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Reagan's Death Brings Videos

14 Jun, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

Former president Bill Clinton's documentary may have to wait in line for release, but home entertainment suppliers have wasted no time bringing their documentaries and features on former president Ronald Reagan. Expect some great communications on the Great Communicator.

Although Reagan's death forced postponement of the theatrical release for The Hunting of the President, about an alleged right-wing campaign to destroy Clinton, folks hungry for presidential fare will have their hands full with Reagan retrospectives.

Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS News are bringing Ronald Reagan: His Life And Legacy to DVD this week. Although a street date was not specified, a Paramount spokesperson said the title, which includes an 87-minute feature program, a separate featurette on “The Great Communicator” and “An Audio Collection of Ronald Reagan's Unabridged Speeches,” would be at retail early this week.

Acorn Media offers the official, authorized Reagan video biography, Tribute to Ronald Reagan. Created with unprecedented access to information, photos and White House footage, the award-winning program covers all the great triumphs and tragedies of the Reagan presidency, from the 40th anniversary of D-Day and the fall of communism to the Challenger disaster. It also highlights Reagan's boyhood years, his Hollywood film days, the historic “A Time for Choosing” speech, the California governorship, the road to the White House and much more.

The main program runs 112 minutes, but the DVD ($24.95) includes 90 minutes of bonus footage, with complete, unedited broadcast footage of the “Time for Choosing” speech; “When Character Counted,” a video of William F. Buckley's 1999 tribute; Reagan's videotaped goodbye speech to the nation; a photo slide show; Reagan's last public address; and a full-color insert with behind-the-scenes producer's notes. It's also available on VHS for $19.95.

Ventura/Time Life Video's Salute to Reagan remembers the statesman and his career with memorable quotes, convictions, patriotism and achievements. Available on DVD or VHS for $14.98.

PBS Home Video's American Experience: Reagan ($25) offers more than four hours chronicling Reagan's life, from his troubled childhood with an alcoholic father to his career in Hollywood and, later, as a politician.

MPI Media Group's Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator ($35), a two-disc set for die-hard Reagan fans, has six hours of material. Most of it presents The Gipper in a favorable light. Included are clips of more than 100 presidential appearances, along with rare Hollywood and newsreel footage.

A&E Home Video offers Ronald Reagan: A Legacy Remembered ($24.95), which came out last year but has been described as a video eulogy. Politicians, family members and world leaders including Mikhail Gorbachev remember Reagan's life, with visuals ranging from home movies to vintage TV commercials featuring the Great Communicator as an appliance pitchman. Bonus features include a Reagan family tree from Geneo-logy.com and the A&E Biography episode “Ronald Reagan: The Many Lives.”

Koch Entertainment just released the two-hour Ronald Reagan: Hollywood Years/Presidential Years ($9.99) May 11. The documentary covers Reagan's political careers in Hollywood and Washington, D.C.

Target Tokyo, created as Special Film Project 153, is a 1945 documentary that tells the story of the U.S. Army Air Force's first bombing raid on Tokyo with Reagan narration. The 22-minute short is featured on the $5 double-DVD Pearl Harbor Payback/Appointment in Tokyo from GoodTimes Home Video.

Although not a documentary, the controversial biopic The Reagans ($19.98), out May 18 from Lions Gate Home Entertainment, is most famous for getting booted from the CBS schedule as unflattering to the former president. It includes commentary from executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and director Robert Allan Ackerman as well as an interview with star James Brolin on “being a Republican,” and 11 deleted/extended scenes.

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