Ninth Configuration

Ninth Configuration

5.0 1
Director: William Peter Blatty

Cast: Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Ed Flanders

     
 

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Warner Bros. Home Video has done film fans around the world a big favor by rescuing this neglected cult classic from obscurity and presenting in a thoughtful and exquisitely crafted package. This DVD's anamorphically enhanced video transfer restores Gerry Fisher's cinematography to its full widescreen glory: the print suffers from periodic scratches and specks of dust… See more details below

Overview

Warner Bros. Home Video has done film fans around the world a big favor by rescuing this neglected cult classic from obscurity and presenting in a thoughtful and exquisitely crafted package. This DVD's anamorphically enhanced video transfer restores Gerry Fisher's cinematography to its full widescreen glory: the print suffers from periodic scratches and specks of dust but otherwise delivers a richly textured image that presents the thoughtfully composed imagery the way it was meant to be experienced. The audio is limited to a mono soundtrack; it lacks the excitement of a stereo mix but is a well-mixed track that delivers the film's rapid-fire dialogue with the appropriate clarity. The value of this disc of The Ninth Configuration is further enhanced by a generous array of extras guaranteed to delight the film's cult following. The jewel in its crown is a fascinating commentary track featuring William Peter Blatty and film critic Mark Kermode: Blatty reveals a wealth of technical and autobiographical tidbits as he chronicles the film's complicated genesis and Kermode gently prompts the director into discussing his take on the film's complex religious and philosophical themes. There is also a series of additional scenes, including two alternate endings that add a different slant to the film, and a nice featurette in which Mark Kermode sets up the film's complicated array of themes (this makes a great intro to the film for novice viewers). All in all, this is a fine package that presents The Ninth Configuration in the best possible style and also makes a strong case for its status as a forgotten classic.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This odd but fascinating film is not for every taste, but those willing to accept its challenging style will find themselves rewarded with a one-of-a-kind film that is both impassioned and inventive. Films like The Ninth Configuration are the reason the genre of "cult movie" was invented: its constantly twisting plot line incorporates elements of the psychological thriller, the social satire, the surrealist comedy, and the allegorical tale without ever fully giving itself over to one style. Writer/director William Peter Blatty further ups the artistic ante by populating his tale with a rogue's gallery of rich, flamboyantly crafted characterizations and giving these characters stunning dialogue that combines heady artistic references, masterfully timed comic zingers, and some surprisingly incisive and heartfelt discourse on religious and philosophical matters. It's the kind of story that could have chased its tail into pretentious oblivion, yet The Ninth Configuration manages to remain grounded thanks to the thorough sense of craftsmanship that all its participants bring to the table. Blatty's direction manages to be stylish without ever feeling obtrusive; he uses Gerry Fisher's darkly atmospheric cinematography to wrap the tale in artful but unobtrusive compositions that give the story room to unfold, but uses sharp editing to maintain a carefully modulated pace that deftly traverses the story's multiple twists. Blatty also gives his actors the freedom to combine humor and heartache in equal measure to flesh out their roles, a tactic that handsomely pays off in a series of unforgettable performances. Scott Wilson combines Groucho Marx-style comedic timing with righteous anger to make his tormented astronaut character feel real, Ed Flanders is alternately witty and moving as the hospital's eccentric but devoted doctor, and Stacy Keach utilizes everything from Buddha-like calm to volcanic range to make Colonel Kane a truly unforgettable protagonist. There are also a variety of scene-stealing supporting turns, two of the biggest standouts being George DiCenzo as a patient with an array of personalities and Steve Sandor as the unhinged biker whose brutal actions kick-start the film's final act. In short, the eccentric and challenging nature of The Ninth Configuration might put some viewers off, but its barrage of thought-provoking ideas and rich craftsmanship make it well worth the effort for adventurous viewers.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/17/2002
UPC:
0085391441427
Original Release:
1979
Rating:
R
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
1:54:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Feature-length audio commentary by William Peter Blatty Author/documentary filmmaker Mark Kermode featurette; Additional scenes; 2 alternate endings; Interactive menus; Cast/director career highlights; Scene access; Subtitles: English & Français

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Stacy Keach Col. Kane
Scott Wilson Capt. Cutshaw
Ed Flanders Col. Fell
John Miller Lt. Reno
Neville Brand Maj. Groper
Moses Gunn Maj. Nammack
George DiCenzo Capt. Fairbanks
Robert Loggia Lt. Bennish
Joe Spinell Spinell
Alejandro Rey Lt. Gomez
Tom Atkins Sgt. Krebs
Steve Sandor First Cyclist
Richard Lynch Second Cyclist
Bill Lucking Highway Patrolman
David Healy 1st General
Tom Shaw Priest
Bruce Boa Sergeant in Combat Shack
Bobby Bass Driver
Mark Gordon Sergeant Gilman

Technical Credits
William Peter Blatty Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Tom Bronson Costumes/Costume Designer
Battle Davis Editor
Gerry Fisher Cinematographer
Sydney Ann Kee Set Decoration/Design
Peter Lee-Thompson Editor
Andrew London Sound/Sound Designer
William Malley Production Designer
William Paul Executive Producer
Tom Shaw Associate Producer,Asst. Director
Roberto Silvi Editor
Barry De Vorzon Score Composer
Marvin Wallowitz Sound/Sound Designer
Dennis Washington Production Designer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Overture: San Antone [2:36]
2. Opening Titles [2:23]
3. Fall In! [3:02]
4. Kane's Arrival [6:24]
5. There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder [:59]
6. "You Are a Very Sick Man" [1:34]
7. Teaching the Atoms a Lesson [3:09]
8. "Don't Blame Me, I Told Them Not to Operate" [1:09]
9. Welcome to Transylvania [8:07]
10. Casting Shakespeare for Dogs [6:36]
11. Colonel Fell's Drug Locker [3:30]
12. "Let's Go to the Beach!" [2:38]
13. "Horatio? Get Me a Grayhound" [:56]
14. Gregory Peck in Spellbound [1:32]
15. Trapped on Venus [:58]
16. The Ninth Configuration [1:21]
17. "Killer" Kane [5:02]
18. Groper's Letter [2:58]
19. Hamlet Is Mad North by Northwest [3:57]
20. Indulging the Men [3:43]
21. "Why Do I Have to Wear This?" [2:28]
22. "You're Too Human to Be Human" [4:54]
23. Sunday Mass [2:16]
24. The New Inmate [4:43]
25. "I Need You" [2:19]
26. A Way to Wash Away All the Blood [3:32]
27. "Welcome to the Club" [6:57]
28. "I've Been Meeting Your Family" [9:10]
29. Kane Comes Home [:53]
30. "I'll Show You God Exists" - Kane's Sacrifice [9:47]
31. Return to Transylvania [6:12]
32. The Medal: End Titles [2:04]

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