America Lost and Found: The BBS Story (Blu-ray)
Head/Easy Rider/Five Easy Pieces/Drive, He Said/A Safe Place/The Last Picture Show/The King of Marvin Gardens
Directed by Bob Rafelson, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Henry Jaglom, Peter Bogdanovich
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/1.85:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 85/95/98/90/92/126/104 minutes
Rating: G, R, NR
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, PCM 1.0 English
MSRP: $ 124.95
Release Date: November 23, 2010
Review Date: November 21, 2010
As the careers of many of the old Hollywood vanguard of directors and producers (John Ford, William Wyler, George Cukor, Howard Hawks) began slowing down in the late 1960s, a new generation of anti-establishment filmmakers began to take their places. They were interested in producing films with a different sensibility from their predecessors and wanted most of all to court the young, hip audiences who had not been interested in what Hollywood had been turning out at the time. Among those pioneers in a new era of filmmaking were Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner who formed BBS Productions for the purpose of creating movies that would appeal to the freer, more open sensibilities of 1960s and 1970s youth. The seven films included in this set are productions spearheaded by these counterculture artists.
Head – 3.5/5
The Monkees (Peter Tork, David Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith) find themselves wandering from situation to situation, each one screwier and more nonsensical than the last, in a psychedelic compendium of old movie plots, rock music, and film clips ranging from old movies featuring Bela Lugosi and Rita Hayworth to war footage from the streets and jungles of Vietnam.
Obviously geared to put an end to the phenomenon of The Monkees (a faux rock group established to trade on the popularity of The Beatles in a television series which ran for two seasons, spawned a few hit albums, and ended as quickly as it had started), the wacky foolishness of the TV show is satirized in a series of sitcom-like scenarios the boys find themselves in: World War II action, wandering through a haunted mansion, a Golden Boy boxing parody with David Jones as the violin-playing boxer trying for that big knockout, gunslingers in the Old West, Perils of Pauline-style cliffhangers. Occasionally they stop to sing (“Circle Sky,” “Daddy’s Song” which is the best sequence in the movie with its alternating black and white tux outfits for Jones), and a steady stream of cameo stars wander through the frame constantly (Annette Funicello, Sonny Liston, a very young Teri Garr, Victor Mature, Vito Scotti, Frank Zappa, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson). The script by director Rafelson and Jack Nicholson takes on too-easy targets for satire (the corny movies which were the backbone of the Hollywood they want to inherit, billboard advertising, pompous public officials), and the lures of easy sex and drugs are unmistakably present even in a G-rated film. Head isn’t a fun film not because it isn’t crazy (it’s an acid trip version of Hellzapoppin’) but because it isn’t very funny. Unlike The Beatles’ romp A Hard Days’ Night, the personalities of the four Monkees just aren’t very amusing, and director Rafelson doesn’t have the crazy touch for comedy that Richard Lester possessed.
Easy Rider – 4/5
After earning a large sum of money on a Mexican drug deal, free spirits Billy (Dennis Hopper) and Wyatt/Captain America (Peter Fonda) set out on the open road on their souped-up motorcycles with Mardi Gras in New Orleans as their eventual destination. Along the way they spend time on a free love commune, get introduced to an alcoholic lawyer (Jack Nicholson), and run into trouble in places where hippies and free-thinkers are both despised and feared for their differences.
Perhaps no film better captures the schism existing in late 1960s America than this movie which celebrates the thrills and dangers of nonconformity. Dennis Hopper’s camera focuses on lush landscapes and vast vistas which remain breathtaking reminders of the beauties of our country while its ugliness is saved for the film’s final half hour as ignorance and bigotry rear their repulsive heads. The film’s two central characters aren’t articulate enough to express what they want or feel (Nicholson’s lawyer does have the gift of gab making his performance the essential one in the movie, not just for its humor but for its wisdom), but we get the message anyway. In terms of his direction, Hopper is all over the place with rather too obvious inserts and circling camera moves that draw attention to themselves but also triumphing in the staging and shooting of the acid trip sequence and in the climactic aerial shot that breathtakingly ends the movie.
Five Easy Pieces – 4.5/5
Robert Dupea (Jack Nicholson) is filled with rage: about his dead-end job as an oil rigger, about his relationship with pregnant, dim-bulb girl friend Rayette (Karen Black), about society with its idiotic rules and mores, about his family of musicians who sneer at his abandoning his musical gifts for an until-now ill-spent life. His father’s stroke offers him an opportunity to reunite with his sister (Lois Smith) and his brother (Ralph Waite) and his companion (Susan Anspach) at the homestead in Washington state. He’s attracted to his brother’s girl friend, and there’s that pesky Rayette who doesn’t fit in at all with his family of somewhat snobbish intellectuals.
