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Winter Kills

Jeff Bridges , Belinda Bauer , William Richert    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 67.13
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Product Description

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This exhilarating kaleidoscope of a movie, from a surreally layered novel by Richard Condon (The Manchurian Candidate), combines post-Watergate paranoia, gallows humor, political sci-fi, dazzling suspense set pieces, something we might call postmodern historical burlesque, and gonzo performances by a truly all-star cast. It's held together by Jeff Bridges as the surviving scion of a Kennedy-like dynasty who reluctantly sets out to solve his brother's assassination. John Huston's own dynastic credentials and rough-hewn aristocracy make him perfect casting as the family patriarch, a simultaneously genial and appalling American monster. Writer-director William Richert, a virtual unknown, somehow corraled an amazing ensemble, including an unbilled Liz Taylor, North by Northwest production designer Robert Boyle (who also contributes a delicious cameo), composer Maurice Jarre, and the great cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. The widescreen camerawork and zesty primary-color palette demand DVD, which may finally do right by this quintessential '70s film that the '70s just weren't ready for. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

No matter if you see this film as a forgotten masterpiece or cinematic curio, one cannot debate the excellent print, finally shown in widescreen splendor. Anchor Bay has developed a keen program in working with maverick directors. Like their previous efforts with Werner Herzog and Richard Rush, they let William Richert have carte blanche in presenting his film on DVD. Luckily the director is a character, a gleeful showman whether commenting on the film, reminiscing about his high-wattage cast, or reminiscing with actor Jeff Bridges. A new 35-minute documentary pulls most of the pieces together on how the controversial film was created. We see tantalizing snapshots of deleted scenes and hear about "original" scenes, but there is no film, just the original screenplay on DVD-ROM. It would have been nice to hear from some of the film's biggest advocates to help explain the struggle the film had after the release. The effort to make the film is clearly and entertainingly explained--the crooked producers simply ran out of money. --Doug Thomas

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Expect The Unexpected!.... March 2 2004
Format:DVD
This review refers to the Anchor Bay(2 disc)DVD edition of "Winter Kills".....
Based on the novel by Richard Condon("Prizzi's Honor"), "Winter Kills" is a somewhat dark comical thriller that seems to parallel the Kennedy Assassination investigation.
The story opens 19 years after the death of President Tim Kegan.The "lone gunman" theory is about to come to an end! A dying man gives his confession to the half brother of the President, Nick Kegan(Jeff Bridges).He was the second gunman hired by some very notorious characters. There's evidence to prove it and Nick decides to go after it.Nick soon finds himself involved deep in a "conspiracy theory" that leads to more deaths and suspects leading to some very surprising twists and turns along the way. Nick doesn't know who he can trust and may now be a target himself.
It's a very enjoyable film for it's neverending unpredictable turns of events that keep you on the edge of your seat. One that is certainly worth pulling out and viewing every so often.Bridges is excellent in the role and the list of Hollywood greats that make appearances as the larger than life and somewhat zaney characters is worth the view alone(even though some may be considered as mere cameos).
John Huston steals the show as the all controlling "Pa Kegan". The list also includes Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Sterling Hayden(as a crazy billionaire war freak),Toshiro Mifune, Ralph Meeker,Dorothy Malone, Belinda Bauer, Richard Boone(sorry... no "Pallidan" music),and Elizabeth Taylor, who only has one line, that is mouthed, but what a line it is! Maurice Jarre supplies the wonderful music and William Richert superbly directs.
This 1979 film looks fabulous on this DVD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A DISTURBING SATIRE Feb. 7 2004
Format:DVD
Twelve years before Oliver Stone dazzled (or repelled) audiences with "JFK," director William Richert delivered a more potent vision of a political assassination, and the country that fostered the implements of such an act, with his unbelievably radical adaptation of the late Richard Condon's novel.
As surreal as it is plausible, Richert's 1979 movie about a man's search for the truth behind the slaying of his president-brother ranks among the best political thrillers Hollywood ever produced during the conspiracy-happy '70s. As with "The Parallax View," "Executive Action" and other similarly themed films, "Winter Kills" is enthralling entertainment that puts the viewer on the front seat of a rollercoaster ride through an eerie labyrinth of deceit and corruption.
The two-disc DVD version of this neglected gem is way overpriced and could have been included on the reverse side of a single disc but the package does include several extras that complement this wild movie that reflected the public's growing distrust of the government and the people who run it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Paraniod visionary political thriller April 26 2003
Format:DVD
One of those 70s films that haunts me (John Huston's Wiseblood is another, there are lots more). This was based on a story by Richard Condon who also wrote The Manchurian Candidiate. A great cast with a very young Jeff Bridges as the lead in this partially based on fact, darkest of comedies, paranoid controversy theoretical waking nightmare of a movie.
Richard Boone, Sterling Hayden, Toshiro Mifune, Liz Taylor, JOHN HUSTON, Anthony Perkins, Ralph Meeker, Eli Wallach, Tomas Milian, many only get a scene or two, some only a scene, but they are all used for all the iconic power they are capable of generating. Not to mention exquisite cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond and an astounding debut for director/actor/etc., William Richert. This film was way too early for it's time, and in the same way Welles' Citizen Kane stepped on the feet of a giant this film also played with the thinly veiled mythology of real people, in this case the Kennedys. The story of why this brilliant film was stillborn upon it's initial release is likely a story worthy of the intrigue and rampant angst that fuels this spectacular film itself; though it's only hinted at in the Who Killed Winter Kills documentary, (that helps to flesh out the second disc disc of this set). I must admit that this all could have fit well onto one disc; but whatever the form, this is a film that is well worth seeking out, and it holds up very well to repeated viewings. It's one of those movies you'll want to turn other people on to. Check it out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A COMIC CELEBRATION OF PURE PARANOIA April 11 2003
Format:DVD
The much anticipated DVD release of WINTER KILLS is a cause for celebration to cult film fanatics everywhere.
Richard Condon's dazzlingly paranoid comic novel about an American president's assassination investigation has been perfectly captured by writer-director William Richert. This little seen film, barely released in 1979 after a torturous, much delayed production, received strong reviews and then disappeared.
There was talk the Kennedy family didn't approve and put pressure on parent company Avco Embassy (which had military contract associations) to withdraw the film, Condon suggested in an article, "Who Killed Winter Kills" for Harper's magazine. Whatever the case -- and the story behind the filming is certainly as interesting as the film story -- this marvelous, all-star thriller about the brother of a murdered president looking into the killing plays with the darkest, almost subconscious fears this country has collectively harbored about the death of JFK.
The once in a lifetime cast includes: Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Sterling Hayden, Richard Boone, Elizabeth Taylor, Eli Wallach, Ralph Meeker, Toshiro Mifune and Belinda Bauer. Plus a great score by Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia). Extras on this two-disc set (seems like it could've all fit easily on one disc) include a lively, sometimes startling, commentary from Richert and OK interviews with Bridges, Bauer, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and production designer Robert Boyle. Highly recommended.
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