of his gaze and one acting and very aware she is being watched, shatters obsessive love into a more complex form of voyeurism and projecting of fantasies of what Gloria was like. I don't think the main character is driven as crazy as Scotty in Vertigo is by the loss of the woman opposite because he had a much more shallow attitude to her to begin with than Scotty had of Madeline. He never loses his mind and tries to recreate Gloria, I guess partly because somebody had already recreated her earlier on! (I wonder if instead of dressing a lookalike in similar clothes as in Vertigo, there was an intended irony in having the lookalike completely nude in this film!)

I like the way we are almost asked to celebrate the sexy uninhibited dance in the bedroom, something being created for only the main character's eyes by pure chance, and then recoil when we realise that it was all a show done for a few extra bucks no questions asked by a porn star who makes a living through showing the paying public every intimate part of her body! The way the actresses in the two parts play their roles seems to make the comparison as brutally obvious as possible, along with the angelic theme by Pino Donaggio contrasted with Relax, and the private show compared to the almost orgiastic music video. The difference between the private show and the porn video raises questions of how implicated we are as the audience by choosing to watch this erotic thriller, how we might like one representation of nudity but not another even if both are faked.

I also like the way Jake is, like Scotty, confronted by his limitations (his fear of confined spaces rather than fear of heights), but also attacked for his voyeurism by the policeman after the murder and by the plotter himself once he is revealed. However it is Jake's voyeurism that also comes to his aid and provides him with the vital clue to Holly Boddy's role in the scheme, perhaps suggesting that being attacked for or feeling embarassed about certain urges doesn't really suppress them. It also suggests that the audience is encouraged to watch again after being confronted by darker moral questions about watching earlier, and that they need to watch closely to properly understand the truth of a situation now that they are involved (simply viewing an event is enough to make you a participant in it, and your presence can even change the nature of the event itself. For example, it would have been worse if Jake had just stood at his telescope, watched Gloria being killed and not said anything - at least he tried to help her which serves to partially redeem him for his voyeuristic urges).

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Re: Brian De Palma

#7 Post by Cold Bishop » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:03 am

To get this back on track...
Highway 61 wrote:Thank God! This is exactly what De Palma should be doing. When he was linked to the Untouchables prequel, Paranormal Activity 2, and even the Boston Strangler film, I was certain that he would never make another good, or even watchable, movie.

It's embarrassing to admit, but I'm just aching for a late career De Palma comeback. What can I say? I'm a fan. :oops:
Bah... his talent has never lapsed, only the audience. Two noble failures (and I'm still not certain I won't come around to The Black Dahlia the same way I did to "failures" like Mission to Mars and Femme Fatale, once I get over what it could have been and start focusing on what it is) hardly makes me worried about his talent. What it makes me worry about is his ability to get funding and maintain creative control.

To me, De Palma is a lot like Woody Allen. Whenever a film comes out, it's not as good as their past classic films from as early as 10 years ago. Jump forward ten years, and their latest isn't as good as those very same films critics were complaining about ten years earlier, which during that time had somehow quietly became part of their classic cannon. And ten years after that...

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Re: Brian De Palma

#8 Post by knives » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:07 pm

Caught up with Obsession finally and it's not one of his more immediately gratifying films which I guess fits it in with The Fury. There actually seems to be a deliberate attempt here not to be gonzo with a lot of deliberately classical touches with the camera (the dream of the marriage almost seems like a missing Dieterle clip show) and the story's inspiration flattens things plenty too. The movie from an emotional stance does a good job at replication, but I doubt that's either De Palma's or Shrader's goal considering how far the film goes in showing the sickness of the core concept. Vertigo did that too though if to a lesser extent so what is this literal retelling for than? There's no obvious political message which seems to be a part of De Palma's MO with the few films I've seen (about ten) leaving only a commentary on Hitchcock or perhaps the genre itself left, but I don't see at least on this first watching what that commentary's intention is supposed to be.

To step away to what I do know though I love the performances. The contrast between Lithgow's hoohaing and Robertson's subtle, boiling, dignified madness is gorgeous and shows a real love for silents (though that might just be my view being painted by Woton's Wake). Just the way the actors manner against each other creating a garish body language of their own makes for a gleeful experience no matter what the intent ultimately is.

