Blu-Ray Review: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

The end of World War II marked the start of a boom time for the United States of America. In the period leading up to the 1960s the country saw a phenomenal amount of economic growth. Whilst the standard of living rocketed, a culture of conservatism and traditional values still prevailed. It was a decade or turmoil, with young Americans taking to the streets to protest against the Vietnam War and in support the Civil Rights movement. It was also a time of sexual liberation. Of new age ideas, theories and therapies. This is the setting for Paul Mazursky’s 1969 film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.

Bob Sanders (Robert Culp), a documentary film-maker, and his wife Carol (Natalie Wood) are an affluent and hip couple who like to explore new experiences whenever they can. After returning from a retreat where they learned to embrace complete openness, Bob embarks on an affair with a woman in San Francisco. Whilst Carol is down with this, their conservative best friends Ted (Elliott Gould) and Alice (Dyan Cannon) are jealous and outraged respectively.

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is a sardonic satire about a time of openness and experimentation which only really happened in a very small part of America. The brilliant ensembles cast are all excellent but it’s Elliott Gould’s wild paranoia and self-reflective angst which steals the show. Mazursky tackles the subject with a wry smile, allowing events to venture into the territory of farce before pulling things back round into a biting comedy drama.

Special Features:

  • New restoration from original film elements by Sony Pictures
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary by director/co-writer Paul Mazursky, actors Robert Culp, Elliott Gould, and Dyan Cannon
  • New Audio commentary by the film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Bob & Natalie & Elliot & Dyan… & Paul/, a new video essay exploring the film’s themes by filmmaker and critic David Cairns
  • Tales of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, an archival interview with Paul Mazursky revisiting the film’s production and release
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Michael Atkinson and original reviews

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy on 10 December.

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