The Green Mile: Special Edition (1999)

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Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Frank Darabont Disc 1 & 2
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Commentary By Frank Darabont
Featurette-Michael Clark Duncan's Screen Test
Featurette-Tom Hank's Makeup Tests
Teaser Trailer-A Case Study
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Making Of-Walking The Green Mile
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-"Miracle & Mystery" Creating The Green Mile
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 181:09 (Case: 180)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Frank Darabont
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Tom Hanks
David Morse
Bonnie Hunt
Michael Clarke Duncan
James Cromwell
Michael Jeter
Graham Greene
Doug Hutchison
Sam Rockwell
Barry Pepper
Jeffrey DeMunn
Patricia Clarkson
Harry Dean Stanton
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Thomas Newman
Jeff Coopwood


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Danish
Finnish
German
Norwegian
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

"They usually call death row the Last Mile, but we called ours the Green Mile, because the floor was the color of faded limes.
We had the electric chair then. Old Sparky, we called it. I've lived a lot of years, Ellie, but 1935 takes the prize.
That was the year I had the worst urinary infection of my life.
That was also the year of John Coffey and the two dead girls."

††† The world of Stephen King is a remarkable place where ordinary Americana becomes an extraordinary place of supernatural encounters and fantasy. King proposed a challenge to himself in 1996 by writing a serial novel titled The Green Mile over six months. When the first of the six part serial was published on March 28, 1996 (Two Dead Girls), King had not begun writing the later volumes. This writing method is reminiscent of Charles Dickens's and as King's wide reading audience received each monthly instalment, one of those eager readers happened to be director Frank Darabont. Darabont had previously directed The Shawshank Redemption (1994) which was based on King's story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (subtitled: Hope Springs Eternal) which appeared in the novella Different Seasons (1982). Different Seasons also contained the story Apt Pupil (Summer of Corruption) and The Body (Fall From Innocence) which spawned the films Apt Pupil (1998) and Stand By Me (1986) respectively. At the 1994 Academy Awards The Shawshank Redemption was nominated for seven awards including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score and Best Sound. Unfortunately the cast and crew failed to receive a single award, the honours that year went to Forrest Gump (1994) which received 6 of its 13 Academy award nominations.

††† The connection between King and Darabont began when the director was a young film student. King had received popular success as a young writer in the late 70s and many young film makers wanted to make short films out of his short stories. To avoid legal problems King established a simply policy, King will grant any student filmmaker the right to make a film out of any short story so long as King obtains film rights. The resulting film must not be exhibited commercially without permission and King would like to view the finished work. In return King asks for one dollar. The policy has become known as a "dollar-deals" and it still holds today. Student filmmaker Darabont filmed an adaptation of King's short story The Woman in the Room in 1983. The short film was eventually released on VHS in 1986 as part of the Stephen King's Night Shift Collection. King was very impressed with Darabont's short film and the director secured the film adaptation rights to Stephen King's novel Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption in 1987.

††† After the The Shawshank Redemption Darabont had no desire to direct another prison themed film but the director was drawn to the Christ like character of John Coffey, a 7 foot tall African American who had the temperament of a 5 year old child. The production of The Green Mile would also reunite many of The Shawshank Redemption alumni with the lead star of the rivalling film of The Shawshank Redemption at the 1994 Academy Awards, Forrest Gump's Tom Hanks. Hanks' stars alongside a diverse cast including his Saving Private Ryan (1998) co-star Barry Pepper, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Doug Hutchinson, Michael Jeter, Sam Rockwell, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, Bill McKinney, Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Clarke Duncan and Hanks' Forrest Gump co-star Gary Sinise. Darabont is also a widely celebrated screenwriter whose work on the screenplays of Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Minority Report (2002) has gone uncredited. Darabont who is credited as screenwriter for The Green Mile remains faithful to serials but there are several character omissions including Brad Dolan, Curtis Anderson and other various inmates of The Green Mile, otherwise the adaptation is faithful and retains the spirit of King's universe.

