Blu-ray, DVD Release: Blood Simple

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Sept. 20, 2016
Price: DVD $29.99, Blu-ray $39.99
Studio: Criterion


The career-long darkly comic road trip through misfit America of Joel and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis) began with 1984’s Blood Simple, a razor-sharp, hard-boiled neo-noir crime drama set somewhere in Texas, where a sleazy bar owner (Dan Hedaya, Running Scared) sets off a torrent of violence with one murderous thought.

 Frances McDormand in Blood Simple

Frances McDormand in Blood Simple

M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner) looms over the proceedings as the slippery private eye with a yellow suit, a cowboy hat and no moral compass, and Frances McDormand (Mississippi Burning) gives a cunning debut performance that set her on the road to stardom.

The tight scripting and inventive camera work that have marked the Coens’ work for decades is all here, as cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld (the Men in Black trilogy) trades black-and-white chiaroscuro for neon signs and jukebox colors that combine with a haunting score by frequent Coen collaborator Carter Burwell (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) to lurid and thrilling effect.

Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simple reinvented the film noir for a new generation, and marked the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would help to transform the American independent cinema scene in the 1980s.

Criterion’s Blu-ray and DVD editions of the crime drama include the following:

* New, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* New conversation between Sonnenfeld and the Coens about the film’s look, featuring Telestrator video illustrations
* New conversation between author Dave Eggers and the Coens about the film’s production, from inception to release
* New interviews with composer Carter Burwell, sound mixer Skip Lievsay, and actors Frances McDormand and M. Emmet Walsh
* Trailers
* An essay by novelist and critic Nathaniel Rich

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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.