Just like the era it captures, this DVD of "24 Hour Party People" is unique. Produced in the UK, it pleases both in content and superior design that makes it the first exciting DVD of 2003, and a must-have for music fans.
Picture The sometimes intentionally dreary picture transfers well to a DVD that also handles vibrant colours with ease and consistent sharpness.
Sound The 5.1 audio on this disc is stunning, with classic tunes of the era suddenly transformed into mighty anthems. Particularly exciting is a filthily deep-bass riddled rendition of New Order's "Blue Monday".
DISC ONE SPECIAL FEATURES
Audio Commentary One It's a rarity that a person whose life is depicted in a film provides a DVD commentary. Tony Wilson is in the position of being able to elaborate on moments in the film with extra anecdotes, and commentate on his past history.
When he saw the three-hour rough cut of the movie, he thought it looked "crap". His opinion seems to have softened a lot since and he's bowled over by how good the Hacienda set looks. The real thing had been torn down several months before, so walking onto the set was an emotional experience for all connected with the club. The attention to detail was so high that as Tony recalls "even the brick shape was right".
Audio Commentary Two Track two is with Steve Coogan and producer Andrew Eaton. It's a quieter affair than track one, but Coogan manages to slip in some witty comments. His main problem with the film was having to explain to his mother about a sex scene, which he talks us through to prove it's fake.
Sleeve Notes This is a subtitle trivia track which you can let run throughout the film. All the songs and mix details are provided for the music that's played, plus their chart positions upon release. There are also some snippets about the popular culture of the time.
Unknown Pleasures It's suitably fitting that there are 24 deleted scenes in this section. Most of them are very short, but there are some amusing moments in there, including Coogan trying to present Wheel of Fortune.
Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches Take a trip round a virtual map and stop off for a series of interviews with people involved in the Factory Records/Hacienda scene. Totalling nearly 50 minutes, the segments vary from three to seven minutes in length.
Arthur Baker reflects on New Order effectively creating a dance scene in the UK, paving the way for such acts as the Chemical Brothers. Tony Wilson recalls the ethos of Factory, where people did what they did for the love of the music.
Jon Ronson chats about Shaun Ryder and Ian Brown as being perfect popstars: "talented, grumpy, messianic, and monosyllabic".
The Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder and Bez provide their jittery take on the Factory Records days (Shaun is infinitely better when he's chatting with a fag in his hand). Both only have good things to say about Tony Wilson.
DISC TWO SPECIAL FEATURES
From the Factory Floor Former Factory collaborators Peter Hook, Rowetta, Leroy Richardson, Bruce Mitchell, Miranda Sawyer, Bobby Langley, and Martin Moscrop are filmed in a Manchester pub watching the film. The movie plays in a small screen within the image, while you can watch and listen to their thoughts.
There are a lot of comments like "1976, that was the year..." typifying their chat. They all love the recreation of the era, especially the Hacienda set. Among the most amusing of their recollections is that both Joy Division and New Order's instruments carried stickers telling the band members what notes to play since they'd never really learnt properly.
Portrait of a Filmmaker This 23-minute documentary on director Michael Winterbottom is a slightly trying experience because of its rambling structure. Perhaps it reflects the type of films Winterbottom seems to want to make, which arenít too over-produced.
Peter Saville Gallery Peter Saville discusses some of his classic graphic designs for Factory along with Tony Wilson, who is merciless in chiding Saville about late delivery of artwork. Saville has plenty of constructive thoughts on graphic design and reveals that Manchester Metropolitan University (then a polytechnic) has never invited him to speak to their students as he's considered an unsuitable role model.
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Audio Tracks: English
Subtitles: See captions
Menus: Beautifully animated using designs from the film credits and Peter Saville designs.
Special Features Subtitles: None of the special features come with subtitles.