††† The Green Mile begins with a fable like quality, as an aged man tells an elderly woman in a retirement home about an extraordinary miracle which happened in the most ordinary and somewhat austere of places in which men who have sinned will eventually meet their maker. The Green Mile is the final moment of life for all the inmates and for Warden Hal Moores (Cromwell), Paul Edgecomb (Hanks), Brutus "Brutal" Howell (Morse), Dean Stanton (Pepper), Harry Terwilliger (DeMunn), Klaus Detterick (Sadler) and Toot-Toot (Stanton), the Mile is a place of respect and order. But two individuals, one good and one evil, will exist on opposite sides of the prison bars; Coffey (Duncan) is a seven foot African American who has been sentenced to death for the murder and rape of two white girls, while Percy (Hutchison) is a sadistic prison guard who takes pleasure in injuring and tormenting the inmates. At the same time the Mile is visited by Mr Jingles, a small mouse who befriends the inmates and guards but is nothing more than vermin for Percy. Other inmates include Eduard Delacroix (Jeter) and 'Wild Bill' Wharton (Rockwell) who viciously mocks Percy, creating rivalry between the two. Yet despite this recent chaos which consumes the Mile, Edgecomb becomes intrigued by Coffey who keeps to himself. As Coffey does not demonstrate a violent nature, Edgecomb begins to question the inmate's sentence and his crime. Outside of the Mile Edgecomb is physically suffering due to a urinary infection while the Warden's wife Melinda Moores (Patricia Clarkson) has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

††† The Green Mile may seem contrived and over-sentimental for some audiences but there is no denying this is a well crafted portrayal of the American south during racial segregation and the depression. The performances in the film are central to the story as King has quietly crafted flawed characters who are questioning their deeds and are looking for redemption as they all walk their own Green Mile. The film also has strong Christian overtones which may divide audiences. Like The Shawshank Redemption 5 years earlier, The Green Mile received critical praise upon its release and during the 1999 awards season The Green Mile garnered 4 nominations including Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing. Unfortunately the film did not receive a single award as American Beauty (1999) dominated the ceremony.

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Transfer Quality

Video

In order to preserve the picture quality of The Green Mile which runs at a length of 181:09 it has been split over two dual layered DVDs. The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The first disc contains 33 chapters (00:00 - 110:20). The second disc contains chapters 34 to 53 (110:20 - 181:09). The picture quality is flawless. It has been encoded at an average bitrate of 6.36 Mb/s and has excellent shadow detail and skin tone. The earthy colour palette is also well presented. The picture quality is the best a dual layer DVD has to offer. The subtitles are true to the onscreen dialogue and action.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

Various audio languages are available including English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s). The English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) soundtrack is well produced and encompassing. Again the production of the soundtrack is flawless. Dialogue is always clear and audible and the score by Thomas Newman is well suited to the melodramatic aspect of the film. The score also nurtures the odd mythic quality of the film, particularly the scenes with Mr Jingles. As the film is largely dialogue based this soundtrack is not aggressive but does have its towering tense moments, particularly towards the latter scenes of the film where the subwoofer is mildly audible. Other songs heard during the course of the film include "Cheek to Cheek" performed by Fred Astaire, "Did You Ever See A Dream Walking" performed by Gene Austin, "Three Little Words" performed by Duke Ellington, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" performed by Billy Holiday and "Stardust" performed by Eddy Howard.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

The 16x9 enhanced menu animations only appear on Disc 1 and feature various motifs of the film such as the flickering prison lights, the electric chair and images of Paul Edgecomb and John Coffey while the title reveals itself between the images. The Disc 1 menu is also accompanied by a section of Newmanís score as various images of the film play next to the options while in the background the prison lights flicker. On Disc 2 a simpler 16x9 enhanced menu exists with the score and a still image of the electric chair in aged colouring.

