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Death of a Cyclist [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1955]

Release Date:04/22/2008
Juan Antonio Bardem's poison-penned melodrama about amorality among the Spanish bourgeoisie has been given a splendid DVD release in this edition from the Criterion Collection. Death Of A Cyclist has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and while the print used for this release shows some faint signs of wear here and there, most of the time the source materials are excellent and Alfredo Fraile's noir-style photography is richly detailed and with a fine range of grey tones. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the sound quality is quite good for a film of this vintage. The dialogue is in Spanish, with optional English subtitles. As a bonus, this edition also features Calle Bardem, a documentary produced for Spanish television in 2005 that looks back at Bardem as an artist, a friend and a political activist. The accompanying booklet includes Bardem's controversial 1955 essay on the state of Spanish cinema and an appreciation of Bardem and Death Of A Cyclist by Marsha Kinder. While not well known in the United States, Death Of A Cyclist was a crucial work in the Spanish cinema of the Fifties, and Criterion has done a fine job of presenting it in its best possible light.

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    Special Features

    • Calle Bardem (2005), a documentary on the revolutionary life and career of director Juan Antonio Bardem
    • Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by scholar Marsha Kinder and Bardem's 1955 call to arms for Spanish cinema


    Muerte de un Ciclista
    An adulterous couple is forced to take responsibility for their actions in this tense drama from Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bardem. Maria Jose (Lucia Bose) is a beautiful woman whose husband Miguel (Otello Toso) is a wealthy and powerful businessman. Juan (Alberto Closas) is a mathematics instructor at a Spanish college who is distantly related to Miguel, and owes his position to Miguel's influence. Juan was also Maria Jose's boyfriend when they were younger, and now they're carrying on an affair behind Miguel's back. One night, while driving home from an assignation, Juan and Maria Jose accidentally run over a man on a bicycle; the stranger quickly dies, and the lovers speed away rather than deal with the consequences. But over the next few days, Juan's conscience begins to bother him, and finds it hard to bear the knowledge that he took another man's life. Maria Jose is also troubled, but for different reasons; Rafa (Carlos Casaravilla), a devious socialite, infers to Maria Jose that he knows about her secret life, but she's not certain he he's just speaking about her infidelity or her role in the cyclist's death. A major critical success in Spain, Muerte de un Ciclista (aka Death Of A Cyclist) was released in Europe in 1955, the same year director Bardem published a controversial essay on the decline in Spanish cinema under the rule of Franco. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Image coming soon
      Bruna Corra - Matilde
    • Image coming soon
      Otello Toso - Miguel
    • Manuel Alexandre
      Manuel Alexandre
    • Carlos Casaravilla
      Carlos Casaravilla - Rafa
    • Antonio Casas
      Antonio Casas

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.