Lord of the Rings
director of photography
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Commentaries on this disc:
Director/co-screenwriter Franc Roddam
Rating:9.0/10 (1 vote) [
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Reviewed by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr on October 9th, 2015
Find all reviews by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr
This commentary - featuring Director Franc Roddam and actor Phil Daniels recorded together plus additional comments from actress Leslie Ash - is only available (in the UK at least) on the 2-disc 2006 Special Edition.
Right from the start the atmosphere is relaxed and convivial with a great rapport between the director and his star as well as much mutual respect evident throughout.
Roddam leads the conversation ("you know every frame, don't ya mate" suggests Daniels) pointing out the methods and techniques employed to belie the low budget, as well as continually tapping into the youthful energy of his cast to bring scenes to life - none more so than the riot scenes, including encouraging the participants to really go for some of the extras who weren't taking it seriously.
For his part, Daniels enjoys recalling how the cast spent time together prior to filming learning to ride scooters and generally creating a gang mentality which would serve them well throughout the shoot.
Sprinkled throughout are comments from lead actress Leslie Ash, still sounding as sweet and appealing as when she played Steph 25-plus years previously, remembering various hardships of the restricted budget, and it's clear she was no fan of late night/early morning filming, but what comes across most strongly is how proud she is to have been part of it.
Daniels is quick to rib the director when he spots anything he considers "arty" - "we call that quadro-bollocks" counters Roddam at one point - and also enjoys recalling Sting's awkwardness with both his mod dancing and his attempts to ride a scooter (while Leslie Ash remembers being less than impressed by the early Police demos Sting played them between takes).
Roddam constantly praises Daniels's performance (and dialogue contributions), even if Daniels himself is less convinced, exclaiming at one point "Christ Almighty, what am I doing!?!"
Roddam also suggests Steph is an early version of the 1960s sexually liberated woman, whereas from Leslie Ash's point of view she's just "a bit of a hussy"!
Roddam and Daniels are both a little uneasy about the frequent strong language, and especially the (authentic to the period) racial epithets; conversely, Leslie Ash nominates her favourite scene as the one where, and because, she got to "swear very loudly"!
If she was happy with the swearing then she was clearly less comfortable with the sex scene, stating that she would have turned down the part if it was going to be shot as originally scripted and that she finds it as embarrassing to watch today as she found it to film then.
Both men are surprised by how the film has lasted (with the alley where the sexual encounter between Jimmy & Steph was shot remaining a shrine for fans) and wish they'd kept more mementos than the few they mention here.
Leslie Ash concludes on a more philosophical note, musing on what sort of future was in store for Steph in a film she calls "part of my growing up".
"Do you think people were expecting a serious social commentary...?" ponders Roddam wryly as the credits roll. "I think you've given them one," laughs Daniels.
And I think they've given us a highly entertaining track with plenty of interesting information among the laughs.
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