Targets

Overview

Peter Bogdanovich's directorial debut, Targets, comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Although there is no doubt that this is an on-the-cheap Roger Corman production, the transfer makes the film as good as it ever has on home video. The English soundtrack is rendered in the original Dolby Digital Mono. English subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by Bogdanovich. The director is full of ...
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Overview

Peter Bogdanovich's directorial debut, Targets, comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Although there is no doubt that this is an on-the-cheap Roger Corman production, the transfer makes the film as good as it ever has on home video. The English soundtrack is rendered in the original Dolby Digital Mono. English subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by Bogdanovich. The director is full of anecdotes about the making of the film, and often praises various collaborators including Sam Fuller, Polly Platt, and Laszlo Kovacs. This track, like Robert Rodriguez' commentary on El Mariachi, should be heard by anyone struggling to stretch a small budget into a feature film. An introduction by Bogdanovich, which is little more than a ten-minute distillation of the commentary, rounds out this very worthwhile, inexpensive release from Paramount.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by director Peter Bogdanovich; Targets - An Introduction by Peter Bogdanovich; Widescreen version enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs; Dolby Digital - English Mono; English subtitles
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
The 1968 directorial debut of well-known cineaste Peter Bogdanovich remains one of his very best movies, and to some viewers it might seem more powerful today than it did 30-some years ago. Targets, written by Bogdanovich and then-wife Polly Platt, tells two stories that converge in the film’s startling climax. In one plot thread, aging horror-movie star Byron Orlok Boris Karloff, more or less playing himself announces to the producers of his latest picture that he’s ready to retire, given that his screen work no longer shocks audiences, who see images of violence and murder every night on their TV sets. Orlok despairs for our society, and his concerns seem justified when we’re introduced to Bobby Thompson Tim O’Kelly, an apparently normal young man whose wholesome appearance and demeanor masks a deep-rooted disturbance. Bobby snaps, killing his wife and mother before going on a shooting spree that culminates in an assault on the patrons of a drive-in theater -- where Orlok's film is being screened. Bogdanovich meant Targets as an allegory for contemporary America, at that time enduring what seemed like waves of senseless violence, highlighted by Charles Whitman's 1966 murder spree in Texas. Karloff, terminally ill but owing producer Roger Corman another picture, delivers what is unquestionably his finest latter-day performance; though he subsequently appeared in several more films, Targets would have made a more suitable coda to his long and distinguished career. O’Kelly exudes Middle American normalcy, so much so that viewers will find his sudden psychotic explosion even more terrifying. Bogdanovich who also plays a small role uses dialogue sparingly and relies on imagery to carry his narrative. He depicts American life during the Vietnam era with honesty and simplicity, and while there’s an anti-gun message at the movie’s core, Targets never resorts to the overt preachiness or intellectual dishonesty of, say, an Oliver Stone movie. In an era where 24-hour cable networks thrive on sensational stories, Bogdanovich’s modest little movie seems more relevant than ever.
All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
For his debut feature, Peter Bogdanovich wrote and directed this shattering, visceral thriller that meditates on the nature of violence in contemporary society, as well as the chasm between real-life horrors and shlocky movie scares that cannot possibly compete with them. To drive home this differential, Bogdanovich and co-writer Polly Platt set up twin intertwined narrative threads with contrasting tones - one (starring the late Boris Karloff as a washed-up screen actor) that has a lightly comedic vibe, and another (starring Tim O'Kelly as the Charles Whitman-like Bobby Thompson) with an almost completely flat affect that anticipated John McNaughton's Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer by 20 years. Portraying a psychopath sans any feelings beyond the instinctive - a young man missing vital parts - O'Kelly makes an indelible impression; the scenes of suburban pseudo-interaction between the Bobby character, his wife, and his parents have a chilling deadness to them. A depressing void lies unspoken, just beneath the surface, forcing us to look head-on at the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of a society that continues to produce animals like Thompson. One can think of few sequences in contemporary film quite as nauseating as the one where Thompson scales a water tower beside the interstate, and begins picking off unsuspecting, innocent drivers with his scope rifle; we're paralyzed by the ease with which he acts and the lack of any external reprisal against him, and we can feel the full crushing weight of despair and hopelessness. Like Lindsay Anderson's If..., the Bogdanovich movie is as much a product of its time as any picture made during the '60s, given the extent to which assassinations and hate crimes became commonplace at the end of that decade. But in light of 21st Century tragedies such as the Aurora and Sandy Hook massacres, Targets also seems eerily prescient and in desperate need of broader exposure, particularly among those who sit on the fence regarding the gun control issue in the U.S. Some critics have stated that - like Francis Coppola with his Rain People - Bogdanovich rarely created a film this remarkable in his subsequent work; that's arguably true. Throughout, the clarity of the central vision of Middle American hell gives the picture a palpable, unshakable emotional impact. As a footnote, however: more sensitive viewers should be forewarned that the movie - despite its brilliant craftsmanship - is extremely unpleasant and even physically sickening to sit through, and cannot be easily shaken off.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Targets was not Boris Karloff's last film (he would limp through five forgettable horror films before his death, four of them shot in Mexico within a month), but it was a perfect grace note for the actor who starred in several of the most enduring horror classics of the 1930s. As Byron Orlok, a thinly disguised version of himself, Karloff plays a man who feels that in the late 1960's the real horror is to be found not in a movie theater but on the streets of any American city. Orlok is convinced that his time has come and gone, and he wants nothing more than to get out of the movie business. While this resignation contrasts with Karloff's own career, in which he kept working with grim determination right up until his death, he was fortunate that Roger Corman entrusted the project to Peter Bogdanovich, an enthusiastic film historian making his (credited) debut as a director. Bogdanovich gives the story's sniper subplot a cool, semi-documentary feel that makes the terror of the onslaught all the more powerful for never being played as melodrama. In Targets, stage blood spills in gothic mansions ruled by sinister madmen on movie screens, but real blood is shed in the homes, highways, and drive-in movie theaters of Los Angeles. With this film, Bogdanovich and Karloff bridged the gap between classic and contemporary horror, and the result gave them, respectively, the first and final screen triumphs of their careers. Bogdanovich would go on to make a string of major movies in the early 1970s, all of them in some way nostalgia pieces, including The Last Picture Show (1971), What's Up, Doc? (1972), and Paper Moon (1973).

