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Criterion Collection: Cul-De-Sac [Blu-ray] [1966] [US Import]

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005152C6Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,930 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Almost surreal but somehow grounded this story of an American gangster seeking sanctuary in an eccentric Englishmans home is terrific. On first viewing I thought it was filmed in France ( the Englishman's wife is French ) but second time I noticed it was described as 'Lindisfarne Island,England'. What a turnout for the UK.
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Format: DVD
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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I won't try to improve on Film Buff's review but will tell you how good the Criterion release is. The remastering has brought out more detail and coupled with deep blacks this is the best i've ever seen it, noise, scratches etc. have been removed so that it looks lovely even though the film itself is disturbing. It's 1.66:1 with English LPCM 1.0 and extras are :-
Two gangsters and an island - a video about the problems making the film with Director, producers and cinematographer. 24 mins.
The Nomad - an interview with Polanski. 28 mins.
Two trailers - 6 mins.
Last but not least an informative 16 page booklet about the film by David Thompson.
I love this film and miss Françoise Dorleac who died far too young.
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