New Release: Cul-de-sac Blu-ray, DVD

Cul-de-sac movie scene

Françoise Dorléac gives hubby Donald Pleasance a makeover in Roman Polanski's Cul-de-sac.

Cul-de-sac, Roman Polanski’s (The Ghost Writer) 1966 absurdist movie about over-the-top paranoia and bizarre sexuality (sound familiar?), comes to Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion on Aug. 16 for the list prices of $39.95 and $29.95, respectively.

The film stars Donald Pleasance (Halloween) and Françoise Dorléac (The Soft Skin) as a cowardly eccentric and his slutty French wife, whose isolated beachfront castle is overrun by a burly American gangster (Lionel Stander, Unfaithfully Yours) on the lam. As the tide rises and flocks of chickens close in (!), the trio engages in a sly game of shifting identities, sexual challenges and emotional humiliations. It’s weird, weird stuff that’s both laugh out loud funny and quietly clever as a metaphor for a modern world in chaos.

As is usual for Criterion’s releases, the movie will have a digital restoration, approved by director Polanski, and the Blu-ray will include an uncompressed monaural soundtrack.

The Blu-ray and DVD will include the following special features:

Two Gangsters and an Island, a 2003 short documentary about the making of Cul-de-sac, featuring interviews with Polanski, producer Gene Gutowski and cinematographer Gil Taylor
interview with Polanski from 1967
theatrical trailers
booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Thompson

Here’s a vintage trailer of the film — a bizarre one:


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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.