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Blow Out (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-Ray]

John Travolta , Nancy Allen , Brian De Palma    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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In the enthralling Blow Out, brilliantly crafted by Brian De Palma (Sisters, Carrie, Scarface), John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction) gives one of his greatest performances, as Jack, a movie sound-effects man who believes he has accidentally recorded a political assassination. He enlists the help of Sally (played by Carrie’s Nancy Allen), a possible eyewitness to the crime who may be in danger herself, to uncover the truth. With its jolting stylistic flourishes, intricate plot, profoundly felt characterizations, and gritty evocation of early-1980s Philadelphia, Blow Out is an American paranoia thriller unlike any other, as well as a devilish reflection on the act of moviemaking.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES • New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director Brian De Palma • New hour-long interview with De Palma, conducted by filmmaker Noah Baumbach • New interview with star Nancy Allen • Cameraman Garrett Brown on the Steadicam shots featured in the film within the film • Select on-set photos from photographer Louis Goldman • Original theatrical trailer • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow and Pauline Kael’s original New Yorker review


Brian De Palma's 1981 thriller is something of a homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's masterful Blowup, though there are hints of Francis Ford Coppola's paranoia-inducing Conversation sprinkled throughout. John Travolta plays a sound-effects man who witnesses what appears to be a tragic car accident killing a presidential candidate. The audio tape he happened to be recording at that moment (adding to his collection of natural sounds), however, suggests but doesn't prove that a murderous conspiracy is afoot. Trying to tease a shred of evidence from murky doubt, Travolta's character turns to a hooker (Nancy Allen) for help and stumbles into a web of evil spun by a right-wing kook (John Lithgow). De Palma's fetishistic fascination with obscured truth in a universe ruled by chance makes Blow Out one of his most operatic films. It's also perhaps one of his most revealing about the inherent decadence of creating verisimilitude for art. Sometimes knocked for its outrageous camera technique, Blow Out contains several exciting sequences that underscore De Palma's amped-up admiration for many of Hitchcock's best moves. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLOW OUT-- another De Palma masterpiece!! Jan. 13 2002
While it may be deriative of other films (Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW and even De Palma's own BODY DOUBLE and DRESSED TO KILL), this still stands as one of his best.
A movie sound man (John Travolta in one of his best performances), inadvertantly records an accident while recording effects for a new film-- one that kills the governor. He saves the other passenger, a hooker (Nancy Allen in another great performance that reminds one of her hooker character in DRESSED TO KILL) who tries to help him solve the case.
Meanwhile, a killer is on the loose, killing off Nancy Allen look-alikes in a most brutal fashion-- strangling them, and then stabbing a picture of the liberty bell on their stomachs. Travolta and Allen try to put the pieces of the puzzle together by putting together a film of the accident, which is purposefully erased to make it look like Travolta is full of crap.
The killer calls Allen to meet her at a subway so she can give him the tapes of the accident, disgusing himself as a TV reporter. Travolta figures out a way to rig a microphone onto Allen so he can hear everything they are saying from his car. When he hears the guys voice, he knows it is not that reporter, and he races to find them before it is too late...
In some ways, this is a very complex, disturbing, suspenseful, and often confusing thriller. But that's that way it was meant to be. And you'll see that, at the end, the pieces of the puzzle all really do fit together (despite a very sad ending, you'll figure it out, through the tears).
MGM does a great job on the presentation on BLOW OUT, giving you a choice of widescreen or fullscreen on a two sided disc. Unfortunately, the only extra is the theatrical trailer, and that is a major disappointment on the issue of the DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't forget it Nov. 16 2003
I saw «Blow Out» for the first time when I was 8. Couldn't forget it.
I saw «Blow Up» for the first time when I was 10. Couldn't forget it.
I saw «The Conversation» for the first time when I was 25. Couldn't forget it.
The reason these movies stay in your mind is simple. See the three of them and you'll understand.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of DePalma's best Feb. 6 2003
Brian De Palma rips off Michaelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation and comes up with a decent thriller about a film sound engineer (John Travolta) who records an automobile accident and becomes involved in a coverup when it turns out the driver was about to be elected President of the United States.
Jack Terry (Travolta) is on a city bridge recording ambient sounds for his latest schlock film's soundtrack when he hears a blow out and sees a car go off the road and into the lake. He dives in to find a woman, Sally (Nancy Allen), still alive in the car. He rescues her and takes her to the emergency room, where he finds out that the candidate was driving the car--and Sally isn't his wife. The police proceed to get Jack to "forget" what he saw.
Later, going over his tapes, Jack becomes convinced he heard a sound *before* the blow out--a gunshot. If there was a gun, then this was no accident.
After Carrie and Dressed to Kill, Blow Out continues Brian DePalma's reign as king of the Hitchcockian thriller/rip-off. Although style often triumphs over substance, often the style comments on the substance. His trademark split-screen (which specifically influenced Run Lola Run's Tom Tykwer) is used effectively to present two simultaneous sets of action that would otherwise be unknown. DePalma has also used this method of technical storytelling in Phantom of the Paradise and Sisters.
The acting is solid, as well, with Nancy Allen (then Mrs. DePalma) as the prototypical love interest (or is she?) and an early John Lithgow playing Burke, a homicidal maniac hired to take out Sally (as he takes out seemingly every woman who resembles her). DePalma would use Lithgow to greater effect in Raising Cain, and here he shows the promise of that later film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Dec 23 2001
Interesting but derivative thriller concerning a sound-effects guy (John Travolta) who becomes involved in a murder mystery when he accidentally records a car crash killing a would-be candidate for governor. He befriends the candidate's mistress (Nancy Allen) and they team up to provide evidence as to whether he was killed or died by accident. DePalma borrows heavily from other, superior sources ("Rear Window" and "The Conversation"), but he still makes this film fun to watch. It drags in some areas, but you're always intrigued and you're left wondering what's going to happen next. However, while DePalma's other 2 films, "Carrie" and "Dressed to Kill" got loaded with features, "Blow Out" only has a trailer. I guess this is because it was the least successful of the three films, but movie buffs and casual viewers should still check out this one. (Trivia: Travolta and Allen already appeared together in another DePalma film: "Carrie.")
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of DePalma's best films Oct. 11 2001
Brian DePalma has been (sometimes correctly) accused of manufacturing little more than brilliant pastiche (which is another way of damning him with faint praise). I confess to be as guilty as anyone of this practice, finding films like Dressed to Kill slick, fun, but ultimately less works of art than of skillful post-modern artifice.
Blow Out is a haunting exception. Yes, it has clear antecedents in Antonioni's Blowup and Coppola's paranoid classic, The Conversation. But it is unfair to judge Blow Out by its similarities to these films. One need only pay minimal attention to realize DePalma has his own goals in mind. No mere retread of the standard paranoid political thriller, Blow Out is a bravura exercise in nuanced, multi-layered story telling.
Low budget movie soundman Jack Terry (John Travolta) is in the right place at the wrong time - while out recording some nature sounds for a B slasher flick (in which DePalma seems to poke fun at some of his own earlier work), he catches the sounds of an auto accident. In an incident reminiscent of Chappaquiddick, a car driven by a presidential candidate suffers a tire blowout and careens off a nearby bridge. The candidate dies, but Terry manages to rescue his "lady friend", a party girl named Sally (Nancy Allen). Key to the story is his recording, which seems to contain a double-bang - perhaps the blowout preceded by a gunshot? Naturally the story leads Terry into a web of intrigue featuring slimy political operatives, corrupt cops, and nefarious CIA henchmen.
Blow Out's visual style has drawn criticism from some quarters as being too flashy. Ridiculous! The camera movements are precise and deliberate; designed to communicate story points with great efficiency.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great De Palma film!
One of Brian De Palma's best films gets the Criterion treatment, and it's worth the wait! A very tense thriller that stays with you for quite some time!
Published 9 months ago by Jeff Morant
5.0 out of 5 stars Un classique du genre!
Cet excellent suspense de Brian de Palma vaut le détour si vous ne l`avez pas encore vu.John Travolta est parfait dans le role d`un preneur de son témoin d`un... Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2012 by Ben Mears
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Service
A rare and hard to find movie. I'm so greatful that it's still available. Service was fantastic, couldn't ask for anything better.
Published on April 9 2012 by Ricky_D
5.0 out of 5 stars Travolta excels in an early role
Blow Out
Directed by Brian De Palma
Starring John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow and Dennis Franz

