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

4.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Travolta, Nancy Allen
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Format: DTS Surround Sound, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: April 26 2011
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B004JPJHL0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,926 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: Blu-ray
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, 2011

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

English SDH

Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc

Jack Terry (Travolta) is a sound-effects man who works on B-movies for a Philadelphia-based studio. One night, he decides to go out to record some new effects. He captures the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, a frog croaking, an owl hooting and a couple's conversation. They mention that someone is watching them from a nearby bridge.

Jack inadvertently records a car accident and a gunshot heard before it veers off the road into a creek. He runs over and leaps into the water, pulling a woman from the car, but too late to save the man she is with. The woman, Sally (Allen), survives the accident with no apparent injuries. The dead man turns out to be Governor McRyan, a potential presidential candidate.

The police write the crash off as an accident, but Jack knows what he heard and reconstructs the scene in his mind by listening to his recording. We find out that someone caught the crash on film and sold it to various publications. Jack matches the images to the sounds and is certain the crash was caused by a bullet hitting a tire. None of the authorities seem interested so he seeks Sally's help to prove his theory.

De Palma builds suspense throughout and a plot to discredit the Governor is gradually revealed.
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Format: DVD
For a twist on Antonioni's 1966 movie 'Blow Up', this is a creative and suspenseful update. The movie itself tends to have moments of obligatory 'bad guy set ups' and tacked in car chase. But have to say Lithgow does turn into a very creepy contract killer who knows how to cover his bases. And for Travolta racing through the streets and parades of Philly, it doesn't wind up quite as victorious as one would expect. Dennis Franz and Nancy Allen also come off as very weak and shallow characters at first. But as things begin to unravel, and truth's are admitted - they do develop into some depth and intrigue. What save's this movie from a 3 star rating by me is Disc 2 of the set. De Palma, Nancy Allen, and others give some great insight into the difficulties and oddities making this movie just so. Plus, an early movie of De Palma's (Murder a la Mod) is an insightful treat. Can't say this is one of De Palma's BEST films. But it's casting, spin, and pace is definitely different than what people were expecting for the time - and to this day. And thanks to Criterion for the added extra's, as it does give a higher appreciation for this movie beyond it's surface.
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Format: DVD
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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