Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Brian de Palma has been a personal favourite for a long time both for the films in his Hitchcock-ian phase as well as for the variety in his ouevre. Another reason was Bernard Herrmann. After Herrmann's tiff with Hitchcock, nothing he worked on since got him as much attention. De Palma and Scorsese, both personal favourites (back when I hadn't made the connection), managed to get him back some of the limelight that he deserved (after all he *was* the dean of film music). The Criterion Collection DVD of Sisters, an important De Palma film (its heavy Hitchcockian references notwithstanding) includes the reprint of an essay by De Palma that describes how Herrmann came on board. And all the praise for the Moog cue that Herrmann wrote for the opening credits doesn't prepare you for the sheer chill that runs down your spine. Only Herrmann could have written something to match his cue for the Psycho shower sequence. Sheer brilliance. The film offers rich rewards if you want to study the themes explored, voyeurism and duality in particular. Also included on the DVD is a text version of a 1973 interview conducted by Richard Rubinstein, where de Palma talks about the cameras he used, the different kinds of film stock, as well an idea based on ROPE (the set for the interiors of Danielle's house was erected to allow De Palma to track through the entire length and back and around, as a body bled through the bottom of the couch) that remained unused because of budgetary constraints. Some of the proceedings may seem a tad stagey (something that I believe is an artifact of editing approaches in 70s films), but there's enough in the chills and thrills department. Now if only I didn't know the plot twist -- I think I might been even more delighted.

more trivia

[august 01, 2008]: the intriguing title sequence (QuickTime) accompanied by Herrmann's nerve-chilling cue.

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