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Customer Review

68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Portal Back To 1962! .... A Winning Film (& DVD To Match)!, April 6, 2005
This review is from: American Graffiti (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
I think you'll find that the cash you'll fork over for this DVD Collector's Edition of 1973's "American Graffiti" will be money very wisely spent. Because the outstanding, in-depth, 78-minute documentary feature, "The Making Of American Graffiti", is worth the cost all by itself.

Every single one of the film's major cast members takes part in the documentary program. Director George Lucas and Producer Francis Ford Coppola (plus other members of the production staff and crew) also participate in this fascinating behind-the-scenes "Making Of" feature, which is one of the best documentaries I've ever come across on a DVD.

Mr. Lucas talks openly and extensively about the making of "Graffiti" and guides the viewer, step-by-step, through the many aspects of creating this unique film -- from the difficulty in getting a studio interested in the project, to the movie's filming on the streets of two small California towns, and through to the release of the picture in theaters (the movie opened on August 11, 1973).

Many interesting tidbits of information are revealed in the documentary, including Harrison Ford's recollection of his "cowboy hat". It seems that Harrison was opposed to getting one of those awful '60s-style haircuts (as were others in the cast). So Ford talked Director Lucas into letting him wear a cowboy hat instead. And then there's Charlie Martin Smith ("Toad"), who had some problems parking his motor scooter in the film's very first scene. But Charlie's gaffe was left in the final cut of the movie by Director Lucas. (Which is a good thing too; it's a great moment in the picture.)

Some original actor Screen Tests are also included in the Making-Of documentary. If you keep your eyes peeled on the "clapboards" that are shown in a few of these Screen Test shots, you'll note that the date of filming is "May 26, 1972" (which is 15 months before the movie finally got released into theaters).

"Graffiti" took just four weeks to film, but Mr. Lucas, during the documentary, said that it took him six months after filming was completed to edit the movie down to a manageable size. He tells us that his first cut of "Graffiti" was a mammoth three hours in length. Therefore, much paring was required.

Other bonus features on the DVD include the Original Theatrical Trailer, which I found very good. Plus, a goodly number of "Cast & Crew Bios" to scroll through; as well as some informative Production Notes. All text pages I found most rewarding as well.

Then, of course, the DVD (which was originally released by Universal Home Video on September 15, 1998, to commemorate the movie's 25th anniversary) offers up a nice-looking Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 version of "Graffiti" itself. Colors look rich and saturated and the black levels during the many outdoor night scenes look very sharp as well, with little in the way of video distractions. Some fans of the film will no doubt be disappointed that a Dolby 5.1 re-mix was not included here (just a 2.0 Surround Sound track is employed for this DVD). But I think the Surround track does quite nicely. But a full-fledged 5.1 would also have been nice, to highlight the amazing number of rock-and-roll oldies in the film.


Feature Film:

> Video -- Widescreen 2.35:1 (Enhanced for 16x9 Widescreen Televisions).

> Audio -- English (2.0 Dolby Digital Surround); French (2.0 Dolby Digital Mono).

> Subtitles -- English and Spanish.

> Running Time -- 1 hour, 52 minutes.

> Chapter Stops? -- Yes. There are an abundance of chapter breaks here (49 total).

"The Making Of American Graffiti" Documentary:

> Video -- Full Frame 1.33:1 (With clips from the actual film shown in 2.35:1 Widescreen).

> Audio -- English only (2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo).

> Subtitles -- English, Spanish, and French.

> Running Time -- 1 hour, 18 minutes.

> Chapter Stops? -- Yes. There are 7 total chapter breaks.

>> Menus -- All "Static". No music. No animated transitions.

>> Packaging -- Keep Case. (One Disc.)

>> Enclosures/Inserts? -- Yes. There's a very nicely-done 8-page fold-out booklet, which includes behind-the-camera photos and quotes from George Lucas and many other cast members on their memories of the film. Plus: Full Chapter Lists for both the movie's Scene Selections and the Making-Of Documentary.


"American Graffiti", IMO, is in a class by itself. It has the perfect 1960s "feel" to it, that Director George Lucas strives so hard for (and succeeds in portraying). Each time you re-visit this film you are immediately transported back to the Summer of 1962, and to all those great oldies blaring away on the car radio.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 8, 2012 11:14:23 PM PDT
Finally a review mentioning the audio and video quality, unlike the above two reviews. Thanks
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