Glengarry Glen Ross
10 Year Anniversary DVD
Film Length: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day's Work.
For years I have been hearing nothing but praises
for Glengarry Glen Ross, a film that had
managed to remain high on the list of WANTED titles
for DVD release. I have always wanted to see this
movie, but patiently waited to do so until its release
to the DVD format. Last night's viewing was a treat
Based on a play of the same name, Both the play and
the film were written by David Mamet, whose other
credits include The Untouchables, The Spanish
Prisoner and Wag the Dog.
Glengarry Glen Ross isn't your typical
Hollywood fare. The film is a twisted take
on normal life played by some of the greatest actors
of our time -- all coming together and delivering one
of the most exceptional performances of their careers.
It is my understanding that all of these actors worked
for months rehearsing their dialogue to perfection, and
you can see how fluidly that dialogue works on screen.
The salesmen of Rio Ranch Estates, a small real
estate office are told by a hot shot motivator
(Alec Baldwin) that a new contest will be held to
boost sales. The winner will get a Cadillac, second
prize will be a set of steak knives, and those coming
in third or lower will be fired. This aggressive
and abusive approach does little to raise the
confidence of the dejected salesmen who are all
worn out from the stale sale leads that they have
been supplied with. Shelley Levine (Jack Lemmon) is
a modern Willy Loman --old and tired, no longer full
of the rhythm he once had. He is so desperate that
he bribes his uptight, hard ass office manager (Kevin
Spacey) into giving him more leads. Angry Dave
Moss (Ed Harris) blames management for his lack
of sales. And George Aaronow (Alan Arkin) simply
blames himself. There's only one true sales performer
in the group -- Ricky Roma (Al Pacino) -- a salesman's
salesman. This smooth-talking pro prides himself on
his communication skills, using every trick he can
to make a sale on less than desirable property.
With the pressure on to avoid pink slips, this
group's only chance to close deals again are wrapped
up in a stack of leads locked in the Spacey's office.
All three salesmen have their motives for stealing
them, Harris and Arkin even discuss doing it one night
at the bar, but Arkin doesn't want to go through with
it. Nonetheless, a robbery does occur and the finger
pointing soon begins.
While film's plot remains simplistic, mostly taking
place in the single setting of a real estate office,
Glengarry Glen Ross serves more as a showcase
for the amazing performances by its star-studded cast.
The editing is amazing as it moves the story along
at just the right pace. All the scenes are skillfully
choreographed and every shot is perfectly framed.
How is the transfer?
I have to admit that when I heard Artisan was
handling the release of this New Line Cinema film,
I got very concerned. There is no doubt that Artisan
is one of the worst studios in existence when it
comes to its DVD transfers.
One would find it hard to believe that this transfer
of Glengarry Glen Ross is an Artisan effort.
It defies everything you have seen from that studio.
This is a top-notch, first-rate transfer that is
nothing short of perfection.
It's quite rare that you see a catalog title look
totally brand new. This film does. Artisan has put
together a warm transfer that shines with the natural
beauty of stable colors and extremely accurate flesh
tones. Black levels are nice and deep -- especially
seen in Alec Baldwin's jet black hair and Kevin
Spacey's black vest. The darker night scenes,
particularly the car conversations between Harris
and Arkin, are incredibly sharp, never lacking in
detail. The film is stylized with the use of vivid
reds, blues and greens that accent many of the shots.
These colors come across with extreme intensity, yet
never become oversaturated. With the film's
incredible attention to detail, you would expect to
find some sort of background noise. There is none.
This film looks as smooth as a baby's bottom.
I often wonder why studios choose the DTS format
in films that are mostly conversation driven. This
film pretty much answers that question. The DTS
track adds a nice spacial quality to this film which
you immediately hear during the film's opening credits
as you listen to James Newton Howard's cool, jazzy
soundtrack envelope the sound stage as it underscores
the fast-paced verbal acrobatics taking place. Dialogue
comes across the center channel with defining clarity.
One would wonder why Artisan chose to release a
2-disc Special Edition for the mere sake of providing
separate widescreen and full frame transfers.
