Winner of 9 Academy Awards(R) in 1996, including Best Picture, Best Director (Anthony Minghella) and Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Binoche), this powerful motion picture is an experience you will never forget. During World War II, a mysterious stranger (Ralph Fiennes) is cared for by American allies unaware of his dangerous past. Yet, as the mystery of his identity is revealed, an incredible tale of passion, intrigue, and adventure unfolds. Also starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Colin Firth, and Willem Dafoe.
In conjunction with the 2004 DVD release of Cold Mountain
, Anthony Minghella's first Oscar-winning film returns to DVD in a two-disc set. This set certainly improves on the first, bare-bones release; it adds material from the laserdisc release along with new interviews. The film now boasts a DTS track to go along with the Dolby 5.1 track. The most superfluous feature is another commentary track by the director; it's not needed since he teamed with producer Saul Zaentz and author Michael Ondaatje for a superb track years earlier that is also included. Those three talents have plenty of other interviews, both old and new, on the new disc and give a well-rounded insight into the film, including the real-life inspirations, the tricks of adaptation, casting (Sean Connery nearly co-starred), and the long shoot. The 20-minute session of deleted scenes is incorporated with Minghella's explanations, a "master class" of how a single deletion can change full storylines. Morsels from other talents, including double Oscar-winner Walter Murch (sound, editing), are here along with a full-hour making-of feature produced by the CBC. A lot of material from well-spoken cinematic talents makes this a DVD to delve into, although one could wish for simpler navigation. --Doug Thomas