Film Historian/Critic Commentaries

Discussion in 'DVD' started by jake moosey, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. jake moosey

    jake moosey Stunt Coordinator

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    I would like to compile a list of DVD's that have a commentary done by a Film Historian or Critic. Most of them have been done by Roger Ebert and Rudy Belmer. SO please post any DVDs that you know have one.
     
  2. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    John Canemaker - NYU Professor and Animation Historian
    (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Dumbo, Peter Pan)
     
  3. Brian PB

    Brian PB Supporting Actor

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    Not true. Roger Ebert has only done three commentaries: Citizen Kane, Casablance SE, Dark City. A fourth commentary track will be released in April for Ozu's Floating Weeds, and a fifth is rumored for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

    Rudy Behlmer has done 10 by my count: Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Casablanca, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Notorious, Singin' in the Rain, The Black Pirate. I believe he has also done the commentary for Fox's postponed release of Laura.

    Right behind Behlmer, and the reigning king of academic critical commnentaries is Criterion's Peter Cowie, who has done 9: Diary of a Country Priest, Tokyo Olympiad, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Grand Illusion, Hiroshima mon amour, Autumn Sonata, Salvatore Giuliano, and for the forthcoming The Leopard.

    Apologies if I've made any errors here.
     
  4. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Do check out the upcoming release of The Ten Commandments Special Collector's Edition. The commentary by Katherine Orrison is among the best I've heard. It's right up there with Ebert's Citizen Kane commentary.

    A full review will be posted on HTF soon.

    -Scott
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Marian Keane has made several commentaries for Criterion: The 39 Steps, Notorious, Spellbound and The Lady Eve,

    Bruce Elder has also recorded several commentaries for Criterion: The Blob, and by Brakhage, .

    There are many, many others, most especially on Criterion.
     
  6. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I love the Roger Ebert commentaries. I wish he would do more of them.
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Stephen Prince, Michael Jeck and Donald Ritchie have all recorded very excellent commentaries for the Criterion Kurosawa DVDs.
     
  8. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Premier Magazine critic Glenn Kenny did commentaries for Fox-Lorber's editions of The 400 Blows (very good) and Jules et Jim (ok)

    The Christian Science Monitor's David Sterrit did excellent mini-commentaries for JL-Godard's Les Carabiniers and Les Petit Soldats

    Janet Bergstrom's outstanding commentary on Murnau's Tabu

    Lokke Heis has done commentaries for Nosferatu and Haxan

    Mike Budd on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

    And The Notorious PHD Dr. Todd Boyd on Superfly
     
  9. Dan V

    Dan V Stunt Coordinator

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    The Sunset Boulevard commentary by Ed Sikov is also excellent, very entertaining and informative.
     
  10. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Scott MacQueen recorded some excellent commentaries for Universal's original 1943 Phantom of the Opera DVD and Milestone's DVD of the silent Phantom of the Opera (only the 1929 version). He also recorded a great commentary for Bride of Frankenstein (original DVD... I don't know if it's retained for the Legacy set). He's also featured on the group commentary for Fantasia (along with James Levine, John Canemaker, and Roy E. Disney).

    Michael F. Blake recorded commentaries for the 3 films included in the Lon Chaney Collection from Warner (He's probably known better for his makeup work on projects like the Star Trek films, but he's one of the top authorities on Lon Chaney).
     
  11. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Tom Weaver is a delightful commentator. He crams so much information into his tracks that they have definite repeat value, plus they are witty, funny, even occasionally irreverant. I especially enjoy his work on THE WOLFMAN (love that line following Claude Rains' look through the telescope toward the beginning). Also check out IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE & CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.

    I much prefer critic/historian commentaries. They may sometimes be a bit dry, but they give me the information I really want to know instead of the giggly, redundant, self-congratulatory, ass-kissing Mutual Admiration Society commentaries that directors and cast members too often record (although there are of course exceptions).
     
  12. Shane_Anthony

    Shane_Anthony Stunt Coordinator

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    Stephen Prince's commentary for Straw Dogs is probably my all time favourite so far. He talks from beginning to end and gives us so much insight and background information about the movie. It made watching it so much more enjoyable

    I also loved the commentary from Sir Christopher Frayling for Once Upon A Time In The West(at least his part anyway). Unfortunately he was "sliced" together with others which I thaught broke the momentum of his commentary because he was a lot more interesting to listen too.
     
  13. MarkBourne

    MarkBourne Stunt Coordinator

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    David Kalat's commentary on Image's two-disc release of Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler is one of the most illuminating and entertaining historian tracks I've heard.
     
  14. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    Time Magazine critic Richard Schickel has done a couple of commentaries. Don't know about quality though. The one I listened to (The Hustler) has him sound like he was angry at the world.
     
  15. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

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    That's how he always sounds. You should try to interview him. He has done similarly indifferent commentary for such films as Gentleman's Agreement, Unforgiven and Once Upon a Time in America. He will also do commentary on the upcoming SE for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and possibly some of the Warner Hitchcock DVDs.
     
  16. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    He hasn't actually done By Brakhage, but his commentaries can be found on Henry V, Brief Encounter, The Lady Vanishes and The Devil and Daniel Webster.
     
  17. jon_farthing

    jon_farthing Agent

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    Hi, first post for me.

    Laura Mulvey on Criterion's Peeping Tom is a good commentary coming from an academic/film theory angle but still with some interesting anecdotes about the making of the film.

    The British release of Straw Dogs (which is region 3) has an interesting commentary gathering together 3 differant Peckinpah biographers. They actually recorded the commentary in a room together and dont always agree on everything, which makes the commentary livelier than the normal critic/historian commentary.

    David Morgan on the 'love conquers all' version of Brazil in the Criterion edition is also worth a listen.

    Todd McCarthy speaks on 'HIs Girl Friday' and tells a few interesting stories, but runs out of steam long before the end of the film and repeats himself occasionally.

    Richard Dyer appears on a few of the commentary tracks for the New Line platinum release of Seven. Although he is better known as an academic film theorist he keeps it light here. His BFI modern classics book on the film is worth checking out as well.

    Regards.

    Jon Farthing
     
  18. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

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    Ric Myers from Inside Kung Fu magazine has done a number of martial arts commentaries. I can only think of 2 off the top of my head though: The Duel and The Assassin. I know I have a few more with his commentaries on them...
     
  19. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    "Time Magazine critic Richard Schickel has done a couple of commentaries. Don't know about quality though. The one I listened to (The Hustler) has him sound like he was angry at the world."

    Sounds like his book, The Disney Films. Disney fans complained to Time Magazine when Schickel was chosen to sum up the man's work for their look back on the 20th Century. As usual, Schickel took the commercial-industrialist approach to discussing his life's achievements. I wonder if the same snarky socialist condescension will be used to comment on Spielberg's work when he passes.
     

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