While the release excels in the audio/video departments, it unfortunately leaves a little to be desired from its supplements. We only get a few goodies here, though they’re fairly decent.
The biggest supplement on here would have to be the audio commentary by Stephen Prince. I hold Prince’s commentary for the Criterion release of Straw Dogs in such high regard that I always seem to be somewhat disappointed by the other commentaries of his that he does. Again, like with Dogs, he touches on the themes of violence present in the film, and Wilde’s use of it (even mentioning Wilde found this to be the hardest film of his to make since he didn’t want to hurt animals.) He talks about the history of South Afirca both during the time the film was made and the time the film takes place in, makes comparisons to the John Colter story on which the film is based (as well as influenced by The Most Dangerous Game,) gets into the production code at the time, Wilde’s minimalist style, and as a bonus translates what the tribe members are saying in most scenes. There’s quite a bit of info in it, including information about Wilde and other members of the film, but it’s still just a decent scholarly track. But it might be worth it just for a bizarre out-of-left-field comment Prince makes early on about a “big potato.” Won’t ruin that one for you.
The next supplement on this disc focuses on John Colter. Colter was a former member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 1809 he and a friend were captured by Blackfoot natives. Colter’s friend was killed and then Colter was stripped down naked and let go to run through the woods only to be chased by his captors for sport. Criterion has taken a 1913 account written by historian Addison Erwin Sheldon and presents it to us not in text form but instead has actor Paul Giamatti read it to us in an audio segment that plays over maps and sketches that may or may not have anything to do with the event in question. It runs only 5-minutes and is not too detailed but gives you a general description of the events. This feature has not been enhanced for widescreen televisions.
Simply titled “Soundtrack” the next feature presents the music cues from the film. There are 18 tracks that are indexed. Also accompanying this are text notes by ethnomusicologist Andrew Tracey, who briefly describes recording the tracks, inspirations, and instruments used. You flip through these notes using the left/right arrows on your remote. The film’s score is very unique and having the score here separate from the film is a nice addition.
An awkward trailer (which pretty much gives away the whole movie in less than three minutes) is the final feature on the disc.
Finally, we get a 28-page booklet, containing an essay by Michael Atkinson, which briefly covers Wilde’s directing career as well as a brief analysis of the film. Also included is a segment from a 1970 issue of “Films and Filming” containing an interview with Wilde, who talks about his move to directing and offers some insight into his films, though there is only brief mention of The Naked Prey.
A decent set of extras, though I can’t say any of them are truly worth looking at. The commentary is decent for some history on the production, and the other couple of supplements are nice-to-haves. I just can’t say anything really grabbed me and I feel safe in saying that if one were to skip the supplements, they’re probably not missing out on much. 6/10