119 Withnail and I

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Martha
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119 Withnail and I

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:20 pm

Withnail and I

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/1640/119_withnail_w128.jpg[/img]

London. The 60s. Two unemployed actors--acerbic, elegantly wasted Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and the anxiety-ridden "I" (Paul McGann)--drown their frustrations in booze, pills, and lighter fluid. When Withnail's Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) offers his cottage, they escape the squalor of their flat for a week in the country. They soon realize they've gone on holiday by mistake when their wits--and friendship--are sorely tested by violent downpours, less-than-hospitable locals, and empty cupboards. An intelligent, superbly acted, and hilarious film, The Criterion Collection is proud to present Bruce Robinson's semi-autobiographical cult favorite in its complete and uncut version.

Special Features

- Exclusive uncut widescreen version, supervised by director of photography Peter Hannan
- Withnail & Us, a 1999 documentary on the film
- Rare pre-production photos by Ralph Steadman
- Original theatrical trailer
- Limited-edition collectible poster of the original film art by Ralph Steadman
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

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Last edited by Martha on Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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milk114
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#2 Post by milk114 » Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:30 pm

Bruce Robinson will be directing Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro in Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary.

Because of this and the connection with Ralph Steadman I am interested in seeing this film. It seems to be similar in tone and content to Thomspon's work as far as I can tell. Is this DVD worth a blind buy? Is there anything else about Withnail or Robinson that I should know? Thanks.

mmacklem
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#3 Post by mmacklem » Mon Apr 18, 2005 4:01 am

I have seen both Withnail and I and How To Get Ahead In Advertising, and I can wholeheartedly say that I loved the former and hated the latter. With Advertising, it felt like one's reaction to the film lives or dies based on to what extent you can buy into the biting nature of the movie's satire. Personally, I found that there wasn't really an entry point for me, it felt like too much of a cynical intellectual exercise. On the other hand, Withnail and I felt like it was more about two real people; even if the story itself is told largely in an exaggerated remembrance, it feels more like the director has something riding on these people, like he has more of an emotional attachment to or involvement with them. And it is incredibly funny and touching and sad and tragic and everything else, blah blah blah.

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justeleblanc
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#4 Post by justeleblanc » Wed Aug 23, 2006 12:45 pm

From DVDTimes.co.uk:
Anchor Bay have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of Withnail and I (20th Anniversary Edition) for 2nd October 2006 priced at £15.99. Two decades ago, struggling actor and Oscar nominated screenwriter Bruce Robinson (The Killing Fields) unleashed his directorial debut feature upon the world – the semi-autobiographical comedy, Withnail and I. Since its release, the film has quite rightly come to be regarded as a cult classic, universally praised by critics and the public alike. One of the most quoted films of all time, it even spawned its own drinking game which has become nothing short of a rite of passage for college and university students everywhere.

Now, to celebrate the film's 20th Anniversary, Anchor Bay UK is releasing Withnail and I as a special edition three-disc DVD set, featuring brand new bonus features that include what many fans will regard as the Holy Grail of "Withnail" extras – the first ever audio commentary by writer-director Bruce Robinson, newly recorded by Bruce especially for this Anniversary Edition! Presented in a special steel slipcase, this triple disc set also comes complete with a CD of the film's highly sought after original soundtrack.

Disc One:
* Digitally remastered widescreen presentation feature
* Audio commentary by writer-director Bruce Robinson
* Audio commentary by actors Paul McGann and Ralph Brown
* Stereo 2.0 and option 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and DTS

Disc Two:
* Brand new interview with writer-director Bruce Robinson
* "Postcards From Penrith" featurette
* "Withnail and Us" – 1999 documentary on "Withnail and I"
* Drinking game
* Behind the scenes stills by Ralph Steadman
* Swear-a-thon
* Original Theatrical Trailer

Disc Three: "Withnail and I" original soundtrack

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Matt
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#5 Post by Matt » Wed Aug 23, 2006 12:51 pm

I wonder if this will end up as an Anchor Bay US edition or as an eventual CC reissue. I doubt it's a big enough seller for Criterion to consider a new edition.

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colinr0380
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#6 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:15 pm

I've got a feeling that the "Postcards from Penrith" feature is a piece about the outdoor screening of the film. This and the drinking game feature were both in the season of programmes that Channel 4 showed in 1999, along with Withnail and Us. I often wondered why Criterion didn't put these on their disc as well when it first came out.

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MichaelB
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#7 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 23, 2006 2:42 pm

mmacklem wrote:I have seen both Withnail and I and How To Get Ahead In Advertising, and I can wholeheartedly say that I loved the former and hated the latter. With Advertising, it felt like one's reaction to the film lives or dies based on to what extent you can buy into the biting nature of the movie's satire. Personally, I found that there wasn't really an entry point for me, it felt like too much of a cynical intellectual exercise.
Robinson later admitted that the film was a hideous misjudgement - the problem being that its target audience would agree pretty much 100% with the film's stance on commercialism, with the result that it's a feature-length bit of preaching (or rather ranting) to the converted. Result: a few minutes of mild amusement at the start is rapidly usurped by an hour of numbing tedium at the end.

I ignored the mediocre-to-bad reviews and rushed to see it as soon as it opened, but it was obvious very early on that something had gone very very badly wrong - and I speak as someone who thinks that Withnail & I is one of the funniest British films ever made.