Bob Rafelson’s mesmerizing character study of a man alienated from the world and from himself captures the throb of restless American youth just about as well as any movie has ever done it. The script by Adrien Joyce (aka Carolyn Eastman) contains so many moments to savor including the diner sequence where we see another example of Bobby’s exasperation with needless rules and regulations, hitchhiker Palm Apodaca’s (the hilarious Helena Kallianiotes) diatribe against corporate America with its billboards and advertisements trying to sell us “crap,” and conversations around the dinner table where Bobby holds in his fury continually as those around him bring him to the breaking point with their needless focus on unessential things. Rafelson doesn’t do anything special with the camera but manages to capture a real feel for America of the time without fancy optical tricks or gimmicky camera placements. Nicholson’s Oscar-nominated lead performance is proof positive that he could carry a film and established himself as one of the screen’s most anarchic antiheroes, qualities he’d display in an astonishing series of films over the next decade.
Drive, He Said – 2/5
College roommates Hector (William Tepper) and Gabriel (Michael Margotta) are at turning points in their lives as they near graduation. Hector is a star basketball player and must decide on a pro career or not. Gabriel is about to take his pre-induction physical for the Army prior to being drafted. Both men are also struggling with personal problems: Hector has fathered a child with an older married woman (Karen Black) while Gabriel is taking drugs which he hopes will convince the draft board that he’s mentally incompetent to serve.
The muddled mess of the screenplay by Jack Nicholson and Jeremy Larner is made worse by the duo not writing a single character who’s appealing or even interesting. Their desires, their issues, and their solutions are as empty and bland as their personalities. Sure, the counterculture revolution and campus unrest are captured in the film’s scattershot staging and filming, but that’s about all that the film has going for it. Apart from Bruce Dern who really convinces as a gung-ho basketball coach who’ll use any means necessary to psych up his players, the actors either barely register (star William Tepper, Robert Towne who plays the cuckolded husband) or go overboard (Karen Black as the wife/mistress who runs hot and cold, Michael Margotta who does his best to out-ape director Nicholson’s wilder on-screen appearances and ends up ludicrously over-the-top). Nicholson being a longtime basketball fanatic does stage the various college contests with a decent rhythm, but he’s even better filming a quiet, reflective sequence where Hector practices shots on a silent court with no spectators. Shooting from a high spot in the arena onto the small, lone figure on the court, it’s the film’s most lyrical sequence.
A Safe Place – 2/5
Dewy, dreamy Susan (Tuesday Weld) is a little girl trapped in a woman’s body. There are three men in her life, all of whom must cope with her stream of consciousness conversations and moody disposition: former lover Mitch (Jack Nicholson), current lover Fred (Phil Proctor), and the elderly magician (Orson Welles) who regales her with magic tricks and seems sometimes on his own wavelength, just like Susan.
By far the most pretentious and stultifying of the movies in this set, A Safe Place is a chore to endure. With script and direction by Henry Jaglom, the movie is a conglomeration of unfinished ideas and rambling thoughts filmed mostly head-on with little consideration for dramatic structure or satisfying characterization. Once again, there’s no one of interest on which to focus attention, and one tires quickly of the baby-talking heroine and her bewildering behavior. It’s hard to know if these are improvisations or if this gibberish was actually scripted by the director, but regardless of its origin, the result is a deadly trial to bear. Tuesday Weld had had some success in films playing child-women of uncertain mental balance, but here she’s just at sea with an ill-defined character. In another movie, Phil Proctor might have been an appealing young male lead, but here one wants to kick some sense into his head as he fails to see her interest in another man right in front of him. Jack Nicholson’s leering grin and sexy vibe can only go so far when the plotting is so feeble, and even Orson Welles, who was quite renowned for his agility with magic, is not served well by the director who films tricks in such a way that we see the maneuvers behind the magic. Or was that deliberate to show the man’s pathetic incompetence with sleight of hand? In a film this dense, it’s impossible to know what was deliberate and what was accidental.
