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The Dirty Dozen
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This commentary is only available on the May 2006 Special Edition.
Commentaries on this disc:
Actors Jim Brown, Trini Lopez, Stuart Cooper, and Colin Maitland, producer Kenneth Hyman, novelist E.M. Nathanson, film historian David J. Schow, and military advisor Captain Dale Dye
Rating:5.7/10 (3 votes) [
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Reviewed by frankasu03 on March 7th, 2016
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Sometimes I worry that a group commentary, combining so many participants, might be edited poorly. That disconnect from the on-screen action is very disconcerting, especially when you're committed to a 2 hour plus commentary track. Thankfully, the separate participants for the "Dirty Dozen" commentary are "patched in" at regular intervals, and their comments frequently relate to the on-screen action. No surprise here, that the standout on this group track is Captain Dale Dye. Meticulous attention to detail, on everything from the uniforms, to the tactics and vehicles employed throughout the feature. Some might call it "nit-picking," but it is Dye's job as a technical advisor to be so strident in his attention to detail. I thought it was fascinating. In fact, if Dye wants to record commentaries for all the great "War films," I would fall in line ASAP. 2nd place belongs to David J Schow, both for entertainingly relaying Robert Aldrich's production correspondence, and for his interview with the original author, E.M. Nathanson. Much ground is covered, from the real-life (or not) inspiration for the 'Dozen,' to the subsequent books that continue the adventures of Major Reisman and company. Insight from the actors peppers the remainder of the commentary, giving a very thorough account of the making of this action classic. 7.5/10
Reviewed by badge on September 20th, 2016
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Pretty early in the commentary there’s a letter to the studio by Aldrich read verbatim, which is a fascinating insight into the pre-production thinking behind the film. They couldn’t get any of the major players to appear on the track (well, almost none of them are around now), but a couple of the ‘back six’ as they were called, are on hand to share memories of working on the production (there’s a funny anecdote about Trini Lopez’s role being quickly rewritten). Surprisingly the writer of the source novel is still alive and typing and gives some interesting insights into the differences between the novel and film. What could have been an all-round enthusiastic and easy-going track is, however, marred by the intrusions of a tiresome military pedagogue who goes into lecture mode from the get-go and spends the entire film nitpicking and repeatedly complaining that everything is “nonsense”. Near the end, when he makes the casual aside that he “wouldn’t care much” about killing women or children, he stops coming across as merely pedantic and instead becomes just plain abnormal.
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