Fortunately, this hasn't really affected the price
of this disc (about $20 online), and it has enabled
Artisan to add a DTS track to this DVD.
The DVD begins with a wonderful opening menu
system that really shows off the beauty of the
transfer. A broken window against a rain-soaked
backdrop provides a glimpse of the film's main
characters as the background fills with changing
deep blue and red colors. The menu is gorgeous,
and it really gives you a preview of just how
spectacular this transfer is.
Okay, enough about the menu....let's look at the
Magic Time: A tribute to Jack Lemmon is
an absolutely wonderful look back at the consummate
actor who so often portrayed the "everyman." It
begins with Jack's son, Chris, talking about his
earliest remembrance of his father, on the set of
The Great Race. The rest of this tribute
features words from the people who knew him best --
including Directors John Avildsen and James Foley,
Manager David Seltzer, and actor Peter Gallagher.
If the words of these individuals aren't powerful
enough to move you, I think you'll be moved by the
words of Jack Lemmon himself, in a touching interview
that is included at the end of this tribute. Don't
(length: approx. 29 minutes)
There's a commentary by Director James Foley.
Unfortunately, this is not a full-length commentary
but rather one that is broken down into short
individual scenes that concentrate on Directing,
Screenplay and Rehearsal. In Directing, Foley
explains how actor Alec Baldwin arrived late in
the film's production after all the other actors
had bonded with each other. He was treated like shit
from all these great actors, and it greatly motivated
Baldwin's abusive character as a result. In
Screenplay, Foley describes his fascination
of working with actors that were able to skillfully
create many of the "hypothetical" back story scenes
used in the film. In Rehearsal Foley describes
his own personal filmmaking heaven as he talks about
how he began with individual readings and rehearsals
prior to having the entire cast work together. He
also talks about approaching director of Photography
Juan Ruiz Anchia about using color to stylize his
On Disc Two you will find additional bonus
commentary by Cinematographer Juan Rulz Anchia;
Production Designer Jane Musky; actors Alan Arkin
and Alec Baldwin. These commentaries are rather
short and only scene specific.
If you wish to view the remaining supplementals,
you need to insert Disc Two....
ABC "Always Be Closing" is a little too long
and may be difficult to sit through in its entirety,
but it begins with an interesting revelation...the
film Glengarry Glen Ross has actually been
used to teach real salesmen how to sell and how not
to sell. This feature takes a looks at variety
real salesmen (mostly involved in real estate) who
talk about their craft and their motivation to become
the best they can be. Just remember, the sale begins
when the customer says "no."
(length: approx. 29 minutes)
J. Roy: New and Used Furniture is a look at
a dreamer, Jimmy Roy, who started as a flea market
salesman, eventually becaming an auto saleseman.
This featurette takes a look back at the art of
making a sale and what qualities makes a great
(length: approx. 9.5 minutes)
Two very short clips featuring TV interviews are
included here. The first The first is a 1993 interview
with Jack Lemmon from The Charlie Rose Show that
lasts 10 minutes. The second is a hilarious 2-minute
audience interaction segment featuring Kevin Spacey
from Inside The Actors Studio.
Rounding out the extras is separate Cast and
Crew Biographies as well as Production Notes
that explains the journey of this 1983 play that began
with its performances in London, and eventually becoming
a low-budget picture filmed in just 39 days.
The bad news is that there is absolutely no inclusion
of the film's original trailer here. The good news
is that Artisan has provided subtitles for the hearing
impaired -- something you don't often see from this
Glengarry Glen Ross is a modern-day classic
that benefits from an outstanding cast, a fine
screenplay, and an intriguing subject. It's one
of the greatest ensemble acting performances you
will ever see on film.
With the exception of the Jack Lemmon tribute and
TV interview clips, this 2-disc 10 year Anniversary
DVD is somewhat lacking in interesting supplemental
material. However, the drop-dead gorgeous transfer
is reason enough to warrant the purchase of this DVD.
Well worth the wait!
Release Date: November 19, 2002