Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Blast of Silence."

It took a little longer than I expected, but I'm finally posting a bit about the Criterion Collection release of Blast of Silence. It's an interesting film, one that I enjoyed a lot more the second time and one that I suspect will continue to grow on me with repeated viewings. Made in the early 1960s for next to nothing, it's definitely a film of its era and its budget, but I can see why it's considered a lost masterpiece. There are moments where the cinematography is really striking; other than perhaps some source music in a bar, the jazz score is evocative of the loneliness in a big city; and Allen Baron's performance sometimes eerily foreshadows De Niro or even offers a glimpse of what a New Yorker like Scorsese would have looked like in front of the camera. I would probably recommend it more for a noir aficionado than a novice like myself, but I find that, as it touches on many of the same themes with the same focus on visuals and music, Blast of Silence is a very enjoyable precursor to my favorite noir film, Michael Mann's Heat.

Probably more germane to this blog, the DVD features a lot of artwork from Criminal's own Sean Phillips. He not only drew the cover, above, but he also drew and colored a short comic adaptation of the film's opening scenes, in a manner very familiar to Criminal fans. His artwork graces the liner notes, the DVD menu, and the artwork on the disc itself. Newsarama interviewed Sean about his work on the release, here, and the article highlights an online copy of Patton Oswalt's essay that was published in Criminal, here.

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