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Ivan Reitman Creates A Different ‘Stripes'

15 Apr, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite successful DVD and VHS renditions since its 1981 theatrical debut, director Ivan Reitman felt his military comedy Stripes needed a makeover.

“It had a particularly bad transfer [to video] and was something I was always really embarrassed about,” Reitman said.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment June 7 (prebook May 5) will release the digitally remastered DVD ($19.94).

The movie — originally mixed in monotone — was redone in high-definition and 5.1 stereo.

“It was almost like doing a movie all over again, except I didn't have to shoot it,” Reitman said.

The director said he wanted a proper DVD copy for future generations. He also knew he had additional footage — including a South American sequence — that had played well with test audiences and studio executives. Reitman, who had final cut approval on the film, took the sequence out because he considered it a distraction from the rest of the film.

“I kept saying the movie actually works better without it, and I still think that. But, it is a really funny eight minutes. It is Bill Murray and Harold Ramis in their prime.”

The DVD also covers the deleted scenes in depth.

“I've done commentary that discusses each of these scenes, about why they weren't [included] and a retrospective look... with my partners, and we argue about whether we should have left it in or not,” he said.

“All the scenes are good in themselves,” Reitman said. “It is not that this is crap and that is why we took it out. These are all scenes that I think are really strong and up to the quality of the rest of the film but didn't, in my original opinion, move the story along.”

In addition to 20 minutes of deleted footage, the DVD includes a one-hour “making-of” documentary and interviews with Reitman, Murray, Ramis, Judge Reinhold, John Larroquette, P.J. Soles and Sean Young. The comedy, about a group of lazy Army inductees who end up behind the Iron Curtain in a daring rescue mission, also starred the late John Candy and Warren Oates.

Reitman credits DVD as the perfect forum to showcase nuances and underlying issues of a film without ruining the original vision.

DVD extras allow fans to learn more about a film.

“When you fall in love with a film, [DVD bonus material] is a way of lingering with it,” Reitman said.

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