This weekend brings a pair of special screenings of a gorgeous new 4K restoration of John Carpenter's classic Escape from New York. In honor of this, our brilliant Grants & Special Projects Coordinator Dana agreed to share her love for this action classic to the world at large. Enjoy...
There’s probably millions of movies that have been made since the Lumiere Brothers invented their cinematograph, but, honestly, there might as well only be one. John Carpenter’s 1981 Escape From New York is a bona-fide classic, the number-one movie I can put on at any time and escape from…. my life. But why is it a classic that I should absolutely see in a brand new restoration at the Oriental Theatre this weekend, you ask? Here are just a few of the many reasons:
1. Peak Kurt Russell: The early 1980s are inarguably Kurt Russell’s peak. After embodying the iconic Snake Plisskin in Escape from New York, he reteamed with Carpenter the next year to make another stone-cold classic, The Thing, and in that same era, he also made Swing Shift with Jonathan Demme, Silkwood with Mike Nichols, and did a lead voice in childhood classic The Fox and the Hound. Plus, he’s an eyepatched snack in this movie.
2. Director John Carpenter is almost as talented a film scorer as he is a director, and EfNY has those Carpenter synths in spades.
3. Stacked supporting cast: Adrienne Barbeau as Maggie, the much-missed Harry Dean Stanton as Brain, Donald Pleasence as a slithery, cowardly president, and not to be outdone, legendary soul singer Isaac Hayes as The Duke, the film’s antagonist and “A-Number One” man.
4. The Duke has a chandelier in his car.
5. Unlike contemporary action movies that take their time getting to the point, EfNY has a high concept - a prisoner must go into penal colony New York to rescue the president from his kidnappers - and gets right to the action, almost immediately shooting Snake into New York and letting him do his thing.
6. Great car chases, explosions, and all the action-y things you could want.
So I’ll be at the theater this weekend, swooning dreamily and getting pumped. You should, too.
Thanks again to Dana for taking the time to evangelize for this stone cold classic!