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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • A Cautionary Tale of Campus Revolution and Sexual Freedom, a 2009 video piece in which director Jack Nicholson discusses the experience of making this film
  • Theatrical trailer
  • More!

Drive, He Said

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jack Nicholson
Starring: William Teppert, Karen Black, Michael Margotta, Bruce Dern, Robert Towne
1970 | 90 Minutes | Licensor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $124.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #547
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: November 23, 2010
Review Date: December 5, 2010

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SYNOPSIS

Fresh off of his Five Easy Pieces success, Jack Nicholson mounted his enormously irreverent directorial debut. Based on the best-selling novel by Jeremy Larner, Drive, He Said, free-spirited and sobering by turns, is a sketch of the exploits of a disaffected college basketball player (William Tepper) and his increasingly radical roommate (Michael Margotta), as well as a feverishly shot and edited snapshot of the early seventies (some of it was filmed during an actual campus protest). Fueled by Vietnam-era anxieties and perched on the edge of utter insanity, Nicholson's audacious comedy (also starring Bruce Dern and Karen Black) is a startling howl direct from the zeitgeist.

Forum members rate this film 5.9/10

 

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PICTURE

Jack Nicholsonís directorial debut Drive, He Said comes to Blu-ray, the only home video release I know of in North America so far (I could never find this film on VHS, and Iím pretty sure it never saw the light of day on DVD previously,) currently found only in Criterionís America Lost and Found box set. Itís presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this dual-layer disc in 1080p/24hz. On the Blu-ray edition it shares the disc with another film in the set, Henry Jaglomís A Safe Place.

Of the films in the box set, Drive, He Said possibly has the weakest presentation, regardless of being approved by Nicholson. Colours are okay, looking dull and muted, though this could be the intended look, but blacks look a little crushed throughout. The print is in fairly good condition with some damage, and grain is present but it unfortunately doesnít always look natural. Sometimes grain can look a little blocky and compression artifacts can be visible in spots. Edge-enhancement also rears its head on occasion.

The image at least remains sharp and crisp with high levels of detail, but itís still the most disappointing presentation in the set.

6/10

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AUDIO

The linear PCM mono track is much better than I was anticipating but itís still a little flat and lifeless. Dialogue, music, and general sound effects are clear, and thereís no damage or bothersome noise in the background, but itís just lacking that punch and can be a little tinny.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterionís America Lost and Found box set is basically a complete history lesson on BBS Productions and the supplements found on each disc in this set are primarily about the production company as a whole, though each disc still contains supplements that focus primarily on their respective films.

Having said that, Drive, He Said has the weakest collection of supplements: it only has one significant supplement. And itís only 11-minutes. Called A Cautionary Tale of Campus Revolution and Sexual Freedom, it features interviews with Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Harry Gittes , Fred Roos, and Christophe Holmes. In it the group talks about the general production and recall some incidents from the set (including the real student protest they got caught up in and filmed.) In whole itís not all that ground breaking and is basically a fluff piece, but Nicholsonís presence manages to make this one of the more entertaining supplements in the set. Nicholson spends most of his time talking about the nudity in the film, which goes against the agreement he made with the Oregon University he filmed at, who insisted no nudity be filmed on campus. An incident did arise because of this (which ended with a naked Jack apparently holding police at bay) but the nudity could have actually been a lot worse: Nicholson talks about a far more graphic locker room scene, which he refers to as a ďsymphony of dicksĒ said in a way only Jack could. He was of course talked out of this.

Unfortunately this one lone supplement doesnít get into much more detail about the film than in a fairly superficial way. Nicholson touches a little on the themes and explains a few things, but something more in-depth would have been welcome, even a commentary (in fact, this is the only film that doesnít come with one in the set.) The film is an intriguing one, if nothing else, and certainly deserves more. The only other feature we get is a theatrical trailer, which manages to also pack in some nudity.

The box set overall offers some wonderful supplements, providing a comprehensive history of BBS Productions and the films they released (the set even coming with a 111-page booklet) and it may be one of Criterionís more comprehensive collections. But amazingly not much attention has been given to Drive, He Said, which really gets the bumís rush not just here but in the set in general, and that actually amazes me because I didnít think the film, despite some of its glaring problems, was really that bad. It could come down to the fact there wasnít much else they could get, but Iím sure we could have gotten some scholarly material, maybe even a scholarly commentary track if Nicholson couldnít (or wouldnít) provide his own. Whatever the reason, this is easily the most disappointing aspect of what is otherwise a great box set.

3/10

CLOSING

America Lost and Found is one of the more fascinating box sets to come from anyone, offering a comprehensive look at one of the more important and interesting production companies to ever get into the business, making an impact that can still be felt today.

Paired with A Safe Place on the same disc, Drive, He Said easily has the weakest presentation in the set, sporting a below average transfer and one lone supplement, not counting the trailer, that lasts 11-minutes and doesnít add too much to the film. At least Nicholson is fantastic in it, so that at least makes it worthwhile and, ironically enough, one of the more entertaining supplements in the box set. Despite whatever oneís feelings are for the film, it does deserve a better edition.


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