I asked why, not if he is against them
Oh. He says his films should speak for themselves. I’m somewhat annoyed by this quirk of Mr. Allen’s.
One thing is certain: those “extras” reels are often filled with smarmy, self-congratulatory, boomer presumptuousness.
The bragging and backslapping heard on those “extras” is especially embarrassing if the movie itself is something of a dud.
Have you ever actually sat through a movie………. while the director and one of his actors sort of drone through scene-after-scene? They don’t tell you much of anything that is not immediately apparent to the viewer’s eye. Then they thank each other and go home.
In the 1940’s, set designers and specialFX men NEVER-NEVER-NEVER divulged their secrets. Having the audience suspend its disbelief was thought to be a sine qua non.
Now, in every DVD package, you have some Bay Area dweeb showing you step-by-step how he created every single CGI effect of the movie you just saw.
Can you imagine some a———le in 1939 showing the public exactly how every special FX of WIZARD OF OZ was done?
^I agree because I find being curious and interested in how films and special effects are made is stupid. People who are like that should be whipped.
I agree with him. I only watch the movie anyways.
@David: Yeah, why should anyone feel proud of such accomplishments. They should be able to determine whether a film will appeal to a particular audience (i.e. be a “dud” or “hit”) by simple foresight and cater towards the needs/preferences of that audience. What’s so essential about “extras” anyway?
I mean, why should filmmakers be straight-forward and intimate when they can be pretentious and aloof?
Who hasn’t enjoyed a good Coppola commentary? It’s Woody’s choice not to provide DVD extras, but let’s not suddenly talk as if commentaries and supplemental material are dead weight. Has anyone here explored a Criterion Collection package?
True, Woody should keep his special effects magic a mystery.
The other thing nobody has mentioned yet is the relatively poor transfers of classic Allen films. Forget features for a minute, how about decent transfers? That would be a start. Annie Hall looks terrible.
I kind of get the impression Woody’s not about home formats in general; I don’t doubt he takes the money, but he’s made (and inserted into his films) little anti-video asides for years.
Woody Allen’s even anti-video?
Most “special features” aren’t very special.
^^True Matt, but you can’t overlook bad transfers. Most of the classic Allen films have bad to ordinary transfers. For a director of his stature, that is completely unacceptable.
Lynch: I don’t talk about those things (what the films mean). You can tell stories and do certain things, but I believe you should be very careful not to putrefy the experience of film. … I think director commentaries, once you’ve seen those, you’ll never see a film again in its purity.
@ BRIAN P
You’ve nailed it.
I’m trying to think of any exceptions… Sometimes a movie will include a documentary outlining the life of one of the actors…. or the life of the novelist who inspired the screenplay….
I think there was a DVD of IMITATION OF LIFE which also featured a 20-minute documentary of Lana Turner.
That documentary did enhance the movie-watching experience for me, I must say. But the movie (1959) was already quite old by now, and taking a certain “museum” or “Wiki” interest in it seemed appropriate.
But modern actors and CGI folks giving away all their secrets (essentially “breaking the fourth wall”)? Not so much. (These modern inclusions, to me, smack of the “everyone’s-a-star” mentality we cherish today.)
@David… Are you serious or are you trying to play devil’s advocate?
A commentary could ‘ruin’ a David Lynch perhaps, yes. But something more straightforward film like, say, Saving Private Ryan? Of course David Lynch films would be awful candidates for director commentaries! I mean, come on! Can we stop giving worst possible scenarios as reasons to avoid extra content on home video?
Joks, thank you. Yes, he somehow even seems to be opposed to having good transfers for video. The irony is that old DVDs are often rife with distracting video artifacts that have little or nothing to do with film itself. Ideally, higher-resolution formats (Blu-ray) can more faithfully render the look of film by having more of the the colors, details, and yes, film grain intact.
