Blow Out (1981) Poster



Quentin Tarantino stated in an interview that this film is his favorite Brian De Palma movie. In fact, Tarantino cast John Travolta in Pulp Fiction (1994) because he liked his performance in this movie so much.
John Travolta suffered from insomnia during the shoot. His lack of sleep helped him create a very moody performance and is why his character seems so downtrodden throughout the movie.
The idea of a man discovering a crime by listening to a recording is a reinterpretation of Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blow-Up (1966), but using sound instead of photographs.
The use of a split-focus diopter lens is evident in several scenes, in particular the sound recording scene and the hospital scene. The split-focus lens is attached to the main lens, and it affects only the left or right portion of the main lens' view. This changes the focal distance of part of the image, allowing objects at two distances (in the foreground and background) to be in sharp focus.
Al Pacino was director Brian De Palma's first choice for the role of Jack Terry. When he proved unavailable John Travolta was signed, prompting a suggestion from at least one studio executive to cast Olivia Newton-John, Travolta's Grease (1978) co-star, in the role of Sally (which De Palma refused).
Brian De Palma got the idea for the story while doing the sound mix on his previous movie, Dressed to Kill (1980).
In the French version, John Travolta's voice was dubbed by Gérard Depardieu.
During the editing process, two reels of footage from the Liberty Parade sequence were stolen, never to be seen again. They had to return to Philadelphia just to re-shoot the entire scene, at a cost of $750,000. Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond was no longer available, so he was replaced by László Kovács.
The first film in which Brian De Palma used a Steadicam.
The film received mostly positive reviews from movie critics, including rave reviews by Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert. But the ending supposedly made the movie suffer at the box office.
The slasher movie sequence that is being dubbed at the beginning was shot by Garret Brown on his invention, the Steadicam. He was so skilled and fast on his feet with the rig that the crew struggled to keep up with him, Including the focus puller. When the "slasher" holds up the knife in front of the camera, that too is Garett Brown holding the knife as this was the only way to get the shot to work.
The underwater components of the car crash on the bridge set piece were shot in a huge tank in California. Nancy Allen suffers from claustrophobia and hence had a hard time with being trapped in the car in the underwater scenes.
The two main characters were much older and more cynical in an earlier draft of the script.
Brian De Palma has said that the score, written by Pino Donaggio, is one of his favourite scores from one of his own movies.
The accident at the start of the film alludes to the Kennedy incident at Chappaquiddick.
Nancy Allen envisioned the character of Sally as a little rag doll.
The scene in which Jack is telling Sally about how a battery leaked acid on Freddy Corso when he was wearing a wire was based on an incident from Robert Daley's book Prince of the City. Brian De Palma was interested in directing the film based from that book.
John Lithgow was afraid that he might seriously hurt Nancy Allen during a particular scene during filming.
Personal Effects was the original title of the film.
Brian De Palma said that the first scenes that were filmed were the scenes that take place inside Penn Station.
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John Travolta and Nancy Allen had previously co-starred in Carrie (1976).
When John Travolta was cast in the male lead, Nancy Allen was immediately considered for the female lead.
Brian De Palma has said that Blow Out was a very arduous movie to film.
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Film debut of Roberto Lombardi.
The film alludes to the Watergate scandal and the JFK assassination.
Brian De Palma was married to Nancy Allen during the making of this film in 1981. They divorced in 1984.
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Julie Christie and Dyan Cannon were considered early on for the role of Sally, had Jack been played by an older actor.
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Nancy Allen said that she wore a rabbit's foot around her neck throughout the entire film as if her character was superstitious.
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