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Friday, July 27, 2012

Murder A La Mod (1968)

Set in the world of New York indie film making in the 1960s, a young girl (Margo Norton) is involved with a unsavory film maker (Jared Martin) who is currently making screen tests of hopeful actresses taking off their clothes. But a mentally unstable assistant (William Finley, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE) on the production just may be a psychotic killer. This black comedy was the feature film debut of director Brian De Palma. It comes across as a clever student film by a talented amateur film maker. Accent on "student film" and "talented amateur". But already De Palma's emphasis on style over substance is in the forefront of his film making. The template for this film is clearly Michael Powell's PEEPING TOM with a dash of PSYCHO tossed in but there a few De Palma touches that would again show up in his more mature works like CARRIE and BLOW OUT. Some of the acting is very amateurish especially Margo Norton, whose only film credit this is. Unless you're a fan of De Palma (as I am), you can safely skip this as its interest is only in the formative early work of De Palma. With Andra Akers and Jennifer Salt, who would later co-star in De Palma's SISTERS.

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