89 Sisters

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Martha
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89 Sisters

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:05 pm

Sisters

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Margot Kidder is Danielle, a beautiful model separated from her Siamese twin, Dominique. When a hotshot reporter (Jennifer Salt) suspects Dominique of a brutal murder, she becomes dangerously ensnared in the sisters' insidious sibling bond. A scary and stylish paean to female destructiveness, Brian De Palma's first foray into horror voyeurism is a stunning amalgam of split-screen effects, bloody birthday cakes, and a chilling score by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Brian De Palma, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New interview with actor Jennifer Salt
• Interviews from 2004 with De Palma, actors William Finley and Charles Durning, and producer Edward R. Pressman
• Audio from a 1973 discussion with De Palma at the AFI
• Appearance from 1970 by actor Margot Kidder on The Dick Cavett Show
• More!
• PLUS: An essay by critic Carrie Rickey, excerpts from a 1973 interview with De Palma on the making of the film, and a 1973 article by De Palma on working with composer Bernard Hermann

mute nostril agony
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#2 Post by mute nostril agony » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:12 pm

I thought this movie was wonderfully done. I love the sequence that recounts the history of the twins.

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justeleblanc
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#3 Post by justeleblanc » Fri Jul 08, 2005 1:58 am

I love the split screen moments in this film just after the murder, especially when the blood is written on the window. For something as mundane as split-screen, De Palma knows how to make it so freaking unnerving. Like the elevator scene in Dressed to Kill, or that classic moment where Carrie's blood covered body is revealed at the prom.

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Cinephrenic
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#4 Post by Cinephrenic » Fri Jul 08, 2005 2:07 am

If Hitchcock never existed, I'd label this as a grand masterpiece. It's a great underrated film though. The split screen moments are supurbly shot indeed.
Last edited by Cinephrenic on Tue May 30, 2006 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tribe
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#5 Post by Tribe » Tue May 30, 2006 6:54 pm

This has been remade by someone named Douglas Buck. Anyone familiar with his work?

Tribe

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justeleblanc
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#6 Post by justeleblanc » Tue May 30, 2006 9:17 pm

Tribe wrote:This has been remade by someone named Douglas Buck. Anyone familiar with his work?

Tribe
No but I assume he's a hack.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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#7 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue May 30, 2006 9:48 pm

Gaspar Noe likes him, apparently. He also co-wrote Terror Firmer, which has to count for something.

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Dylan
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#8 Post by Dylan » Tue May 30, 2006 11:01 pm

I hate to say this, because it's become a cliche term when discussing projects such as this, but this film (the production of which I have been following for a while) seems to be far more of a (genuine) re-imagining than a re-make. Beyond the basic plot (which has been pretty much altered), I don't think the two will have very much in common at all.

Two quotes from Buck:

"De Palma did it more the Hitchcock way, and to try it more the Polanski way."

"One of the [new] things I did with this Sisters, is I definitely have giallo influences everywhere. I play around with a lot of giallo stuff, like rack focusing, strange movements and quick movements, and that kind of stuff."

For his script, he seemed to try very hard for a pschological approach to the story, and while I generally dislike remakes and while I like De Palma's original, I'm quite looking forward to this...I think there's a lot of potential here. I predict that this will be closer to the differences between Carpenter and Hawkes's "The Thing" than anything else (then again, maybe that's going too far).

Read more here:

http://horror.about.com/b/a/256731.htm

Of course it might not be very good, but we'll see. I like the cast very much.

I do wish Roque Banos ("The Machinist") or Alberto Iglesias were scoring it, but he's getting somebody up and coming (I forget the name of the composer), who will apparently craft a Herrmann homage. Regardless, I'm always up for a new Herrmannesque score so I look forward to how that turns out.

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justeleblanc
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#9 Post by justeleblanc » Wed May 31, 2006 12:43 am

Oh yeah, I've lost count on how many times I've used giallo and Polanski in the same sentance. Wasn't De Palma already a fan of Argento's?

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Dylan
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#10 Post by Dylan » Wed May 31, 2006 1:36 am

Well, he made it pretty clear that his visual and atmosphere inspiration was giallo and the overall approach to the material was more on the lines of Polanski (as opposed to Hitchcock). I don't know, I think with those inspirations (and every filmmaker has inspirations) it should be pretty cool. And did I mention the cast? Lou Doillon, Chloe Sevigny, and Stephen Rea. Once again, I won't vouch for it, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

And yeah, De Palma and Argento are big fans of one another.

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Gordon
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#11 Post by Gordon » Wed May 31, 2006 2:39 am

Argento once said in an interview years ago that he doesn't like De Palma's movies too much. He may have said otherwise in the interim, of course.

I saw Sisters again recently via the anamorphic, though non-progressive, British DVD. Extraordinarily inventive film. As most of you have noted, the use of split-screen is sublime and I generally dispise the technique, but De Palma may just be the only master of it. The Boston Strangler is made clunky and unfocused by its extensive use. Margot Kidder is superb in Sisters. De Palma often treads a fine line between absurdity and twistedness, but overall, Sisters is a triumph. I'm not sure how I feel about a remake - The Omen remake is already pushing this unimaginative pattern too far, but who am I to complain.

