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Marathon Man
DVD disk
08.30.2006 By: Scott Weinberg
Marathon Man order
Director:
John Schlesinger

Actors:
Dustin Hoffman
Sir Laurence Olivier
Roy Scheider

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A grad student gets emboiled in his big brother's business, which (unfortunately) has to do with spies, guns, diamonds, and evil Nazi dentist bastards.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Yep. Damn good, actually. One of the best espionage-type thrillers of the 1970s, actually, and that was a decade rife with cinematic spies, conspiracies, and trenchcoated troublemakers. Director John Schlesinger does a masterful job of setting up his main character's mundane lifestyle, which allows the eventual chaos to really resonate once it kicks in. Some might say MARATHON MAN takes its time in warming up, but I happen to like the '70s approach to paranoid storytelling.

Hoffman was way too old to be playing the part, but since he's always looked pretty young (and is a damn fine actor) he has little trouble anchoring the flick. Plus he's got guys like Roy Scheider, William Devane, and Sir Laurence Olivier(!) to play against, so you know the acting angle is more than capably covered.

To those with short attention spans, I recommend you sit down and let the early 'slow spots' of MARATHON MAN wash over you. Before 25 minutes go by you'll be dying to know where this story is headed. I promise.

THE EXTRAS
There's a 21-minute old-school featurette included called "The Magic of Hollywood" Original Making of MARATHON MAN, in which producer Robert Evans gushes endlessly over his new movie. Lots of cool on-set footage is included, as are some interview moments with Schlesinger, Hoffman, and a few others. Good job by Paramount in yanking this piece out of the vault.

Next up is Going the Distance: Remembering MARATHON MAN, which is a great little 29-minute retrospective featurette. Interview subjects include Robert Evans, screenwriter William Goldman, Roy Scheider, Dustin Hoffman, Marthe Keller, etc. Again, very good stuff, and these two featurettes combined give the MAN-fan all they need to learn about the well-remembered thriller.

Rounding out the platter is 21 minutes of rehearsal footage (cool) and the original MARATHON MAN theatrical trailer.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Although best-known for its infamous "Is it safe?" sequence, MARATHON MAN is whole lot better than just one horrific scene.

The DVD comes with some great supplements, although screenwriter William Goldman is known for giving solid commentary, and I wouldn't have minded one of those...

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