This DVD includes BOTH the 97-minute U.S. print typically seen on cable and video AND the 105-minute U.K. version which includes a couple of flashbacks featuring Charlotte Rampling that for some reason were completely excised for U.S. release. The excised scenes add just a tad more insight into Kowalski's character; while not essential to the whole plot (such as it is), these scenes ARE interesting and definitely will be appreciated by hardcore fans of the film. Kudos to 20th Century Fox for making available both versions. Being a real fan of the era that this movie was shot in, it's a kick to hear director Richard C. Sarafian's commentary track. Highly recommended!
The story of the main character, an auto delivery driver named Kowalski unfolds as he takes delivery of a white '70 Dodge Challenger which is as he puts it `souped up to 160' and proceeds to drive it from Denver to San Francisco. His plan, however is to do this in 15 hours to win a bet. As Kowalski makes his journey his life is revealed to us through flashbacks and recollections which are usually triggered by what is currently happening to him in real time. Through these the viewer learns that despite his apparent lawless behavior, Kowalski is a man of good character.
It is this good character, sense of duty and strong moral code that led to Kowalski's fallout with the establishment. He had been a decorated war hero and was honorably discharged from the military. A few years later, he was a decorated policeman. However, when he saw his police partner behaving in an unsavory fashion, he reacted. His reward was to be dishonorably discharged from the police force. This ultimately led Kowalski down the path to where we are introduced to him.
One of the big things that drew me into this movie is that it doesn't hand you the explanations on a silver platter. Instead it allows you to think about it and draw your own conclusions long after you've seen it. Some reviewers on IMDB have already done a great job of touching on the philosophies of freedom and individualism prevalent in this movie, so I won't waste the time trying to top those. I'll add that I feel this is a type of an expressionist film.Read more ›
There was an article in a Mopar Magazine in the early '90's that talked about the two sequences with Charlotte Rampling that had been cut from US distribution. I am still hoping someday to see the one with her in the black hat, where she hisses at Kowalksi and becomes the malevolent spectre of his imminent death. Until then, I am happy to have at last the hitchhiker scene. It adds a darkness and a texture that enhances the end of the film. I am sorry that it was cut. The Sarafian commentary adds a lot too. Finally! It is a good thing.