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Old 06-07-10, 10:05 AM   #62
Join Date: May 2010
Location: US
Posts: 153
Re: What is the Appeal of commentary's

Originally Posted by Kory View Post
So I don't know much about the history of the Criterion James Bond commentaries. I see these three were "banned," but what about the rest of the Criterion James Bond commentaries? On one of these links, I see more than the three banned ones. Were any of the others not included on subsequent DVD/Blu-ray releases?
Only the three were 'banned': Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger... others may or may not have gone OOP for normal reasons (note that these were the only James Bond films released on Laserdisc by Criterion), but here's the story on those three and the intentional suppression of them, from various people's descriptions:

"Shortly after releasing the first 3 James Bond films on Laserdisc in a 2-disc CAV format in 1991, Criterion was asked by EON Productions (Producers of the James Bond Films) to recall all unsold Laserdisc product. It was felt that the audio commentary tracks on the 3 titles where unacceptable to Albert R. Broccoli, one of the original producers of the 3 films.
The 3 films had later been re-packaged by Criterion into a single disc format, and re-issued without any of the supplemental features. When MGM released their DVDís of the first 3 films in the mid 1990ís, they contained different audio commentaries. Now, the original 2-disc [Laserdisc] Criterion versions go for big bucks on Ebay."

"The problem was that the people on the commentaries speak their minds and don't hold back negative comments. Like the screenwriter of From Russia With Love calling Ian Fleming a "Snob", or Director Terance Young recalling Chris Blackwell's pot smoking habits."

"In 1991 The Criterion Collection released the first three Bond films on Laserdisc featuring audio commentary by Terence Young, Peter Hunt, Guy Hamilton, Ken Adam, and Richard Maibaum. EON was displeased with the frank nature of these commentary tracks and demanded they be recalled to be sanatized. Terence Young made the most contriversal remarks which included bashing the frivolous spending the later day films and a breif comment about Lotte Lenya's sex life."

"Terence Young said Lotte Lenya was still screwing at 80 and EON spent money on those later films like "drunken indians".
EON would understandably get touchy about these sort of comments. You have noticed the Inside documentaries are nauseatingly polite. For example on the Live and Let Die docu that it dosen't even mention how Yaphet Kotto was even being remotely uneasy about the film."

"The commentaries on the Criterion versions of Dr.NO/FRWL & GF are so much better than the latter dvd ones (which sound like everyone loved everyone, and they all got on like clams), the Criterions are pretty much "no holds barred", including Terence Young recalling on Dr. No, when Sean Connery met the wife of the High Comissioner of Jamaica, how "something" accidentally popped thru his shorts, because he wasn't wearing underpants beneath! You know, "run of the mill stuff" like that!"

"the legendary commentaries for Criterion's original CAV pressing of the first three Bond films. They were quite informative and VERY acerbic; so much so that the commentaries were banned after MGM sued Criterion to repress them."

"I also recommend tracking down Criterion editions of the first three James Bond films. The running commentary is outstanding, so much so that MGM/UA threatened to sue Criterion if they didn't pull them from the shelves. Criterion only did just that and continued to sell only the versions without the commentary. The only drawback is that these were never released on DVD and you'll need a laser disc player, assuming you can even find these editions."

"[The Criterion Bond commentaries were] the honest opinions and stories of the making of these films from those who participated. They are particularly great commentaries because Terence Young and Richard Maibaum are dead but left behind some wonderful stories. I remember Young laughing at the producers once and saying, "they threw money around like drunken Indians." He had stories about people involved in the films that you would never see anywhere near an EON licensed product. Peter Hunt was also very likeable (he is one of my favorite Bond crew members) and had let some things out that are priceless. If you can ever find these laserdiscs (only produced as far as Dr. No-Goldfinger), I highly recommend that you pick them up."
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