The Last Picture Show – 4.5/5
Over the course of a year in a small Texas town in 1951, small yet monumental things happen to a core group of teenagers and town elders. Best friends Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges) date the same beauty, Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd). Jacy also looks for some fun with rich boy Lester Marlow (Randy Quaid) and her mother’s (Ellen Burstyn) sometime lover (Clu Gulager). The lonely wife (Cloris Leachman) of the town’s athletic coach blossoms as she introduces Sonny not only to sex but to love. The town’s most respected elder Sam (Ben Johnson) offers sage advice to the boys whenever he can but with his death comes a turning point for the community.
This slice-of-mid-century life in small town America is a miracle of acting and reacting. Director Peter Bogdanovich keeps the camera so close on these amazing actors that we see every flicker of emotion that crosses their faces. And the faces are such marvelous works of art: not perfect, pure Hollywood products shot through gauze or with tons of glamour make-up but raw and real faces of people who have lived. Especially exciting in the film are not only the birth of a number of important acting careers in the movie (Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd) but also the terrific ensemble work from acting veterans like Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson, both of whom won Oscars for their vulnerable, kinetic performances. The film is so rich with character and atmosphere that it’s a pleasure to revisit always revealing something complexly new beneath the dusty, forlorn sleepy little town’s seeming simplicity.
The King of Marvin Gardens – 3.5/5
Radio monologist David Staebler (Jack Nicholson) is inevitably drawn into the schemes of his enterprising but ultimately ineffectual older brother Jason (Bruce Dern). He follows his brother to Atlantic City to bail him out of jail while entertaining Jason’s outrageous notion of buying a small Hawaiian island and building a casino there. Jason currently has both a wife (Ellen Burstyn) and a mistress (Julia Anne Robinson) who’s his wife’s stepchild. They seem perfectly content with the arrangement, but as Jason’s planning and scheming runs into continual roadblocks, the relationship between the three lovers slowly begins to change leaving the goggle-eyed David wondering how in the world he’s going to extract his brother from his latest mess.
Cast against type, Nicholson has very few moments to shine as the sad sack, grounded member of this flaky entourage. Bruce Dern, on the other hand, exudes a constant, confident palaver masking his desperation (or delusion; it’s hard to tell) while Ellen Burstyn’s slowly crumbling façade of contentment is quite stunning in her own nitwit way. But the central problem with the film is the scattershot screenplay by Jacob Brackman (story by him and director Bob Rafelson). Unlike the characters in Five Easy Pieces, the people here aren’t nearly as interesting and soon become tiresome thus leaving it to director Rafelson to figure out some appealing compositions to shoot with these mostly tedious people. There’s a beautiful overhead shot as the foursome meet on a beach, and he stages a race on the beach between Dern and Nicholson lyrically. There’s an extended sequence as the quartet parody the Miss America Pageant which is very entertaining and probably the best thing in the movie. Overall, though, the story and characters don’t connect in the same vital way they did in Five Easy Pieces despite the obvious signals that everyone is trying very hard to match the artistic achievement of that wonderful film.
A note on the transfers: Sony mastered all of the transfers for this set. They were not done in Criterion’s own facilities. Any films in the set which have already been released separately on Blu-ray have the same transfers that were originally released.
Head – 3.5/5
The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. All of the stock footage brought into the movie looks no better than fair, but the Monkees’ footage all has above average clarity, detail, and color. Flesh tones look quite lifelike. When the psychedelic colors go fluorescent, there is a bit of noise and some false contouring to be seen. Though most of the image is clean, there are a few vertical scratches late in the movie to date the film a bit (if the clothes and hairstyles don’t already do that). The film has been divided into 23 chapters.
Easy Rider – 4/5
The film is framed at 1.85:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Close-ups and medium shots fare best in the transfer revealing great detail, excellent color saturation, and accurate flesh tones. Long shots are often a bit smeared and soft, and blacks get crushed on occasion. The Mardi Gras sequence, of course, looks far worse than the rest of the film as it was shot in 16mm and blown up, so the heavy grain and soft picture are expected and not a transfer problem. The film has been divided into 19 chapters.
Five Easy Pieces – 4.5/5
The film is framed at 1.85:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Overall the picture quality of this high definition transfer is excellent with sufficient detail and great crispness that should please all but the most demanding viewers. Color saturation is well handled, and flesh tones are captured very well though occasionally might veer a bit toward brown. Black levels are very good as well. The movie has been divided into 15 chapters.
