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Malcolm X (Two-Disc Special Edition)

526 customer reviews

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Product Description

Malcolm X: Special Edition (Dbl DVD) (O-Sleeve)

Adapted from the novel, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" written by Alex Haley, this is an amazing biopic of one of the most influential African American leaders to date. It follows the life and times of Malcolm Little through his transformation to Malcolm X and his departure from the Nation of Islam. Spike Lee's epic film captures the internal struggles, the spiritual, political and structural changes that Malcolm Submitted himself to throughout his life to achieve his changing goals.

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Additional Features

Along with the beautiful transfer and remastering on the new two-disc special edition of Spike Lee's ambitiously entertaining 1992 biopic Malcolm X, the special features are abundant if somewhat of a mixed bag. The best component is Arnold Perl's Oscar-nominated 1972 documentary, which is also titled Malcolm X (in fact, the final script of Lee's film was partly based on another script by Perl). Made up exclusively of brilliantly edited archival footage, it's no surprise that the events included mirror the story arc of Lee's version in many ways. Most of it is public-speaking newsreel footage of the charismatic activist, a lot of which ended up in Lee's script as verbatim dialogue spoken by Denzel Washington. The most astonishing thing about watching the older documentary is seeing just how precisely Washington nailed his characterization. He absolutely became Malcolm X not only in the physicality of every nuance, gesture, offhand finger wag, and facial expression, but also in the tone and tenor of voice and fierce passion that drove his subject's soul.

Less remarkable but far more impressive than the ordinary behind-the-scenes compilation feature included on most DVDs is a new documentary titled "By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X." The star of this show is definitely Spike Lee, a controversial figure in his own right for the pugnacity that has always followed his career as a director. It's a worthwhile look at the production company's uphill battle against the studio, the extraordinary efforts that went into getting all the details of a period picture right, and the technical challenges the crew faced in bringing such painstaking detail to the screen with an artistic integrity that comes through in every frame. Lee's well-known ego gets an even greater forum in his rambling, long-winded, and downright boring introductions to a handful of insignificant deleted scenes. It's also odd that Lee's contribution to the commentary track is the least interesting. His observations are often along the lines of "I love this scene," or "Ooh, watch this!" Interspersed with Lee's "Spike Lee fan club" notes are reflections by cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, editor Barry Alexander, and costume designer Ruth Carter that dig a little deeper into the fine points of the production's logistics. In all, this Malcolm X special edition is a sensible upgrade, and thankfully not just for Spike Lee fans. --Ted Fry


Special Features

Additional Scenes: 10 Additional Scenes Includes intro w/ Spike Lee Audio Commentary: Commentary by Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson, Barry Alexander Brown, and Ruth Carter Documentary: Academy Award Nominated feature-length documentary "Malcolm X" (1972) Other: By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm XAdditional Scenes: 10 Additional Scenes Includes intro w/ Spike Lee Audio Commentary: Commentary by Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson, Barry Alexander Brown, and Ruth Carter Documentary: Academy Award Nominated feature-length documentary "Malcolm X" (1972) Other: By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm XAdditional Scenes: 10 Additional Scenes Includes intro w/ Spike Lee Audio Commentary: Commentary by Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson, Barry Alexander Brown, and Ruth Carter Documentary: Academy Award Nominated feature-length documentary "Malcolm X" (1972) Other: By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm XAdditional Scenes: 10 Additional Scenes Includes intro w/ Spike Lee Audio Commentary: Commentary by Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson, Barry Alexander Brown, and Ruth Carter Documentary: Academy Award Nominated feature-length documentary "Malcolm X" (1972) Other: By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm XAdditional Scenes: 10 Additional Scenes Includes intro w/ Spike Lee Audio Commentary: Commentary by Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson, Barry Alexander Brown, and Ruth Carter Documentary: Academy Award Nominated feature-length documentary "Malcolm X" (1972) Other: By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X

Product Details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Al Freeman Jr., Sonny Jim Gaines, Albert Hall
  • Directors: Spike Lee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 202 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (526 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006J28L4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,206 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Malcolm X (Two-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Andre M. on February 28, 2005
Format: DVD
While the movie itself is excellent, this is one of those DVDs that makes a great film even greater.