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Re: Brian De Palma

#9 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:13 pm

I too finally delved into Obsession, courtesy of the gorgeous Arrow Blu-ray box (Is anyone doing a better job at contextualizing oft-marginalized films other than maybe Blue Underground?), but I was completely swept away by the film's classical cinema-inspired melodramatic flourishes. From the gorgeous Hermann score to the confidant mise en scene to the sure performances (how you could shortchange Bujold is beyond me), sure, this Rebecca meets Vertigo riff isn't "original" (though it's less indebted to the master than I think it's made out to be) but who cares when it's all so wet with the tears of passion. I can't remember the last film that so thoroughly enraptured me in that kind of cinematic joy of early discovery, and by the time the action climax with the finale at the airport, the result is positively orgasmic.

So, yeah, it was okay or something, whatevs :-"

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Re: Brian De Palma

#10 Post by knives » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:20 pm

I actually watched by pure coincidence a pair of Bujold's after writing that up and she really does do amazing work. I'm surprised she never rose to a megastar or even just a small sized one.

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Re: Brian De Palma

#11 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:03 pm

I've only seen her in the Resnais film, but she's definitely bumped up on my list of things to seek out. Even if most don't care for the film to anything nearing the extent I do, I hope at the very least the soundtrack is respected? I like Rosenbaum's interesting observation that Herrmann's score is the true auteur at work in the film-- it's a bit of a cheap shot, but at least it's one that gave me pause!

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Re: Brian De Palma

#12 Post by knives » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:15 pm

She's very excellent in a small role in Murder by Decree which is a pretty fantastic film even outside of that and of course there's Dead ringers. I hope so too on the soundtrack though. On the doc on the disc they make a clear comparison with the one he did for Taxi Driver and I have to say in that bowl Obsession really comes ahead in the way it accentuates the emotions allowing for a greater complexity without ever telling the audience how to feel. I almost want to say that it is one of Hermann's best.

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I added a period to the end of my post for dramatic effect

#13 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:17 pm

I only just saw it, so admittedly I'm still in that hazy cloud of influence, but I think it's one of the best scores, period.

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Re: Brian De Palma

#14 Post by Cold Bishop » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:19 am

domino harvey wrote:I like Rosenbaum's interesting observation that Herrmann's score is the true auteur at work in the film
Well, in a way, Herrmann did exercise final cut: I believe it was he who convinced De Palma to drop the entire original third act, much to Schrader's chagrin.

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Re: Brian De Palma

#15 Post by tarpilot » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:57 am

domino, please, please seek out Michel Brault's Geneviève, a short featuring the eponymous Bujold (in her first role) and a girlfriend wandering around Quebec City that is, along with Brault's Le temps perdu, as sublime a paean to adolescence as I've ever seen. This set has a number of additonal features and shorts I would deem essential (L'Acadie l'Acadie?!?, Pour la suite du monde, Éloge du chiac), and is available at several places online, or should be (fairly) easy to order through your library as I know a number in large US cities in stock NFB titles.
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Re: Brian De Palma

#16 Post by domino harvey » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:52 am

I actually ordered that set last night!

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Re: Brian De Palma

#17 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:26 pm

Perhaps Bujold's biggest role was as Charlton Heston's new love interest in the disaster movie Earthquake, with huge chunks of the pre-disaster portion of the movie dedicated to Heston having dumped Ava Gardner and run off with the younger woman and all the issues that causes.
Only to do a double-take and decide to die with Gardner in the flooding sewer tunnels at the end, leaving Bujold to look distraught down the manhole cover!
The other really big part that Bujold had which comes to mind is her starring one in the Robin Cook adaptation Coma, with Michael Douglas in an unorthodox role as the whiny love interest complaining that she is wrecking their relationship by working late and doing too much investigating! (Extreme Measures is sort of a gender-reversed version of Coma, with Hugh Grant in the Bujold role and Sarah Jessica Parker doing a good Michael Douglas impression in one paranoid scene!)