Drive, He Said – 3.5/5
The film is framed at 1.85:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Overall, this is a fairly uninspired transfer. Color values are all over the place, sometimes appealing and sometimes looking a bit dated and uninspired. Sharpness is likewise variable with soft shots and limited contrast vying with clear imagery and excellent contrast. There’s some occasional flicker with the image on occasion as well. Black levels are fine. The movie has been divided into 12 chapters.
A Safe Place – 4/5
The film is framed at 1.85:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Most of the picture looks very good with dimensionality that’s actually quite impressive. Colors can sometimes run a bit hot resulting in some ruddy facial complexions, but this is not always the case. The image is very clean and free from any artifacts that might give away its age. The movie has been divided into 14 chapters.
The Last Picture Show – 4/5
The film is framed at 1.85:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. While the picture could be sharper and more detailed in medium and long shots, the close-ups reveal enough detail to be more than satisfying. With above average contrast apllied, blacks are richly achieved though shadow detail varies from poor to excellent depending on the shot. There are a couple of shots which seem pulled from some other source as they don’t match well with the rest of the film. The movie has been divided into 21 chapters.
The King of Marvin Gardens – 4.5/5
This is the best looking transfer in this set. The 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec, and the sharpness and color are beautifully delivered despite only a shot or two that seem less than optimum. Flesh tones are accurate and appealing, and black levels are excellent. The film has been divided into 21 chapters.
Head – 4/5
The disc offers both DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound and a PCM 1.0 uncompressed mix. Though the lossless track is obviously processed to turn it into a surround track, the engineers have done an excellent job giving the soundtrack a new aural lease on life. The music is greatly enhanced by the separations in the surround mix, and there are some other discreet effects (shrieking by the female fans during the concert sequence in the movie, for example) that have been placed in the soundfield and give the track greater heft and vibrancy. The monaural PCM track has a lower volume level, but even with that increased, it is a pale shadow of the DTS-HD track.
Easy Rider – 4/5
Once again, multiple soundtracks are provided. I mostly listened to the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track as it resonated the superlative soundtrack the most clearly and distinctly with the rock music score never sounding so good. There are some nicely delineated discreet effects, too, as the bikes zoom through the frame with their roaring engines following suit from the rears to the fronts. There is also a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track along with a Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track which seemed true to the source material but rather limp in comparison to the fuller lossless tracks.
Five Easy Pieces – 4/5
The PCM (1.1 Mbps) audio track recreates the film’s monaural sound nicely mixing the dialogue, sound effects, and music quite well. True, there isn’t much low end to the mix, but the rich selection of pop and classical music on the soundtrack is delivered cleanly and sounds quite wonderful.
Drive, He Said – 3.5/5
The PCM (1.1 Mbps) audio track recreates the film’s monaural sound rather blandly with not much in the way of dynamism and with dialogue sometimes recorded a bit too softly to be heard distinctly over the other effects or music sharing the track.
A Safe Place – 3.5/5
The sound mix is delivered in a PCM (1.1 Mbps) 1.0 encode which is generally consistent with films from this period. Some of the softer speech between characters was not caught well by the boom microphone and is difficult to hear, and you can detect some light hiss on the track from time to time. The director presents a steady stream of classic songs on the soundtrack in counterpoint to what’s happening on screen. The songs “Beyond the Sea,” “I’m Old Fashioned, “ “La Vie en Rose,” “It’s a Big, Wide, Wonderful World,” “Lavender Blue,” “As Time Goes By,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me” are just a few of the standards which dot the soundtrack, most sounding a little hissy or scratchy depending on the media used for dubbing.
The Last Picture Show – 4/5
The PCM (1.1 Mbps) 1.0 sound mix features well recorded dialogue which has been mixed with the sound effects and pop and country tunes of the day as heard on the radio, records, and TV in various scenes (there is otherwise no music score). The fidelity isn’t top notch as the low end sounds barely present, but it’s a soundtrack recording typical of its era.
The King of Marvin Gardens – 4/5
The sound mix here is again PCM (1.1 Mbps) 1.0, and features well recorded dialogue (though some ADR is noticeable in certain spots) which is always intelligible. Sound effects have been added nicely to the mono mix and though there is no music score, the music present in the scenes themselves never overpowers the speaking voices of the actors.
Peter Tork, David Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Michael Nesmith appear to have been recorded separately and have been edited together to form an audio commentary for the film. They are baffled by the meaning of the movie, but as each becomes the focus of a sequence, the man speaks up on his recollections about making it. It’s an interesting track and one fans will definitely want to hear.
