Blu-ray, DVD Release: Medium Cool

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

Medium Cool movie scene

Verna Bloom and Robert Forster tries to figure things out in Medium Cool.

The 1969 film drama Medium Cool is the first narrative film directed by the famed documentarian/cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who shot One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Days of Heaven, among other greats.

In, with the U.S. in social upheaval, Wexler decided to make a film about what the hell was going on and plunge audiences straight into the moment. With its mix of scripted fiction and seat-of-the-pants documentary technique, the film’s story looks at the working world and romantic life of television cameraman John Cassellis (Robert Forster, Jackie Brown). Set in Chicago, Cassellis finds himself becoming personally involved in the violence that erupts around the 1968 Democratic National Convention, just as he’s forced to deal with a whole lot of romantic and lifestyle issues.

Co-starring Peter Bonerz (Serial), Marianna Hill (High Plains Drifter) and Verna Bloom (Animal House), the R-rated Medium Cool is considered to be one of the finest cinematic snapshots of the era, as well as a clever and inventive commentary on the pleasures and dangers of wielding a camera.

The Blu-Ray & DVD of the film contain the following features:

• New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Haskell Wexler, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• Two audio commentaries, one featuring Wexler, actor Marianna Hill, and editor Paul Golding, the other featuring historian Paul Cronin
• New interview with Wexler
Look Out Haskell, It’s Real!, a fifty-five-minute documentary about the making of Medium Cool, produced by Cronin and featuring interviews with Wexler, Golding, actors Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz, and Robert Forster, Chicago historian Studs Terkel, and others
• Excerpts from Sooner or Later, a documentary by Cronin about Harold Blankenship, who plays the adolescent Harold in the film
• Original theatrical trailer
• A booklet featuring an essay by film critic and programmer Thomas Beard

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.