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“Dog Day Afternoon-Special Edition”
Wayne A. Klein
Studio: Warner
Genre: Drama
Special Features: Commentary by director Sidney Lumet, Four part documentary on the making of the movie, vintage featurette, trailer

Hot on the heels of “The Godfather Part II” Al Pacino turned in one of his most riveting performances as Sonny a would-be bank robber whose robbery goes horribly wrong. Suddenly surrounded by police and with a bank full of hostages Sonny has lost control of the situation. He just wanted to make a sizable withdrawal so his lover could have a sex change operation. ***

Pacino’s brilliant performance is aided and abetted by the marvelous character actor John Cazale who appeared with Pacino in “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II” as well as “The Deer Hunter” (his last performance before he died of cancer). Charles Durning also appears giving a marvelous performance as a police officer who suddenly has to deal with a massive headache and doesn’t quite know what to do with Sonny.

Image & Sound:

A step up from the previous solid looking release from Warner, this deluxe two disc set presents the film in a marvelous anamorphic transfer with remarkable clarity and detail. Flesh tones are natural and the blacks are solid throughout. The film is presented in its original mono presentation and it sounds exceptionally good given the limitations of the format. Dialogue comes across clearly.

Special Features: The best special feature here is Lumet’s commentary track. As with ”Network” Lumet’s comments are thoughtful and insightful providing quite a bit of trivia about his production approach such as the pseudo documentary look of many sequences in the film to observations about the acting craft and the various performances. The bulk of the extras are located on disc two with a terrific hour long four part documentary on the making of the movie. We get to follow the production of the movie from its initial pre-production phase through post production. Do yourself a favor if you haven’t seen the movie please watch it prior to the documentary as there are plot spoilers mentioned throughout. Pacino and the other surviving actors participate in the documentary. We also get the original vintage featurette as a bonus. ---

Final Words:

A terrific classic that has aged amazingly well, “Dog Day Afternoon” remains one of the best films of the 70’s. Pacino gives a truly amazing performance in his role as Sonny and is ably supported by a terrific supporting cast. In our age of deal-making in which stars jockey for position on films this type of film has become increasingly rare. Warner has produced another winner in this terrific reissue and they continue to demonstrate their commitment to producing the best DVDs out there.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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