Dress Down Friday

DVD commentaries

As a subscriber to Netflix, I’ve watched about 200 movies on DVD in recent years.

As you probably know, most movie DVDs include “extras,” which often means a voiceover commentary on the movie in real time. Usually these commentaries are provided by the director or– if he or she is no longer alive– by others involved in making the film or film scholars.

Although I’ve enjoyed and admired many of the films I’ve watched on DVD (I have a special weakness for the film-noir of the 1940s and 1950s), I’ve only sat through the entire commentaries on two movies: Jonathan Jakubowicz’s Secuestro Express and Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

“Secuestro Express,” which I’ve posted about before, is based on the epidemic of kidnapping for ransom in present-day Caracas. It was not a favorite of the Chavistas. Jakubowicz’s commentary helped put it into some social context for a non-Venezuelan.

“Alfredo Garcia” is so mind-blowing that I just felt the need to get someone else’s take on it immediately. Although Peckinpah is long dead, three “Peckinpah scholars” provided excellent insights.

So a question for the DVD watchers: do you routinely watch films with the commentaries? Are there any movies for which the commentaries genuinely added to your appreciation or understanding?

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