Brian DePalma


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4.5 Murder a la Mod (1968)
5.0 Greetings (1968)
5.0 The Wedding Party (1969)
5.5 Hi Mom (1970)
4.5 Dionysus in '69 (1970)
4.5 Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)
7.0 Sisters (1972)
7.3 Phantom Of The Paradise (1974)
7.0 Carrie (1976)
6.2 Obsession (1976)
6.2 The Fury (1978)
4.5 Home Movies (1980)
7.8 Dressed To Kill (1980)
8.0 Blow Out (1981)
7.2 Scarface (1983)
7.3 Body Double (1984)
5.0 Wise Guys (1986)
6.8 The Untouchables (1987)
6.0 Casualties of War (1989)
5.5 The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
6.4 Raising Cain (1992)
7.0 Carlito's Way (1993)
5.0 Mission Impossible (1996)
5.0 Snake Eyes (1998)
4.5 Mission to Mars (2000)
7.0 Femme Fatale (2002)
5.0 The Black Dahlia (2006)
6.0 Redacted (2007)
5.0 Passion (2013)
5.0 Domino (2019)
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Brian DePalma (USA, 1940) debuted with shorts such as Icarus (1960), 660124 - The Story of an IBM Card (1961), Wotan's Wake (1962), and Jennifer (1964), followed by documentaries such as The Responsive Eye (1966), Show Me a Strong Town and I'll Show You a Strong Bank (1966), and Bridge That Gap (1969).

Before launching his main career, Brian DePalma made a few underground comedies: Murder a la Mod (1968), the first film that he both scripted and directed, Greetings (1968), inspired by Jean-Luc Godard, a portrait of a voyeuristic young filmmaker (Robert DeNiro), a womanizer and a conspiracy-theory paranoid during the anti-war protests of the Vietnam War era, The Wedding Party (1969), a farce that feels like a remix of Mike Nichols' The Graduate (1967), and Hi Mom (1970), a sequel to Greetings, another farce but with the first hints of DePalma's passion for Hitchcock's Rear Window, followed by Dionysus in '69 (1970), which documents an experimental theatrical performance of the Greek play "The Bacchae", and Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972), another madcap farce a` la Monty Python, about a a tap-dancing magician and featuring Orson Welles.

Sisters (1972) was the film that made DePalma a famous director of horror thrillers, DePalma's first venture into stylish Hitchcock territory, notable for its brutal violence, delirious dream sequences, and split-screen scenes. It contains the themes that would resurface in all his major films.

A black man spies on a blind woman who is undressing. The scene is part of a game show called "Peeping Toms" that consists in guessing what the black man, Philip, will do now that he has the opportunity to watch a blind woman undressing. (The game is shown on a smaller tv screen within the larger movie screen). The tv host explains that the blind woman is not really blind, and that she is actually a gorgeous French-canadian model, Danielle.
After the show, Danielle invites Philip to dinner. During their dinner Danielle's ex husband intrudes and Philip has to ask the club's to throw him out. After a romantic walk by the sea, Philip follows Danielle, a little drunk, at her place. Philip sees her ex-husband mounting guard downstairs. They make love on the couch. Danielle has a nightmare and walks to the bathroom to takes a few pills. Philip is woken up by Danielle having an argument in French with another woman, Dominique, who mentions having been locked in a mental hospital. Philip wakes up and gets dressed. Danielle explains that Dominique is her siamese twin and that this is their birthday, and sends him out to get a birthday cake. Philip walks back to the apartment and lights the candles on the cake, while the ex-husband is still patiently waiting in the car downstairs. Philip is butchered by the deranged Dominique.
From her apartment across the street, a young reporter, Grace, who is introduced in the left side of the screen, sees Philip crawl to the window before falling dead under the mad woman's blows. Grace calls the police and walks downstairs.
The ex-husband, Emil, knocks at Danielle's door and only then Danielle realizes what Dominique has done. Emil helps her hide the body into the couch.
The detective sent by the police, Kelly, resents her articles against police brutality is skeptical about her story and wastes a lot of time in the hall of the building arguing with her while Emil is cleaning up the living room. When Danielle opens the door, there are no signs of the murder. Grace sits down on the couch, literally on top of the dead body, and proclaims in a frustrated tone, "That body is here somewhere!" The search is fruitless, but Grace finds the cake and realizes that Danielle has a twin. Unfortunately she trips on the cake, the only evidence of her theory, and the police officer leaves without believing her. (Where Dominique is hiding is not clear, since only Emil left the apartment).
Grace becomes determined to prove that Danielle's twin sister killed Philip. (The audience, that has been asked to identify with the murderer, now is asked to identify with the reporter). Grace calls a friend who is a private detective. The detective sneaks into Danielle's apartment to find clues, while Grace watches him with binoculars through the open windows.
Grace finds a file on siamese twins who a year earlier have been surgically separated and then watches a documentary on them. mil is the man who performed the separation and... Dominique died in the operation.
In the meantime the detective is following a moving truck that he suspects is carrying the corpse away. Grace finds Danielle and Emil in a mental institution. Danielle is having a fit and Emil injects her a sedative. Grace asks an assistant to call the police, but the assistant calls the head of the institution... who is Emil. Emil pretends that Grace is a patient and everything she says sounds like the nightmare of a paranoid. She gets tied down to a bed and locked in a room. Under the effects of drugs, she dreams that Emil is hypnotizing her and shows her a horrible scar.
Someone is watching a videotape in black and white in a small television screen which is set in the institution for the malformed where they were raised. The videotape shows how Emil became Danielle's lover when the two were still united (he would just inject a sedative into Dominique to make love to Danielle) and how he then separated them. A sequence of dreamy sequences in black and white turns the story into a nightmare that Danielle is having while Emil talks to her. Dominique never died for Danielle and Danielle sometimes becomes her. Emil is trying to heal her, but Danielle strikes him with the same knife. They fall on Grace, who is waking up. Emil is dead and Danielle is hugging him.
The dumb detective Kelly now believes Grace and would like to find the couch but... Grace has been hypnotized and she can't remember anything about the murder of Philip. Her private detective though is still following it.
DePalma uses Hitchcock's methods and obsessions and sometimes in an even more convincing manner. DePalma even mimick Hitchcock's black sense of humor when Grace is sitting on the dead body and says "that body must be here somewhere". The film is mostly shot in narrow, claustrophobic environments. The tension is created by the neurotic style of the director: manic tracking shots, quasi-psychedelic zooms, fast-cut editing and split-screen effects. DePalma's preference is for being the voyeur, and for dealing with voyears. Hitchcock cinema is voyeurism and about voyeaurs, and DePalma simply expands on that. Sisters is inspired specifically by Psycho (the bond between Siamese twins instead of the the bond between mother and son) and Rear Window (the reporter watching with binoculars the detective from her window). DePalma also hints at Todd Browning's Freaks when he deals with the institute.
DePalma also plays with the morals of the audience. For example, when the split screen shows Grace and the police versus Danielle and Emil, the suspense is both caused by anxiety that Grace and the police will not arrive in time to catch Danielle and Emil in the act (good moral) and by the anxiety that Danielle and Emil will not get the crime scene cleaned up in time (bad moral).
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Alessandra Blasi)

