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Commentary Tracks Standard on Classics?

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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted September 04 2001 - 09:57 AM

This topic may belong under the studio feedback section. I was curious how others felt on this board concerning Commentary Tracks. Personally, I am a huge fan of these tracks and would take a good commentary track over the usual fluff documentaries that are provided on many classic DVDs. A commentary track by a film historian adds a great value to a DVD for me. A track with original cast and crew are also nice, but often on older movies they tend to ramble and the information is random and incomplete. These are certainly much cheaper to produce than a documentary and would not add much to the unit price on a DVD. I would gladly absorb this extra cost. Do I have any supporters? Here's a few movies that I would have gladly paid more for. Rio Bravo Red River All Hitchcocks (I do love the Universal documentaries) Anatomy of a Murder The Apartment (All Billy Wilder movies) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) The Killing (Any Kubrick Movie) The Night of the Hunter The Quiet Man etc....

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted September 04 2001 - 01:48 PM

The problem with commentary tracks on genuine classics is, "Who does them?" Most of these movies are old enough that all the folks you'd really like to hear from are dead. Posted Image

Unless you get John Edward to record the commentaries Posted Image there is little hope of hearing Duke Wayne and John Ford tell stories about the making of Rio Bravo or The Quiet Man, for instance. Posted Image

Some studios are aware of this problem and are getting stars and others to record commentaries now, as their schedules allow, for films that may not come to DVD for several years.

But for older films we're going to have to turn to film historians, critics and perhaps to protege's of the film's creators for such tracks, which will inevitably be something less than what the participants could have provided.




#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Peter D

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Posted September 04 2001 - 02:15 PM

I think commentary tracks are always a mixed bag - regardless of whether or not the commentator was involved with the making of the film. Frank Capra Jr. had some interesting things to say on 'Mr.Smith Goes to Washington' and the 'His Girl Friday' commentary was pretty good, too (in fact Columbia has done very well in terms of commentaries and their classic films).

#4 of 5 ONLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted September 04 2001 - 06:25 PM


I would gladly absorb this extra cost.


So if it costs $1000 for them to record a commentary, you'd pay for the whole thing? That's generous! Posted Image

I'm all for commentaries on older films. As noted, these can be provided by historians; based on what I've heard during Universal's "Classic Monsters" DVDs and Criterion's discs, these are often much better than tracks created by participants in the films. I adore commentaries, so the more, the better!

Colin Jacobson
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#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Randy_M


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Posted September 04 2001 - 06:44 PM

My favorite classic film commentary is Criterion's version of Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. Bruce Eder fills the track with interesting little tidbits about the actors and supporting players. Very enjoyable. I like this style of commentary much better than the ones like on Criterion's My Man Godfrey, which speaks to the social implications of the times in which it was made...this can get rather tiresome when repeated like in this track...

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