The Swan Archives News Page
The Swan Archives has decided to replace our old "Trivia" page (since nothing having anything to do with Swan's legacy could properly be called "trivial") with an up-to-the-minute ticker of Swan-related news. What with Swan having been dead for more than 30 years, we're not expecting it to be particularly challenging to keep up with the fast-breaking bulletins, but when something new does come up, you'll find it here.
October 31, 2014 - Today is the 40th Anniversary
Like the rest of you, we at the Archives have been looking forward, for what seems like eons, to this day: October 31, 1974, the 40th anniversary of the release (in West Germany) of The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge. Widely panned and ignored on its initial release, TFMM'sR has, over the last decade, ...pretty much remained that way. Filmed at one go with its prequel, The Three Musketeers, by the great Richard Lester (who had helmed A Hard Day's Night, almost a decade earlier), TFMM'sR comes off almost as a hodgepodge of the unused footage from the earlier-released one-fewer-musketeer edition. (In fact, the cast wasn't aware that they were making two separate films.) You don't see 40th Anniversary screenings of this one in locales as diverse as Los Angeles, Kansas City and Winnipeg. We're really not sure what the point is we're trying to make here. There's kind of an interesting (if factually challenged) piece about another largely forgotten film that premiered on the same date at Esquire Online today, which you can find here . See you tomorrow tonight at the 40th Anniversary screening in Winnipeg!
October 30, 2014 - North American Phantom Bluray On Sale for Cheap
Until the end of this week, Shout Factory is offering the North American bluray edition of Phantom (which includes a bonus DVD with spillover supplemental features) at an extremely low price: $16.99 plus shipping, as part of their "Sales from the Crypt" promotion. (Also available at the same price is one of our other favorits, Ginger Snaps!) Shout is unfortunately completely out of the limited edition magnets they had been throwing in as a sweetener, but it's still a great deal. Their order page is here (and no, we don't get royalties, kickbacks, or ad revenue if you click through from our site).
October 29, 2014 - Sometimes, Things Just Work Out.
Phoenix on the truck in the foreground; Phantom on the awning in the background. And I didn't even have to use a split diopter! This was just down the street from San Francisco's Castro Theater; our Principal Archivist ran across it the other day while doing his fatherly duty, and taking his daughter to see 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time on the big screen. (She loved it.)
October 23, 2014 - Oh, Great.
In a rather appalling development, the creator of "Desperate Housewives" and "Devious Maids," Marc Cherry, is behind a new version of "Phantom of the Opera," for ABC, set in -- wait for it -- "the sexy and cutthroat world of the modern-day music business." And, according to ABC, the series won't be a musical...it'll just have "musical elements." Wonder where they got that idea.
October 23, 2014 - Ed Pressman Honored at Abu Dhabi Film Festival
As we type this, Phantom producer Ed Pressman is receiving a career achievement award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. In addition to producing Phantom, Ed is responsible for bringing to fruition De Palma's Sisters (and Douglas Buck's 2006 remake), as well as such iconic fare as Wall Street, Bad Lieutenant, Reversal of Fortune, Talk Radio, Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, Das Boot, Badlands, and many many others. Congratulations, Ed!
October 16, 2014 - Tommy Lee Edwards' Original Phantom Art For Sale by the Artist
Tommy Lee Edwards created the event poster for the 40th Anniversary Cast & Crew screening at the Arclight Hollywood on July 30, 2014. Prints were available for purchase at the event. He's got his original, one of a kind, hand-drawn 11" x 21" black and white drawing (pictured to the left) up for sale on his site, for $2,000, here.
October 15, 2014 - Santa Cruz!
We love Santa Cruz California, and Phantom will be screening at midnight this coming Friday and Saturday at the Del Mar Theater on the Pacific Garden Mall. Tickets $6.50 apiece, more info here.
October 8, 2014 - Buffalo!
Phantom will be screening in Buffalo NY, at the Buffalo International Film Festival, this Friday, October 10, at 9pm, at The Screening Room. Tickets and info here.
October 4, 2014 - Lawrence, Kansas?!?!?
Phantom will be screening in Lawrence, Kansas, at the Lawrence Art Center, at 7:30pm on October 30 (its 40th anniversary, more or less), and here's the crazy part: after the show, a band featuring drummer Kliph Scurlock (formerly of the Flaming Lips) will play a set of music from the film. Also in the band: Eric Mardis, Jeremy Sidener, Cameron Hawk, Michael Paull, and others. Tickets and info here.
October 4, 2014 - We Know, We Know, We've Been Updating This Page with Slothlike Diligence
Our Principal Archivist took a vacation in September, and just hasn't quite gotten back into the swing of things, so we've been a little behind on the news. To the left is some whimsical artwork by Christian Marra that mashes up Phantom with the Baltimore Rock Opera Society's upcoming (October 17-26) production of "Electric Pharoah," about which you can find out more here. Separately, the evening Phantom show at Winnipeg's The Met sold out long ago, but, so far as we know, there are still tickets available for the matinee, and people who attend the matinee can return again for the festivities following the evening show, which include a performance of the Phantom soundtrack by a band called "Swanage." If you're going to either show, make sure to take some extra pocket money to buy raffle tickets! Meanwhile, Paul Williams and his coauthor on "Gratitude and Trust," Tracey Jackson, have been supporting the publication by making almost daily radio appearances and bookshop appearances all over the country; keep tabs on them here.
August 30, 2014 - Gerrit Graham at Chiller
Gerrit is scheduled to appear at the upcoming Chiller Theater Expo in Parsippany, NJ, October 24-26. More info at Chiller's site, here.
August 29, 2014 - Winnipeg's 40th Anniversary Phantombration is Taking Shape
That kooky hotbed of Phantom love, Winnipeg, is hosting an event on November 1, just a few hours after the film's 40th birthday. "Phantom at the Met" looks to be a dinner-and-a-movie event, with (this being Winnipeg, after all) cocktails at 5:30, buffet dinner at 6:00, and the film (projected from bluray) at 7:30. Tickets are $40 (Canadian, so a bit less in real money), and some portion of the proceeds will be going to the William Finley Scholarship Fund, to provide scholarships to local students in the arts. Tickets go on sale sometime next week. Our understanding is that dinner tables are going to be set for four people apiece, so if you get three friends to go, you can have a table to yourselves. Or maybe ask to be seated with me...so far, I'm going it alone. There's a nice writeup on the upcoming event, and Winnipeg's continuing Phantom obsession in general, in yesterday's Winnipeg Free Press, here.
August 8, 2014 - Paul Williams to Appear in Pasadena
Paul will be among several singer/songwriters and composers for film performing with the Pasadena POPS orchestra at the L.A. Arboretum on August 16 in a programme called "Hooray for Hollywood." Paul will be appearing (apparently in the role of Kermit) to sing "Rainbow Connection," from The Muppet Movie. More info here.
August 8, 2014 - MacLeans Notices that Phantom is Popular
It has come to the attention of Canada's MacLeans magazine, a newsweekly, that Phantom is undergoing a renaissance. Read all about it here.
August 6, 2014 - Phantom is Dissolve's Movie of the Week Next Week
Website/podcast The Dissolve is featuring Phantom as their movie of the week next week. We think this means there'll be a podcast devoted to it, and articles and discussion on their website. More info here.
August 5, 2014 - The Phantom is Fit to Print
As Phantom continues to enjoy its newfound broadening appreciation, look for a story in this coming Sunday's New York Times' Arts Section. While you're waiting for that, there's a very nice piece at Moveable Feast, here.UPDATE: The New York Times article has been delayed; it should appear on August 17. UPDATE THE SECOND: Delayed again; now scheduled to appear August 24. UPDATE THE THIRD: You can read the article here.
August 4, 2014 - Winnipeg is Back in the Phantom Business!
Something is up in Winnipeg on November 1 (essentially Phantom's actual 40th birthday. Ok, one day off.) The event (details are still pretty vague) will be at the Met, and we'll let you know more when we know more.
August 3, 2014 - How Things Have Changed
If we need any indication that Phantom's reputation has improved over the past eight years, we need look no further than Entertainment Weekly. This week, as a bellwether of Phantom's newfound respect, EW is calling the film out as one of their "Must-sees," proclaiming it one of the "top ten things we love this week," and "surreally funny." Deeply ironic, since, in their list of "Five Must-See Glam Rock DVDs" in 2006, which you can see here, they went out of their way to append an "...and one to skip" list, in which they asserted that Phantom "makes it clear that while glam makes for great music, it doesn't necessarily provide for scintillating movie-watching." "Who knows," they went on to ask, "what Brian De Palma was thinking when he wrote and directed this coked-up variant of the classic Phantom tale, or why he cast elfin composer Paul Williams as his Faustian lead, but we'd sell our soul to the devil if he'd spare us a second viewing." Shit, I'm feeling like Jon Stewart here for a second. Too late, EW, you already told us what you really think.
August 2, 2014 - Build Your Own Phantom Voicebox!
If you attended the 40th Anniversary show the other night, you might have noticed a guy in a full Phantom costume, with a working voicebox that lit up and distorted his voice. That was Mike Shkolnick, and he's posted complete instructions (including a parts list) for building your own voicebox, if you're so inclined. Find it all here.
August 1, 2014 - Reviews for the Scream Factory Bluray are Starting to Emerge: This Creep Gets No Comps
Reviewers have their copies in hand, and we're starting to see the results. Lookin' good so far. We'll post links here, and we'll semi-diligently keep this entry updated as more come in. (If you've published a review, you could save us some Googling by sending us a link.) We're going to exercise some editorial judgment here, and omit mention of reviews that, while they purport to be reviews of the Bluray, are actually just reviews of the film, without any mention of the disk at all. The reviewers who collect freebies from the distributors without bothering to discuss the quality of the transfer, or the supplemental features, aren't worth our time, or yours... so many of them just bang out an error-ridden synopsis of the plot, echo the descriptions of the features on the packaging, and call it a day. We have no interest in wasting your time by sending you to the work of such slackers, who, we suspect, don't even bother to open the shinkwrap before they put their comps up on ebay. (Maybe we should post a hall of shame?) Here endeth the rant. Here are some worthwhile reviews (which doesn't necessarily mean we agree with everything in them, of course): Cinemastance; Rupert Pupkin Speaks; Decibel Magazine; Blu-Ray.com; Docterror.com; DVDActive.com; Nerdist.com; Geekdad.com; Icons of Fright; The Retroist; Geekadelphia.com; Slantmagazine.com; Diaboliquemagazine.com; Agentsofgeek.com; Schlockmania.com; Playbackstl.com; Posts N' Goblins.com; DVDTalk.com; DVDVerdict.com; Mania.com; Moviemansguide.com; Horrortalk.com; HomeTheaterForum.com; MovieGazetteOnline.com; Rockshockpop.com; AintItCool.com DeepestDream.com;(more to come...)
July 31, 2014 - William Shephard's King Kong Memoir Published
Will Shephard, the environmental theater veteran who played the crazy "Rock Freak" in Phantom's wedding sequence (he also was in charge of crowd wrangling, and training the extras to behave like a bloodthirsty mob), has a new memoir/journal, called "Inside King Kong," which recounts his experience as one of the two actors who played the big ape in the 1976 Dino DeLaurentis production. Published by Chapin books in the UK, the ebook is now available on Amazon, and the paperback print version will be available September 4, 2014.
July 31, 2014 - Video of the Phantom 40th Anniversary Panel Discussion Has Been Posted
We don't know how long it'll be up, but right now you can see video of the panel discussion at last night's Creature Features reunion here.
July 31, 2014 - Creature Features Event Rules!
Congratulations to Taylor and the gang from Creature Features, as well as Rod and Civil Disobedience Productions, for pulling off a spectacular Phantom event last night. Onstage for a panel discussion hosted by Edgar Wright (pictured, to the left, with Jeff Comanor) were Gerrit Graham, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Peter Elbling, Comanor, Susan Finley and (Phantom editor) Paul Hirsch. Also spotted in the crowd: Eli Roth, and Phantom bass player Colin Cameron. The film was screened for a sellout crowd (around 900) from Fox's DCP transfer from 2012, and, although the sound quality is fantastic, seeing it on the Dome's big screen highlights what an unacceptably poor (shitty, actually) job was done for Fox (by Reliance Mediaworks, in Burbank) with the grading. This is the same "restoration" that forms the basis of the Arrow bluray that came out earlier this year in the UK, and which was (thankfully) tweaked a bit by Shout for their North American bluray. The contrast is painfully high, and the darks are crushed. Everything darker than grey just looks black, and anything that was hidden in shadows in 35mm disappears completely on this transfer. It doesn't do the film justice, and should be redone, preferably with the involvement of someone who remembers what films looked like in the '70s. It is maddening that, unless someone at Fox goes back to Reliance and demands that it be done right, this is going to be the definitive edition of the film for the rest of time, and what people think it was supposed to look like. Back to the event, though: A pre-screening reception was held for about an hour in the Arc Light's bar area, with most of the cast (Gerrit hung out down in the lobby), and perhaps a few dozen attendees. It was relatively intimate as these things go, and it looked to us like everyone was getting some quality time with their favorite Phantom alums. Several fans attended in full costume as the Phantom, including one with a very impressive working voicebox. We saw a couple of Swans and Phoenixes as well. Paul Hirsch brought his daughter, Paul W. brought his wife Marianna, and a cocktail party atmosphere prevailed. Down in the lobby, Creature Features had three different tshirt designs on sale (our favorite is a Batman/Phantom mashup), as well as (truly impressive) event posters. I expect that Creature Features will be set up for online sales of these things for those who weren't able to purchase onsite, if they aren't already. Creature Features' Taylor White introduced the film, which was followed by a generously long panel discussion hosted by Wright, and a short talking head video from Guillermo del Toro was screened, in which he spoke eloquently of his longstanding love for Phantom, and of how influential and inspirational it, and De Palma in general, have been to his own art. Ed Pressman had provided a video as well, which was not screened due to "technical difficulties". Maybe Ed will let us post it to the Archives, so it can be seen...UPDATE: Here it is! Our Principal Archivist was very happy to have a chance to chat with Paul Hirsch, who hadn't seen the film with an audience in forty years, and was immensely gratified to see it with the sort of responsive audience that had been hoped for, but never attained, in the film's initial release, and, in particular, that the laugh lines fell how they were supposed to, that people broke out in applause after the musical numbers, and that the film "worked". Following the panel discussion, fans had an opportunity to converge around the cast and get things signed, confess to crushes, express admiration, and mingle, before things came to an end after 11pm. Kudos to Taylor and everyone else who worked to put this thing together; as far as we could see, a great time was had by all. LOST CAMERA ALERT: Paul Bunnell, the director of The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, misplaced his camera at the event. If you're the kindhearted soul who picked it up for safekeeping, you're welcome to return it to Paul through us, no questions asked. Paul would really like to see all the pictures he took. Contact us at email@example.com. We'll reimburse the postage, and maybe there's even some Phantom or Johnny X memorabilia in it for you. SECOND LOST CAMERA ALERT: As a result of this post, Paul got his camera, and all his pictures, back! All hail the power of the internet!
July 28, 2014 - Phantom to Screen for Free in Montreal
Montreal (Quebec, Canada) will be presenting Phantom (projecting from the Scream Factory bluray) (in English, as that disc has neither French audio nor subtitles) at 9pm on August 16. This will be an outdoor presentation, on the Terrace at Brasserie McAuslan. Free to attend, and there's an afternoon party preceding the show, starting at 4:30, and featuring DJ Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau. More info here.
July 28, 2014 - William Finley Painting to be Raffled Off at Reunion Screening
Susan Finley has graciously donated an exclusive William Finley framed art print (4' x 3') (pictured to the left) from her private collection, as well as other posters and art, to be raffled off at the reunion screening on 7/30, to benefit the William Finley Scholarship Foundation, which will provide scholarships to students in the arts in Winnipeg. Raffle tickets will be available at $20 apiece and the draw will be made the evening if the show.
July 25, 2014 - Recut Edition of Phantom Incorporating Swan Song Footage Yours for the Googling
Someone calling himself "Dr. Sapirstein" (presumably named after the character in Rosemary's Baby) has weaved the high def edition of the Archives' Swan Song footage back into the film to restore it to more or less what it had looked like prior to its last minute mutilation-for-legal-reasons. He's also reinserted the original title (Phantom, rather than Phantom of the Paradise), and created some nice packaging. It's impossible for an amateur to do this perfectly, as the sound elements that match the slightly longer original bits aren't available, but he's done a great job, we think. The Majestic's marquee is back, the street signs outside Swan Song Enterprises, the Swan Song sign in the hallway (and the unbroken cut of Winslow walking up the hallway and encountering the greasers), the Swan Song camera in the montage sequence, the Swan Song logo on the podium at the airport (instead of the spastic bird), and on and on. It looks great! While it wouldn't be accurate to call it a "Director's Cut," as Mr. De Palma hasn't approved it (and because some sound bits and other odds and ends had to be re-created from scratch), it is probably closer to the original intention than anything else out there. Our understanding is that fan edits like this are legal in at least some places around the world, but we're not going to link to it, because it might not be legal in yours (or ours). But if you get on the Google and search for some combination of "phantom" and "sapirstein" you'll probably find it pretty quickly.
