Naked Lunch

( 18 )

Overview

The film that many thought impossible to make finds its way to DVD in fine form with this feature-packed Criterion release. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is pristine, from the drab interiors of the inner city to the mysterious streets of Interzone. Although the colors are fairly muted, accurate skin tones and solid blacks are presented in a clean print that's free of grain or debris. The Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack isn't necessarily dynamic, but the jazzy score rings through ...
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Overview

The film that many thought impossible to make finds its way to DVD in fine form with this feature-packed Criterion release. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is pristine, from the drab interiors of the inner city to the mysterious streets of Interzone. Although the colors are fairly muted, accurate skin tones and solid blacks are presented in a clean print that's free of grain or debris. The Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack isn't necessarily dynamic, but the jazzy score rings through effectively with no audible hiss or distortion. While fans of the film will certainly be pleased with such a fine visual presentation, it's an audio feature that will most likely have David Cronenberg fans clamoring for this release. It's quite a rare event when this particular director sits down to record a commentary track and, thankfully, Criterion convinced not only him but also star Peter Weller to expound on their experiences making Naked Lunch. Though the track isn't what one could call lively (in fact, it sounds as if Weller and Cronenberg likely recorded their contributions separately), it does draw the listener into the complex production and offers rare insight into the mind of the man many consider to be one of the greatest living directors of horror cinema. From thoughts on the Saul Bass-inspired credits to the cinematic methods he used to incorporate the styles of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg into his film, Cronenberg is never dull. It's also interesting to hear Weller recall his first meeting with Burroughs and the amusing response that the author had upon first seeing his celluloid doppelganger. In addition to the commentary track, disc two offers a variety of fascinating supplements. Taken from London Weekend Television, the documentary Naked Making Lunch offers informative interviews with the cast and crew (including the revelation that star Judy Davis -- offended that she would be considered for such a role -- actually threw the script across the room upon first read) that truly draw viewers into the production. The inclusion of original storyboards from experimental filmmaker Anthony Balch's abandoned adaptation of Naked Lunch a few years after the book's initial release is especially compelling. A special-effects gallery offers an good introduction followed by six photo galleries (which include everything from pre-production sketches to photos of the final products, all containing detailed notes), in addition to marketing materials (including a promotional featurette), a trailer, television spots, and a B-roll montage of behind-the-scenes footage accompanied by an appropriately jazzy score. A reading of Naked Lunch excerpts by the author himself will certainly be treasured by fans of the book and movie, and photos of Burroughs taken by Ginsberg offer a rare peek into the worldly writer's early years. A 32-page booklet featuring essays by film critic Janet Maslin, Chris Rodley, Gary Indiana, and Burroughs rounds out the package nicely, with Burroughs' thoughts on Cronenberg's adaptation bringing the whole package fill circle.
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Special Features

New high-definition digital transfer approved by director David Cronenberg and enhanced for widescreen televisions; Audio commentary featuring Cronenberg and actor Peter Weller; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; RSDL dual-layer edition for optimal image quality; "Naked Making Lunch" making-of documentary by Chris Rodley; Illustrated essay on the special effects by Jody Duncan, editor of Cinefex magazine, featuring artifacts from Cronenberg's archive; Film stills gallery; Original marketing materials; William S. Burroughs' audio recording of excerpts from Naked Lunch ; Archival stills of William S. Burroughs from The Allen Ginsberg Trust; 32-page booklet featuring essays by film critic Janet Maslin, Chris Rodley, Gary Indiana, and a piece by William S. Burroughs
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Given that William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch isn't so much a novel as a collection of literary fragments that riff on corporate culture, human depravity, and sexual outrage as often as they filter the author's actual life as a bisexual, expatriate drug addict, it's a wonder the book ever became a movie at all. "Unfilmable" was the adjective most often applied, especially when it was announced that maverick Canadian director David Cronenberg would give it a shot. Cronenberg was hardly faithful to either the contents or the precise spirit of the author's nightmarishly misanthropic beat masterpiece, but he did manage to transform elements of the book and the overall Burroughs mythos into a coherent entry in his own oeuvre of stylized alienation. Most any literal description of the author's prose -- or the film's plot -- will fail to drive home the one element that makes both so enjoyable: the absurdist humor of both auteurs' visions. Talking bugs, amphibian spies, and arcane narcotics sound creepy, and they are. But as with the book itself, Cronenberg's film is full of deadpan humor that wallows in the excretory excesses of his visual metaphors while also driving home their aptness and winking all the while. It helps that his cast is so game, from the ever-shrewish Judy Davis in not one, but two tightly wound roles to the reliable Roy Scheider and Ian Holm and the too-too tight-lipped Peter Weller. The viscous special effects, vivid cinematography, and distorted period costume design all conspire to conjure up a dream-logic 1950s of squares, hipsters, and secret agents awash in neon, cigarette smoke, and junkie delirium. Cutting up the raw materials of the cut-up king himself, Cronenberg fashions a film as idiosyncratically inspired as its source material.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/11/2003
  • UPC: 715515014922
  • Original Release: 1991
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Alternate Wide Screen (1.78:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:55:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 13,895