Audio Commentary

Frank Darabont vowed never to do a DVD commentary as he wished to preserve the "magic" of filmmaking but after much pressure from fans he eventually recorded a commentary for The Shawshank Redemption: Special Edition DVD which was released in 2005. For The Green Mile the director turns the tables by involving the actual DVD commentary crew and calling unsuspecting film crew throughout the recording of the commentary for what he terms as 'fact checking'. This is a nice addition to the DVD and it becomes evident that Darabont has an encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema and he doesn't even mind name dropping as he recalls his night out Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Darabont speaks fondly of the production and is respectful by not giving away too much about the production itself and chooses to speak of the film in general. There are many stories regarding casting and the creation of the set which Darabont speaks of. Most of the comments are repeated in the other special features but overall this is an absorbing commentary.

Deleted Scenes

Two Deleted Scenes titled "Bitterbuck's Family Say Goodbye" and "Coffey's Prayer" are offered with optional commentary by Darabont. They can be played as one feature or separately. The scenes feature time codes. The director notes that while they consist of well acted emotional performances and are well produced, both were cut for time.

Michael Clark Duncan's Screen Test (8.26)

A montage of Duncan's Screen Test which won the novice actor the high profile role.

Tom Hank's Makeup Tests (5:30)

Initially Tom Hanks was to play the older version of his character in the film and Rick Baker was hired to age Hanks. But as these screen tests show Hanks did not seem credible as a man over 100 years old. Dabbs Greer was eventually cast in the part.

Teaser Trailer - A Case Study (6.45)

A short featurette which discusses why the Teaser Trailer was abandoned. At the time of production the media were proclaiming Darabont and King were creating another prison film similar to The Shawshank Redemption. As this was not the case the crew developed a simple concept showing Mr. Jingles making his way on what is revealed to be an electric chair. At this moment Tom Hanks as Edgecomb is shown and he walks down The Green Mile. Hanks narrates the teaser trailer. The teaser trailer relied heavily on the motifs of the film and was developed to introduce the concept of the film to audiences who had not read the novels. Everything is detailed and perfectly conceived except... the mouse looks like a giant rat.

Teaser Trailer

The abandoned teaser trailer can be viewed in its entirety.

Theatrical Trailer

Featurette- Walking The Green Mile (25:31)

This feature appears on Disc 2. It is an on-location promotional featurette with interviews with cast and crew.

Featurette- Miracle & Mystery: Creating The Green Mile (102:54)

This recently filmed featurette can be viewed in the following segments or as a whole: Stephen King: Storyteller, The Art of Adaptation, Acting on the Mile, Designing The Mile, The Magic of The Mile and The Tail of Mr. Jingles. No stone is left unturned as the film is dissected by cast and crew and by various writers and directors who have adapted the work of Stephen King such as director Lawrence Kasdan and screenwriter William Goldman. Academics who have written books on King also give their opinion of the film and what makes the Stephen King universe so fascinating.

Optional subtitles are available for these extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The 2 Disc DVD Set will be released in R1 on November the 14th 2006 and in R4 on November 1st 2006.

According to the R1 press release the R4 excludes:

The R1 excludes:

The cover-art for the R1 DVD release was created by respected artist Drew Struzan. The artwork gives the film a timeless feel and the artist's interpretation of the film cites the key motifs and the main characters of King's story. The cover-art is linked with that of The Shawshank Redemption: Special Edition DVD for which Struzan is also responsible for. The R4/R2 cover-art is a collage of stills from the film.

Summary

This acclaimed film finally receives the DVD treatment it deserves. A great companion DVD to The Shawshank Redemption: Special Edition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Friday, September 22, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Video / Audio Quality? - Mark X (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
"Spilt" ?! - Bran (my bio, or something very like it) REPLY POSTED
A question for the Open Minded People - Gizmo35 (The Biography ain't much to look at.) REPLY POSTED