July 19, 2014 - Reunion Screening Poster Art Revealed
To the left is the limited edition screenprint by Tommy Lee Edwards that'll be given to those with VIP tickets, and available for purchase by those with General Admission tickets, to the Creature Features cast reunion screening on July 30 in Los Angeles. General Admission tickets are still available here.
July 18, 2014 - A Few More Details on the North American Bluray
Our copies arrived today (official release date is August 5), and we can tell you that the feature has four audio tracks available: 5.1 DTS-HD; 2.0 DTS-HD; audio commentary 1 (Juicy Fruits, Graham, and Harper) and audio commentary 2 (Jack Fisk). English subtitles can be selected as well. Unfortunately, the release lacks the isolated music and effects track found on the Arrow disc. We'll leave it to the DVD Beavers of the world to decide whether they prefer the video transfer to Arrow's.
July 14, 2014 - Phantom To Screen in Toronto
Phantom will play at The Revue, a nonprofit cinema in Toronto Canada, on July 23 at 9:30pm. General admission is $11, and the film will be screening in glorious DCP. More info here.
July 3, 2014 - Yet Another Fake Phantom Helmet Scam
It's amazing how often this happens: someone puts a replica Phantom helmet up on Ebay and tries to pass it off as the original. To be clear: Per Tom Burman, whose company sculpted the original helmet, only one helmet was created for the production; there was no "stunt helmet," or anything like that. The film was, after all, on a tight budget. (There are more details on the helment on our faq and links page, if you're interested.) There are dozens and dozens of replicas out there, including about sixty made over the years by Todd Kehler in Winnipeg (including the one for sale here on Ebay); the ones made by Chuck "Horrorhosty" Jarman; and the Japanese ones from Medicom. The original helmet, though, is still, to this day, in the hands of producer Ed Pressman. So when someone is selling what they say is "the original" (or "an original") helmet, then, unless they're Ed Pressman, they're either lying or they were lied to by whoever sold them the helmet in the first place. If you'd like to see the latest fake, it's here. Update as of July 9: Someone bought this replica, one of the sixty or so made by Todd Kehler in Winnipeg, for $310, plus around $40 shipping, so they overpaid by around $60, given that replicas typically go for around $250.
July 3, 2014 - Tickets Going Fast for Cast Reunion in Los Angeles
We are told that Creature Features, the company putting on the cast reunion screening at the Hollywood Cinerama Dome on July 30, is expecting a sellout. VIP tickets sold out a while back, but the $20 general admission seats are still available...for now, here. Update July 8: Edgar Wright will be hosting the screening....Ant-Man's loss is our gain!
July 1, 2014 - Gahh! We've fallen behind!
Our Principal Archivist has been busier than a one-legged man in a buttkicking contest, and has fallen behind on things a bit. To catch up: VIP tickets for the Cast Reunion screening in Los Angeles on 7/30 are sold out, but there are still general admission tix left. How can you pass up a chance to see Phantom in the glorious Cinerama Dome, with its hundreds of speakers and 86-foot-wide screen? Tickets here. OK, what else...Paul Williams talks about 13 career-defining records in his ample body of work in a nice slideshow on MusicRadar, which you can read here. Jessica Harper has posted an account of her meetup with Queen Elizabeth on Purple Clover, here. Paul will be speaking, along with songwriting greats Jake Gosling and Don Mescall, on July 16 in Dublin, on "The Craft of Creating Hit Songs"! Tickets are free, but you have to get them in advance. More info here. And Paul appeared before (the U.S.) Congress on June 25, speaking on behalf of ASCAP on the need to update the consent decrees that govern collective licensing. You can read his written statement here.
June 27, 2014 - Packaging on the Upcoming Bluray!
The first samples have come back from the factory, and here's what they look like.
June 21, 2014 - Anthony Goldschmidt Has Died
Anthony Goldschmidt, who designed the Phantom Style A poster (the John Alvin artwork also used on the soundtrack album cover) was lost to liver cancer this past Tuesday, June 17. He was 71. Goldschmidt collaborated with Alvin not only on the Phantom poster, but also on key art and posters for Blazing Saddles, The Princess Bride, E.T., and many others. Also of interest to De Palma fans, Goldschmidt designed the poster art for Scarface.
June 20, 2014 - Ticket Onsale Today for Cast Reunion in Los Angeles
Tickets go onsale today here at noon PST for the July 30 "Cast Reunion Screening" in Los Angeles. We're told there will be two tiers: General Admission, at $20, and VIP, at $65, which includes preferred seating, admission to a pre-screening party, a limited edition screen print signed and illustrated by artist Tommy Lee Edwards, and a custom lanyard created exclusively for the event. The event will be held in the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, which seats approximately 800.
June 10, 2014 - Update on Phantom Cast Reunion in Los Angeles
In addition to Paul Williams, Gerrit Graham and Jessica Harper, Juicy Fruits Peter Elbling and Jeff Comanor have now confirmed that they will be at the July 30 Creature Features event at the ArcLight Theater in Los Angeles. (Although we've seen it reported that the entire cast will be there, to the best of our knowledge, Archie Hahn has not (yet) 100% confirmed.) Update as of June 13: Although the event is absolutely a "go," the ticket onsale, originally scheduled for June 13, has apparently been delayed until June 20, at Noon, PST. More news as we get it.
June 7, 2014 - KCSB Radio Phantom Tribute to Air on June 9
Santa Barbara's KCSB radio, at 91.9 on your FM dial if you're in the neighborhood, or on the web here, will be honoring "all those who contributed to the cinematic greatness" that is Phantom of the Paradise. The show, an episode of "The Freak Power Ticket," hosted by Ted Coe, airs for an hour on June 9 starting at 11am Pacific time.
June 3, 2014 - Scream Has Moved the Swan Song Footage and Alternate Takes from the DVD to the Bluray
Originally, Scream Factory had announced that the Archives' Swan Song footage and alternate takes would be on the DVD rather than the Bluray disc in their upcoming Phantom 2-disc set. This would have meant that the material would have been in standard definition rather than in hi def. Per their site today, though, these two supplemental features have been moved to the bluray. This is, in our opinion, as it should be, and we're happy to see that the footage will be presented in the best possible format.
May 25, 2014 - Some Kind of Phantom Cast/Crew Reunion and Screening in Los Angeles on July 30
There will be some kind of Creature-Features sponsored cast and crew reunion and screening (perhaps with material from the upcoming Scream bluray) in Los Angeles at the Hollywood ArcLight Theatre on July 30.... more details as they come in! Update May 30: Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, and Gerrit Graham are all slated to attend, with more guests to be announced. The event is at 7:30pm on July 30, and tickets go on sale on June 13 here.
May 22, 2014 - Phantom to Screen in L.A. This Weekend from DCP
The New Beverly Cinema will be running Phantom as their Saturday midnight show this weekend, from DCP, guaranteeing perfect picture and sound, so long as it runs at all. (Yes, we're still pissed off about the DCBotched U.S. premiere of Passion.) Tickets are $8, but bring along a senior or a kid for only $6. Tickets and info here.
May 22, 2014 - Extras on the Scream! Factory Phantom Bluray Announced!
Scream! has announced the selection of supplemental features on their Phantom 2-disc set, which our Principal Archivist has been co-producing, so we can finally talk about it! But it's a long list, so we have to take a deep breath first. It's a bluray, plus a DVD, and, along with the feature itself, it includes: DISC ONE (BLU-RAY): New audio commentary by stars Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and the Juicy Fruits (Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor and Harold Oblong, a.k.a. Peter Elbling), New audio commentary by production designer Jack Fisk, New interview with De Palma (36 minutes), New interview with Paul Williams about the film's music (30 minutes), and New interview with makeup FX wizard Tom Burman discussing the Phantom helmet...DISC TWO (DVD): The "Paradise Regained" documentary on the making of the film featuring De Palma, producer Edward R. Pressman, Finley, Williams, Harper, Graham and more (which originally appeared on Opening's French DVD in 2006) (50 minutes), the interview with Paul Williams moderated by Guillermo Del Toro that originally appeared on the Arrow bluray earlier this year (72 minutes), the interview with costume designer Rosanna Norton (from Opening's 2006 disc) (10 minutes), New interview with Pressman (15 minutes), New interview with drummer Gary Mallaber (15 minutes), New "Alvin's Art and Technique," a look at the Style A artwork for the poster and album cover (with an interview with Andrea Alvin) (15 minutes), New "Phantom of the Paradise Biography by Gerrit Graham," 1974 publicity sheet written by and read by the actor (8 minutes), Alternate takes (40 minutes) (from these here Swan Archives), Swan Song outtake footage (also from the Archives) (10 minutes), Radio spots, TV spots, Theatrical trailer, and still gallery. One thing that's not mentioned in Scream's announcement: Scream started with the same transfer as was used on the Arrow disc earlier this year, but has done some color correction. It'll be interesting to see which color scheme people prefer.
May 10, 2014 - Scream! Factory Phantom Bluray Available for Preorder
The Scream! Factory North American bluray is available for preorder from Amazon.com...but you might want to hold out until it's available on Scream's own site, so you can get the poster version of the cover art with it. The Amazon ad reveals that it's a multidisc set (because there are too many supplemental features to fit, along with the film itself, on a single disc). It'll be a bluray disc, plus a DVD containing some of the overflow supplemental material. Scream! hasn't yet announced the supplemental feature list yet...but since it won't all fit on one disc, you don't need us to tell you that it's substantial! UPDATE AS OF MAY 12: The bluray is now available for preorder at Scream/Shout's own site here, for US$21.95. While supplies last, the 18"x24" poster of the cover art is included in your order.
April 14, 2014 - Another Crazy Coincidence
Our Principal Archivist ran into Jessica Harper today...we think these Phantom people may be stalking him.
April 12, 2014 - Happenstance
By pure coincidence, these four individuals found themselves in the same place at the same time today.
April 3, 2014 - De Palma Interview to be Featured on Upcoming Scream Factory Disc!
Mr. De Palma spent some time talking Phantom today with our Principal Archivist (who is co-producing Scream's disc) in New York City. Excerpts of the discussion will appear as an extra on the disc, for which a lot of other new material is being prepared as well!
March 14, 2014 - Paul Does a Little Cameo-nity
Back in November of last year, we mentioned that Paul Williams would be appearing on an upcoming episode of "Community," and it happened this week: he shows up briefly, and humorously, to (maybe) fence some stolen textbooks. No allusions to Phantom (and why would there be?) but Paul does a nice job encapsulating "disdainful" in just a few seconds.
March 10, 2014 - Scream Factory Shows Off Their Phantom Bluray Cover Art
Scream Factory has revealed Justin Osbourn's cover art (shown here) for their North American Phantom Bluray, set for release on August 5, 2014. (Osbourn previously created the art for Scream's Prince of Darkness, Lifeforce, and The Fog covers.) The disc should be available for pre-order through the Scream Factory website in early May. A limited edition 18" x 24" poster of the cover art will be available with purchase. Extras on the disc will be announced in early Summer.
February 17, 2014 - Sail On, Ray...
Ray Kennedy, who so superbly rendered Beef's singing voice, passed away yesterday, at 67. Kennedy was the quintessential music industry veteran: Over the course of a long and productive career (which began when he appeared on American Bandstand at age 14, in 1960), he worked in his early days with everyone from Little Richard to Fats Domino to Jerry Lee Lewis, Wilson Picket and Otis Redding. His first album was produced by Phil Spector. The early '70s found him touring with Dave Mason and Jeff Beck, and writing "Sail on Sailor" with Brian Wilson for the Beach Boys, and of course voicing Beef in Phantom. In the '80s he he wrote songs for TV and film, including two songs for the Gene Hackman film Uncommon Valor, and a number of songs performed for the television broadcasts of the 1988 Summer Olympics. More recently, Kennedy worked extensively with Engelbert Humperdinck, Wayne Newton, and Mick Fleetwood. We're told that Kennedy was very happy with how Phantom had turned out, and that he had only a few days ago agreed to visit Winnipeg for a screening of the film this coming October.
January 27, 2014 - Paul Williams Accepts Grammy on Behalf of Daft Punk
At the Grammys tonight, Paul gave a very emotional and generous speech as he accepted Daft Punk's Album of the Year award for Random Access Memories, on which he collaborated. Paul looked very much at home next to musicians wearing helmets, we have to say. Watch Daft Punk win and see Paul's speech here.
January 25, 2014 - Gerrit Graham Interviewed on CJOB (Winnipeg) (and your Archivist Goes on a Rant)
Just in time for the (sold out!) screening of Phantom at the Park Theater in Winnipeg on January 26, Gerrit Graham did a short interview with Winnipeg radio station CJOB on Saturday morning, which was rebroadcast on Sunday morning. If you missed it, you can listen to it here. The Park Theater screening is described in the interview as an "Interactive Movie Night," which the interviewer construes to mean that people will be yelling stuff at the screen, a la Rocky Horror. We hope that's not what's going on: The Park Theater has run "Interactive Movie Nights" in the past, featuring such films as Die Hard and The Room. Our hope is that this is just the name of the film series, and not an invitation for members of the audience to ruin the film by yelling shit at the screen. If we may digress: Our view is that there is a word for people who try to have their voices heard over characters onscreen, or who prance around in front of the screen blocking other people's view: "assholes". (We'd use a stronger word, but this is a family website.) We understand, of course, that the Rocky audience has a different social compact. Such behavior is expected and encouraged at Rocky screenings, but this arises from a particular set of circumstances: Rocky isn't really a very good movie (except for some of the songs and Tim Curry's still-breathtaking-after-all-these-years performance), and everyone understands that the audience participation enhances enjoyment of what would otherwise be a dull film. (Watching it alone at home on DVD is excruciating.) The film itself encourages people to act out ("don't dream it, be it," etc.), and expressing yourself freely within the theater is consistent with the ethos of the message. And most importantly, the circumstances under which this "audience participation" practice developed (in Los Angeles, by the way, and not, as the always-self-promoting Sal Piro would have you believe, in New York) and took hold were that the film was showing every week, and most people at each screening had seen it umpteen times before, and were pretty well assured that they could see it again, in a theater, as many times as they wanted. So it was fine if they "missed" something because someone was yelling at the screen....they caught it last week, or they would next week. And, Rocky is intended to be kind of an ironic wink at the audience anyway, and doesn't ask to have its story or characters taken seriously: it is not attempting to get you to care about what happens to them, or to cry at their fates. In fact, its tongue in cheek attitude makes fun of the characters: Brad, Janet, and the rest are viewed derisively by the film, so why shouldn't we view them derisively and mock them as well? And Rocky screenings were traditionally a safe place for kids who were unsure about their sexuality, and particularly what might have been regarded at the time as "alternative" sexualities, to begin to come out a bit, in a darkened theater, from a place of relative anonymity, amongst people who seemed to value individuality and self expression. Participating at Rocky and finding acceptance there was a first step, for many, towards being a little more open about who they were. (Of course, the irony of the whole Rocky phenomenon is that it transformed over time into an exercise in conformance rather than rebellion, with "right ways" and "wrong ways" to participate, traditions, ritualistic shaming of the virgins, online and DVD instruction manuals telling you how to participate appropriately, and so on. Where going to see Rocky was once a little bit daring or edgy, it's now a mark of normalcy that you've seen it, and almost abnormal not to have. Parents take their children. People go see it for the first time now because they're "supposed to".) The Phantom situation is a very different kettle of fish. Phantom screens publicly so rarely that it seems a shame to ruin it for people who haven't seen it by shouting over it, throwing things, and, god forbid, dancing in front of the screen in your mother's underwear. And Phantom, for all the fourth-wall breaking, intertextuality, and other "fun," wants us to take its characters, and itself, seriously. It's an earnest scream from the wilderness about what was going wrong with the corporatization of art, vertical marketing, and conglomerate influence. While we don't think it's some kind of "sacred cow" that needs to be protected from Rocky-ish antics, it would sadden us for a film that has meant so much to us as a piece of -- dare we say it -- "art" to become secondary, at its own rare exhibitions, to the mooing and cawing of the boors filling the seats. We think the film is worthy of more respect than that. And, we think there would be an element of artificiality about it: the Rocky thing happened (sort of) spontaneously, arising from a shared, repeated communal experience. That seems authentic, however silly it might be. To say, "Hey, let's set out to do that to another film" just seems wrong. Taking Rocky antics and transferring them to Phantom screenings would be like taking an animal out of its natural habitat, and introducing it to a new continent where it has no natural predators, and where it will screw up the ecosystem completely. We'd hate to see that happen to Phantom.
January 19, 2014 - Great New Poster Art for the French Re-Release!
To the left is Solaris Distribution's new poster art for Phantom's theatrical re-release in France next month. Looks beautiful!
