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The Hughes Brothers' 'Hell'-ish DVD Plans

29 Nov, 2001 By: Fred Topel

Directors Allen and Albert Hughes are preparing a special edition DVD for their Jack the Ripper film, From Hell, which may include up to 34 deleted scenes. However, the brothers are reticent to perform the staple of special editions, the directors' commentary.

“We both decided we really don't want to do a director's commentary anymore,” Albert says. “We're not really interested in explaining a movie that deeply. You just come off looking like an idiot in the end.”

Allen suggested that with only four movies under its belt, the Hughes team is not in the right position to reflect. “When some of the older filmmakers do it, I think it's more valid when they go back, like Francis Ford Coppola goes back and restores Apocalypse Now,” Allen says “He's been around long enough to warrant doing that.

"These DVDs now are taking the magic away from filmmaking and you've got young filmmakers who are…talking about, ‘Let me tell you about this scene right here.' And three months ago you were shooting this scene. You shouldn't be talking about it right now. There's no perspective or anything like that, so we just try to keep it simple and make sure the sound and picture quality are great,” he said.

The brothers prefer to let audiences interpret films themselves.

“Part of the problem is that even now, when we do press junkets and everything like that, you take the mystery out of the movie,” Albert says. “If people love it or hate it, that's their opinion. It's almost like critics. Critics skew the opinion of the moviegoing public as to what the movie is. Wouldn't it be nice in a perfect world if people could just go see the movie themselves?”

The Hughes' sophomore film, Dead Presidents, got the Criterion treatment on laserdisc. Preparing that disc was an experience the brothers enjoyed, but would not repeat. Allen said, “It was all right. There were elements that were great and elements that got a little ridiculous. I think all filmmakers below the age of 45 should be banned from doing Criterion and audio commentary.”

From Hell, starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham, has made $30 million to date. No street date or extra feature plans are set for the DVD.

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