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My Wish List of Extras for 2004 Anniversary DVDs

26 Feb, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

With DVD now a commodity business, and movie buyers fast eclipsing movie renters, studios are doing everything they can to stir up the collector mentality among consumers — in the hopes, of course, of getting them to buy more movies and build vast home libraries of DVDs.

For catalog titles, there's no better hook than an anniversary. It give the studios an excuse to dig up all sorts of interesting treasures from the vaults, from vintage newsreels of a film's premiere to original trailers and “making of” featurettes. Film fans are naturally drawn to a great anniversary package, particularly if the studio plunked down a few bucks to clean up the print and round up the remaining cast and crew, if there's anyone left, to record commentaries and interviews.

Sometimes things don't work as planned. In 2002, Warner Home Video's 50th anniversary of the classic 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain was mistakenly labeled the 60th anniversary edition, prompting the studio to have to resticker thousands of DVDs.

Of all the films that this year are celebrating an anniversary ending in “0” or “5,” here are my picks for the five I'd most like to see get the special edition treatment and some of the extras I'd try to include:

5. The Jerk (1979): Steve Martin's funniest movie, true slapstick humor. Any and all outtakes and deleted scenes would be welcome, as would a commentary track from some contemporary comics who have been influenced by Martin.

4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994): One of my favorite movies of all time, and ranked the second-best film of all time on the Internet Movie Database. It's already been released on DVD as a bare-bones edition, but as one reviewer on Amazon.com says, “If any film is screaming for a special edition DVD, it is certainly this one.” Personally, I'd love to see commentaries from Stephen King, who wrote the short story on which the film is based, and director Frank Darabont.

3. Apocalypse Now (1979): One of Francis Ford Coppola's finest moments, a gripping Vietnam War drama with an all-star cast that includes Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall. Coppola was great on the Godfather trilogy DVD — think he'd do an encore?

2. On the Waterfront (1954): Marlon Brando's defining performance as one of the best actors in the history of film makes this a no-brainer, and second-billed Karl Malden, who even though he's 91 just took the stage at the SAG Awards, would provide a compelling commentary, I'm sure. Fans would also like to see something on director Elia Kazan, whose honorary Oscar a few years back raised eyebrows due to his involvement with the Communist witchhunt that dogged Hollywood in the early 1950s.

1. Rear Window (1954): Alfred Hitchcock's classic psychodrama has been out on DVD before, as part of Universal's boxed-set Hitchcock collection, but it's high time for a reissue with bonus materials like a Hitchcock career retrospective (how about trailers for all his films, or maybe a montage of his notorious cameos?).

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