With its giddily complex noir plot and color-drenched widescreen images, Made in U.S.A was a final burst of exuberance from Jean-Luc Godard’s early sixties barrage of delirious movie-movies. Yet this chaotic crime thriller and acidly funny critique of consumerism—starring Anna Karina as the most brightly dressed private investigator in film history, searching for a former lover who might have been assassinated—also points toward the more political cinema that would come to define Godard. Featuring characters with names such as Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, David Goodis, and Doris Mizoguchi, and appearances by a slapstick Jean-Pierre Léaud and a sweetly singing Marianne Faithfull, this piece of pop art is like a Looney Tunes rendition of The Big Sleep gone New Wave.
Theatrical Release: December 3rd, 1966
DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Criterion Collection Spine # 481 - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||French (Dolby Digital 1.0)|
with stars Anna Karina (10:07) and Lászlo Szábó (5;47)
There are PAL editions; Australian Universal and UK Warner DVD releases of the film (English-unfriendly Italian + French discs too) but, unfortunately, I don't own any of them to compare. This Criterion however looks absolutely magnificent. The image quality is so brilliant it's hard not to think it's Blu-ray. It was taken from a high-definition transfer of the original 35mm camera negative and has been digitally restored - it's exceptionally clean, colors are bright, detail and contrast are magnificent. In short I can't imagine this looking any better on SD-DVD.
Like Two of three Things I Know About Her - the Criterion 1.0 channel monaural audio was remastered at 24-bit from a 35mm optical track and it sounds unremarkable but clean without clicks, thumps, hum or hiss. There are optional English subtitles.
Supplements are, expectantly, very strong - they start with On the Cusp: a 26-minute video piece on the personal and the political in both Made in U.S.A. and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her. It features interviews with Godard biographers Richard Brody (Everything is Cinema: the Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard) and Colin MacCabe (Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy). There are interviews - a 10-minute one with star and ex-wife Anna Karina shot in 2002 (2 years after their divorce) and about 6-minutes from a 2009 piece with actor Lászlo Szábó - who also appeared in Pierrot le fou, Alphaville and Passion. He discusses the making of Made in U.S.A. Just like Criterion's 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her release there is a visual essay cataloguing the multiple quotations and references that make up the script of the film. It's entitled Made in U.S.A. - A Concordance and runs almost 18-minutes. Included are original (1:34) and re-release (1:49) theatrical trailers and a 16-page liner notes booklet with an new essay by film critic J. Hoberman.
I don't really understand a significant amount of Godard's work. This was a perfect example. I'm sure, as with Two of Three Things... a commentary could dramatically helped as Adrian Martin's did for that film. I suppose it probably wasn't meant to be 'coherent' in any sense of a normal plot-based film. People compare Made in U.S.A. to Lynch - and I can see the connection - or perhaps, more appropriately, Godard's influence. I hope to revisit this one another time when I am more readily willing to accept and appreciate it. Criterion's release is simply fabulous - an amazing AV transfer with super supplements - all for under $20. Probably, by a wide margin, the definitive edition.