With the melancholy open-road epic Two-Lane Blacktop, American auteur Monte Hellman (The Shooting, Cockfighter, and the recent Road to Nowhere) poeticised the beautiful, terrible rootlessness of his nation in the era of Vietnam. Funded by Universal in a bid to recreate the success of Easy Rider – by giving a number of filmmakers $1m and final cut – Hellman’s effort is now regarded as one of the key films of the New Hollywood renaissance of the early 1970s.
While driving eastward on Route 66, two rival car owners – The Driver (singer-songwriter James Taylor) and The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys) in a souped-up, drag-racing ‘55 Chevy, and a middle-aged braggart (Warren Oates) in a gleaming GTO – begin to race for each other’s “pink slips” and the affections of the listless female hitchhiker (Laurie Bird) who joins them on the road.
Scripted by esteemed novelist Rudy Wurlitzer, and featuring the only screen performances of Taylor and Wilson, Two-Lane Blacktop remains a timeless, existential portrait of lives in transit and of a country questioning its identity. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Hellman’s iconic film in a director-approved Blu-ray special edition.
New restored high-definition master, supervised and approved by Monte Hellman
Original mono soundtrack and optional newly remastered 5.1 mix
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired
Audio commentary by Monte Hellman and associate producer Gary Kurtz
On The Road Again: Two-Lane Blacktop Revisited, a 43-minute video piece in which Monte Hellman revisits the film’s locations – directed by Monte Hellman, Gabriel Cowan, Brett Mann, and John Suits
Somewhere Near Salinas, a 28-minute interview by Monte Hellman with singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson – directed by Monte Hellman
Sure Did Talk to You, a 24-minute video piece featuring interviews with producer Michael Laughlin, production manager Walter Coblenz, and the director’s son Jared Hellman – directed by Monte Hellman
Rare archival screen-test footage of James Taylor and Laurie Bird
Original theatrical trailer
Optional music and effects track
36-PAGE FULL-COLOUR BOOKLET featuring a new essay by critic Brad Stevens, and a vintage piece of reporting from the set of Two-Lane Blacktop by Shelley Benoit.