The Stunt Man
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Richard Rush leads a joyous ensemble of cast members recollecting the making of the prized and maligned production on the DVD's commentary track. Two deleted scenes are included along with production photos. Production and ad art is also shown from initia
Richard Rush leads a joyous ensemble of cast members recollecting the making of the prized and maligned production on the DVD's commentary track. Two deleted scenes are included along with production photos. Production and ad art is also shown from initial sketches to the final poster. In addition, Rush shares his struggles in detailed notes on the DVD-ROM script. The print and sound have never been better than on this DVD, which has been digitally remastered with THX certification. The double-disc set also contains a full-length documentary.
The Sinister Saga of Making The Stunt Man
Peter O'Toole puts it succinctly, "The Stunt Man wasn't released, it escaped." Director Richard Rush returns 20 years later to his highly praised film The Stunt Man (1980) in this two-hour documentary chronicling the decade-long struggle from creation to distribution. Rush calls Sinister Saga a home movie, and it essentially is, with Rush talking to the camera; there is no footage from the film's actual shoot. If you can get by the lack of gloss, you're left with an extremely personal view of the filmmaking, and a behind-the-scenes look that is refreshingly void of studio hype. Included are interviews 20 years later with cast members who fondly remember the film's shoot. It's interesting to note that if The Stunt Man had been made 20 years later, it would never have struggled. The film would simply have been regulated to cable or released on video. --Doug Thomas
- Only 100,000 sets issued
- Disc 1:
- Feature Film
- Two Deleted Scenes
- Poster and Still Gallery
- Complete Screenplay & Director's Notes on DVD-ROM
- Disc 2:
- The Sinister Saga of Making "The Stunt Man", a 2001 114-minute film by Richard Rush
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"The Stunt Man" easily trumps all, but deceptively so. The reason why I say "deceptively," is mainly because the film is given a slightly campy overlay that contributes to the whirl of activity surrounding the making of the film. At the eye of this storm is director Eli Cross, played perfectly (as usual) by Peter O'Toole. O'Toole is depicted on most publicity posters for this film as satan and for good reason. Cross manipulates every angle and aspect of the film he is making and takes the extra step of delving into motivating and tempting the actors off screen as well. In other words, what he "wants" to get out of them, he achieves. He gets them to do it, no matter how corrupting it is to their morals, no matter how recklessly-dangerous it is to their safety and no matter how far over line he must prod producers to go budget-wise.
Yes, "The Stunt Man" is a deceptively-accurate look into what the most highly acclaimed directors do to get the most out of their cast & crew.
The plot is an ex-Vietnam vet fugitive on the run from a skirmish with the law and accidently kills a stuntman and finds himself taking the place of the dead stuntman on the movie production.
The movie deals with themes of illusion versus reality and the social desease of paranoia. Peter O'Toole as the God-like, over-the-top director with Jesus Christ elements to his character gives one of the great performances in cinema. This director will easily manipulate and embarass and bring down any cast or crew member that gets in the way of his deranged vision in the making of his film. Peter O'Toole's character, Eli Cross, flys around from God-like POV's, from his swooping helicopter and his large flying killer cranes, yelling God-like instructions from his booming megaphone.
This film has one of the most brilliant scores on it's soundtrack. It has a melodic carnival beat that's extremely infectious. By the end it's great filmmaking and one of the best cult films to come out in the 1980's.
This is a work of art about the creation of a work of art. The work in this case happens to be a movie, and--as with all great works of art--there is one obsessed, cruel, megalomaniacal genius at the helm. Eli Cross (Peter O'Toole) is the most vivid depiction of a Hollywood director ever captured on film. He is a true patriarch, playing father/lover/drill sergeant to his cast and crew, and they all love/hate/fear him for it. Anyone who's ever been near an actual film set can tell you how accurate the character is.
But what makes this film just about the last word on the subject is Richard Rush's brilliant blurring of fantasy and reality. That, after all, is the main occupation of those who toil in the "Dream Factory" of show biz. Note the many references to ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Steve Railsback (who is terrific) is Alice, and Eli and his mad crew are what he finds on the other side of the looking glass. He is running from bleak reality, straight into the arms of an instant family: father (O'Toole), uncle (the screenwriter played by Allen Goorwitz), brother (fellow stuntman Chuck Bail), and love interest (Hershey). And they all may be planning to kill him on camera, just to make their movie even better. Now, that's Wonderland--and that's Hollywood!
Few films before or since this 1980 gem have given us such a true, terrifying, hilarious view of the process of manufacturing dreams. Truffaut's DAY FOR NIGHT is the only one I can think of that comes close. How tall is King Kong? As tall as we want him to be. If you love the movies, you'll love THE STUNT MAN.