White of the Eye (1987) | Donald Cammell’s rarely screened psycho drama is arthouse cinema sublime

White of the Eye cover

In the former copper-mining town of Globe, Arizona, a woman has been found brutally murdered in her home. Detective Charles Mendoza (Art Evans) travels from Tucson to investigate. High on his list of suspects is Paul White (David Keith), an opera-loving hi-fi repairman whose wife Joan (Cathy Moriarty) soon has good reason to fear her husband is not be all that he appears…

Donald Cammell's White of the Eye

With its über cool 1980s style magazine imagery, grainy flashbacks, rapid edits, sublime steadicam shots and other artistic flourishes, White of the Eye is certainly not you run-of-the-mill slasher, and greatly echoes director Donald Cammell’s best-known work, Performance, which he made alongside Nicolas Roeg – another maverick 1970s director with penchant for the bizarre.

Donald Cammell's White of the Eye

Heaped with symbolism drawing on Apache Indian lore and the black holes of astrophysics, the desert-set thriller speaks more about metaphysics than mystery, nevertheless it’s an accomplished, enthralling piece of arthouse cinema, and gives Cathy Moriarty and David Keith their career-best performances. Set to an eclectic score co-written by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, White of the Eye is a dazzling, hypnotic trip into mind of one of cinema’s true one-offs.

Donald Cammell's White of the Eye

The UK dual format release of the restored print (taken directly from the original camera negative) is the first time that the film has been released on Blu-ray in the UK.

Arrow Video’s Francesco Simeoni said: ‘Donald Cammell was such an unfortunate filmmaker, side-lined by critics who thought Nicolas Roeg was the creative force behind Performance, projects which would never come to fruition, studio interference and personal problems, his life was arguably more famous than his films. White of the Eye is possibly his most problem free film, though even this film suffered cuts, which we have included, although sadly no sound could be found. Though the film was cut, Cammell never commented, at least publicly, about his dissatisfaction with this decision by distributor Cannon. With a gorgeous new restoration of the negative and a bevy of supplements, we are very proud to make this sensational film available to the UK once again.’

Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance documentary (73min, 1998)
• Commentary by Donald Cammell’s biographer Sam Umland
The Argument (1972), Donald Cammell short with an optional commentary by Sam Umland
Into the White:  an interview with co-cinematographer Larry McConkey
• Deleted scenes, with an optional commentary by Sam Umland
• Flashback scenes before the bleach bypass process was applied
• Original opening credits featuring John Diehl, an actor cut from the final film
• Theatrical trailer
• Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh
• Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Brad Stevens and Sam Umland




About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on April 22, 2014, in British Film, Cult classic, Must See, Must-See, Psychological thriller, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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