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Medium Cool (1969)

Robert Forster , Verna Bloom , Haskell Wexler  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Price: $38.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, Peter Bonerz, Marianna Hill, Harold Blankenship
  • Directors: Haskell Wexler
  • Writers: Haskell Wexler
  • Producers: Haskell Wexler, Jerrold Wexler, Jonathan Haze, Michael Philip Butler, Steven North
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005QTAT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,342 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Medium Cool" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

OOP 2001 Paramount DVD release.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the few '60s films to actually remain relavent December 17, 2001
Released in 1969 by overshadowed by Easy Rider (which despite being a bit more flashy in technique is actually a far more conventional film), Medium Cool is one of the few "counterculture" films of the '60s to actually remain relavent. The first film to be directed by famed cameraman Haskell Wexler, Medium Cool is the story of 1968, a panoramic view of a near revolution. Cleverly, Wexler tells his story through two outsiders -- a detached newsman (Robert Forster) and the country widow that he romances (well played by Verna Bloom who should have become a star as a result of her sweetly realistic and appealing performance). Though the film is clearly on the side of the counterculture, the use of these two outsiders allows Medium Cool to retain an objectivity that seems to be missing from most other films of the period. Instead of simply worshipping the trends of the time, Wexler was actually at the apocalyptic events seen in the film. When Forster and Bloom find themselves lost in the chaotic rioting of that year's Democratic convention, the scenes are riveting because they were actually filmed during the actual riots. This is the rare protest film where, instead of seeing wealthy Hollywoodites playing their idealized versions of the times, you are actually seeing the events as they unfold. For someone like myself who was born on the tail end of the Viet Nam War, seeing that footage and realizing how close to collapse society actually was in 1968 is truly an eye opening experience.
Much of the film, of course, is improvised. Improv is often a frightening word when it comes to film making. It seems to be a talent that a lot more people believe they have than actually do.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the age of innocence May 31, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Hollywood just didn't get it in the Sixties and the best they could do was turn out stuff like "Wild in the Streets." But there were two films that did capture what was going on in those days and 'Medium Cool' was one of them. The other was 'Easy Rider,' and both of them were made in spite of Hollywood and not with the help of Hollywood. One picture dealt with the political upheaval in the streets and the other dealt with the cultural revolution.
I saw 'Medium Cool' the week it opened and I probably wasn't the only one who considered it a revolution in film making and figured it would be the first of many such films that tied documentary and narrative film together, but sadly there were no more 'Medium Cool's' to follow, or no more 'Easy Rider's' either.
The Amazon review is totally uninformed in describing what happened in Chicago. The only 'riot' that happened were the police riots that repeatedly attacked the protesters and anyone else who happened to be in their way. And very few of us considered ourselves to be hippies by that time. I know because I was there and that's me on the cover of the DVD carrying a red flag. Interestingly Haskell -- who I became friends with many years later -- is still at it. I was marching down Hollywood Boulevard in an antiwar protest at the beginning of the Iraq war and looked up just in time to see Haskell in the crowd pointing his DVD camera at me. There was no tear gas this time, no rioting cops, and no machine guns set up on the streets. I wasn't carrying a red flag and my hair has long since turned to gray, but some some basic things never change.
This picture tells it like it was as only the world's greatest cinematographer could have done it.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first absolutely multi-purpose film. December 8, 2001
"Medium Cool" is one of those magnificent wonders that creeps up on the film world, either in passing conversation or in revivals. But it still has yet to receive it's pure due, in spite of it being made over 30 years ago.
It's an accidental masterpiece. Director Haskell Wexler's original intentions were to (via filmic terms) view the various sides of the media as relating to Marshall McLuhan's famous "hot medium/cool medium" essay. In this case, he corraled a bunch of actors (some of whom were associated with the Chicago improvisational scene), gave a loose story line and filmed it around the unfolding events at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention (with a few accidental stops in Los Angeles & Washington). Wexler attempted to put the actors into the roles of television men & everyday people and, basically, leave them with their own improvisational devices. Tus, this is where "Medium Cool" develops.
Maybe upon first viewing it in 1969, the performances didn't hold up, but more than thrity years later, everyone involved (even right down to the smallest part) has to be commended. This film is more than an experiment, or even a time capsule, but a true countercultural event. This is a film that not only teaches a thing or two about the times (1968), but also serves as a great study on media and it's truths & manipulations. It's also a great acting lesson of what improvisational acting truly should be...risk-taking with a high degree of failure (and NOT the cutesy-poo clever laugh inducing theatre that it's been reduced to...more later). You want a true example of play actors facing a REAL reality situation? Well, look no further...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sixties
This film was just what I was expecting! I ordered this for an American Popular Culture: The Sixties.Good price with fast shipping.
Published 1 month ago by L. Strelluf
5.0 out of 5 stars M cool. Still cool.
A classic. Still looks fresh. An Original. a must see for any real film lover. Love all of his work as a Dop and as a director.
Published 1 month ago by A.Attard
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic period slice of late '60s turmoil
I still have a VHS of this (that may have different music in one spot than the DVD). It's always been a favorite. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ron Dagwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Point Of View
If you want to understand politics of the time from the viewpoint of anti-war protesters and those who did not care for "the establishment" then have a look at this scarce movie. Read more
Published 7 months ago by That's Life
3.0 out of 5 stars Woe unto you, Criterion
This is quite a movie. The transfer to dvd is clear, the subject is potent and the cinema verite aspects are irresistible. So, why only 3 stars? Read more
Published 7 months ago by Joseph M. Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic!
A hard to find classic of the counterculture now available on a superb transfer by Criterion Collection. Read more
Published 8 months ago by DIMITRIS
2.0 out of 5 stars Society of the Dull Spectacle
This is an utterly boring attempt at mixing in some of the personal dramas of the 1960's, and it fails due the fact that it's so inhumane and dry. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bartok Kinski
3.0 out of 5 stars We both have aged
I eagerly jumped at the chance to get this DVD because I have fond memories of seeing it when I was young. Read more
Published 9 months ago by J. Eccles
5.0 out of 5 stars Medium Cool
I was very pleased with my purchase. I received it when I was told it would come. Picture quality is great.
Published 9 months ago by Jay Murrel
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool
This film was at the time of its release overshadowed by Easy Rider. But this film was not only a brave experiment by Haskell Wexler, it was an accurate representation of the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by William Robert Kinney
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