America Lost And Found: The BBS Story (Criterion)
It’s no exaggeration to call BBS—named for its partners Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider and Steve Blauner—a defining creative force in the volatile Hollywood culture that was in the midst of identity crisis between 1968 to 1972, despite producing only seven features (eight if you count financing the Oscar-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, not included in this set). The partners were Hollywood insiders with aspirations to do something different, and these films, which they produced autonomously for Columbia Pictures (their contract gave them final cut), were just that. They weren’t all hits, but some of those features caught the wave of the youth market and created a model for personal filmmaking with commercial appeal. Most of the films in this collection have been previously released but this Criterion box set pulls them all together and adds its own collection of new and archival interviews and featurettes and commentary tracks along with those supplements carried over from previous releases, and puts them all on Blu-ray.
Easy Rider (1969), the only film here previously available on Blu-ray, is the quintessential counterculture blast of the late sixties it became a film of legendary proportions, from the stories of the chaotic production to its reverberations through contemporary culture. Directed by Dennis Hopper from an Oscar nominated script written by Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Terry Southern (which was extensively re-written during the production), and beautifully shot on location by Laszlo Kovaks on location, the low-budget production became a countercultural shot across the bow of an out-of-touch Hollywood system. From the opening blast of the biker anthem “Born to Be Wild” to the grim disillusion of the climax, it tapped into the pulse of American youth, became a runaway hit and, for better or worse, was the defining film of a generation.