I have been waiting for this since I was first stunned into stupor by Network as a high school freshman. Could this be? I thought. Could I have just watched the greatest movie ever made? I have seen it 20 times since, and the question presents itself every time at the end, and every time the answer is "yes." A two-disc special edition (at left) will be released Feb. 28 with long-overdue features.
The current DVD is grossly inadequate, with its crappy sound transfer, a banal trivia game that looks like it was assembled by a chimp, and intentional noisy static between menu options.
The special edition looks well-rounded. There is a six-part making-of documentary, a feature on über-screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, and what looks like an appreciation by Walter Cronkite. But the crown jewel of the set will no doubt be director Sidney Lumet's audio commentary. Lumet is a wonderful human being and a precise and passionate artist -- you need only read his Making Movies, or remember his honorary Oscar speech from last year, or listen to his superb audio commentary for The Verdict to know how deep and wide his reserve of talent and humanity is. Meanwhile, I'm directing a frown at Faye Dunaway, for whom I've maintained respect and who no doubt was approached to do commentary, but didn't.
A final message to Warner Bros.: Thank you for doing this before Lumet kicks it. Now please do a special edition for Bonnie & Clyde, whose current DVD is also a wasteland. The creative team for B&C is 100 percent not dead: director Arthur Penn, writer Robert Benton, editor Dede Allen, and actors Warren Beatty, Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Michael J. Pollard, and Estelle Parsons. Get on it.
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