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Scarface (Platinum Edition) (1983) | DVD Review

the most chilling shower scene since Psycho depicts the graphic nature of the horrific rivalry between the coke-run street gangs but it also illustrates the genius the filmmaker has for moving camera aesthetics.

Renown for its multi-faceted use of the F-word, for its epic screeching halt conclusion, for its treatment of the anti-Castro movement and its glorification of the both glamorous and unspectacular lifestyle of the drug trade, Scarface and Al Pacino’s larger than life portrayal of famed screen character Tony Montana might have been popular back in the day because the conflicts with the MPAA and a decent box office coin, but the manner in which it has been culturally impregnated among urban youth movements somewhere between the VHS era and the DVD time period is part of the essentials as to why moviegoers have had an elongated love affair with this classic.

While Brian De Palma may be forever indebted to the great master for influencing his style, the sometimes cheered, and many times jeered American filmmaker who has been in the biz for more than 5 decades owes a good part of the film’s success to Oliver Stone’s interpretation from the real life events of the drug trafficking wars of the state of Florida mixed with his contemporalizing of the Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson 1932 film by the same name. De Palma must surely find it perplexing that his most popular film (the one that was released in 83 between Blow Out in 1981 and Body Double in 1984) has very little to do with the late Alfred Hitchcock but might not be surprised the phenomena has much to do with American values of starting off with nothing and making it to the top. After a long line of horror films, this became a first among De Palma’s grouping of gangsterism-themed pictures and while there are no split screens and blatant use of doppelgangers there are his signature cranes shots and series of long takes.

One of the film’s most recognizable shots is that of the one that moves through the wall of a run down motel onto the streets and coils back to the starting point – the most chilling shower scene since Psycho depicts the graphic nature of the horrific rivalry between the coke-run street gangs but it also illustrates the genius the filmmaker has for moving camera aesthetics.

Don’t need to be a gangsta to know that Scarface has become a very profitable franchise for Universal Pictures (especially the home video division) – not surprisingly my original DVD called the Collector’s Edition with the original documentary film on the making of Scarface has been since replaced by the Scarface Deluxe Gift Set, the Scarface (Widescreen Anniversary Edition) and now the Platinum Edition. The images looked cleaned up – the colors are more vivid which is probably thanks to the films’ limited re-release in theatres and then subsequent DVD super sets. Nonetheless this new single deluxe edition offers old and new material worth discussing.:

Disc contains the film with a side feature called SCARFACE SCOREBOARD. Keep score of the F word and how many bullets are used throughout the film. It’s a fun edition for the video game crowd.

Disc 2 carries much of what the previous version holds with the exception of Making of Scarface: The Video Game.

Deleted Scenes: Here we find many scenes that weren’t used in the first half of the film, the more interesting one is when Tony defuse a possibly band situation where he claims he is looking for a poodle in front of 2 policemen during a nightshift. The scene reveals how they placed a bomb underneath the car of a hit job.

Making of Scarface: The Video Game: This is the newest add on to the DVD, basically this sees a sea of actors who lent their voice to the game and obviously the game makers involved. The more interesting point here is that they make the game into a sequel of the movie, thus
the “what if” scenario continues the life story of Montana. The game division at least went and got some talent to write the storyline with screenwriter David McKenna (from Blow), but couldn’t sway or pay Pacino to do some voice work. This is a nice feature that I would appreciate if I had bought the game and not the DVD.

The World of Montana: This is collage style doc (not available on the original DVD release) that reflects at the world that is portrayed in the film. Lots of talking heads from various law enforcements – it serves very little purpose to hear a police officer recite parts of the film.

The Rebirth, The Acting and The Creating are a set of three mini-docs that were originally included in the one disc first edition release and are the only worthy extras to the film. Producer Martin Bregman, De Palma, Pacino, Stone comment separately on the film – looking back at the collective effort. Most interesting factoid – the project was once in the hands of Scorsese and DeNiro. In the acting bit, actor Steven Bauer generously gets to show off his baby pictures but more importantly discusses what it meant for a nobody actor to get the 2nd lead role next after Pacino. Truly fun anecdotes. Finally, “The Creating” discusses the stylistic elements of the film and how they lifted the ideas from the screenplay to make it the film that it was.

TV Clips: This looks at how the film was then cut for television – lots of words and images that needed to be trimmed. A hilarious montage fun for the whole family….well not exactly.

For those who’ve have never included Scarface among their collection, this updated edition offers quality and quantity but for those who’ve already splurged on the mantel piece will feel jipped. Those with worn out VHS tapes and/or sratched early DVD editions might want to trade in the old station-wagon for the Bentley.

Movie rating – 4.5

Disc Rating – 3.5

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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