Medium Cool film Product Information
|Category||Dramas DVDs, Thriller Movies, Suspense Videos, Essential Cinema, Social Issues|
|Starring||Robert Forster, Verna Bloom, Peter Boyle, Felton Perry, Marianna Hill, Peter Bonerz, Robert Paige, Harold Blankenship|
|Art Director||Leon Ericksen|
|Producer||Haskell Wexler, Tully Friedman, Jerry Wexler|
A television cameraman working in the turbulent Chicago of the late 1960s becomes involved in the violent situations that he constantly views from behind the camera. Actual riot footage adds to the film's realism.
Medium Cool review Product Description
One of the landmarks of independent film, as well as one of the primary celluloid artifacts of the 1960s, MEDIUM COOL (based on Thomas Couffer's THE CONCRETE WILDERNESS) stars Robert Forster as John Cassellis, a television cameraman in Chicago. ...See Full Description
Medium Cool movie Customer Reviews
||I was an extra|
I was an extra in the movie "Medium Cool." I was the little girl in the red dress at the baptizing scene.
By c4urisonle (Olaton, KY, USA)
||Great and important movie|
This movie I saw for the first time in 1970. It was great movie. It changed my live for 30 years. Now I can see it again. And now it is still great and very important movie for me.
By a reviewer (Warsaw, Poland, Central Europe)
This review is for a different format.
||A seminal film of 60's independent cinema.|
There is much to be learned about the craft of film-making just from studying this movie. "Medium Cool" came into existence as a pet project of renowned cinematographer Haskell Wexler ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", "In the Heat of the Night", "Bound For Glory"). Wexler spent $800,000 in personal funds (much later reimbursed by Paramount) to craft this angry blend of reality and theater, set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Interspersing actual footage from these chaotic events (ironically some of the riot footage was later subpoenaed by the government); Wexler used the character of a TV news cameraman to discuss weighty issues of personal/professional ethics, idealism and responsibility. Whose purposes should news footage serve? What is the place and responsibility of an individual in a society marked by out-of-control chaotic turmoil? The film's title is a not-so-subtle play on Marshall McLuhan's designation of television as "the cool medium." Despite Medium Cool's idiosyncratic, forceful pushing of the traditional film-making envelope, critical comment was laudatory. Vincent Canby of the New York Times called "Medium Cool" "a film of tremendous visual impact, a kind of cinematic 'Guernica', a picture of America in the process of exploding into fragmented bits of hostility, suspicion and violence." Unfortunately, despite enthusiastic critical reviews, studio indifference to the film and the "X" rating thanks to some brief full-frontal nudity, the film was one of the first major American films to receive an X rating from the MPAA (though it was subsequently been re-rated R), the result of a creatively ecstatic bedroom scene—one that Vincent Canby dryly noted: "should give lust a good name"—diminished the number of people who saw this complex, challenging, at times perplexing film, dubbed by Wexler as "a wedding between features and cinéma vérité." Disillusioned by the bitter experience, Wexler for the next several years abandoned commercial film-making for experimental forays into radical cinema ("Brazil: A Report on Torture", "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine" and others). The film seems obviously influenced by the French New Wave, particularly by the work of Godard. This improvisational movie integrates didactic discussions about the responsibility taken by anyone who wields a camera, casual conversations about the lack of voice given to minorities in the media, and several sobering looks at the youth who were affected by the frenzy into its fourth-wall shattering panorama. It's great to see a filmmaker like Wexler at work, since he is concerned about important social issues and the potential of the medium. Rarely has a mainstream American feature so acutely and plainly tackled many of these artistic concerns. Ultimately, though, "Medium Cool" is a movie milestone in spite of some of its flaws. Certainly there is much to be learned about the craft of film-making from observing both the errors and on the occasions that the film's themes conspire to work together, the results are stunning. The political growing pains portrayed in the film seem to exist behind the camera as well, as American filmmakers in the late 1960s were grappling with the responsibilities brought about by their new ability to make films with adult content. That a major studio distributed this film is amazing. It's doubtful that the film would receive similar treatment three decades later. Whatever its weaknesses, they are easy to forgive since "Medium Cool" represents a pioneering slice of cinematic history.
By filmfactsman (Beverly Hills, CA, USA)
This review is for a different format.
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