All The King's Men

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Steve Harwood

Read Chris's film review of All The King's Men
All The King's Men
"" | Photo: ©2005 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Despite any shortcomings that All The King’s Men may have, the film’s moody visuals are given an excellent treatment on DVD; with Pawel Edelman's sublime cinematography and the authentic Louisiana locations looking fantastic in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (available in English, English with audio description, or Spanish) is fine too, though at times James Horner’s booming score threatens to drown out the dialogue, almost to the point where the subtitles may be required in some scenes.

There are a number of special features, some more interesting than others. The six-minute long “Making of” is fairly standard fare, as is La Confidential, which details the filming locations in Louisiana; memorable only when you realise this must have been one of the last movies to be shot in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina. Shake Hands With The Devil is another short featurette, which attempts to show the relevance of the story to today’s political climate.

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Of more interest is An American Classic, a short feature on Robert Penn Warren and the background to his Pulitzer Prize winning novel from which the film is adapted. The best extra, though, is The Legend And Lore of Huey Long, a 23-minute long documentary on the original inspiration for the character of Willie Stark. Long was governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932, going on to serve as a US Senator until his assassination in 1935. It’s interesting to compare the archive footage of Long to Sean Penn’s portrayal of Stark in the film, suggesting that the seemingly over-the-top gesticulating and histrionics may be more accurate than you’d imagine.

Completing the set of extra features on the DVD are three deleted scenes, one of which is an alternative ending. While the reasons for cutting the first two are understandable – one of them tries to introduce an entire new sub-plot in a single scene – the extended ending would actually have improved the film. A commentary from Steven Zallian would have been a great extra to include here.

Reviewed on: 12 Mar 2007
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All The King's Men packshot
An ordinary man enters politics and finds himself drawn into corruption.
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Product Code: CDR39561

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Alternative ending, deleted scenes, making of featurette, La Confidential featurette, Shake Hands With The Devil featurette, An American Classic featurette, The Legend And Lore Of Huey Long documentary

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