January 19, 2014 - Excellent De Palma Restrospective in The Boar
David Pountain, apparently a student at Warwick University in the UK, has written a very nice, fair, and articulate appraisal of much of Brian De Palma's filmography for today's issue of The Boar, Warwick's student newspaper. Pountain rather bravely proposes that Mission to Mars belongs in the top ten, but the point here isn't the rankings: in a relatively short piece, Pountain does a nice job, in relatively few words, of getting across a sense of what there is to appreciate about De Palma's body of work. Read it here.
January 16, 2014 - Arrow Announces Final Specs for their Phantom Bluray, and We'd Like to Say a Few Things
Arrow Video has, at long last, announced the final specs on their UK-market bluray, and they're impressive indeed...and full of stuff from the Swan Archives. The release had originally been scheduled for February 17, but was pushed out to February 24 to accommodate the delayed 70 minute interview between Paul Williams and Phantom fan/awesome director Guillermo del Toro, which was finally shot just a couple weeks ago on location at del Toro's man-cave. In addition to that brand new interview, the extras on the Arrow disk will include a new featurette (scripted by our Principal Archivist, and utilizing our Swan Song Fiasco footage) discussing the last minute changes made to the film as a result of the claims brought by Peter Grant, which you can read more about, if you're so inclined, on our Swan Song Fiasco page. The disc will also feature about a third of our collection of deleted footage and outtakes, available for the first time in a hi def transfer (which Arrow made directly from our archival camera negatives and interpositives). Arrow has licensed Deborah Znaty's terrific "Paradise Regained" featurette, which was first released on the Opening DVD in 2006, the "Carte Blanche" interview with costume designer Rosanna Norton, and William Finley's faux advertisement for the Phantom action figure, also from the Opening disc. Arrow is also using Randy Black's backstage photographs (which Mr. Black had unearthed specifically for the Swan Archives a few years ago, and which appear in lower resolution on our Production page). And, the collector's booklet that accompanies the disk contains some writings by our Principal Archivist, as well as new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth. In addition to our deleted footage, Arrow borrowed our radio spots, and will be stocking the release with the original trailers as well. In terms of technical features, the disc will showcase the film in 1080p with the original uncompressed stereo soundtrack (PCM) and a 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, as well as, for the first time anywhere, an isolated music and effects soundtrack (so that you can hear the incidental music without dialogue playing over it!) As we intimated many months ago, this is going to be, by far, the best Phantom release to date, and the Archives is very proud to have been able to play a part. On a personal note: When we first acquired the outtakes and deleted scenes, on brittle decades-old 35mm footage (which at that time had never been seen by anyone), converted it to digital, and put it up on our pages in watermarked, crippled, low resolution format, our hope was that, someday, someone would decide to do a new special edition Phantom DVD or Bluray, and would be interested in using this footage as an "extra." We felt that if we were making the footage available in high quality on our site, that would discourage a "legitimate" distributor from going to the expense and bother of using it...and our ultimate goal was to have the footage adopted in a legitimate release, so that fans could enjoy it in its full glory on their bigscreen TVs, from their very own copies. We attempted on numerous occasions to get in touch with Criterion, but they never responded. We made sure that both Brian De Palma and (Phantom editor) Paul Hirsch knew that we had the footage. We told Mr. De Palma that we'd be happy to deliver it to him should he so request; he told us that we should just hang on to it, and that the materials were better off in the Archives' hands. Mr. Hirsch told us that if anyone wanted to try to restore the film using our footage, he'd be happy to help. We never contacted Fox. The studios don't have a stellar record with respect to preserving their own heritage. Time and time again, they have found themselves going to packrat fans, like the Archives, to recover the only remaining examples of materials that the studios themselves had thrown away decades ago, often because those materials were deemed unworthy of the space they took up on the shelves. And, these same studios who from time to time go begging to film collectors also have a long history of suing us, and even criminally prosecuting us, for the very act of maintaining the studios' legacies...for taking an interest at a time when the studios couldn't be bothered. Indeed, so far as we know, Fox has absolutely no Phantom outtakes, unused footage or trims in its vaults. Had this material been in Fox's custody all these years, it likely would have gone to the same smelter as all the other "worthless" footage. At best, it would be in an anonymous crate, like the Ark of the Covenant, amongst thousands of similarly anonymous crates, rotting away in a corner, never to be seen by anyone. But we digress. We waited, for years, for someone to take an interest. Eventually, in February of 2013, we were contacted by Arrow. Arrow had already proven their mettle with their best-of-breed Bluray release of De Palma's Obsession, and were at that time on the verge of issuing Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, and The Fury. They wanted the footage, and wanted our help with other aspects of their disc as well. We felt that, in Arrow, we had a worthy partner, and were relieved that the footage would finally, forty years after being shot, get the showcase it deserved. At the same time, we admit that letting go has been bittersweet. Prior to the Arrow release, the Swan Archives had been the only place this footage could be seen, and it drew a lot of visitors over the years. We got a lot of email. We made some friends. The footage has become the centerpiece of the site, and we're unsure whether, with the footage out for everyone to own (and of course inevitably ripped from the Arrow disc and splayed all over Youtube and Piratebay), there will still be much demand for what the Archives has to offer. In any event, thanks to the Arrow release (and, we hope, the upcoming Scream Factory release for the North American market), our mission to salvage and make available this abandoned and forgotten material has come to an end. We hope Swan would be proud.
January 11, 2014 - Phantom and Rocky to Screen Together in Durham
Durham's truly beautiful (and nonprofit) Carolina Theater will be screening Phantom and The Rocky Horror Picture Show starting at 7pm (we're not sure which one plays first) on January 31; both films for $10. Tickets and information here.
January 11, 2014 - TONTO Finds a New Home in Canada
On January 8, Calgary's National Music Centre announced that it had acquired TONTO, the room-filling (and very real) analog synthesizer at which Winslow composes for Swan in Phantom (which you can read more about on our Production page) in late 2013. Since the acquisition, the NMC has been working with TONTO's co-creator, Malcolm Cecil, to document its intricate systems, so that it can be made available for use by artists. It's currently on display at the museum, and is expected to be moved to the NMC's new building, scheduled to open in 2016.
December 21, 2013 - Phantom to be Theatrically Rereleased in France February 26
Solaris Distribution is behind a re-release of our favorite film in French cinemas on February 26, 2014. With the UK Bluray release coming on February 24, and Scream Factory's North American Bluray release set for late summer, the film's 40th anniversary is shaping up nicely! Check out the new trailer for the French rerelease here!
December 16, 2013 - Arrow Releasing Phantom in Steelbook Packaging!
Arrow's upcoming Phantom BluRay will be released both in the regular packaging (with artwork as shown in our November 25 entry below) and in their fancier "steelbook" packaging, shown to the left, utilizing both the Alvin art from the original 1974 campaign and the Corben art from the 1975 campaign. Nice job, Arrow!
December 12, 2013 - Finally, a North American BluRay Release of Phantom!!!
Shout! Factory announced today that they are releasing Phantom on Bluray in North America, as part of their Scream Factory series (devoted to "notable (and underrated) horror and sci-fi films from the past that have massive cult followings"), in Summer, 2014. They say they'll have some "new extras," but offer up no further details. Woo HOO!
December 5, 2013 - February 14 isn't Just Paul and Marianna Williams' Wedding Anniversary Anymore
Phantom will be playing in glorious DCP (assuming, as always, with digital projection, that it works at all) on February 14, 2014 at the truly beautiful (and nonprofit) Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, as part of the Colonial's "First Friday Fright Night" series. The screening commences at 9:45pm, and there's ticket-price and other info here. (If "Colonial Theater" sounds familiar to you and you aren't from the Philadelphia area, it might be because it was the theater featured in the original (1959) version of The Blob.)
November 27, 2013 - Arrow's Phantom Release to Include The Swan Archives' "Swan Song" Material!
Now that Arrow is mentioning it in their ads (see the art to the left), the coast is finally clear for us to talk (a little bit) about it: The Arrow Blu-Ray is going to include The Swan Archives' deleted Swan Song footage (see our Swan Song Fiasco page) in a brand new featurette that we've been working on with them. And, as Winslow might say, "there's more...MUCH more!" The disc will be available (Region 2 only) February 24.
November 26, 2013 - Phantom Screening in Istanbul!
Phantom will be screening in Istanbul, Turkey, tomorrow night, November 27, at 8pm at the Karga Bar. For free! After crossing the Bogazici Koprusu/Kadikoy/Ankara bridge, make sure to keep left towards Hasanpasa/Kadikoy. That is SO worth the plane ride, we're heading to the airport now.
November 25, 2013 - Arrow's Phantom Cover Corrected
We're pretty sure that this doesn't exactly qualify as "news," but Arrow has corrected the spelling of "Phantasy" on the cover of their upcoming Blu-Ray release.... it had formerly read "Phantasty." Tasty, Winslow! Updated cover shown to the left.
November 18, 2013 - Phantom Screening in Louisville
Yes, it's true... Phantom will be screened at a place called Headliners Music Hall, in Louisville Kentucky, on November 22. Doors open at 8pm, Phantom plays at 9pm, and you can stay on to hear a couple of bands: Old Baby, and Graffiti. 21 and over only, tickets are $5. More info here.
November 17, 2013 - Julie Klausner Promises to Sing "Faust" in NYC
We didn't even know she could sing. But comedian/writer/podcaster Julie Klausner (whose snarky and deconstructive monologue-plus-interviews podcast, How Was Your Week, is our Principal Archivist's only connection to post-'70s culture) will apparently be doing just that in her "Too Gay for Brooklyn" cabaret show in New York City at Joe's Pub in the East Village at 7:30pm, November 22 - 26. Miss K recently and tastefully (she's nothing if not tasteful, apart from her aberrational affection for Cats) became enamored of Phantom, and will be performing "Faust" at some point in the evening. Even if she weren't, though, we're sure this would be well worth attending for Klausner's face, head and hair alone. All ages admitted, tickets available here. Use the discount code 2gay4bk to save a few bucks, and then write and let us know how great a time you had!
November 16, 2013 - Phantom to Screen in San Francisco at the Castro
Our favorite movie at our favorite theater! Phantom will be screening at the fabulous Castro Theater in San Francisco the evening of December 15. It'll be double-billed with something else, but the Castro hasn't said what yet. Should be projected in DCP which, so long as they can get it running, will look good and sound fantasic. Info on the beautiful and perfect Castro here. Update November 30: Seems the Castro's changed their mind, and they'll be showing Dial "M" for Murder (in 3D!) and To Catch a Thief on the 15th instead.
November 8, 2013 - Paul Williams to appear on Community
Paul will apparently be making a visit to Greendale Community College: he was on the set of the NBC series Community today. Now that Chevy Chase is no longer stinking up the show, we'll be watching.
October 24, 2013 - Arrow Video's Phantom Cover Art!
Arrow Video is getting closer to bringing their Phantom Blu-Ray to reality: it's now scheduled for release sometime in the first quarter of 2014. The cover art is to the left. We've been working with Arrow on this release, and, although we can't provide specifics, we're confident in saying that this will be the best home video release of Phantom to date by a wide margin. It's available for preorder from Arrow's site. UPDATE: The cover will be changing a bit; for one thing, they're going to correct the spelling of "Phantasy," shown here as "Phantasty". The transfer is brand new and - "trust me" - there are going to be some awesome extra features on this disk that we wish we could tell you about. It's currently deeply discounted for only 13 euro on Arrow's site, and you won't be sorry. It'll be Region 2 only, though, so if you're outside the UK you'll need a region free bluray player. UPDATE SOME MORE: (as of November 12): The Arrow Phantom Bluray now has an exact release date: February 17, 2014.
October 24, 2013 - Phantom to be Screened from 16mm in Berkeley on October 27
Phantom will be screened from a 16mm print (presumably a 40 year old one, as none have been struck since the film's initial release) by the Berkeley Underground Film Society at 7pm on October 27, at The Tannery, 708 Gilman in Berkeley, CA. No charge, but donations to the Society are accepted. For the past three years, the Society, a club for collectors, researchers and film enthusiasts in the Bay Area, has screened rarely projected and obscure films from their 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm collection every Sunday. More info here.
October 8, 2013 - Johnny X Available on DVD and for Download
For those who weren't able to catch it in theaters (which is just about everybody), The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, which features Paul Williams, briefly, as a smarmy talkshow host, is out on DVD (available at Amazon, for example, here) and on Netflix Instant Video, here. Definitely worth checking out for Phantom fans, Johnny genre-mashes juvenile delinquents, music, classic B-movie sci-fi, and too-good-for-itself black and white cinematography.
October 3, 2013 - Phantom Featured on the Simpsons!
Later this week, on October 6, the Simpsons will air their 24th annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode, an October tradition. The incredible opening sequence this year was directed by Phantom fan Guillermo del Toro, and he's slipped in a little bit of Winslow Leach, shown here, jamming with Lisa Simpson on the sax. Del Toro's opener makes gleeful reference to damn near every horror film worth referencing, and he gets a few self-referential bits in as well. Set your DVR, this is worth rewatching a few dozen times.
June 16, 2013 - Phantom to Screen at Kansas City Alamo Theater
We've always kind of wished we lived somewhere near an Alamo Drafthouse theater, because they do cool stuff like this. (And we're very happy to see there's one coming soon to San Francisco...we'll be there a LOT.) Anyway, on June 22nd, at 2pm, they'll be screening Phantom at their Kansas City theater, the Mainstreet, for $5, as part of their "Film School Series", which, they say, "brings important films back to the big screen for your viewing enjoyment." No children under 6, no talking, and no texting. Did we mention we love the Alamo? More info here.
June 13, 2013 - New Poster for Passion's US Release
Here's the Style A one sheet for Passion's US release! Now we know why the release was delayed: Someone was working on the new tagline, "No Backstabbing. Just Business." We actually think that's pretty good. And we appreciate the de-emphasis of the romant-o-rotic relationship between the leads; putting the conniving upfront seems far wiser and less likely to lead to audience disappointment and dissatisfaction, we think. This is a good sign as far as the US marketing strategy goes, though we think setting www.PassionTheMovie.com to point to distributor eOne's Facebook page, rather than to a dedicated site, is pretty lazy. Update as of July 31, 2013: that link now points to a dedicated site for the film!
May 21, 2013 - New Phantom BluRay Coming from Arrow Video
Yes, you heard it here first: As part of its Brian De Palma Collection (which already includes Blow Out, Obsession and Dressed to Kill), the UK's Arrow Video will be releasing Phantom (along with Sisters and The Fury) in upcoming BluRay editions, all with anticipated release dates in 2013. Our Principal Archivist is doing a little work with Arrow on the Phantom package, and we're looking forward to something really special there. Update as of July 3, 2013: Ya can't rush quality; the Phantom disc is pushed out to 2014.
May 14, 2013 - Paul Williams Featured on New Daft Punk Record
Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, the French duo that comprise Daft Punk, have for years been citing Phantom as a major influence; it was their favorite film as kids ("the foundation for a lot of what we're about artistically"), and obviously an inspiration for both their helmets and (perhaps less obviously, as a cautionary tale) their commitment to authenticity and determined avoidance of the cult of personality. As well, we think, the film embodies the pastiche-like quality of much of Daft Punk's work, as they have freely mixed and matched styles, instrumentation, and samples from work that they admire. Daft Punk has released only a handful of albums since their formation in 1993 -- only when they're ready -- and have assiduously preserved relative anonymity by hiding their faces from public view, making their performances and appearances only in their futuristic helmets and leather suits. (Sound familiar?) Their new album, "Random Access Memories" (officially to be released later this month, but available for streaming from iTunes, and unofficially available all over the place), features as its centerpiece an eight minute collaboration with Paul Williams, entitled "Touch", with vocals and lyrics by Williams. (Williams also contributed lyrics to another cut, "Beyond".) The song begins proper, after a short electronica introduction, with Williams' electronically distorted voice, morphing, as it did in Phantom, into his "cleaned up" singing voice. Over the course of the epic, synths are juxtaposed against natural, organic instruments (a detuned honky tonk piano of the type that so frequently populates Williams' own oeuvre, including the long fade on Phantom's own "The Hell of It", figures prominently), as the lyrics suggest someone who has become detached from life seeking to find his way back, through both the physical (the "Touch" of the title) and emotional connections to others. The song ends particularly beautifully, with Williams' voice out in front, momentarily a capella and then accompanied by a lone piano, suggestive of aloneness, but still yearning for relation. All the buzz around the album and Williams' involvement seems to have prompted some renewed interest in Phantom; we're seeing it in our own hitcounts, and all over the web. Daft Punk is introducing a whole new generation of fans to Phantom and, judging by the tweets and emails, they're loving it. Thanks, Daft Punk! (Oh, and we should mention that, according to a recent interview at pitchfork.com, the Daft Punk guys recently had a meeting with Mr. De Palma to "discuss some things," but that's all there is about that; we decline to speculate.)
May 12, 2013 - Phantom to Screen From DCP at Boston's Brattle Theatre
Someone at the Brattle must really love Phantom; they screened it from an archival 35mm print a couple years ago, and have selected it (along with Double Indemnity, Alien, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Badlands, and a few other greats) to inaugurate their new DCP projection system (installed at the nonprofit Brattle with the help of a Kickstart campaign). Phantom screens on June 29. Tickets, and info on the whole series here.
