The Exterminating Angel [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1962]

Luis Bunuel's wicked, ambiguous tale of a bourgeois dinner party gone rather remarkably wrong has finally become available on DVD in North America in an excellent edition from the Criterion Collection. El Angel Exterminador (aka The Exterminating Angel) has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with the image slightly window-boxed to make the full picture visible on all screens. The picture quality is just slightly below Criterion's usually high standards; while the image is clean of blemishes and as sharp as possible, the image in the early reels sometimes looks a bit streaky, which appears to be a fault in the processing of the source materials rather than any flaws in the transfer, though as the picture grows darker and moodier, Gabriel Figueroa's shadowy cinematography looks noticeably better. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and sounds good, though a bit tinny, again a fault of the original recording rather than any flaws in Criterion's transfer. The dialogue is in Spanish, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. The feature and the film's original theatrical trailer appear on disc one of this set, while disc two features The Last Script: Remembering Luis Bunuel, a charming feature-length documentary in which Juan Bunuel, the director's son, visits a number of the cities where the great surrealist lived and worked, including Madrid, Toledo, Paris, Hollywood, New York and Mexico City, while talking to his friends and collaborators. One of the people who chats with Juan Bunuel in The Last Script is actress Silvia Pinal, who also sits for a short interview shot exclusively for this disc, while the disc also includes another interview with producer and director Arturo Ripstein, who was an observer on the set of The Exterminating Angel as a teenager. A beautifully designed booklet, featuring an essay by Marsha Kinder and excerpts from mid-Seventies interviews with Luis Bunuel, fills out a superb set that treats one of the crown jewels of Bunuel's Mexican period as the treasure it truly is.
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Special Features

  • Disc 1:
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Theatrical trailer
  • New and inproved English subtitle translation
  • Disc 2:
  • The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel, a 2008 documentary featuring screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and director Juan Luis Buñuel
  • New interviews with actress Silvia Pinal and filmmaker Arturo Ripstein
  • Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Marsha Kinder and an interview with Buñuel from the 1970s


The Exterminating Angel
The great screen surrealist Luis Buñuel co-wrote and directed this dark, bitterly witty satire. A group of people in formal dress arrives at an elegantly appointed home for a dinner party. However, once dinner is over and the guests retire to the drawing room, they discover that the servants have gone away, and for some reason they cannot leave. There is no explanation why -- there are no locked doors or barred windows preventing them from going home -- but the guests are convinced that they're stranded. Left to their own devices, they slowly but gradually degenerate into genteel savagery, taking an axe to a water pipe for drinking water, killing and eating a sheep that was to be part of the post-dinner entertainment, hiding the bodies of dead guests in the closet, dabbling in witchcraft, and burning the furniture. Buñuel's dry, quixotic wit is abundantly displayed in this film. Leading the cast was Silvia Pinal, the renowned actress who starred in several of Buñuel's Mexican films (she was married to noted producer Gustavo Alatriste, who produced several films with Buñuel). Other than the short subject Simon of the Desert, El Angel Exterminador proved to be Buñuel's last film made in his adopted homeland. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Silvia Pinal
    Silvia Pinal - Letitia, the Valkyrie
  • Jacqueline Andere
    Jacqueline Andere - Senora Alicia Roc
  • Image coming soon
    Jose Baviera - Leandro
  • Image coming soon
    Augusto Benedico - Doctor
  • Image coming soon
    Luis Beristain - Christian

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