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Made In The U.S.A.
The Criterion Collection

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 85 minutes

Starring: Anna Karina, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Laszlo Szabo

Screenplay by: Jean-Luc Godard
Based on the novel "The Jugger" by: Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake)

Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard

 

 

Studio: Criterion

Retail Price: $29.95

Features: On The Cusp, Anna Karina Interview, Laszlo Szabo Interview, Made In The U.S.A. Concordance

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, French Mono, English Subtitles, Chapter Selection (16 Chapters)

Released: July 21st, 2009

 

 


"Made In The U.S.A." is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it's a pretty spiffy transfer. Fleshtones hit the mark, and the movie's boisterous color scheme of bright colors really pop right out at you. The colors are bold and well saturated, and don't bleed either. Detail is excellent, while the print itself is fairly clean. However, there are a few flaws — namely that contrast seems to be turned up pretty high, resulting in noise, and there is the slightest bit of edge enhancement. Nonetheless, these factors don't ruin or really distract from what is otherwise a pretty spectacular transfer. 

 


"Made In The U.S.A." also features a French Mono track. Everything is audible and comes in decently, but it's nothing outstanding. It's probably most likely due to the age and condition of the film, but the track sounds overly tinny and cackles are audible, which at times can be distracting. Fidelity is a bit on the low side, and of course, the track itself is fairly limited. Still, at least everything comes through — and that's what counts.

English subtitles are included.

 


There are some nice supplements in this edition. First up is On The Cusp, which features interviews with Jean-Luc Godard biographers Colin MacCabe and Richard Brody, as well as bits from the filmmaker himself. Running a solid 26 minutes, this piece focus on on "Made In The U.S.A." as well as "2 or 3 Things I Know About Her." Clips from the film and plenty of stills help highlight the nuances of these movies, as the two biographers seamlessly track the history of both movies, Godard's life at the time and the personal and political influences that can be traced in each work. The piece is engaging, if at times a little dry. Being an informed Godard fan, or at least an appreciation of one or both the films, will help. If any of those descriptions sound like you, then this will be a satisfying watch. 

A 10 minute interview from 2002 with Godard's star (and ex-wife) Anna Karina can also be found on the DVD. The actress traces her days as a struggling actress, to her initial meeting with Godard and touches upon their work together. There's a lot of great anecdotes, mostly concerning Godard's work ethic. Stills and clips are interspliced here, too. Quite interesting. 

There's also another actor interview, which is on Laszlo Szabo. The interview, which was shot in 2009, runs a bit over 5 minutes. The interview has stills intercut with the actors recollections, which mainly focus on "Made In The U.S.A." It's brief, but there are some nuggets of info to be found here, which also makes it worth a watch.

Made In The U.S.A. Concordance runs about 17 minutes, and is a fantastic viewing for anyone interested in the film's whole host of cultural references — not all of which are so obvious. After a short introduction, the narrator highlights short and sweet bits about names, books and a host of other elements in the movie, and where they stem from. Visual cues are also presented during the small explanations. Very well done, and certainly fascinating.

The last of the video-based supplements are Trailers. One is for the original theatrical release, and the other for the film's more recent re-release. Both are in anamorphic widescreen, and more or less the same.

Lastly, J. Hoberman contributes a fantastic essay that can be found in the keepcase's booklet.
 


"Made In The U.S.A." is a very intriguing film that definitely helps define the essence of Jean-Luc Godard. It's also very likely you haven't seen the film, given that it never had a distributor in the United States when it was originally made. But after a short reissue in 2009, Criterion has now rolled the film out on DVD, and it's certainly worth seeking out. The transfer certainly grabs you, and the supplements are well put together. This is yet another fine release from Criterion.