Whilst it’s fair to say that film noir inspired much of the French new wave, the favour was undeniably repaid. Arthur Penn, whose seminal Bonnie and Clyde marked the beginning of a more ambitious/risk-taking era in Hollywood, was an avid devotee of le nouvelle vague. Two years earlier, Penn directed a rather peculiar and surreal film. Mickey One might just be the nearest thing to the work of Truffaut and Godard Hollywood ever produced.
Warren Beatty plays a stand-up comedian who’s been living the high life on other people’s money. When he eventually incurs the wrath of the mafia, he flees Detroit. On arriving in Chicago, he adopts the name Mickey One and tries to eke out an existence. At a low point, he begins a relationship with a girl who wants to help him (Alexandra Stewart). She persuades him to go back to the stage, but his audition doesn’t turn out quite as he expected.
Mickey One is a strange and surreal experience. Beatty struts around with an air of bravado and confidence reminiscent of the great Jean-Paul Belmondo. There is the hint of the Kafka about proceedings and it’s not always totally clear what’s going on. When it was released in cinemas, audiences didn’t know what to make of it. It’s aged quite well, and whilst Mickey One is rather off the wall, it’s an entertaining and clever drama.
Indicator limited edition special features:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• Alexandra Stewart on ‘Mickey One’(2017, 19 mins): a new interview with the celebrated actress
• Matthew Penn on ‘Mickey One’ (2017, 20 mins): a new interview with the son of director Arthur Penn
• The Guardian Lecture with Arthur Penn (1981, 59 mins): archival audio recording of an interview conducted by Richard Combs at the National Film Theatre, London
• Original theatrical trailer
• Joe Dante trailer commentary (2013, 3 mins): a short critical appreciation
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet featuring a new essay on the film by Nick Pinkerton, Richard Williams on the film’s Sauter/Getz score, archive interviews with director Arthur Penn, and historic articles on the film
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• UK DVD premiere
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 3,000 copies
Mickey One is released on dual format Blu-ray and DVD by Powerhouse Films as part of the Indicator Series on Monday 24 July.