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Discussion before

Although 1997 came and went without Manhattan being converted into a maximum-security prison, this 1981 action picture remains an audience favorite. When the president’s (Donald Pleasence) plane crashes in the prison of New York City, ex-soldier and federal prisoner Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is dragooned into rescuing him. Ultimately, Snake and the eccentrics who help him on his mission (including Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbeau) are more sympathetic than any of the government figures, adding to the rampant cynicism that appealed to post-Watergate audiences. Watergate had been writer-director John Carpenter’s inspiration when he wrote the script in the mid-1970s, but it took the success of Halloween (1978) to get the project funded. Even then, he couldn’t afford to shoot on New York’s streets, so he filmed mostly in East St. Louis, IL, a city filled with abandoned and burned out buildings at the time. The image of a ruined New York, the vivid action scenes and strong performances captured the audience’s imagination, and the film has remained a favorite for decades. It’s one of Russell’s favorite of his own films (his favorite with Carpenter is The Thing), as it finally ended his typecasting as a Disney teen. He and Carpenter would reunite for a sequel, Escape from L.A. released in 1996. (d. John Carpenter, 106m, DCP)

StudioCanal’s 2018 restoration of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was created from the original camera negative, which was scanned at 4K resolution in 16bit, applying HDR Dolby Vision workflow, resulting in a 4K DCP produced at the highest industry standards. Restoration carried out at L’Immagine Ritrovato.

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