I just watched it today. The "look back" documentary is just okay, but the commentary seems excellent from what I've heard so far, and the very long deleted scene is really fascinating. The transfer is from a really clean element but is occasionally a bit too soft for my taste (not the photography either - saw this many times in the theaters and it was always very sharp, despite the occasional filter).
It's wonderful to have it and it remains a great movie.
It's grand fun seeing Cagney and despite his age, he is absolutely wonderful in it. The entire cast is great, in fact, and I think it's Forman's best film. It got mixed reviews when it came out here in the US, because people who'd read the book didn't love that Forman and writer Michael Weller had concentrated on the Coalhouse Walker story, but, to my mind, it was just the right decision and makes the film work better than it could have if they'd tried to cram in every morsel from the book.
The long deleted scene (from a black and white workprint) is straight from the book, in fact, and they were very wise to cut it. It does involve the only appearance in the film of Emma Goldman (does anyone know who the actress is?) - it's a fascintating scene, well-played, but would have really slowed everything down for naught. I'm thrilled they put it on the DVD though.
I worked at the Village Theatre in Westwood when the film opened. It was back when films opened exclusively in Westwood and opened wider after a brief run. It was a great film then. I really loved Randy Newman's score and was annoyed when it lost the Oscar to Chariots of Fire. I still have the widescreen Laserdisc but have not watched it in years. I'm anxious for this DVD. I'm thinking of Gifting it for a few people this Christmas.
I was hoping the trailer would be included, as it has popped up on DVDs released in other parts of the world (I believe the Korean disc, for one). But a deleted scene and Forman commentary are a wonderful surprise.
RAGTIME was one of my first "grown-up" movies as a middle-schooler, and I still love it today. I eagerly await this DVD.
Yesterday I attended a "master class" given by Milos Forman in the Seville Film Festival. The host talked about the link between Forman's Ragtime and the city of Seville, since it dealt with a crime commited in or around an american replica of a famous sevillian historical building: Giralda. I was intrigued by that cause I haven`t seen the film but I couldn't ask further about it in the Q&A session because it was very brief. Forman was funny, humble and very passionate about his craft. I confess he's not among my favorite directors but must admit I ended up wanting to see more of his work and mainly Ragtime. Would you guys think it's a worth blind buy for me?
PS. By the way, Forman was in Seville with Saul Zanz and Jean Claude Carriere scouting locations and research about a possible movie about spanish painter Goya.
I absolutely think it's worth a blind buy. The production design, music, cast - they don't or can't make them like that anymore. And to hear Cagney say, "Willie, they tell me you're a worthless piece of slime" is worth the price of the DVD.