Made in USA

( 6 )

Overview

Jean-Luc Godard was making his final break with his influences in American genre filmmaking when he produced Made In U.S.A., one of two films he shot at roughly the same time in 1966; it also preserved the final act of his relationship with actress, muse and one-time spouse Anna Karina, who had divorced him nearly two years before and would not work with him again. The film didn't receive a proper American release at the time thanks to legal issues (the film is very loosely based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake ...
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Overview

Jean-Luc Godard was making his final break with his influences in American genre filmmaking when he produced Made In U.S.A., one of two films he shot at roughly the same time in 1966; it also preserved the final act of his relationship with actress, muse and one-time spouse Anna Karina, who had divorced him nearly two years before and would not work with him again. The film didn't receive a proper American release at the time thanks to legal issues (the film is very loosely based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake The Jugger, published under the pen name Richard Stark, and there were disagreements over the American literary rights), but the Criterion Collection has allowed American cinephiles to give the picture a careful study with this DVD release. Made In U.S.A. has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16:9 monitors. Raoul Coutard's cinematography is pin-sharp, with an eye-popping palate of primary colors (especially the vivid reds), and this transfer beautifully preserves the film's bold visual style, and was drawn from a flawless source print. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the sound is nearly as crisp as the visuals. The dialogue is in French, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. In addition to the feature, this edition includes on-camera interviews with actors Anna Karina and Laszlo Szabo, a discussion of the film's political and emotional focus featuring film historians Richard Brody and Colin MacCabe, the film's original theatrical trailer, and a short visual "concordance" that identifies the many literary and cultural references that appear in the movie. And finally, the booklet includes a fine essay by critic and columnist J. Hoberman. Made In U.S.A. is often overlooked in favor of the other feature Godard was shooting at the time, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, but it's a bold and vital work from one of Godard's most interesting periods, and Criterion's excellent DVD release gives film fans a chance to rediscover the picture (or perhaps investigate it for the first time).
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Special Features

Interviews with Stars Anna Karina and László Szabó; A Video piece on the Personal and the Political in Made In USA AND 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, Featuring Godard Biographers Richard Brody and Colin Maccabe; ; A Visual Essay Cataloging the Multiple References in the Film; Original and re-release theatrical trailers; New and Improved English Subtitle translation; Plus: An Essay by Film Critic J. Hoberman
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
It's amazing to think that Jean-Luc Godard's Made In USA (1966) took almost 43 years get a commercial release in the United States. The movie, done by Godard as a favor to producer Georges de Beauregard, ended up in legal limbo in the US owing to its literary origins -- it was based on a book by Donald Westlake, who ended up reacquiring the US rights to the film when de Beuregard's financial troubles prevented him from fulfilling his monetary obligations to the author. In 2008, Rialto Pictures licensed the rights directly from Westlake (who died suddenly two days after the picture's January 2009 opening) and struck new prints for a proper US run of the movie. As to the picture itself . . . it's a lean, fast-moving, and very witty, as well as extremely topical political satire, done up as an American-style gangster thriller (or satire of such a thriller), all with a serious underlying purpose. Anna Karina, the by-then-ex-Mrs. Godard, moves through the picture's "Atlantic City" setting in a succession of striking mod outfits, trying to find her missing boyfriend Richard P (his last name is forever obliterated by on-screen source sounds), crossing paths with diminutive conspirators, police detectives who may not be who they say they are (or, if they are, may not be operating legally); and Marianne Faithfull (uncredited) singing an all-acoustic "As Tears Go By." Forget the logic (or lack therein) of the events and some of what one sees, and simply absorb the pacing and the overlay of the conspiratorial web, all intended as a serious comment about the still-unsolved disappearance of Moroccan leftist Mehdi Ben Barka, rumored to be a result of a rightist Cold War conspiracy involving the government. The resulting film is disjointed, cuttingly funny and digressive, as well as illogical and downright silly in places -- and keeps calling attention to itself through the use of well-known names (Nixon, MacNamara, David Goodis . . .) for a multitude of characters, both on-screen and spoken of. The politics and discourse about the latter woven through the picture, as well as the presence of Faithfull doing a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards song, seems to set the stage for Godard's later One Plus One: Sympathy For The Devil, with its more direct participation of the Rolling Stones. Taken on its own terms, this picture is sometimes maddening, when it isn't being thoroughly entertaining in its own uniquely disjointed way (and a feast for the eye in its treatment of Karina's extraordinary allure).
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/21/2009
  • UPC: 715515045216
  • Original Release: 1966
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Subtitled
  • Time: 1:25:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 30,143

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anna Karina Paula Nelson
Jean-Pierre Léaud Donald Siegel
Laszlo Szabo Richard Widmark
Kyoko Kosaka Doris Mizoguchi
Claude Bakka Man with Marianne Faithful
Jean-Pierre Biesse Richard M. Nixon
Charles Bitsch Taxi Driver
Jean-Claude Bouillon Inspector Aldrich
Marc Dudicourt Barman
Remo Forlani Workman in Bar
Philippe Labro Himself
Rita Maiden Woman Who Gives Paula Information
Alexis Poliakoff Man with Notebook and Red Telephone
Yves Afonso David Goodis
Jean-Luc Godard Voice Only
Ernest Menzer Edgar Typhus
Marianne Faithfull Herself
Technical Credits
Jean-Luc Godard Director, Screenwriter
Claude Bakka Asst. Director
Charles Bitsch Asst. Director
Raoul Coutard Cinematographer
Georges de Beauregard Producer
Agnès Guillemot Editor
Jean-Pierre Léaud Asst. Director
René Levert Sound/Sound Designer
Jacques Maumont Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Criterion: Made In USA
1. Mr Typhus [10:29]
2. David Goodis [5:47]
3. Dr Korvo [2:50]
4. Bar [7:23]
5. "As Tears Go By" [3:40]
6. Dr Ludwig [4:28]
7. Paul Widmark [6:56]
8. Richard Politzer [2:38]
9. Inspector Aldrich [7:38]
10. Questions and Answers [6:05]
11. "They Don't Want The Left To Win" [1:14]
12. Donald Siegel [4:07]
13. Left, Year Zero [6:09]
14. Sadness [4:01]
15. Philippe Labro [7:09]
1. Color Bars [4:18]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Criterion: Made In USA
   Play The Movie
   Supplements
      On the Cusp
         Play
      Anna Karina
         Play
      László Szabó
         Play
      Made In USA: A Concordance
         Play
      Trailers
         Original Release Trailer
         Rialto Pictures Rerelease Trailer
   Chapters
   Subtitles
      Subtitles: On
      Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 6 )
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    Posted July 22, 2009

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