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Made in U.S.A. (The Criterion Collection)

3.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Avant-garde music and the words of astronauts highlight striking NASA footage of Earth and the moon.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Anna Karina, László Szabó, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Marianne Faithfull, Yves Afonso
  • Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
  • Writers: Jean-Luc Godard, Donald E. Westlake
  • Producers: Clément Steyaert, Georges de Beauregard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001TIQT6Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,981 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Made in U.S.A. (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I knowingly took a chance when I bought this DVD based only on a couple of New York Times reviews and a basic familiarity with several of Godard's other films. I was intrigued by the fact that even to this day "Made in USA" has rarely been shown theatrically in the United States. Criterion characterizes the film as a "piece of pop art [that is] like a Looney Tunes rendition of "The Big Sleep" gone New Wave", and that description intrigued me. But I didn't realize just how essential it was for the film to have a scholarly commentary track. If ever there were a film that requires an audio commentary track, this is it.

There _is_ a DVD extra -- the "visual essay"/concordance -- that helps explain a lot, but since it is a separate from the film, the details are covered out of the context and flow of the film. Unless you are fluent in French and familiar in detail with much of the politics, current events, pop culture, and high culture of the decades leading up to the mid-60s, you'll find "Made in USA" a barrage of references that keep you from seeing the forest for the trees.

All the details from the concordance, and more, belong in a commentary track, so that the viewer can take them in as he or she is watching the film. To really do it right, Criterion should have included both an audio commentary and concordance-based captioning with customized screen placement so that the viewer has half a chance of keeping up with the mixture of foreground and background details that are scattered throughout the film.
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This isn`t one of Goddard`s most appreciated or understood films (ditto with '2 Or 3 Things I Know About Her' from the same time period), yet it`s fascinating to watch him deconstruct an Art form he almost single-handedly created. It`s an absurdist, surreal, darkly comic, brightly colored film noir-come-pseudo-spy story that`s chaotic and complex, and will leave you repeatedly shaking your head as you attempt to keep up with its inspired lunacy. It`s awash in bold, vibrant colors, most of the time red, white and blue to underscore the skewering of rampant American consumerism, and most characters have famous American names to further confound comprehension. But watching it the second time (in truth, I didn`t get it the first go-around), I found it to be acidicly funny Pop Art. The Bar scene with almost nonsensical chatter among its inhabitants while Marianne Faithful sits in a corner singing 'As Tears Go By' was hysterical to me. This was the last time Anna Karina worked w/ Goddard (their marriage broke up quite a bit before this film), and it appears at times throughout the film that he was putting her through paces just to screw with her and see how she`d react. This is not a casual film to watch, you need to give it your undivided attention, like most of his films, maybe more so. It`s not a movie that comes to you, you must go to it, if you get my drift. It`s also not the first film to watch if you`re not familiar w/ his work, you`ll hate it if this is so. You may not like it anyway, but it`s worth a go if you like Goddard, 60`s New Wave, and Pop Art Surrealism. And Criterion gives us many additional features to help us navigate our way within the delerious barrage of Goddard`s assorted visions.
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Format: DVD
In 1966, Jean-Luc Godard was asked by producer Georges de Beureagard if he can create a film quickly. The answer was yes and that the can film two at the same time: "Made in U.S.A." starring Anna Karina and Laszlo Szabo and "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" starring Marina Vlady. It's important to note that "Made in U.S.A." is the final full-length film he created with his ex-wife and muse Anna Karina and the first film of singer Marianne Faithfull (a popular singer in the '60s and also the steady girlfriend of Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger at the time). While "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" stars the woman that rejected him for marriage. So, needless to say, these two films are rather significant.

"Made in U.S.A." is the final goodbye between Karina and Godard and "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her" is a film that shows him angered by the rejection. And also two films that mark the end of the cycle of Jean-Luc Godard who has become more of a political person and wanted to use his films to deal with internal conflict that he felt about cinema and politics.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

"Made in U.S.A." is known for it's vibrant colors. As a detective, Anna Karina's character is known for wearing vibrant colored dresses and the film definitely does a great job showcasing those colors, especially closeups of Anna Karina's blue eyes. This remastered version of the film looks absolutely beautiful and I can only imagine how this would look on Blu-ray (if it ever receives a BD release). It's vibrant and colorful film!

"Made in U.S.A." is presented in its original aspect ration of 2:35:1 and the HD digital transfer was created on a 2K Spirit Datacine from the original 35mm camera negative.
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Format: DVD
In 1966 Jean-Luc Godard was approached by producer Georges de Beauregard, who said that he had some money he needed to spend and asked if Godard could make a film on very short notice. Godard said sure, and proposed adapting a pulp crime novel (Donald E. Westlake's "The Jugger"). But when Godard made the film, which would get the title MADE IN U.S.A., he did everything possible to break out of a straightforward adaptation, using the novel as a mere skeleton over which he could explore other themes that interested him.

Paula (Anna Karina), a journalist, goes to a small town where her estranged boyfriend Richard has died in mysterious circumstances, surely murder. Determined to get to the bottom of things, she takes on the air of a hardboiled detective, wielding a pistol and wearing a Bogartian trenchcoat. She meets the doctor who did the autopsy and has a run-in with the police, but mainly we see her tangled up with two gangsters, played by László Szabó and Jean-Pierre Léaud.

Godard maintains just enough conventional dialogue and action to let the viewer know where we are in the crime novel's plot, but most of what transpires before the camera must be understood as only abstract metaphors for what would have happened in the book. The interaction between his characters mainly has other purposes. They have absurdist conversations with a great deal of wordplay. They allude to French politics in a time when Godard was worried about the compromised values of the French Left and the spectres of fascism and consumer society. The Ben Barka affair, where a Moroccan dissident was murdered in France in 1965 with the apparent involvement of the French security services, looms very large over MADE IN U.S.A.
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