Prince, Apollonia Kotero. The Purple One delivers his opus-essentially, a puffed-up music video about a promising young musician who meets an aspiring singer while coming to grips with who he really is. Features the hits I Would Die 4 U, When Doves Cry and Let's Go Crazy . Loaded with bonus material, too! 2 DVDs. 1984/color/111 min/NR.
Whether you're hot for extras or simply after a Purple Rain
release that does justice to the film, this special edition is the one to spring for. The movie appears in its original widescreen dimension (optimized for widescreen viewing), and its picture is dynamic and grain-free, letting the film's luscious, meticulously patterned colors shine through. Running commentary from director/co-writer/editor Albert Magnoli, producer Robert Cavallo, and cinematographer Donald Thorin highlights both the challenges overcome to make the film and the wonders of working with a musician as prolific and as brilliant as the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.
Disc 2 offers three short documentaries drawing from contemporary interviews with the filmmakers, the management of First Avenue (the Minneapolis club where Prince began his rise to fame), and members of Prince's former band, The Revolution (including Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman). Footage from MTV's premiere party is notable for the absence of a single worthwhile utterance from any of the party's celebrity attendees, but MTV's flip side saves the day: eight music videos from Prince, the Time, and Apollonia 6. Sizzling, post-film performances of "Take Me with U" and "I Would Die 4 U/Baby I'm a Star" both feature extended instrumental jams and exciting looks at the real-life Revolution's Purple Rain tour.
The only thing missing is movie outtakes, many of which are referenced in Magnoli's commentary. Still, this otherwise definitive Purple Rain is a sumptuous feast for eyes and ears. --Michael Mikesell