The previous release had nothing in the way of special features. This one presents a second disc full of them.
The first disc only contains the film (and like the previous release it is the 148-minute version.) The supplements are found on the second dual-layer disc.
Thereís a few interviews on here, starting with a 22-minute piece with assistant director Michel Romanoff. In it he talks about working with Clouzot and the two years that went into making the film. He has some interesting anecdotes about the director, who would call and wake him at night to throw out some ideas. He reminisces on the actual filming and the dangerous conditions they met (they really blew up a rock, and they really filmed on a rickety, partially built bridge.) He also touches on working with Clouzotís wife, Vera, and the interesting substance used for the oil pit sequence (and it wasnít oil.) He calls the making of the film more of an ďarmy operationĒ than anything else. Itís a brief but interesting look at Clouzot and the making of the film.
An interview with Marc Godin is a brief one, only running 10-minutes. Co-author of the book Clouzot: Cineaste he quickly goes over Clouzotís career and his influences. Itís brief and has some interesting things in it, like the problems that Clouzot ran into because of his film Le corbeau but Iíd actually recommend skipping this one and going to the documentary on this disc.
Excerpts from an older interview with Yves Montand, recorded in 1988, is next on the list. Itís a short feature, lasting only 5-minutes, but is worth viewing. Montand talks about becoming an actor and his work on Wages of Fear, a film he considers important to his career. Iíve never seen an interview with Montand before so I found this a nice little treat.
The big feature on here is the 52-minute documentary Henri-Georges Clouzot: The Enlightened Tyrant, a very thorough piece on the career of the director. It covers his younger years and touches on his influences, which were primarily books (he had more of a desire to become a writer) and then follows him to Germany where he got into the film industry. After the Nazis took power he was pretty much kicked out of the country because of his association with his Jewish friends and he returned to France. Once he returned he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent four years in a sanatorium. Once released he got back into film but found himself once again working under the Germans during wartime. During this period he would make Le corbeau and come under fire for it, and then after the war ended he would be banned from the film industry for a number of years because of what was seen as participation with the Germans. It then gets into great detail about his later films, specifically Wages of Fear. Thereís a lot of details about his first wife, Vera Clouzot, and his desire to make her a star (while it was questionable if this would ever really happen, her life was cut short by a heart condition) and then gets into his last few films, with some interesting anecdotes from Brigitte Bardot. Itís a great documentary, and gives a very thorough look at the directorís life and career.
And finally we get a multimedia presentation called Censored, which examines reason as to why the original American version was missing 55-minutes during its initial release. Itís presented with text notes that you navigate through using the arrows on your remote, the notes giving possible reasons as to why certain scenes were cut (including what could possibly be seen as anti-American or seen as containing homosexual undertones) and then play the scenes in question. There is no definitive reason as to why the film was cut down so drastically, in turn missing a third of its original running time, but there are some interesting points brought up here with a nice presentation.
And that closes off the disc. There is also a 24-page booklet included, though I have not yet seen it (I rented this release through Netflix) and will update this review once I do. But according to the Criterion website the release features ďa new essay by novelist Dennis Lehane and a compilation of interviews with the cast and crew of the film.Ē It doesnít look to contain the essay by Danny Peary found in the insert of the original release.
For those concerned about supplements this release is the one to pick up, and is worth upgrading to if you already own the original DVD. The supplements overall are quite informative and offer an excellent look at Clouzot and his work. 8/10