Sunday, October 12, 2008

DVD Extras #1: "Dr. Strangelove: 40th Anniversary Special Edition"

Another first of recurring blog entries: a review of DVD extras on a given movie. As I recently watched Dr. Strangelove, I thought I'd take a look at the extras on the 40th Anniversary DVD: they were serviceable on the whole. Here are my thoughts:

1. Booklet with stills and essay by Roger Ebert. Worth a look. Ebert's essay spends some time on George C. Scott's terrific performance.

2. Documentary: "No Fighting in the War Room" (TRT: 30:00). A doc of the "duck and cover" era is not terribly insightful, and features several long-winded sound bites from gravely-voiced Robert McNamara on the political policies of the day. Also interviewed are Roger Ebert, Spike Lee, Bob Woodward, others. Don't bother (if anything watch the McNamara interview, see below).

3. Documentary: "Inside Dr. Strangelove" (TRT: 46:00). Overlong doc on the making of the film is pretty good. The makers definately tried to find people who worked on the movie: over a dozen appear. Start at 6:49 at the beginning of the Terry Southern section to make the running time more palatable. One MAJOR quibble: in this doc, and the entire set of extras there is NO interview footage of Kubrick. Now I know he didn't interview much, but c'mon, you can find him on You Tube.

4. "Best Sellers: Peter Sellers Remembered" (TRT: 18:25) With Michael Pallin, Shirley MacLaine, others. Nothing worthwhile (except footage of Sellers doing a great Groucho Marx).

5. "The Art of Stanley Kubrick" (TRT: 13:49) Straightforward survey of Kubrick films up through Strangelove, with a bit of insight from Kubrick producing partner James B. Harris. Worth seeing.

6. "An Interview with Robert McNamara" (TRT: 24:25). The full interview. Watch the last ten minutes where he talks about the Cuban Missile Crisis and current state of the world.

7. Sellers/ Scott interviews from set (TRT: 7:10). A curio, but not anything must-see (Sellers does however do accents of various regions of the UK).

8. Filmographies. As on all DVDs-- useless filler.

9. Theatrical Advertising Gallery: a virtual handful.

10. Previews: Dr. Strangelove (TRT: 3:43) (by Pablo Ferro) and six unrelated ones (The Bridge on the River Kwai, etc.)

To sum up: watch the Strangelove trailer; Sellers on the set; Docs: "The Art of Stanley Kubrick" and "Inside Dr. Strangelove,"; (read) the booklet with the Roger Ebert essay; and if you must, a bit of the McNamara interview.

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