The most acclaimed motion picture of 1985 stars Robert Redford and Meryl Streep in one of the screen's great epic romances. Directed by Oscar winner Sydney Pollack, Out of Africa is the fascinating true story of Karen Blixen, a strong-willed woman who, with her philandering husband (Klaus Maria Brandauer), runs a coffee plantation in Kenya, circa 1914. To her astonishment, she soon discovers herself falling in love with the land, its people and a mysterious white hunter (Redford). The masterfully crafted, breathtakingly produced story of love and loss earned Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay (based on material from another medium), Cinematography, Original Score, Art Direction (Set Decoration) and Sound.
Sydney Pollack's approach to audio commentary for DVD editions of his films is different from that of most other directors. Instead of detailing each scene of Out of Africa
, for example, Pollack paints in broad strokes, talking about cinematic themes and in particular the translation of Karen Blixen's life in Africa from book to film. The fan of flubs and trivia won't find Pollack making any cute remarks, but he's certainly interesting for the run of the film, describing the location shooting in Africa and how he dealt with Robert Redford's casting and lack of accent. The new 45-minute documentary A Song of Africa
has old and new interviews with Pollack and Meryl Streep, who clearly should have shared the film's commentary duties; she's insightful and quite fun to listen to. The documentary also includes new interviews with composer John Barry and Blixen historian Judith Thompson. --Doug Thomas