Blu-ray Release: Downhill Racer

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Dec. 1, 2015
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion


Astonishing Alpine location photography and a young Robert Redford (All Is Lost) in one of his earliest starring roles are just two of the visual splendors of the 1969 sports drama Downhill Racer, the visceral debut feature by Michael Ritchie (The Fantasticks).

Robert Redford is the Downhill Racer

Robert Redford is the Downhill Racer

In a beautifully understated performance, Redford is David Chappellet, a ruthlessly ambitious skier competing for Olympic gold with an underdog American team in Europe, and Gene Hackman (The Conversation) provides tough support as the coach who tries to temper the upstart’s narcissistic drive for glory.

With a subtle screenplay by the acclaimed novelist James Salter, Downhill Racer is a vivid character portrait, buoyed by breathtakingly fast and furious imagery that places the viewer directly in the mind of the competitor.

Criterion’s Blu-ray edition of the film contains the following:

  • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
    • Interviews from 2009 with actor Robert Redford, screenwriter James Salter, editor Richard Harris, production manager Walter Coblenz, and former downhill skiier Joe Jay Jalbert, who served as a technical adviser, ski double, and cameraman on the film
    • Audio excerpts from a 1977 American Film Institute seminar with director Michael Ritchie
    • How Fast?,a rare twelve-minute promotional feature from 1969
    • Trailer
    • An essay by critic Todd McCarthy

 

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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.