Un nero spia una donna cieca mentre si sveste. La scena fa parte di un game show chiamato "Peeping Toms" che consiste nel tirare a indovinare che cosa farà l'uomo, Philip, ora che ha l'occasione di guardare una donna cieca nuda. (il gioco è mostrato su una piccola TV all'interno dello schermo grande). Il conduttore in TV spiega che la donna cieca non è realmente cieca e che è in verita` una splendida modella franco-canadese, di nome Danielle. Dopo lo show, Danielle invita Philip a pranzo. Durante il pranzo, l'ex marito di Danielle s`intromette e Philip deve chiedere ai gestori del club di buttarlo fuori. Dopo una camminata romantica al mare, Philip segue Danielle, un poco ubriaco, a casa sua. Philip vede l`ex-marito che monta la guardia di sotto. Fanno l'amore sul divano. Danielle ha un incubo e va verso la stanza da bagno a prendere alcune pillole. Philip è svegliato da Danielle che ha una discussione in francese con un'altra donna, Dominique, che accenna al fatto di essere bloccata in una casa di cura mentale. Philip si sveglia e si veste. Danielle spiega che Dominique è la sua gemella siamese e che quell giorno è il loro compleanno e lo manda fuori per prendere una torta di compleanno. Philip torna di nuovo nell'appartamento ed accende le candele sulla torta, mentre l`ex-marito ancora sta attendendo pazientemente nell'automobile di sotto. Philip viene ferocemente ucciso dalla squilibrata Dominique. Dal suo appartamento dall`altra parte della strada, una giovane reporter, Grace, (introdotta nella parte sinistra dello schermo), vede Philip strisciare alla finestra prima di cadere morto sotto i colpi della donna. Grace chiama la polizia e va di sotto. L` ex-marito, Emil, bussa alla porta di Danielle e soltanto allora Danielle realizza che cosa Dominique ha fatto. Emil l`aiuta a nascondere il corpo nel divano. Il detective mandato dalla polizia, Kelly, si risente dei suoi articoli contro la brutalita` della polizia, è scettica circa la sua storia e spreca molto tempo nel corridoio dell`edificio discutendo con lei mentre Emil sta pulendo il soggiorno. Quando Danielle apre la porta, non ci sono segni dell'omicidio. Grace si siede sul divano, letteralmente in cima al cadavere ed afferma in un tono frustrato, "quel corpo è qui da qualche parte!" La ricerca è inutile, ma Grace trova la torta e realizza che Danielle ha una gemella. Purtroppo fa cadere la torta, l'unica prova della sua teoria e l'ufficiale di polizia va via senza crederla. (dove Dominique sta nascondendosi non è chiaro, soltanto Emil ha lasciato l'appartamento). Grace è determinata a dimostrare che la sorella gemella di Danielle ha ucciso Philip. (al pubblico, cui era stato chiesto di identificarsi con l'assassino, ora è chiesto di identificarsi con il reporter). Grace chiama un amico che è un detective privato. Il detective si introduce furtivamente nell'appartamento di Danielle per trovare indizii, mentre Grace lo guarda con il binocolo attraverso le finestre aperte. Grace trova un file su due gemelle siamesi che un anno prima sono state separate chirurgicamente ed allora guarda un documentario sul fatto. Emil è l'uomo che ha realizzato la separazione e... Dominique è morta nell`operazione. Nel frattempo il detective sta seguendo un camion che sospetta stia portando via il cadavere. Grace trova Danielle ed Emil in una casa di cura mentale. Danielle e` nel mezzo di una crisi ed Emil la inietta un sedativo. Grace chiede ad un assistente di chiamare la polizia, ma l'assistente chiama il capo dell'istituzione... che è Emil. Emil finge che Grace sia una paziente e tutto quello che lei dice sembra l'incubo di una paranoica. Viene legata al letto e chiusa in una stanza. Sotto effetto di droga, sogna che Emil la ipnotizza e le mostra una cicatrice orribile. Qualcuno sta guardando una videotape in bianco e nero su un piccolo schermo televisivo. Il videotape mostra come Emil diviene l`amante di Danielle quando le due erano ancora unite (inietterebbe giusto un sedativo a Dominique per fare l'amore con Danielle) e come poi le ha separate. Una sequenza di irreali sequenze in bianco e nero trasforma la storia in un incubo che Danielle sta avendo mentre Emil parla con lei. Dominique non e` mai morta per Danielle e Danielle a volte diventa Dominique. Emil sta provando a guarirla, ma Danielle lo colpisce con lo stesso coltello. Cadono su Grace, che si sta svegliando. Emil è morto e Danielle lo sta abbracciando. La silenziosa detective Kelly ora crede a Grace e vorrebbe far qualcosa, ma...Grace e` stata ipnotizzata e non può ricordare niente circa l'omicidio di Philip. Il suo detective privato comunque e` ancora all`inseguimento. DePalma usa i metodi e le ossessioni di Hitchcock ed a volte in un modo ancor più convincente. DePalma imita anche l`humor noir di Hitchcock, quando Grace si sta sedendo sul corpo e dice "che il corpo deve essere qui da qualche parte". La pellicola è principalmente girata in ambienti stretti e claustrofobici. La tensione è data dallo stile nevrotico del regista: inquadrature maniacali che inseguono, zoom quasi-psichedelici, montaggi dai tagli veloci ed effetti split-screen. La preferenza di DePalma è di essere voyeur e di occuparsi dei voyeaurs. Il cinema di Hitchcock è voyeurismo e intorno ai voyeaurs e DePalma semplicemente sviluppa questo. Sisters è ispirato specificamente a Psycho (il legame fra i gemelli siamesi anziché il legame fra la madre ed il figlio) e a Rear Window (la reporter che guarda con il binocolo il detective dalla sua finestra). DePalma inoltre allude a Todd Browning`s Freaks quando tratta delle istituzioni. DePalma inoltre gioca con la morale del pubblico. Per esempio, quando lo schermo spaccato mostra Grace e la polizia contro Danielle ed Emil, la suspense è causata sia dall` ansia che Grace e la polizia non arriveranno in tempo per scoprire Danielle ed Emil (morale buona) sia dall'ansia che Danielle ed Emil non riusciranno a pulire la scena del delitto in tempo (cattiva morale).
If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me.

The horror musical Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) was perhaps DePalma's attempt at a Rocky Horror Picture Show. The plot steals stereotypes from Gaston Leroux's "The Phantom of the Opera", Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray", and Christopher Marlowe's "Faust".

Il "fantasma dell'opera" diventa nelle mani di DePalma un idealista della musica rock che si scontra con il business discografico. E` perdutamente innamorato di una ragazza che al momento opportuno si lascia pero` irretire come le altre dal fascino del successo. Il mito del Faust si insinua a due livelli: Swan ha venduto l'anima per l'eterna giovinezza, l'autore per sentir cantare la propria opera dall'amata. E nessuno die due puo` togliersi la vita, entrambi dipendono dalla distruzione di qualcos'altro, l'autore da quella di Swan e Swan da quella del filmato (riferimenti al cinema, al film stesso).
Mitologia medievale e rock, cinematografica, e psicanalitica (la malattia ossessiva dell'amore per la ragazza), fumettistica (l'eroe in costume) si fondono.
Ma il grande accusato e` il pubblico, idiota demente meccanico crudele drogato di miti, inumano: una massa di androidi senza emozioni.
DePalma predilige scene rapide, montaggio vertiginoso e aggressivo. All'inizio usa un po' di humour, quasi parodistico. Le prime sequenze sono quasi slapstick, fino allo sfregio del volto. Poi il film diventa una tragedia filosofica colma di suspense.

Un giovane hippie ha composto una cantata pop sul Faust ma ha commesso l'ingenuita` di affidarla a un impresario corrotto che l'ha passata al divo malvagio Swan il quale progetta di farne il cavallo di battaglia del suo nuovo locale, il Paradise. Invano il giovane reclama i suoi diritti. Swan lo fa rinchiudere in un penitenziario. L'hippie evade, penetra nella fortezza discografica di Swan, tenta di sabotare, ma invece si brucia un lato del volto e perde la voce. Riesce comunque a mandare a monte il progetto facendo esplodere una bomba durante le prove. Swan decide allora di fargli firmare un contratto in cambio del quale gli ridara` la voce e affidera` la cantata alla giovane preferita dell'autore. L'autore, che si veste con una maschera da rapace e una tunica nera, viene chiuso in uno studio dove sofisticate apparecchiature riescono a trasformare i suoi mugolii in voce umana e dove riprende a comporre. Swan in realta` ha gia` presentato alla stampa il nuovo idolo. Il tradimento si ttua quando l'autore, spossato dalla gran fatica, termina l'opera: Swan lo fa murare vivo nello studio e inaugura il Paradise facendo cantare l'opera al suo idolo gay. L'autore, resosi conto dell'inganno, sfonda il muro con la forza della disperazione, minaccia il cantante (che, terrorizzato, vorrebbe andarsene, ma viene convinto a rimanere) e si nasconde in attesa di colpire. Lo show ha inizio in un caos infernale. L'idolo si agita sotto i riflettori davanti a una folla delirante. L'autore gli scarica addosso una freccia ad alta tensione. Cala il sipario, mentre la folla esulta. L'impresario decide di far cantare la ragazza per placare l'ira dell'assassino. La ragazza canta e trionfa, ma non sa nulla dell'autore ed e` invaghita di Swan, a cui crede di dovere tutto. L'autore le appare sul tetto, ma e` orrendo. Lei, terrorizzata, fugge dal bello Swan. L'autore li segue alla lussuosa villa di Swan. Sotto la ufera che imperversa, l'autore e` costretto ad assistere dal tetto alla scena d'amore che si sta svolgendo in casa. La ragazza striscia sul corpo di Swan, lo spoglia, lo bacia con volutta`. L'autore ha perso anche lei, Swan adesso gli ha rubato veramente tutto.
Swan accende una telecamera che inquadra la scena sul tetto e gode a vedere la sua vittima soffrire. L'autore estrae un pugnale e se la punta contro il petto. Swan sale sul tetto, gli leva il pugnale, lo richiama alla vita e gli getta il voluminoso contratto in faccia, che concede a Swan tutti i diritti. L'autore e` condannato a vivere, a sopportare l'umiliazione, ad assistere alla propria distruzione morale, attraverso l'uso della ragazza che ne fara` Swan. L'autore tenta allora di pugnalare Swan, l'unico modo per mettere fine al tutto, ma Swan gli rivela di essere anche lui sotto contratto.
Swan decide di sposare la ragazza al termine del prossimo show.
L'autore apprende da un video la verita`: vent'anni prima Swan stava per suicidarsi, terrorizzato dall'idea di invecchiare, ma il diavolo gli propose un contratto, l'eterna giovinezza in cambio di una firma col sangue. Il demonio gli disse anche di custodire gelosamente il filmato, perche' Swan morira` quando il film verra` distrutto.
Sullo schermo l'autore vede poi i veri profetti di Swan: non sposare la ragazza, ma ucciderla, dopo averle fatto firmare col sangue lo stesso contratto.
Lo show e` iniziato (coreografia sfarzose, folla assordante). Durante la scena del matrimonio, un killer nascosto dietro le quinte prende di mira la ragazza. L'autore interviene e devia il colpo sul sacerdote che sta celebrando il matrimonio. Poi si cala sul palco e distrugge il film. Nel caos infernale Swan invecchia rapidamente. Il pubblico continua a ballare a una musica forsennata. Swan strangola la ragazza. La folla gode. L'autore avanza barcollando verso la ragazza, dopo che Swan e` stramazzato a terra e il suo cadavere viene portato in trionfo dalla folla. La folla toglie la maschera all'autore, che sta disperatamente tentando di raggiungere l'amata, nonostante la ferita mortale. Spira prima di poterla abbracciare. La folla danza ancora, lo show continua. La ragazza finalmente vince il terrore e capisce tutto. E si inginocchia al suo fianco.

