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Blowup

Blowup
Blowup poster.jpg
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by Michelangelo Antonioni
Based on "Las babas del diablo"
by Julio Cortázar
Starring
Music by Herbert Hancock
Cinematography Carlo Di Palma
Edited by Frank Clarke
Production
company
Distributed by
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (UK)
  • Premier Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 18 December 1966 (1966-12-18) (US)
  • 16 March 1967 (1967-03-16) (UK)
Running time
111 minutes
Country
  • United Kingdom
    United States
    Italy
Language English
Budget $1.8 million
Box office $20,000,000

Blowup, or Blow-Up, is a 1966 British-Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni about a fashion photographer, played by David Hemmings, who believes he has unwittingly captured a murder on film. It was Antonioni's first entirely English-language film.

The film also stars Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle, Jane Birkin, Tsai Chin and Gillian Hills as well as sixties model Veruschka. The screenplay was by Antonioni and Tonino Guerra, with English dialogue by British playwright Edward Bond. The film was produced by Carlo Ponti, who had contracted Antonioni to make three English-language films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (the others were Zabriskie Point and The Passenger).

The plot was inspired by Julio Cortázar's short story, "Las babas del diablo" or "The Devil's Drool" (1959), translated also as "Blow Up" in Blow-up and Other Stories, and by the life of Swinging London photographer David Bailey. The film was scored by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. The music is diegetic, as Hancock noted: "It's only there when someone turns on the radio or puts on a record." Nominated for several awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Blowup won the Grand Prix.



  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (UK)
  • Premier Pictures (US)
  • 18 December 1966 (1966-12-18) (US)
  • 16 March 1967 (1967-03-16) (UK)
  • United Kingdom
    United States
    Italy
  • Nominated: Best British Film – Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Nominated: Best British Art Direction (Colour) – Assheton Gorton
  • Nominated: Best British Cinematography (Colour) – Carlo Di Palma
  • Nominated: Best English-Language Foreign Film
  • While writing the screenplay of the thriller film The Conversation (1974) – similar in plot in some way, but about sound recording rather than photography – Francis Ford Coppola explained in the DVD commentary to that film that he was inspired by Blow Up.
  • In the comedy film High Anxiety (1977), directed by Mel Brooks, a minor plot line involves a bumbling chauffeur who takes a picture showing the evil assassin (wearing a latex mask of Brooks' character's face) firing a gun at point-blank range at someone; he makes blow-ups until he can see the real character, standing in the elevator in the background. (Technically, the chauffeur does not make blow-ups; the joke is that he simply makes bigger and bigger enlargements until he has one the size of a wall.)
  • Blow Out (1981), directed by Brian De Palma and starring John Travolta, alludes to Blowup and used sound recording rather than photography as its motif.
  • Antonioni's film also inspired the Bollywood film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983), directed by Kundan Shah, in which two photographers inadvertently capture the murder of a Bombay Municipal Commissioner on their cameras and later discover this when the images are enlarged. The park in which the murder occurs is named "Antonioni Park".
  • Both the film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), and its sequel, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), feature a parody/homage to Veruschka's photo shoot in Blowup.
  • The romantic comedy film I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007) pays homage to the scene from Blowup in which Hemmings' character straddles model Veruschka from above while taking her photograph – this time with Paul Rudd and Michelle Pfeiffer.
  • In the tenth episode of the third series of the BBC programme, Monarch of the Glen (2000–2005), Molly MacDonald (Susan Hampshire) clarifies for her husband, Hector (Richard Briers), that it was Antonioni who wanted her for Blowup when she was a London model in the 1960s.
  • Brunette, Peter (2005). DVD Audio Commentary (Iconic Films).
  • Hemmings, David (2004). Blow-Up… and Other Exaggerations – The Autobiography of David Hemmings. Robson Books (London). .
  • Huss, Roy, ed. (1971). Focus on Blow-Up. Film Focus. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. p. 171. ISBN .  Includes a translation of Cortázar's original short story.
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