May 2, 2013 - Bright Lights Film Journal Flatters the Swan Archives with a Huge Story!
The Bright Lights Film Journal, an immensely popular, tasteful, and erudite publication, has published a very kind article about your humble Archivist and these here Swan Archives in their May issue, which you can view here. We greatly appreciate being noticed, and they make it sound like we're doing something pretty important. We've already sent the link to our mom.
May 2, 2013 - Free Screening of Phantom in San Diego
Shot by Shot, a film series at the Whistle Stop Bar in San Diego, has selected Phantom for a free screening (from DVD) next Thursday (and, you know, "today is Thursday...") at 7:30pm. They're encouraging singing along, and costumes, and will be serving up custom libations (including a signature drink they're calling the Juicy Fruit) to grease the wheels. Tell your host Miguel "hi" from the Archives!
April 30, 2013 - Finally, A Good De Palma Career Survey Podcast
Really excellent, and fair, assessment of De Palma's career (so far) at the latest Hell is for Hyphenates podcast. The Hyphenates are joined by Jeremy Smith (Mr Beaks at Aint It Cool News) for a well-informed, civilized, articulate and appreciative assessment. Nice job, fellows! Check it out here.
April 9, 2013 - Just Fucking Strangle Us Already
Some sources are telling us that Passion's US limited release date has been moved out to September 7, 2013. If true, our professional assessment is "that sucks!" Update: Looks like we're back to June 7!
April 8, 2013 - Pressman's Site-in-Progress Has New Happy Valley Art
(Phantom producer) Ed Pressman has someone hard at work creating a new website to replace his existing site at www.pressman.com. The new site's not yet visible to the public, but here's some new teaser art from it for the (hopefully) upcoming De Palma/Pacino/Pressman/Nicita/McKenna project, Happy Valley.
March 22, 2013 - Passion Finally Getting a Limited Theatrical Release in the US, and Phantom is Readily Available for HD Download Ownership Thrills
To the left is exactly what your humble Archivist looks like when adding entries to the News page. Now don't you want to meet me? De Palma's Passion is finally getting a limited US release (which means, you know, probably not in Tennessee or Utah) on June 7. We loved Passion, but it's not for everyone (kind of a pearls before swine thing), and we don't think it'll do well enough in limited release to justify a wide release, so plan on getting your butt out to New York, Los Angeles, or maybe San Francisco the week of June 7 if you want to see it in a theater. Which we highly recommend, particularly if you liked Raising Cain, Body Double, or Femme Fatale. Passion shares their sensibility of filmmaking for the sheer fun of manipulation, style, sneakiness, and being just about exactly as over the top as you can get away with. If getting to a major city doesn't work for you that week, it's coming out on Blu Ray (and DVD) overseas only a couple weeks later, on June 18 (Denmark) and 19 (Sweden, Norway and Finland). So pick up a region free player, invite a few friends over, and try to figure out who did what to whom before all is revealed. In other not-exactly-news, but just because we keep getting complainy emails from people wondering why Phantom's not out on Blu Ray in the US: You can download-to-own Phantom in HD from iTunes (in 720p and 1080p, watchable on your TV using an AppleTV or Airplay), from Vudu (from which you can watch it on your TV in HD using a PS3, Xbox 360, or Roku), and Amazon (play in HD to your TV using Xbox 360, PS3, Roku, or TiVO). So quit your whining and start downloading.
March 15, 2013 - Paul Williams is at Work on a Book, Revamping His Online Presence, and Soon to be Playing Several Nights in New York
Paul is working with co-author Tracey Jackson (herself a prolific blogger, author, and screenwriter) on a self-improvement book, to be titled Gratitude and Trust; Recovery is Not Just For Addicts, which is scheduled for publication by Blue Rider/Penguin in 2014. The book-in-progress has a companion website, here. As well, Paul appears to be preparing to launch his own official website, to be located at pauwilliamsofficial.com...it doesn't seem to be up and running just yet (while his longtime site, at paulwilliamsconnection.org, has been repurposed into Paul's clearinghouse for information and referrals on recovery, domestic violence, fetal alcohol syndrome and child abuse.) And, Paul's got a classy gig coming up at New York's Cafe Carlyle, April 23-May 4. More info on that here.
March 14, 2013 - Mondo-Cine Calls The Swan Archives "the best site for any film, official or otherwise, EVER"!
Mondo-Cine, an erudite but highly readable blog about film-related issues, with an emphasis on preservation and presentation, has asserted that this here Swan Archives is the best site "EVER" devoted to a single film. We're flattered and grateful to be noticed (and we don't even mind that they referred to our Principal Archivist as a "nerd".) Read more about us at Mondo-Cine here.
February 12, 2013 - Paul Williams: Still Alive to Screen in Winnipeg...Finally!
PW:SA will, at long last, be getting a proper 4-day theatrical run in Winnipeg, where, at Phantompalooza in 2006, director Stephen Kessler fist met Williams and shot his initial batch of footage for the film. As a bonus for the long-suffering Winnipeg fans, the opening night screening, on March 23, will be followed (technology willing...) by a live Skype interview with director Kessler. It all happens at the Winnipeg Film Group's Cinematheque, March 23-28. Check here for times and tickets.
February 1, 2013 - Phantom to Screen in Winnipeg
The Phantom returns to ground zero for Phantom fandom, Winnipeg, with a screening (from DVD, we expect) at the Park Theatre on February 10. The Park was one of several venues hosting Phantom during its original run in Winnipeg in 1974-75, with shows from June 20 to July 3 of '75. Doors open 7:30, show's at 8, and tickets are $5. More info here.
January 29, 2013 - See Paul the Paul Williams Q/A from the Phantom Screening at The Museum of the Moving Image on Youtube
Back in December (see below), we mentioned that Paul would be appearing in person at a screening of Phantom at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC...well, that was just the other night, and someone very kindly shot the Q/A session on their celphone and posted it to Youtube. You can see it here. No earthshattering new revelations, but it's heartwarming to hear Paul's affection for the film still resonating, after 40 years.
January 19, 2013 - Fangoria's De Palma Tribute is Here
Back in October (see below), we mentioned that Fangoria had a De Palma tribute issue in the works, and predicted it would be their issue number 319. We were a LEEETLE bit optimistic... it's actually issue number 321, which they've just announced. They've done a career-spanning interview with The Man, and, taking advantage of the energy around the upcoming Carrie remake, new interviews with PJ Soles, William Katt, and Pino Donaggio, and a feature story on Passion. At better comic book stores next month, or order thru the Fangoria site (soon) here.
January 16, 2013 - De Palma Teaming with Pacino (again) and Pressman (again) on Happy Valley, about Paterno Turning a Blind Eye to Sandusky's Sexual Abuse of Children (again and again and again)
Deadline.com is reporting that De Palma and Al Pacino (who previously kicked cinematic ass together on Carlito's Way and Scarface) are both attached to a project based on the best seller "Paterno", which was optioned by Ed Pressman (who of course produced Phantom and De Palma's Sisters (and, while we're at it, Doug Buck's 2006 Sisters remake). Happy Valley, as the film's working title has it, would presumably put Pacino in the Paterno role. Allow us to be the first to make a distasteful joke about De Palma and shower scenes.
January 14, 2013 - Phantom Music to be Featured as Part of "Phantoms of the Opera"
Texas A&M University is putting on a "theatrical concert" called "Phantoms of the Opera" on April 4 and 5, which will combine excerpts from several musical versions of "The Phantom of the Opera", including Phantom of the Paradise. The performance will be directed by Marc Kudisch, a Broadway veteran with three Tony nominations to his credit. In addition to Paradise, material will be sourced from the awful Andrew Lloyd Webber musical (yay! bathroom breaks!), and, more promisingly, from Yeston & Kopit's "Phantom", the Ken Hill version, and others. The cast will include Sandra Joseph and Brad Little, who both suffered nightly for years on Broadway in the Webber crapfest.
December 25, 2012 - De Palma Regular Charles Durning has Died
Character actor Charles Durning, pictured here in his iconic role as Doc Hopper in The Muppet Movie, died yesterday at his home in Manhattan. Mr. Durning, who was 89, had appeared in no fewer than four De Palma films: Hi, Mom, The Fury, Scarface (as the uncredited voice of the immigration officer in the opening), and of course most notably as the semi-competent private detective, Larch, in Sisters, who ends the film at the top of a telephone pole, keeping a watchful eye on the couch containing Phillip Woode's corpse, hoping to see who might claim it. Over a long career, Durning appeared in literally hundreds of stage, television and film productions, and won a Golden Globe (for supporting actor in The Kennedys of Massachusetts), a Tony (as Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), and was nominated for two Oscars (for Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and To Be Or Not To Be) and a Golden Globe (for his role in Dog Day Afternoon). Durning's military service was even more remarkable: he served in the US Army in WWII, and was the only member of his unit to survive the landing at Omaha Beach in the first wave at D-Day. After suffering machine gun and shrapnel wounds, the 21-year-old Durning killed seven enemy gunners. A few months later, after being stabbed several times by a soldier with a bayonet, he killed the man with a rock. After his release from the hospital, he returned to service, where he was captured and taken prisoner at the Battle of the Bulge. He escaped, narrowly avoiding being among the nearly 100 POWs massacred by their German captors at Malmedy. Durning is a recipient of the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts, and can be seen speaking movingly of his harrowing D-Day experience here.
December 19, 2012 - Nice Promo Video for Paul Williams's Still Alive on Youtube, and Paul's Being Honored by the Museum of the Moving Image As Well
Paul's song, "Still Alive", which plays over the closing credits of Stephen Kessler's documentary, has been nominated for a Critics' Choice Award (for "Best Song") by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest organization of film reviewers in the United States and Canada. The song's soul-baring, confessional lyrics beautifully encapsulate Paul's journey of self discovery, recovery and redemption, and resonate for anyone who's found deeper meaning and connection later in life. You can hear the song, played over a montage of clips from Paul's life and career, here. And, in a sign that we are experiencing a true Paul Williams renaissance, the Museum of the Moving Image will be running a weekend retrospective of some of Paul's most notable work for the screen, including Phantom and, notably, Ishtar, presented from a new digital restoration (and presumably exhibited in DCP). Also on the schedule: The Muppet Movie and the aforementioned Paul Williams: Still Alive. The Museum of the Moving Image is at 35th Ave and 37th Street in Astoria, and the restrospective runs January 25-27, 2013, with Paul scheduled to appear in person at all screenings. More info here.
December 10, 2012 - Paul Williams is Interviewed on the Nerdist Podcast
A nice new interview with the very enthusiastic Nerdist podcast, hosted by Chris Hardwick, here.
December 6, 2012 - Paul Williams is Writing Lyrics for Pan's Labyrinth Musical
Back in March (see below), we reported that Paul Williams was "up to something" with Guillermo del Toro (our other favorite director...), and now we know what: Paul has been engaged to craft lyrics for a stage musical version of del Toro's 2006 classic, Pan's Labyrinth! The "book" (what they call the script in stage musical parlance) was written by del Toro and Jeremy Ungar, and Gustavo Santaolalla (Academy Awards for the Brokeback Mountain and Babel scores) is scoring...top flight! Seeya on opening night...
November 15, 2012 - Phantom Screening in Chicago in February
Chicago's Music Box Theater, which has an awesome midnight movie program, will be running Phantom at midnight on Friday and Saturday, February 15 and 16. They haven't yet said what sort of source they're screening from, but they have DCP capability, and we assume they'll be utilizing it. See more about their Phantom screening and their midnight shows generally (there are a LOT of good ones!) here.
November 15, 2012 - Paul Williams Now on Twitter
Paul has gotten onto Twitter, and, while we weren't sure whether Swans tweet, has been tweeting up a storm since mid-October. Follow him at @IMPaulWilliams.
October 29, 2012 - Gerrit Graham to Appear at Shock Stock 2013
Shock Stock, which calls itself "Canada's Filthiest Horror Convention," has announced that Gerrit will be a guest at their 2013 edition, which runs April 12-14 at Centennial Hall in London, Ontario. Also appearing: Patricia Quinn ("Magenta," from that movie about the lingerie-clad trollops.) Read more about Shock Stock here.
October 17, 2012 - And Speaking of Career Retrospectives...
The venerable Fangoria Magazine has let drop that an upcoming issue will feature a "career retrospective" interview with Mr. De Palma. We're guessing that'll be issue # 319. Keep an eye on their site here.
October 17, 2012 - Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival to Present a "Complete" De Palma Restrospective Next Month
LEFFEST, the six-year-old Lisbon/Estoril (that's in Portugal, for the geographically impaired) film festival, which takes place November 9-18 this year, is displaying exceptionally good taste by running what they say is a complete retrospective of Mr. De Palma's filmography, right up through Passion. Thus far, they have not announced specific titles or showtimes, so we're not sure just how "complete" it is...but if they'll be running any of the never-seen shorts Icarus, 660124: The Story of an IBM Card, Bridge That Gap, or Show Me a Strong Town and I'll Show You a Strong Bank, we are (with apologies to our employer, our bandmates, and our family) SO there! No word yet on whether Mr. De Palma will attend in person, but we've not seen too many instances of a career retrospective honoree at any major festival declining to show up. Only a few films in the De Palma oeuvre are available in DCP, so the vast majority of the screenings should actually go forward as scheduled. Info here.
October 13, 2012 - Paul Williams: Still Alive Comes to Video-on-Demand
Having played theatrically in "selected cities," PW:SA becomes available for on-demand viewing/downloading this coming Tuesday, October 16. Pull it down on Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, and Bright House, among other cable providers, as well as iTunes, VUDU, YouTube, Amazon, Sony (Playstation), Microsoft (Zune, Xbox), Blockbuster, AT&T, DirecTV, and DISH.
September 29, 2012 - Passion U.S. Premiere Canceled Thanks to DRM Fuckup
So from now on, whenever we advise you to catch a screening of Phantom from DCP, we have to add the words, "assuming they can get the movie up and running". Tonight's U.S. Premiere of Passion at the New York Film Festival had to be canceled, with a theaterful of disappointed patrons, and with Mr. De Palma in the house, when the Digital Rights Management code wouldn't work to enable the presentation. Our sympathies go out to everyone in the building, and to Mr. De Palma; if we hadn't been lucky enough to have seen the film in Toronto, we would've flown out to New York today and been among the disappointed. We wonder how many in tonight's audience lost far more than a few hours of their time over this. DCP is fantastic, but DRM blows.
September 28, 2012 - Passion Has North American Distribution!
Entertainment One, also known as eOne, a Canada-based distributor, has picked up North American rights to Passion, and plans a theatrical release sometime in early 2013. While well established as a theatrical distributor in the rest of the world, eOne's activities in North America have historically focused on non-theatrical (home video) distribution. This year, though, it launched its North American theatrical arm, and is currently handling Cosmopolis, among others. eOne apparently offered a better deal than IFC Films, which had also been in negotiations, and which some publications had prematurely announced had acquired the film. For great BluRays, turn to Criterion; for reliable reportage, stick with the Archives.
September 27, 2012 - Phantom Screening from DCP in Brooklyn Next Week!
The Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn will be presenting Phantom from DCP (Digital Cinema Package) at two just-after-midnight shows. Their site lists the shows as being at 12:25am on October 5 and 6, but we think they really mean 12:25am on October 6 and 7...in other words, just after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. DCP provides a super high quality, scratch and splice free presentation with remixed sound...the movie has never sounded better, though the contrast in the transfer looks pretty high to us. We've never been to Nitehawk, but it looks like a pretty cool setup, with a lobby bar, and food and drink delivered to your table between films and even during the show. They even have a food special they call the "Drunken Phoenix"...Phoenix was actually more of a crack-whore, but close enough. Tickets are $11 general admission, and their auditoriums are pretty small and intimate - they have a 92 seater, a 60 seater and a 28 seater. We assume, but don't know, that they use whichever auditorium(s) suit the size of the crowd best. Given that they obviously have a supermodern AV system, we think they should invite our Archivist to give a nice post-show presentation including a big-screen premiere of some glorious outtakes and deleted scenes ... but then we've always kind of been dreamers here at the Archives. More info here.
September 14, 2012 - All the Passion news is on Geoff's Site
Our Principal Archivist has been busy making the festival rounds (Deauville and Toronto), and has been remiss in keeping this page up with all the news on Passion, which premiered on September 7 at Venice, and was screened on the 11th, 13th, and 14th at Toronto. Fortunately, Geoff at De Palma A La Mod has been doing an admirable job of keeping abreast of all the reviews and interviews; check his page for the latest. Our Archivist saw the film (which was terrific fun, a huge improvement over the Corneau original) on the 13th in Toronto, and enjoyed an extremely brief encounter with Mr. De Palma afterward.
