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Favorite films directed by Brian De Palma


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yay! 
 

both OBSESSION and BODY DOUBLE Are now on TCM on demand on Hulu, one Week after they aired, which is kind of weird but whatever. My only complaint is that you cannot fast forward through the host introduction segment, but at least the mute button still works.

(thank GOD)

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9 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

They have been talking for six minutes. And they’re still talking.

This is exactly how I felt during the recent airing of West Side Story, when the lovefest between the living cast members (Richard Byemer intentionally excluded from participating as far as I could tell) went on for over half an hour before the movie started.

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1 hour ago, sewhite2000 said:

This is exactly how I felt during the recent airing of West Side Story, when the lovefest between the living cast members (Richard Byemer intentionally excluded from participating as far as I could tell) went on for over half an hour before the movie started.

Why did they intentionally exclude Beymer? Poor guy. 

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9 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Wow. JOHN LITHGOW is DREADFUL in this movie!

Everything else I like though.

Lithgow's first major role, so I'm willing to cut him some slack, but he was chewing the scenery -- or is that just because Cliff is such a stiff by comparison?  I know he was supposed to be quiet, reserved and almost catatonic, but sheesh!  The real winner is Bujold, who puts in a lovely, nuanced performance.  It's an interesting movie, though I thought Zsigmond's fussy, filtered look seems very dated today.  The score stands as one of Herrmann's best, despite his reuse of theme's we've heard before....

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28 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Why did they intentionally exclude Beymer? Poor guy. 

I mean, I don't know that for sure, but he wasn't there and wasn't mentioned other than Russ Tamblyn once said he originally wanted the part Beymer got. It's just my impression.

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13 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I mean, I don't know that for sure, but he wasn't there and wasn't mentioned other than Russ Tamblyn once said he originally wanted the part Beymer got. It's just my impression.

I don't think he ever participates in these WSS retrospectives.  IIRC, he didn't make the rounds for the 50th anniversary either.   My understanding is that he didn't have a good experience making the film, and doesn't like his performance in it.   

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COPIED AND PASTED AND EDITED FROM THE IMDB TRIVIA SECTION FOR OBSESSION (1976)

(some interesting bits whether they are true or not- LHF)

Composer Bernard Herrmann became infatuated with Geneviève Bujold after seeing her performance in an early cut of "Obsession". His feelings were heightened by Bujold's surprise visit to the soundtrack recording sessions in London in July 1975, the only time the two met in person. Herrmann's friend Charles Gerhardt recalled, "As she spoke to Benny in a heavy French accent I could tell he was about to get the hanky out. She told him of all the trouble she'd had with Cliff Robertson because he spent all his time in makeup and didn't make their love scenes meaningful. She said, 'Mr. Herrmann, he wouldn't make love to me - but you made love to me with your music'. And Benny started to cry. He would tell that story over and over at dinner, and start crying again every time". After Herrmann's death five months later, his widow found a photo of Bujold in his wallet.
 
Alfred Hitchcock was reportedly furious when Brian De Palma decided to make Obsession (1976), because he thought it was a virtual remake of Vertigo (1958).
 
THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE!- LHF:
Cliff Robertson's onset behaviour caused considerable friction. In the documentary "DePalma", Brian dePalma recounts that Robertson would deliberately deliver a poor performance and line readings when shooting reverse shots for Genevieve Bujold. He insisted on a dark tanning makeup, inappropriate for his troubled character. It made lighting him so difficult that at one point cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond shoved him against a wood wall and shouted "You! You are the same colour as this wall!"
 
The church seen at the beginning of the film, Church of San Miniato, is different from the one that Michael actually goes into when he sees Sandra. The reason for this is because the priests of the Church of San Miniato would not allow De Palma and his crew to film inside of the church, because of a previous film crew that turned out to be making a porno film, and had told them otherwise. This can be seen clearly when Michael goes into the church, which only has one door to enter into, and then in the next shot, where Michael's back is towards the door, and there are now two, and a windows on the doors that don't match the one that we saw on the outside shot. The collegiate church in the town of San Gimignano was used for the interior shots.
 
According to Brian De Palma, Cliff Robertson was very difficult to work with.
 
According to Brian De Palma in the DVD interviews, when Bernard Herrmann watched Obsession for the first time, he knew exactly how the music score would sound.
 
One of his final scores, Bernard Herrmann personally considered his work for this film to be his best.
This film, which has often been compared with Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," begins and ends in New Orleans. Ironically, Bernard Herrmann, the only person who worked on both "Vertigo" and "Obsession," had suggested to Hitchcock that he set "Vertigo" in New Orleans instead of San Francisco, and that Charles Boyer instead of James Stewart should have been the male lead.

Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

It was Bernard Herrmann who insisted upon the removal of the final part of the film. In the original script, Michael Courtland (Cliff Robertson) kills Robert Lasalle (John Lithgow) and goes to Jail. Michael spent years in jail. When he got out, he travels back to Italy and he travels back to the church and there he sees his daughter who is in a sort of catatonic stage. And the priest who is at the church tells Michael that the only way to get her out of this catatonic stage is to restage the kidnapping yet again with real money and he does. And she comes back from her state and embraces her father. Brian De Palma said that it would have made the movie 3 hours if the entire script were shot. It was Bernard Herrmann who insisted to remove these elements which led to the released version. According to De Palma, Bernard Herrmann said "Well that stuff the future just get rid of it. It doesn't work. They get together in the end." Brian De Palma also said "I think he was feeling musically there was something that would be difficult to recapitulate in the future again."
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6 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

COPIED AND PASTED AND EDITED FROM THE IMDB TRIVIA SECTION FOR OBSESSION (1976)

(some interesting bits whether they are true or not- LHF)

Composer Bernard Herrmann became infatuated with Geneviève Bujold after seeing her performance in an early cut of "Obsession". His feelings were heightened by Bujold's surprise visit to the soundtrack recording sessions in London in July 1975, the only time the two met in person. Herrmann's friend Charles Gerhardt recalled, "As she spoke to Benny in a heavy French accent I could tell he was about to get the hanky out. She told him of all the trouble she'd had with Cliff Robertson because he spent all his time in makeup and didn't make their love scenes meaningful. She said, 'Mr. Herrmann, he wouldn't make love to me - but you made love to me with your music'. And Benny started to cry. He would tell that story over and over at dinner, and start crying again every time". After Herrmann's death five months later, his widow found a photo of Bujold in his wallet.
 
 
Alfred Hitchcock was reportedly furious when Brian De Palma decided to make Obsession (1976), because he thought it was a virtual remake of Vertigo (1958).
 
THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE!- LHF:
Cliff Robertson's onset behaviour caused considerable friction. In the documentary "DePalma", Brian dePalma recounts that Robertson would deliberately deliver a poor performance and line readings when shooting reverse shots for Genevieve Bujold. He insisted on a dark tanning makeup, inappropriate for his troubled character. It made lighting him so difficult that at one point cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond shoved him against a wood wall and shouted "You! You are the same colour as this wall!"
 
The church seen at the beginning of the film, Church of San Miniato, is different from the one that Michael actually goes into when he sees Sandra. The reason for this is because the priests of the Church of San Miniato would not allow De Palma and his crew to film inside of the church, because of a previous film crew that turned out to be making a porno film, and had told them otherwise. This can be seen clearly when Michael goes into the church, which only has one door to enter into, and then in the next shot, where Michael's back is towards the door, and there are now two, and a windows on the doors that don't match the one that we saw on the outside shot. The collegiate church in the town of San Gimignano was used for the interior shots.
 
According to Brian De Palma, Cliff Robertson was very difficult to work with.
 
According to Brian De Palma in the DVD interviews, when Bernard Herrmann watched Obsession for the first time, he knew exactly how the music score would sound.
 
One of his final scores, Bernard Herrmann personally considered his work for this film to be his best.
This film, which has often been compared with Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," begins and ends in New Orleans. Ironically, Bernard Herrmann, the only person who worked on both "Vertigo" and "Obsession," had suggested to Hitchcock that he set "Vertigo" in New Orleans instead of San Francisco, and that Charles Boyer instead of James Stewart should have been the male lead.

Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

It was Bernard Herrmann who insisted upon the removal of the final part of the film. In the original script, Michael Courtland (Cliff Robertson) kills Robert Lasalle (John Lithgow) and goes to Jail. Michael spent years in jail. When he got out, he travels back to Italy and he travels back to the church and there he sees his daughter who is in a sort of catatonic stage. And the priest who is at the church tells Michael that the only way to get her out of this catatonic stage is to restage the kidnapping yet again with real money and he does. And she comes back from her state and embraces her father. Brian De Palma said that it would have made the movie 3 hours if the entire script were shot. It was Bernard Herrmann who insisted to remove these elements which led to the released version. According to De Palma, Bernard Herrmann said "Well that stuff the future just get rid of it. It doesn't work. They get together in the end." Brian De Palma also said "I think he was feeling musically there was something that would be difficult to recapitulate in the future again."

