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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
- Vintage making-of featurette
- All-new photo journey with director Jean-Jacques Annaud
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Top customer reviews
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.
Other reviewers have provided in depth descriptions of the film, so I will keep mine brief. I evaluate films and plays, actors and actresses, based on the BELIEVABILITY of the script, roles, scenery, costumes and ACTING. Here, Sean Connery, forever James Bond in my 65 year old mind or a submarine captain in HFRO, BECOMES a 13th century Franciscan monk! (Of course, this comment speaks volumes about Connery's acting ability!) His novice, a 15-16 year old Christian Slater IS a novice monk full of questions and the exploding emotions of a male on the verge of manhood. The casting, direction and acting, in general, were superb! The costuming, including what must have been a TERRIBLY itchy natural wool monk's robe for Connery, and the scenery and structures were done to perfection. The lighting and camera work were also, in my opinion, done perfectly.
However, IF you read the book BEFORE you see the movie, you MUST understand that the director, Jean-Jacques Annaud, as stated in one of the DVD's special features, NEVER intended to duplicate the book. He wanted to create a movie based on the book, but DIFFERENT. Umberto Eco, author of the book, similarly comments! Do NOT expect the movie to duplicate the book. BUT, enjoy the movie for what it is!
The movie is, primarily, a murder mystery - and well done at that! The book, which I purchased through Amazon.com and have read, is a murder mystery on its face, but a MUCH deeper discussion of theology and philosophy. A description of the battles for power between the Papacy and royalty as well as corruption at the highest levels of The Church. These issues are barely mentioned in the movie. In fact, the basis for the conclave and negotiations between Franciscans and the Vatican are a very minor aspect of the movie! Although, the movie does visually provide context for the idea that the monks lived well from what the Church extracted from the peasants, who lived in squalor. There is one scene in which the monks open a sluice gate in the Abbey, high above the "village" of the peasants. The monks pour their GARBAGE through the sluice gate down to the starving peasants who provided the monks' food in the first place.
BTW - Be sure to watch ALL the Special Features of the DVD. They are well worth the time.
The Book - As noted above, I first saw the movie based on the recommendation of an instructor in a religion course. In my sixth decade, I have developed an interest in the history of Christianity. While the movie barely alludes to differences in philosophy between various Christian religious orders, the book delves into these issues with gusto. Differences in philosophy between Franciscans and Benedictines, for example, are explored in the book. The concept that the Vatican felt threatened by monks who professed a belief in POVERTY based on THEIR interpretation of the Christian bible are also explored.
The book discusses questions of Church infallibility. Many philosophical contributions of "infidels" and Greek authors, such as Aristotle, are mentioned and discussed. Did Christ laugh? Is laughter evil? Jorge, the old, blind monk, says that Christ did NOT laugh. Connery's character responds asking how Jorge knows this. Jorge observes that the Christian bible never says that Christ laughed. Connery's character retorts that the Christian bible SIMILARLY does NOT say that Christ did NOT laugh!
The larger question concerns poverty and how Christ lived as contrasted with the wealth of the Church, "stolen" from the peasants. I believe that this issue stands today in the face of opulent houses of worship (of ALL faiths) created from tithing from people who can barely afford to care for their own families!
The book is 502 FASCINATING pages. Unfortunately, it is scattered with bits and phrases of Latin. Fortunately, Adele Haft has written "The Key to the Name of the Rose," which I have purchased by not yet read!
I highly recommend BOTH the book and the movie with the understanding that they are, BY INTENT, quite different!