August 23, 2012 - Passion Trailer is Posted to Youtube
The first trailer for Passion has been posted to Youtube, and you can see it here. Update: Now that our Principal Archivist has seen the film itself, he thinks the trailer is hugely misleading and sets inappropriate expectations, which is likely part of the problem in the deeply mixed reception the film is getting; whoever cut it should be fired. Although it generates interest, by suggesting a hot steamy lesbian erotifest, the movie will leave anyone who comes in expecting such a thing hugely disappointed. The trailer should emphasize the mindgames being played by the two women, not make a promise of hot onscreen sex that never materializes. That would better attract the right audience for the film, and not leave people feeling like they'd been baited and switched. The "make it look titillating" approach is the right one, maybe, if the film is opening on thousands of screens -- it would have a great opening weekend -- but this one is going to have to be built by word of mouth, and word of mouth can only be good if the trailer promises something that's actually delivered. This movie has so much to deliver, it's a shame the trailer is promising the only thing it doesn't (and doesn't even attempt to.)
July 25, 2012 - Passion to Screen at Venice and Toronto Too. Oh, and Did We Mention New York?
The Venice Film Festival has announced that De Palma's Passion will be among the films in competition this year. Of course, your humble Archivist has already stupidly committed to attending a film festival in Deauville that same week, and so won't be able to make it. You can choose between seeing Passion in Italy, or hanging with our humble but stupid Archivist in France, and we know what we'd choose if we were you: Arrivederci! Here's hoping De Palma takes home another Golden Lion, and our Archivist takes home a nice Eiffel Tower fridge magnet. Write and let us know how you enjoyed Passion while we take in the new Bourne movie that Bourne's not even in. Update as of August 14: The Toronto International Film Festival has now added Passion to its own lineup, that same week. So basically it's showing everywhere except where your humble Archivist will be. Of course. OK, and as of August 16, it's playing at the New York Film Festival, too. Fuckety-fuck. Oh, wait, yet more updating, but only of interest to your Archivist and nobody else: I'll be leaving Deauville just in time to get to Toronto for the September 13 screening of Passion at TIFF; see y'all there!
July 23, 2012 - IFC Screening Phantom in NYC September 14
The IFC Center, Sixth Avenue and West 3rd, will be screening Phantom at midnight on September 14, as part of their "Waverly Midnights" series of staff-picked midnight shows. (Phantom was chosen by the apparently very tasteful and cultured Sean R., of their floor staff). ICF has a practice of listing, at their site, whether the presentation will be from 35mm, digital projection, or otherwise, but as of yet have provided no indication... if they update their listings to show digital projection, don't miss it! More info here
July 4, 2012 - Phantom to Screen in London, Ontario July 27
As part of its "Movie Musical Marathon," which runs July 27-29, the Palace Theatre will exhibit Phantom from DVD at 10:45pm on the 27th. Built in 1929 for the "talkies," the 350-seater is now mostly used for live shows. The Marathon will also feature Singin' in the Rain, Wizard of Oz, The Pirate Movie (which stars the breathtaking Kristy McNichol...and no, we are not being sarcastic: here at the Archives, we love Kristy McNichol), The Fantasticks, and others. $5 (Canadian - that's only $4.94 in real money) per movie, or $20 for a full pass ($25 at the door). More info here.
July 2, 2012 - World Premiere of Phantom's Digital Restoration in San Francisco?
As we've been mentioning here for over a year now, there's been a digital restoration of Phantom underway, its origin and purpose still a total mystery. But it sure seems likely that the mystery is about to be solved: on July 8, the fabulous Castro Theater in San Francisco will be presenting a double bill of The Muppet Movie and Phantom and...wait for it...they say that Phantom is being presented from "DCP", or Digital Cinema Package. The Castro's screen is gigantic (25 feet by 44 feet), so our bet is that they will not be projecting from a DVD or BluRay, but, rather, from a digital high-res file. Since, to our knowledge, Phantom has never previously been exhibited from DCP, our best educated guess is that this is the first showing of the aforementioned restoration. The Muppet Movie will be projected from good old fashioned 35mm. See Kermit at 1:00, 3:15 and 7:00, and Phantom at 5:05 and 8:50. Tickets are $8.50 for the 1:00 Muppet show and $11 otherwise. Update: The clarity and scratch free digital presentation is far better than the crappy spliced and scratched 35mm prints that have been in circulation, and in that respect we haven't seen Phantom look as good in a long time, though the shading on the colors seems a lot starker than it ought to be. Nevertheless, it's crystal clear, nary a scratch, and spectacular sound: we think they used the surround track created for the French BluRay a few years back, as it made use of the rear speakers from time to time as, for example, when Swan is speaking to Phoenix ("What would you give me to sing?", etc.) over the Paradise's sound system. If a theater near you offers a DCP screening, don't miss it!
June 16, 2012 - Kino Klubb to Screen Phantom in Nottingham
All we know about Nottingham is that they've got a sherriff. Or did at one time, anyway. Oh, wait, we know one other thing: On June 28, Kino Klubb, an organization dedicated to running "great films which don’t often get shown at the cinema" on Thursday nights, will be screening Phantom at Screen 22 (so named because it has 22 seats) at 7:30pm. Though small, Screen 22 was recently refurbished with a new sound system and projectors, and this sounds like a fun event. Kino Klubb typically precedes the feature with thematically relevant shorts, and a little talk before the film. (Our lecturing Principal Archivist is of course available, requiring only a travel stipend.) Tickets here.
June 16, 2012 - Paul in Chicago June 30
In conjunction with Paul Williams: Still Alive opening in Chicago on June 29, Paul will be on hand for the second night's show, on June 30, at 7:45, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, for a discussion to be moderated by Aintitcool's "Capone", Steve Prokopy. Tickets thru Ticketmaster, here.
June 9, 2012 - No, Really, Phantom Really is Being Restored
We had reported back on April 23, 2011 (see that entry further down the page) that it looked like Phantom was undergoing some kind of digital restoration in film labs in Burbank. It's now been confirmed to us by an unimpeachable source that this really is happening; what we don't know is why, and for what purpose. We only know that it's nearly done. Our best guess is that it's for a domestic BluRay release, but only time will tell.
June 7, 2012 - Paul Williams in Person at the Nuart, June 22 and 23
Paul will be appearing at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday, June 22 (opening night!) and 23, at both the 7:30pm and 9:45pm shows of Paul Williams: Still Alive. Tickets are $10.50, and are available online here. Oh, and afterwards, on Friday, there's a midnight show of Beavis and Butthead Do America. And some other, lesser, midnight show on Saturday. (Midnight shows are a separate ticket.)
June 2, 2012 - CineFamily Running Two-Day Tribute to Paul Williams, Including Phantom Screening and Concert
CineFamily, a nonprofit that runs over 300 different and interesting shows each year at The Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles, is doing a two-day orgy of admiration for Paul Williams, Friday and Saturday June 15 and 16. On the 15th, they'll be screening both Phantom and The Muppet Movie (for which Paul co-wrote the songs) starting at 7:30pm, both from 35mm. Since the venue is archive-approved (meaning, among other things, they use a two-projector system, rather than splicing the reels together onto a platter), we expect they'll have Fox's rarely-seen archive print of Phantom, rather than one of the awful scratched'n'mangled circulating prints. There are not a lot of opportunities to see Phantom projected from a pristine print in 35mm, so this is pretty much a can't-miss event. And if that's not enough to get you on the next Southwest flight to LA, on the 16th they'll be screening Paul Williams: Still Alive, with Paul in person for Q/A afterwards and, they say, a "tribute concert" to the Phantom soundtrack. (We assume, but don't know, the band will be comprised of local musicians, and can only speculate that Paul might sit in with the band for "The Hell of It" or something.) Tickets are $12 for the Muppet/Phantom double bill on Friday (but free for CineFamily members), and $20 ($10 for members) for Still Alive, the Q/A and the concert on Saturday. Cinefamily membership starts at just $90 for three months, and includes a ton of other benefits. Even if you don't plan to attend any other Cinefamily event, it's a worthy organization, deserving of your support. Memberships here, and tickets to the Paul Williams events are here. Update: For the concert on Saturday, vocalists include Eryn Young, Django and Sam Stewart, Sierra Swan, Tim Young and Heather Porcaro, and the band is manned by Tim Young, Kaveh, Aaron Sterling and legendary Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro. Update the Second (as of June 13): It appears that they won't be screening Paul Williams: Still Alive on Saturday after all; instead, there will be an extended Q/A with Paul, moderated by PW:SA director Stephen Kessler, at 6pm, followed by the Phantom tribute concert at 7:45, and the lineup at the concert has been expanded, and is now Tim Heidecker, Charlie Wadhams, Eryn Young, Django and Sam Stewart, Ferraby Lionheart, Rain Phoenix, Sierra Swan, Tim Young and Heather Porcaro on vocals, backed by Tim Young, Kaveh, Aaron Sterling and Steve Porcaro on the instruments. Update the Third (as of June 15): The show is now sold out. But you can live stream the Q/A and the concert starting at 6pm on Saturday from Cinefamily's site. And (requiring a separate admission/ticket), they've added the wonderful-in-retrospect-but-underappreciated-in-its-time Ishtar (for which Paul wrote the songs) after the Phantom tribute concert at "about 9:15".
May 28, 2012 - Paul Williams: Still Alive Has a Release Date
Paul Williams: Still Alive, having been picked up for distribution, has a release schedule. It'll be opening in "select theaters" (as far as we know, the only only one being the Angelika in New York) on June 8, the Nuart in Los Angeles on June 22, and nationally on a yet-unnamed date after that.
May 24, 2012 - Paul Williams: Still Alive at Seattle International Film Festival
Paul Williams: Still Alive will be screening May 25 and 26 at the Seattle International Film Festival, with Paul and director Stephen Kessler in person for both shows. On the 25th it's at 6:30 PM at the Egyptian, and on the 26th you can catch it (again!) at 1:00 PM at the SIFF Cinema Uptown. Friday night it's $11, and the Saturday matinee is $8; or $7 each for SIFF members. Tickets available here.
May 15, 2012 - Passion On the Cover of Variety
What else can we say? Passion is on the Cover of Variety Weekly this week!
May 14, 2012 - Passion Being Promoted as Kinda Hotter than Crime d'Amour
The first publicity still for De Palma's upcoming Passion and the poster promoting the film to potential distributors at Cannes (pictured side by side here) strongly suggest that a romantic relationship develops between Christine and Isabelle before things between them descend into hell. In Crime d'Amour, on which Passion is based, the attraction between the two women (or at least Christine's interest in Isabelle, as it was pretty clear that the feelings weren't mutual) barely rose above the level of subtext. We doubt very much that Passion's producers would have chosen to overpromote the sexual aspects of the relationship, for fear of setting audience expectations and then disappointing (the lesson of Eyes Wide Shut), so we have to conclude, happily, that De Palma's rewrite must have substantially elevated, and made edgier, what was only hinted at in the original. Since the relationship between the two women becomes violent, this will, sadly, inevitably prompt the usual dumb accusations of misogyny and homophobia ("De Palma must think all lesbians are killers!!!"), as well-intentioned but misguided dorks devour their popcorn and miss the fun, and the point, wasting their energies chasing nonexistent offenses.
May 8, 2012 - Peter Elbling Featured in Vaguely Controversial Mike and Ike Ad
Juicy Fruit alum Peter Elbling (he was the lead singer of the Undeads) is prominently featured in the new Mike and Ike (candy) ad campaign that bemoans the "breakup" of Mike and Ike. You can see him in the commercial here (he is the wealthy gentleman at the opening, and shows up a couple more times over the course of the ad). The campaign has gained some notoriety because a right wing nutjob, the aptly named Tony Perkins, president of a hate group called the Family Research Council (which makes him the mayor of Nutjobtown) has a big fat dick up his ass, hallucinatorily complaining that "it's just another subtle example of society chipping away at the value of marriage. And I don't know what's more disturbing--that advertisers think divorce appeals to kids or that sexualizing candy will make people buy more." In fact, the Mike and Ike ads don't even suggest that this is a breakup of a "romantic" relationship. In the ads, there is no indication that Mike and Ike are anything other than two friends who are partners in the candy business, who are breaking up their business relationship because of "creative differences". (Mike wants to pursue music, while Ike is focused on his graffiti art.) The notion that they were romantically (much less sexually) involved with one another, or that they were married, or even that they are themselves candies, is all a product of Perkins' fevered homophobic imagination. This whole episode tells us a lot more about Tony Perkins, and what he apparently spends his time visualizing, than it does about Mike and Ike. (And of course, even if the commercials were as Perkins crazily imagines them to be, there'd be nothing wrong with that, either.) If assholes like Perkins were truly concerned about "society chipping away at the value of marriage," they'd be all afluster at things that really do trivialize and cheapen the supposed sanctity of marriage, like The Bachelor and the Kardashians, rather than imaginary sexual relationships between colored pieces of licorice. What this demonstrates, yet again, is that Perkins, and those like him, are more panicked by their own scary sexual urges, as embodied in their lurid fantasies about imaginary sugary gay treats, than they are about the supposed "harm" done to marriage by silly candy promotions.
May 2, 2012 - Bill Finley Double Bill Tonight in Los Angeles
Sisters and Phantom, both of which star Bill Finley, will be presented together tonight at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles, in a program put on by the UCLA Film & Television Archive on Broadway. We're expecting both to be screened from very nice 35mm prints. Tickets are $9 at the door or $10 online. More info here.
April 21, 2012 - First Phantom, First Person. Bill Finley Now Haunts Paradise
William Finley, who so beautifully portrayed Winslow's gawky determination and innocence, and, with equal skill, embodied the Phantom's maniacal wrathful glee, died this past April 14, at 71.
Bill had gone into the hospital on April 6, and was diagnosed with an inflamed colon. He underwent surgery three days later, and appeared to be doing well following the operation, but took a turn for the worse and died the morning of the 14th.
A conceit of the Swan Archives is that the site tries to appear to be an arm of Swan Song, staffed by a troupe of Swan's minions who continue after his demise to tend to his legacy. But I can't bring myself to write this entry in the voice of fictional lackeys, or to craft a "tribute to Bill," or to dwell on Bill's death. There's no need; the Swan Archives website, and my work on it over the past six years, is already in large part a tribute to Bill. The fact that it exists at all speaks more loudly about my appreciation for the joy his work has brought me than would any obituary I might have written.
When I got word that Bill had died, I took the site down completely for a while, and replaced it with my favorite photo of Bill (taken by Paul Hirsch), which you can see just above. I didn't want the Archives to become the "go-to" destination for up-to-the-minute coverage of Bill's passing. To me, that would completely miss one of the central points of Phantom itself, which is that there's something distinctly unhealthy about the public's morbid fascination with death and tragedy, and something exploitative about the media's pandering to it. In the days following Bill's death, traffic to the site, which was greeted only by his picture, increased to 150 times normal. Now that the spike in hits has tapered back down to its usual levels, I feel comfortable reopening the Archives, with reasonable confidence that the deathmongers' attention has moved on to other sadnesses, and that visitors are, once again, those with a healthy interest in Phantom of the Paradise.
I've been a tremendous admirer of Bill's work since I was thirteen. Nobody could do deranged, narcissistic, or unhinged convincingly like Bill could. If you've never had the pleasure of being awed and inspired by his performances in Sisters or Dionysus in 69, you're denying yourself, and should rectify that. As Winslow, Bill was, and forever will be, my favorite character in my favorite movie.
But I've only gotten to know him and his family over the past few years, in the wake of my involvement in putting on Phantompalooza. Bill was endlessly patient with me and my many questions, and asked many of his own; not out of courtesy, but because he was curious, humble, and looking to make a connection. I liked him a lot.
Bill married Susan in 1974 (Brian De Palma was the wedding filmographer; Bill lost the film) just a month before Phantom was released, and they were together the rest of his life. Together, they were adorable. And I use that word with care; it is not a word grown men ought to utter under any but the most dire circumstances. But...they were. Bill was unlucky in health, perhaps, but enviably lucky in love.
On April 18, four days after Bill passed, a service, which Susan dubbed a "celebration of Bill's life", was held at Riverside Memorial Chapel in Manhattan, presided over by Rabbi Robert Summers. It's a large chapel, and was packed. The Finleys are at the center of a hive of artistic and cultural energy in New York, and are blessed to be active in a bustling community rife with ongoing projects. The service, like Bill, was unassuming, sweet, and intimate.
Susan asked ten friends and family members to speak at the service. Among them were Gerrit Graham, Jessica Harper, Jared Martin (who had appeared with Bill in Murder a la Mod and The Wedding Party), writer Justin Humphreys, Susan and Bill's son Dash, and myself. Jared read letters of condolence from Brian De Palma (who was in Berlin shooting Passion) and Richard Schechner; Jessica and Gerrit spoke movingly about their affection and admiration for Bill. Gerrit also read letters from my fellow Phantompalooza organizers Rod Warkentin and Gloria Dignazio, who will both be happy to know that Gerrit described Phantampalooza as having been the single best weekend of his life.
Dash Finley, in his early twenties and just finishing film school, is a son whom any parent would hope for and be proud of: humble, funny, poised, creative, and greatly admired by his friends. After reading tributes from Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro, he delivered, with great self-possession, a loving tribute to his father, and to iconoclasticness.
