- Vintage making-of featurette
- All-new photo journey with director Jean-Jacques Annaud
The Name of the Rose
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"The Name of the Rose" is a gothic medieval mystery thriller set in a 14th-century Italian monastery. Franciscan monk William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) and a young novice (Christian Slater) arrive for a conference to find that several monks have been murdered in mysterious circumstances. To solve the crimes, William must rise up against the Church authority and fight the shadowy conspiracy of monastery monks using only his wit and intelligence.
Audio Commentary:Commentary by Director Jean-Jaques Annaud
Documentary:Vintage making-of documentary - The Abbey of Crime: Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose"
Featurette:All-new Photo Video Journey with Jean-Jacques Annaud
There's more love and care in the 2004 DVD debut of this 1986 film than one would expect. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud is very passionate on the commentary track, going over the intricate production design, discussing his desire to cast those with odd faces ("beautiful landscapes," he insists), and even unloading on star F. Murray Abraham. There's an additional 15 minutes with Annaud, this time on camera, in the "photo journey" that details the production even further. What looks like a standard making-of featurette is actually a 45-minute German TV special with English subtitles. It's a bit different from the usual spin of Hollywood featurettes, and you have to read Sean Connery's interview questions since the German translator talks over the English. The widescreen transfer is solid, and the remastered soundtrack--the first time in Dolby 5.1--helps carry the richness of the original 6-track stereo soundtrack. --Doug Thomas
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Pretty much take any film that Sean Connery is in and, well, Sean is Sean. Sean works wonderfully with his character, a kind of monk based Sherlock Holmes of the middle ages.
Lovely imagery, great casting. F. Murray Abraham is kind of like Sean...another personality actor but he fits here. I'm not a big Christian Slater fan but in this film he has presence and believability. William Hickey is another personality player and yet is another fit. Ron Pearlman, in my view, gives a brilliant performance stealing the film as a half witted but crafty Salvatore.
Is this a movie to own? Only if you like owning too many movies Is this a movie to see? Yes. See it more than once? Maybe but no more than every 15 years.
It is the time of The Inquisition. Set in a Benedictine abbey in northern Italy, the remote abbey's expansive architecture amidst rural poverty reinforces the film's medieval character. The abbey's monks are sorely troubled by unexplained events that some fear evidence demonic presence. But the cloistered monks are equally troubled when outsiders, a Franciscan investigator (Sean Connery) and his novice helper (Christian Slater in his first film role) arrive. And the cloistered monks positively panic after a second monk's violent death motivates the arrival of a Grand Inquisitor.
This film is wonderfully cast with character actors who are physically believable as medieval monks. Christian Slater plays the investigator's novice helper with optimism and with naive innocence. And Sean Connery plays an academically-inclined investigator who understands society and the compromises that society demands. (BTW, the film's title is explained shortly before the film's ending.)
Sean Connery gives a solid performance as a kind of "medieval Sherlock Holmes": Brother William of Baskerville, who arrives in a 14th century Benedictine monastery in Northern Italy to investigate a series of murders. F. Murray Abraham, meanwhile, is second-billed in what amounts to little more than a cameo as the grand Inquisitor, who's called in as the deaths pile up and the monastery hosts an important theological conference.
Annaud's movie was a commercial failure in the U.S., returning less than half of its budget (Fox opened it on less than 200 screens in September of `86), though worldwide the picture did quite well, and at least ranks as one of Connery's more satisfying starring efforts. The production is impressive, from Dante Ferretti's sets to Toninio Delli Colli's cinematography and a moody James Horner score, while supporting turns are filled by a top-notch cast of Michael Lonsdale, William Hickey, Ron Perlman and a young Christian Slater.
Warner's Blu-Ray release of "The Name of the Rose" is well detailed and does wonders for the film's dark settings, while DTS MA 5.1 audio solidly backs Horner's score. Extra features aren't just a simple reprise of the earlier DVD either: Annaud's commentary is carried over, and added here is a French commentary track Annaud made for an international release with English subtitles. A vintage documentary, the trailer (complete with Fox's logo attached), and a photo retrospective with Annaud rounds out a fine catalog release from Warner.
At so many junctures, The Name of the Rose challenges preconceptions while unfolding a mystery. We are thrown into a world of "deviants" if not one of deviations. Whether or not the movie follows the book is not too important, as the movie adds more texture to a story once contained in a book.
The digital transfer is fine, as is the audio (neither is outstanding). The minimal extras are OK, especially the director's contribution. It makes one appreciate the movie even more since those who love this movie are a strange bunch anyway...like the characters in the movie.