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Commentaries on this disc:
Time movie critic and film historian Richard Shickel
Rating:2.0/10 (1 vote) [
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Reviewed by Brian Thibodeau on January 13th, 2006
Find all reviews by Brian Thibodeau
Richard Schickel's name value must be intoxicating to DVD company executives, because it's patenetly clear they don't hire him for his extensive historical knowledge of the the films he discusses. This is probably his worst effort yet, a mind-numbing exercise in pointless narration of the obvious, loaded with dead air. I've rarely heard a track where a commentary spends as much time as Schickel does pointing out excruciatingly obvious character motivations, ominously foreshadowing future events as as if the audience is incapable of prediction, and reminding us of earlier scenes that explain the events we see on screen. Digressions into the sociological issues that inform the film are extremely limited (I counted maybe two or three), and background details on the production are non-existent. Great film, but you needn't worry about listening to the commentary if you want to learn more. Fox other commentarians on the Film Noir series, like Rudy Behlmer, James Ursini and Alain Silver, are much more favourable choices, although even Eddie Muller runs dry on occasion, but nowhere's near as fatally as Richard Schickel does on this track. A few more of these and we'll have plenty of reasons to suspect that film criticism for Time Magazine isn't half as hard as it would seem.
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