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Purple Rain (1984)

NOTE: This commentary track is only on the August 2004 "20th Anniversary Edition" DVD release. The earlier DVD release did not have a commentary.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Albert Magnoli, producer Robert Cavallo, and director of photography Donald Thorin Rating:9.5/10 (2 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by frankasu03 on May 27th, 2016:Find all reviews by frankasu03
Just a month removed from the untimely passing of the virtuoso known as "Prince," one would hope that the commentary devoted to his lasting film would be worthy of his artistic brilliance. I'm happy to report that this group does provide a very technical, and informative track that encapsulates the precision, discipline, and drive of the late artist. Albert Magnoli takes the point here, and as acting editor, is able to divulge all manner of production info behind "Purple Rain." Prince, as well as the producers, were quite taken with his student film, "Jazz," and expressed a desire to work with Al on his first commercial feature. Fresh out of film school, Magnoli called upon many "film school" shots to give 'Rain' a visual dynamism equal to the on-stage performance of "Prince." That the crew, aided by the cinematographer Don Thorin, was able to film those signature "live" musical pieces in 10 days is just astounding. Magnoli had seen Thorins' work in "Thief," and searched for a similar look in this feature. Through military-like precision, Prince and the Revolution were able to sync perfectly with "live-playback" sound for all of the musical set-pieces. The fanatic attention to detail is exemplified in Prince's outrage at Morris Day for forgetting his comb during an early musical number. Everything a Prince, or music fan, has wanted to know about "Rain" is discussed at length, From the number of takes required to film the showstopper "Purple Rain," to the specific editing style Magnoli used to marry the images to the smash-hit "When Doves Cry" (a single that "Warner Bros" amazingly had little faith in as a record). In light of Prince's recent passing, the most moving information comes from the fact that "Purple Rain" could have been an even darker piece of autobiographical fiction. Prince apparently wanted the original ending, which called upon the Clarence Williams character to successfully commit a murder suicide, instead of the more pleasing reconciliation that was ultimately filmed. As a showcase for the many facets of Prince, "Rain" is the ultimate piece of cinematic evidence. Thankfully, Magnoli and the gang help enrich that experience with a commentary that entertains, and helps point out the difference between the shores of Lake Minnetonka, and a reservoir in California. 9/10 RIP Prince