Criterion | 1981 | 108 min | Rated R | Released Apr 26,... Read more
Published on May 7 2011 by Steven Aldersley
3.0 out of 5 stars Great, but Annoying at the Same Time
Having heard before hand, that Brian DePalma's "Blow Out" was like a tribute to Antonioni's "Blow Up", i was definately intreagued. Read more
Published on June 8 2004 by K. A D. Veer
4.0 out of 5 stars nice paranoia thriller
John Travolta plays this sound effects guy and then something happens..he is then abyssed into a web of thrills and paranoia.... Read more
Published on Dec 9 2003 by Michael Bolts
4.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF DE PALMA'S FINEST
'Blow Out' is one of my favourite De Palma films, right after 'Dressed To Kill'. John travolta and Nancy Allen are perfect. Read more
Published on April 9 2003 by Vanessa Ryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Technically Proficient Tale
What Brian De Palma and Vilmos Zsigmond did with the Panavision landscape in this film was incredibly innovative and years ahead of its time. Read more
Published on March 3 2002 by hille2000
4.0 out of 5 stars A great movie about movie-making and more
Yeah, yeah-- more extras would have been nice, but this DVD DOES give you a sharp, sparkling print of a great Brian De Palma movie, one of his best, in fact. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2002 by Joseph P. Menta, Jr.
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