Written by: Roger Waters
Directed by: Alan Parker
Starring: Bob Geldof, Kevin McKeon, Eleanor David, Christine Hargreaves, Jenny Wright
- “Hey You,” the song and its corresponding footage which was cut from the film
- Audio commentary by Waters and designer/animator Gerald Scarfe
- The 25-minute original documentary about the making of the film, “The Other Side of the Wall”
- A new 45-minute retrospective documentary with interviews from Waters, Parker, Scarfe, director of photography Peter
Biziou, producer Alan Marshall, and film music producer James Guthrie, among others
- Original film trailer
- Production stills
- Pretty nifty interactive menus
- “Secret buttons”
Released by: Sony
My Advice: Own it.
It’s hard to write a summary for the film, to be honest. Based on the double album and the ensuing concert/stage show that Pink Floyd produced and performed, The Wall might be considered these days as just an extended music video. But it’s quite a bit more than that. Taken from bits of Roger Waters’ own life, and the life of his former Floyd frontman who mentally burned out, Syd Barrett, the film is a startling portrayal of how the road to hell is paved with all manner of things. The details of Pink’s descent (or immersion, perhaps) into madness are incidental. One needn’t have a smothering matriarch taking on role of both deceased father and mother. One needn’t be a rock star with access to the aforementioned magic dust (of all types). It just takes a certain combination of something for everybody to bend too far and say “Screw it, enough of this.” Whatever that combination, reflections can be found in the film–and as long as one doesn’t turn away, one can indeed learn something.
Enough about me waxing philosophic about one of the seminal films of my youth. Let’s talk about the disc itself, ’cause it’s a nice one. First of all, the features are fairly sweet–and about what you would expect/want from such a release. Although personally, I think a David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason track would have been a laugh riot. Anyway, the commentary we do have–Scarfe and Waters–is insightful as Scarfe relates his part in handling the animation duties and Waters provides not only word on the film itself but also bits of his own dry humor. I guess when you’re staring a fictionalized not-so-pretty version of yourself in the face, it helps to crack a joke or two. Regardless, the track is insightful and entertaining.
The most intriguing and unsuspecting addition to the features is the answer to the question of “What happened to ‘Hey You,’ the song that opens the second disc of the album?” “Reel Seven,” as it’s referred to, is included as a separate feature for those who are completists. Once viewed, it’s obvious they made the right decision to cut it, but it’s nice to have the thing for posterity.
Also nice is the retrospective documentary where all the major players are touched on. They candidly talk about their differences in approaching the film, the on-set ingenuity of inventing camera pendulums, and the difficulties of staging a dance number involving real skinheads. Of note are the menus as well. Normally, I could care less about interactive menus, when they merely have neat moving pictures–who cares, right? Well, the ones on this disc are actually interesting and use movie footage in intriguing ways. They caught my attention, anyway, which hardly ever happens. Normally, I’m like, “Whatever, whatever, moving on please.” Lastly, the “secret buttons,” once you figure out how to access them, merely link you to sounds from the movie–not worth mentioning, although I appear to have done it anyway.
All in all, it’s a worthwhile presentation of an extremely worthy film and it gives a fairly comprehensive array of features. Recommended.