Midnight Express 30th Anniversary Edition Alan Parker

Midnight Express 30th Anniversary Edition Alan Parker
Thirty years ago, when Midnight Express first hit the big screen, it was considered a very controversial movie, especially overseas, thanks to its perceived anti-Turkey theme. Even today it can be a hot topic amongst some Turks. The story of an American tourist who’s made into an example by a corrupt legal system when he’s caught smuggling hash out of the country certainly remains a very powerful film. Based on the true story of Billy Hayes (played here by a superb Brad Davis) and adapted for the screen by an at the time untried Oliver Stone (who won an Academy Award for his screenplay), director Alan Parker is adamant in pointing out that the story went through many changes in its evolution from reality to book form to screenplay and finally a film, ending in a world that’s pretty much an amalgamated creation. This results in only one prison instead of two and thus a whole different escape plan and ending. For the 30th Anniversary Edition (coincidentally the same amount of time to which Hayes was sentenced), these changes — and much of the production process, including the choice of composer Giorgio Moroder, who won the film’s second Academy Award, the first for an electronic score — are detailed in Parker’s very informative commentary and the three new featurettes. There’s a lot of repetition between them but everything is succinctly summarised in Parker’s booklet, which accompanies the DVD. A dark, disturbing movie, Midnight Express is made even better by the detailed background offered in this new DVD package. (Sony)