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Downhill Racer (Blu-ray) Criterion


Astonishing Alpine location photography and a young Robert Redford in one of his earliest starring roles are just two of the visual splendors of Downhill Racer, the visceral debut feature of Michael Ritchie. In a beautifully understated performance, Redford is David Chappellet, a ruthlessly ambitious skier competing for Olympic gold with an underdog American team in Europe, and Gene Hackman provides tough support as the coach who tries to temper the upstart’s narcissistic drive for glory. With a subtle screenplay by acclaimed novelist James Salter, Downhill Racer is a vivid character portrait buoyed by breathtakingly fast and furious imagery that brings the viewer directly into the mind of the competitor.

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Special Features

Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Interviews from 2009 with actor Robert Redford, screenwriter James Salter, editor Richard Harris, production manager Walter Coblenz, and former downhill skier Joe Jay Jalbert, who served as a technical adviser, ski double, and cameraman
Audio excerpts from a 1977 American Film Institute seminar with director Michael Ritchie
How Fast?, a rare twelve-minute promotional feature from 1969
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Todd McCarthy