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Crash Video Lands in US 


Richard Kadrey  |   Also by this reporter Page 1 of 1

05:07 AM Oct. 02, 1997 PT

After more than two years of being dubbed everything from "pure pornography" (by Rex Reed and the Italian press) to "a masterpiece" (by directors such as Bernard Bertollucci and Paul Schrader), David Cronenberg's Crash is finally getting its US video and laserdisc release.

Originally slated for a fall 1996 release in the US through Fine Line Features, the picture was pulled at the last minute, allegedly to avoid having it go toe to toe with Hollywood's big-budget Christmas movies. The truth was more disturbing: Ted Turner, whose Turner Communications owns New Line Cinema, of which Fine Line Features is a subsidiary, was so personally disturbed by Crash that he tried to have it blocked from coming into the US at all. Turner only backed down "when a reporter called him on it" during a public appearance in March, MovieWeek reported.

Based on a 1973 novel by British author J. G. Ballard, Crash is Cronenberg's most notorious film in a career full of notorious films. The movie tells the story of a group of people brought together by their growing fascination with car crashes and eroticism. Cronenberg deliberately wrote and shot the film to accentuate the obsessive sexuality of its characters. By the director's own admission, the film probably contains more onscreen sex than any mainstream film in history.

Ironically, it was Cronenberg's growing international reputation as a director that brought such heat down on Crash. In his early years, Cronenberg was considered strictly a science-fiction and horror genre director. Ever since his film Dead Ringers, however, he's gained a reputation as a maker of edgy art films. This reached its logical conclusion when Crash premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to, in Cronenberg's words, "simultaneous standing ovations and boos." The Cannes jury was so divided that it invented a new award for Crash, one for "Originality, Daring, and Audacity."

Crash is being released on video and laser in slightly different versions. The general video release will be the version that played in US theaters, while an edited Blockbuster version will be released simultaneously. "I'm contractually obligated to deliver a Blockbuster cut," said Cronenberg. "It'll probably run about an hour and make no sense at all."

Next week, the Criterion Collection is releasing a director-approved laserdisc of the film, which includes Cronenberg's wide-screen version, along with commentary and interviews with the director, the author, and cast members, including Holly Hunter, James Spader, and Rosanna Arquette.

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