If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me.

Carrie (1976) is a horror movie adapted from the famous Stephen King novel. Carrie e` un'adolescente timida e appartata che alla fine di una partita di pallavolo, sotto la doccia, scopre il sangue mestruale. Si mette a strillare perche' non sa cosa sia e le altre ragazze le ridono dietro: piu` lei strilla e piu` loro la prendono in giro senza pieta`. L'insegnante interviene. La tensione della ragazza fa saltare una lampadina (e poco dopo spezza un portacenere). La ragazza non sa nulla del sesso perche' sua madre e` una bigotta che aborrisce tutto cio` che ha a che vedere con il sesso. Carrie torna a casa. Scoperto l'accaduto, la madre fa recitare alla figlia frasi della Bibbia per allontanare il male. La figlia e` spaventata, ma la madre non la ascolta e la chiude in un closet, dove Carrie manda in frantumi uno specchio semplicemente guardandolo.
L'insegnante punisce le altre ragazze, in particolare la bionda Chris, sfrontata e stupida, che giura di vendicarsi. Un'altra ragazza, Sue, chiede al proprio ragazzo, Tom, di invitare Carrie alla prom, ma con l'unico effetto di spaventarla a morte. Sue insiste con Tom e Tom insiste con Carrie finche' Carrie accetta.
Carrie chiede il permesso alla madre di andare alla prom. La madre le nega il permesso nonostante lei la supplichi. La madre glielo proibisce con un altro sermone invasato e ossessionato dal sesso.
Chris intanto sta tramando la sua vendetta con il suo stupido ragazzo. Hanno nascosto qualcosa sopra il palcoscenico.
Per la prima volta Carrie si ribella: si trucca, si mette un vestito da sera. La madre e` colta da una crisi isterica. Carrie la scaraventa sul letto ed esce.
Per Carrie la prom con Tom e` una serata stupenda, e Tom e` un gentiluomo, la fa ballare e la bacia teneramente. Ma le stanno preparando uno scherzo crudele. Alcune ragazze sono d'accordo per farla eleggere regina della prom. Lei piange di gioia mentre la incoronano. Persino l'insegnante si emoziona. Chris e` venuta a vedere il trionfo di Carrie da dietro le quinte ed e` la prima a rendersi conto che qualcosa non va ma l'insegnante non capisce cio` che le sta cercando di dire e la butta fuori. In quel preciso momento la perfida Chris tira una corda e rovescia vernice nera sulla regina e il secchiello sul ragazzo: tutto il pubblico scoppia a ridere mentre il ragazzo e` stordito a terra. (La scena e` ripresa al rallentatore e senza sonoro finche' la gente scoppia a ridere).
I poteri telepatici di Carrie si scatenano: spegne le luci, blocca le porte, apre gli idranti, e causa esplosioni elettriche che fulminano tutti. Impetrita sul palcoscenico, Carrie continua a scatenare le sue forze soprannaturali. La gente urla invano. Divampa il fuoco. Chris e il suo ragazzo hanno assistito impotenti al massacro dalla finestra.
Carrie esce come una zombie dalla porta, lasciandosi l'incendio alle spalle. Chris tenta di investirla ma Carrie con uno sguardo fa sbandare ed esplodere l'auto. Carrie torna a casa camminando come un automa.
La madre, completamente impazzita, ha acceso candele dappertutto. Farnetica della prima e unica volta che fece l'amore con suo marito. Carrie cerca affetto fra le sue braccia ma la madre la respinge come un demone e la pugnala alla schiena con un coltello. Sta per finirla sorridendo quando Carrie scatena i suoi poteri e le scaglia addosso una decina di coltelli che la crocefiggono. Mentre la casa vola e prende fuoco, Carrie si chiude nel closet con il cadavere.
Sue e` viva, ma e` colta da incubi...
Il film e` tre film in uno: una commedia di situazione per adolescenti, in cui un gruppo di studenti sciocchi si prende gioco di un'innocente, un dramma psicologico in cui una donna e` paranoica nei confronti del sesso, e un thriller in cui la figlia finisce per uccidere la madre. L'horror si scatena soltanto alla fine, alla festa. Ma era stato preparato da altri due picchi di orrore: la crudelta` delle ragazze nei confronti di Carrie, e la crudelta` della madre nei confronti della figlia.

If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me.

The romantic thriller Obsession (1976), scripted by Paul Schrader, is a tragedy of betrayal, virtually a tribute to Hitchcock's Vertigo, and is blessed by Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography. Un businessman, che spartisce la sua societa` con un amico, viene ricattato da una bionda che gli ha rapito la moglie e la figlia. Seguendo i consigli della polizia, il businessman consegna una valigia piena di carta straccia, invece che di denaro, ma i banditi riescono a fuggire con gli ostaggi e si schiantano contro un autocarro. L'uomo, sconvolto dalla tragedia, fa erigere un monumento funebre alla moglie e alla figlia, e da quel momento vive per anni nel ricordo e nel rimorso.
Il socio lo invita a seguirlo a Firenze, la citta` dove conobbe la moglie, e li` l'uomo sembra riprendersi. Ma un giorno incontra una sosia perfetta della moglie e se ne innamora morbosamente, fino a decidere di sposarlo senza indugi. Nonostante l'opposizione di tutti gli amici, la porta in America e prepara le nozze. Il suo unico scopo e` ormai quello di rimediare all'errore commesso un tempo. Proprio il giorno delle nozze pero` la ragazza viene rapita, e di nuovo i rapitori chiedono un'ingente somma. Senza esitare, l'uomo decide di pagare, ma per ottenere il denaro deve cedere tutti i suoi averi al socio. Si precipita poi a consegnare la valigetta, con l'incubo di non ripetere lo sbaglio dell'altra volta.
Se non che' la rapita e` d'accordo con i rapitori (primo colpo di scena) e nella valigetta trova soltanto carta straccia (secondo colpo di scena) e il socio (terzo colpo di scena) la schernisce dicendole che non ha pagato neppure per lei, come se l'egoismo fosse stato la causa della prima tragedia e lo stesso egoismo l'avesse spinto a ripetere il medesimo gesto.
In parallelo la ragazza rivive allora i momenti della tragedia. Lei e` la figlia, che rimase nella casa quando i banditi fuggirono in auto con la madre e che venne segretamente ricattata dal socio, il quale la convinse che il padre fosse stato responsabile della morte della madre e avesse abbandonato lei. Da quel momento lei era cresciuta a Firenze, educata all'odio nei confronti del padre, aspettando il momento in cui vendicare la madre.
La storia del nuovo matrimonio e` stato soltanto un crudele trucco del perfido socio per trarre vantaggio dal culto dell'ignaro amico per la defunta. Ora ha ottenuto tutti gli averi dell'amico e si accinge a rispedire la ragazza in Italia, avendole oltretutto fatto credere che il padre l'abbia tradita di nuovo per egoismo. Sull'aereo la ragazza, a sua volta colta da rimorsi per lo spietato inganno ordito all'insaputa del pover'uomo, e conscia ormai di vivere una vita senza senso, tenta di suicidarsi.
Nel frattempo l'uomo, non vedendo tornare la rapita, si precipita sul posto dove aveva lasciato la valigetta e, resosi conto del contenuto fasullo, esplode in un urlo di dolore, sentendosi colpevole di un secondo omicidio, sentendo di aver fallito di nuovo nei confronti della moglie ritornata per concedergli una prova d'appello.
Si reca come uno zombie a casa del socio, che gli rivela la tresca (e` stato lui a scambiare valigetta), provocandogli un altro trauma. Il disperato si scaglia addosso del cinico e lo uccide con una forbiciata. Poi si arma di una pistola e corre all'aeroporto per uccidere anche la ragazza che non sa essere sua figlia. Arriva proprio mentre la stannno portando giu` su una sedia a rotelle (dopo aver fatto rientrare l'aereo), debolissima per il tentato suicidio. Lui le corre incontro per ucciderla, impugnando la pistola che nascondeva sotto la giacca, ma lei, vedendolo, pensa che voglia invece abbracciarla e si lancia a sua volta verso di lui sorridendo. Lei lo bacia e abbraccia e lui la lascia fare guardando nel nulla.
Prima che lui prema il grilletto, lei gli getta le braccia al collo e lo chiama "papa`".
Soggetto degno di una tragedia classica o di un romanzo di Dostoevsky, centrato su un malvagio razionale e demoniaco, da un complessato ossessionato alla follia dal fantasma della donna amata e da una bambina bisognosa di affetto che diventa una mostra-robot vendicativa (e quasi comette incesto).
La storia in piu` punti perde plausibilita`, ma il montaggio crea suspense e i colpi di scena si susseguono senza pieta`. Il montaggio parallelo in cui la ragazza, da un lato bambina con i rapitori e dall'altro donna con il socio-padrone, svela cio` che realmente accadde il giorno della tragedia e` un capolavoro di narrazione indiretta.

The Fury (1978), based on a novel by John Farris, is a supernatural thriller a` la Carrie (with again teenagers endowed with telekinetic powers), notable mainly for the visual elegance of many scenes.

Widower Peter (Kirk Douglas) is vacationing on an Israeli beach with his teenage son Robin and a friend, Childress. Suddenly, Arab terrorists open fire on the tourists. Peter manages to grab a gun and fight back, but seems to get killed and disappears in the sea. As soon as all the witnesses are gone, including Peter's son, Childress approaches the "Arab" who was filming the attack: Childress is the one who has ordered the attack. Peter resurfaces from the sea and shoots Childress.
Eleven months later two teenage girls in bikini, Gillian and her best friend, are walking on a crowded Chicago beach, followed by a demented bum wearing a suit and tie, Raymond. It turns out Raymond is a psychic hired by Peter to find his son, who was kidnapped by Childress. Raymond thinks that one of the girls is also a psychic and knows where the kid is. He makes a call to Peter, which is intercepted by Childress' men. They rush to Peter's hotel room, but Peter manages to escape from the window, wearing only his underwear.
Gillian, in the meantime, is being harassed by her schoolmates, who know of her psychic powers.
In the meantime, Peter has stolen some clothes, but the secret-service agents are still on his tail. He car jacks a police car and forces the two police officers to drive recklessly through the city. Eventually he has to dump them and drive into a lake in order to lose the posse. Then Peter makes contact with Hester, the only person who has helped him in his quest to rescue his son.
Gillian talks her mother into moving her to a school and clinic run by a world-famous expert in parapsychology. She immediately proves her superpower: by holding his hand, she sees that he pished a kid out of the window: Robin. The researcher's wife understands that she was telepathically in touch with Robin and wants to continue the experiment, but, of course, the researcher wants to send her back home. It turns out that Childress has been monitoring the school: he has been using Robin (who is still alive) because he is in charge of a program to use ESPs for top-secrete government missions, but now is interested in Gillian, who seems to be as good as Robin. Gillian is certainly the real thing: she makes bleed anyone who touches her; she hears Robin tell how he tried to escape and "fell" from the window. Robin is kept a prisoner and trained by the attractive doctor Susan, who also takes care of his sexual appetite.
Robin at the fair sees a group of Arabs enjoying a ride, and the memory of what he believes was his father's dead prompts him to take revenge: he uses his mental powers to make the merry-go-round explode. (It's a mystery why Robin the psychic can't see that his father is alive and very close).
Gillian is being drugged so she won't escape, but Hester gives her a chance to escape. The plan works, but causes the accidental death of Hester (Peter shoots the secret-service agent who is chasing Gillian and the car runs over Hester).
Gillian takes Peter to the villa where Robin is kept prisoner. Gillian can feel Robin and wants to help him, but Robin can feel Gillian and is afraid of her. Fearing that she will take his place and he will disposed of, Robin makes a jealousy scene to Susan. Using his mental powers he tortures her until her body explodes.
Betrayed by Gillian's screams, Peter and the girl are captured by Childress. When finally Childress lets Peter see his son, Peter finds him levitating near the ceiling, a cold expression in his eyes. Robin can't resist the tension and flies out of the window, and despite Peter's desperate attempt, falls from the roof and dies in Gillian's arms. Peter can't face the grief and he too jumps from the roof. Childress coldly asks his men to dispose of the two dead bodies.
The following morning Gillian makes Childress explode.

Home Movies (1980) was a film made with students while he was teaching filmmaking at a college.

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Dressed To Kill (1980) e` un altro thriller derivato da Hitchcok (Psycho) e diretto all'insegna di virtuosismi tecnici, erotismo e violenza.

Kate e` un'avvenente casalinga, sessualmente frustrata da un marito egoista, con un figlio genialoide (avuto dal primo marito). Si sfoga con Robert, il suo freddo e distaccato psichiatra, e gli si offre persino, ma Robert e` sposato. Al museo Kate, bisognosa di sentirsi attraente, e` lusingata da uno sconosciuto che le ha rivolto qualche occhiata e quasi lo insegue. Pentita, sta per andarsene quando lui, con il pretesto di un guanto che lei ha perso, la invita nel taxi dove la sta aspettando, e, senza preamboli, le mette le mani addosso. Kate, piacevolmente sorpresa, si lascia portare a casa sua. Nel mezzo della notte si riveste cercando di non farsi sentire, ma prima di uscire scorge per caso un certificato medico che attesta che l'uomo e` afflitto da sifilide e fugge in preda al panico. Nell'ascensore si rende conto di aver dimenticato l'anello sul comodino e torna sui suoi passi. Quando l'ascensore si apre, pero`, Kate si trova di fronte un travestito armato di rasoio che le si avventa addosso e la sgozza. Quando l'ascensore si riapre, ad attendere c'e` una sofisticata call-girl, Liz, con un suo cliente. Lui fugge subito, lei resta sgomenta a guardare il cadavere, e vede nello specchio in alto l'omicida nascosto che sta per colpirla. Riesce a ghermire il rasoio e a fuggire.
Poco dopo Robert rientra in casa e trova diversi messaggi sull'answering machine: uno e` di un travestito (Bobbi) che gli confessa di aver rubato il suo rasoio e di aver ucciso con quello. L'altro e` della polizia che lo avverte dell'assassinio della sua cliente. Quando Robert arriva alla polizia, il figlio genialoide ha gia` deciso di incaricarsi delle indagini e ascolta con un microfono il suo interrogatorio. Il commissario, rozzo e volgare, ha gia` ricostruito gli ultimi momenti della donna, e sospetta che il colpevole sia fra i clienti dello psichiatra. Ma questi rifiuta di fornirgli aiuto trincerandosi dietro il segreto professionale.
Il commissario sa anche che la ragazza e` una pregiudicata, e la scaccia in malomodo minacciandola di arresto se non gli porta l'uomo che era con lei quella sera. Ma lei non ha idea di chi fosse. Il ragazzo intanto prende nota di tutti coloro che visitano lo studio di Robert e progetta macchinari per spiare meglio. La ragazza invece e` pedinata, a sua insaputa, dal biondo travestito. Mentre il ragazzo ascolta via microfono una telefonata registrata dal transessuale sull'answering machine di Robert, sull'altra meta` dello schermo Liz sta prendendo un appuntamento di "lavoro" nel suo appartamento. Quando Liz esce dall'appuntamento, si rende conto di essere pedinata dal travestito. Semina l'inseguitore grazie a un tassista, ma lo ritrova davanti a casa propria. S'infila nella metropolitana, ma Bobbi la bracca approfittando di un gruppo di teppisti neri da cui sta fuggendo. Finisce dritta fra i suoi artigli, mentre i teppisti si dileguano. Sta per colpirla con il rasoio quando interviene il ragazzo con uno spray. Bobbi fugge. Il ragazzo e` certo di aver visto Bobbi uscire dallo studio di Robert. Liz e il ragazzo diventano amici e alleati.
La ragazza va a raccontare l'attentato al commissario e lo supplica di perquisire lo studio di Robert. Lui pero` non puo` farlo, ma le fa capire che dovrebbe farlo lei illegalmente. Lo psichiatra crede di sapere chi e` l'omicida e va a cercarlo nella casa di cura dove e` ricoverato dopo il cambio di sesso. Robert si confida con il dottore che ha in cura Bobbi.
La ragazza va a trovare lo psichiatra con la scusa di essere affetta da incubi, e poi gli si offre. Si spoglia. Lui e` timidissimo. Per non metterlo in imbarazzo, Liz lo lascia solo nello studio a spogliarsi. Liz approfitta pero` di quel pretesto per curiosare nell'archivio dello psichiatra. Trova il file che cercava. Fuori il ragazzo sta seguendo la scena sotto l'acquazzone con l'aiuto di un binocolo. Liz torna nello studio ma, invece di Robert, trova ad attenderla c'e` l'omicida pronto a sfozzarla. Il ragazzo la avverte bussando alla finestra, ma sarebbe la fine se qualcuno non sparasse e disarmasse Bobbi. Si tratta di una poliziotta che ha seguito tutto su ordine del commissario.
Bobbi e` lo psichiatra stesso, afflitto da sdoppiamento di personalita`, che deve uccidere tutte le donne che gli provocano attrazione sessuale. Il dottore dell'ospedale cura aveva in cura Bobbi il transessuale, afflitto da conflitti fra la sua parte maschile e la sua parte femminile, e, quando Robert si presento` a denunciare Bobbi, fu di fatto una confessione: il dottore tento` di avvisare la polizia, ma troppo tardi.
In ospedale Robert strangola un'infermiera, e la spoglia sotto gli occhi degli altri pazzi. Poi si reca a casa della prostituta. Liz sta prendendo la doccia, sente i passi (tutto filmato al rallentatore). E` lui vestito per meta` con gli indumenti dell'infermiera e le taglia la gola... ma e` soltanto un incubo. La ragazza si risveglia nel proprio letto.
Liz e` l'unico personaggio umano, sensibile e generoso. Gli altri (moglie, marito, amico occasionale, psichiatra, commissario) compongono l'affresco di un'umanita` cinica e depravata, tutti piu` o meno anormali.
Il film e` una specie di variazione in piu` movimenti su Psycho. I temi sono gli stessi, ma sono stati rimescolati.

