A film as extraordinary as the strange story that surrounds it's making, "The Stunt Man" gets a two-disc DVD release that's a must for those who are fascinated by filmmaking. Nominated for three major Oscars, but only shown in a handful of cinemas, this blend of action, comedy, and paranoia is certainly unique.
Picture At times quite grainy, the picture transfer can look somewhat grimy, but colours are vivid.
Sound An ambitious upgrade to both Dolby 5.1 EX and DTS ES (both these mixes offer coding for a rear centre channel) mixes has been created from the original mono source.
Occasionally the rear speakers feature a little too heavily, but effort has gone into creating a mix that includes a helicopter panning around the room. Bass levels are good, the music is well mixed, and both audio tracks are impressive. If you prefer the original mono, it's on offer too.
DISC ONE SPECIAL FEATURES
Audio Commentary Some of the contributors to this commentary have been recorded separately. But it includes director Richard Rush, Steve Railsback, Peter O'Toole, Barbara Hershey, Alex Rocco, Sharon Farrell, and Chuck Bail.
Richard naturally has the most to say, and analyses the movie right down to a dog licking itself. Ball-licking aside, Richard also pulls apart the structure of the film and offers up plenty of information on how it was shot.
Peter O'Toole clearly adores the movie and states that, "The film wasn't released, it escaped". He goes on to describe the sad tale of how he got an Oscar nomination, but the movie was was only released in eleven cinemas. As a result, though, it became one of the best selling videos of its time.
Disc One Additional Features Also on disc one are two deleted scenes, three trailers, three image galleries, a DVD ROM accessible screenplay, and director's notes.
DISC TWO SPECIAL FEATURES
The Sinister Saga of Making "The Stunt Man" Running at nearly two hours, this making of documentary - written, presented, and directed by Richard Rush - is a little self-indulgent. But the film and the story behind it are suitably intriguing.
Three major Oscar nominations, six Golden Globe nominations and critical adulation (even from the likes of Pauline Kael) and the film was launched in three theatres! Francois Truffaut, when asked in 1980 who his favourite director was said, "I don't know his name, but last night I saw his film. It's called, "The Stunt Man." Yet this movie had problems getting screened to members of the Film Academy becuase the one theatre showing it kept getting shut down due to strange technicalities...
It's ironic that a film about paranoia became smothered in mistrust, intrigue, and was finally strangled due to the critical success that frightened every ego in town. While Richard examines this in almost obsessive detail, he does it with genial humour. He almost seems to revel in the mystery of the blockbuster everyone loved but no one could see.
Contributors include Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, and Barbara Hershey, who all clearly love the film and are as mystified as you will be about how it could be shelved the way it was. The reason is actually quite simple, but you won't watch the Oscars in the same way once you realise how important studio product is over everything else, no matter how brilliant it is.
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: : Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, 2.0 mono, DTS 5.1 ES
Audio Tracks: English
Menus: Main menu animated with scenes from the film
Special Features Subtitles: None of the special features come with subtitles.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.