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Cul-De-Sac [1968] [DVD]

Donald Pleasence , Francoise Dorleac , Roman Polanski    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: £19.95
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Product details

  • Actors: Donald Pleasence, Francoise Dorleac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran, Robert Dorning
  • Directors: Roman Polanski
  • Producers: Gene Gutowski
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Aug 2003
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AISGP
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,336 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


George (Donald Pleasence) and Teresa (Francoise Dorleac) are an eccentric couple who have retreated to an island off the northeast coast of Britain, where they live in a large, dank castle. Their isolated existence is disrupted when the island is visited by two gangsters. Roman Polanski's film is bleak but comic - the overall sense of menace occasionally giving way to black humour.

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece 16 May 2005
Don't listen to the other reviewer. He doesn't seem to have grasped or appreciated what makes this film so good - the atmosphere and the characters. The plot is minimal and only serves to enhance these other two aspects of the film. Personally I think this is a much more moody, much more unique, and much more interesting film than Repulsion. It's an acquired taste but if you love stunningly shot character-based films with a twist of surreal humour, I would advise to get it this instant. All in all, an unforgetable film.
Be aware though, there is another version of the disc in a Roman Polanski boxset, including both this film and Repulsion and Knife On The Water. Works out cheaper than buying all the titles individually!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polanski at his best 13 Nov 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It has been 30 years since I first saw this film, yet it still rates as one of my all time favourites. Forget about special effects and daredevil stunts-you won't see either of those in Cul-De-Sac. It's a strange film which highlights the devastating effect that unexpected events can have on human relationships. At first glance it's a black comedy, but running throughout the film are dark menacing undercurrents which maintain the attention of the audience. All of the leading acters are good, but Donald Pleasance, as the bumbling, insecure host to his unwelcome guests is outstanding. In my opinion his best performance ever. Polanski's quirky direction has never been bettered, and the exterior photography is spectacular. Brilliant.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and Unique 16 Oct 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
From the immaculate direction to the perfect casting, Cul-de-Sac is a truly sucessful and unique film. Beautifully shot in black and white with a haunting soundtrack this DVD is also a document of the tough circumstances under which it was made.
If you despair at films like Polanski's 'Oliver Twist' then get this to remind you of his undoubted genius.
You can lose yourself in this one.
A haunting minor classic of major proportions.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jewel in the Polanski catalogue 19 July 2005
Firstly despite the difficult filming process that this film was engaged in,The direction and performances run so smoothly as if it's chocolate flowing neatly in to its final block that will be welcomed greatly from one like me to get my jaws in too. Quite simply every line in this film is delivered with the utmost perfection leading to some of lines being absolutely hilarious. 'Pleasence' made me laugh greatly when ever he's trying to explain that 'Stander' has mental problems talking about him as he's some senile old fool, brilliant. The performances of all involved are highly energetic kept me hooked throughout,the casting for this picture was a stroke of genius.I am a massive fan of Polanski and this is certainly one that stands out quite possibly as his best. It's a unique experience not many other films give of quite such a good ambiance , Top marks it's a cinematic gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Katelbach 9 May 2014
Released in 1966 right after Repulsion, Cul-de-sac is Roman Polanski's third feature film and one of his favorites according to his autobiography. In a world that acclaims Repulsion as being not only his masterpiece but also one of the greatest films ever made, it is revealing to read the great director dismissing his `greatest achievement' as a mere cash cow needed to fund the real labor of love that followed it. Cul-de-sac did win the Silver Bear at the 1966 Berlin film festival, but it's hardly accepted as a major work even today although it is good to see some positive posts here on Amazon. It flopped disastrously in the States and even in Europe it fell into the shadow cast by its predecessor. It's a shame really because I think in its own unique way it is rather wonderful. In fact all early Polanski is essential viewing, and Anchor Bay's 4 DVD set of Knife in the Water, Repulsion, Cul-de-sac and a selection of his bizarre short films from the late `50s would be self-recommending if it wasn't so expensive.

Cul-de-sac is undeniably an odd affair. Co-written by Polanski with Gérard Brach, it's a mixture of gangster flick and jet black comedy related in a style reminiscent of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter which makes for a film which is difficult to pigeon-hole. Think The Petrified Forest (1936, Archie Mayo), Key Largo (1948, John Huston) and The Desperate Hours (1955, William Wyler) crossed with Waiting for Godot and The Birthday Party, and you might get close to describing Polanski's exploration of themes that became obsessive for him across all his films - especially sexual repression, gender games, psychological retardation and the tendency of human beings to assert themselves by destroying those around them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of Roman Polanski's 1966 classic.

At present this movie is available on BLU RAY in the States and Europe.
But therein lies a problem for UK buyers - which issue to buy?

Unfortunately the desirable USA Criterion issue is REGION-A LOCKED.
So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don't confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front - that won't help.

Luckily the Pulp Video issue from 2012 is REGION B - so will play on UK machines.

Check you're purchasing the right issue before you buy...
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