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Blow Out (1981) is a delirious thriller inspired Antonioni's Blow Up (1966) and Coppola's The Conversation (1974), boasting a legendary cynical ending.

Una guardia che spia dalla finestra un party di ragazze seminude. Alla musica e` sovrapposto il respiro ansimante del maniaco che uccide la guardia e poi entra in casa. Il posto pullula di avvenenti ragazze. Il maniaco, riflesso nello specchio del bagno, uccide una ragazza che sta facendo la doccia, e la ragazza emette un gridolino ridicolo.
Si tratta di un film in corso di produzione. Jack e` il tecnico degli effetti sonori, che viene incaricato di generare un urlo degno della scena.
Jack, che ha un laboratorio di strumenti sofisticati, si mette al lavoro. Il suo lavoro consiste nel registrare suoni e classificarli nel suo archivio. In televisione parlano delle prossime elezioni, che il governatore sembra destinato a vincere facilmente. (Lo schermo e` diviso in due, da un lato le apparecchiature di Jack e dall'altro il notiziario televisivo). Jack, armato di microfono, registratore e cuffie, si reca di notte in un posto solitario a registrare suoni. Assiste cosi` a un incidente stradale: un'auto sbanda e finisce nel lago. L'uomo e` morto ma la donna e` viva. Jack la salva e la consegna alla polizia.
Jack va a visitare la ragazza in ospedale e lo trova assediato dai reporter: la vittima e` proprio il governatore che era destinato a diventare il prossimo presidente. Un amico e collaboratore del governatore chiede a Jack di mantenere il silenzio sulla presenza di una ragazzina nell'auto, e gli rivela che la polizia ha gia` acconsentito a nascondere le circostanze imbarazzanti della sua fine.
Jack deve cosi` prendersi cura della ragazza, Sally, a casa sua. Riascoltando il nastro, pero`, Jack si rende conto che prima dell'incidente qualcuno aveva sparato un colpo. Jack controlla l'auto e scopre il buco del proiettile in uno dei pneumatici. Quando si riprende, la stupida e naif Sally e` offesa dalle insinuazioni di Jack e se ne va. Poi Jack sente per televisione che un fotografo sostiene di aver scattato foto dell'incidente e si rende conto che si tratta di una colossale montatura.
Jack tenta di spiegare alla polizia l'accaduto, ma il detective ha poco interesse ad aprire un'indagine. Inoltre qualcuno cancella tutti i nastri di Jack. Intanto gli studio continuano a cercare una ragazza che emetta l'urlo di cui hanno bisogno per completare il film.
Jack si mette a indagare di persona e scopre che il fotografo aveva preso fotografie compromettenti della coppia, ovvero Sally, in combutta con il fotografo, era in quell'auto per incastrare il governatore e poi ricattarlo. Jack va a trovarla e le spiega che qualcuno sta tentando di far scomparire tutte le prove, e lei potrebbe essere la prossima. Infatti qualcuno ha ucciso una ragazza scambiandola per Sally.
Invano Jack tenta di convincere la polizia, ma da solo scopre che l'uomo politico e` stato oggetto di una congiura tesa a rovinarne la reputazione. Un reporter televisivo crede alla storia di Jack e vorrebbe dedicargli una trasmissione, ma Jack non ha piu` le prove. Jack convince pero` Sally che il fotografo ha tentato di ucciderla quella sera nell'auto e Sally accetta di sottrargli i negativi delle fotografie, quelle vere. Poi Jack chiama il reporter televisivo, ma qualcuno sta registrando la sua telefonata, e poi la telefonata con cui avverte la ragazza che tutto e` a posto. L'uomo che ha ascoltato tutto telefona a Sally spacciandosi per il reporter e le da` un appuntamento alla stazione per farsi consegnare il film. Sally pero` prima va a trovare Jack e Jack annusa puzza di bruciato: fa una copia del film e nasconde un microfono nei vestiti della ragazza. Sui giornali e` comparsa la notizia dell'assassinio della ragazza che assomiglia a Sally, ma Jack e Sally non li hanno visti. L'uomo che si spaccia per il reporter porta pero` la ragazza su un treno della metropolitana e Jack, che non fa in tempo a saltare sul treno, li deve inseguire in auto. A causa di una parata, Jack finisce pero` dentro la vetrina di un negozio. Stordito, viene coricato in un'ambulanza, ma si riprende in tempo per sentire che l'assassino sta per uccidere Sally. Jack li trova sotto i fuochi artificiali, blocca la mano dell'assassino che stava per accoltellarla e lo pugnala con lo stesso suo coltello, ma la ragazza e` ` gia` morta strangolata e il nastro e` distrutto. La televisione da` la notizia che un'altra ragazza attraente e` stata uccisa da un assassino misterioso.
Sul nastro di Jack e` rimasto l'urlo della ragazza. Jack vende quell'urlo al regista, che puo` cosi` completare il suo film.
Sull'omicidio dell'uomo politico rimarra` il segreto, perche' assassino, prove e testimone sono scomparsi e i media credono che a uccidere il mostro sia stata la ragazza nel difendersi.

Scarface (1983), a loose three-hour remake of the Howard Hawks classic gangster movie of 1932, a remake scripted by Oliver Stone, indulges in violent scenes and in vulgar language, but is a much more conventional film compared with DePalma's Hitchcock-ian thrillers. Trying to replicate the fatalistic mood and stately pace of Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972), at times it is also slow and it feels overlong given the kind of simple story that it tells, but the breathtaking last 30 minutes or so compensate for the slow pace of the first half. It also exerted a huge influence on hip-hop music.