-Most of the classic Allen films have bad to ordinary transfers. For a director of his stature, that is completely unacceptable-
Wouldn’t you say that’s to some degree a result of Allen’s apparent disinterest in DVD/Blu Ray (it’s been awhile, but I don’t recall them looking especially bad on VHS, and I think they probably just didn’t bother to consider remastering, etc. when DVDs came along . . . can’t speak on what laserdiscs might have looked like).
“Can we stop giving worst possible scenarios as reasons to avoid extra content on home video?”
to me it’s not a worst case scenario. the film is it. it’s the work. it’s the only thing to evaluate. supplementary information can enhance appreciation but at bottom commentaries, behind-the-scenes etc are part of a marketing equation not a filmmaking equation. frankly, the dvd is already a lesser way to experience the work. preferably you’re in a (quiet) theater with perfect projection and perfect sound watching a perfectly-timed print.
Commentaries and behind-the-scenes extras can be at the bottom, purely the result of marketing. Or, it can be great; again, it depends on who is doing the work. It’s often the filmmakers—not marketers—producing the supplementary content.
Brian, why do you think a theater is preferable? Perhaps 50, 20, 10, and even 5 years ago; but Blu-ray can be incredibly filmic, and home theater offers the obvious benefits of a controlled environment at the home. I suppose the ideal theater can always win, but how often do you find one in practice? (Btw, I like this conversation! I hope I don’t come off as disrespectful or defensive/aggressive.)
“Wouldn’t you say that’s to some degree a result of Allen’s apparent disinterest in DVD/Blu Ray (it’s been awhile, but I don’t recall them looking especially bad on VHS, and I think they probably just didn’t bother to consider remastering, etc. when DVDs came along . . . can’t speak on what laserdiscs might have looked like).”
True Matt, but i wish he did care more about the format. Even directors like Angelopoulos, who are, understandably, some of the most contemptuous towards home video formats, eventually caved in.
Annie Hall looks terrible on dvd. I could barely believe my eyes when i saw it last.
Yes, serious. (-:
My impression is that Woody Allen has a very strange (almost angry or bitter) relationship to his own work. He is also a conservative (non-politically speaking) who still only talks about the films and music he loved as a kid, and drops philosophical musings that sound like he stopped reading philosophy after one course he had freshman year in college. His work habits are very workman-like. He seems to have little curiosity. He has created some sort of bubble for himself. That said, he has created so many great films (including some very good ones recently), so his system DOES work, but I do wish I’d hear about him shaving his head and joining a cult for a year and than coming back to direct a movie set in ancient Sumer or something strange like that. It is NO surprise he does not like commentary tracks, or that he does not care about quality control on his DVD’s. He is a curmudgeon, and “DVD extras” are for fans, which I am not sure he has any interest in. But never mind that. I really want to rent Love and Death right now. That and Stardust Memories.
grawford, i agree w/ you that always seeing film in a theater is sometimes unrealistic. part of the equation would be where one lives, ie access. cost is another. and yet another is the frequently annoying nature of sitting in a room with other people who crackle or text-massage or aren’t reverent. but even w/ that i still prefer seeing movies in a theater.
obviously times are changing and the democritization of materials allows many people who aren’t, say shooting on 35 mm film (or 16mm or film at all for that matter) to get their movies seen but if you go back to, i don’t know, 1983 or so when there was no home-video market, films were designed, lit, shot to be projected and seen in theaters.
i had the good fortune to see a new print of ‘night of the hunter’ a few wks ago and seriously no amount of blu-ray, supersonic, thx surround, hd widescreen what-have-you at home could be anything but a distant second to sitting in the theater w/ other people, all silently looking up at an enormous screen, tranfixed and transported.
Spielberg is anti-commentary too as well.
I’m not against special features and commentary tracks on DVDs, but I absolutely do agree that the film does speak for itself. The film’s the thing.
I would love for Woody’s older work to get a proper treatment (on Blu-ray, perhaps?). Even absent of special features, it would be great for them just to all get remastered and receive first-rate transfers.
(apparently, according to High Def Digest MGM/UA has announced plans for a Annie Hall on BD (no specs or release date yet).
^^let’s hope. I would definitely be interested in a BD edition of Annie Hall.