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The Cider House Rules (1999)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Lasse Hallström, screenwriter John Irving, and producer Richard N. Gladstein Rating:6.7/10 (3 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Glenn Hopp on July 2nd, 2007:Find all reviews by Glenn Hopp
It is good and mostly focuses on the changes in the story from novel to film, as one might expect with John Irving as one of the participants. (The commentary was recorded the day after Irving won an Oscar for his script for this film.) A lot of comments explain how the visuals of a scene can convey things that sometimes render dialogue redundant. Many of the scenes are explained as slightly shortened versions of what was initially written to make them more effective. Two or three times the director will comment on a shot (the camera movement of a crane shot in the apple orchard or a lengthy take that he originally planned as an edited sequence). The most interesting of these comments comes at nearly exactly the 15:00 mark, when Homer and (I think) Buster are looking out a second-floor window at the orphanage, get up, and begin to walk away from the camera down a corridor. The window and its reflection of the outside just vanish, and the camera moves in to follow their walk. It is so seamless that on first watching the film I didn't even notice the vanishing window (and windowsill, too, I think). The comments about how and why this shot was achieved were good. The director favors an unobtrusive style on the whole, which is effective, and even more comments about the austere visual element would have been interesting. All in all, the commentary is enjoyable.
Reviewed by ipatrick on August 23rd, 2017:Find all reviews by ipatrick
I guess writer and director on the same track is a bad choice for commentaries anyway, or rather a risky one - they either have unbelievable chemistry and are on the same page as to what to talk about or the whole thing goes to hell 15 seconds into each and every contribution. They would have worked together separately but Irving, who was whom I was really interested on, might have fallen short on a 120 minute track so I don’t know. I’d say skit ip.