Raising Cain: A Brian De Palma Triple Threat

Jim and Teal dare to go three in a row with their look at Brian De Palma. In truth, this is an extension of their last episode which they felt was too long for one listen so they split it into two. And while Jim and Teal wanted to take a break from Brian D and give you their thoughts on Mank, New England weather had other ideas for Teal. His town got hit with a storm and he was without power for four days. So next week, people! Next week they promise to give you their take on David Fincher’s Netflix monochrome movie, Mank.

Body Double

This episode kicks off with a discussion on Body Double. Both Jim and Teal were fans of this film in the mid 80’s, but neither rewatched it since. But with these Brian De Palma-focused episodes they decided to take another look. And like many of De Palma’s works, the fun happens when rewatching his movies for the sheer pleasure in his cinematic tricks. From Craig Wasson’s underrated ‘everyman’ performance to the slight-of-hand work of character actor, and De Palma staple, Gregg Henry, and scene-stealing performance of Melanie Griffith, there is a lot to enjoy here, even if the sum is greater than its parts.

Raising Cain

How does one film go from the bottom of Jim and Teal’s Brian De Palma pile to near the top? A little editing magic can do wonders. Jim recalls his interesting viewing experience of Raising Cain back in 1992 when he and his one-time friend, Darin, took in a dollar screening of the movie at the Peppertree cinema in Northridge, CA. Watching a movie with the middle reel of the film inserted first is confusing enough, but when it is added to the beginning of an already confused narrative, it can be pure chaos.

Raising Cain’s history is interesting. Test screenings doomed De Palma’s original intentions for the narrative, which structured like Dressed to Kill, was designed to pull the rug out from under the audience and catapult them into a wild second act. But when people felt the movie began too slowly, De Palma re-edited the movie to bring the action to the forefront, and basically ruined all of the surprises. He knew his mistake, and years later he got the chance to re-edit the movie back to its original narrative order, and it was released on DVD with a bonus director’s cut.

Jim and Teal rewatched the theatrical cut of Raising Cain, and then watched the director’s cut. The difference was shocking. The movie not only works in exactly the way De Palma intended it to, Raising Cain is now one of De Palma’s most fun Hitchcockian concoctions.

What Else?

Throughout this episode Jim and Teal fill in the blanks by touching on other De Palma fare such as Snake Eyes (Go Tyler! Go Tyler), and one of De Palma’s last efforts, Passion, which isn’t great, but still offers many of the great cinematic touches that make his films so fun to watch.

Jim and Teal hope you enjoy this episode, and ultimately, if you’ve listened to these episodes on De Palma, and haven’t seen a lot of his films, you’ll seek out his movies and watch them.

If you missed the previous De Palma episodes check them out here: Part two and Part 1

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