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The Errol Morris DVD Collection (Gates of Heaven/The Thin Blue Line/Vernon, Florida)

6 customer reviews

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(Jul 26, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Thin Blue Line On November 28, 1976, when drifter Randall Dale Adams was picked up by teenage runaway David Harris, his fate was sealed. That night, a police officer was shot in cold blood. And though all the facts pointed to Harris, a sociopath with a lengthy rap sheet, Adams was convicted of capital murder. Was Adams guilty? And if not, does Morris unlock the secrets of this baffling case?
Vernon, Florida For the inhabitants of this Southern town, there's no place like home... for the rest of us, there's no place like Vernon, Florida! From the passionate turkey-hunter to the peculiar pet collector, each member of this motley crew has a story to tell. And in the masterful hands of Morris, their obsessions and eccentricities reveal the heart and soul of an unabashedly unique slice of the American pie.
Gates Of Heaven When financial hardship forces California's Foothill Pet Cemetery to close its pearly gates, its dearly departed loved ones are relocated to the nearby Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park. During this tense transition, filmmaker Morris meets a collection of eccentric cemetery operators and anguished animal-lovers and elicits a meditation on love and loneliness that's "strange, chilling [and] appallingly funny" (Newsweek).

These are the three films that first made Errol Morris's name as a documentary filmmaker, defining a unique artist with an unsparing eye for the truth--the truth of human behavior or legal authority. His first feature, 1978's Gates of Heaven, is a wildly funny and surprisingly moving look at pet cemeteries, and the people who invest an extraordinary degree of emotion in their little darlings. Already Morris is locked into his straight-on camera style, which allows his subjects to soliloquize at length about their most obsessive notions.

Listen to our interview with Errol Morris.
Vernon, Florida (1981) is very much of a piece with Gates, as Morris travels to a small town in Florida's panhandle and allows the oddball denizens to babble on about anything. It has always been an open question whether Morris's blank stare encourages laughter at the expense of his subjects or simply wide-eyed wonder that folks like this carry on in the world, but Vernon viewers will likely be both amused and astonished.

The Thin Blue Line is like In Cold Blood in the sense that it examines a real-life murder case, but it goes much further than reportage: Morris's investigations actually helped alter the judgments in the Texas case, especially affecting the conviction of a hitchhiker named Randall Adams. And the movie is a work of art: a hypnotic bad dream with surreal images and a lulling rhythmic movement (enhanced by Philip Glass's music). It's the kind of movie that might have taken place in Adams's mind as he sat on Death Row, replaying the events that made his life go wrong. --Robert Horton

Errol Morris and the Art of the Documentary

More Errol Morris DVDs


Documentary Essentials

Special Features

  • Contains three films: Gates of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line, and Vernon, Florida in their original aspect ratios

Product Details

  • Actors: Randall Adams, David Harris, Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts
  • Directors: Errol Morris
  • Writers: Errol Morris
  • Producers: Errol Morris, Brad Fuller, David Hohmann, David R. Loxton, Gary McDonald
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 241 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00094AS8G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,971 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Errol Morris DVD Collection (Gates of Heaven/The Thin Blue Line/Vernon, Florida)" on IMDb

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Fan on August 2, 2005
Format: DVD
I have waited for these films to finally be released on DVD, and was rewarded with three at once. There's not a lot to say about "Gates of Heaven" or "Vernon, Florida" other than they showcase Morris' curiosity and fascination with finding wonder in the mundane. Morris just plants his camera and listens as people go off on tangents that are seemingly unrelated to the subject of the documentary but are mini-films unto themselves (e.g. the elderly woman in "Gates of Heaven" who briefly touches on the pet cemetary being rlocated and then goes into this long monologue about her grandson, his failed relationships and her heartbreak at his never coming to visit).

"Thin Blue Line" is to documentary what "In Cold Blood" was to non-fiction writing. Morris uses re-enactments along with his interviews to tell the story of a murdered policeman and the man arrested for the crime. Morris' investigative work led to the convicted man's release and the conviction of the real killer.

This is some of the best documentary work ever filmed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S B on December 27, 2005
Format: DVD
Great documentaries change your views.

In law school, I watched 'The Thin Blue Line' in one of my first classes on capital punishment jurisprudence. It changed my views, as it demonstrates how our justice system can "do it's job" and still get it completely and tragically wrong. Although I am not a fan of Philip Glass, I do have to admit that even the soundtrack urges the viewers contemplation of the material.

I am very much looking forward to the previously unavailable 'Gates of Heaven' (because I am a pet person) and 'Vernon, Florida' (because I escaped from a small Florida town after high school).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Gryc on September 19, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Errol Morris has a real knack for getting people to just talk, and talk, and talk for long periods of time. And the things that come out of people's mouths is remarkable. Gates of Heaven is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's funny but also thought provoking in its humor. The Thin Blue Line is quite convincing, and is so convincing that the film helped exonerate a man convicted for murder in Texas. Vernon, FL is interesting, but doesn't quite measure up to the previous two films in my opinion. In any event, this collection is well worth a look.
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