SUPERGIRL/DVD/INTERVIEW WITH PRODUCER

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Scott Bosco and Supergirl director, Jeannot Szwarc
Photo used with permission of THE DIGITAL CINEMA & ANCHOR BAY ENT.

Scott Bosco gave me chance to ask questions about the DVD.

What kind of work do you do?

Ive been a free-lance writer for almost 20 years now, covering various parts of the home video field. Reviewing software, (Beta, Laser Discs and now DVD) and hardware (Laser Disc Players, Dolby Decoders, DVD Players, and Speaker Systems.) Ive also done theatrical reviews as well. In that same time frame I acted as a project consultant for the various formats of Beta/VHS, Laser and DVD for , KEY VIDEO, WARNER BROS., DISNEY, IMAGE, PARAMOUNT, 20TH CENTURY-FOX, ANCHOR BAY and A&E. For I.T.C. ENT. I was a consultant (12 years) on the SPACE:1999 series. I've also worked 15 years in retail, 6 years as a manager in a corporate video chain, in their number 2 store. My past retail experience has infused me with a great understanding of home video product, its placement, and what customers want. I believe this is something missing from many executives in major companies who make decisions not really based on that interest. In a sense, these people are locked away in ivory towers with graphs and charts accumulated from ill informed sources. This has many times produced a final product that falls short of consumer expectations. At the same time my dealings with the corporate end have made me understand the constraints of delivering something that must be cost productive.

 

What was your involvement on this DVD?

I acted as an advisor to the title. I told those concerned at ANCHOR BAY all that I knew of the versions known. In November of 99 I wrote material that was submitted to be used as liner notes, bios, essay, even material found on the back of the packaging (synopsis). I contacted various members of the cast - a process which was frustrating to say the least since most concerned wouldnt say no but just drag on the solicitation. The only person not truly able to give her time was Faye Dunaway who was in Europe doing one film, promoting another, and leaving to work on another project. Her answer was never no, simply unavailable. All this is in greater detail in my review on my website. Although I had originally interviewed the director, Jeannot, his schedule allowed us to do a commentary. The day before that was done I worked on the chapter stops. ANCHOR BAY designed the packaging, the layout for the booklet and the Menu screens were designed by CREST, a company who ANCHOR BAY uses often.

 

Where did you find the materials to produce the Supergirl DVD?

ANCHOR BAYhas their own person who locates and over sees the transfers of all elements. It was he, Bill Lustig, who went to England where the elements were stored. He called me a few times to sort out what he had found. It's kind of funny really, the running times never really jelled. You have to realize that running times depend on when one starts to time a film. - does it begin with the main credits? Or with the company logo? Then theres always the problem of mislabeled storage materials. Bill questioned the labeling on the Japanese Laser Disc I had (the INTERNATIONAL version) so at one point, while we were on the phone, (England to NY) I popped in my LD and gave him the running times of each side of the discs, after which he added them up to get a corrected running time. It was the only way because the disc had neither chapters or was time coded. A surprised to both of us was him finding what we are now calling THE DIRECTORS CUT. No one even knew that existed - even the director. More mysterious was the fact it was labeled, DO NOT USE. But after viewing it I realize its probably a cut of the film meant for syndication on TV. There are expletives in it which have been dubbed or cut out completely. Theres also another version, shorter than the Domestic (U.S.) version, which I believe was a cut of the film meant to be shown on the airlines.

 

In what conditions did you find the originals elements in?

Well what you see on the disc is basically what was found, meaning the elements were of excellent quality. There are some timing differences (color) between the two versions, but in all - really spectacular quality.

 

Who owned the rights to the picture? Were the Salkinds contacted during the production of the DVD?

Well oddly the rights had expired and had passed from the Salkinds completely. In fact, this is true with all the Superman/Supergirl films. This is why the son, Ilya, was not contacted for the Superman restoration by WARNERS. His father, Alexander, has since passed away. I did want Ilya involved, however by the time we had reached him everything was completed and since he was represented in the Making of it was felt that would do. I did want an interview with him as part of the booklet however, and this brings me to your next question....

 

Why do you think Supergirl DVD deserved a Special Edition? Critically, the film didn't fare very well, but there is a fan base out there.

... not going too far was an obvious concern. The film was not successful, as you know. But there was a need or want out there which ANCHOR BAY understood. When I had been in video retailing I saw first hand what rented and what didn't in terms of library titles. Supergirl was one of them. But of course that too can change from region to region. So there was a concern about going too far in preparing this Special Edition. Much of that was an unspoken concern, but it was there never the less. Everything costs money and whatever is going to be part of the finished product must cover a broad spectrum of interest for the paying public. The fans of course would like anything and everything but thats just not possible. Although all concerned want it to be a success the material must satisfy a larger customer base, yet stay within the projects budget, for a hoped for projected finanical goal. But I felt secure all along that the title would be accepted by a public hungry for family entertainment. There is so little out there in terms of viewing material which a parent can turn on without worrying. Lets face it, even Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a warning preceding the show.

Personally, and this my opinion, the majority of films made today are cold, technical pieces of low class filmmaking. Made by directors, who are educated in the technical process of filmmaking - that there is no doubt - but they lack a heart and suffer from bad taste. Certainly they are disrespectful of what has preceded them in terms of film. This is most apparent from the constant replicating of past films and covering it up with the word homage. Of course this has gone beyond the directors and is across the board, producers, writers, casting agents, so of course it includes actors a well. Which is why we have stars that can't act explaining why they fade away after the public loses interest in them once becoming bored seeing the actor/actress play out the role or roles they were only type cast for.

Films today are made to be hip, or cutting-edge. They rely too much on styles that are current in an easy attempt to sell them to the public. However this catches up with them and several years down the line they quickly become passť. The style of filmmaking used in Supergirl, even Superman, is not like that. Aside from certain styles, clothing, cars and so forth, these films were smartly done to transcend the decade of their making. Which is why they live on, like the comics that gave birth to them. They are dictated by their story, not what is hip. The portrayal of Kara/Lucy, as with Kal-El/Clark, must be pure both ethically and morally. If you stray from that by inserting doubt, distrust, angst or anything negative then you tamper with the characters creed of battling those who are not. They must be the complete positive in order to defend, and fend off our societys negative. These people were dubbed Super are aliens. Different from us, more advanced, perhaps spiritually as well. What makes them truly Super is that they dont succumb to our societys pit falls, but continue on as purveyors of all that is good and what we should aspire to. Because of this there will always be room and acceptance for films like Supergirl. Especially now where there is so little, of what these characters bring, in movies today.

 

Can you tell us anything about the Santa Claus DVD?
Did you locate enough materials to make it an extensive DVD?

Santa Claus will have Theatrical Trailers, I believe TV Spots, and the original Making of like the Supergirl DVD, and a Commentary with the director, Jennot and myself. Theres also an Easter egg - something hidden in one of the menus. It wont be exactly a Special Edition but it is special in the sense that it has never been available in widescreen or 5.1 previous, and stands to have, quality-wise, the best transfer ever! 

 

Thanks to Scott Bosco, he's been very helpful. You visit his website- http://www.thedigitalcinema.net