Bridge on the River Kwai" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on DVD
Lean, Rocky Horror
DVDs True Collectors Items
By Jim Bray
Fans of Sir David Lean and Frank N. Furter have a pre-Christmas treat
in store with the DVD releases The Bridge on the River Kwai
and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Columbia Tristar Home Videos Bridge not only gives
you the widescreen version of Leans epic WWII drama, but packs in
plenty of bonus features including a twelve page booklet that contains
all of the text from the films original souvenir book.
The Bridge on the River Kwai, based on the book by Pierre
Boulle, stars William Holden, Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins. Its
the seven Oscar-winning story of a group of prisoners of war incarcerated
in a Japanese camp and forced to work as slave labor building the now-famous
railroad bridge through the Southeast Asian jungle.
Naturally, theres a lot more to it than that and the movie contains
all the widescreen beauty for which director Lean was famous on this and
other films like Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago.
Columbia has done a really nice job with Bridgde. The film
has been restored and the digitally mastered DVD video and Dolby Digital
audio are excellent, mostly. A few early shots dont look so great,
but those are the exception rather than the rule.
Extras on the main disc include an isolated audio track featuring only
the musical score and some DVD ROM components, like maps and military
strategy hints and some screensavers that exploit original movie art.
The second DVD has a documentary, an original featurette, a short film
from USC (introduced by William Holden) and a glowing appreciation by
filmmaker John Milius. You also get a photo gallery, trailers, and talent
The DVD package looks and feels like a hardcover book, so it should last.
Its one heck of a package.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, 20th Century Fox has also
unleashed a deluxe collectors DVD of the 1970s cult classic
The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
This movie version of the stage musical stars Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick
and Susan Sarandon, among others.
This THX-mastered widescreen DVD looks spectacular far better
than the material actually warrants. The audio during the songs is excellent,
though its spotty during the dialogue scenes, and the whole package
includes extras guaranteed to keep you chuckling or chucking.
For instance, you can active a special subtitle track that prompts you
when to misbehave as if you were at a midnight showing
complete with a warning that flying hot dogs may have adverse effects
on expensive home theater equipment.
Theres also a feature that takes you into an actual movie theater
populated by just the kind of audience that made RHPS the
success it was. This audience hollers its participatory hearts out from
the rear speakers, which means it pays to know the films dialog:
there are many times when the din from the peanut gallery prevents you
from making out whats coming from the movie itself.
These fans arent even listening to whats happening on screen
they just holler out to beat the band. And you should hear what
they keep calling Bostwicks Brad character!
Another setting lets you jump right out of the movie and right into the
movie theater where all these loonies are jumping to the left, putting
their hands on their hips, and generally doing their fan club thing. Ive
never been to one of these midnight presentations, but it appears that
I may have missed a pretty bizarre night out.
You also get an audio commentary track by writer/actor Richard OBrien
and Magenta actress Patricia Quinn.
By the time youve Time Warped through everything on the disc youll
either be ready to run screaming from the home theater, or be primed to
slide in the second, bonus disc that comes in the package.
This one is more of a Rocky Horror tribute disc, and contains stuff from
VH-1s Behind the Music series, including interviews
with Bostwick, Sarandon, OBrien, Quinn and Meatloaf. Theres
also a Pop Up Video of the song Hot Patootie and
a Rocky Horror Double Feature video show
I can grudgingly see why Fox would put such unbelievable care into RHPS
(something to do with profitability, I believe), though I wouldnt
have thought the source material was worth it. To each his own.
It would make one heckuva party disc, though!
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