The film opens by informing us that in 1980 Cuba's dictator Fidel Castro tricked the USA into accepting thousands of criminals as exiles. One such criminal, Tony (Al Pacino), spends a few months in a refugee camp. When a riot erupts, he assassinates an old man as requested by a drug lord in return for the green card. He and his friend Manny get a job as dishwashers at a fast-food joint. The druglord's right-hand man Omar offers them the opportunity to make a lot of money with a cocaine job. Tony and Manny quit the job at the fast-food joint and hook up with Angel and Chi Chi for extra security. They drive to the appointment with the Colombian dealers. It's a trap: Tony and Angel are seized while Manny and the other one are distracted by sexy girls. The Colombians kill Angel with a chainsaw to make Tony speak, but Tony doesn't. Manny and Chi Chi finally move in and save Tony just in time. The trio kills all the Colombians and take the cocaine. They personally deliver money and cocaine to the druglord, Frank, who lives in luxury mansion. Frank is impressed and hires Tony and Manny. They also meet Frank's gorgeous wife Elvira (Michelle Pfeiffer). Frank, Elvira, Omar, Tony and Frank spend the night at a nightclub. Elvira is hostile to Frank and instead dances with Tony. Elvira looks down on Tony, a poor immigrant, but Tony is convinced that she likes him. Three months later Tony buys a new car specifically because Elvira hates his car but she's still hostile to him. Tony visits his mother and his sister Gina after several years of separation. Gina is excited to see him but his mother knows that he's a gangster: she refuses his mother and kicks him out. Manny sees Gina and makes a comment that she's beautiful but Tony warns him to stay away from her. Omar and Tony travel to Colombia and meet druglord Alejandro who is looking for a partner in the USA. Tony is there only to watch Omar's back but instead takes over the negotiation, upsetting Omar. When Omar leaves, Alejandro finds an excuse to keep Tony. Alone with Tony, Alejandro tells Tony that Frank was once a police informant and hands Tony binoculars to watch as his men kill Omar hanging him from a helicopter. Frank gets angry at Tony for both thinking that Omar was an informer and negotiating a deal without his consent. Frank tells Tony that he doesn't want to have anything to do with Alejandro and expels Tony from the organization. Tony tries to convince Elvira to dump Frank and marry him. One night he finds Gina in a disco, wearing a sexy dress, dancing with a man. In the same club a corrupt cop, Bernstein, asks for money to protect Tony's business. While they are negotiating, Elvira and Frank walk in. Frank sees him talking to Elvira and threatens him. Tony threatens him back, and Frank leaves with Elvira without fighting. Just then Tony sees Gina and her date getting too intimate and snaps: Tony follows them to the men's bathroom and finds them kissing in a stall. Tony kicks out the man and yells at Gina. When she tells him to mind his own business, Tony slaps her in the face. Manny drives Gina home and explains that Tony wants to protect her. Meanwhile, Tony returns to his table and watches the show of the club. Two of Frank's goons pull out machine guns and try to assassinate him. He manages to escape but is wounded. Tony, Manny and two of their own goons walk into Frank's place. Bernstein is there too. Frank begs for his life on his knees, but Tony orders Manny to kill him. Then Tony executes a defiant Bernstein. Still bleeding, Tony walks straight into Elvira's room. He then watches an advertiser blimp in the sky that displays his favorite motto: "The world is yours". Tony becomes rich selling Alejandro's cocaine, marries Elvira, buys a tiger (as he always said he would) and builds a new mansion/fortress. while Gina and Manny begin a secret affair. But trouble is brewing: both Tony and Elvira are addicted to cocaine, and Tony's increasingly rude manners offend both Elvira and Manny. One day Tony is fooled by agents pretending to be buyers and a videotape camera inside a wall clock films the whole transaction, proof beyond any doubt of tax evasion and money laundering. Tony's own lawyer tells him that there is no way to avoid jail. Alejandro asks to meet with Tony. Alejandro offers political help to Tony if Tony helps his hitman Alberto to kill an investigator who is about to expose Alejandro's illicit business on world television. Back home Tony gets drunk while dining with Elvira and Manny, and again insults both. Elvita snaps, makes a scene in front of everybody and dumps him. Tony staggers out of the restaurant insulting all the customers. Tony travels with Alejandro's hitman to New York where the activist is scheduled to deliver a speech at the United Nations, and helps him to place a remote-controlled bomb under his car. But the activist gets in the car with his wife and children. It is against Tony's moral code to kill women and children. The hitman is about to hit the button when Tony pulls out his gun and shoots him dead. Tony gets another problem: his mother calls that Gina is missing. At the same time Manny has disappeared, which infuriates Tony who was counting on Manny to run his business while out of town. Alejandro calls from Colombia: he is furious that the activist was able to deliver his speech. Furthermore, they found the bomb unexploded under the car, and now the activist is protected by maximum security. Alejandro's career is ruined and he promises to punish Tony for betraying him. Tony's priority now is to find his sister. His mother followed her and knows that she is staying in a fancy house. She thinks that Tony paid for it, but Tony didn't: some other man must be giving her money. Tony arrives at the house and finds Manny with Gina. Tony does not hesitate a second and shoots Manny dead before he can even say a word. Gina then reveals that they were married the day before and it was supposed to be a surprise for him. Tony's men push Gina into the car and they drive Tony and Gina to his mansion. The security cameras show that several men jump the fence and enter the compound, but nobody is watching: Tony is sniffing cocaine nonstop. Alejandro's hitmen kill all of Tony's men and start climbing the walls of the mansion while Tony is still sniffing cocaine. Gina enters Tony's room scantily dressed and hints that Tony always wanted to have sex with her. She pulls out a gun and start advancing towards him shooting and at the same time inviting him to have sex. She only wounds him but one of Alejandro's hitmen guns her down as he enters the room from the balcony. Tony throws him down the balcony and, after crying on Gina's dead body, Tony fights the intruders, one man against a small army. He kills many of them but eventually they kill him. The last shot, from behind, throws him into the swimming pool, on top of which there's a statue with his favorite motto: "The World is Yours".

Body Double (1984), virtually a mash-up of the plots of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), and Dial M for Murder (1954), plays with the theme of the voyeur and of the double.

A crew is making a film but the director has to suspend shooting because an actor gets paralyzed by claustrophobic fear (he is playing a vampire) and a fire erupts on stage. Jake drives back home and finds his girlfriend Carol in bed with another man. A depressed Jake walks to the bar where he drinks and chats with bartender Doug. Jake has to start looking for a new home. Meanwhile, he is taking an acting class. He is made to close his eyes and talk about his claustrophobia. Another struggling actor taking the class, Sam, feels that Jake is being humiliated by this act and insults the instructor. Sam and Jake walk together to the bar and Jake tells Sam that he is homeless. Sam knows a rich man, Alan, who lives in a fantastic futuristic mansion (the Chemosphere) and is out of town. Jake can stay there for free as long as he waters the plants. Sam shows Jake a secret: through a telescope Jake can spy on a neighbor who every night at the same time performs a sexy dance. After Sam leaves, Jake keeps watching and sees the woman asleep while a man steals her money. She wakes up and they argue. He slaps her and leaves her crying. Jake's agent Frank informs him that he has been fired by the director. At night he watches again into the telescope, and again she dances. Jake notices a worker with a disfigured face who is staring at her window. The following day he happens to see her leaving her home in her car and sees a man in the road who seems to be spying on her and drives behind her. Jake follows them to the garage of a shopping mall and eavesdrops on her when she makes a phone call. Jake keeps following her to a store where she tries on some panties. The store clerk notices that Jake is staring at the customer and even calls the security guard. This distracts Jake who loses her just when he had noticed the myserious man nearby. Jake sees the myserious man following her and rushes into the same elevator. He almost suffers a claustrophobic attack when the elevator fills up with a crowd but that crowd prevents the myserious man from getting into the same elevator: we see that it is the same worker with a disfigured face that Jake noticed before. She throws away the old panties and gets back to her car. Jake picks up the old panties and drives behind her. She stops at a beach motel and seems to wait for someone. He overhears again her phone conversation: she leaves angry that her appointment didn't show up. He tries to warn her that someone has been following her and she seems to think that Jake is just hitting on her. Just then the mysterious man steals her purse. Jake chases him until the man enters a tunnel. Jake stops because of his claustrophonia and sees the man take one object from the purse and leave the rest on the floor. Jake, panting, reaches the purse and reads her name: Gloria. She arrives and realizes that he is having some kind of crisis. He helps him out of the tunnel. As soon as he's out, they suddenly kiss passionately, but then she leaves. At night Jake sees through the telescope that Gloria called a cop, presumably to file a report. But then Jake sees a thief, the mysterious man, enter her apartment and steal something. Jake calls Gloria trying to warn her but instead causes Gloria to get near the man who then tries to strangle her. Jake runs out and across the street to come and help her, but her dog attacks him and this gives time to the assailant to kill her with a powerdrill. Jake calls the police. The detective tells Jake that the mysterious man had the card key to get into Gloria's apartment (the object that he took from her purse). The detective finds Gloria's panties in his jacket and suspects that Jake was Gloria's lover. The detective also informs Jake that Gloria was very rich and married. Normally, the husband would be the prime suspect, but in this case Jake himself testifies that the killer wasn't the husband. That night Jake watches a porn movie in which the actress Holly performs Gloria's sexy dance. Jake calls the studio that produced that porn movie and auditions for a part. He is taken on stage among the actors shooting a music video, which includes a scene with Holly in which she performs the sexy dance for him and lets him touch her and kiss her; and he feels that he is touching Gloria. He pretends to a producer who wants to hire her for his film and takes her to the Chemosphere to impress her. Then he tells her that he knows she danced in Gloria's apartment. He confesses that he is not a producer and Gloria gets angry and wants to leave. Jake gets her to admit that she was hired by someone to dance at night in her apartment. Just then Sam calls, and Holly recognizes the voice of the man who hired her. Jake realizes that Sam wanted him to witness the murder and be the witness that the murder was carried out by the mysterious man, but now Sam suspects that Sam is no other than Gloria's husband, who architected this whole charade to have someone kill Gloria without being suspected of being involved. Someone is watching them with binoculars. While Jake calls the detective to report this theory, Holly tries to hitch a ride outside in the street and is picked up by the mysterious man. The road is closed because of a car accident. Jake gets in his car to drive to the police station and gets stuck behind the car of the mysterious man... and witnesses another murder: the mysterious man seem to kill Holly. Jake tries in vain to get the attention of the cops that are on the scene of the accident but they ignore him. Jake dumps his car and runs after the mysterious man's car. Jake finds the mysterious man: he is digging a grave near a reservoir, and Holly lies unconscious, but alive, on the ground. As they fight, Jake realizes that the man is wearing a mask, and recognizes Sam. Jake throws both Jake and Holly in the grave and starts shoveling dirt on them. Jake is paralyzed by claustrophobia. He has a vision of the director who fired him firing him again because again he is paralyzed on the set. This gives Jake the strength to move. At the same time Gloria's dog breaks out of the car and jumps to strike Jake but instead hits Sam, who falls into the rapids of the reservoir and dies. Sam realizes that Gloria's dog never attacked the mysterious man because the dog knew him well. A clueless Holly wakes up and doesn't believe a word of what Jake tells her. She wants to call the police and report him as a perverted necrophiliac. Some time later, Jake is playing the vampire again in a film by the same director who fired him, and Holly is part of the crew. This time the scene takes place in a bathroom so there is no problem of claustrophobia. There is however a very erotic scene during which he is asked to massage the tits of the actress. And we, the viewers of the film, become the voyeur.

