Is Miramax trying to bury a pro-soldier movie?

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on January 24, 2006

I saw "The Great Raid" when it was in theaters. Though it wasn't the greatest WWII movie of the past decade, it was a solid film that cast American soldiers in a positive light. The film was shot in 2002, but sat on a shelf until last year. There was a lot of grumbling that with the Iraq War going on that Hollywood liberals weren't particularly enamored with the idea of doing a pro-U.S. movie -- even if it was based on events 60 years ago. I was inclined to dismiss those reports at the time, but with the DVD release, I'm not so sure.

As with most other movies, it was released on DVD in full screen (aka pan & scan) and widescreen formats. I hate full screen because to do it they chop the sides off and you miss stuff. One of the worst examples of this is an old favorite of mine, "Victory" starring Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Pele. There's a scene in that film where some soccer players have been brought in from another POW camp and Michael Caine, who plays the player-coach of the team, is welcoming them as they jump off the truck. As each one gets off, Caine says: "I'm Colby, I'm the coach." And a fraction of a second later, you hear Stallone say: "I'm Hatch, I'm the trainer." In the full screen version of this flick, Stallone has been cut out of the picture -- you hear his voice but don't see him. In the widescreen version, you see that he's standing right next to Caine and he's shaking hands with each of the players.

So, needless to say, I don't buy full screen versions of films -- ever.

Well, "The Great Raid" has only been released in wide distribution in a full screen edition. If you want the widescreen director's cut, then you'll pay at least $10 more -- if you can find it. (That's not to mention that apparently the director's cut contains more cuts than the original theatrical version. That is, the director has gone and cut out stuff that you could see in the theater. Usually a director's cut adds some stuff, this one takes it out.)

I can't understand why Miramax would try to hurt its own sales like this ... unless that anti-military rumor had some truth to it.

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