DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "Glengarry Glen Ross" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Glengarry Glen Ross
    10 Year Anniversary DVD

    Studio: Artisan
    Year: 1992
    Rated: R
    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
    for sure!
    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
    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.
    Special Features
    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
    miss this!
    (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
    Final Thoughts
    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
  2. Enrique B Chamorro

    Enrique B Chamorro Supporting Actor

    Sep 2, 1999
    Likes Received:
    This disc is MINE!
    I have the Pioneer SE laserdisc and
    can't wait for the DVD!
    If I ever get the LD player fixed, I
    can check if the commentary track is
    the same?
  3. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Aug 3, 2002
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    Great stuff, Ron! [​IMG]
    I really hope that the people at Artisan are reading all these reviews on the Net and they take heed and make sure that their future DVD tranfers are as good as this.
  4. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

    Aug 27, 2001
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    South Florida
    I will cherish the Jack Lemmon commentary from the LD!

  5. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

    Jul 10, 2000
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    Talk about clueless, I thought that this was being released in March of next year! I will be getting this one for sure. My brother has been in sales for only about 4 years, but he said that this movie is awesome because it really hits home and represents an accurate portrait of this way to make a living.
  6. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

    Jan 16, 2000
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    You know...i absolutely love this film and I'm totally looking forward to it...


    these supplements absolutely suck. There's not one that even remotely interests me. Wasn't there a FULL commentary by Foley on the laserdisc? So now we get a chopped up version of that PLUS NO lemmon commentary. Wow...guess i'm going to have to try and pick up that laser on Ebay.
    No trailer? No cast or crew interviews? No Mamet? Nothin?? Just background. And shouldn't the Lemmon tribute have been it's own separate disc? I dunno. I'm sure most people will say i'm just complaining...but I just expected more interesting extras from a special edition.
  7. josh4040

    josh4040 Second Unit

    Jan 17, 2002
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    I can't wait till tuesday to pick this up! Ron I am glad you liked the movie, but with some of the "questionable" titles you have "highly reccomended" as of the past few months, maybe this title deserves to have the same accolades. This is definetly worth a sight unseen pickup, both for the dialogue and for the stellar ensemble cast!
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    You know what?

    You are 100% correct. This title does deserve
    a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED status and I will make the
    necessary changes to reflect that status.

    The transfer alone is worthy of such praise.
  9. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

    May 8, 2001
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    i'd rather have an inexpensive barebones single disc version. $20 is too much for a DVD nowadays. this will be mine soon enough but i'll wait for the inevitable price drop.
  10. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

    Jul 11, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Can't wait for this DVD! Thanks for the review Ron.
  11. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

    Jun 19, 2002
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    I'm sure like all new releases it will be available for $15.99 or lower at major chains. Personally I'd have no problem paying $30 for any good movie if it means it's given a proper treatment and supports an outstanding transfer such as this release.
  12. CraigL

    CraigL Screenwriter

    Jan 16, 2000
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    FYI..it'll be $20 at Best Buy. Doubt it's going any lower than that. It's not really a "new release" as it's an older film. They don't get the same treatment as first release films.
  13. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

    May 8, 2001
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  14. JosephMoore

    JosephMoore Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 10, 2002
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    I'm really glad that this is a great transfer, which is the most important thing, but it's a shame that someone like Criterion didn't release it with some "serious" extras since the audience for this film is really mostly serious film buffs.

    This is a superb flick, if you haven't seen it you owe it to yourself to at least rent it.
  15. Joel Vardy

    Joel Vardy Supporting Actor

    Oct 20, 1998
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  16. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

    Apr 1, 2001
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    This is one of my absolute favorite films. As Ron mentioned in his review, it's a powerhouse of acting talent. I think anyone serious about film should own this one.
  17. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

    Jun 18, 2001
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    Biggest news of this week...Ron's review of GGR. [​IMG] Y Tu Mama Tambien, GGR,...careful, people might begin to label you as quirky.
    Love this film. Easily $20 worth of viewing/re pleasure. Even better to hear about (and see) the glorious transfer.
    The scenes of Pacino in the chinese restaurant - very intimate and engaging to the point of being hypnotic. Great background stuff for small parties.
  18. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Aug 3, 2002
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    Joel Vardy: Why do Pennsylvanian's have to pay more tax? I think I've heard of this before and I have always wondered why that is. I live in Britain, so it's all unknown to me! [​IMG]
    $17.54 is pretty good - that's £11.04 on the current exchange rate. I buy from the British e-tailer, www.play247.com and Glengarry cost me £14.99, which is $23.80 on the current exchange rate. Delivery of in-stock titles is usually 2 days and out-of-stock titles is 4-7 days. I sometimes use DVD Box Office and DVD Soon - Canadian sites! The prices are great, but delivery can take a while.
  19. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

    Mar 7, 1999
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  20. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

    May 8, 2001
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    I forgot to add, Thanks Ron for the review. Its good to have something besides techno-epics to read about!
    Gordon - the states in the US all have different sales tax amounts. Pennsylvania is 6%. Delaware has no sales tax. New Jersey is 7 or 8% I think. Joel's point was that DVD Empire is located in Pennsylvania, thus all PA residents must pay sales tax when ordering from them. The other 49 states don't have to pay tax. The same can be said for Amazon.com. Since they are located in Washington state, any Washington residents need to pay sales tax on Amazon orders...
    Finally, on pricing. I compare this release (MSRP-wise) to the relase of Blood Simple. It was released selling for over $20 only to see a big price drop 6 months later. I'll wait for the price drop since I'm not a rich man. [​IMG]

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