If Wise Guys (1986) is a stereotypical gangster movie, the Prohibition-era The Untouchables (1987), scripted by David Mamet and based on an old television show, a fictional story about the legal struggle to indict Al Capone, is western-style take on the gangster genre. The film is hardly groundbreaking. It's a simple story that recycles old stereotypes of heroism, revenge and friendship. The shootout scene on the steps of the train station is clearly a homage to Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin. The "baseball bat" scene became in turn famous.

The film is set in 1930 when alcohol was illegal in the USA (the "Prohibition") and mobster Al Capone ruled over Chicago by selling alcohol and killing anyone who opposed him, and bribing politicians and cops. A little girl is blown up when she picks up the briefcase left by a Capone goon in a shop after the shopowner refused to buy Capone's beer. A special agent, Elliot, is appointed in charge of fighting Capone. He is passionate and incorruptible. He leads a raid on a warehouse after being tipped about an alcohol shipment, but the raid is humiliating: no alcohol is found, because someone from the police department tipped the gangsters about the raid. He is ridiculed by the press. One night he meets an aging honest Irish cop, Jimmy, who has remained a neighborhood cop because he rejected the general corruption of the police department. Elliot asks him to join his cause because he needs cops he can trust. Jimmy initially refuses, and admits that he fears for his life. Then he walks into Elliot's office dressed in plainclothes and drags Elliot out of the police station because he doesn't trust cops, and tells Elliot that he accepts. Meanwhile a new man, the diminutive and spectacled Oscar, has been assigned to Elliot's operations: he is an accountant who thinks that Al Capone is evading taxes, but Elliot ignores him. Jimmy advises Elliot to hire cops outside the police force, and they pick Giuseppe, an Italian-American who is the best shooter and changed his name to an Anglosaxon name to avoid discrimination. Jimmy tells Elliot that it is not difficult to find the alcohol: it is difficult to find cops willing to attack Capone's business. In fact, Jimmy leads Elliot to a second raid, this time highly successful. Meanwhile, Capone gives a speech at a big meeting of gangsters and concludes it by smashing the head of a traitor with a baseball bat. Elliot is visited by a corrupt alderman who offers him a lot of money to give up his investigations. Elliot kicks him out uncerimoniously. On the way home Elliot is approached by a man inside a car who threatens his family. Elliot quickly packs his wife and daughter and sends them to a secure location. Oscar is still trying to build his case of tax evasion against Capone. Jimmy has a secret informer and tells Elliot where they can catch the gangsters in the act of importing alcohol into the USA. Elliot, Jimmy, Oscar and Giuseppe fly to the Canadian border and coordinate the raid with the mounted police of Canada. The foursome, riding horses like in a western movie, kill several gangsters and arrest the bookkeeper. Oscar, who has proven to be as good with guns as he is with numbers, realizes that a book contains details on all Capone's transactions, enough to send him to jail for tax evasion. The problem is that the book is encrypted. Jimmy terrorizes the bookkeeper so he accepts to collaborate. They seem to have a case but, once at the police station, a Capone goon easily kills Oscar and the bookkeeper. The police chief warns Jimmy that he is risking his life, implying that the police chief knows Capone's moves. Now they don't have a case anymore because they don't have a witness. Jimmy thinks that he can find out where Capone's accountant is, and that would be a top witness. He secretly meets the police chief, who has been his secret informer all along, and beats him up to get the information. He then calls Elliot to meet up. Before Elliot arrives, Al Capone's goons assassinate Jimmy, but Jimmy has time to hand Elliot a train schedule: that's the train on which the accountant will travel. Elliot and Giuseppe wait at the train station for the accountant to show up. A mother pushes the stroller with her baby up the stairs. Elliot helps her but just when he reaches the top of the stairs the accountant shows up, escorted by gangsters. They start shooting at each other while the stroller rolls down the stairs and the mother screams terrified. Elliot cynically takes cover behind the stroller while he shoots at the gangsters. Giuseppe stops the falls of the stroller at the bottom of the stairs and then shoots the gangster who is taking cover behind the accountant. Capone is brought to trial and the accountant testifies that Capone has evaded taxes all the time. However, Elliot notices that Capone seems indifferent, even yawning. Elliot has an officer search Capone's right-arm man only to find that he has a note from the mayor in person protecting him. Elliot would let him go but then notices Jimmy's address written on his matchbox and realizes that this is the killer who killed Jimmy. Elliot chases this gangster on the roof and captures him. The gangster mocks him, convinced that he'll soon be released thanks to Capone's powerful friends, and Elliot pushes him doen the roof. The gangster falls into the street, crashing into a car. Back into the courtroom, Elliot is informed by Giuseppe that Capone has a list of all the jurors, which probably means that all the jurors have been bribed, which explains why Capone was yawning instead of being worried. Elliot demands that the judge takes action. The judge initially refuses to do anything about it but Elliot threatens to involve him in a scandal and then the judge orders that the jury be switched with the jury of another trial. This new improvised jury convicts Capone who is escorted out shouting furious.

Then came the gripping anti-war film Casualties of War (1989), based on a real-life atrocity committed by US soldiers in Vietnam, and The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), a lame adaptation of Tom Wolfe's novel.

Raising Cain (1992) is not interested in the (preposterous) plot, or in the (cartoonish) characters, but only in a fantasy-like sequence of nightmares, flashbacks and delusions. DePalma turns his favorite trick (confusing dream and reality) into an entire film. DePalma steals as usual from Michael Powell's Peeping Tom and Hitchcock's Psycho. Carter and his child accept a ride offered by a neighbor, apparently intrigued by her little daughter in the back seat. Then Carter kills the woman and is panicking when his alter ego appears and helps him dispose of the corpse. At home he is sexually aroused by his wife, Jenny, and constantly monitors their little daughter Amy through a camera.
Carter, visibly disturbed, visits his father in a motel, and they discuss what Carter is doing: he is a monster who steals toddlers for a psychological experiment.
In a shopping mall his wife has the vision of a gentleman, Jack, like a platonic secret fantasy. Then she walks to a park and tells a friend that she's about to meet Jack. Jack does show up but... Jenny wakes up in the middle of the night because her daughter is crying. Jenny's secret life is only a fantasy, but it is presented as reality. Therefore, it is not clear if Carter's secret life is dream or reality.
The evidence is that Carter is a devoted husband and father. And he is also a child psychologist who has taken two years off to study his own daughter.
Jenny is a physician who fell in love (or dreams of having fallen in love) with a patient's husband, Jack, but they are still haunted by the guilt that the woman died while they were kissing. Jenny drives to Jack's apartment at night and makes love to him. She has an accident on the way back and is killed, but... she wakes up in the middle of the night. The whole story about Jack feels like a soap opera.
Carter strangles her in bed... but Carter is following her while she walks hand in hand with Jack in the park. Cain shows up behind a tree and promises to take care of the unfaithful wife, who is having an orgasm. Cain sends Carter home and steals a baby from a babysitter. Then kills the babysitter and puts the corpse in the trunk of Jack's car, in order to frame him. Carter wakes up near his wife who is sleeping... Carter kills his wife letting her drown inside the car in the lake at sunrise. Jack wakes up alone in his apartment and finds the present that Jenny left for him in a drawer.
Jenny and Amy disappear and Carter calls the police. He tells them that a man was hanging out at the playground even if he did not have a child. The police suspect that a serial killer is killing women and children in the park, and Carter is trying to frame Jack. A retired officer, Mac, warns the detectives about Carter's father who twenty years before was suspected of stealing babies. An old student of Carter's father explains what the mad scientist was trying to achieve: create a multiple-personality being. Stealing babies would make sense because he needed more "cases" in order to complete the experiment. Carter/Cain is obviously the result of his father's experiment.
The police find the corpse in Jack's car and arrests him.
At home Carter sees via the camera that Jenny is in the house. She must have survived. She attacks him with a knife and forces him to confess that Amy is at his father's house. Jenny has always believed that his father was dead.
The police arrest him, but he refuses to reveal where Amy is kept. His father's student hypnotizes him and discovers many more personalities hidden inside his mind. Jenny sees the woman leave the police building and follows her, unaware that Carter has taken her clothes and her hair and left her unconscious in the police room.
Carter, dressed like the woman, drives to the motel where his father lives. Jenny follows him inside the elevator armed with a knife. The elevator door opens and Carter's father appears holding Amy and a gun. The police and Jack arrive while the old man is declaring "I don't even exist" and defiantly forcing the woman to put down the knife. But Carter attacks him from behind with the same knife and kills him. The old man drops the baby from the second story, but Jack runs and grabs her. Carter walks away undisturbed, since nobody recognizes him.
Jenny moves in with Jack and life seems back to normal. But one day at the park Amy runs away and claims that daddy is there. Jenny laughs, but Carter, still dressed like a woman, is right behind her.
One long delirium tremens. The last scene is reminiscent of Dario Argento's Tenebrae

Carlito's Way (1993) is a gangster-movie inspired by the film noir of the 1940s, transposed into the discos of the 1970s. The protagonist is a man who tries to redeem himself but cannot escape his destiny. A very minor movie in DePalma's career. A so-so study of character, with a predictable plot and forced ending.

