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Press Release Criterion Press Release: Round Midnight (1986) (Blu-ray) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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’Round Midnight is a love letter from director Bertrand Tavernier to the heyday of bebop and to the Black American musicians who found refuge in the smoky underground jazz clubs of 1950s Paris. In a miraculous, sui generis fusion of performer and character that was nominated for an Oscar, legendary saxophonist Dexter Gordon plays Dale Turner, a brilliant New York jazz veteran whose music aches with beauty but whose personal life is ravaged by addiction. Searching for a fresh start in Paris, Turner strikes up an unlikely friendship with a struggling single father and ardent jazz fan (François Cluzet) who finds his life transformed as he attempts to help the self-destructive musician. Herbie Hancock’s evocative, Oscar-winning score sets the mood for this definitive jazz film, a bittersweet opus that glows with lived-in, soulful authenticity.

FILM INFO​

  • United States, France
  • 1986
  • 131 minutes
  • Color
  • 2.39:1
  • French, English
  • Spine #1122

SPECIAL FEATURES​

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, supervised by composer Herbie Hancock and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
  • New interview with jazz and cultural critic Gary Giddins
  • New conversation with music producer Michael Cuscuna and author Maxine Gordon, widow of musician Dexter Gordon
  • Before Midnight, a 1986 behind-the-scenes documentary
  • Panel discussion from 2014 featuring director Bertrand Tavernier, Cuscuna, Maxine Gordon, and jazz scholar John Szwed, moderated by jazz critic and broadcaster Mark Ruffin
  • Performance from 1969 of “Fried Bananas” by Dexter Gordon, directed by Teit Jørgensen
  • New English subtitle translation and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by scholar Mark Anthony Neal

    New cover by F. Ron Miller

    April 26, 2022
 

Ronald Epstein

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link. As an Amazon Associate HTF earns from qualifying purchases

 
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lark144

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mark gross
Am I the first to do a Huzzah about this?

I've been waiting on a decent Blu of "Round Midnight" for the longest time. I still have the flipper DVD box, from the last century, I think.

It's such a great film. Dexter Gordon was amazing in it. He should have gotten the Oscar, but...well. "He was playing a jazz musician and he's a jazz musician, etc." People said this at the time. But the character Dexter played had nothing to do with who he was. He was doing a cross between Lester Young and Bud Powell and he got it down so perfectly, especially the way his voice quavered, and his fingers occasionally shaked, and yet underneath was still that passion, that creativity. Amazing.

I'm happy to see Herbie Hancock is doing a 5.1 remix of the score. It would also be great if it were available as an isolated score. I don't expect it; this is Criterion, after all, but in the case of "'Round Midnight", many of the best pieces of music, for instance, Chet Baker playing and singing "Fair Weather", are heard dimly on the radio with dialogue spoken over it. So it would be really helpful.

A jazz DJ I know complained about this film when it came out, saying that the music was too quiet. "Jazz is supposed to kick ass," he said. But this is a wee small hours kind of film, as well as an autumnal themed view of the life of a man who is looking back, so I thought that meditative quality was appropriate. It's a chamber piece, not "Dirty Dancing".
 

Richard M S

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This is a mature, smart film, and it is a must-buy for me. The late, great Bertrand Tavernier did a phenomenal job directing it.

While it did get some awards attention; it definitely did not get the attention it deserved back in the mid-eighties. This overdue Criterion release should finally bring it the attention it deserves.
 

cadavra

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mike schlesinger
This is such an important film to me, I'm going to break my "I. Am. Not. Buying. This. Again." rule. And I love how the cover art is designed to kinda look like an LP cover from Blue Note Records.

In case anyone's interested:

 

titch

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Kevin Oppegaard
I've been waiting on a decent Blu of "Round Midnight" for the longest time. I still have the flipper DVD box, from the last century, I think.

I'm happy to see Herbie Hancock is doing a 5.1 remix of the score. It would also be great if it were available as an isolated score. I don't expect it; this is Criterion, after all, but in the case of "'Round Midnight", many of the best pieces of music, for instance, Chet Baker playing and singing "Fair Weather", are heard dimly on the radio with dialogue spoken over it. So it would be really helpful.
I was trying to impress a girl with my maturity and sophistication back then, so I took her on a date to see the film and I shelled out a large chunk of my pocket money for the soundtrack CD - which was the first jazz album I had purchased. It wasn't a bad start, although when I later heard Miles Davis, I found it difficult to go back to Bobby Mcferrin. I've loved and lost, but the CD still plays fine 35 years later.

I've been waiting for Clint Eastwood's Bird too - one of the few films of his, which has never had a blu-ray release. IMG_6597.jpg
 
Last edited:

lark144

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mark gross
I was trying to impress a girl with my maturity and sophistication back then, so I took her on a date to see the film and I shelled out a large chunk of my pocket money for the soundtrack CD - which was the first jazz album I had purchased. It wasn't a bad start, although when I later heard Miles Davis, I found it difficult to go back to Bobby Mcferrin. I've loved and lost, but the CD still plays fine 35 years later.

I've been waiting for Clint Eastwood's Bird too - one of the few films of his, which has never had a blu-ray release. View attachment 125411
There's more material from the "'Round Midnight" soundtrack, and I think some unused takes featuring Dexter Gordon, on a Blue Note album titled "The Other Side of 'Round Midnight".
 

Reggie W

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I love this picture and I am thrilled about this release. I had heard rumors that Criterion might be doing this a long time back but had nearly given up on it coming. Great film that music lovers would do well to see if they have not.
 

[email protected]!

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Am I the first to do a Huzzah about this?

I've been waiting on a decent Blu of "Round Midnight" for the longest time. I still have the flipper DVD box, from the last century, I think.

It's such a great film. Dexter Gordon was amazing in it. He should have gotten the Oscar, but...well. "He was playing a jazz musician and he's a jazz musician, etc." People said this at the time. But the character Dexter played had nothing to do with who he was. He was doing a cross between Lester Young and Bud Powell and he got it down so perfectly, especially the way his voice quavered, and his fingers occasionally shaked, and yet underneath was still that passion, that creativity. Amazing.

I'm happy to see Herbie Hancock is doing a 5.1 remix of the score. It would also be great if it were available as an isolated score. I don't expect it; this is Criterion, after all, but in the case of "'Round Midnight", many of the best pieces of music, for instance, Chet Baker playing and singing "Fair Weather", are heard dimly on the radio with dialogue spoken over it. So it would be really helpful.

A jazz DJ I know complained about this film when it came out, saying that the music was too quiet. "Jazz is supposed to kick ass," he said. But this is a wee small hours kind of film, as well as an autumnal themed view of the life of a man who is looking back, so I thought that meditative quality was appropriate. It's a chamber piece, not "Dirty Dancing".
AN EXTRAORDINARY FILM! I can't wait!
 

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