Let's have an end to these self-congratulatory special features

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Douglas R, Aug 10, 2003.

  1. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I was very disappointed in the documentary “Memories of Giant” which is contained in Warner’s DVD of GIANT. It’s one of those documentaries in which everyone talks about how wonderful everyone was on the film. George Stevens was wonderful and everyone loved him. Carroll Baker, Earl Holliman, Rock Hudson (included in clips from an old interview) and Jane Withers are full of praise for Stevens and absolutely everyone else on the film. No one has a bad word to say about anybody. The closest anyone comes to criticism is Jane Withers saying James Dean was a bit "distant".

    Do we really need these puff pieces. Don’t DVD producers realize that having bought the DVD we don’t need a publicity piece. I don’t believe for one moment that there were not frictions and disagreements on set and people who just didn’t get on with one another, just as there are in all aspects of work. It’s a pity Elizabeth Taylor didn’t take part because we might have had something more cutting from her.

    Ken Darby wrote a book about the making of The Greatest Story Ever Told which contained much that was highly critical of George Stevens but you never hear these stories in the documentaries that accompany the films. Let’s have the truth, warts and all for a change in these documentaries. It would certainly be far more entertaining than these boring pieces of self praise.
     
  2. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    I agree, but I feel now the medium is 'mainstream' this will be all we get.

    I know Universal gets a lot of stick on this and other forums - and not all of it is unwarranted. But they used to have fantastic special features, which weren't afraid of critisising the studio itself.

    See some of the features on their Classic Monsters Collection which are sometimes less than flattering to the management of the day. The James Whale documentary in particular. Or Mallrats where Kevin Smith and co really critisise Universal Management of the time, painting them as clueless idiots.

    I really like these documentaries. Not because I want to hear studios being critisised as such, but because I feel I am hearing something honest and informative.

    It could be that Universal has changed hands so many times they don't care about people complaining about decisions made 2 or 3 regimes ago - but more likely I think the DVD producers just think the public doesn't demand anything more interesting than a typical segment on Entertainment Tonight.
     
  3. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    It would suit the documentaries on the Star Wars DVD's to feature people a little less full of themselves, especially Lucas and McCallum.
    They also very much suffer from the "everything is so fantastic"-syndrome. Even if something goes wrong, they are just going to make it because some part of the crew is so fantastic at what they do. It's getting on my nerves!
    Otherwise the Star Wars DVD's have fantastic extras... (oh no, I'm doing it myself!) [​IMG]
     
  4. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    The tension between Stevens and Dean on the set of Giant is well known and documented (as are the reports that both Taylor and Hudson fell for Dean), so, yes, the "documentary" on the DVD is a waste of time. Given all the major players apart from Taylor and McCambridge are dead, I don't see what harm there is in providing a critical analysis of the film and its players. Stevens doesn't strike me as one who'd approve of hagiography.
     
  5. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

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  6. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Lead Actor
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    I haven't watched those Episode I docs, but perhaps now is a good time to, that sounds very interesting!

    Lucas has a right to be self-congratulatory to a certain degree; afterall, he did have something do with American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, etc. But what did Rick McCallum ever do?
     
  7. Darren Haycock

    Darren Haycock Second Unit

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    There were some funny parts on the Episode I docs. I remember one point in particular when they were filming the scene where the gang is eating dinner with Anakin and Shmi. I guess Coruscant was brought up in the conversation because Anakin gets this confused look on his face and says, "Corooskent?" It cuts to Lucas and it seems like he has this "of for the love of..." attitude going on. Maybe I'm imagining parts, but that's what I remember. It was pretty funny.
     
  8. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    The statements in the following post in no way represent the thoughts and opinions of the studio or its affiliate companies. [​IMG]

    Oh, George Stevens, Jnr! Oh, he creeps me out on that Giant DVD! "My dad was the greatest filmmaker of all time. He was a great American and he was great. He had an amazing, special talent for filmmaking and he was great. He was my dad. He was so great. He is gone now, but I must carry his name for eternity, for he was MY DAD! And I loved him, and he was great, and... oh! Oh, daddy, why did you lock me in the cellar when I was bad boy! Agh, huh huh." [​IMG]

    That bit was left out, but some kid in Pigsknuckle, Arkansas e-mailed me the clip. [​IMG]

    I hate all those back-slappin' "ain't we all great?" interviews. The tedious anecdotes.

    The upcoming Burnt Offerings DVD apparently has some interesting comments from Karen Black about Oliver Reed in the commentary, though! I like Karen Black in interviews! On the Easy Rider DVD documentary? Hah hah! Great stuff.

    The region 2 Two-Disc SE of The Deer Hunter is superb. Very emotional interviews by Cimino, Vilmos Zsigmond and John Savage. And Cimino's commentary is the best I have heard in ages - it's as pulverizing as the film to hear a filmmaker talk so frankly and passionately. I always held the assumption that he was a dick, but he's a really honest and intelligent guy. A Heaven's Gate commentary would truly be something to behold. The current DVD is goddamn NON-anamorphic! I was gonna order it, and when I read the reviews...! No! A SE, please, MGM! [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  9. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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  10. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    I would like to see a DVD where a director is being interviewed and he said, "I absolutely couldnt stand working with so and so, they had the biggest ego on the set, and this movie is really one of the low-spots in my career." I know it wont even happen, but I just get tired of hearing how every director, or cast member, is "the best" or the "most fun". Geesh, I think every director has been called the best at one point in their time.
     
  11. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Yes, I believe this has even been said of Michael Bay, God help us!
     
  12. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Lead Actor
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    Check out the "Dogma" special edition DVD, where Kevin Smith just slams Linda Fiorentino throughout the commentary track.
     
  13. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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  14. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    Slightly off-topic, but I wanted to answer a question that was asked above...
     
  15. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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  16. Steve K.H.

    Steve K.H. Supporting Actor

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    Given Lucas' track record, he can carry the ego... he backs it up. His self-confidence is distasteful, but the reality is... he doesn't give a damn what we think about him... it's the box office that counts.

    But otherwise, I agree... and have said it many times... these great extras we all look forward to can be nothing but crap.

    In many instances, the appear forced, contrived, what have you.

    In many other instances, such as the director's take, it's a terrible rehash of what's on the screen.

    "I KNOW WHO THAT ACTOR IS, AND I KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT!!! TELL ME THE STORY ON WHY YOU CHOSE THIS LOCATION, ANGLE, TIME, SUPPORTING CAST, ETC,...

    ...(gee, that felt good)[​IMG]
     
  17. Jarrod Ferris

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    A friend and I almost doubled over with laughter while watching the extras on Minority Report. EVERY single category - whether it be script, or effects, or stunts, or costumes - all ended up with Speilberg and Cruise masturbating each other. It's like the two of them got together over a series of weekends and just made the film by themselves. Hysterical.
     
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