Wisconsin Death Trip (film)

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Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip (film).jpg
DVD cover (2004)
Directed by James Marsh
Produced by James Marsh
Maureen A. Ryan
Screenplay by James Marsh
Based on Wisconsin Death Trip (book, 1973) by Michael Lesy
Narrated by Ian Holm
Music by DJ Shadow
John Cale
Cinematography Eigil Bryld
Edited by Jinx Godfrey
Release date
  • September 5, 1999 (1999-09-05) (Telluride)
Running time
76 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Wisconsin Death Trip is a 1999 American black-and-white and color docudrama film written and directed by James Marsh, based on the 1973 book of the same name by Michael Lesy. Original music for the film was composed by DJ Shadow, with original piano music for the closing credits by John Cale.

The film dramatizes the photographs by Charles Van Schaick found in the early 1970s by Lesy, connected to a series of macabre incidents that took place in Black River Falls, Wisconsin in the late 19th century,[1] and, in part, the film was shot on location there.[2] Marsh makes use of silent black-and-white recreations with voice-over narration by Ian Holm[1] contrasted with contemporary color footage of the area. The film's visual style was intended to carry the content of the film; as Marsh said:

I wanted to convey in the film the real pathos contained in a four line newspaper report that simultaneously records and dismisses the end of someone's life.[3]

Wisconsin Death Trip was presented on the BBC documentary series Arena in 2000.[4]


Awards and honors

Wisconsin Death Trip was nominated for two BAFTA Awards in 1999, and won the TV Award for Best Photography (Factual) for Eigil Bryld. The film also was nominated for a number of film festival awards.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Synopsis" on Allmovie.com
  2. ^ "Filming Locations" on IMDB.com
  3. ^ "About" on the film's website
  4. ^ "Arena -Episodes by date" on Arena series website
  5. ^ "Awards" on IMDB.com

External links

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