Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Videodrome listening

Last night I listened to Tim Lucas' brilliant commentary track recorded for Arrow's edition of Videodrome, and what a joy it was to experience the film again with such knowledgeable company. What's particularly unique about this commentary is that Tim actually visited the Videodrome shoot and his memories of his two week stay on the set as Cinefantastique's correspondent are an integral part of the commentary. Tim speaks with great fondness about the warmth and good humor of James Woods (and his aversion to special effects) and shares an amusing anecdote about an elusive Debbie Harry. His updates on the film's Canadian players are particularly welcome - I've been watching these beloved Videodrome characters for over 20 years, yet had little or no clue about the actors playing them. Elsewhere, Tim balances illuminating analyses of ideas and concepts that flow thru the film with interesting factoids for trivia hunters, such as the deliberate color of the Videodrome torture room and the Masha character's referential surname (in case you missed it, I certainly did!). Tim also speaks about Videodrome's rare TV version and the interesting diversions it takes from the film, and talks about the various permutations Cronenberg's screenplay went thru - the collected drafts stand knee high we’re told and are a measure of Cronenberg's ambition very much outrunning the technical limitations of the day. At one point Tim reveals that Cronenberg, in search of an ending for the film asked Tim himself to devise a conclusion but instead Tim got to pull a wire on one of the film's major special effects, a satisfying trade-off I think. All told, this is a comprehensively brilliant commentary and for Videodrome fans is required listening, and if I may add, your's truly gets a mention at one point !

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