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Something Wild (Criterion) (Blu-Ray)

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Product Description

A straitlaced businessman meets a quirky, free-spirited woman at a downtown New York greasy spoon. Her offer of a ride back to his office results in a lunchtime motel rendezvous—just the beginning of a capricious interstate road trip that brings the two face-to-face with their hidden selves. Featuring a killer soundtrack and electric performances from Jeff Daniels (Terms of Endearment, The Squid and the Whale), Melanie Griffith (Body Double, Working Girl), and Ray Liotta (Field of Dreams, Goodfellas), Something Wild, directed by oddball American auteur Jonathan Demme (Stop Making Sense, The Silence of the Lambs), is both a kinky comic thriller and a radiantly off-kilter love story.

• New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Tak Fujimoto and approved by director Jonathan Demme, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• New video interviews with Demme and writer E. Max Frye
• Original theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic David Thompson


Jonathan Demme's sexy 1986 road comedy, a story about the liberation of a stuffed-shirt businessman (Jeff Daniels) by a free-spirited punkette (Melanie Griffith), looks better and better as the years go by. By dressing Griffith in a bowl-cut black wig and giving her character the resonant nickname Lulu, Demme establishes a clear link with G.W. Pabst's 1928 Louise Brooks melodrama Pandora's Box--except that in this case the influence of a sexual free spirit is not seen as malign or corrupting. The turning point comes when the girl's hard-edged manner is discarded along with the wig and the nickname: Lulu turns into Audrey, a touchingly vulnerable, fluffy blonde. Ray Liotta, making his first big splash as Audrey's ex-con ex-husband, a hot-wired collection of homicidal tics, personifies the menacing aspects of the "wild side" of life. The intensity of the final showdown between Daniels and Liotta startles some viewers, but it provides a needed catharsis. The film's glorious soundtrack album featuring David Byrne's peppy title track became a hit in its own right, and is still readily available. --David Chute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 13 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Some classics aren't as obvious June 25 2011
By J. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
As usual, The Criterion Collection provides a bevy of wonderful films alongside easily the greatest assortment of supplementary materials. But what can be debated are the choices of the films chosen.

SOMETHING WILD is by no means a top AFI pick or all-time blockbuster hit or any of the traditional benchmarks of a notable film - except for one. Directed by Jonathan Demme, SOMETHING WILD came at a time when Demme began to take the wonderful tools he had learned studying Hitchcock and working with Roger Corman to more mainstream audiences. After making the highly under-appreciated MELVIN & HOWARD, Demme finally grabbed some national attention with his Talking Heads' documentary STOP MAKING SENSE, and then came SOMETHING WILD.

Don't lie to yourself. Loving this movie because Melanie Griffith is topless with handcuffs in the first ten minutes isn't wrong. It's part of the film's undeniable charm. You never know where this film is going to go from one moment to the next. And it includes a handful of wonderful cameos which further film's feeling of a gem that is being rediscovered.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
always good to see the worm turn Jan. 26 2014
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
It's hard to believe that this movie is almost thirty years old. It provided Ray Liotta's with his first real substantive part, and although Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels had had a bit more experience, it was relatively early in their careers too. It's an engrossing movie -- it keeps you off balance at first, since we don't know enough to make sense of the different kinds of "wild" behavior on the part of Daniels's and Griffith's characters. Daniels (Charlie) seems to be a married, suburban husband who has just made VP in a financial firm, and Griffith (Audrey/Lulu) seems to be a quintessential free spirit, and she takes Charlie for a ride that he seems not totally unwilling to be taken on, and presents him as her husband to her mother (who isn't fooled, and we soon find out why) and to her high-school reunion classmates. The reunion, by the way, provides Jack Gilpin and Sue Tissue with a neat cameo, as one of Charlie's co-workers and his pregnant wife. But we learn at the reunion that Charlie isn't married -- his wife took the kids and ran off with a dentist nine months earlier, so that puts a new perspective on wildness and puts Audrey's wild behavior in a new context, the effect of which is to make us more sympathetic to Charlie and Audrey -- or rather it enables the audience to somewhat settle their feelings about these characters and to see their behavior up to that point in more clearly comic terms than had appeared at the time. But then a different kind of wildness enters the scene in the person of Ray (Ray Liotta), Audrey's violent ex-con husband. He wants Audrey back, but she isn't up for THAT degree of wildness. But he carts her off after beating up Charlie, at which point the worm turns -- Charlie is determined to get her back. The problem for Jonathan Demme at this point is to blend comedy, suspense, and violence, and he does it masterfully, allowing each its due (one important feature is the quality of the witty writing for the violent Ray). Blending of this kind creates its own uneasiness ( different from that of the movie's beginning), but fans of the later "Fargo," for example, will understand how these things work.

Good performances by all -- Melanie Griffith, with that little-girly voice, is always an appealing actress, and Liotta is effectively funny and frightening. Jeff Daniels is perfect too -- he's one of these actors who never calls attention to himself, but never puts a foot wrong. Demme directs with splendid efficiency. Add lucid cinematography from Tak Fujimoto, and a great score, and you have a winner.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great movie, great transfer from Criterion although a bit "lite" on the supplements compared to other Criterion Blu-rays/DVD's May 15 2011
By Wayne Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Jonathan Demme is a unique talent. The director moved seamlessly from comedy to dark drama and action within the same movie years before Tarrantino did the same thing in his films. "Something Wild" remains one Demme's finest films.

