"Winter Kills"

Quentin Tarantino Backs Up One of His Favorites, 1979’s ‘Winter Kills,’ With Reissue — Watch Trailer

JFK’s assassination is parodied in the 1979 black comedy “Winter Kills,” which got a remastered re-release presented by author Quentin Tarantino. IndieWire exclusively shares the trailer for the Rialo Pictures reissue here.

“Winter Kills” is a thinly veiled, hyper-paranoid take on the JFK assassination starring Jeff Bridges as Nick Kegan, scion of a fabulously wealthy and powerful family headed by patriarch John Huston, as a character based on Joe Kennedy. Nick (Bridges) soon finds himself facing several dens as he tries to unravel the conspiracy behind the assassination of a US president, his older brother.

Also starring Anthony Perkins, Dorothy Malone, Toshiro Mifune and Elli Wallach, as well as an uncredited Elizabeth Taylor who plays a character inspired by JFK’s alleged lover Judith Exner. “Winter Kills” is the first feature film by Australian model and actress Belinda Bauer.

A new reissued version of Rialto Pictures’ “Winter Kills” in 35mm prints will be unveiled at the Film Forum in New York on August 11 and at the Tarantino-owned New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles on August 25. The New Beverly will also host a Rialto Pictures retrospective in May.

The film’s story is also filled with cinematic intrigue: two of the film’s major producers went bankrupt, one was later sent to federal prison for drug trafficking, and the other murdered by a creditor. Production was suspended for two years while writer/director William Richert raised the money to complete the film.

“Winter Kills” is an adaptation of the novel by Richard Condon, who also wrote “The Manchurian Candidate.” The film is directed by Richert, with Maurice Jarre (“Lawrence of Arabia”) behind the score, Hitchcock collaborator Robert Boyle as production designer and Vilmos Zsigmond (“The Deer Hunter”) as cinematographer. Writer/director Richert made his directorial debut with “Winter Kills” while continuing his acting career. Richert died in 2022.

John Bailey, who is the cinematographer on “The Big Chill” and “Groundhog Day,” oversaw the new 35mm prints. Colorist Don Capoferri and FotoKem’s lab gimmick Steven Mitchell teamed up with Bailey to breathe new life into “Winter Kills.”

“When I saw it in 1979, I was a little puzzled,” Bailey said in a press statement about the film’s legacy, “but today I see it as not only very relevant but also strangely prescient. Huston’s sickly, purely transactional personality too closely predicts not only the mores of today’s society, but also that of a recent inmate of the White House.

The new trailer was curated by William Hohauser and produced by Rialto Pictures founder Bruce Goldstein to commemorate the re-release.

“Winter Kills” opens at the Film Forum in New York on August 11 and at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles on August 25 by Rialto Pictures. Check out the new trailer, an IndieWire exclusive, below.