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter Weller William Lee
Judy Davis Joan Frost/Joan Lee
Ian Holm Tom Frost
Julian Sands Yves Cloquet
Roy Scheider Dr. Benway
Monique Mercure Fadela
Nicholas Campbell Hank
Michael Zelniker Martin
Robert A. Silverman Hans
Joseph Scorsiani Kiki
Claude Aflalo Forgeman
Peter Boretski Voice Only
Deirdre Bowen
Michael Caruana Pawnbroker
Ornette Coleman The Ornette Coleman Trio
Yuval Daniel Hafid
John Friesen Hauser
Laurent Hazout Interzone Boy
Howard Jerome A.J. Cohen
Justin Louis 3rd Exterminator
Joseph di Mambro Interzone Boy
Sean McCann O'Brien
Barre Phillips The Ornette Coleman Trio
Kurt Reis 1st Exterminator
Julian Richings 4th Exterminator
Jim Yip The Chink
Technical Credits
David Cronenberg Director, Screenwriter
Deirdre Bowen Casting
Ornette Coleman Songwriter
Denise Cronenberg Costumes/Costume Designer
Bryan Day Sound/Sound Designer
Elinor Rose Galbraith Set Decoration/Design
Gabriella Martinelli Co-producer
James McAteer Art Director
Ronald Sanders Editor
Howard Shore Score Composer
Carol Spier Production Designer
Marilyn Stonehouse Production Manager
Peter Suschitzky Cinematographer
Jeremy Thomas Producer
Chris Walas Special Effects
William S. Burroughs Source Author
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credit Sequence [:11]
2. "Exterminate All Rational Thought" [2:37]
3. Instructions from Control [6:23]
4. Habit-Forming [6:20]
5. Dr. Benway [2:50]
6. William Tell Routine [5:18]
7. Mugwamp [3:48]
8. Interzone [4:39]
9. "Words to Live By" [4:27]
10. Tom and Joan Frost [3:54]
11. Yves Cloquet [6:26]
12. The Martinelli [5:29]
13. Fadela [3:48]
14. "An Unconscious Agent" [1:44]
15. Naked Lunch [9:57]
16. The Mugwriter [6:14]
17. "A Sound You Could Smell" [6:33]
18. Kiki and the Parrot [8:13]
19. The End of Clark-Nova [3:11]
20. The Mugwamp Dispensary [6:57]
21. "Welcome to Annexia" [1:57]
22. Closing Credits [7:29]
23. Color Bars [3:07]
1. Jazz [:11]
2. Art and Life [2:37]
3. Insect Obsession [6:23]
4. Toxic [6:20]
5. Hideous Truths [2:50]
6. A Critical Moment [5:18]
7. Science Fiction [3:48]
8. Tangiers in Toronto [4:39]
9. Automatic Writing [4:27]
10. Writer's Paranoia [3:54]
11. Literary Voices [6:26]
12. Dueling Typewriters [5:29]
13. Innately Erotic [3:48]
14. Subterranean Stories [1:44]
15. An American Character [9:57]
16. The Pyramid [6:14]
17. On the Road [6:33]
18. Sexual Predators [8:13]
19. Metaphorical Implications [3:11]
20. Enslaved [6:57]
21. The Beginning [1:57]
22. Closing Credits [7:29]
23. Color Bars [3:07]
Side #2 --
1. A Controversial Work [6:19]
2. Fiction and Autobiography [4:09]
3. Burroughs Meets Cronenberg [2:45]
4. Fear of Naked Lunch [6:12]
5. Alien Connection [4:09]
6. Drugs: Real and Metaphorical [6:59]
7. A Movie About Writing [5:16]
8. Sexuality and Politics [12:57]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Commentary
      Commentary Featuring Director David Cronenberg and Actor Peter Weller: On
      Commentary Featuring Director David Cronenberg and Actor Peter Weller: Off
      Commentary Index
Side #2 --
   Naked Making Lunch
      Play
      Index
   Special Effects Stills Gallery
      Introduction
      Mugwumps
      Mugwriter
      Bugwriters
      Sex Blob
      Kiki and Cloquet
      Fadela
   Film Stills Gallery
      Portraits
      New York, 1953
      Interzone
   Marketing
      Trailer
      Featurette
      B-Roll Montage
      TV Spot: "Review"
      TV Spot: "Riveting"
   William Burroughs Reads Naked Lunch
      Author William Burroughs Reads Excerpts from His Novel Naked Lunch: Play
         Benway
         The Black Meat
         Hassan's Rumpus Room
         The Market
         The Talking Asshole
         Islam Incorporated and the Parties of Interzone
         Interzone
         Hauser and O'Brien
         Antrophied Preface
      Production Credits
   Allen Ginsberg Photographs: William Burroughs
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Cinematic Oddity.

