Blow-Up by Michelangelo Antonioni |David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles | 888574098643 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Blow-Up

Blow-Up

4.5 2
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni

Cast: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles

     
 

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Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language production was also his only box office hit, widely considered one of the seminal films of the 1960s. Thomas (David Hemmings) is a nihilistic, wealthy fashion photographer in mod "Swinging London." Filled with ennui, bored with his "fab" but oddly-lifeless existence of casual sex and drug use, Thomas

Overview

Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language production was also his only box office hit, widely considered one of the seminal films of the 1960s. Thomas (David Hemmings) is a nihilistic, wealthy fashion photographer in mod "Swinging London." Filled with ennui, bored with his "fab" but oddly-lifeless existence of casual sex and drug use, Thomas comes alive when he wanders through a park, stops to take pictures of a couple embracing, and upon developing the images, believes that he has photographed a murder. Pursued by Jane (Vanessa Redgrave), the woman who is in the photos, Thomas pretends to give her the pictures, but in reality, he passes off a different roll of film to her. Thomas returns to the park and discovers that there is, indeed, a dead body lying in the shrubbery: the gray-haired man who was embracing Jane. Has she murdered him, or does Thomas' photo reveal a man with a gun hiding nearby? Antonioni's thriller is a puzzling, existential, adroitly-assembled masterpiece.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A cinematic time capsule that distills the very essence of the swinging London of 1966, filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni's provocative art house hit remains a brilliant psychological thriller. David Hemmings portrays a British fashion photographer whose voyeuristic tendencies compel him to take pictures of a couple he sees embracing in the park. Upon making blow-ups of the images, he notices details indicating that a murder might have been committed: Returning to the park, he finds the body of the man he photographed. As the woman in the case, Vanessa Redgrave made a vivid impression and entered the ranks of stardom. Her participation in what was then thought to be a highly erotic sequence involving nude modeling helped lend notoriety to the film, which upon release was condemned by the Legion of Decency and other watchdog organizations. It's obvious today that, for his first English-language film, Antonioni was less interested in developing a Hitchcockian narrative than he was in capturing attitudes and images that, to him, symbolized the social upheaval of the times. Blow-Up is suffused from first frame to last with the "mod" and "pop" sensibilities that many in the '60s thought so corrosive. It would seem that the film risks feeling dated today, but it's really no less powerful thanks to the richness and complexity of Antonioni's vision. Multilayered and at times deliberately obtuse, Blow-Up still casts a hypnotic spell over viewers, and repeated viewings often reveal additional details and meanings.
All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
A masterpiece of 1960s art-house cinema, Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up is a dizzying exploration of images, appearances, and existence amid the mod glamour of Swinging '60s London. Antonioni took his signature influence of existentialist philosophy, seen in such earlier films as L'avventura (1960), La notte (1961), The Eclipse (1962), and Red Desert (1964), and pushed it to full-scale reflexivity: instead of just questioning existence, he questioned the nature of reality itself. Just as Thomas blows up his photographs until they are pure abstraction, Antonioni uses deliberately odd framing, expressionistic colors, and an extremely long telephoto lens, which crushes depth from the image, to make the film look both striking and opaque. Thomas himself is adrift in this world: absorbed in the surfaces of things yet unable to perceive intrinsic beauty, he finds it increasingly difficult to distinguish objective reality from the simulacra of advertising and fashion photography. By the end of the film, he is no longer certain if distinctions among image, illusion, and reality even exist. The film's brilliantly dense philosophical underpinnings aside, its Rear Window-esque plot makes it a compelling piece of work. Moreover, it features some of the most memorable sequences in cinema: the pantomime tennis match at the end of the film, the naughty ménage à trois on purple paper, and the almost farcically erotic photo shoot at the beginning of the film between model Veruschka and Thomas with his oversized camera lens. Blow Up proved extremely influential on younger generations of filmmakers; and it was later echoed by both Francis Ford Coppola in The Conversation (1974) and Brian De Palma in Blow Out (1981).

Product Details

Release Date:
10/28/2014
UPC:
0888574098643
Original Release:
1966
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
1:51:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Hemmings Thomas
Vanessa Redgrave Jane
Sarah Miles Patricia
Peter Bowles Ron
John Castle Painter
Jane Birkin Girl
Gillian Hills The Brunette
Jill Kennington Actor
Veruschka Model
Yardbirds Actor
Peggy Moffitt Actor
Ann Norman Actor
Julian Chagrin Mime
Jeff Beck Himself with The Yardbirds
Susan Broderick Antique Shop Owner
Tsai Chin Receptionist
Harry Hutchinson Shopkeeper
Ronan O'Casey Jane's Lover in Park
Jimmy Page Himself with The Yardbirds

Technical Credits
Michelangelo Antonioni Director,Screenwriter
Edward Bond Screenwriter
Frank Clarke Editor
Assheton Gorton Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Tonino Guerra Screenwriter
Herbie Hancock Score Composer
Carlo Di Palma Cinematographer
Carlo Ponti Producer
Paul Rabiger Makeup
Jocelyn Rickards Costumes/Costume Designer
Pierre Rouve Executive Producer
Donald Toms Production Manager
Yardbirds Score Composer

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