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Discussion thread for the documentary "De Palma" (A24, 2015) (1 Viewer)

The Drifter

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I recently saw the truly superb documentary De Palma (A24, 2015) on Blu-ray. This is my first time ever seeing this, which is somewhat surprising - given that I'm such a fan. This is an excellent doc. which covers De Palma's early films through his early 20XX's work. I enjoyed his personal history re: his family life growing up; how he got into film; anecdotes/stories about the movies he's made/directed over the years; etc.

Seeing the doc. reminded me that I haven't seen all of his early & more obscure films, including A Wedding Party, Get to Know Your Rabbit, etc. Some of these are difficult to find these days on home video and/or streaming.

It's interesting that some of his films that didn't do that great when they were first released (critically and/or commercially) are actually at the top of my list - these include Phantom of the Paradise (1974), Body Double (1984) & Snake Eyes (1998), among others.

Some interesting anecdotes re: his films:

-De Palma didn't like working with Cliff Robertson on Obsession (1976) & found him difficult, etc. However, from seeing the film (which I just re-watched recently) - I would never have guessed this. And, I felt that CR was perfectly cast in the role.
- Bob Hoskins was considered for the role of Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987).
- The plot elements from Dressed to Kill (1980) which involve Peter Miller (Keith Gordon) following his mother to the psychiatrist's office are actually partially autobiographical.

-At one point, De Palma was saying that, in general - he didn't think a film director's movies after he/she hits 60 are typically as good as their earlier output (from their 30's - 50's). However, in De Palma's specific case I found his later films from the 200X's & 20XX's to be superior to some of his very early & obscure films. In fact, IMHO all of his films from the past 20+ years are excellent, though they are definitely underrated. These are: Mission to Mars (2000); Femme Fatale (2002); The Black Dahlia (2006); Redacted (2007); Passion (2012); and Domino (2019).

That being said, I suspect most fans would agree that his most iconic films are his '70's & '80's work - these include Sisters; Phantom of the Paradise; Obsession; Carrie; Dressed to Kill; Blow Out; Scarface; Body Double; The Untouchables; etc.

Here's the trailer:

 
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Neil S. Bulk

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It's a terrific film I always go back to after watching a De Palma film. Did you notice the picture of Francis Ford Coppola on the back of the packaging?
 

The Drifter

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It's a terrific film I always go back to after watching a De Palma film. Did you notice the picture of Francis Ford Coppola on the back of the packaging?

I did not notice this. Thanks for the heads-up. I know that De Palma referenced Coppola, Lucas, and Spielberg in the doc. They were all up & coming at around the same time (i.e. the 1970's).
 
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JimJasper

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Thank you for this alert and your careful thoughts, Jim. I've been a casual and intrigued fan of his for years. I had no idea, & would love to see this doc.
 
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JoshZ

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-De Palma didn't like working with CR on Obsession (1976) & found him difficult, etc. However, from seeing the film (which I just re-watched recently) - I would never have guessed this. And, I felt that CR was perfectly cast in the role.

For those unfamiliar with the film and puzzled by the acronym, the CR here is Cliff Robertson.

- Bob Hoskins was considered for the role of Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987).

More than just considered. Hoskins was signed for the role with a big paycheck, but was then let go when De Niro (whom De Palma really wanted) became available.

Even aside from the director's preference, this was probably in the movie's best interest all around. Hoskins had just played a similar gangster role in the box office dud The Cotton Club, and I'm sure the producers didn't want audiences drawing comparisons between the two.

-At one point, De Palma was saying that, in general - he didn't think a film director's movies after he/she hits 60 are typically as good as their earlier output (from their 30's - 50's). However, in De Palma's specific case I found his later films from the 200X's & 20XX's to be superior to some of his earlier films. In fact, IMHO all of his films from the past 20+ years are excellent, though they are definitely underrated. These are: Mission to Mars (2000); Femme Fatale (2002); The Black Dahlia (2006); Redacted (2007); Passion (2012); and Domino (2019).

I suspect you're probably in a pretty small minority in liking Mission to Mars at all, much less preferring it over any of De Palma's early work. :biggrin:
 

The Drifter

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I suspect you're probably in a pretty small minority in liking Mission to Mars at all, much less preferring it over any of De Palma's early work. :biggrin:

Yes, I do prefer MtM over some of De Palma's very early films like "Greetings" and "Hi Mom", though I may be in the minority regarding this. I haven't seen all of De Palma's early work, however.

MtM was an interesting film, though I believe people may sometimes confuse this with Red Planet (2000) - which came out in the same year & has a similar theme.
 

JoshZ

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Yes, I do prefer MtM over some of De Palma's very early films like "Greetings" and "Hi Mom", though I may be in the minority regarding this. I haven't seen all of De Palma's early work, however.

MtM was an interesting film, though I believe people may sometimes confuse this with Red Planet (2000) - which came out in the same year & has a similar theme.

I saw Mission to Mars in the theater. It did not go over well with anyone in the audience, myself included. Lots of exasperated grumbling as the credits rolled.
 

John Maher_289910

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MISSION TO MARS is one of only 3 or so films I like that take place in outer space (my least favorite setting for a film. Well, space and Vietnam)
 
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