1980s Paranoid Thriller Looks Better Than Ever

By Brian Myers | Published

A film often overlooked from over 40 years ago will now have its chance to make its mark on a new generation, complete with digital upgrades and lots of bonuses. The 1981 film Blow Out is now available in masterful 4K restoration and in a two-disc set that has one version of the film in Dolby Vision HDR as well as a Blu-ray disc. This presents a great opportunity for newcomers to see the film with a brilliant remastering, as well as giving fans access to a lot of terrific extras.

Blow Out Gets The Criterion Treatment

The Blow Out release has behind-the-scenes interviews with several cast and crew members, including the film’s director Brian De Palma, co-star Nancy Allen, and cameraman Garrett Brown. Additionally, the set will host the 1967 film Murder a la Mod, also directed by De Palma. On-set photographs are also available on the discs, as well as the original theatrical trailer and other extras.

A Forgotten John Travolta Thriller

Blow Out starred John Travolta, who plays sound technician Jack Terry. Terry is busily working on a B-horror film project, trying to capture more realistic scream and wind effects on audio. His work takes him to a local park, where his audio recording captures a tire blowout that leads to a car accident that kills a man and leaves a woman injured.

An Acoustic Mystery

Terry soon discovers that the dead man is a Presidential hopeful and that the woman he assisted was his escort. Furthermore, when he is reviewing what his audio captured, he hears what he is certain was a gunshot and not a blowout. When he puts his audio recordings in time with an amateur video that a witness captured of the accident, he realizes that the driver of the car was assassinated.

Critics Loved The Dark Thriller

Blow Out was well received by film critics, but the dark subject matter seemed to turn a lot of audiences’ attention away from what has become a highly regarded feature. Filmways Pictures, the studio behind the movie, had high hopes for box office success but was met with dismal returns from moviegoers. The $18 million budget wasn’t even close to being matched by ticket sales, which only reached $13.8 million worldwide.

A Stacked Cast

The film had all the makings of a successful picture, helping to cement its legacy as a Criterion Film. Alongside Travolta and Allen, Blow Out co-stars John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, and Curt May. Brian De Palma, who later won accolades for being at the helm of the 1983 film Scarface, also worked as the movie’s screenwriter, sharing that credit with Bill Mesce, Jr.

From A Legendary Director

Blow Out was not the first time that director De Palma and lead actor John Travolta worked together on a film. The pair were both parts of the 1976 horror film Carrie, where De Palma wore his director’s hat while Travolta filled a supporting role as one of the title character’s high school tormentors. After the box office success of Carrie, De Palma worked as director on The Fury and Dressed to Kill, as Travolta grew his acting career with starring roles in Saturday Night Fever and Urban Cowboy.

Source: Criterion