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Dylan
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#12 Post by Dylan » Wed May 31, 2006 4:01 am

I'm not sure how I feel about a remake - The Omen remake is already pushing this unimaginative pattern too far, but who am I to complain.
The Omen remake looks bad, but think about it: it's a shot for shot remake made for money (with all the 6/6/06 crap). If you pitched "The Omen" to a big studio today with its ending, you'd be laughed out the room, it's only being made because it's an old tried and true 'classic' and they're afriad to try anything different.

Buck's "Sisters" was certainly not made for money, and it sounds quite different from the original (as I said, think "The Thing"). Had I not read Buck's interview I wouldn't want a remake of "Sisters" because I don't want a remake of anything (and I hate the idea of remake), but I have a good feeling about this one (which I doubt will ever happen to me in conjunction with a remake again) so I hope it comes through. Read the interview, it certainly sounds like the heart's in the right place.

And yes, De Palma's "Sisters" is a lot of fun, and a very good example of low budget filmmaking. Great Herrmann score that I have on disc (love the scoring of the birthday cake scene).

Argento said he cast Jessica Harper because he liked her in "Phantom of the Paradise." And he said that he hired Pino Donaggio for "Do You Like Hitchcock?" because of his work for De Palma (I bet Donaggio wrote a great score for that one, but I haven't heard/seen it yet). If Dario ever said he's not a De Palma fan, he's not telling the whole truth.

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Jeff
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#13 Post by Jeff » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:28 am

Tribe wrote:This has been remade by someone named Douglas Buck. Anyone familiar with his work?
After sitting on the shelf for well over a year, it's being released direct to DVD in March.

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s.j. bagley
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#14 Post by s.j. bagley » Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:40 pm

i have his trilogy of short films and wouldn't exactly call him a 'hack.

on the basis of the three shorts and what i've read about his version, i'm definitely willing to give it a watch.

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Dylan
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#15 Post by Dylan » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:39 am

Looking back over my posts (I had entirely forgot about Douglas Buck's Sisters remake), I was oddly positive about this project. For what it's worth, I read a few reviews when it premiered at festivals a year ago and they couldn't have been much worse. I've also heard that the score (by a soap opera TV composer, no less) is "unthematic and droning/boring" (not that a good (or even great) soundtrack needs to be thematic or lively or noticeable, but if you're remaking a film that Bernard Herrmann scored, you better try a little harder with your soundscape). I still like the cast, but my interest at this point is nil.

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Tootletron
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#16 Post by Tootletron » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:47 am

I just got to watch this recently, and it was really fun. Seemingly unintentionally hilarious, and completely absurd. The split screen was interesting. Probably not worth the price tag, though.

How low budget was this movie?

The score was fantastic, and made the movie for me.

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justeleblanc
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#17 Post by justeleblanc » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:42 am

The humor is intentional. Check out De Palma's Hi Mom! and Phantom of the Paradise, both made around the time of Sisters, to see other examples of his kitschy sense of humor.

I assume the budget was pretty low. He couldn't affort Sidney Poitier in the lead and ended up casting many of his friends and their roommates in the roles.

How great is that extended black and white dream sequence!

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Tootletron
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#18 Post by Tootletron » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:33 am

I was surprised at not only how artsy the flashback scene was, but it's length as well.

I had trouble caring about the movie whenever they moved Margot Kidder out of the spotlight, though. What's-her-face, the reporter, didn't do as good of a job and just wasn't as interesting.

It's a little fitting that the banner ad is now for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

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colinr0380
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#19 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:59 am

A review of the film.

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Taketori Washizu
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#20 Post by Taketori Washizu » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:17 pm

Gordon wrote:Argento once said in an interview years ago that he doesn't like De Palma's movies too much. He may have said otherwise in the interim, of course.
Nonsense.

"We had many good directors - John Carpenter, Brian De Palma - but things have become polluted by business, money and bad relationships. The success of the horror genre has led to its downfall."

Not to mention the movie homages Argento has made to DePalma films in his own work over the years. He has never said he didn't like him.

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colinr0380
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Re: 89 Sisters

#21 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:43 am


barnyard078
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Re: 89 Sisters

#22 Post by barnyard078 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:02 pm

Any rumblings of a Blu-ray upgrade? I want to pick it up, but I'm hesitant because I don't want to have to double dip.

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Ashirg
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Re: 89 Sisters

#23 Post by Ashirg » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:15 pm

If Arrow's release is an option, it's region free...

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dwk
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Re: 89 Sisters

#24 Post by dwk » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:24 pm

Ashirg wrote:If Arrow's release is an option, it's region free...
No it isn't. The first pressing was, but subsequent printings are locked.

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carmilla mircalla
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Re: 89 Sisters

#25 Post by carmilla mircalla » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:26 pm

I'd love to see some updated cover art for an eventual criterion upgrade. I do like the original cover still but there's actually a lot than can be conceptualized. This rings true just by looking at the promotional materials.

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