Brian De Palma

MBDRACA EC006Long criticized for being a copycat filmmaker who stood on the shoulders of greater artists, Brian De Palma has more recently been reinterpreted as a master craftsman whose mimicry is part of his unique style.  He was born in Newark on September 11, 1940.

His first film was a short, Icarus, made in 1960, followed six more: 660124: The Story of an IBM Card (1961), Woton’s Wake (1962), Jennifer (1964), Bridge That Gap (1965), the documentary short The Responsive Eye (1966) and Show Me A Strong Town And I’ll Show You A Strong Bank (1966).

His first feature, Murder A La Mod, came out in 1968, then Greetings came along the same year, which also marked the feature film debut of Robert De Niro.

In 1969 he made The Wedding Party.

In 1970 he made two films, Dionysus in ’69 and Hi, Mom!

1972 saw the release of Get To Know Your Rabbit.

Margot Kidder in Sisters

Margot Kidder in Sisters

Sisters is one of his finest horror films, released in 1973 and now in the Criterion Collection.

In 1974 he followed it with Phantom of the Paradise.

1976 marked his breakthrough year, with both Obsession and Carrie being released and becoming his first films to receive Academy Award Nominations, the latter for acting.

In 1978 he made The Fury.

He made Home Movies in 1979.

His tribute to Hitchcock thrillers continued with Dressed To Kill in 1980, now in the Criterion Collection.

John Travolta in Blow Out

John Travolta in Blow Out

What is likely his finest film, Blow Outfollowed in 1981, also in the Criterion Collection.

His remake of Howard Hawks’ Scarface is likely his most popular film, released in 1983.

In 1984 he returned to his Hitchcock obsession with Body Doublewhich was a breakthrough role for Melanie Griffith.

He made Wise Guys in 1986.

He released his most critically acclaimed film to date, The Untouchablesin 1987, which earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Sean Connery.

Casualties of War was not popular with critics or audiences, with the exception of his longtime defender Pauline Kael, who wrote a mammoth review of it that is still something to behold.

Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith in The Bonfire Of The Vanities

Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith in The Bonfire Of The Vanities

He reached rock bottom with his critical disaster The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1990, a bomb that nearly destroyed his career.

In 1992 he followed it with Raising Cain.

Carlito’s Way in 1993 helped bring his reputation back closer to its previous status.

In 1996 he had his biggest ever box office success when he directed the first entry in Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible franchise.

He followed it with the failure of Snake Eyes starring Nicolas Cage in 1999.

The enjoyable if silly outer space adventure Mission To Mars came out in 2000.

Femme Fatale premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2002.

Scarlett Johansson in The Black Dalia

Scarlett Johansson in The Black Dalia

He adapted James Ellroy’s novel The Black Dahlia in 2006.

He switched gears for a look at the war time experience in Redacted in 2007.

His remake of Alain Corneau’s Love Crime called Passion came out in 2012.