Great stuff.  Thanks for rounding this up!  I think that Herrmann, who had been unceremoniously terminated by Hitch in 1966, was just twisting the knife a bit when he said it was his best score.  It's good, but there are actually cues that sound EXACTLY like those in Vertigo.  Again, another job at Hitch, I think....

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54 minutes ago, overeasy said:

I think that Herrmann, who had been unceremoniously terminated by Hitch in 1966, was just twisting the knife a bit when he said it was his best score.  It's good, but there are actually cues that sound EXACTLY like those in Vertigo.  Again, another [jab] at Hitch, I think....

AHA! Thank you I did not know that, that definitely helps to explain some things.

Hitch  could be a real Dick depending on who you’re talking to!

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Rewatched parts of BODY DOUBLE.

I said this when I reviewed it the last time I watched it, but De Palma really needed to have a gay friend help him with the casting of the male lead role. He is on screen for almost all of movie, everything we are seeing is from his point of view, the audience is going to be spending a lot of time with him and he needs to be charismatic and sexy and compelling and likeable. 
 

the guy they got is, I’m sorry, NONE of those things and it just drrrrrags everything down. 

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On 7/6/2021 at 10:01 PM, Moe Howard said:

It's a slightly dumbed down version of Blow Up using sound rather than photography to crack the case. 

 

As, indeed, is The Conversation. De Palma wasn't even first in line to imitate Blow-Up.

I thought I hadn't seen any of DePalma's films, but I've seen The Untouchables and Snake Eyes, both fairly good. Though when De Palma does the Odessa Steps scene in The Untouchables, I wanted to shake him and say, "What are you, a ****ing first-year film student?"

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8 hours ago, kingrat said:

I thought I hadn't seen any of DePalma's films, but I've seen The Untouchables and Snake Eyes, both fairly good.

wait, WHAT??????

No.

Surely you have seen CARRIE at least!

No PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE? No SCARFACE? BODY DOUBLE??

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COPIED AND PASTED FROM IMDB, THESE ARE THE CREDITS FOR BRIAN DE PALMA AS DIRECTOR (EACH TITLE IA LINK THAT WILL TAKE YOU TO THE PAGE FOR THE MOVIE, FYI)

Director (43 credits)
 2019/I Domino
 2012 Passion
 2007 Redacted
 2002 Femme Fatale
 2001 Bruce Springsteen: the Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000 (Video documentary) (video "Dancing in the Dark")
 1998 Snake Eyes
 1993 Carlito's Way
 1992 Raising Cain (directed by)
 1990 The Bonfire of the Vanities (as Brian DePalma)
 1989 Casualties of War (as Brian DePalma)
 1989 Bruce Springsteen: Video Anthology 1978-1988 (Video documentary) (video "Dancing in the Dark")
 1986 Wise Guys
 1984 Body Double
 1983 Scarface (directed by)
 1981 Blow Out
 1979 Home Movies
 1978 The Fury (as Brian DePalma)
 1976 Carrie
 1976 Obsession (directed by)
 1972 Sisters
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21 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

RUSS TAMBLYN 

He is the dreamiest.

Have you seen High School Confidential ? He plays a high school narc. The scene when "aunt" Mamie Van Doren tries to eat him for breakfast is pretty steamy stuff. 

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21 minutes ago, Moe Howard said:

Have you seen High School Confidential ? He plays a high school narc. The scene when "aunt" Mamie Van Doren tries to eat him for breakfast is pretty steamy stuff. 

yes, it is a delightful movie and I meant to watch it again when it ran last month(?)

See the source image

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On 7/7/2021 at 6:08 AM, UMO1982 said:

BLOW OUT is terrific and seems underrated. The ending is great.

Terrific is the right word,  seen it first run, best performance by Travolta until Primary Colors.

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10 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

wait, WHAT??????

No.

Surely you have seen CARRIE at least!

No PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE? No SCARFACE? BODY DOUBLE??

Nope, I try to avoid horror or gory stuff. Thanks for posting his filmography. I've also seen Mission:Impossible, also in the fairly good category.

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6 minutes ago, kingrat said:

Nope, I try to avoid horror or gory stuff. Thanks for posting his filmography. I've also seen Mission:Impossible, also in the fairly good category.

I’m floored! 
If you get a chance, please do watch Obsession if for no other reason then it’s another fascinating performance from our favorite Geneviève Bujold. (I was surprised by how much I liked the entire film and not just her performance.)

Wow I am unbelievably proud of my voice transcription for correctly hearing Geneviève Bujold.
 

(Even got the accents and everything!)

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