So now to another cult classic recently released on Blu-ray by Second Sight in the UK. It’s one I’ve never seen before reviewing it here. Here is my The Ninth Configuration Blu-ray review.
- The Ninth Configuration Blu-ray Review (1980)
- Genre: Various
- Directed By William Peter Blatty
- Running Time: 118 Mins
- UK Rating: 18
- Released By Second Sight
- Starring Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Tom Atkins, Neville Brand
Army psychiatrist Colonel Kane (Stacy Keach) arrives at a castle that is acting as a US military asylum. He finds the patients running wild and decides to allow them to carry out their fantasies in an attempt to help them.
One patient in particular seems to want to connect with Colonel Kane, Cutshaw (Scott Wilson) an astronaut who apparently went crazy refusing to go to the moon.
He wants Kane to prove the existence of God by showing a true act of kindness by mankind. Kane offers several examples such as when a soldier throws himself on a grenade to save the rest of his squad. Billy Cutshaw however dismisses this as mere reflex and challenges Kane to come up with another.
Meanwhile Kane himself appears to be suffering from a troubled past having frequent nightmares.
Make no mistake this is a pretty complicated plot at first glance but ultimately is a story about faith and redemption.
Style / Direction
The film is written and directed by William Peter Blatty with the cinematography handled by Gerry Fisher. The whole film is shot in a strange way presumably done deliberately.
However one such camera style is to hear a conversation but cut through several close-up shots before revealing the person talking. This works well at first but I soon found this began to become annoying. Luckily as the film progresses this film style ceases.
What kind of film is this? Well that is a very hard question to answer. Its part drama, thriller, satire and just bizarre and that is both the films strength and weakness.
Overall it’s reasonably well directed, although with a multi genre film such as this it was always going to be a challenge.
The music is provided by Barry De Vorzon. and really does suit the mood of the film, it’s difficult to describe as the film is a combination genres but the music feels right.
Acting / Characters
Good acting performances by a very strong line-up of actors. In what can at times become slightly overwhelming with so many characters acting in an out of control manner.
Stacy Keach is outstanding as Colonel Kane, holding back emotionally knowing at any moment he could snap and in doing so release his demons.
Scott Wilson plays Billy Cutshaw the astronaut who refuses to go to the moon. Cutshaw and Kane are to two central characters and really do put in tremendous performances.
Conclusion – The Ninth Configuration Film Review
For the first half of the film I thought it was just a strange, bizarre and weird comedy. But there is a dark undertone that makes this more of dark drama.
You find yourself drawn in during the second half of the film as things begin to fall into place. In essence this is a story about faith in God.
So it’s an excellent film and a must see? Not quite although it does has moments of brilliance and is pretty much impossible to compare to another film.
If you love strange cult classics then this is a must see film. However this will certainly be one of those films which will divide opinion. I dare say film critics will love it and I’m glad I’ve seen and do think it worthy of your time.
The Ninth Configuration Blu-ray Review (1980)
The picture looks absolutely fine no flickers or lines just a nice clean and sharp print.
- Interview with William Peter Blatty
- Interview with Actor Stacy Keach
- Interview with Actor Stephen Powers
- Interviews with Production Designer William Malley & Art Director J. Dennis Washington
- Interview with Soundtrack Composer Barry De Vorzon
- Interviews with Actors Tom Atkins, Jason Miller, Richard Lynch & William Peter Blatty
- Mark Kermode Feature
- Deleted Scenes & Outtakes
- Audio Commentary with William Peter Blatty & Mark Kermode
The extras included are pretty much everything you could ask for, outstanding!
On to my movie rating for The Ninth Configuration (1980)
- Movie Rating: WELL WORTH WATCHING
- Blu-ray: EXCELLENT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
The Ninth Configuration (1980) is available now on Blu-ray.
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For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster
Trailer not representative of the Blu-ray version
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The Ninth Configuration Blu-ray Review (1980)
Director(s): William Peter Blatty
Actor(s): Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Tom Atkins
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Comedy
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Rating
A bizarre mix of genres makes this like no other film you have seen.