04/24/2014  
One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2 - The Next Chapter on DVD/VOD May 13Shelter Island on DVD May 13Pennsylvania Ballet at 50 on DVD May 13Flying Tigers & Home of the Brave on Blu-ray & DVD May 13Stalingrad on Two-Disc Blu-ray with 3D, DVD & Digital May 13The Dave Clark Five And Beyond: Glad All Over on DVD & Blu-ray May 13Longmire: Season 2 on DVD May 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Miley Cyrus Makes Time's 100 Most Influential People; D...
VIDEO: COLBERT Declares 'I've Won Television' on Jon St...
'The Voice' Recap: Bottom Three Plead for Viewers' Save...
Stephen Colbert visits David Letterman and new 'Late Sh...
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o named People's most beautif...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

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

DVD Review: CUL-DE-SAC
(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

CUL-DE-SAC

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

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


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

 





Covered California

Keywords

television, music, miley cyrus, time magazine, dolly parton, wrecking ball, late night, stephen colbert, the colbert report, jon stewart, the daily show, comedy central, cbs, late show, the voice, vocal competition, carson daly, twitter, usher, t.j. wilkins, shakira, tess boyer, dani moz, david letterman, celebrity, lupita nyong'o, people mangazine, academy award, 12 years a slave, steve mcqueen, biography, documentary, box office, movies, good morning america, abc, lara spencer, josh elliot, nbc sports, george stephanopolous, robin roberts, movie, heaven is for real, connor corum, greg kinnear, thomas haden, books, gabriel garcia marquez, nobel laureate, one hundred years of solitude, war, cannes film festival, grace of monaco, nicole kidman, kristen stewart, robert pattinson, maps to the stars, julianne moore, foxcatcher, the homesman, tommy lee jones, hilary swank, mrs. doubtfire, robin williams, fox 2000, chris columbus, david berenhaum, drama, brad pitt, general stanley mcchrystal, the operators, afghanistan war film, david michod, gone girl gillian flynn, ben affleck, rosamund pike, elvis costello, she, nine inch nails, trent reznor, atticus ross, gone girl's score, ultimate warrior, james hellwig, wrestler, heart disease, world wrestling entertainment hall of fame, animation, hbo, game of thrones, jack gleeson, king joffrey baratheon, the purple wedding, horror

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact