This week, the Criterion Collection are releasing Rumble Fish on their highly respected and coveted
distribution label, as both a dvd and a blu ray.
The news when first announced, led to the film trending on Twitter, as fans were surprised and excited to see that it was appearing on the April slate, along with other classic films.
The film will be released as a one disc blu ray and a two disc dvd set, with lots of extras, new cover art work and a fantastic addition of Alberto Fuguet’s LOCATIONS: LOOKING FOR RUSTY JAMES documentary, where the filmmaker
details the remarkable impact that Rumble Fish had in his native Chile.
I asked the Criterion Collection a few questions to find out more behind this release and the producer Curtis Tsui, kindly took the time to answer, as he is thrilled with the way the release turned out.
During our correspondence, I learnt that SE Hinton was filmed specially in Tulsa for a new interview and that Diane Lane and Matt Dillon when talking about filming, had nothing but the deepest respect for and trust in their director Francis Ford Coppola.
I look forward to seeing the actors on screen, especially alongside the vintage interviews also included!
First of all, Curtis, how were you introduced to Rumble Fish and what do you love about the film?
Curtis : “ I first saw RUMBLE FISH when I was in junior high. Both of Coppola’s adaptations had already played theaters and were running on a cable network (HBO, I believe), and my English class had just been assigned Hinton’s novel of THE OUTSIDERS. I distinctly remember my teacher telling us to watch the film of THE OUTSIDERS after we’d read the book, but to avoid RUMBLE FISH at all costs because, in her estimation, it made no sense. Naturally, that comment made me want to see RUMBLE FISH! So I snuck it on TV and was, well, a bit perplexed by it.
To be honest, I think a lot of the themes went straight over my head at that age, and moments like Benny’s (Tom Waits) beautiful monologue about time didn’t register. But the movie lingered with me and occupied my thoughts much, much more than THE OUTSIDERS. The rat-a-tat-tat of Stewart Copeland’s music, the inexplicably gorgeous fight between Rusty-James and Biff, and the surreal, poetic quality stayed with me, and never left as the years went on. I’d re-watch it on VHS, see a repertory screening if fortune granted me an opportunity, and naturally bought the Universal DVD when it came out. I think I’ve had so many repeat viewings of the movie because it’s astonishingly beautiful to watch and hear, and — it’s almost a cliché to say this — I think I get something new out of it every time I see it. Its theme of time and the relationship between the Motorcycle Boy and Rusty-James just become more and more moving to me with each passing year.”
How amazing to get to work on such a high profile release of a classic film. Can you tell us how this was chosen as a Criterion release?
“I am thrilled with the new release and am happy to hear you are excited. I have no idea when Criterion secured the rights for it, so I basically just leapt at RUMBLE FISH when I saw we had them. I told the company president, Peter Becker, I had massive appreciation for the film and wanted to produce the Criterion edition. Fortunately for me, I got the assignment.”
Were there any difficulties as a fan putting this together? Do you have to think differently as a fan, than as a producer?
“When I produce a disc, I actually try to keep my fan excitement out of the picture as much as possible, because tackling a title as a fan might dampen my self-editing and I could err on the side of repetition and excess. Basically, I need to focus on what story we’d like to tell the viewer — in this case, that Francis Coppola might be best known for the GODFATHER films, but at heart he’s actually much more of daring, art-film minded filmmaker and RUMBLE FISH is one of his masterpieces in that regard — and how best to get that story across without excess or repetition. There can still be a lot of “extra content” on a disc if, as with RUMBLE FISH, there are many facets to that story. But with each disc I’m asking a viewer to watch an entire feature, watch it with a commentary [if there is one, and we have re-used Coppola’s excellent track from the original DVD release], and then add in all other content I create or license. So I want to be sure that the time invested is isn’t filled with a lot of the same stories, or material that’s basically just someone fawning over a film or filmmaker without some depth or interesting points.
The amount of features that go on a disc vary from release to release. Again, it depends on the story that we feel needs to be told. For example, this is our very first Coppola release on DVD or blu-ray, so we had more ground to cover. If this were a second or third release, there’s a good chance it would require less content because a lot of the information would’ve already been covered on the first release.
Did you look at the 2005 special edition release and will a lot of the content be the same?
“I did look at previous editions to see what had been done. In this case, Zoetrope had made (with Kim Aubrey) some really terrific pieces that I simply couldn’t best. For example, the Stewart Copeland interview from over a decade ago was so good that I realized I couldn’t make anything better, so I simply reproduced that on the disc. (For those who are curious, all content from that 2005 Universal DVD is on this release. Nothing was omitted.)
I expanded further on ideas, or talk to people who weren’t on those releases in-depth, like Dean Tavoularis, the production designer who sits down in conversation with the cinematographer, the great Stephen Burum.”
One exciting new aspect for me, is the beautiful new cover art by Michael Boland. It’s very different to anything we have seen before on earlier artworks – can you tell me about the design for this, as so many fans love it?
“The poster art was born out of a brief. At our brief, I talked with the art director, Eric Skillman about (a) keeping things photographic and avoiding illustration, because the cinematography in the film is so beautiful, (b) emphasizing a poetic and dreamlike quality, and (c) expressing the fact that Rusty James lives in the shadow of the Motorcycle Boy. The art department approached Michael because they knew he’d achieve something poetic, layered and beautiful, that would sum up the elements that I was hoping would be present in the cover. Michael’s been responsible for some of our most gorgeous covers in the past, and this one is right up there with them.”
Curtis confirmed that the fold out poster glimpsed in the photographs above, is the back of the liner notes included inside the case, in place of a printed and bound booklet.
This looks like it will be a lovely item to frame and have up on the wall for any Rumble Fish fan!
I think you’ll agree that Michael came up with a striking cover design with the elements that Curtis laid out.
If you would love to see a poster, be sure to tweet, email or tag Criterion on your social media
posts and let them know as well as any other thoughts on the Citerion edition.
Thank you Curtis for talking through your latest Criterion release and we look forward to seeing what is next. A Criterion release of The Cotton Club, perhaps?
RUMBLE FISH CRITERION EDITION is released April 25th, the Blu Ray costs $32.The DVD costs $24 – both prices as listed on the Criterion Store.
Below is a list of extras included on both releases!
• New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of
photography Stephen H. Burum and approved by director Francis Ford
Coppola, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
• Alternate remastered 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in
DTS-HD Master Audio
• Audio commentary from 2005 featuring Coppola
• New interviews with Coppola, author and coscreenwriter S. E.
Hinton, and associate producer Roman Coppola
• New conversation between Burum and production designer Dean Tavoularis
• Pieces from 2005 about the film’s score and production
• Interviews from 1983 with actors Matt Dillon, Diane Lane,
and Vincent Spano and producer Doug Claybourne
• French television interview from 1984 with actor Mickey Rourke
• Locations: Looking for Rusty James, a 2013 documentary by
Alberto Fuguet about the impact of Rumble Fish
• New piece about the film’s existentialist elements
• “Don’t Box Me In” music video
• Deleted scenes
• PLUS: An essay by critic Glenn Kenny