There are untold artistic benefits to living in a culture of critical reassessment--otherwise, what would current generations think of Vertigo? But if the glut of superfluous "special edition" DVD packages over the past ten years is any indicator, then there are also some sorry side effects. Falling somewhere between the enshrined camp package (Mommie Dearest's Hollywood Royalty Edition, complete with John Waters commentary track!) and the sober-minded resurrection of the long unavailable and disenfranchised as crucial artifact (the recent "Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky" box set, featuring El Topo) will surely be Paramount's imminent deluxe edition of William Friedkin's 1980 film maudit, Cruising.
Cruising's squishily anticipated return to home video, and to the hearts and minds of a generation who had the benefit of possibly not knowing of its existence, will be accompanied by a brief theatrical run in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Add to all that a recent Cannes screening, followed by an alleged double standing ovation for Friedkin (come on...really?), and we have on our hands a full-fledged attempt at recouping Cruising as some sort of misunderstood masterpiece, and a reaffirmation of its director as visionary provocateur
.Paramount can only hope for cultural amnesia for this to work: "Cruising" remains a work of unparalleled, unedifying discomfort. Click here to read Michael Koresky on William Friedkin's Cruising.