'Hannibal' gets expansive DVD treatment
By Jordan Riefe
Special to The Advertiser
|In "Hannibal," Anthony Hopkins has the title role, while Julianne Moore portrays FBI agent Clarice Starling. An alternate ending shown on the DVD has the two sharing a kiss.
Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta
An intellectual serial killer comes out of retirement, coaxing an FBI agent into a game of cat and mouse.
MGM has gone all out to give "Hannibal" the four-star treatment. Among the 14 deleted scenes included in this two-disc set, an alternate ending has Hannibal and Starling sharing a kiss. In the commentary, director Ridley Scott discusses a third ending that was considered but never filmed.
"Breaking The Silence: The Making of 'Hannibal'" is a 76-minute documentary that goes way beyond the usual promotional fluff. Especially interesting is a list of candidates to replace Jodie Foster as Starling, among them Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Hilary Swank and Gillian Anderson.
Also provided are three scenes, including the opening shoot-out sequence, which can be viewed in their entirety from four camera angles. An interview with director Scott juxtaposes storyboards with scenes.
"Silence of the Lambs" (MGM) 1991
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Roger Corman
A ruthless serial killer in captivity helps a rookie FBI agent track a serial killer.
While the Criterion Collection's previous edition of this classic thriller provided a whole raft of extras, including commentary from Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Demme and others, these supplements have not been licensed to MGM for this new DVD. Therefore, the studio has assembled an all-new package including 22 deleted scenes totaling about 20 minutes of footage. As usual, most of them cover ideas that are expressed elsewhere and were probably cut for time and pacing.
"Inside the Labyrinth: The Making of 'Silence of the Lambs'" is a new 57-minute documentary including interviews with Anthony Hopkins, producer Mike Medavoy, screenwriter Ted Tally, music composer Howard Shore and other members of the cast and crew, but no Jodie Foster, although she is included in promotional footage from the picture's release. It is a comprehensive documentary free of the usual promotional dreck and covers nearly every aspect from casting (Gene Hackman was at one time going to direct), to the production itself.
"Waiting for Guffman" (Warner Bros.) 1997
Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Parker Posey
A mockumentary chronicling the mounting and performance of a musical celebrating the 150th anniversary of Blaine, Missouri.
This film created such a buzz back in 1997 that conventional wisdom said the followup, "Best In Show," couldn't be as good. As usual, conventional wisdom was wrong. "Best In Show" was better, but don't let that stop you from checking out this disc.
Like "Show," "Guffman" includes 14 deleted scenes, some of which are priceless. One features stage director Corky St. Clair with a set of promotional towels from a production of "Hamlet On Ice." While the scenes are as good as anything in the final cut, they were wisely deleted as the film would have suffered with a protracted playing time.
Commentary is provided by actor/writer/director Christopher Guest and his co-star/writer Eugene Levy. As with "Best In Show," their commentary is surprisingly serious in tone, although there are a few light-hearted jabs.
While "Waiting for Guffman" is enough to chase the blues away, a double feature of "Guffman" and "Best In Show" just could be a cure for clinical depression.
"Sullivan's Travels" (Paramount Pictures) 1941
Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick, William Demarest, Porter Hall
Comedy in which a pampered film director sets out to make a socially responsible film about human suffering.
A bona fide classic, this DVD would be a must-have without the special features, but as it is Criterion pays homage to director Preston Sturges' screwball comedy by giving this disc the royal treatment.
First up is a 76-minute documentary, "Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer," from Public Television's American Masters series. The film is exquisite, chronicling the director's early days in theater, his arrival in Hollywood and his brief career in film throughout the 1940s producing such classics as "The Palm Beach Story," "The Lady Eve" and "Miracle At Morgan Creek."
Sturges' widow, Sandy Sturges, sits down for a videotaped interview shedding light on the personal side of her husband while his public persona is illuminated in a four-minute radio interview between gossip maven Hedda Hopper and Sturges himself. Additional audio of the director singing his own composition, "My Love Song" and reciting the poem "If I Were King" is also included.
Jordan Riefe is a Los Angeles-based writer who is the West Coast radio correspondent for Variety magazine.