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Blow-Up
     

Blow-Up

4.5 2
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni,

Cast: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles

 

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Michelangelo Antonioni's stylish and groundbreaking look at Swinging London in the mid-'60s gets a careful presentation for its release on DVD. Blow-Up has been transferred to DVD in letterboxed format at the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which has been enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono;

Overview

Michelangelo Antonioni's stylish and groundbreaking look at Swinging London in the mid-'60s gets a careful presentation for its release on DVD. Blow-Up has been transferred to DVD in letterboxed format at the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which has been enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono; the dialogue is in English, with an alternate dubbed soundtrack in French, and optional subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. Bonus materials include a commentary track by Peter Brunette, author of the book The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni; an isolated music track featuring Herbie Hancock's original score; and two previews trailers for the film.

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:
02/17/2004
UPC:
0012569513525
Original Release:
1966
Rating:
R
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
1:51:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by "The Films of Michelangelo Antonioni" author Peter Brunette; Music-only audio track; Two theatrical trailers; Languages: English & Français; Subtitles: English, Français, & Español

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

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits. [1:26]
2. Free in the Streets. [3:40]
3. Solo Shoot. [5:39]
4. Photographic Objects. [5:17]
5. Bill and Patricia. [3:10]
6. No Time for Them. [2:00]
7. Search for Landscapes. [4:33]
8. Couple in the Park. [3:46]
9. The Lady Protests. [2:30]
10. Antique Fever. [4:28]
11. Someone You Know? [6:22]
12. His Visitor. [5:47]
13. Say What You Want. [4:19]
14. Topless. [5:02]
15. What Develops. [3:54]
16. Blowups. [1:32]
17. Sequence of Events? [3:05]
18. Swingers Interlude. [2:46]
19. Murderous Outline. [5:54]
20. Scene of the Crime. [4:56]
21. Eyewitness. [3:01]
22. Stolen Pictures. [2:25]
23. Ricky Tick (Stroll On). [6:24]
24. Finding Ron. [5:21]
25. Not Finding the Body. [4:25]
26. Tennis Game. [4:02]

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Blow-Up 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With 1966's "Blow-up", Michelangelo Antonioni created a genuine hit. The sort of picture that would normally have been seen only on the art-house circuit a few years before, it was widely played, even in small towns, and became a compulsory conversation piece in its year of release. The public was finally ready for Antonioni his particular brand of avant-gardism had finally become fashionable. Perhaps it was the picture's milieu--"swinging" London, youth pop culture, a few then-daring scenes of erotic sex--but Antonioni had at last surmounted the barrier that had always lain in the personal filmmaker's path: He became a commercial success. "Blow-up" concerns a successful mod photographer (David Hemmings) in London whose world is bounded by fashion, pop music, marijuana, and easy sex. His inner life is as bored and despairing as that of any classic Antonioni hero, but in the course of a single day he stumbles upon an event that challenges his ennui, evokes for a few moments the possibility that he may overcome it, but leaves him in the end much as he was before. On the surface, "Blow-up" is an old-fashioned thriller done with a new style of the Sixties. But there is more to it than that. This is, essentially, a parable about human perception. The young photographer cannot discern the truth with his eyes, but only with his camera. The initial conflict of the film--and the necessity for making the blow-ups in the first place--is the distinction between what his eyes see and what the camera sees he assumes that he can perceive reality well enough, but his pictures, examined in detail, suggest there is a reality going on around us that our eyes cannot understand. All truth, finally, is subjective, as we cannot know what is "out there," only what we see of it and this notion is made clear by the maddeningly symbolic ending. "Blow-up" came at the end of a series of movies that had made everyone over-familiar with even the phrase 'Swinging London' ("Darling", "The Knack", "Alfie", "Morgan", "Georgy Girl") and heartily sick of it. "Blow-up" was about the surrender to fantasy which in the mid-1960s cinema, and an influential sector of metropolitan life, had made. It abstracted what it wanted from it, and framed it in a separate reality. Antonioni may be left, like Bergman, Bresson, and Bunuel, with a small, devoted audience. This is the dilemma of the personal filmmaker. This is the main reason that a personal film like "Blow-up" is a great luxury, almost unknown in Sixties America except, perhaps immediately after a director had made an enormous commercial hit. Film was just too expensive to be a fine art. The personal film was one of the side shows of cinema. The mainstream lies elsewhere, in the popular genres. [filmfactsman]
Guest More than 1 year ago
Toward the end of this film there is a club scene with a band playing. The band is The Yardbirds shortly before their final break-up when they eventually turned into Led Zeppelin. This line-up features Chris Dreja on rhythm guitar, Keith Relf on vocals, Jeff Beck as the guitar- smashing lead-guitarist and Jimmy Page (who went on to form Led Zeppelin, oringinally known as The New Yardbirds) who as a teen-age session guitarist had been quickly brought in to fill in on bass after the departure of their original bassist Paul Samuel-Smith. The movie's worth it for this scene alone.