- Theatrical Trailer
- Subtitles: English
- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 50 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: December 11, 2001
- Originally Released: 1969
- Label: Paramount
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 1.85
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.78
- Dolby Digital Mono - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Audio Commentary: Haskell Wexler - Director, Writer, Director of Photography,
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
- Paul Golding - Editorial Consultant, Marianna Hill - Star
- Interactive Features:
- Interactive Menus
- Scene Selection
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"Watch out Haskell, it's real."
- Director Haskell Wexler's assistant to Wexler after a tear gas canister is released
"Jesus! I love to shoot film!"
- John Cassellis (Robert Forster)
Premiere - 03/01/1995
"...By turns riotous, trippy, and downright lovely..." - Recommended
Entertainment Weekly - 05/05/1995
"...COOL emerges as an agonized search for truth..."
USA Today - 12/14/2001
"...A prophetic skewering of sound-bite journalism and one of the most left-wing movies ever backed by a major studio during its era..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
The time: 1968. The place: Chicago, setting of the Democratic National Convention and a hotbed of political and social change. As protesters and police face off in the streets, fate brings together an unlikely pair: John (Robert Forster), a dispassionate TV news cameraman, and Eileen (Verna Bloom), a warmhearted Appalachian raising her son in a Chicago ghetto. Their relationship deepens and so does the impending danger, as John and Eileen are swept into the maelstrom of fear and violence that has captured the attention of an entire nation. Filmed against the backdrop of the '68 convention by Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler, Medium Cool captures the soul of a turbulent era and takes a penetrating look at America's continuing fascination with sensationalism and violence.
One of the landmarks of independent film, as well as one of the primary celluloid artifacts of the 1960s, MEDIUM COOL (based on Thomas Couffer's THE CONCRETE WILDERNESS) stars Robert Forster as John Cassellis, a television cameraman in Chicago. John is so proud of his detached professionalism that he and soundman Gus (Peter Bonerz) even go so far as to stop and film a car crash before calling an ambulance. However, after John films a protest by black activists about racism in the media, the film is seized by the FBI, and his resistance to handing over the footage gets him fired from his job at the television station. While idle, John becomes better acquainted with 13-year-old Harold (Harold Blankenship) and Harold's mother, Eileen Horton (Verna Bloom), a West Virginia native whose husband is in Vietnam. As the 1968 convention approaches, John picks up a freelance assignment and is thrust headlong into the anarchy of the Chicago streets and the convention floor. His prized detachment falls away as he watches Mayor Daley's cops clubbing unarmed protestors.
Shooting with handheld cameras, Wexler's unerring eye moves seamlessly between the actors and the unplanned events exploding in front of them. His pitiless dissection of the media's role in the shaping of reality spares no one. MEDIUM COOL remains one of the seminal films of the 1960s and 1970s.
A television cameraman working in the turbulent Chicago of the late 1960s becomes involved in the violent situations that he constantly views from behind the camera. Actual riot footage adds to the film's realism.
Essential Cinema |
Social Issues |
Theatrical Release |
- Theatrical release: August 27, 1969.
- Shooting locations: Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Washington, DC; and Kentucky.
- Estimated budget: $800,000.
- Haskell Wexler sought to achieve the utmost possible realism by putting his actors into the heart of the historic 1968 Chicago convention.
- Some of Wexler's footage was subpoenaed by the government.
- The title MEDIUM COOL refers to Marshall McLuhan's description of television as a "cool" medium.
- Chicago-based blues artists Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield, along with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, provided music for the score.