    Naked Lunch is hard to explain and, perhaps, harder to understand. It is an ADULTS ONLY drama that mixes and muddles metaphors that are both clear and commonplace in many contemporary American dramas. Drugs and drug use are taken in their most abstract forms and utilized to negate much of what is shown on screen and makes it, more or less, the viewers window into the drug fueled hallucinations or intuitive musings of a secret agent whose cover is so deep that he is rarely even aware of his mission. Some may view it as drug induced hallucination film, others as a down turned science fiction espionage drama, both are intentional and represent only a few of the many ways this film can be taken. No matter how you take the plot, be aware that this film is not a family film, unless your family has all read the book to which some portion of the film is derived.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One Queasy Trip

    A brilliantly conceived and executed fever-dream of a film, filled with darkly grotesque imagery and memorably twisted characters. Cronenberg skillfully creates a shadowy claustrophobic world where, in seamless fashion, one man’s drug-induced hallucinations intertwine with and become indistinguishable from his normal waking life. Peter Weller is perfectly cast in the role of William Lee, a man whose perpetually stoic and deadpan demeanor ultimately helps him navigate and survive the deepening perils of his own drug addiction, even as his life spirals into nightmare. Supporting cast members (especially Judy Davis as Weller’s adulterous bug-powder-addicted wife) also deliver credible performances in smaller but still-crucial roles. Peter Suschitzky’s cinematography is excellent, giving Cronenberg’s mid-1950s New York sets a gritty, seedy lived-in look. The physical appearance of the “bug-writers” and the even more monstrous-looking “Mugwumps” is artfully conveyed, though decidedly unappetizing. Also noteworthy is Peter Boretski’s distinctively creepy-sounding creature voice (a role on par with Douglas Rain’s ubiquitous HAL 9000 character in 2001: A Space Odyssey), alternately soothing, scolding and menacing as he matter-of-factly explains to Weller the amoral Byzantine workings of Interzone. In the pantheon of movies devoted to drug-addiction, this is one trip you shouldn’t miss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Beatnik Classic!

    This classic film-story, beautifully presented, written by the son of a Fortune 500 company who saw through the paste-board reality of post WWII America, does all it was intended to do: captures the viewer's attention, lulls one into a false sense of rhythm and reality and then shatters it utterly and irrepairably -- loss of innocence for the American gentry. Must have material. As good as it gets.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't Eat Lunch Before Watching

    David Cronenberg film based on a William S. Burroughs novel. A mystery science fiction/horror satire. No real plot structure or purpose, the film is simply innundated with homosexual/sexually depraved innuendos from beginning to end. The film is utterly grotesque in every conceivable way! The special effects are cheap and unimpressive. An average porno film has more creativity and plot than this worthless piece of self-flattery. I'm not shy to shock value entertainment and will usually watch even the worst of films to the end. This was too stupid and grotesque to bother reaching its conclusion. I urge you to spare yourselves the agony I have had to endure watching this filth.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2013

    Strange but good movie Thi

    Strange but good movie This is one of the strangest movie I have seen. It had a very strange story line that I was interested in watching till the end to see how it unravels. The movie is about a guy who finds a portal to John Malcovich's brain. Anyone who goes into the portal can watch what John Malcovich is doing and ''be'' John Malcovich for 15 minutes.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    Amazing! Cronenberg does a great job of filming the unfilmable.

    Amazing! Cronenberg does a great job of filming the unfilmable. One of his best pictures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    Very weird to say the least. The blu ray makes the picture detai

    Very weird to say the least. The blu ray makes the picture detail stand out. Check out the detail of the bugs! This isn't Cronenberg's best, but if you are a fan of his then you already know about this movie. Others beware! It is trippy!! I enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Junky

    Peter Weller does a great job but the script falls apart. this is the remake of the book and instead of dope follows around a bug man. It gets confusing only noting that Bill Burroughs shot his wife in the head on accident, wink-wink-then he sucks up bug dust and goes into the interzone.

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    Posted July 9, 2010

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    Posted December 25, 2008

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    Posted July 24, 2010

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    Posted August 20, 2011

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    Posted July 17, 2009

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    Posted December 13, 2010

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    Posted August 14, 2009

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    Posted June 22, 2010

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    Posted July 27, 2013

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    Posted July 10, 2012

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews