Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Phantom of the Paradise (1974, Brian De Palma)

My friend Greg over at Sex, Drugs, and Cinema already did a great write up on this twisted and amazing little gem of film that can be found HERE.

So, I see doing a write up this film pretty pointless since he has said everything I would have. I will say although I have a lot of De Palma films left to watch, I think he is one of the most uneven directors ever. He aims for the skies and almost always ends up not even getting close with his story and characters but yet somehow still gets some of the most stunning cinematography and style that I have yet to see. I'm just always left feeling empty because I just wish his stories and characters would match up to his style.

However, I have long been a gigantic fan of what almost everyone considers to be his worst film ever, Raising Cain. The reason I love that film is the same reason why I loved the hell out of this one. It's as if De Palma knows that he has a silly,campy, and ridiculous story on his hands and decides to just play it up as much as he can and just go absolutely nuts on it with his style. I much prefer De Palma giving in to his style than him trying to actually deliver a great film to go with his style. It's almost as if De Palma should have been directing B movies with Nicholas Ray and Sam Fuller in the 40s,50s, and 60s than directing with Scorsese, Kubrick, and Coppola in the 70's.

But anyways....I digress....Phantom of the Paradise kicks a lot of ass. I may be sounding like Harry Knowles here but this film just fucking rocks. There is no way around it. It just simply really kicks ass. It is really just 90 minutes of awesomeness to those who buy into it. If I didnt have to return it to the video store, I would have watched it again. I loved every minute of it.

- ****

2 comments:

My Sanctuary said...

HI!

I grew up with this movie when it first came out. Yes, I'm from Winsl...I mean Winnipeg, Canada, and (FOREVER THANKS to the intrepid Phantompalooza crew!!!) had the august honor of meeting THE man, himself (William Finley/*'Winslow Leach') *Face it, dear man, you're stuck with him! I have both books of Goethe's Faust signed by him and was finally able to say THANK YOU for having had such an impact on me, artistically speaking.

It was PHENOMENAL having the people we (Peggers especially but fans, en masse) grew up with in the very theatre we first saw them!!! TOO WILD FOR WORDS!!! If you email back, I can give you the link for my online book, "Phantom of the Paradise, A Retrospective".

Glad ya liked it! (putting it mildly) Ha, ha.

~Joanna~

p.s. You shouldn't have a hard time remembering the address.

My Sanctuary said...

OOps. Forgot to check the box at the bottom!!! I look forward to hearing from anyone who wants to talk INDEPTH about the issues broached in this movie! Artistic integrity and the like!

As tragic irony would have it, two years after phantom... the supposed songwriter (initials p.w.) ended up getting walked over by Barbra Streisand in
A Star is Born. Right out of the gate, she insisted on referring to the song Evergreen as the song SHE wrote. Period. Not co-wrote or collaborated on, but wrote. Period. As in SOLO.
Here is where truth out-does fiction for pure strangeness... williams had clout, he had resources and he had the proof to back up any claim he might have made to being the writer of the lyrics to that song. He said NO-THING! He did NO-THING! To this day, bold as brass, Babs declares herself SOLE author of the song.

Whereas, in the fiction department, Winslow was 0 for 3. He had NO name in the music community. Swan had robbed him of any resources he might have had, by making sure the police were in his back pocket. Any the ONLY proof Winslow had, that he ever wrote the music, he gave to Philbin. And yet, he fought back and won. Okay, so he didn't get his music back, but he did make sure that slimey little git didn't rob anyone else!

Add to this the fact that

** Brian DePalma reacted to a botched song that wasn't even his! (Which was how the movie was inspired)

*** William Finley could have been seriously hurt or killed (when the rehearsal for the record plant scene went awry) But he went through with it again! What a trooper! AND, FOR MUSIC THAT WASN'T EVEN HIS!!!!!! Both Brian and William went further for someone else's cause than williams was willing to do for his own.

Whaddya know! Swan turned out to be a Chicken !

Faust: Words and Music: W.Leach

Evergreen {Love theme from A Star is Born} Words and Music: B.Streisand