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Fox Lorber presents
The Directors: Milos Forman (1999)

"He's one of maybe only two or three directors I've worked with who you feel had the vision of the movie in his head before he started. He wasn't fishing when he started running film....He was fulfilling a clear vision, and I mean down to the frame sometimes. He had a great sense of rhythm, of pace and he knew exactly what he wanted."
- Michael Douglas

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: August 30, 2000

Stars: Milos Forman
Other Stars: Michael Douglas, F. Murray Abraham, Annette Bening, Jim Carrey, Woody Harrelson, Michael Hausman, Buck Henry, Treat Williams
Director: Robert J. Emery

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, language, partial nudity)
Run Time: 00h:58m:34s
Release Date: August 29, 2000
UPC: 720917309422
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+C+C+ D

DVD Review

Milos Forman is best known as the multiple Oscar®-winning director of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus. This entry in the continuing series, The Directors, produced in cooperation with the American Film Institute, provides a solid overview of Forman's career .

Forman's films are examined with a fair amount of substantive discussion, both in interviews with the director himself as well as many of his actors. Unlike some entries in this series, some movies are represented by several clips, giving a better picture of the works themselves. Clips from several of his early Czech films are also included as well as his better-known Hollywood pictures. Oddly enough, his first Hollywood picture, Taking Off is not included in clips, although there are lengthy discussions with star Buck Henry, who mentions that it's practically impossible to see.

This episode is chock full of interesting anecdotes, such as the string of coincidences which got Forman the job of directing Cuckoo's Nest when he was at the depths of despair about his career. Forman also relates several heartwarming stories about James Cagney's participation in Ragtime. We also get significant behind-the-scenes footage of Forman's most recent film, Man on the Moon.

All in all, one of the most informative and well-rounded portraits in this series.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The image is acceptable for a television documentary. Colors in the interview segments are good, although blacks are somewhat weak. The film clips are almost all slightly washed-out looking and somewhat grainy (especially for the P&S clips), although otherwise in good condition. As is to be expected, the Czech films look the worst, but that's probably a source material issue.

About half of the film clips are presented in their original aspect ratios; Cuckoo's Nest, Ragtime, Valmont and Man on the Moon are shown in pan & scan only. The People v. Larry Flynt is sometimes presented widescreen and sometimes full-screen. Hair and Amadeus are presented widescreen, and the Czech films are 1.33:1.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The DD 2.0 mono sound is adequate; the interviews are all quite clear and easily understandable. The film clips have varying amounts of hiss, ranging from none to a fair amount of noise. Man on the Moon oddly enough has the worst distortion and noise problems, even though it's the most recent of Forman's pictures. Film music comes through without distortion and while not flashy, the sound is decent.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Weblink to http://www.winstarvideo.com
  2. List of awards and nominations
Extras Review: There's not much to be found in the way of extras here: there is a 2-page Forman filmography, and 4 pages of his awards and nominations. There is a weblink to Winstar's website. Most annoying is the opening trailer for The Directors series on VHS and DVD; it is a forced trailer and cannot be skipped, fast-forwarded or defeated short of stopping the disc completely and hitting the Menu button. This is a highly annoying addition which was absent on earlier volumes in the series; this is a step in the wrong direction.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

This is one of the better episodes in The Directors series; the films are given a solid treatment with informative interviews. Worth a rent if Forman is at all to your liking, but the brevity of the program and lack of extras militates against a purchase. The forced trailer is truly annoying.


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