Out now from The Masters of Cinema Series: American auteur Monte Hellman’s classic of ’70s cinema, Two-Lane Blacktop, available for the first time anywhere in a Blu-ray only limited edition and steelbook.
On this open road like a mainline deep into the consciousness of a country, a quadrangle of lonely-souled lovers — James Taylor, Dennis Wilson, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird — hurtle in their ‘55 Chevy and gleaming GTO: a race against time, at the edge of the American night.
This director-approved edition includes a new, restored high-definition transfer of the feature, sporting both the original mono soundtrack and an optional newly remastered 5.1 mix, in addition to optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired; an audio commentary by Monte Hellman and associate producer Gary Kurtz; On the Road Again: Two-Lane Blacktop Revisited, a 43-minute piece in which Monte Hellman revisits the film’s locations — directed by Monte Hellman, Gabriel Cowan, Brett Mann, and John Suits; Somewhere Near Salinas, a 28-minute interview by Hellman with singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson — also directed by Monte Hellman; Sure Did Talk to You, a 24-minute video piece featuring interviews with producer Michael Laughlin, production manager Walter Coblenz, and the director’s son Jared Hellman — again, directed by Monte Hellman; amazing archival screen-test footage of James Taylor and Laurie Bird; the original theatrical trailer; an optional music and effects track; and a 36-page full-colour booklet featuring a new essay about the feature by critic Brad Stevens and a vintage piece of reporting from the set by Shelley Benoit.
You can never go fast enough.
We’ve also just announced our latest titles for Q2 2012 (April, May, and June). They’re all live on our Catalogue page.
Happy New Year, everyone! We closed out 2011 with feelings of extreme gratitude toward our fans and our supporters for rewarding us with our best and most exciting year for the Series to date. Late-December and early-January saw The MoC Series rank significantly in Time Out London’s list of the top 50 releases of 2011, with placings given to Imamura’s A Man Vanishes and Pigs and Battleships + Stolen Desire, our double-DVD-set of Lang’s Der Tiger von Eschnapur and Das indische Grabmal, Antonioni’s La signora senza camelie, Murnau’s Schloss Vogelöd: Die Enthüllung eines Geheimnisses, Trumbull’s Silent Running, Welles’ Touch of Evil, Ford’s The Iron Horse, Kobayashi’s Harakiri, and, at #2, Pedro Costa’s Colossal Youth (+ Tarrafal, The Rabbit Hunters, and O nosso homem).
We were also extremely humbled to find that many of our releases received mention not only in the year-end poll from Sight & Sound magazine, but also placed high in the major year-end poll from DVDBeaver — with our release of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil winning not only Best Global Blu-ray Release of the Year, but also Best Single Overall Global Home Video Release of the Year!
So: sincere thanks to everyone for making 2011 such a success. We hope to continue the good work throughout 2012 and beyond — and, to that end…
We’ve just released our (gorgeous) 1080p HD revisitation of Peter Watkins’ galvanic 1971 film Punishment Park in a Dual Format edition. Watkins’ 92-minute feature represents a reaction to and critique of the American society and government of the late ’60s and early ’70s that spawned and casually digested such contemporary elements as the civilian and military massacres of Vietnam (Tet, My Lai, the whole of the war); the MLK + RFK assassinations; the Chicago Democratic Convention beatings and arrests; the Kent State massacre; and, most directly, the show-trial of the Chicago Seven. If Punishment Park still shocks, appalls, and agitates as much today as it did in 1971, it is due to Watkins’ canny and subversive appropriation of the cinema-/televisual-modes of the dominant paradigm (in ‘12 as ‘71), his implicit interrogation of the onlooker-documentarian’s (and end viewer’s) moral responsibility toward “the event,” and his implicit understanding and ultimate transcendence of the limitations of traditional scripting and casting. It is due too to the fact that much of what Watkins captured/envisioned has either come to pass or, indeed, in the forty-one years since, simply has not changed.
Punishment Park underscores the nightmare-confusion of what is “actual” and what is ‘merely’ “plausible”.
The feature is accompanied by Watkins’ searing, cogent 29-minute direct-to-camera address Introduction to Punishment Park; an audio commentary by Joseph A. Gomez (author of the 1979 Peter Watkins); and a 40-page booklet that includes extracts from the 1971 press book (with a contemporary contribution from Watkins), an essay on the film by Gomez extracted from Peter Watkins (along with a 2005 postscript), and a 2005 self-interrogatory dialogue by Peter Watkins.