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 Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?

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Ambler
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PostSubject: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:57 am



Few film directors polarize audiences like Brian De Palma and this forum is no exception.

Mr Brown rates him, Harms does not. Sharky and his good friend Armond White have somewhat mixed views, while Oppers thinks Body Double is indefensible. Not enough power drills or something. Me? I want to have his babies.

Put your case here. :)
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Salomé
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:02 am

Did I use the word indefensible? I honestly cannot remember that.

I respect him as a director but he has been too hit-and-miss (at least from my personal perspective) for me to put him anywhere near the top of my totem.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:06 am

Salomé wrote:
Did I use the word indefensible?

Who cares? It has a nice ring and I thought you'd enjoy the name check.

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Salomé
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:08 am

ambler wrote:
Salomé wrote:
Did I use the word indefensible?
Who cares? It has a nice ring and I thought you'd enjoy the name check.

Just checking! It wasn't completely beyond the realm of possibility that I'd use such a strong denunciation, though it is a strong adjective when I consider how I truly feel about the movie.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:14 am

I've no time for Body Double though its original intention (the first Hollywood/mainstream porno) was interesting.

I like early De Palma a great deal and think Obsession is a masterpiece, while Carrie is probably the best teen film to date. (Though Dublo tells me I should look at Traci Lord's oeuvre.)
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:17 am

ambler wrote:
Sharky and his good friend Armond White have somewhat mixed views.

No we don't. I think we love most of his films, except REDACTED. Have you seen that pile of crap?
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:19 am

Oppers doesn't like "Body Double"? Where's that ban button...

I think he was on the right track right up to "Blow Out", and things went downhill with "Scarface". Later on, though, "The Untouchables" seemed to hold the quality of his earlier films. I also think "Mission: Impossible" did, too, although it was obviously made to be a blockbuster/money-maker.

No matter how dull his newer films may be, he always includes something interesting in them, often in terms of camera work. He hasn't lost his touch, I'm sure, but seems a little misguided. I wish he'd go back to basics.

My favorite film from him is "Obsession", and I thank Sir Ambler for mentioning the film back on oldMi6. Aside from spectacular camera work and cinematography, I love the performances, the score, and the screenplay. Cliff Robertson was outstanding. John Lithgow perhaps exaggerated his character a bit, but it all worked out. I didn't care for him before seeing "Obsession", but after viewing it, and watching some more of his villains in De Palma's other films, I started appreciating his work.

Many love to claim that the story is a blatant "Vertigo" rip-off (Hitch once said so himself, IIRC), but I beg to differ. It has elements of "Vertigo", but works as its own story and its own film. Some of the original concepts for it were interesting, as well, and I wonder how they would have turned out (i.e. Courtland sleeping with his own daughter; the incestuous relationship somewhat paralleling Scottie being a subtle necrophiliac in "Vertigo"). Paul Schrader did a great job with it.

And then there's the score, which is regarded as one of Herrmann's best works. I can't imagine the airport sequence without his music. The camera work and the score, within this scene in particular, created a spine-tingling product, as I've mentioned before.

Never liked De Palma before seeing "Obsession". That's because I had only watched "Scarface", "M:I", and his later works. Anyone who doesn't see him as a talented filmmaker should truly re-examine his earlier works.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:25 am

I was one of the few over at MI6 who'd defend BLACK DAHLIA to no end. I've also got a lot time for PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, which betters Ken Russell's TOMMY as a rock opera and Grand Guignol cinema. SISTERS is a great tribute to PSYCHO, just as OBSESSION is to VERTIGO.
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Mr. Trevelyan
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:29 am

I love Scarface and The Untouchables, and have a quilty pleasure-like on Carlito's Way and Mission: Impossible, so I'm probably on the likers' club.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:30 am

You've only watched the tip of the iceberg. The mainstream stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:32 am

Sharky wrote:
we love most of his films, except REDACTED. Have you seen that pile of crap?

