Norman Jewison’s film of the true story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter’s wrongful conviction and years-later release was expected to be a major contender in the Oscar race, but in the end questions about its factuality cost it everything but a Best Actor nod for star Denzel Washington. This controversy is admirably not sidestepped by director Jewison on his commentary track for Universal’s Collector’s Edition DVD. In his comments, he points out the certain deviations that had to be made as well as the slants given certain scenes, and he is not only not defensive, he concedes flat-out liberties with the truth. For example, regarding Carter’s lost title bout, Jewison admits that he clearly lost the fight in the old film reel footage though the film plays it as if he was robbed. The issue of the truth aside, Jewison is fairly entertaining on the commentary, tossing off comments such as this one about Washington: “His buns are good, aren’t they?”
In addition to Jewison’s commentary, the disc’s special features also include complete production notes, the theatrical trailer, DVD-ROM-exclusive features, a behind-the-scenes featurette (which not only includes interview footage with the real Rubin Carter, but also the real Lesra Martin, the young man who spearheaded the campaign to free Carter), and a handful of deleted scenes introduced by Jewison. These scenes are all best left on the cutting room floor, in particular one scene in which Carter confides to a fellow prisoner his fear of being searched; not a bad necessarily a bad idea for a scene, but the sappy line of dialogue it concludes on is.
Specifications: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen; English 5.1 Surround; French Dolby Surround; English subtitles for the hearing impaired; plus DVD-ROM-only supplements.