Criterion does a terrific job of bringing "Something Wild" to us in a high def transfer for Blu-ray.

A brief summary of the plot (those who have seen the movie can skip it--Jeff Daniels plays Charles Driggs an uptight businessman who meets Lulu (Melanie Griffith)in a diner and is immediately taken with her to the point where he chucks his day and ends up on the road involved with her. It becomes clear when Ray (Ray Liotta)a dangerous and demented criminal appears that Lulu isn't everything she appears to be and Charles may be in trouble.

Jeff Daniels does a terrific turn as Charlie a man who had everything and lost it all suddenly rediscovering the excitement of life when he meets the impulsive Lulu (or Audrey as he later discovers). Griffith likewise does a great job as Lulu finding the heart of this "free spirit" who really is very injured. Once Ray Liotta appears he steals the rest of the movie in his turn as Ray.

Criterion does a terrific job of bringing the movie to Blu-ray with a nearly flawless looking transfer that looks positively stunning. This new transfer was created form a newly struck interpositive transfers created from the original negative of the film and supervised by DP Tak Fujimoto and approved by Demme. There's a nice layer of fine grain present to just remind us that this IS a film. The image hasn't been overprocessed so there's a nice level of detail present throughout. Colors pop and skin tones are accurate to the original intention of the direcotor.

The film appears in its 1.78:1 preferred aspect ratio.

The 2.0 audio mix sounds quite nice with dialogue front and center as it should be during the comedic and dramatic moments in the film.

The extras are extremely good if a bit on the slight side especially compared to other Criterion releases. There's a 30 minute entertaining interview with Demme that's quite entertaining. There's also a 13 page essay by film critic David Thompson. We also get an interview with the writer E. Max Frye ("Band of Brothers")included as well. I'm a bit disappointed that Demme wasn't asked to do a commentary track and missing-in-action here are stars Jeff Daniels, Ray Liotta and Melanie Griffith all of which could have provided additional insight into the making of the movie.

Perhaps there were some cost/licensing issues that prevented more special features from being provided but why the actors couldn't have given new interviews, audio commentary tracks, etc. is beyond me.

Although a bit slight on the special features, "Something Wild" receives a lovingly done transfer with input from Demme and Takimoto. I doubt that the film would have received as extensive a restoration by any of the major studios.

Highly recommended.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A complex film with plenty of surprises...including Melanie Griffith Oct. 14 2011
By M. Oleson - Published on Amazon.com
If you've ever wondered what Don Johnson and Antonio Banderas ever saw in the now plastic surgery experiment known as Melanie Griffith, check out this nice film by Jonathan Demme. I remember seeing the film in theaters but recalled there was something off-putting about it. Like many films it is advertised as something it's not. This is not a comedy...at least in the traditional sense. It starts out with a very, very hot Lulu (Griffith) picking up straight laced Charlie (Jeff Daniels) in a New York café. She lures him into her pimped up car and off they go, headed to Pennsylvania. This is really crazy stuff for Charlie who just got a promotion at a brokerage house. It isn't like him. He says he has a family. Still, he like the rest of us red blooded American boys can't resist Lulu. Griffith dazzles in her dark wig and short skirts. Charlie initially gets what he was promised and we pretty much get to see it all (yeah!). This is the part where Don and Antonio knew what they were doing. Once in Pennsylvania, Lulu changes her appearance and her name (her given name of Audrey) and visits her mom, presenting Charlie as her new hubby. Then they go to Audrey's high school reunion. Here's where the tone changes dramatically. She meets her ex - well they never made it official since he was in prison for the last 5 years - played in a cool, menacing style by Ray Liotta in his first movie. He is very scary and still has feelings for Audrey. She not so much. The film becomes a terroristic thriller from here on, culminating in a mean, realistic battle at Charlie's house on Long Island. Most critics liked this film, most audiences did not. The shift in tone is upsetting but that is the idea. At the same time there is a period in the second act where the film stalls. Once Ray (Liotta) begins his road trip to find Charlie and Audrey/Lulu, the film seems to just tread water until the final act. This is one to watch if for nothing else than Melanie Griffith giving one of her best performances and a young Ray Liotta emerge as a star.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable road movie at first, but veers off half-way April 13 2014
By Eugene - Published on Amazon.com
The first half of the film is great, which is why I'm giving it three stars; Melanie Griffith plays a zany, sexy character named Lulu who takes buttoned-up Charlie (Jeff Daniels) on the ride of his life. They're both funny and part of the charm is wondering what craziness is going to happen next.

Unfortunately, the movie switches gears when Lulu's ex-con husband (Ray Liotta) shows up. It becomes a sinister story that bears little resemblance to the wonderful first half. Lulu's character is especially problematic because she changes to a damsel-in-distress that Jeff Daniels now needs to rescue. What happened to her zaniness?

We're given a happy ending, but once again, Lulu shows up wearing an outfit more fit for a Fifth Avenue cocktail party than the East Village bon vivant we met at the beginning. Her complete shift in character is what makes this film an uneven and unsatisfying outing.

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