BASED ON THE BOOK by Peter Biskind, this three-hour-plus, two-disc set (out May 11) is more like the continuation of an argument that spilled out from the pages and onto the screen. The first DVD is the documentary proper, featuring filmmaker Kenneth Bowser's BBC history of the '70s auteurs' historic heist of the creative reins from clueless studio dinosaurs (sonorously narrated by William H. Macy) and new interviews with many of Biskind's same subjects after his 1998 tell-all had already scandalized Hollywood. They're a bit more cautious and less outspoken than Biskind's sources—there aren't quite so many stories like Biskind got, such as Scorsese running down Mulholland Drive at all hours, naked and out of his mind on heartbreak and cocaine, bellowing at a woman not to leave him; or a still more deranged Dennis Hopper firing a gun over his daughter's head. But in some ways, it goes beyond the book. You get actual home-movie footage of the Michael and Julia Phillips beach house where Spielberg, Milius, De Palma, et al. argued, partied, and reinvented film; Roman Polanski's bitter press conference after Sharon Tate's butchery; and multiple glimpses of the titans of moviedom looking unimaginably young and innocent.
Even the guilty parties have insight to share, now that they're straight. Kris Kristofferson recalls Peckinpah getting so mad about calamitously dark daily footage that he peed on the screen, shocking Dylan and prompting him to write the lyrics, "It's getting dark, too dark to see." The Biskind bashing is fascinating, but the best part is the last mini doc on the second disk, where Biskind recalls being trapped on an eight-day cruise with Coppola, who yelled at him, then gave him a bear hug and said, "I forgive you!" Later, someone pointed out that that's exactly what Michael Corleone did on the boat to Fredo before he had him shot.
If you like '70s movies, you must have this DVD.
NO LESS ESSENTIAL are reissues of The Great Escape and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Also out May 18, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in his '70s prime in the bodybuilding movie Stay Hungry (with commentary by co-star Jeff Bridges and director Bob Rafelson—wonder what they have now to say about their Governator?). Disney is putting out a lot of old toons in handsome kid-proof tin containers. In the dreck pile are You Got Served, Paycheck, Torque, and Miracle.