Targets was not Boris Karloff's last film (he would limp through five forgettable horror films before his death, four of them shot in Mexico within a month), but it was a perfect grace note for the actor who starred in several of the most enduring horror classics of the 1930s. As Byron Orlok, a thinly disguised version of himself, Karloff plays a man who feels that in the late 1960's the real horror is to be found not in a movie theater but on the streets of any American city. Orlok is convinced that his time has come and gone, and he wants nothing more than to get out of the movie business. While this resignation contrasts with Karloff's own career, in which he kept working with grim determination right up until his death, he was fortunate that Roger Corman entrusted the project to Peter Bogdanovich, an enthusiastic film historian making his (credited) debut as a director. Bogdanovich gives the story's sniper subplot a cool, semi-documentary feel that makes the terror of the onslaught all the more powerful for never being played as melodrama. In Targets, stage blood spills in gothic mansions ruled by sinister madmen on movie screens, but real blood is shed in the homes, highways, and drive-in movie theaters of Los Angeles. With this film, Bogdanovich and Karloff bridged the gap between classic and contemporary horror, and the result gave them, respectively, the first and final screen triumphs of their careers. Bogdanovich would go on to make a string of major movies in the early 1970s, all of them in some way nostalgia pieces, including The Last Picture Show (1971), What's Up, Doc? (1972), and Paper Moon (1973).
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/12/2003
  • UPC: 097360682441
  • Original Release: 1968
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:29:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Boris Karloff Byron Orlok
Tim O'Kelly Bobby Thompson
Nancy Hsueh Jenny
James Brown Robert Thompson, Sr.
Sandy Baron Kip Larkin
Arthur Peterson Ed Loughlin
Tanya Morgan Ilene Thompson
Mary Jackson Mrs. Thompson
Monte Landis Marshall Smith
Stafford Morgan Gunsmith
Mark Dennis Gunsmith
Paul Condylis Drive-In Manager
Peter Bogdanovich Sammy
Dan Ades Chauffeur
Diana Ashley
Geraldine Baron Larkin's Girl
James Bowie
Robert Cleaves
Jay Daniel Snack Bar Attendant
Susan Douglas
Mike Farrell Man in Phone Booth
Gary Kent Gas Tank Worker
Frank Marshall Ticket Boy
James Morris Man with Pistol
Elaine Partnow
Randy Quaid
Kirk Scott
Technical Credits
Peter Bogdanovich Director, Editor, Producer, Screenwriter
Roger Corman Producer
Scott Hamilton Makeup
Laszlo Kovacs Cinematographer
Polly Platt Costumes/Costume Designer, Production Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Byron Retires [3:58]
2. An Honest Face [3:17]
3. Bobby's Home [3:41]
4. To the Future [3:01]
5. Target Practice [2:56]
6. My Chinese Lesson [1:54]
7. Funny Ideas [2:48]
8. "Where's My Script" [5:26]
9. Lights Off [6:59]
10. Good Morning [2:59]
11. Byron's Public Appearance [5:38]
12. Shooting for Pigs [2:47]
13. How About a Story? [3:06]
14. Sniper's Take-Out [1:44]
15. On the Run [2:08]
16. Before the Show [5:23]
17. Show Time [3:41]
18. Behind the Screen [2:58]
19. Drive-In Shooting Spree [4:40]
20. "Hardly Ever Missed" [4:13]
21. End Credits [1:01]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Set Up
      Audio Options: English
      Audio Options: Commentary by Director Peter Bogdanovich
      Subtitle Options: English
      Subtitle Options: None
   Special Features
      Commentary by Director Peter Bogdanovich
      Targets - An Introduction by Peter Bogdanovich
   Scene Selection
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