trailer completes Disc One, and we head to the second platter. These we open with Jonathan Demme & Jodie Foster, a 2005 program that fills 52 minutes, 30 seconds with remarks from that pair.
Both start with their involvement in Lambs and go through research and preparation, other actors, locations, sets and shoot details, character notes and working from Clarice’s point of view. We hear about the “direct camera approach”, performance development and the relationship between Foster and Hopkins, cinematography, and a few other challenges. For the last act, the piece covers score, structure, the film’s release and reception, and its legacy.
The perspectives on display help make the piece worthwhile. It’s good to find Foster and Demme in these discussions, though it’s too bad they weren’t recorded together. Nonetheless, this is a consistently compelling documentary.
Next comes a 2001 documentary called Inside the Labyrinth. This one-hour, six-minute, 25-second program features producer Ron Bozman, screenwriter Ted Tally, former Orion Pictures VP Mike Medavoy, production designer Kristi Zea, composer Howard Shore, set dresser Ken Turek, set decorator Karen O’Hara, art director Tim Galvin, special makeup effects Carl Fullerton and Neil Martz, costume designer Colleen Atwood, editor Craig McKay, production sound mixer Christopher Newman, moth wrangler Ray Mendez, re-recording mixer Tom Fleischman, sound designer Skip Lievsay, and actors Anthony Hopkins, Roger Corman, Diane Baker, Brooke Smith, Anthony Heald, and Ted Levine.
In addition, we also get comments from film critic Amy Taubin and transgender activist Vicky Ortega. Remarks from actors Jodie Foster and Scott Glenn appear via 1991 interviews, while director Jonathan Demme remains totally absent.
The failure of the last three folks to appear in the post-1991 material offers this program’s only disappointment, as while we hear from a slew of others, those three are awfully important omissions. However, I honestly barely missed them during this entertaining documentary.
Very few stones get left unturned as the piece neatly cuts through all manners of the film’s production. It gives a fine overview of the various elements, and it even goes into the movie’s aftermath.
Page to Screen runs 41 minutes, seven seconds and includes remarks from Foster, Tally, Medavoy, Glenn, Zea, Heald, book editor Richard Marek, NY Times book editor Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, producer Ed Saxon, former St. Martin’s Press editor-in-chief Tom McCormack, former FBI agent John Douglas, and actors Kasi Lemmons and Gene Hackman.
“Screen” starts with a look at author Thomas Harris and then examines issues related to his work as well as some specifics of Lambs. From there we move to the movie. Its participants discuss why the project appealed to them and we get info about the tale’s path to the screen.
Those pieces inspect how the producers brought Demme on board plus Tally’s script adaptation, casting, research and preparation, locations, sets, cinematography and visual design, the film’s shoot, its release and reception.
Though “Labyrinth” encompasses a lot of information, “Page” manages to bring out a fair number of new details. I like the parts about Hackman’s initial interest in the project, and Foster’s dissection about why the movie needed a non-American actor to play Lecter proves insightful.
I think it skims over the scriptwriting process too quickly. The title implies a stronger look at the printed page, whereas “Page” tries harder to become a general overview of the production. Nonetheless, it works well and fleshes out our knowledge of Lambs.
For a look at the music, we go to the 16-minute Scoring the Silence. This presents notes from composer Howard Shore as he discusses challenges connected to the project, various choices he made and aspects of the score. He gives us a concise and insightful look at his work that proves illuminating.
From 2008, we head to Understanding the Madness. In this 19-minute, 33-second featurette, we hear from FBI (retired) Supervisory Special Agent/Academy Group Senior VP Robert R. “Roy” Hazelwood, FBI (retired) Supervisory Special Agent/Academy Group VP Michael R. Napier, FBI (retired) Behavioral Science Unit Chief/Academy Group founder Roger L. Depue, FBI (retired) Supervisory Special Agent/Academy Group Executive VP R. Stephen Mardigan, FBI (retired) Behavioral Sceicne Deputy Unit Chief/Academy Group VP Richard L. Ault, Jr., and FBI (retired) Supervisory Special Agent/Academy Group Violent Crime Consultant James R. Fitzgerald.
They talk about profiling of serial killers as well as aspects of Lambs. Fans of Lambs have heard a lot of this material in the past, but “Madness” nonetheless offers a good recap.
It covers the subject matter in a compelling way and moves at a nice clip. Though a bit superficial, it’s worth a look.
In addition, we get an eight-minute, seven-second Featurette that stems from the original release time frame of Lambs. This brief piece focuses on interview snippets from Hopkins, Douglas, Demme, Glenn, Foster and an unnamed FBI agent.
Obviously the program’s brevity means that it can’t provide much depth, but it still offers a good experience. We learn some details absent from “Labyrinth”, mainly due to the extra perspectives. It’s a somewhat insubstantial piece, but I like it nonetheless.
Disc Two concludes with a collection of Storyboards. This domain offers a running four-minute, 11-second montage of images created by artist Kalina Ivanov. It becomes a good glimpse of the movie’s planning stages.
The package concludes with a 56-page booklet. It features the same essay from journalist Amy Taubin found in the old Criterion DVD release but it also adds an introduction from Jodie Foster, text from writer Thomas Harris, and 1991 interview with Jonathan Demme. Throw in credits and photos to result in a strong booklet.
I continue to love The Silence of the Lambs. After more than 18 years, it’s lost none of its power or perverse charm. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and audio as well as a terrific set of supplements. This becomes the best Lambs release
To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS