3 items from 2015
The stylistics of documentary filmmaking helped wipe out the old Hollywood way of doing things, and this sharp look at Olympic skiing is a prime example. Michael Ritchie became a director to be watched filming a killer competitor (Robert Redford), a blaze on the ski slopes and an Sob in every other aspect of his life. The style still looks fresh, 36 years later. Downhill Racer Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 494 1969 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 101 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date December 1, 2015 / 39.95 Starring Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv, Dabney Coleman, Karl Michael Vogler, Jim McMullan, Kathleen Crowley, Carole Carle. Cinematography Brian Probyn Film Editor Richard A. Harris Original Music Kenyon Hopkins Written by James Salter from a book by Oakley Hall Produced by Richard Gregson Directed by Michael Ritchie
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
In the late 1960s, when the standard Hollywood way of making movies began to fall apart, »
- Glenn Erickson
The Hollywood sports drama has long been an indubitable cinematic staple, albeit a genre trapped in its own particular movements and formulaic flourishes. Tendencies for melodramatic exaggerations are often utilized to enhance and manipulate our emotional investment in these depictions of physical glory, where everyman underdogs are transformed into American heroes due to the very nature of their conquests. But while these dramas prime our tear ducts for a rinse, they inadvertently miss out on the realistic human characteristics which assisted in its subject’s ability to beat all the odds. During Hollywood’s golden era of studio financed auteur projects, a short-lived movement credited to a number of classic titles ranging from the late 60s to the late 70s, director Michael Ritchie inducted two iconic titles into the sports subgenre canon, beginning with his 1969 directorial debut, Downhill Racer (the other being The Bad News Bears in 1976). Written by acclaimed »
- Nicholas Bell
The Criterion Collection has recntly announced its line-up of releases for December, which include Ted Wilde’s Speedy, Michael Ritchie’s Downhill Racer, Takashi Murakami’s Jellyfish Eyes and Howard Brookner’s Burroughs: The Movie.
Astonishing Alpine location photography and a young Robert Redford in one of his earliest starring roles are just two of the visual splendors of Downhill Racer, the visceral debut feature by Michael Ritchie. In a beautifully understated performance, Redford is David Chappellet, a ruthlessly ambitious skier competing for Olympic gold with an underdog American team in Europe, and Gene Hackman provides tough support as the coach who tries to temper the upstart’s narcissistic drive for glory. With a subtle screenplay by the acclaimed novelist James Salter, Downhill Racer is a vivid character portrait, buoyed by breathtakingly fast and furious imagery that places the viewer directly in the mind of the competitor.
–High-definition digital restoration, »
- Scott J. Davis
3 items from 2015
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