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colinr0380
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#8 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 6:32 pm

MichaelB wrote:Robinson later admitted that the film was a hideous misjudgement - the problem being that its target audience would agree pretty much 100% with the film's stance on commercialism, with the result that it's a feature-length bit of preaching (or rather ranting) to the converted. Result: a few minutes of mild amusement at the start is rapidly usurped by an hour of numbing tedium at the end.
It's also because the best moment is the opening speech by Richard E. Grant. It's magnificent, and you are right it is like the film just circles an issue that it perfectly deflated in the first few minutes, and tries to create a fantasy metaphor for a subject that would be more comedic if treated in a blunt, head on manner.

Here is a review at DVD Maniacs of the new Anchor Bay Withnail disc.

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Elephant
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#9 Post by Elephant » Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:45 pm

New short film starring Richard E. Grant & Paul McGann.

richast2
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#10 Post by richast2 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:26 pm

For the truly obsessive Withnail & I fan, the farmhouse featured in the movie is now for sale

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skuhn8
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#11 Post by skuhn8 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:41 am

richast2 wrote:For the truly obsessive Withnail & I fan, the farmhouse featured in the movie is now for sale
I think the studio is going to buy it and include a time-share with the 25th Anniversary Back In the Shack Edition.

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MichaelB
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#12 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:02 am

Something tells me it's going to be one of the most expensive run-down shacks in the British Isles by the time the auction has finished!

But can you imagine actually living there? You'd spend your entire time trying to get rid of Withnail memorabilia hunters!

richast2
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#13 Post by richast2 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:46 am

It sold for £265,000. The new buyer plans to preserve it.

BBC

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aox
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#14 Post by aox » Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:02 pm

I hope this film gets blu-ray treatment.

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Napier
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#15 Post by Napier » Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:32 pm

aox wrote:I hope this film gets blu-ray treatment.
With new extras, including a documentary of the cottage and renovation.

Kowalski
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#16 Post by Kowalski » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:18 am

I wish CC could license the commentary from the UK 20th Anniversary release.

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kaujot
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#17 Post by kaujot » Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:16 am

Ebert's newest Great Movie

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pro-bassoonist
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#18 Post by pro-bassoonist » Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:12 am

aox wrote:I hope this film gets blu-ray treatment.
Set to be released in the UK on May 18th.

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Pro-B

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aox
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#19 Post by aox » Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:25 am

does this mean it might not be far behind in Region 1? :D

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Foam
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#20 Post by Foam » Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:52 am

My prediction: it will be a long time before we get an equivalent-looking Region 1, if ever, though I'm not too worried. My Criterion copy is sufficient, anamorphic or not. I watch my DVDs on the computer and the look's not too bad when blown up post-cropping in VLC. At least not significantly worse than I would imagine the best possible transfer could be. From what I've read the source material looks awful anyway.

If the matter is bonus features, well that's a whole different story.

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aox
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#21 Post by aox » Sat May 02, 2009 11:26 pm

It is easily one of the worst presented films in the collection. On my '32 inch LCD, the picture is the size of a '13 inch TV in the middle. I have to zoom about 3x to get it to fill my screen; then of course it is pixilated terribly.

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Foam
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#22 Post by Foam » Sun May 03, 2009 6:38 am

Yeah I would welcome a rerelease but doubt like hell it'll ever happen.
Also this is one of those films in the collection that quite a few non-DVD-o-philes grab, so I doubt there would be much motivation on CC's part to dedicate the resources, unlike something like Seven Samurai or even The Lady Vanishes.
Also from what I've heard even the best source material looks bad by virtue of how totally amateur Bruce Robinson & Co were. If you want a film that is as little about surface filmicness as possible, it's this one.

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MichaelB
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#23 Post by MichaelB » Sun May 03, 2009 6:53 am

Foam wrote:Also from what I've heard even the best source material looks bad by virtue of how totally amateur Bruce Robinson & Co were.
The source material looked absolutely fine in 35mm, as one would expect from a production team made up of experienced professionals who were more than happy to advise self-confessed beginner Bruce Robinson how best to go about things. In fact, Robinson was so impressed with cinematographer Peter Hannan's contribution that he gave him a more prominent credit than usual.

I don't know the exact ins and outs of HandMade's materials issues, but I do know that they extend rather further than just this film - for years it was impossible to get anything other than poor-quality 1980s television masters out of them. I suspect this is connected with the company's acrimonious break-up in the 1990s after George Harrison found that business partner Denis O'Brien had been embezzling funds, and Harrison's subsequent death probably didn't help much either.

But things seem to have been resolved more recently - and a Blu-ray release has just been announced. I'm assuming this isn't a blow-up of the original non-anamorphic master!

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Particle Zoo
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#24 Post by Particle Zoo » Wed May 06, 2009 11:08 am

Foam wrote:Also from what I've heard even the best source material looks bad by virtue of how totally amateur Bruce Robinson & Co were. If you want a film that is as little about surface filmicness as possible, it's this one.
With the greatest respect, I saw a 35mm screening of W & I last year and it looked absolutely gorgeous.

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MichaelB
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Re: 119 Withnail and I

#25 Post by MichaelB » Wed May 06, 2009 11:27 am

Particle Zoo wrote:With the greatest respect, I saw a 35mm screening of W & I last year and it looked absolutely gorgeous.
Yes, years of poor transfers have done it a major disservice. Basically, if you haven't seen it in 35mm, you really haven't seen it as intended - and once you do, you'll realise how utterly absurd it is to accuse Robinson and his crew of being "totally amateur" or even to suggest that the film's visual qualities are irrelevant.

A notoriously high percentage of post-1970 British comedies look like TV spin-offs (even if they weren't), In The Loop being merely the most recent example. One of the many, many merits of Withnail & I is that it doesn't. In fact, HandMade Films' output in general included some of the best-looking British films of the 1980s - some of which were shot by the same "totally amateur" crew!

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