Walter Hill's "The Driver" (1978) w/Ryan O'Neil out on DVD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Elijah Sullivan, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    They just issued a DVD for this very slick and lean (89 min) action picture and I just saw it for the first time. I picked it up very cheap ($6.99) on street date based on the reviews I read of it and wasn't disappointed.

    Side A has the film in pan-and-scan with a trailer.

    Side B has the film in anamorphic widescreen with an alternate opening as a seperate supplement (in the place of the trailer).

    The film itself was pretty neat -- but I've gotta say, it was extremely choppy. I've heard rumors about a 131-minute version, and that would make a lot of sense, since the trailer on the DVD shows a couple bits and pieces that weren't in the movie. There's a glimpse of a love scene and a pretty funny line of dialogue (threateningly: "How are you going to get down the stairs?") among other things. Anyone know if this longer version is availible in other regions, or perhaps on VHS?

    Anyway, anyone who was a fan of the film back in the day might want to pick it up -- it's very cheap and the video+audio quality are pretty decent for the price.

    Cheers.
     
  2. Dave Simpson

    Dave Simpson Second Unit

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    Having trouble finding this one in brick n' mortar outlets in Toronto. Anyone have any luck? Cheers.

    DS.
     
  3. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I thought it was fun, especially for AUD$5 :)

    The IMDB trivia suggests that the longer version simply had a lot more car chases. Personally I thought the film played well around 90 minutes, I think 2 hours would've been over doing it.

    I particularly liked Bruce Dern, I get the impression he was just making up a lot of his dialog on the spot. He is fast becoming one of my favourite 70's actors, especially his performances in Family Plot (1976) and The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
     
  4. Andre Bijelic

    Andre Bijelic Stunt Coordinator

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    It's available in Toronto at the Sunrise Records on Yonge St., just north of Dundas.
     
  5. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    Agreed, it was exceptionally well-paced and, like a said, lean. But I kept seeing cuts in the film that seemed like they skipped over a lot. A good example would be (spoiler) the second scene with Ryan O'Neal and Isabelle Adjani alone. At the end of the scene, Adjani just imperceptably begins to move forward into the kiss shown in the trailer. After about three frames of leaning in, the scene ends, and I was a bit surprised. It suited the charaters (cold, professional) that they never had some big passionate moment, but it was still a choppy-as-hell cut. (end spoilers)

    I'm at least curious to know what the cuts were, and it Walter Hill approved them (why does a longer version exist unless someone prefers it?). Curious...
     
  6. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Producer

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    To the best of my knowledge, there is no longer version; the original CBS/FOX VHS was mislabeled as running 131m, which I think is how this rumor started. Hill has never directed a film longer than two hours and THE DRIVER is very much a straight-ahead title, and a little elliptical in the style of his inspiration, the films of Jean-Pierre Melville.
     
  7. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Yup, as Bob says, longer version = internet myth, and the current version is about as economical as story telling gets; beautifully done IMHO.
     
  8. Dave Simpson

    Dave Simpson Second Unit

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    Thanks, Andre. Cheers.

    DS.
     
  9. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Hill has stated that he never saw Le Samourai before he made The Driver, which I find very hard to believe as they are very similar in characterization, shooting style and editing. I love both films, though I have a stronger affinity with Melville. It is astounding that Le Samourai is not on DVD in the U.S. New Yorker used to own the rights, but when I emailed them about two weeks ago, they stated that that Criterion now owns the rights. They probably mean that Janus owns the rights. Like The Driver, previously, it is long overdue on DVD. I have the French R0 DVD, which has removable English subtitles and an sharp, clean, 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer, but I would sell my grandmother for a 2-disc Criterion of this amazing film.
     
  10. Dave Simpson

    Dave Simpson Second Unit

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    For anyone who's interested, I finally bought this one last week at my local Wal-Mart for only $5.88. Canadian. Cheapest brand-new DVD...ever! Cheers.

    DS.
     

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