OnVideo DVD Briefs
BigStar DVDs

OnVideo Logo

DVD Brief: Brazil

home page
video sales
video news

iway 500

& Associates logo

Masthead created by Good & Associates


142 minutes
Widescreen 1.85:1
Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Interactive menu
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Extras: The folks at Home Vision Cinema, in conjunction with Janus Films and the Criterion Collection, have pushed the DVD envelope with their release of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil." The three-disc set contains more than seven hours of material and includes: Disc 1: the restored widescreen transfer of the 142-minute Terry Gilliam final cut (with Gilliam's shot-by-shot commentary); Disc 2: "What is Brazil," a 30-minute documentary; "The Battle of Brazil," an expose of the battle over the film's U.S. release; a special effects study; storyboards; drawings, publicity and production stills, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews; the theatrical trailer; and much much more; Disc 3: the 94- minute "Love Conquers All" happy ending version that Universal released after they pulled the original from screens in 1985. All housed in a sweet blue-tinted clear plastic box.
Suggested Retail Price: $59.95
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writers: Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard, Charles McKeown
Cast: Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Kim Greist, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm, Peter Vaughan, Ian Richardson.

Description: Terry Gilliam's nightmarish look at the near- future -- a bureaucratic world lost in paper and incompetence, of a "little" man fighting the dehumanizing powers-that-be -- burst on the film world at the end of 1985 amid incredible controversy. Distributor Universal -- in the form of then-boss Sid Sheinberg -- was unhappy with Gilliam's 142-minute cut and a battle raged over the film's release. Because of Gilliam's stature in the film world, his war with the studio became well-documented and a cause celebre among film critics. Sheinberg wanted the film cut to a little over 2 hours but Gilliam fought the executive tooth and nail and the release became stalled in the resulting animosity and battle of words between the two. Making an end run around the studio, Gilliam spirited out prints of his film to show to film students and members of the L.A. Film Critics, who voted the film best of the year. Gilliam eventually cut the film to 131 minutes and the "Brazil" was released in that form in 1986 to U.S. theaters; the 142 minute version was released internationally. The film played primarily in Los Angeles and New York and barely returned its investment. Sheinberg pulled the film and had it cut to 94 minutes -- called the "Sheinberg edit" or "syndicated TV cut" -- for future showings.

The features:

The three discs contain two versions of the film as well as comprehensive background materials. Disc Two is actually a jumping off place for viewers, as it documents all the elements that went into the film and the controversy. "What Is Brazil?" is a 30-minute on-set documentary by Rob Hedden; "The Battle of Brazil" is a video history of the battle between the elusive Sheinberg (who is never seen on-screen, only in voice-over) and Gilliam (who at times comes off as a spoiled filmmaker brat), put together by film critic Jack Mathews; interviews with Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown about the script development; designs for the breathtaking sets displayed by production designer Norman Garwood; costume designer James Acheson's exploration of the couture of the film; storyboards; a study of the special effects; composer Michael Kamen on his score; publicity and production stills; and the original theatrical trailer.

Disc One contains Gilliam's 142-minute cut of the film, culled from the international and U.S. versions, along with a shot-by-shot audio commentary by the director. Disc Three contains the 94-minute cut of "Brazil," which contains all the changes that Gilliam refused to make, including an alternate opening and a happy ending (giving this cut a third name, the "Love Conquers All" version), with an audio commentary by journalist David Morgan.

All DVDs are screened on a reference Onkyo DV- S717 third-generation DVD player.

More Reviews
E-mail OnVideo
| Home | Resources | Features | VidNews | KidVid | Calendar |
| Sell-Through | Reviews | Links | Widescreen |

E-mail: mail@onvideo.org
© 1998, 1999 OnVideo. All rights reserved

(ISSN 1094-3676).