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Pssst: 007 Secrets Revealed

'World' releases feature nifty extras such as a look at how some scenes were conceived and executed.

May 18, 2000|BY SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The movie is not enough: The video and DVD editions of the latest James Bond adventure, "The World Is Not Enough," contain extras aimed at stimulating consumers to buy the film, not simply rent it.

MGM Video's VHS release ($20) includes Garbage's music video of the title tune and a tribute to the late Desmond Llewelyn, who played gadget meister Q in 17 Bond films.

The DVD special edition ($35), featuring a crisp wide-screen transfer of the 1999 film with Pierce Brosnan, offers even more goodies that every 007 fan should enjoy.

Particularly engrossing is "The Secrets of 007: Featuring Alternate Video Options," which allows viewers to click on a logo at various points in the film and exit temporarily to see how an individual scene or sequence was conceived and executed.

Director Michael Apted ("Coal Miner's Daughter") offers an intelligent, consistently compelling audio commentary. The British filmmaker, who began his career in documentaries, acknowledges that he was frequently overwhelmed being involved in such a big production, especially since he had never done an action film before. He says the dazzling opening sequence--a speedboat chase on the Thames--took five weeks to film.

Apted also talks about the fact that the producers told him he had to deliver exotic locales, action and women, yet Brosnan wanted some dramatic scenes too, so the director slowed things down to allow his star to have some moments with Dame Judi Dench, who plays M.

Also included on the DVD are the original theatrical trailer, the Garbage music video, an isolated music score, a rather lame behind-the-scenes featurette and a second audio commentary track with production designer Peter Lamont, second unit director Vic Armstrong and composer David Arnold.

Besides "The World Is Not Enough," MGM is offering special DVD editions of "Dr. No," "Moonraker," "The Man With the Golden Gun," "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and "The Spy Who Loved Me" ($35 each; $150 for the set).

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For those who like their movies a bit quieter, check out Neil Jordan's erotic, lovely and beautifully acted 1999 adaptation of Grahame Green's autobiographical novel "The End of the Affair" (Columbia TriStar, $28).

Julianne Moore, who received an Oscar nomination, Ralph Fiennes and Stephen Rea star in this passionate tale about the love affair between a married woman and a writer in London during World War II.

The digital version offers the wide-screen and full-screen transfers of the film, a short but sweet "making of" documentary, Michael Nyman's isolated music score and separate audio commentaries from director-writer Jordan and Moore.

Jordan is an interesting guide into the making of the film--he first read the book as a teenager--but it's actually more entertaining to listen to Moore's thoughts about the film.

Also available from Columbia TriStar is the DVD of the 1955 version of "The End of the Affair" ($25), starring Van Johnson, Deborah Kerr and Peter Cushing. It's all rather hokey--Greene didn't like it--but it's a great wallow. Kerr suffers wonderfully. And the ending is much closer to Greene's novel than the new version.

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The Paul Newman-Robert Redford 1969 classic, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," is one of those films where you remember when and where you first saw it. Named by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 American films of the 20th Century, "Butch Cassidy" has been beautifully restored by Fox Video for a special VHS ($15) and DVD ($30) edition.

Both versions of the Oscar-winning western romance feature a substantial "making of" documentary and funny and insightful interviews conducted in 1994 with Newman, Redford, co-star Katharine Ross, screenwriter William Goldman and composer Burt Bacharach, who talk about the myths surrounding the production, how they got involved in it and the trials and tribulations bringing it to the screen.

The DVD also offers a beautiful wide-screen transfer of the film, three original trailers and a spiffy audio commentary with director George Roy Hill, lyricist Hal David, cinematographer Conrad Hall and dialogue coach Robert Crawford.

Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II, starred in a series of generally forgettable westerns during the 1950s, including two just released on video by Universal ($15 each): "Gunsmoke" and "Ride Clear of Diablo."

In the 1953 horse opera "Gunsmoke," baby-faced Murphy plays a hired gun who gets involved with two warring ranchers. "Ride Clear of Diablo," from 1954, is a painless oater in which Murphy plays a young man out to seek revenge on the cattle rustlers who killed his father and baby brother. Dan Duryea and Susan Cabot co-star.

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