TOWN AND COUNTRY (DVD) Image

It certainly seemed like a simple enough idea: assemble some of Hollywood’s respected older acting talent–Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Garry Shandling–for a screwball farce about marriage and infidelity. Who knew that from such humble origins would spring a film project of rare infamy. The fact that this labored and largely unfunny mess is now the biggest flop in film history actually pales in comparison to the legend of its stormy three-year production, during which battles between stars and filmmakers (or should I say “star” and “filmmaker”) led to constant rethinking and reshooting that pushed the budget of what should have been a small-scale effort to north of $80 million.
At the junket for his far more satisfying romantic comedy Serendipity back in August, director Peter Chelsom told the press that he did indeed record a frank but restrained commentary track for New Line’s DVD of Town & Country , and that some of the numerous scrapped scenes would also be included. But click on the “All Access Pass” selection on the DVD menu, and one finds that the access is severely limited. All that’s there are the usual IMDb-derived cast and crew filmographies and the film’s theatrical trailer. Chelsom’s commentary is nowhere to be found, and neither is a single glimpse of any deleted scenes. Static menus lead one to the usual options for subtitles and sound, as well as the choice of watching either full-frame or widescreen transfers of the film. Perhaps it’s fitting that a film as uninteresting as Town & Country is given a DVD treatment to match, but such a juicy inside story begs to be told–and it’s disappointing and frustrating to know that, at one point in time, that story was going to be, even if only partially.
Specifications: Full-frame and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen; English 5.1 Surround; English Dolby Surround; English subtitles; English closed captioning.

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