November 12, 2021
The controversial Dennis Hopper film Out of the Blue, which premiered to much acclaim at Cannes in 1980 only to be shelved due to its bleak nature, will finally be available for U.S. audiences.
The U.S. theatrical debut of a new 4K restoration of the film premieres Nov. 17 at New York City’s Metrograph on Nov. 17, presented by Chloë Sevigny & Natasha Lyonne.
A home release across digital, DVD and Blu-ray Disc platforms will follow in early 2022, according to a spokesperson for Discovery Productions.
Out of the Blue was directed by Hopper and stars Linda Manz, Sharon Farrell, Don Gordon and Raymond Burr.
Billed by Discovery as “a kind of spiritual sequel (and cautionary counterpoint)” to Hopper’s 1969 breakout film, Easy Rider, Out of the Blue chronicles the idealism of the 1960s as its declined into the hazy nihilism of the 1980s.
Hopper portrays Don Barnes, a truck driver in prison for drunkenly smashing his rig into a school bus. Manz (Days of Heaven) plays Cebe, his daughter, a teen rebel obsessed with Elvis and The Sex Pistols. Her mother (Farrell) waitresses, shoots up drugs and takes refuge in the arms of other men. Cebe runs away to Vancouver’s punk scene and ends up on probation under the care of psychiatrist Burr. After Don’s release, the family struggles to re-connect before the revelation of dark secrets leads to a harrowing conclusion.
Working from the original 35mm negative restored by Discovery in 2010, John Alan Simon and Elizabeth Karr’s Discovery Productions undertook the digital scan and mastering of Out of the Blue to premiere as an official selection at the Venice Film Festival in 2019. The new 4K restoration is being shown for the first time on the big screen theatrically at Metrograph in New York.
Despite critical acclaim at its original Cannes premiere in 1980, Out of the Blue went unreleased because it was considered too bleak for U.S. audiences, Discovery says. John Alan Simon, then a film critic/journalist, rescued the film from the shelf, secured distribution rights and took it on the road with Hopper in 1982 to art house theaters across the U.S., including a 17-week run at the Coolidge Corner Cinema in Boston and then New York City and Los Angeles theatrical releases.
“It’s incredibly important to us that Out of the Blue be preserved for future generations to experience its emotional impact and as the artistic achievement that helped re-establish Dennis Hopper as an important American director,” Karr said in a statement.
“For me, this restoration project was payback for all I learned from Dennis Hopper when we originally took Out of the Blue on the road in 1982 after I rescued it from the shelf,” Simon said. “He was an amazing artist and friend and Out of the Blue remains as unforgettable as he was and serves as an indelible tribute to the talents of Linda Manz.”