A slideshow, comprised of family photos and images from throughout Bill's career, was accompanied by the sounds of Bill's performance of "Faust," from Phantom.
There's been a tremendous outpouring of sadness and sympathy on the web, and from Bill's former castmates, in the wake of Bill's passing. Peter Elbling, one of the Juicy Fruits, was unable to make it to the memorial service, but sent this note to Susan. As well, I'd like to point you to a couple of exceptional pieces, heartfelt postings that deserve your time. Edgar Wright's mournful blog entry is not as much an obituary as it is a meditation on the fleetingness of life, missed opportunities, and the insight that even celebrated film directors are a little timid about approaching childhood idols. Ethan de Seife's blog posting, similarly personal, is, in contrast, a celebration of an opportunity taken.
Donations in memory of Bill will be gratefully accepted by Dilgo Khyentse Fellowship Childrens' Fund, 511 Avenue of the Americas, Box 339 New York NY 10011.
April 2, 2012 - Phantom to Screen in Vancouver April 9
As part of their "Music Mondays" series, the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society (oddly abbreviated "VIFF") will be screening Phantom from DVD (or from Blu-Ray if they get one in time...maybe one of you Vancouverites could lend them yours) at 8:15pm on April 9 at the Vanity Theatre. Tickets (six bucks) here. Your Canucks will have already closed their Division-leading season on the 7th, so there's no excuse for staying home. (The following weekend, they'll be screening the 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera from 35mm, with live orchestral accompaniment, too!)
March 21, 2012 - The Ramjack Crew Discovers Phantom
We've wondered occasionally what it might be like to encounter Phantom as an adult, without having seen it a million times in our youth. Tuning in to this week's Ramjack podcast (available here), we enjoyed living vicariously through the show's hosts (presumably adults) as they luxuriated in the immediate aftermath of having just watched the film for the first time. Their giddy, earnest enthusiasm is heartwarming, as they walk themselves through the experience from beginning to end, and revel in the film's many marvels. Sure, there's plenty that they miss, and they get a tremendous amount just plain wrong (repeating, for example, the oft-recited internet fiction that "Finley's scream was real", not understanding the fundamental differences between bikers and cowboys, etc.), but they've got good excuses: they're young, they didn't live through the '70s, they're from Ohio, and they're not purporting to be experts. We forgive it all, because they so totally charmingly allow themselves to be taken for the ride. The podcast's long, but the Phantom-related content starts 70 minutes in.
March 18, 2012 - Paul Williams is in Toronto Again, this time for a Muppet Movie Q/A
The Canadian Music Week Film Fest ("CMW") will be presenting The Muppet Movie, with songs by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher, of course, on March 24 at 4pm at the NFB/ONF Mediatheque, and Paul will be on hand for a Q/A after the screening. Tickets available here. For our younger readers, this is the original Muppet Movie from 1979 ("Goddammit, they're riding bikes!!"), which opens with Kermit playing the banjo and singing Paul's Oscar-nominated "Rainbow Connection". Of course, none of us can stop singing the song that won that year, "It Goes Like it Goes", from Norma Rae...NOT. And that's exactly how you knew The Artist, and not Hugo, was going to win Best Picture this year.
March 16, 2012 - Paul Williams is Up to Something with Guillermo Del Toro
Paul mentioned during a Q/A at SXSW last week that he is in the early stages of ...something... with one of our other favorite filmmakers, Guillermo Del Toro. It's all very mysterious, but we do know for certain that, although GDT is quite the Phantom fan, and has reportedly dreamed of remaking it, whatever they're up to is not POTP-related.
March 13, 2012 - Paul Williams: Still Alive Has a Distributor
Paul Williams: Still Alive has been picked up for theatrical distribution by Abramorama, which has a very respectable history of choosing interesting niche material, including Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, What's the Matter with Kansas, and Pearl Jam Twenty. So PW:SA may be "coming to a theater near you", starting in June.
March 10, 2012 - Paul Williams and Stephen Kessler at SXSW
Paul Williams: Still Alive is screening at SXSW tomorrow, March 11, and both Williams and director Stephen Kessler will be in attendance. The two met at Phantompalooza in 2006, and Kessler followed Paul around with a camera for a couple of years thereafter; the results are on the screen. Catch it at 3:45pm, at the Alamo Lamar B (with Williams and Kessler in person) or, if you miss that screening, March 13 at 2pm at the Stateside, or March 14, 3:30pm at the Paramount. Update: Williams and Kessler will be doing a sitdown conversation on March 14, 12:30-1:30pm at the Austin Convention Center, Room 16AB.
February 22, 2012 - View a Clip from Johnny X Featuring Paul Williams Online
With the world premiere of The Ghastly Love of Johnny X approaching (see entry from December 26, 2011 below), short excerpts of the film are starting to show up online, including this one featuring an amusingly lecherous Paul Williams as "Cousin Quilty," apparently an obnoxious talk show host. Update: We enjoyed Johnny X a lot, and there are a couple of bits, its Director has confirmed to us, that were directly inspired by Phantom. Don't worry, you won't miss them....
February 17, 2012 - Jessica Harper to Appear at Monsterpalooza
Jessica Harper is "tentatively" scheduled (as are all Monsterpalooza guests) to appear at Monsterpalooza in Burbank, CA, April 13-15. (Monsterpalooza is not in any way affiliated with Phantompalooza). Usually, different guests at these conventions show up on different days, so if you're particularly interested in seeing Ms. Harper (or any of the other guests), you may want to inquire of the organizers before choosing which day(s) to attend. We at the Archives think these for-profit conventions are kind of depressing. The guests are typically stuck behind tables selling photographs of themselves, which they'll sign for you; it's everything Phantompalooza tried so hard not to be. That said, if you're into monster makeup and creatures, Monsterpalooza always features a fantastic museum, and an opportunity to see a lot of props, masks, dummies, prosthetics, and other makeup and effects work up close, and is attended by just about anyone who's anyone in the makeup/monster effects business. Info and tickets here.
February 8, 2012 - A Lot Going on, and We've Been Remiss
As everybody knows by now, the next De Palma film, Passion, goes before the cameras in Berlin in the next couple weeks. The film is scripted by De Palma, but based on Crime d'Amour, a should-have-been-better French film from 2010 in which an office rivalry between a female executive and her subordinate spins out of control. A potentially great story, and right up De Palma's alley, we think: the two women become mortal enemies when the boss takes credit for the subordinate's work, and otherwise screws with her emotionally. The humiliated underling is then arrested for her boss' murder, and we see "what actually happened" in flashbacks that gradually reveal the Machiavellian-ness of her plot. Sure, she's a murderess, but you're rooting for her the whole time because the woman she killed was such a bitch. Much too talky, and hampered by pedestrian scripting and direction; we expect De Palma's take to be more psychosexually sophisticated and otherwise a vast improvement. With Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace playing the principals, and Pino Dinaggio scoring, it's something to look forward to. As well, it was just announced (though we'll believe it when we see it) that De Palma will be directing an upcoming Jason Statham film, a new adaptation of William (Princess Bride/Marathon Man/All the President's Men/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid/etc./etc.) Goldman's novel, Heat, which was previously brought to the screen in 1986, as a Burt Reynolds vehicle. And finally, we continue to hear rumblings that a major restoration of Phantom of the Paradise, presumably (but not necessarily) in preparation for a domestic BluRay release, is underway in film labs across Los Angeles.
December 26, 2011 - Ghastly Love of Johnny X to Screen at Cinequest, San Jose
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, a new retro-sci-fi-musical (featuring 50s-style singing juvenile delinquents from another planet who've been banished to Earth) in which Paul Williams plays an onscreen role (as shown in the lobby card accompanying this entry) will be screening in San Jose, California as part of the Cinequest Film Festival, which runs from February 28 to March 11, 2012. Showtimes and venues aren't posted yet, but get more info on Cinequest here, and on Johnny X here. Update as of February 2, 2012: Johnny X screens March 3 at 9:30pm, March 6 at 7:00pm, and March 10 at 4:45pm... Go here for tickets.
November 28, 2011 - Paul Williams Talks Muppets on Soundcheck
Paul Williams is interviewed today on WNYC radio's Soundcheck show about his escapades appearing on "The Muppet Show" and writing music for The Muppet Movie and Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. Listen here.
November 22, 2011 - New(?) Phantom Soundtrack Remaster Available
A company called "Culture Factory USA" released today a "Strictly Limited Collector's Edition" of the Phantom soundtrack album, which they say is a "Digitally Remastered 96KHz / 24 bit" recording. We doubt it, since standard CD's are limited to 16 bits and 44.1kHz. What they likely mean is that the master recordings were 96/24, but they were compressed prior to being transferred to CD...as happens when a CD is made from any suitably high quality source. In any event, the new disc, which may or may not sound any better than the original disc or the existing Japanese remaster, is already out of stock at Amazon.ca, and not on sale yet at amazon.com. The disc comes in a cardboard sleeve that resembles the original album cover (but smaller, of course). Update: We've reviewed this release on our Merchandising page. It's pretty excellent!
November 4, 2011 - Phantom to Screen in Anchorage
The Anchorage (Alaska) Museum will be screening Phantom on November 12 at 6:30pm as part of their "SuperTrash Film Series". We presume they'll be projecting from DVD, and admission's $5. We take great umbrage, of course, at their implicit characterization of Phantom as "trash", but it's nice that they're showing the film. More info here
September 29, 2011 - CJOB to Broadcast 90-Minute Phantom Radio Special with All-New Interviews on Halloween
After spending a couple days recovering from your experience at Phantom of the Paradise in 6D, you can relax in the comfort of your own home, turn off the porch light to dissuade pesky trick-or-treaters, and tune in (on the web, if you're outside the broadcast radius) to Manitoba's (yo, that's in Canada, bro) CJOB 680 AM, which (on the 38th anniversary of Phantom's opening night) will present a 90 minute Phantom of the Paradise special from 10:30 - midnight (CDT) (so that's 8:30-10:00 pm for us math-challenged Californians) featuring exclusive, all new interviews with Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham, William Finley, Peter Elbling, Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor, and Paul Williams. Expect to hear about the film, and about their recollections of Phantompalooza 1 and 2 in Winnipeg. Tune in to CJOB here at the "Listen Live" button at the top of the page.
September 23, 2011 - Baltimore Rock Opera Society Putting on Phantom of the Paradise in 6D
The Baltimore Rock Opera Society will be putting on something they're calling Phantom of the Paradise in 6D on October 28 and 29 at the Autograph Playhouse in Baltimore. Showtime is 8pm both nights, and your humble Archivist will be in attendance. They're turning Phantom into some kind of multimedia presentation, with live musicians, live singers, and a bacchanalian anarchy vibe. What could possibly go wrong? More info (and tickets!) here.
August 31, 2011 - This Week's Projection Booth Podcast All About the Phantom
Jessica Harper and I, your humble Archivist, are the special guests on this week's episode of The Projection Booth, the most excellent podcast from Mike White (of Cashiers du Cinemart fame) and his pal "Mondo" Justin. I was pretty sure I'd come off like a complete tool but, thanks to Mike's brilliant editing, I'm only kinda geeky. Download the show (free) from iTunes, or here.
August 3, 2011 - Paul Williams Documentary to Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival
Steven Kessler's documentary, Paul Williams: Still Alive, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs September 8 - 18. The film tells the story of what happens when Kessler, who had admired Williams in the '70s, went looking for him to find out "what had happened." The rough cut screened awhile back in Austin featured some fine footage from Paul's concert at Phantompalooza 2, and we presume that material's still in the film.
June 24, 2011 - The Night Crew Shows the Love for Phantom
Episode 8 of The Night Crew Podcast, helmed by the gang from dreadcentral.com, takes a few minutes to explain why Phantom is one of the great rock musicals of all time, while Repo: The Genetic Opera is "worse than prison rape". We so completely agree, except we think they went way too easy on Repo. If Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats took a dump, and that dump puked, and Sarah Palin ate the puke and took a dump, then that dump would be Repo: The Genetic Opera. Find the podcast here, and skip to about 90 minutes in if you want to go straight to the Phantom/Repo discussion.
May 17, 2011 - Phantom to be Screened at Coney Island
The Coney Island Film Society will be screening Phantom from DVD on June 4 at 8:30pm as part of their "Rock N Roll Summer" film series at the Coney Island Museum. Tickets are $6, doors open at 8pm, and they do a pre-show starting at 8:15 featuring classic old trailers, shorts, commercials, and other stuff. They've assembled a really fun series of Saturday night screenings running through mid-September, including 200 Motels, Rock N' Roll High School, Sid & Nancy, Don't Look Back, and others. Tickets for Phantom can be found here, and their whole program is here. Ticket sales raise funds for the nonprofit arts center Coney Island USA.
April 23, 2011 - Phantom Being Readied for Domestic Blu-Ray Release?
In a story in today's edition of Variety about digital restoration firm Reliance Mediaworks, it's mentioned in passing that members of the company's image processing team in Burbank are "studying and manipulating individual frames of classic and not-so-classic movies such as ... The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and ... Phantom of the Paradise." Hmmm. Reliance has done work for Fox in the past, notably converting the first three seasons of The Simpsons from standard def to hi def. They're currently working on, among other things, cleaning up Disney's Cinderella for Blu-Ray. In the past, they've done similar touchups for twenty of the James Bond films, three of the Star Wars films, Roshomon, and hundreds of others. While this is hardly definitive, it looks to us like the first early warning that a North American Phantom Blu-Ray edition might be on the horizon. (Of course, while you wait, you can pass the time with the French Phantom Blu-Ray from 2009 mentioned on our Merchandising page.)
April 7, 2011 - TimeOut New York Features Brief, Crappy Interview with De Palma
In conjunction with the De Palma retrospective at BAM that starts tomorrow, TimeOut New York's Joshua Rothkopf gets Brian De Palma (in France) and Noah Baumbach (in New York) on the phone, and then wastes the opportunity (and our time) rehashing the same old tired, stupid, done-to-death questions about ripping off Hitchcock and putting women in peril that have (as De Palma exasperatedly points out during the discussion) been asked and answered "a thousand times" before. If you have an Obsession with experiencing Deja Vu (see what I did there?), you could read the answers to these questions for the thousandth time here.
March 24, 2011 - Phantom to Screen Twice in 35mm at Anthology Film Archives in New York City in June
Anthology Film Archives will be presenting Phantom from a 35mm Fox archival print, as part of their "Hollywood Musicals of the 1970s & 80s" showcase, on June 17 at 9:30pm and June 24 at 7pm. Each film is a separate admission fee, but on the 17th Phantom will be preceded at 7:15 by Frank Zappa's 200 Motels, and on the 24th you can take in the great Ramones flick, Rock'n'Roll High School at 9:00. (RNRHS stars PJ Soles, who figured prominently in De Palma's Carrie as well.) Tickets are $9 per film, at the door. (They don't sell tickets in advance, but don't worry: since this is a post-Rapture event, there should be plenty of seats available.) Other titles in the series include The Little Prince, At Long Last Love, New York New York, All That Jazz, The Wiz, and Pennies from Heaven (with Phantom's Jessica Harper!). Anthology Film Archives doesn't yet have anything up on their own site about this, but we're sure they will soon, so keep checking there.
March 9, 2011 - Phantom and Nine other De Palma Films to Screen in 35mm at BAM in April
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (which borders the alley where a couple scenes from Phantom were filmed) will be screening ten De Palma films, including Phantom, all from 35mm, between April 8 and April 20. The schedule isn't available yet, but check BAM's website here for details in the next few days. Along with Phantom, they'll be running Sisters, Obsession, Carrie, The Fury, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, Raising Caine, and Femme Fatale. Wow! Update: Phantom producer Ed Pressman will appear in person to introduce the film on April 9 at the 6:50pm screening! Update the Second: William Finley will be there too!
February 28, 2011 - Phantom to Screen in Halifax March 3
An organization called "Carbon Arc" (the name is presumably derived from the light source used in movie projectors before xenon bulbs became ubiquitous) is screening Phantom from DVD at 8pm on March 3, at the Khyber, a 60-seater at 1588 Barrington St, 3rd Floor in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The film will be introduced by Mark Palermo, critic for The Coast, a local alternative newsweekly. More info here.
February 10, 2011 - More Juicy New Stuff on Peter Elbling's Site
Peter Elbling ("Harold Oblong" to Phantom fans) has put a couple new "Vinegrettes" (short videos featuring his "Mr. Vinegar" character) up on his website, along with some other new offerings. (Mr. Vinegar, sort of a latter day WC Fields, is perpetually hacked off at the minor annoyances that besiege him.) You can watch the Vinegrettes for free, and order longer Vinegar misadventures on DVD, all from Peter's site.
January 14, 2011 - Phantom Back to Back with Rocky Horror at Keycon 28 in Winnipeg
Phantom will go slumming on February 12, opening for a screening of RHPS put on by Keycon, a Science-Fiction/Fantasy convention in Winnipeg. While the convention itself isn't until May 20-22, they're getting an early start on their festivities, throwing a games day and movie night at the Park Theater. $10 for one film, or $15 for both (in Canadian currency; in real money, that's way less.) Both films will screen from DVD, costumes are encouraged, and info is here.
