Review: Winter Kills
Blu-ray: Winter Kills (1979)
Based on the novel of the same name by Richard Condon, Winter Kills is one of those films that Indicator excel in: a ‘lost’ film, unfamiliar yet on watching you can’t believe you’ve never seen it before.
I suppose you could describe it as a black comedy about the fictional assassination of Jeff Bridges half- brother who was the President at the time, and is very similar to the assassination story of President John F. Kennedy.
It boasts quite a cast including Jeff Bridges as Nick Kegan, John Huston as his father Pa Kegan, Anthony Perkins as the mysterious ‘fixer’ Cerruti, and Eli Wallach, Richard Boone, Toshirō Mifune, Sterling Hayden, Dorothy Malone (still beautiful), and Elizabeth Taylor (who doesn’t speak), in supporting roles.
Nick is on a boat (why is he on a boat? We never find out) and is informed by Keifitz (Boone) that the dying man wrapped in bandages on a trolley in front of them knows who assassinated his brother. After a caper involving the assassin’s gun, Nick’s companion policemen are murdered in broad daylight in the middle of a city, and panicking Nick runs away and then attempts to phone his dad to tell him what’s happened, but he’s connected to his dad’s accountant Cerruti (Perkins) instead.
Even now I have no idea who he’s supposed to be in the film, a sort of … nope he’s literally just ‘mysterious’ And the set he’s in seems to be more Space 1999 than Texas.
Yes, it’s a weird film, like a cross between David Lynch and Terry Gilliam. Bonkers, entertaining and as crazy as a shithouse rat.
It’s worth seeing just to see John Huston in red undercrackers.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
- New 4K restoration
- Two presentations of the film: the 1979 Theatrical Cut (97 mins) and the 1983 Reissue Version (91 mins)
- Original mono audio
- Audio commentary with writer-director William Richert (2003)
- Who Killed ‘Winter Kills’? (2003, 38 mins): retrospective documentary on the making of the film, featuring Richert, actors Jeff Bridges and Belinda Bauer, director of photography Vilmos Zsigmond, and production designer Robert Boyle
- Reunion (2003, 9 mins): Richert and Bridges reflect on the film’s colourful production
- Star Stories (2003, 8 mins): Richert discusses the film’s extraordinary all-star cast
- Things Happening in Secret (2020, 31 mins): critic and writer Glenn Kenny explores the history and legacy of conspiracy thrillers
- Original theatrical trailer
- Josh Olson trailer commentary (2013, 4 mins): short critical appreciation
- Radio spot
- Image gallery: publicity and promotional material
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Anne Billson, archival accounts of the making of the film, Richert on Winter Kills, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
- UK premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited edition of 3,000 copies
Winter Kills is released on 27th January 2020.
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