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Label:
Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT313-BR

BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE (1969) (SPECIAL PROMOTION) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Natalie Wood, Dyan Cannon, Robert Culp, Elliott Gould, Horst Ebersberg, Greg Mullavey, Lee Bergere
Directed By:  Paul Mazursky
Composed By:  Quincy Jones

“A slick, whorey movie, and the liveliest American comedy so far this year.”
– Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

“The genius of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is that it understands the peculiar nature of the moral crisis for Americans in this age group, and understands that the way to consider it is in a comedy.”
– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Paul Mazursky’s directorial début, co-written with Larry Tucker, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) is a satiric comedy of manners focusing on two Eisenhower-era couples (Robert Culp, Natalie Wood, Elliott Gould, Dyan Cannon) who must confront the sexual revolution of the 1960s. They do this with varying levels of timidity and gusto, and the result is a sharp yet generous-spirited send-up of social mores, spectacularly acted by its quartet of anxious protagonists.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1969 / Color
105 MINUTES
RATED R

Special Features: Isolated Music Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman / Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Paul Mazursky, and Actors Robert Culp, Elliott Gould, and Dyan Cannon / Tales of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
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Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on June 24, 2018 12:37 PM
I can remember when this movie was released back in 1969. I was only 12 at the time but I kept hearing about this controversial film that was released that people were shocked by. I wasn’t old enough to see it but even MAD magazine did parodied the movie. So naturally when I got older and had a chance to see the movie I was anxious to learn what the controversy was all about. That came when the movie made its way to video. I watched it unimpressed and wondering what the controversy was all about.

Now here we are almost 50 years later and the movie makes its way to a new blu-ray edition via Twilight Time. Remembering what I thought of the film years before I decided to try it again and see if I had missed something back then or if it truly was one of those groundbreaking films to come out of the sixties. The end result was that I did see it through different eyes but it didn’t make the film that much better.

Ted Sanders (Robert Culp) is a documentary film makers who goes to an Esalen-type retreat with his wife Carol (Natalie Wood) thinking that perhaps there is a film to be made about the place. If you’re unfamiliar with Esalen it was one of those counter-culture pop psychology type groups where people would try to get in touch with their inner feelings. At a 24 hour session Bob and Carol open up to the group and to one another and find a peace in their ability to be completely honest with everyone.

They return home and later go to dinner with their friends Ted (Elliott Gould) and Alice (Dyan Cannon), a conservative couple they’re best friends with. They can’t talk enough about how wonderful the experience was and when Ted doubts them they try to get him to open up. The thing is every time he says something they don’t agree with they call it a cop out until he laments and tells them what they want to here at which point they praise him. Their “enlightenment” goes so far that Carol tries to open up with their waiter making Alice uncomfortable. We’re supposed to see Alice as the one with the hang ups but for me she becomes the sanest member of the group.

Ted goes to San Francisco for work and while there has a one night stand. When he returns home he tells Carol about it. Surprised at first she then praises him for being open and honest with her. Which surprises Ted who then seems disappointed that she wasn’t upset of jealous. For all his bluster about what he supposedly learned at his core Ted is still that “square” inside.

After a dinner party the four smoke grass and act silly before Ted and Alice begin to leave. Running out to tell them how much she loves them Carol breaks the news to them about Ted’s affair still thinking how wonderful it was. On their way home Alice can’t control her anger about the situation and gets physically ill. When they get home she can’t stop talking about it as they go to bed. This leads to the funniest and most frustrating parts of the film as Ted wants to fool around but Alice is in no mood. Frustrated he wants to go for a walk but while uninterested in sex she doesn’t want him to leave their bed.

A second trip to San Francisco for Bob finds him turn down another one night stand to return home early. Except that he finds another man in his bed. Unlike his wife he gets upset and rages at first before she calms him down and they once more talk about feelings and how this is nothing more than sex with no love or attachment involved. Which leads to another funny moment.

All of this culminates with the couples dealing with their own issues, a visit to the psychiatrist by Alice, another quick affair and the four of them heading off for a weekend trip to Vegas to see Tony Bennett. The end result of their trip is more revelations and a potential foursome between them all, a final breakdown of acceptance for the “enlightened” to initiate the squares.

The movie can be confusing at times. Is it an endorsement of the results of the sexual revolution of the sixties or an indictment? Is it supporting it or condemning it? The sexual revolution opened doors for people to talk but like Pandora’s box it also unleashed a flood of bad things as well. STDs reached epidemic proportions, marriage took a nose dive and divorces increased. The traditional family was torn apart and the anything goes attitude was embraced. In its wake the rubble was sifted through and some things recovered. Other not quite so as we’ve seen the addiction and availability of pornography increase and the family structure still not quite recovered.

While watching the film I kept thinking about the characters and the location their story takes place in. Both are affluent couples who because of their wealth and status can afford to take the time for things like this retreat as opposed to hard working blue collar workers who don’t have the time or inclination to do so. For those couples life is working and having the nice home and 2.5 kids, happy to do so. It is the bored upper class that always seems to find a need to explore things out of their boredom.

People jokingly refer to California as the “land of flakes and nuts” which seems a bit harsh. But you have to admit that the state does tend to welcome the most over the top life styles and concepts. This is in large part due to the film industry itself providing wealth that leads to boredom for so many in the public’s eye. My guess is you don’t hear much about crew workers on films doing these sort of things because they’re the folks based in reality making far less money but working equally hard. California gets its reputation based on what we’re told by news and mass media with stories about celebrities, hangers on and scammers promising enlightenment if you just come to a retreat where you can scream away your pain for $99.99 per day.

The film here is well made and looks great. The actors do an amazing job with Cannon standing out as someone who wants to stick with her beliefs and ideas but who is basically bullied into following the lead of the rest. It isn’t a bullying involving insults or fists but one of if you’re not enlightened like us then you must be the one who is wrong.

This was the first feature film director Paul Mazursky made and it provided enough interest for him to build a career on. His films were always character driven and interesting well-made movies. For me this one wasn’t among the best. It definitely feels dated. Some may remember it fondly, for me it was just there.

I will say that Twilight Time has once more done a great job with this one. We’re offered the film in blu-ray with a hi-def 1080p presentation. And they’ve included plenty of extras to enjoy including an isolated music track, an audio commentary track with film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman, an audio commentary track with Mazursky, Culp, Gould and Cannon and TALES OF BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE a featurette with Mazursky being interviewed. This release is, as with all Twilight Time releases, limited to just 3,000 copies so fans should act quickly if they want one.

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