Tuesday, March 18, 2008

THE H.I.S.B.S.C.F.D. BLOG-A-THON : PHOENIX RISING IN "PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Final Girl is hosting (in what's sure to be the record for longest blog-a-thon title...) the Hey, Internet, Stop Being Such Cynical Effing Douchbags Blog-A-Thon! It will be a one day only explosion of movie love and feel good appreciation without the red tape of bitter infighting (I think...). Please click here and enjoy all of the entries as they pile in throughout the day!
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When I think of a filmmaker that fills me with "total unbridled f*cking retarded joy", Brian DePalma immediately comes to mind.

There is:

* The opening shot in Snake Eyes...

* DeNiro's 16mm peep sequences in Hi, Mom!...


* Amy Irving's telekinetic terrorism in The Fury...

* The Craig Wasson/Melanie Griffith Frankie Goes to Hollywood porn tracking in Body Double...

* The split-screening of the split personality Michael Caine in Dressed To Kill...

* Every second of Raising Cain...

* Every second of Femme Fatale...

* Every second of Blow Out...

* Every second of Phantom of the Paradise...

But, whoa... this is a blog entry, not a book, so let me slice off a piece of that last masterstroke and squeeze some love into it as hard as I can.

Jessica Harper was only 25 when she starred as Phoenix, the would-be chanteuse of Winslow's doomed Faust cantata. The audition scene in Phantom of the Paradise, where she sings "Special To Me", features Harper coming out of that adorable brown-eyed precociousness and rocking the cord of a hot mic like it's a whip or leopard's tale.

True, it gets awkward at times - especially when Phoenix's end song dance looks like she's riding an imaginary pony - but the performance is some much needed in-person validation for the hapless, nerdy Winslow: a poor schmuck who's been conned by Swan (the weirdo Paul Williams), sent to jail, had his teeth knocked out, and got mutilated in a record press machine.

Following Greetings and Hi, Mom!, Phantom... was the last time Brian DePalma was able to let his playful freak flag fly. If it feels good, shoot it! No restrictions, it was just total unbridled f*cking retarded joy!

6 comments:

Jay Amabile said...

This is a fantastic post! I am a huge De Palma fan as well!

Stacie Ponder said...

I missed Phantom when it recently played around here, and now I'm kicking myself.

I LOVE Blow Out. I haven't seen it in a while, but it's SUCH a great movie. Nancy Allen rules!

Fox said...

I love the Nancy Allen-era of Blow Out/Dressed To Kill. She is so adorable in those films... and funny too! I think she is underappreciated as a small comedic talent.

And it breaks my heart that when dies in Blow Out :(

Anonymous said...

I too love '70s/early '80s era De Palma-pretty much everything from Sisters to Body Double. But Phantom may be my favorite. From Beef, to those songs, to the split screens, to all the fourth wall breakage, to Paul William's bad clothes...makes me smile just thinking about it.
Chuckwilson

Joanna L. Oznowicz-Davis said...

I think (THINK, mind you) that I'm figuring out why Phantom of the Paradise is enjoying such a revival today. The clues are all over the place... 1) Instant celebrity...we're OBSESSED with celebrity! 2) The ULTIMATE in 'REALITY T.V.' Nothing like the Wedding Scene or opening night ever happened on American Idol! Question; would be believe it, if something like that DID happen? It's almost on a level with something ANDY KAUFMAN would do! Is this real?

What do you think?

Joanna L. Oznowicz-Davis said...

I think (THINK, mind you) that I'm figuring out why Phantom of the Paradise is enjoying such a revival today. The clues are all over the place... 1) Instant celebrity...we're OBSESSED with celebrity! 2) The ULTIMATE in 'REALITY T.V.' Nothing like the Wedding Scene or opening night ever happened on American Idol! Question; would be believe it, if something like that DID happen? It's almost on a level with something ANDY KAUFMAN would do! Is this real?

What do you think?