Straight Time

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jon Hertzberg, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    Reading the new Sean Penn biography, I was pleased to see Harry Dean Stanton cite this modern crime classic as part of a story he was recounting. For those who haven't seen Straight Time, Dustin Hoffman in a gem of a performance as paroled thief Max Dembo, adds to his most impressive gallery of screen characters. This one, for a variety of reasons, remains his most unsung. Stanton, in a smaller, though crucial role as Hoffman's most trusted friend, may be even better.

    Has Straight Time been mentioned in the many Warner chats HTF has hosted? I fear that it may fall into their "unsellable" category as Brewster McCloud does. With the studio's amazing turnaround in the last 2+ years, perhaps the tide has turned for titles like these. I realize WB is knee-deep in a wonderful run of golden age classics, on which I happily spend all of my disposable income. [​IMG]

    However, I also hope to see releases of some of the studio's lesser known, idiosyncratic titles of a more recent vintage (late 60s-70s), of which Straight Time is a shining example.
     
  2. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I've been wanting to see this after getting into some fo Ed Bunkers books, which this is based on, IIRC. Would love to see a release with a Bunker commentary.
     
  3. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    It is indeed based on an Edward Bunker novel, No Beast So Fierce. I've read the novel and actually prefer the film to the book. I have also read Bunker's Dog Eat Dog.

    A proper DVD of Straight Time would have to include Bunker's involvement with the film and the role Hoffman played in getting Bunker out of prison and his novel adapted for the screen. Bunker, most well known for his role as Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs, plays one of Hoffman's underworld contacts in the film.

    I still have yet to see 2000's Animal Factory, based upon another Bunker novel.
     
  4. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    I'm dying to see this film released on DVD by Warner. The last time I saw it was at a repertory theater in Manhattan back in the 80's. A great film and one of the most overlooked of the 70's.
     
  5. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    One other interesting note about Straight Time: it was at the heart of an interesting VARIETY piece (1/26/04) by Claude Brodesser about a "secret" film society in L.A. organized by an impressive array of young filmmakers. No word on who spilled the beans to Brodesser.

    Members of "The Order of the Pizza", who include Roger Avary, Kimberly Peirce, Ben Stiller, Quentin Tarantino, Alexander Payne, Wes Anderson, George Hickenlooper, James Gray, and Mark Romanek, gather to watch 35mm prints of rarely screened films, which are not available on DVD, and eat pizza. The author mentions that the pizza comes from Raging Bull star Cathy Moriarty's Mulberry Street pizzeria.

    Often, the organizers are able to persuade people involved with the production to speak about their experiences. In the case of Straight Time, Dustin Hoffman appeared and spoke about summoning painful childhood memories to perform in a particularly powerful scene in Straight Time.

    The author says that corporate bigwigs have attempted to get in on the act, but the group has resisted, preferring to keep "Pizza" under the radar and keep the focus on worthwhile, underseen films. Other films the group has screened include Ninotchka and I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (which I'm still steamed did not get voted in in the latest TCM/AOL DVD Poll).
     
  6. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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