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Criterion Collection: Medium Cool [DVD] [1969] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Criterion Blu-Ray Looks Great and Loaded with Extras! 30 May 2013
By Cubist - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
Medium Cool has never looked better on this newly minted Criterion Collection Blu-Ray. The colors look vivid while the transfer still retains the texture of the original film stock.

There is an audio commentary by director Haskell Wexler, editor Paul Golding, and actor Marianna Hill. Wexler addresses the criticism of the opening scene and how the two journalists don't help the accident victim. He mentions being faced with that decision several times in his career. All three praise Harold Blankenship's performance and how real it is. Wexler and Golding point out that during the protest scene at the end, tear gas was really shot at them, but the famous line, "Look out Haskell, it's real!" was added later.

Also included is a commentary by historian Paul Cronin who examines the origins and production of Medium Cool. He expertly analyzes the film's themes while also delving into what led Wexler to make it. Cronin points out that Wexler paid for the film himself and then the studio paid to distribute it. He explains the fascinating backstory to the film's famous line in this great look at how Medium Cool came together.

There is a trailer.

There is an interview with Haskell Wexler where he talks about the origins of Medium Cool and how he was going to direct another film, but realized that something was going to happen in his hometown of Chicago and wrote the screenplay for the film. He discusses the influence of documentaries in this engaging interview.

Also included are excerpts from Paul Cronin's 4-hour documentary on Wexler entitled, Look Out Haskell, It's Real!, that focuses on the making of Medium Cool. Wexler, a few historians and key cast members take us through the production in this absorbing documentary.

There are also excerpts from a documentary about Harold Blankenship, who Eileen's son in the film. He grew up in a rough neighborhood in Chicago, but now lives in the wilds of West Virginia. He recalls being in Medium Cool in a kind of fragmented way and it is startling to see how much he's changed over the years.

Finally, there is "Medium Cool Revisited," which sees Wexler return to the city for the 2012 NATO Summit. He ended up shooting a documentary about the Occupy movement and this 30-minute featurette takes a look at how he did it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Classic Timely Tale 25 July 2013
By H. Drummond - Published on
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Takes place during the Democratic Convention of 1968 and tells the story of a reporter who finds that the FBI is pulling some dirty tricks during the social unrest of that period. Meanwhile, back at the tenement, he has become smitten with a housewife who is none to happy with her present situation and they begin an affair. This all goes on at the same time the political stuff is happening and the director of the film had begun filming the actual convention and the demonstrations that were going on and, lo and behold, all this other real stuff started happening which conveniently went hand in hand with his plotlines. Now either he developed the plotlines after the riots and police violence, etc. or his story was so well developed and timely that he was just able to fit it into place and blammo. Haskell Wexler had created a classic historically accurate piece of thrilling fiction. Robert Forster and Verna Bloom are great in this.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Cool 6 Jun 2013
By William Robert Kinney - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film was at the time of its release overshadowed by Easy Rider. But this film was not only a brave experiment by Haskell Wexler, it was an accurate representation of the times. The improvised dialog captured the concerns of the people and filming in the actual riot was incredible. A very good document of the times.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Point Of View 5 Sep 2013
By That's Life - Published on
Format: DVD
If you want to understand politics of the time from the viewpoint of anti-war protesters and those who did not care for "the establishment" then have a look at this scarce movie. It is all about perspective. I somehow suspect that many here who do not like this movie are the ones who resented the progressive movements of the times and have just found another outlet to take out their hostilities. Abbie Hoffman is dead and they can't pick on him anymore, so they knock the film. Maybe, maybe not, it is not a great film but it is very unique and unlike much of anything else you will ever see and it is worth a look.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A film that demands to be seen. 16 Jun 2013
By John Cockerton - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
Medium Cool lives up to its unconventional title due in part to the ambitions of Robert Forster, whose character lives for capturing news for the public eye, sometimes before the ambulance arrives. The words "Hip", "Groovy" and "Fly" are understatements for this exceptionally crafted, under the radar, masterpiece that fits perfectly into the Criterion Collection.
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