January 14, 2011 - Criterion's Blow Out Release is Finally Official
De Palma's great mashup of patriotism and ice-pick killing, Blow Out, is finally getting its day in the Blu-Ray, thanks to Criterion. Like Phantom, Blow Out has never had a decent North American DVD release, and we're glad Criterion is stepping up. The disc, to be released in April, includes "director-approved special edition features," including, among others, an hourlong interview with Mr. De Palma, and a new interview with Steadicam master Garrett Brown on the Steadicam shots (presumably the ones in Coed Frenzy, the film-within-a-film). How cool, we can't wait! See Criterion's Blow Out page, here
January 2, 2011 - Dressed to Kill to Screen as Part of January's Wright Stuff Festival at the New Beverly
De Palma's Dressed to Kill will screen at the New Beverly in Los Angeles on January 22 and 23, with Frenzy. Edgar Wright (we don't need to tell you he directed Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim, right?) will be onhand (on the 22nd only) to introduce the films. For more info, check out the New Beverly's website, here.
December 30, 2010 - Phantom Screening from Archival 35mm Print New Year's Eve in Cambridge (MA)
Phantom will screen at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm on New Year's Eve (tomorrow!) at The Brattle Theatre at Harvard Square, apparently from a 35mm archival print from Fox. Awesome!
December 21, 2010 - Those Crazy (Wini)Peggers are At It Again
No, it's not another Phantompalooza... but Winnipeg's love affair with the Phantom continues. Locals will be getting together at the Pemby Draft House on February 26 for a screening of Phantom on every high def tv in the joint. We hope there's not a hockey game that night. The Pemby doesn't have their own website, but we expect you can get info by calling them at (204) 453-3724. Update: Tickets are $10.00 each, and go on sale January 5 at the Pembina Hotel, 1011 Pembina Highway, in the VLT lounge area. Alternatively, you could call the number provided above, extension 6, to inquire about tickets. Festivities begin at 7:30pm, with Phantom showing at 9:00.
December 16, 2010 - Blow Out Coming from Criterion
Criterion's been dropping cute little hints about an upcoming Blow Out disc for around a month now...and it looks like they really mean it. To the left is a shot of Mr. De Palma from some supplemental interview content newly created for the upcoming release. No street date's been announced as of yet.
December 14, 2010 - Jessica Harper's Cookbook is Published!
Jessica Harper has been posting to her Crabby Cook blog since 2008, and has now published her "Crabby Cook Cookbook," which features 135 unfussy and practical recipes for those who do not love to cook, but, for one reason or another, are consigned to. Mixed in with the recipes (pumpkin pancakes, chicken soup, beer bread...) are liberal sprinklings of anecdotes that reveal that Jessica's purported hatred of cooking (we don't buy it at all) is at war with her love of feeding her family. Whether you cook or not (we don't), the book's a fun read. From this link at Jessica's site, you can purchase it from your online bookseller of choice.
December 3, 2010 - Huge New Update Coming to the Swan Archives
We've been hard at work on a new section for the site, and we can hardly wait to unveil it! Keep checking back, and look for a new destination on our navigation bar sometime next week. This new content will pretty much triple the size of the site overnight, and it's way geekier than anything we've ever done before, so we know you'll love it! Update: It's up, and it's here.
November 30, 2010 - Todd & The Book of Pure Evil Looks Interesting this Week
The Canadian TV series Todd & the Book of Pure Evil (sort of a Buffy/Glee mashup, but with a serious case of potty mouth) is premiering an episode called The Phantom of Crowley High this week...we're expecting some shoutouts to our favorite film...but then again, we expected a Major Matt Mason Lunar Command Set (from Mattel!) on our seventh birthday, and look how that worked out. More info here.
November 28, 2010 - Elbling's New Website
Peter Elbling ( "Harold Oblong" to Phantom fans) has just finished a total revamp of his website. In addition to Phantom related stuph, Peter has gathered pieces from throughout his varied career (commercials, Times Square Two routines, and much more), and even provides a nice interface where you can -- just in time for the holidays -- pick up some of his books and CDs for children, his Mr. Vinegar DVDs, and even an autographed copy of his (excellent!) novel, The Food Taster. Check it all out here.
November 24, 2010 - Adam Carolla Goes Off on Phantom on his Podcast
Comedian Adam Carolla obviously has fond memories of Phantom from his childhood, but is just as obviously completely clueless about its place in cinema history (dude, stop by the site sometime); he nevertheless chooses to wing it in discussion with Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath on his November 24 podcast, available here. We love his enthusiasm for the film, though, being Adam Carolla, he can't help himself from being snarky about it. What strikes us about this discussion is that even though it's clear that Carolla hasn't seen the film in 35 years, it's just as clear from his recollections (mistaken as many of them are) that it made a huge impression on him as a kid. Just like us.
November 10, 2010 - See Caligari with Quality Live Musical Accompaniment in San Francisco!
Both Swan's overall look and that of the Undead (as well as the Undead's stage backdrop) were inspired by the 70-minute 1919 silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Caligari will be playing at the beautiful Castro Theater in San Francisco at 6pm this Sunday, November 14, with live musical accompaniment by the Club Foot Orchestra. There are so many reasons to get to this, not least of which is the 1450-seat Castro Theater itself, one of the few great surviving movie palaces that feature a working Wurlitzer pipe organ -- the type that rises from the organ pit! The Castro's gets played most nights by David Hegarty, who could teach Winslow a thing or two. And seeing Caligari (and Nosferatu!) accompanied by the Club Foot Orchestra is the best way to enjoy them: the Orchestra, a nine-piece ensemble, has specialized for years in composing and playing original soundtracks for classic silent films, and kicks ass. There's nobody better. You can hear a sample of what they've done with Caligari (which just happens to include the portion of the movie on which Beef's unveiling at the airport was based) here. Tickets and info here. We'll see you there!
November 10, 2010 - See Phantom in a Scottish Castle! Pure Dead Brilliant!
We wish we had gotten earlier word of this, as we would have loved an excuse to go to Scotland: Phantom will be shown in the Castle Menzies at 7:30pm on November 13, as part of the Aberfeldy Film Festival, which bills itself as "Great Films in Unusual Places". (The castle is actually in Weem, which is apparently near Aberfeldy. Gae straecht! Than turn left!) Tickets and more info here.
September 25, 2010 - Phantom to be Included in Fox's 75th Anniversary Collection
In a move that strikes us as truly bizarre, 20th Century Fox is including Phantom as one of the 75 films in their upcoming 75th Anniversary Collection box set of DVD's, scheduled for release on December 7 (as if there weren't already a good reason for that date to live in infamy...) There's no indication that this is a new transfer, or in any other way different from the embarrassing North American DVD that Fox has been fobbing off for the past fifteen years, so we have to assume they have a warehouseful of old Phantom discs that they just couldn't figure out any other way to get rid of. The box set contains 74 other classic Fox films from 1935 to 2010, and seems mostly like a way to get completists to buy, again, DVD's they already own (who doesn't already have Star Wars and Avatar?), as practice for buying them a third time next year in BluRay.
September 24, 2010 - The Untouchables to Screen in 70 FUCKING MM!
As part of its "Lost Dominion 70mm Film Festival", the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in Gatineau, Quebec (just across the river from Ottawa) will be showing De Palma's Untouchables from a 70mm print... The film wasn't actually shot in 70mm, and the print is blown up from 35mm, but it should look absolutely spectacular. Six track Dolby stereo, too! More info here
September 22, 2010 - Phantom to Screen in Chattanooga, TN September 28!
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library will be screening Phantom (from DVD) as part of their "Flick's Cafe" (we assume that's some kind of Casablanca reference) series, at the downtown library (1001 Broad St., Chattanooga) on September 28. Admission is free. Showtime is 6:30, but doors open at 6:00, and it looks like if you get there early you get to enjoy a presentation by the museum's Director about the reasons he selected the film for their series. The following week, on October 5, incidentally, also looks like a great show, as they'll be screening two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Hush", which we think was probably the only genuinely scary episode of the series, and "Once More with Feeling", the fabulous musical episode from the sixth season.
September 11, 2010 - Brian De Palma turns 70
Today is Brian De Palma's 70th birthday. We at the Archives (and who's kidding who -- it's really just me) want to take the opportunity to say we love the guy. As much as we could love anyone we don't actually know, anyway. We feel an emotional and personal connection to his work because it speaks to us through powerful, carefully constructed imagery, humor, attention to detail, craftsmanship, and artistry. He is one of a very small number of American filmmakers who are actually creating art, and not mere entertainment, and, in our opinion, he's the best of them. His films involve us, implicate us, and make us feel in on the joke. Each new De Palma film is, for us, an event and a gift. We hope there'll be many more.
August 28, 2010 - Mike White and the Washington Psychotronic Film Society to Screen Phantom November 23
Mike White, the Detroit-based author responsible for the cleverly-named Cashiers du Cinemart magazine (the best of which, plus some never-before-published material, has now been compiled in a collection called Impossibly Funky, available here), will be putting on a screening of Phantom at the Washington DC stop in White's book-signing tour. The screening/signing will go down at The Passenger, 1021 7th Street, NW, 7:00pm, November 23. It's on a free-but-$2-donation-requested basis, and you can RSVP on Facebook here. White's book includes, amongst many other fun articles about film and pop culture, an (enthusiastic but occasionally factually-challenged) appreciation of Paul Williams, by Leon Chase.
August 14, 2010 - Edgar Wright Stirring Up Interest in Phantom
Edgar Wright, director of the fabulous Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (as well as Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and the most excellent Spaced series, from British TV), has been talking up Phantom's influence on Scott Pilgrim like nobody's business. Wright is a longtime Phantom fan, of course, having screened it more than once at his "Wright Stuff" mini film festivals, but on his latest press junket he's been going all out, and we're seeing an increase in our daily hitcount over the past couple weeks as a result. (It is all about us, you know). Thanks, Edgar!
August 13, 2010 - Toyer Looks Like it's Finally Happening
After years (and years...) of waiting, it looks like De Palma's next feature, Toyer, is finally going before the cameras. De Palma will be shooting his adaptation of Gardner McKay's story of a serial killer who doesn't actually kill his victims, but ... well, it's worse, i guess ... starting in November in Venice. Although McKay's story is set in Los Angeles, it appears that De Palma is going to be using Carnevale as a backdrop. Back in 2006, Colin Firth was slated to play the lead; we have no idea who's set to appear in this latest incarnation, but we wouldn't cry if Charisma Carpenter were given something to do in it. Just sayin'.
July 7, 2010 - Meansheets.com Favors Us with Attention
Our fellow obsessive over at meansheets.com, Russ Ryan, has run a little story about The Swan Archives in today's edition. We appreciate the attention! Meansheets is one of a relatively small number of sites dedicated to movie posters as art, and which talk about the too-often unknown artists behind them, with attention paid to the images, layouts, and designs. It's in stark and refreshing contrast to the myriad of sites that are focused on collecting posters, cataloguing them, valuing them, determining their condition, finding reputable dealers, and otherwise viewing them as investments, rather than as cultural signifiers and artifacts that can inform our understanding of how we are marketed to, and what values, prejudices and societal desires are exploited by the people who are paid to keep their fingers on the pulse of such things. We're honored to have been noticed.
June 24, 2010 - Phantom to be Screened in San Francisco
The Bridge Theater in San Francisco will be screening Phantom
(from DVD) on July 24 at midnight as part of their "Rocksploitation with Citizen Midnight" series. For ten bucks, you get to see the film, after enjoying a live 15 or 20 minute concert by Citizen Midnight, a band comprised of Bridge Theater employees and their friends. Our Principal Archivist will most likely be there as well, as it's practically in his backyard. Tickets and more info here. UPDATE: The Bridge has requested that we loan them our Blu-Ray edition of Phantom for the screening, and we've graciously consented; this should vastly improve the presentation over the originally-planned DVD, and we'll see ya there!
June 23, 2010 - Endure Meatballs Part II to See Archie Hahn in Person!
Archie Hahn of the Juicy Fruits, and several others from the godawful Meatballs Part II, will be appearing at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles this Saturday, June 26, presumably to apologize. In addition to playing the camp counselor who can't get any action, Archie voices the alien, "Meathead." More info at the New Beverly's website here.
May 19, 2010 - Paul Hirsch in Person!
Paul Hirsch, who edited Phantom (and Star Wars, along with many others) will be on hand, schedule permitting, at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles on June 8 to discuss his work on De Palma's Blow Out, which is being screened along with the wonderful Femme Fatale. God, we love Femme Fatale. More info at the New Beverly's website here.
May 19, 2010 - Follow the Swan Archives on Twitter!
Yes, it's true... The Swan Archives is now on Twitter. Follow us, @Swanarchives, and be the first to find out that... uh.... hmmm. Well, just think of it this way: every minute you spend on Twitter is a minute you're not spending on Chatroulette, and that's a good thing. Follow us here.
May 16, 2010 - Carlito's Way out on BluRay
Carlito's Way, an excellent and generally underappreciated (except, of course, by the French) De Palma work that features a fine supporting performance by the then-much-less-well-known Viggo Mortensen, and of course Sean Penn at his very best, is out on BluRay in North America with some new extras, on May 18.
May 16, 2010 - Vegas, Baby!
Paul Williams will be performing at the South Point Showroom in Las Vegas on June 18 and 19.
May 5, 2010 - Summer Camp Cinema Running Phantom in June
Phantom will be shown on a late-night double bill with the animated Heavy Metal on June 12, as part of the Summer Camp Cinema series at the Cinema Arts Centre on Long Island. Tickets, info, and a pretty compelling website here.
May 4, 2010 - Phantom to Screen from Blu-Ray in London, Ontario, Canada
Those Canadians have all the luck: something called the "Tanton-O'Brien Film Appreciation Group" will be screening Phantom from the new French Blu-Ray edition at the Hyland Cinema in London, Ontario, on May 28. Get all the info here.
May 3, 2010 -
Finley and Graham to Appear at Rock Con, July 30 - August 1
William Finley and Gerrit Graham are both slated to appear at something called "Rock Con", which is billed as "The National Rock and Roll Fan Fest", and which runs July 30 through August 1, 2010 at the Sheraton Meadlowands Hotel and Conference Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. P.J. Soles, from De Palma's Carrie will also be on hand. More info here. We thank Rod for the tip! UPDATE AS OF JULY 29, 2010: Finley and Graham will NOT be appearing after all.
April 7, 2010 - Alamo Drafthouse to Screen Phantom from 35mm Archival Print
The venerable Alamo Drafthouse will be screening our favorite film at the Ritz in Austin, Texas, on Monday, April 12 at 10:00pm, and Monday, April 19, at 10:45pm. Buy tickets here.
November 10, 2009 - Screem Magazine Issue 19 Features Phantom
In honor of its 35th anniversary, Phantom is featured prominently in Screem's Issue Number 19. The article is better than most, though the factchecking was, at best, relaxed; the piece lazily repeats a number of the falsehoods that make the rounds on the web, despite the ready availability of authoritative refutation. Regardless, we're glad to see the film get the attention, and it's nice to see someone going to the bother of interviewing Tom Burman, as well as Gerrit Graham, Jessica Harper, Bill Finley, and Peter Elbling.
October 21, 2009 - Phantom coming out on Blu-Ray!
Phantom is being released in France by Opening on Blu-Ray on December 1, with the same content as their great 2-disc special edition set ...but in high def! Time to finally break down and buy that Blu-Ray player... Update: The content in the new disc is not quite the same as in the original Opening set: The Blu-Ray lacks the Bob Sinclar music video (we're not exactly crying about that), and also lacks the 2-channel English audio track on the feature. On the other hand, it has a spiffy new DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Although there's no menu option to turn off the French subtitles on the feature, you can turn them off with your player's subtitle button once the film starts playing. On the extras (which can only be played if your player is PAL-compatible), the French subtitles are forced.
August 29, 2009 - Casualties of War to Screen at Deauville
Our Archivist's second-favorite De Palma film, Casualties of War, will be screened twice at this year's Deauville Festival of American Film. It has lousy timeslots, but if you're up late on some of that film festival coffee, you can check it out on September 6 at 12:30am, or September 10 at 2:30am, as part of the American Nights programme at the Morny Club. Seeya there!
August 23, 2009 - De Palma Blog-A-Thon Coming to Cinema Viewfinder
Website Cinema Viewfinder is going to be running a De Palma Blog-A-Thon from September 7 - 16. They're inviting submissions, which they'll post for response and discussion. It's a site that has historically attracted a pretty high caliber readership, so we're looking forward to the postings. Find out more here.
July 25, 2009 - Andy Garcia to be Honored at Deauville
Andy Garcia, who had one of his earliest roles in De Palma's The Untouchables, will be one of the honorees at the Deauville Festival of American Film this coming September. (Harrison Ford is the Guest of Honor this year). It's not yet clear which of Garcia's many films they'll be showing, but our Principal
Fanboy Archivist will be there to take it all in.