Unfortunately the really big Hollywood roles apart from Coma are pretty disappointing - she was also in Tightrope, one of Clint Eastwood's more underwhelming films. But she had great parts in a number of Alan Rudolph's films in the 80s as well as in Don McKellar's Last Night, and she is excellent in an early underrated Alain Resnais film, The War Is Over. And of course Dead Ringers!
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Re: Brian De Palma

#18 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:11 pm

I'd second the Alan Rudolph pictures. Trouble in Mind is excellent though it's more of a supporting role for Bujold. Choose Me is a stronger showcase of her talents.

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Re: Arrow Films

#19 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:19 pm

The Fury is the worst de Palma film I've seen, but I only really like Carlito's Way of the three you mentioned, so not sure how aligned our tastes are. You should just get Arrow's wonderful release of de Palma's Obsession instead

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Re: Arrow Films

#20 Post by Finch » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:27 pm

Forgot about Obsession, another DePalma I haven't seen yet. From the little I've read, The Fury seems another "straight horror" (for the lack of a better phrase) like Carrie which I also like a lot (I think to date the only DePalmas I wasn't too thrilled with were Mission Impossible, Snake Eyes and Femme Fatale). Thanks Dom.

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Re: Arrow Films

#21 Post by Graham » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:49 pm

Finch wrote:Forgot about Obsession, another DePalma I haven't seen yet. From the little I've read, The Fury seems another "straight horror" (for the lack of a better phrase) like Carrie which I also like a lot (I think to date the only DePalmas I wasn't too thrilled with were Mission Impossible, Snake Eyes and Femme Fatale). Thanks Dom.
Obsession is a brilliant rework of Vertigo, but not a horror film. The Fury, which I've only seen once and will be buying the Arrow release, is a, if I remember correctly, completely over-the-top ramp-up of Carrie and telekenesis crossed over with an international conspiracy thriller. Great fun though.

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Re: Arrow Films

#22 Post by Randall Maysin » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:53 pm

I know I'm nobody, but i would like to chime in and say that The Fury is my favorite De Palma, and that I'm excited for this release. I think it's one of the best examples of "garbage cinema" i've ever seen. there's so many terrible things in it that are like bad movie primal scenes, like the black homeless guy going "HO-LEE SHIT" and dodging cars twice in succession as Kirk Douglas and his pursuers drive after each other down the homeless guy's alleyway. Or the bizarre encouraging patter given to Kirk Douglas by one of the people he ties up. Really delightful.

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Re: Arrow Films

#23 Post by Forrest Taft » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:00 pm

I love The Fury, and much prefer it to Obsession. The plot is baffling mix of some spy stuff and a telekinesis plot a la Carrie, and it doesn't make much sense, but I find it an endlessly enjoyable ride all the way through. Just about every De Palma trademark you can think of makes an appearance, and there's also an exploding head in there somewhere. John Cassavetes is in it for good measure, and William Finely (briefly) appears too. According to the always reliable Armond White, it's De Palma's masterpiece. I like the opening paragraph from this Slant review:
And so we come to The Fury. One of the very highest-rated De Palma films by those who claim the man as a personal favorite and clearly the lowest-rated "red period" De Palma film elsewhere (check for yourself). The movie that draws the deepest line in the sand between De Palma apologists and De Palma maniacs, whose attempts to revive the movie are usually characterized as self-aggrandizing test cases to see quite simply how far their role as arbiters of counter-taste can stretch. The movie that Armond White said is impossible not to completely, wholly love if you have any shred of understanding of the film medium and how it works. The movie that gave Pauline Kael occasion to paint a portrait of Orson Welles, Sam Peckinpah, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg choking to death with laughter (and, presumably, envy).

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Re: Arrow Films

#24 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:04 pm

LOL @ the Fury being Armond White's Marnie

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Re: Arrow Films

#25 Post by knives » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:16 pm

As someone who generally adores DePalma I'll have to throw my word to Dom's pile and call it his worst of his pre-Bonfire films. It's not bad, but is searingly mediocre. Is there any chance that the Hooper will be region free? The movie alone is worth a purchase, but those extras make it essential.

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