McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

American Music Awards 2015: Proximity to action matters...
Brad Pitt Says He's 'Angry' at the Finance Industry Aft...
Adele Speaks Exclusively on New Music:'The Most Poignan...
'The Walking Dead' reveals Glenn's fate ...
Adele Performs on Saturday Night Live: Video ...
Blacklisted: The Inside Story of Dalton Trumbo and the ...
Ryan Seacrest Confirms All American Idol Judges Will Re...
Fargo' Preview: 5 Reasons You Should Be Watching This S...
Bruce Willis makes Broadway debut...
Entertainment industry modifies plans after Paris trage...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

(Criterion Blu-ray)

Studio: The Criterion Collection
Year: 1966
Cast: Lionel Stander, Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac
Director: Roman Polanski
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Rating: Not Rated for
Run Time: 01h:52m:14s
Genre(s): thriller


Buy Now @ Amazon


Roman Polanski's triangle of menace and mayhem, with a killer new transfer.

Movie Grade: B+

DVD Grade: B

Reviewing movies in isolation, we sometimes give too much credit (or blame) to filmmakers, for both the style and substance of their work—auteurism contributes to this, too, and certainly one way to read Cul-de-Sac is as a continuation of themes that Polanski had previously developed, especially in Knife in the Water. (The setup for both movies is pretty similar—the rifts in the relationship between a young couple are exposed and deepened and made dangerous by the introduction of a mysterious stranger.) But what's kind of great about this release is a chance to consider this particular film in its historical moment—Polanski's private life isn't the subject of discussion here, and he certainly, earlier in his career especially, was as good as anyone at capturing and filming the zeitgeist. This handsome, classically made film is very much of 1966, for good and for ill.

The influences are obvious—the movie opens with a couple of stranded gangsters, one who has taken a bullet to the shoulder, the other who is worse off than that, and they're guys (though American) straight out of a Harold Pinter play of the period. The chief terrorizer is Richard, played by Lionel Stander—he's a great big mountain of a man, and you just don't want to be between him and what he wants. (Stander had a long, distinguished career, but if you grew up like I did on a steady diet of Hart to Hart, you may keep expecting Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner to show up and bail him out of all this. Come on, Mr. and Mrs. H!) His marks here are a young couple in a house in Northumberland—Donald Pleasence is right out of Angry Young Man 101, and Françoise Dorléac is his perfect arm candy. (We learn in the supplements that the actress is Catherine Deneuve's sister.)

What ensues is the effort by Richard to wring a rescue plan out of his forced hosts as best he can—it's got many of the trappings of a thriller, but you sense that Polanski isn't much interested in gangsters, or in action. It's a reminder that the movie came out the same year as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and like the Nichols film of Albee's drama, it's all about games people play. Criterion's tremendous new transfer gives us grainy gray nightscapes, the sense of desolation in this remote part of England that makes for many dark nights of the soul; as a gangster picture, it's really more successful as a character study than a genre piece, and really, that's fine.

Extras include a 2003 look back, Two Gangsters and an Island (23m:26s), featuring interviews with lots of behind-the-scenes talent, including Polanski, producers Gene Gutowski and Tony Tenser, and cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, among others. There's also a long BBC interview (27m:04s) of Polanski from the following year, though it focuses more on the director's next picture (The Fearless Vampire Killers), and on his early life in France and Poland. The disc also holds two trailers, the accompanying booklet an essay by David Thompson.

Posted by: Jon Danziger - December 1, 2011, 8:50 am - DVD Review
Keywords: criterion, gangster, polanski

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


american music awards, talor swift, one direction, jennifer lopez, selena gomez, nicki minaj, justin bieber, movie, the big short, steve carell, ryan gosling, christian bale, michael lewis, brad pitt, music, adele, hello, 19, 21, 25, television, the walking dead, amc, davod alpert, glen, heads up, saturday night live, 25 album, skyfall, nrj awards, graham norton, herbert biberman, john howard lawson, lester cole, ring lardner jr., samuel ornitz, adrian scott, albert maltz, alvah bessie, edward dmytryk, dalton trumbo, reality, american idol, ryan seacrest, mariah carey, ellen degeneres, harry connick jr., keith urban, simon cowell, paula abdul, randy jackson, steven tyler, kara dioguardi, televison, fargo, fx, kirsten dunst, jesse plemons, jean smart, jeffrey donovan, bokeem woodbine, brad garrett, patrick wilson, celebrity, bruce willis, laurie metcalf, misery, broadway debut, paris tragedy, u2, foo fighters, steven spielberg, natalie portman, book, the diary of anne frank, otto frank, swiss foundation, daytime talk, 2000 shows, justin timberlake, jennifer aniston, sequel, animated, finding nemo, finding dory, disney-pixar, diane keaton, eugene levy, inventor, hedy lamarr, google doodle, ecstasy, samson and delilah, bbc music, angelina jolie pitt, by the sea, troubled marriage, mr. & mrs. smith, gwen stefani blake shelton, country music awards, the voice, miranda lambert, jon stewart, john oliver, hbo, wonder woman, nicole kidman, amazonian warrior, gal gadot, chris pine, nick lachey, 98 degrees, pot grower, ohio, nanette lepore, oscar robertson, frostee rucker, the red bulletin, james bond, daniel craig, naomi harris, bond girl, a. o. scott, 1977, star wars, elvis, beatles, sesame street, j.k. rowling, israel, palestine, culture for coexistence, harry potter and the deathly hallows, ricky gergais, 2016 golden globes, hollywood foreign press association, jessica biel, 2015 fashion group international night of stars gala, flip phone, the power of love, huey lewis, michael j. fox, back to the future, carrie, bipolar disorder, quinn, saul, jonas, comedy, lupus, chemotherapy, estrogen, lupus foundation of america

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store