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Medium Cool (Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Forster
  • Directors: Haskell Wexler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BJB2GSS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,321 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Medium Cool (Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Haskell Wexler
  • Two audio commentaries
  • Look Out Haskell, It's Real!, a 55 minute documentary about the making of
  • New interview with Wexler
  • Excerpts from Sooner or Later, a documentary by Cronin about Harold Blankenship
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic and programmer Thomas Beard

  • Editorial Reviews

    It’s 1968, and the whole world is watching. With the U.S. in social upheaval, famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler (Days of Heaven) decided to make a film about what the hell was going on. His debut feature, MEDIUM COOL, plunges us into that moment. With its mix of scripted fiction and seat-of-the-pants documentary technique, this story of the working world and romantic life of a television cameraman (Jackie Brown’s Robert Forster) is a visceral, lasting cinematic snapshot of the era, climaxing with an extended sequence shot right in the middle of the riots surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. An inventive commentary on the pleasures and dangers of wielding a camera, MEDIUM COOL is as prescient a political film as Hollywood has ever produced.

    Customer Reviews

    Picture quality is great.
    Jay Murrel
    Also included are excerpts from Paul Cronin's 4-hour documentary on Wexler entitled, Look Out Haskell, It's Real!, that focuses on the making of Medium Cool.
    Cubist
    Haskell Wexler had created a classic historically accurate piece of thrilling fiction.
    H. Drummond

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. Drummond on July 24, 2013
    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    Takes place during the Democratic Convention of 1968 and tells the story of a reporter who finds that the FBI is pulling some dirty tricks during the social unrest of that period. Meanwhile, back at the tenement, he has become smitten with a housewife who is none to happy with her present situation and they begin an affair. This all goes on at the same time the political stuff is happening and the director of the film had begun filming the actual convention and the demonstrations that were going on and, lo and behold, all this other real stuff started happening which conveniently went hand in hand with his plotlines. Now either he developed the plotlines after the riots and police violence, etc. or his story was so well developed and timely that he was just able to fit it into place and blammo. Haskell Wexler had created a classic historically accurate piece of thrilling fiction. Robert Forster and Verna Bloom are great in this.
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    7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cubist on May 30, 2013
    Format: Blu-ray
    Medium Cool has never looked better on this newly minted Criterion Collection Blu-Ray. The colors look vivid while the transfer still retains the texture of the original film stock.

    There is an audio commentary by director Haskell Wexler, editor Paul Golding, and actor Marianna Hill. Wexler addresses the criticism of the opening scene and how the two journalists don't help the accident victim. He mentions being faced with that decision several times in his career. All three praise Harold Blankenship's performance and how real it is. Wexler and Golding point out that during the protest scene at the end, tear gas was really shot at them, but the famous line, "Look out Haskell, it's real!" was added later.

    Also included is a commentary by historian Paul Cronin who examines the origins and production of Medium Cool. He expertly analyzes the film's themes while also delving into what led Wexler to make it. Cronin points out that Wexler paid for the film himself and then the studio paid to distribute it. He explains the fascinating backstory to the film's famous line in this great look at how Medium Cool came together.

    There is a trailer.

    There is an interview with Haskell Wexler where he talks about the origins of Medium Cool and how he was going to direct another film, but realized that something was going to happen in his hometown of Chicago and wrote the screenplay for the film. He discusses the influence of documentaries in this engaging interview.

    Also included are excerpts from Paul Cronin's 4-hour documentary on Wexler entitled, Look Out Haskell, It's Real!, that focuses on the making of Medium Cool. Wexler, a few historians and key cast members take us through the production in this absorbing documentary.
    Read more ›
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    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Robert Kinney on June 6, 2013
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    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 times. The improvised dialog captured the concerns of the people and filming in the actual riot was incredible. A very good document of the times.
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By That's Life on September 5, 2013
    Format: DVD
    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. It is all about perspective. I somehow suspect that many here who do not like this movie are the ones who resented the progressive movements of the times and have just found another outlet to take out their hostilities. Abbie Hoffman is dead and they can't pick on him anymore, so they knock the film. Maybe, maybe not, it is not a great film but it is very unique and unlike much of anything else you will ever see and it is worth a look.
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Cockerton on June 15, 2013
    Format: Blu-ray
    Medium Cool lives up to its unconventional title due in part to the ambitions of Robert Forster, whose character lives for capturing news for the public eye, sometimes before the ambulance arrives. The words "Hip", "Groovy" and "Fly" are understatements for this exceptionally crafted, under the radar, masterpiece that fits perfectly into the Criterion Collection.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DIMITRIS on August 16, 2013
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    A hard to find classic of the counterculture now available on a superb transfer by Criterion Collection.

    Includes segments of the amazing "Look out Haskell, it's real!" documentary on the making of "Medium Cool" (unfortunately not the entire film).

    A perfect companion to Criterion's box set "B.B.S. Story".

    Well worth the purchase.
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    5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. CHIASSON on March 3, 2013
    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    First I'd like to say that I watched this movie for the first time a couple of days after I screened Argo. That should be enough to make one realize where cinema has gone in the last 44 years... Instead of a piece of complete revisionist history, à la 1950s Technicolor classical composer biographies - ketchup scene included - (something that I hoped that we had grown out of as a world), here we have a piece of film that captures one of the more dynamic and turbulent eras of modern American history and is not afraid to interplay between fiction and reality in a innovative and avantgarde fashion... Wow! This movie is heavy and at times so real... You feel the concern and the stress of the mother... It reaches new heights in aesthetic achievement... Much like Proust captures an era, this movie captures a moment that BECAME an era! I can't wait to get my copy of it in Criterion as I'm sure that they'll do it justice! Argo may have won an Oscar or two but it will be forgotten and dismissed as insignificant in a couple of years (much like Crash and almost all Oscar winners), whereas Medium Cool will stand out to those of us who are interested in understanding a time in history that has ultimately shaped the greatest society of this era...
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