I'm afraid I couldn't even finish it. I haven't given up on De Palma though. I'm the only person who saw The Black Dahlia and didn't ask for their money back.

Those who can't see that this clip is a brilliant piece of improvisation need a good kicking.



Last edited by ambler on Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:05 am; edited 3 times in total
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Mr. Trevelyan
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:33 am

Sharky wrote:
You've only watched the tip of the iceberg. The mainstream stuff.
So?
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:34 am

Mr. Trevelyan wrote:
Sharky wrote:
You've only watched the tip of the iceberg. The mainstream stuff.
So?

You need to watch more of his films.
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Salomé
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:35 am

Not sold on Black Dahlia, though most of my issues with that movie are related to the casting choices.

I think one thing that has hurt De Palma's legacy is the drop-off in quality towards the latter part of his career. Sure, someone like Scorcese hasn't given us a Taxi Driver or Raging Bull in the past twenty years, but where is De Palma's Goodfellas or even The Aviator? Though he's not alone in that department, you could argue that Copolla's recent crop has been even more paltry.
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Mr. Trevelyan
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:37 am

Sharky wrote:
Mr. Trevelyan wrote:
Sharky wrote:
You've only watched the tip of the iceberg. The mainstream stuff.
So?

You need to watch more of his films.
Nah, I think I stay here, because when I reach the the tip of the iceberg, continuation would just ruin it. Besides, I dig the tip enough to stay. :afro:
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:02 am

I'm not much of a De Palma supporter but then again I've only seen much of his commercial work, most of which I really appreciate especially Carrie and Scarface. I would love to see Sisters, Obsession and Blow-Out someday.

I despise Mission To Mars but that's more to do with Don Cheadle and the awful special effects than De Palma.

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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:31 am

I also have to add that I enjoy much of what Pino Donaggio has done for De Palma's work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8TZ6RgeZGE#t=10m25s



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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:48 am

Donaggio's score for Blow Out is very serviceable. The film also feature stunning cinematography and an excellent performance by John Travolta. Not too keen on Mrs. De Palma, tho'.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:49 am

Did you know an expanded version of Donaggio's "Carrie" was released? I just found out a week ago, or so.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:54 am

Mr. Brown wrote:
Did you know an expanded version of Donaggio's "Carrie" was released? I just found out a week ago, or so.

No, I have the original Varese CD with very annoying dialogue. What's been added?
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:56 am

Here's the track listing:
http://www.kritzerland.com/carrie.htm

The 2nd CD was the music from the original soundtrack release. Apparently this sold out quick.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:04 am

Mr. Brown wrote:
Here's the track listing:
http://www.kritzerland.com/carrie.htm

The 2nd CD was the music from the original soundtrack release. Apparently this sold out quick.

Only 1200 copies. Might have to go looking around then. Wouldn't want to miss the Tuxedo Shop. Seriously, looks to be a much better release.

BTW, I'll have to dig out my CD as according to the blurb on that site it's the Ryko disc that has the dialogue.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:12 am

If you can't get a copy, PM me.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:16 am

Cheers, Sharky, though as a mod I should warn you that downloads are killing the music industry.
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PostSubject: Re: Brian De Palma: auteur or charlatan?    Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:16 am

Long ago I posted the list of De Palma's films that I've seen, and Ambler said I've only seen the worst. The list hasn't changed.

-SCARFACE
-THE UNTOUCHABLES
-CARLITO'S WAY
-TOM CRUISE STAR VEHICLE THAT STEALS THE NAME OF A GOOD SHOW AND FLUSHES THE ENTIRE CONCEPT DOWN THE TOILET AND MAKES THE LEAD CHARACTER OF THAT SHOW THE VILLAIN
-MISSION TO MARS
-THE BLACK DAHLIA

I do like SCARFACE. I think it has balls. I think, tonally, it's a good update of 30's gangster pictures. I also like CARLITO'S WAY. THE UNTOUCHABLES isn't bad.

Everything else is sewage to me.
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