The story is told by Carlito himself as he is dying after someone shot him.
Released from jail, drug-dealer Carlito (Al Pacino) is determined to stay out of crime. He runs a disco (his goal is to make enough money to retire at the Bahamas) and is disgusted by what drugs have done to his friends. He regains the affection of his stripper girlfriend, keeps his bodyguard from killing a hothead from the Bronx (who may remind him of his own youthful arrogance), but things go beserk on all fronts. His attorney is in trouble with the mob and Carlito agrees to help him run away on a boat. The attorney is eventually killed and Carlito is next on the list.
Carlito decides to elope with his girlfriend and gives her an appointment at the train station.
But Carlito is chased by the gangsters into the station, where he manages to kill all of them, but right when he is about to board the train the old punk from the Bronx shows up and shoots him. Carlito has been betrayed by his faithful body guard, the last in a long series of betrayals.
Carlito is dying. He concludes the story and closes his eyes.

Then came Mission Impossible (1996), based on the old television series of 1966-73 and his biggest commercial success, the detective movie Snake Eyes (1998), notable for its lengthy virtuosistic opening shot and its flashback-based structure but ruined by an awful ending, the third-rate sci-fi movie Mission to Mars (2000), which recycles stereotypes from Kubrick's 2001, and Femme Fatale (2002), his best erotic thriller since his glory days, with an elaborate and even convoluted plot (alas, not always plausible).

A black man wearing a suit and tie enters the room where a blond is watching an old movie on television and rehearse the heist that they are about to carry out. He then slaps her on the face and insults her to make sure she concentrates on the plan. It's the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival and television broadcasts the stars walks on the red carpet, in particular supermodel Veronica who is wearing very expensive jewelry. One of the reporters taking pictures of the stars is the blond, with a press tag that says Laure. Laure invites the supermodel to the bathroom. In the bathroom Laure and the supermodel kiss passionately while the black man and his team set in action. While the two girls are having sex in the bathroom, the black man picks up all the jewels that Laure drops on the floor and replaces them with fakes. Everything goes well until a security guard enters the bathroom. The black man is forced to attack and is wounded. Laure takes the jewels from him and runs away while Veronica realizes that she has been robbed. Black Tie has one accomplice, Racine, who escapes. One day Laure, now wearing a black wig, is being followed and photographed while she is trying to buy a fake passport. The photographer doesn't try to hide and is satisfied of the pictures he took. She walks into a church and people recognize her as a woman named Lily. (A split screen shows us the photographer developing the pictures while Lily is in church). Laure takes a taxi to the airport. Racine, wanting to get the jewels back, finds her before she can buy the fake passport and throws her over a handrail. She falls and loses consciousness. The couple who called her Lily have followed her and rescue her. They think she is their good friend Lily who disappeared mysteriously with a gun, and take her to the luxurious apartment of this Lily. Laure is initially mesmerized but then decides to explore the place and finds a passport and an air ticket to the USA, which solve her problem to leave the country. Ecstatic, she takes a bath. Just then the real Lily walks in, sobbing. Laure spies from behind the shower curtains. Lily writes a suicide note (we learn that she lost her husband and her child), loads the gun and shoots herself. On the long flight to the USA she has another stroke of luck: she meets a wealthy politician. She seduces him claiming that her child just died. Years later, Laure/Lily (with a French passport) is married to Bruce, and Bruce is appointed ambassador to France. Someone in the press is curious about Bruce's wife, a mysterious Frenchwoman of whom there are no photos. A professional paparazzo, Nicolas, is paid to take pictures of her. Nicolas fakes to be hit by the ambassador's limo and takes a picture of Laure/Lily when she opens the door. The embassy's security staff tracks down Nicolas and threatens him but Nicolas has already sold the pictures. Meanwhile, Black Tie is released from jail after seven years, still determined to find her and take his revenge. Black Tie and Racine reunite and track down Laure's best friend, a sexy girl who has been fencing diamonds. They kidnap this girl (we don't see her face) and, when she refuses to cooperate, they kill her. Just then they see a big poster of "Lily" on the wall, advertising the article in the magazine. Nicolas is summoned to the embassy about the photograph. Before he walks in, he sees Lily drive away and decides to follow her. Her head is injured. Nicolas sees her enter a strip-tease club and exchange something for a lot of money, and takes pictures of everything. What he doesn't know that someone from the embassy is following him. He follows her into a hotel. He finds an excuse to enter her room and search it. He finds a gun and decides to help her: she looks scared, beaten and suicidal. Lily tells him that her husband abuses her. He confesses that he is Nicolas, the one who took her picture. They hang out, always followed by the embassy bodyguard. She invites him in the hotel room and seduces him. She finds an excuse to give him her car keys, her purse and the gun. Then she calls the police and reports a car theft. The police arrests him. He realizes that Lily has framed him to make it look like a kidnapping. The police inspector thinks he has a simple case but surprisingly the ambassador asks that the investigation be stopped, claiming that his wife is doing well. When the inspector insists on seeing Lily, the embassy refuses, claiming that they want to protect her privacy. Nicolas is released. Lily makes contact with him and somehow sends a ransom note to the embassy from his computer (not clear how) asking to deliver the money on a bridge. Nicolas has no choice but cooperate: if Nicolas refuses to go along with the ransom, she'll report him to the police as a kidnapper. She tests him in a night club where she flirts with (and strips for) another man in front of him. She enjoys it when he snaps and attacks the man with a cue stick. Then she seduces him (Nicolas) and asks him to have sex on the billiard table. She doesn't know that he is taping their conversations. When the ambassador shows up with the money, Nicolas tells him the truth and shows him the tape, but Lily coldly pulls out her gun and kills her husband. Then she shoots Nicolas too, puts the gun in his hand, and is about to walk away with the tape when... Black Tie and Racine attack her from behind. Black Tie bangs her head violently against a pillar and, thinking she died, throws her in the river. We see her sinking in the river and then floating up naked, which doesn't make sense, and then... emerging from a bath tub: it was just a dream that started when she was taking the bath in Lily's bathroom. Just like in her dream, Lily does enter the house and tries to kill herself, but this time Laure stops her and then tells her that she just dreamed the future and wants to change it. Laure tells Lily to take the plane to the USA and predicts that she will meet a nice man named Bruce. Laure then hitchhikes on a truck and gives her necklace to him. Seven years later, Nicolas receives the same call offering him money to take a picture of the wife of the ambassador, except that this time she has three children. Just then Nicolas sees Laure at a cafe with her best friend (the one who was killed by Black Tie in the dream) and takes pictures (shown in a split screen) of Laure walking away with a briefcase full of money. The friend is Veronica. We see in a flashback (shown in a split screen) that Laure and Veronica had plotted to steal the diamonds together. The scene repeats: Veronica is kidnapped by Black Tie and Racine. But this time it is not Veronica who dies under a truck but Black Tie and Racine. The truck is driven by the man who received the necklace from Laure seven years earlier. Veronica walks away unharmed. While she is staring at the scene from afar, Laure is mugged but the thieves only steal her purse, not the briefcase. Nicolas, who too has witnessed the accident, runs to help Laure and tells her that she looks familiar. She too has recognized him and tells him that they met before in her dreams.

His prolific career continued with The Black Dahlia (2006), an adaptation of the James Ellroy novel, the anti-war movie Redacted (2007), based on a real-life massacre perpetrated by US soldiers in Iraq, notable for being shot with a combination of security cameras, (fake) documentary footage, mobile phones, head-mounted cameras, Passion (2013), a stylish remake of Alain Corneau's erotic thriller Love Crime, and the mediocre Domino (2019), that recasts his thrillers into the age of Islamist terrorism.

Mr Hughes (2000), a bio-pic of the legendary tycoon Howard Hughes, scripted by David Koepp, was never made.

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