Also the film print that they used to get this DVD transfer is pretty poor (it has not been digitally remastered so it looks about as good as a ten year old VHS copy) at times the picture is a bit fuzzy and the soundtrack pops in and out, And for some reason the picture jumps from wide screen to Pan scan and back again.
Some of the edits are a bit jarring too, I don't know if this film has been censored from it original release but some scenes feel like they have chunks missing.
All this is a shame because Blue Manhattan is in fact a really good film, which was well a head of its time. Mixing very funny comedy with very shocking horror. At times during the black and white sequences its easy to forget your watching a work of fiction - as these moments hit right to the bone.
It also has a very early performance by Robert De Niro, proving how hard he worked to become the well respected actor that he is today.
Brian De Palmer gets a chance to try out a lot of his flashy camera moves and bizarre edits which would later make him famous.
Sadly there is no Director or Actors commentary's on this disk. In fact there are no extras apart from the dull chapter menu and a trailer (at the very end of the film) which incidentally advertises it under its real name of: Hi Mom.
So to quickly recap: Good Film, but the DVD lacks the work the movie really deserves.
The picture quality on this DVD is pretty fuzzy, and the sound pops in and out from time to time, and the films editing and camera work is a little hard on the eyes at times switching from wide screen to full screen and back for no real reason, yet for some reason the film survives all of this, it has some funny gags and one great performance from a very young Robert De Niro.
There is 20 min segment close to the end of the film all shot in black and white which has some middle class people going to an 'experience theatre' and being attacked by a group of actors - even though this was filmed in 1970 this sequence still shocks and will stay with the viewer long after the movie has ended.
Give this film a look if your a fan of either Robert De Niro or Brian De palmer (the director).
De Palma is clearly exploring the idea of breaking the barrier between actors and audience in the act of performance. I can appreciate this idea because every time I see theater in the round I keep watching the audience watching the play instead of just watching the play. Pay attention to De Palma's use of the split screen to explore the dual perspectives and get the audience watching the movie involved more involved in the equation as well. Repeatedly, it all comes down to point of view, meaning the point of view of the camera. This idea is reinforced by Jon, for whom life is not real unless it is on camera, a point most notably made in his sexual encounter with Judy (Jennifer Salt).
However, the most powerful part of this film is the "Be Black, Baby" sequences, and this is where you either find this film totally brilliant or grossly offensive. Throughout "Hi, Mom!" De Palma and De Niro have made the viewers party to Jon's voyeurism, albeit in more subtle ways than splatter flicks that let the audience see through the killer's eyes. Having persuaded (coerced?) us into this perspective, De Palma makes us pay for it in a most brutal manner. If you cannot appreciate the payoff of this sequence, and that could well be most of the people who bother to watch this film, then you are not going to be able to appreciate this film. But at the very least you should be able to understand not only what De Palma is doing, but why.
After that point the film section of the film seems quite anticlimactic. De Palma is trying to take his argument to the next level, but having been blown away by "Be Black, Baby," there is no way for the director and actor to top that moment. "Hi, Mom!" is a provocative film that provided me with one of the most memorable experiences in a movie theater that I have ever had. Watching this film again, this time knowing where De Palma and De Niro were taking me, really made me appreciate the purpose behind that powerful moment. Of course from the vantage point of today it is rather startling to compare this rather raw film with the slick Hollywood productions for which De Palma is best known, but this film is so powerful it is hard not to consider it his best work.