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Creators Get Spotlight in <I>Goodfellas</I> Special Edition DVD of Mob Classic

17 Aug, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Westwood Boulevard in West Los Angeles, Calif., may not be the mean streets of Little Italy in Brooklyn, but Matteo's Restaurant certainly set the stage and tone last week for Warner Home Video's (WHV) Goodfellas Special Edition DVD launch party.

Attendees to the intimate sit-down dinner included select cast members Ray Liotta (and his real-life character Henry Hill), Debi Mazar, and Paul Sorvino; producer Irwin Winkler; screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi; in addition to WHV president Jim Cardwell; Mike Radiloff, WHV VP theatrical and catalog marketing; and legendary Los Angeles Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda.

Nearly 15 years after its theatrical release to widespread critical acclaim that culminated in six Academy award nominations and the best supporting actor award to Joe Pesci, Goodfellas' two-disc special edition DVD ($26.99) features a digitally remastered film and bonus material not found on the film's 1997 initial foray onto DVD.

In addition to commentary from director Martin Scorsese, which Pileggi described as required viewing for any film student, the second disc features four documentaries. They include: “Getting Made,” a behind-the-scenes look at how the film was put together;” The Goodfellas Legacy,” in which directors Jon Favreau (Elf), Joe Carnahan (Narc), Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and others discuss the film's significance to their careers; “The Workaday Gangster,” which showcases Pileggi and actors Frank Vincent and Sorvino describing their youths among smalltime criminals; and “Paper is Cheaper Than Film,” which underlines Scorsese's creative process.

“It's not like outing a magic act,” Pileggi said regarding the bonus material. “DVD is going to the archival aspect of film. It will record everything.”

Goodfellas' producer Winkler said DVD revenue helps the studios justify a film's theatrical release.

“Without marketing and theatrical [exposure], there would be no DVD business,” Winkler said. “It's part of the process.”

Creating the special edition DVD took several years to complete due to the challenges of tracking down actors and characters associated with the original film, Radiloff said. He calls the special commentary between ex-gangster Hill, upon which Goodfellas is based, and former FBI agent Edward McDonald “surreal.”

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