While the new image harvest is lovely, and I’m thrilled to have it, the big news for me was the inclusion – on a second Blu-ray disc – of Mr. Forman’s final work print, here noted as a “director’s cut,” whether that happens to be accurate or not.
What that cut of the film enables viewers to share is an earlier – non-final – cut of the film – almost 20 minutes longer, that films in a myriad of gaps, creating a more cohesive result. Because much of the un-cut footage is from a black & white slop print, it makes it relatively easy to understand what changes were made, and how they affect the overall way the the film plays.
One of the things that I love about this film, is that while it takes place in 1906, it’s less about music and the era, and more attuned to racial tension and a single event in which a young, educated, respected black man is mistreated by a dumb, white fireman – leading to a number of horrific events.
The fact that we have both James Cagney as well as Pat O’Brien in their final performances, along with Donald O’Connor, kicks things up a huge notch.
A beautiful disc of a wonderful film, with one of the most interesting, and educational extras in ages. The fact that we get to see the work of Anne Coates, Antony Gibbs and Stanley Warnow, who as a group editing the film in an incomplete form is a major asset for those interested in film production.
One suggestion for future reference. Paramount has designed the packaging so that the film’s credits are printed in what appears to be dark gray against a black background. This makes them all but unreadable.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
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