July 4, 2009 - Finally, an Opportunity to See Phantom Screened from a Decent Print
This shot of Winslow is how we've felt the last few times we've watched Phantom screened in a theater. If you've tried to do that in the USA in recent years, the odds are good that, like us, you were subjected to one of the 30 year old, spliced-to-death, faded, scratched pieces of shit prints that Fox stubbornly persists in allowing to circulate...or you saw it projected from DVD, with home-theater-quality resolution expected to look halfway decent on a real-theater sized screen. Things have, to be frank, sucked ass for Phantom fans hoping to see the movie projected in passable quality with a real audience. This Friday, though, Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive (yay! we love the Pacific Film Archive!) is screening a Fox studio vault 35mm print. It should be GORGEOUS. July 10, 9pm, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley.
June 7, 2009 - Carrie to Screen in Long Beach
We love Carrie, and Mondo Celluloid is going to be showing it at 11pm on June 27, at the Art Theatre in Long Beach. They encourage you to come dressed for their pre-show prom, at which a king and queen will be crowned. Uh oh. Info here.
May 17, 2009 - Scarface Getting a Digital Rerelease on August 25
De Palma's classic from 1983 is going to be released to digital cinemas this summer, as part of Universal's Cinema Classics digital reissue program. Someone at Universal is on the ball: the other summer digital releases are Spartacus (June 9), The Blues Brothers (July 28), The Thing (September 15), and Animal House (November 2).
April 23, 2009 - Phantom "Remake" Removed from Pressman's "Coming Soon" Page
Edward R. Pressman, who was credited as Producer on Phantom, has listed a remake of the film as "coming soon" on his website for years. We believe this is why some gullible soul submitted the supposed remake into the Internet Movie Database, which in turn occasionally inspires panicky fans to get in touch with us to ask "is it true?" (Our answer appears below, dated January 22, 2007.) Pressman's website has now finally deleted reference to the project; the Phantom remake is now no longer listed there, so everyone can sleep easy. Sheesh.
April 3, 2009 - Phantom to be Shown in Dallas, with Paul Williams Appearing in Person, on April 29
Paul Williams will appear in person at a screening of Phantom in Dallas (where of course much of the film was shot), as part of the USA Film Festival, on April 29. The screening is part of their tribute to Paul Williams, and Phantom will be preceded by what they're calling a film clip compendium tribute to Paul, as well as a preview of a work-in-progress documentary film about Paul by Stephen Kessler. Kessler's crew was shooting footage at Phantompalooza II in 2006, and we imagine it's possible that some of their footage from the event might be included as part of the preview. And...they say they have a new digitally remastered print of the film! The festival runs from April 29 to May 3. More info at the festival website. Update: We've just learned that even though they have a new 35mm print of the film, they won't be screening that print...they'll be screening it digitally. Oh, well.
April 3, 2009 - Phantom to Screen with Suspiria, with Jessica Harper appearing in Person, on June 12
Jessica Harper will be on hand (or on glove, for you Argento fans) for a double bill of Phantom and Suspiria, in which of course she also had a starring role, at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles on June 12, as part of the theater's Masters of Horror series. You can see the film in the theater itself, or from your car on their Drive-in screen. Other shows in this series have been selling out, so plan accordingly. Details at the theater's website.
March 7, 2009 - Au Pair 3, with Gerrit Graham, to Air March 15
What a dilemma for Toronto-based Phantom fans! Go to Edgar Wright's screening of Phantom at the Bloor (see next entry below)? Or stay home and watch the premiere of Au Pair 3: Adventure in Paradise, featuring Gerrit Graham, on the ABC Family Channel? Au Pair 3 will be airing several times that day (and so will the other two, non-Gerrit-featuring, Au Pair movies -- it's apparently Au Pair day on Family Channel), so check your local listings for details; maybe you can do both. (That may be the worst-punctuated sentence we've ever posted to the Archives.)
February 22, 2009 - Edgar Wright to Present Phantom in Toronto on March 15
Edgar Wright, the director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, will be hosting a screening of Phantom at the Bloor Cinema in our Principal Archivist's hometown, Toronto Canada, on March 15. Phantom will screen at 9pm, and is double-billed with Dames, which screens at 7pm. Edgar's a huge Phantom fan, and this promises to be a great time. More information here.
December 27, 2008 - Austin Film Society Screening Phantom on February 3
The Austin Film Society will show Phantom of the Paradise as part of its "Essential Cinema" series, at the Alamo South Lamar in Austin. The film will be projected from a DVCAM tape, which is better than DVD, but not as nice as good old 35mm. In a virtual orgy of high quality cinema, they'll be showing some other De Palma features as well: Hi, Mom on January 20; Sisters on January 27; and Carrie on February 10. More information here.
December 26, 2008 - Fox Legacy Presenting Phantom Again for New Year's
In case you missed it on Hallowe'en, Fox Movie Channel will again be airing their Fox Legacy segment on Phantom of the Paradise, on January 1, 2, and 3, 2009. See our entry for September 23 below for more info on this, and check your local listings for times.
December 10, 2008 - John Alvin Exhibition and Interview
Artinsights, a gallery that specializes in art by John Alvin (who was the artist behind the Phantom album cover and Style A poster, and who unfortunately died last year), has posted a never-before-seen four-part interview with John, shot in 2007, on Youtube. Part 1 can be seen here. As well, Artinsights is curating, at their Reston, VA gallery, a show of original art from throughout his amazing career. (Alvin was responsible for the key art for almost 150 film campaigns over the last 35 years.) The show runs through February 6, 2009, and there's original art available for purchase.
December 7, 2008 - Yet More Deleted Footage Coming Soon
We thought we were done, but there's more: In the next couple of weeks, we'll be posting a few more clips to the Outtakes and Swan Song Fiasco pages of the site. If you ever wanted to know what the rest of the names on the Death Records receptionist's filecard list were, for example, stay tuned! Update: The footage is now up on the site on our Production page and our Swan Song Fiasco page.
October 15, 2008 - The Swan Archives Recommends an Insightful New Phantom Article
It's not often that we read something about Phantom that makes us think "I wish I had written that," or "I never thought of that" but scholar/critic/smart-guy Philip Auslander has posted a really nice piece in The Art Section, which you can read here. Auslander makes a convincing case that "whereas a film such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show...celebrates the glam sensibility as liberatory, [Phantom] treats glam rock as just another product purveyed by an essentially corrupt music industry that has sold out whatever idealism rock music may have reflected in the 1960s." Trust us: though we're not in complete agreement with everything Auslander has to say here, it's a good read.
October 6, 2008 - Jessica Harper to Co-Host Phantom Fox Legacy Segment
We hear that Jessica Harper will be co-hosting, along with Fox Legacy host, 20th Century Fox Chairman-and-Phoenix-husband Tom Rothman, the Phantom of the Paradise segment of Fox Legacy mentioned in our September 23 announcement below.
October 6, 2008 - Gerrit Graham will be at the Manitoba Comic Con
Gerrit, who played one of the Q's on Star Trek: Voyager, will be back in Winnipeg, along with John De Lancie (who played the other one, on Next Generation) and many others, on October 11 and 12. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.ca
September 23, 2008 - Phantom to be Featured on Fox Legacy on Halloween
Phantom of the Paradise will be the featured film on October 31, 2008 on Fox Movie Channel's Fox Legacy series. This is a series in which Tom Rothman (Fox's Chairman, and also Jessica Harper's husband) introduces the evening's film with a ten minute monologue about it, usually accompanied by visuals that reinforce whatever he's got to say, and then has a few more words to say after the film's conclusion. In the past, the series has featured The Omen, Gentlemen's Agreement, and Romeo and Juliet, and Edward Scissorhands. The Swan Archives is proud to have assisted this production by lending Fox some materials from our collection...we're looking forward to Hallowe'en!
September 16, 2008 - Gerrit Graham to Appear in Portland, OR
Gerrit will make an appearance in Portland Oregon, at the Laurelhurst Theater, in conjunction with their 9:30 showing of Used Cars, on September 27. Meet Gerrit, and get him to sign your plunger!
September 10, 2008 - More Outtakes/Unused Footage!
The Swan Archives has just gotten hold of another (probably the last) batch of Phantom outtakes, most on the original 35mm camera negatives. It's been sitting in film cans since 1974, untouched. It's been posted to our Production/Outtakes page and our Production/Swan Song Fiasco page (some on each page; check both!). The stuff is amazing, and, like our previously-found footage, has never been viewed anywhere, by anyone.
April 24, 2008 - Coming Soon: Outtakes/Unused Footage!
Up to now, the only unused footage from Phantom known to exist was a few frames of Winslow's head getting mooshed and his run across the record factory floor, which you can see on our main Production page and our Swan Song Fiasco page, respectively. But, after all these years, we've finally found it: The Swan Archives has located and obtained what we're pretty sure are the only other surviving examples of Phantom outtakes. This newly discovered material (we'd estimate it's around seven or eight minutes' worth) has been in a film can since 1974, and has never before been seen, by anyone. We can't wait to show it to you, and we're busily converting it from 35mm film to digital format for posting here at www.swanarchives.org. We hope to have it up in the next week. If you're on dialup, you might want to invest in a faster internet connection, just for this. UPDATE May 5, 2008: We've posted the footage here.
April 9, 2008 - Larry Pizer Has Died
Cinematographer Larry Pizer died of cancer at the age of 82 this past February. Mr. Pizer was the director of photography on Phantom, and also on the De Palma-shot Bruce Springsteen video, Dancing in the Dark, as well as numerous other features, including Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare. He appears briefly in Paradise Regained, the documentary featurette on Phantom available on the French special edition DVD set from Opening.
February 8, 2008 - R.I.P., John Alvin
Movie poster artist John Alvin, who created the artwork used on Phantom's album cover and original-release posters, died unexpectedly at 59 years old on Wednesday. In addition to his fine work on the Phantom campaign, John was responsible for the marketing art for somewhere around 200 other films, and was a great friend to the Archives, having provided us, from his personal collection, with his original painting of the Phantom artwork. While we knew John only through phone conversations and as a delightful email correspondent, it's a very sad day for us here. Our thoughts are with John's wife and daughter.
December 14, 2007 - Redacted DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
De Palma's Redacted will be released in the US on DVD on February 19. The DVD will feature a behind the scenes featurette and refugee interviews.
December 4, 2007 - Happy Days Original Cast Recording Available for Pre-Order
The original cast recording of Paul Williams' new stage musical, Happy Days, will be released on January 8, 2008, and is available for preorder from the usual places. The first incarnation of this musical ran for a while at Garry Marshall's Falcon Theater in Burbank, initially with former member of New Kids on the Block Joey McIntyre playing Fonzie; our understanding is that this recording features the cast of the more recent production at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse this past October.
December 3, 2007 - Hopes Continue for New Stage Production
There is A New Hope that movement toward a stage musical production of Phantom (which came close to fruition at one point in the late 1980's) might finally be starting to gain momentum. Over the past couple of years, prodded by producer Gina Rugolo and Donovan Leitch (who is apparently interested in playing the role of Winslow), the various rights-holders have come together towards an agreement that would permit such a project to go forward. Auditions were held in February of 2007 for a workshop/lab which would have been directed in Los Angeles by Brian De Palma, who we understand was pulled away at the last minute when the opportunity to make Redacted fell into place. The principals are still talking enthusiastically about how and where to bring Phantom to the stage, and we wish them godspeed.
November 17, 2007 - Paul Williams to Appear at Phantom Screening in Los Angeles
The New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles will be screening Phantom and Bugsy Malone on December 2, 2007, and Paul Williams (who of course wrote the songs for Bugsy) will be there for a Q&A. Show starts at 7:30pm. (The sharp-eared will notice that Phantom's Archie Hahn dubs Bugsy's singing voice.)
September 8, 2007 - De Palma Wins Best Director at Venice
Brian De Palma has won the Silver Lion award for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival for his work on Redacted. We at the Archives are anticipating a roadtrip to New York to catch this one at the festival there in early October. Meanwhile, we couldn't be happier for Mr. De Palma; congratulations, sir. UPDATE October 10, 2007: Our review of Redacted appears here.
August 25, 2007 - Redacted to Play the Festivals
De Palma's latest, Redacted, will get its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, and will also be screened at the Deauville Festival of American Film, in France, the Toronto Film Festival, and the New York Film Festival.
August 25, 2007 - Gerrit Graham to Appear in Au Pair III
Gerrit was unable to attend Phantompalooza 2.5 earlier this year because he was in Puerto Rico filming a made-for-television film called Au Pair III, which is expected to air sometime this Fall, probably on The ABC Family Channel. Gerrit will be playing a character called Rupert.
April 7, 2007 - Gerrit Graham Canceled
The Phantompalooza Organizing Committee has announced that Gerrit Graham has canceled his scheduled appearance at the next Phantompalooza-sponsored event, due to a late-breaking movie commitment. They promise to provide a substitute programme of interest to Phantom fans, including highlights of previous Phantompaloozas, a live band, a memorabilia auction, and more.
March 26, 2007 - Phantompalooza to Present Gerrit Graham in Winnipeg
The Phantompalooza Organizing Committee has announced that the next Phantompalooza-sponsored event is to be an Intimate Evening with Gerrit Graham. The event will take place on April 28, in Winnipeg's Park Theater, which has only a couple hundred seats, so tickets (which go on sale March 30 through TicketWeb and at the Park Theater box office) are expected to sell out quickly. We anticipate that Graham will discuss Phantom and other career highlights, and that clips of his work in other films will be shown. The Organizing Committee will also be using the occasion as a DVD release party, for their collection of footage from prior Phantompaloozas. If the event is anything like those other productions, we can expect a live band, food and (this being Winnipeg) drink, and plenty of surprises.
March 12, 2007 - Medicom Now Selling Empty Death Records Boxes
In perhaps the most shameful exploitation of Phantom fans ever seen, Medicom Toys of Japan is now selling empty boxes. Their Death Records boxes are duplicates of the boxes seen in the record factory. They ship flat, and you unfold them. 3,990 Yen gets you five empty boxes, but they only ship to recipients within Japan.
March 10, 2007 - Paul Williams to Appear at Donovan Leitch Femmes and Phantoms Show in Los Angeles
Actor Donovan Leitch will be doing a tribute of sorts to the music of Phantom and Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles on March 27, and Paul Williams is scheduled to appear. Tickets available at Ticketmaster or the Roxy box office.
February 27, 2007 - Limited Edition Phantom Helmet Available Briefly
Medicom Toy Company of Japan is offering a limited edition full size reproduction of the Phantom helmet, but only taking orders until March 5, 2007, and only for delivery within Japan.
February 19, 2007 - French Phantom Disc Voted Best of the Year
The French Union of Film Critics tonight has voted Opening's Special Edition DVD of Phantom of the Paradise the best single DVD release of 2006.
January 31, 2007 - Phantompalooza Event Planned for April 28, 2007
Something is brewing in Winnipeg, as the Phantompalooza site has put up a teaser, and April 28 is a date of significance up there. We'll be holding our calendar open.
January 22, 2007 - New Phantom Action Figure Coming from Medicom in April 2007
Medicom Toy Corporation (http://www.medicomtoy.co.jp) , the Japanese toy maker that brought us the limited edition Phantom/Winslow action figures in 1999, has preannounced the release (on April 30, 2007) of their new limited edition Phantom of the Paradise "Version 2" figure. The 12-inch figure will come with dagger and plunger, display stand, and articulated helmet visor so you can lift the faceplate up and see Winslow's scarred face underneath. Available for preorder for $159.99 at http://www.monstersinmotion.com.
January 22, 2007 - Phantom Remake Rumors Just Won't Die
Producer Ed Pressman's website, http://www.pressman.com , has been listing a remake of Phantom of the Paradise as "coming soon" since before the Earth's crust cooled. As far as we at the Archives know, however, this project is still in the "yeah, and pigs'll fly outta my butt" stage of development. Should anything get more definite, we'll let you know as soon as we know.
January 22, 2007 - De Palma's Next Project: Redacted
Brian De Palma will be beginning production in early April on Redacted, a montage of stories about soldiers in the Iraq war, emphasizing new media war coverage, like websites, youtube posts, and blogs. Next up after Redacted is The Untouchables: Capone Rising, a prequel to The Untouchables, which will tell the story of Malone's relationship with Capone in both men's younger days.
January 22, 2007 - Paul Williams to Play in The Philippines, Escondito
Paul Williams has lined up a series of gigs in the Philippines, from February 10 through February 15, and in Escondito, California on February 17. See http://www.paulwilliamsconnection.org for details. He'll also be serving as a panelist at the ASCAP Expo in Los Angeles, April 19-21.
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Inquiries may be directed by email to archivist at swanarchives.org. The words "grand guignol" appear nowhere on this site. All website text, design, and coding is Copyright 2006-2014, Ari the Principal Archivist. No claim is made to the copyrighted works, trademarks or service marks of Harbor Productions, 20th Century Fox or A&M Records, and The Swan Archives is in no way affiliated with any of these entities.