“From the Monkees to Head” is a 28 ½-minute interview with director Bob Rafelson concerning his involvement with the Monkees from the casting and production of the TV series through the making of this movie. There are bits of the screen tests (seen in full elsewhere) and a discussion of his ideas for the movie. It’s in 1080p.
“BBS: A Time for Change” features critics David Thomson and Douglas Brinkley discussing the formation of BBS due to the 1960s youth revolution and the deal they made with the studio after the success of Easy Rider. This 1080p interview runs 27 ½ minutes.
The screen tests for the casting for the television series The Monkees are offered for Michael Nesmith (3 ¼ minutes), Micky Dolenz (2 ¾ minutes), David Jones (3 minutes), and Peter Tork (2 ½ minutes) along with two scenes with the boys with other finalists for the roles: “She’s a Groovy Kid” runs 4 ¼ minutes while “$13 Million” runs 3 ¼ minutes. All are in 1080i.
“The Monkees on Hy Lit Show” is a brief interview with the four actors on a television show in 1968 publicizing the movie. It runs 5 ½ minutes in 1080i.
There are four theatrical trailers, five TV spots, nine radio spots, and an unusual patchwork of audio sound bites and video stills put together in a 6 ¾-minute collage.
There are two audio commentaries provided. Dennis Hopper does a solo commentary while he, Peter Fonda, and production manager Paul Lewis combine on the second via a telephone hook-up. Hopper’s solo entry has lots of breaks between comments, but the combo track features too much describing what we’re seeing in the frame. Fans will wants to listen to both, but there is a lot of repetition between these tracks and the comments Hopper and Fonda make in the bonus featurettes.
“Born to Be Wild” is a 1995 documentary produced for BBC2 on the making of the movie. Running 30 minutes, it hits the high spots in the filmmakers’ recollections with Fonda, Hopper, Karen Black, and cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs commenting. It’s in 1080i.
More comprehensive is “Easy Rider: Shaking the Cage” featuring the same filmmakers talking about the film’s troubled production in a 65-minute documentary produced in 1999 and presented in 1080i.
“Hopper and Fonda at Cannes” is a quickie 2 ¼-minute black and white interview with the two stars at the Cannes Film Festival (where Hopper won a prize for Best Direction of a First Feature) talking about the movie (Fonda in broken French). It’s in 1080i.
A very interesting interview with producer Steve Blauner filmed for this set in 2010 finds the former executive (the “S” in BBS) discussing his show business career from an executive with Screen Gems through the end of the BBS company. It runs 18 ¾ minutes in 1080p.
There are two theatrical trailers running 2 ¾ minutes and 1 minute respectively. Both are in 1080p.
Five Easy Pieces
The audio commentary is provided by director Bob Rafelson and interior designer (and ex-wife) Toby Rafelson. The two were recorded separately with their comments edited into one track. Both have interesting things to say about their memories of the making of the film, and there are very few silent spots during the commentary. This is one of the best commentaries offered in this set.
“Soul Searching in Five Easy Pieces” is a 9 ¼-minute overview of the film featuring interviews with Rafelson, Nicholson, Karen Black, and others. Recorded in 2009, this is presented in 1080p.
“BBS Story” is a vivid documentary of the BBS company featuring interviews with associate producer Fred Roos, Mickey Dolenz, Ellen Burstyn, Karen Black, Bruce Dern, and Peter Bogdanovich (along with other who have appeared in other featurettes) discussing their work on films for the company. This 2009 feature runs 46 ½ minutes in 1080p.
An audio recording of a Q&A session with Bob Rafelson is presented on this disc. Speaking at the AFI after the release of Stay Hungry in 1976, Rafelson discusses his early career, his individual assessment of the industry in the late 1960s, his work with actors, shooting in sequence, and future plans.
There are two teaser trailers (running 2 ½ minutes and 1 minute) and the theatrical trailer which runs 3 minutes. All are in 1080p.
Drive, He Said
“A Cautionary Tale” features Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, and Karen Black, among others, discussing the making of the movie in a 10 ¾-minute featurette presented in 1080p.
The film’s theatrical trailer runs 2 ¾ minutes in 1080p.
A Safe Place
Director-writer Henry Jaglom provides the audio commentary for this title. He spends his time alternately explaining what the film is supposed to mean (three minutes of stream of consciousness thoughts inside a girl’s mind as she listens to a record) and defending the movie and his choices.
