Rough Cut Blog

Criterion Blu-ray review: Richard Brooks’ In Cold Blood (1967)

The atmospheric introduction of Robert Blake as Perry Smith in Richard Brooks' In Cold Blood (1967)

Criterion’s Blu-ray of Richard Brooks’ In Cold Blood (1967) gives the film a stunning visual presentation and enhances it with a substantial collection of supplements dealing with the original murder case, author Truman Capote’s approach to reporting the story, and the stylistic and technical innovations brought to the project by Brooks and his collaborators.

Random notes: two films and a book

Erwin Leder as the psychopathic killer K in Gerald Kargl's unsettling Angst (1983)

A variety of approaches to horror are on display in Guillermo Del Toro’s new film Crimson Peak; a book about Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining which gathers together articles, essays and interviews from the ’80s to the present; and a disturbing 1983 Austrian film based on a real-life multiple murder, Gerald Kargl and Zbigniew Rybczynski’s Angst.

Aleksei German’s Hard to Be a God (2013)

Don Rumata (Leonid Yarmolnik) driven mad by his enforced role of detached observer in Aleksei German's science fiction epic Hard to Be a God (2013)

Hard to Be a God (2013), the final film of Russian director Aleksei German, more than a decade in the making, is a dense, obscure, visually stunning adaptation of a novel by the Strugatsky brothers. While German’s storytelling is extremely oblique, this depiction of a brutal medieval world which eventually corrupts Earth scientists who have traveled there to study a Renaissance which failed to happen, is realized with such visceral power that the viewer becomes immersed in the filth, madness and horror, occasionally gleaning brief moments of transcendent beauty.

Mario Bava and Italian genre film: Gialli and Thrillers


The visual master Mario Bava virtually invented the Italian genre called giallo, influencing generations of filmmakers who followed and built on his stylistic and thematic example. Arrow video has been releasing a series of impressive editions of Bava’s films on Blu-ray, offering alternative versions and a rich array of supplements to provide a critical and historical context for his work.