Much has been said about the 1992 film, so I'll concentrate on the extras. First of all, the widescreen is not so wide that it makes you squint to see it. It's at a good porportion. But the edited scenes are really interesting. We see previously unseen footage of Denzel as Malcolm courting Angela Bassett as Betty Shabazz (in a rather touching way). We see Denzel/Malcolm putting an initiate through the rigors in an amusing fashion, we see him studying and feeding his hunger for books while in jail, and we see some interesting scenes of Denzel/Malcolm making anti-racist and pro-brotherhood statements near the end of his life to a young white girl and an Arab he meets in Mecca. A lot of people who miss the point about Malcolm's transformation should see those scenes (which actually appear in the original book).

(Slight complaint, the stuff about the Sphinx's black nose being shot off by Napoleon is a bunch of BS that didn't happen, even Molefi Asante admitted this on 60 minutes a few years ago. So it's just as well that that scene was not included in the original film).

Also, "Baines" was actually John Bembry, aka Bimbi, who encouraged Malcolm to read in prison. It was actually Malcolm's real life brothers who really introduced him to the Nation of Islam teachings. Not a complaint, just a clarification.

There is also an excellent documentary about the making of this film. A real Horatio Alger type story of how Spike beat the odds through dogged determination to raise the money to make the film the way he felt it needed to be made.
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79 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Eric V. Moye on December 22, 2000
Format: DVD
One of the most brilliant films ever made. Another reviewer, E. Hazell is correct, if maybe even understated in comparing this film with von Sydow's portrayal of Jesus in "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and B. Kingsley in "Ghandi". Without question, the portrayal by Denzel Washington of Malcolm X belongs with these two classic efforts.
The screenplay closely follows Alex Haley's collaboration with Malcolm X on his autobiography, from his early days as a hustler and pimp, to his transformation and his rise to prominence in the Black Muslims and beyond. In so doing, it traces much of the history of the twentieth century African American experience
As another reviewer so inelegantly (and ungrammatically) put it, Malcolm Little sold drugs and women, robbed and lived in the underworld. However, this recognizes far less than half of this compelling and incredible story. This beginning was important only to underscore how far he ultimately came, and leads the viewer to wonder what would have happened had he not been murdered.
Wonderful casting including Angela Bassett as his wife Betty, DelRoy Lindo and particularly Al Freeman Jr. as Elijah Muhammad. It was a rather predictable crime that Spike Lee, Denzel Washington and this film did not dominate the Academy Awards.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By M. Miller on July 7, 2005
Format: DVD
Malcolm, like any young african-american boy in a time of racial hatred, did not have it easy growing up. In fact he did not have it easy when he was in his teens to early twenties. Nor did he have it easy when he was an adult. Yet at least by his adult age he understood this and what his father had been fighting for. So with his Islamic conversion in prison, he set out to change the world as best as he sought, and, thanks to this film and the autobiography it was based on, we can now truly understand this struggle, inner and outer, for justice, liberty, and the pursuit of all to have happiness.

Now, to narrow in on the film and not just the man, Spike Lee really outdid himself this time. With Denzel Washington, traditionally a great actor, playing Malcolm X you knew the movie would at least be spearheaded with strength. But this is more then that, because the elaborateness of it all just conveys to the viewer so much of the times, the thoughts, and the conflicts that surrounded Malcolm and those tumultuous times he lived in.

I'd be lying if I did not say this is excellent, and then highly recommend it; so, I'd like to don this hat of honesty and tell you watch it, a lot of you'd like, but make sure to see it at least once (Oh yeah, and the book's quite excellent too)
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This is an incredible production. Lee reconstructs neighborhoods and places that have been gone for years, and he deserves an awful lot of credit. The film, as a film, works very well. However, if anyone has read about the Nation of Islam and the life of Malcom X, there is a fair amount of information about the role Boston Minister, Louis Farrakhan played in the killing. Of course, if Lee had included Louis X in the movie, he'd end up like Malcom.
Before I get myself killed, please allow me to recommend a great book that covers the assassination better than any other book I've read: "Pillar of Fire, America in the King Years, 1963-64" by Taylor Branch. Although the book is primarily about King, it covers the events leading up to the killing of Malcolm X, including an amazing assassination attempt of one of Malcom X's colleagues during a high speed car chase through the streets of Boston.
After I read Branch's book, I saw Lee's film as a great movie, but historically, a missed opportunity. I think Lee is too close to the subject matter to include all of the details in an objective manner. So despite all the great performances, costumes, sets, and photography, I am left a bit disappointed. I'm waiting for a courageous filmmaker to do justice to Malcom X's life and legacy.
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