“Henry Jaglom Finds a Safe Place” is a 2009 featurette basically repeating the comments from the commentary in visual form featuring the director and Karen Black (who played Weld’s role in the original stage production) for 6 ½ minutes in 1080p.
“Notes on the New York Film Festival” is a 28 ½-minute episode of CBS’ Camera Three program with critic Molly Haskell interviewing Peter Bogdanovich and Henry Jaglom about their movies premiering at the festival and showing clips from each of the films. Taped in 1971, it’s presented in 1080i.
There is a 5 ¼-minute outtake sequence featuring Orson Welles trying to get a speech exactly right with an obstinate horse interrupting the scene. It’s in 1080i.
There are four screen tests, two scenes with two actresses testing with co-star Phil Proctor for the role eventually played by Tuesday Weld. One of the actresses is Ann Prentiss. They run a total of 7 minutes in 1080i.
The film’s theatrical trailer is in 1080p and runs 2 ¾ minutes.
The Last Picture Show
There are two audio commentaries, both dominated by director Peter Bogdanovich but recorded years apart. In one, he’s joined by edited comments from Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid, Cloris Leachman, and associate producer Frank Marshall. He goes solo on the other. There is a great amount of repetition on the two tracks in terms of Bogdanovich’s remarks, so the combination track can be safely listened to without fear of missing anything on the other solo track.
“The Last Picture Show: A Look Back” is a 64 ¾-minute documentary on the making of the film with Bogdanovich joined in talking head remarks by Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan, and Frank Marshall. Filmed in 1999, this is presented in 1080i.
“A Discussion with Peter Bogdanovich” finds the director asking questions posed to him by producer Laurent Bouzereau in this 12 ¾-minute, 1080p featurette.
“Picture This” is a 42-minute documentary shot in 1990 when some of the original stars of the film returned to Archer City, Texas, to shoot the sequel Texasville. Both new and vintage interviews with residents of the town and stars of the film are featured in this 1080i production directed by George Hickenlooper.
There is a montage of silent screen tests of various locals who were cast in small parts in the movie. It’s in 1080i and runs 2 ¼ minutes.
There is 6 ½ minutes of location footage shot silent around the area prior to the film’s production. It’s in 1080i.
“Truffaut on the New Hollywood” is a 4 ½-minute interview with the esteemed French director who speaks of The Last Picture Show as emblematic of a new vitality in American films due to less restrictive censorship and production codes. It’s in 1080i.
There are two trailers for the movie. The original trailer runs 3 minutes in 1080p. The re-release trailer runs 1 ½ minutes in 1080i.
The King of Marvin Gardens
There is a selected scene commentary by director Bob Rafelson. He’s chosen fifteen moments in the movie and provided commentary for them. He retells many of the same anecdotes here that he relates in other documentaries on the disc, but fans of the film will want to hear his comments. They run 61 ¼ minutes.
“Reflections of a Philosopher King”is a 9 ¾-minute remembrance of making the film by director Bob Rafelson and co-star Ellen Burstyn. It runs 9 ¾ minutes in 1080p.
“After Thoughts” is another 11 minutes of memories about making the movie by Rafelson, co-star Bruce Dern, and cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs. It’s in 1080i.
“About Bob Rafelson” is a step through series of text pages about his producing and directing career with attached filmography.
The film’s theatrical trailer runs 3 ½ minutes in 1080p.
The enclosed 112-page booklet contains cast and crew lists for all seven movies, color and black and white stills from the various films, essays on five of the films (A Safe Place and Drive, He Said are omitted) by Chuck Stephens, Matt Zoller Seitz, Kent Jones, Graham Fuller, and Mark Le Fanu along with an overiew essay on the BBS phenomenon by J. Hoberman.
All of these Criterion Blu-rays include a maneuvering tool called “Timeline” which can be pulled up from the menu or by pushing the red button on the remote. It shows you your progress on the disc, the title of the chapter you’re now in, and index markers for the commentaries that go along with the film, all of which can be switched on the fly. Additionally, two other buttons on the remote can place or remove bookmarks if you decide to stop viewing before reaching the end of the film or want to mark specific places for later reference.
4/5 (not an average)
All of the films in America Lost and Found: The BBS Story may not be masterpieces of American cinema, but they all capture distinctly a time and place in our history and in the history of moviemaking that is uniquely fascinating and deserve to be studied. Highly recommended!