A seemingly average Joe pervades the earlier films of Brian De Palma: actor Dennis Franz, a Chicago native that has played tough East coast characters in the thrillers of the celebrated auteur. Franz portrayed back-to-back seedy toughs in De Palma’s Dressed to Kill and Blow Out, in each case on either side of the law. Franz seems to be the same man in those two films, as well as De Palma’s Body Double. Looking back at these movies, Franz’ confident appearances still make him a stand out. For this video essay, we toyed with editing Franz’ contributions to the De Palma oeuvre, sometimes even employing split screen in true De Palma fashion. 

If you’re fascinated by De Palma’s reliance on Dennis Franz, then don’t miss our recent videos, which dissect the work of directors like Olivier Assayas, Quentin Tarantino, Takashi Miike, and Edgar Wright! And learn more about one of De Palma's favorite techniques, the split diopter shot.