Robert De Niro
Granted, the flick does have its share of roll-your-eyes “Oh, c’mon!” moments, but I thoroughly enjoyed Scorsese’s poke at all of the noir elements, and was particularly pulled in by DeNiro’s amazing showing here (talk about being relentless!), as well as Nolte, who offered a nice balance. Scorsese wanted to take a shot at the thriller “genre” here, and it’s pretty obvious that he had a blast making this film. And it’s the wicked pace, the suspenseful moments (i.e the close-up on the Teddy bear), the chills and the awesome score, which grant this flick a spot on my list of all-time favorite thrillers. Come out, come out, wherever you are!! Love that hair, Cady!
But that’s all but made up for with one of the most comprehensive “Making of...” extras that I’ve seen in quite some time. This one lasts no less than 80 minutes and includes interviews with everyone connected to the production. A real must-see! Cool stuff learned: Spielberg was supposed to direct this originally, the whole “thumb in the mouth” scene between DeNiro and Lewis was improvised by Bobby and the first take ended up in the film. They also mention how a scene from ALIEN actually inspired the screenwriter to write the “DeNiro hanging from the bottom of the car” sequence and how DeNiro would not accept that scene in the movie, unless they could prove that it could be done in real life (you gotta love those Method actors!).
“Deleted scenes” features about 9-minutes worth of scenes that were removed from the film, seen in all their grainy goodness. Most of them present further glimpses into the ever-increasing anxious behavior of the Bowden’s. No scene that would really have added anything more to the film, but still interesting to see. “Behind the scenes of the 4th of July Parade” is a 2-minute look at the camera shoot on the day of the Fourth of July parade sequence. It interlaces scenes from the film with shots of the gang (Scorsese, Nolte, DeNiro) working on the set. Most of this is already shown in the “Making of…” feature. “On the set of the Houseboat” is another 2-minute behind the scenes look at one of the scenes near the end of the film, featuring the Bowden’s being knocked around their boat, with water being hosed all over them. For a very tense scene, it’s nice to see the actors laughing on the set.
“Photo Montage” has three different sections in it, all of which feature photos from the movie. The first presents pictures of DeNiro from the flick, the second features some pictures from the cast and we also get some shots of Scorsese himself directing the movie, in the third batch. You can play them all at the same time and fast-forward through them as well. In all, they run about 8 minutes. “Matte Paintings” give you some shots from the film featuring matte paintings in the background, with and without. This is a pretty cool extra and does accentuate the good use of such elements in films. “Opening Credits” lets us know that Saul Bass was the man behind the opening credits of this film, and shows us four other amazing movie openings which he helped create for VERTIGO, PSYCHO, SPARTACUS and CASINO. An interesting extra featuring more two great scores from Bernard Hermann. We also get the Theatrical Trailer for the film, some Production Notes, Cast and Filmmakers info and DVD-ROM features including interactive games, screensavers and wallpapers for all those with computers. Phew!
Commentary: Unfortunately, there is no commentary track with this film, but don’t be too discouraged, because the “Making of” featurette in the next section, is easily comparable.