Misery Collector's Edition Rob Reiner

Misery Collector's Edition Rob Reiner
Reiner and Goldman’s audio commentaries anchor a superb DVD reissue of the classic 1990 screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. A wealth of well-made featurettes round out this deluxe disc set, making this an essential purchase. On separate commentaries, Reiner and Goldman explain the tortured history behind this film. For instance, King felt so attached to this novel that he sold the film rights only to Rob Reiner, who scored a hit with previous King adaptation Stand By Me. No one would direct it until producer Reiner accepted the job; he wanted to shatter his image as a comedy director (When Harry Met Sally, This Is Spinal Tap). Goldman recounts how several Hollywood stars, including Robert Redford, passed on the role of novelist Paul Sheldon until it fell to James Caan, then a has-been. The problem in both cases lay in one scene found in the novel and original screenplay: "number one fan” Annie Wilkes (the superb Kathy Bates) lops off Paul’s feet, a moment that would have alienated audiences. Goldman fought to keep that scene but Reiner wisely revised it so that Wilkes cripples Paul instead. Misery was the sleeper hit of 1990, detailing the ordeal of Sheldon, who survives a car crash in the Rockies only to be trapped by psychotic fan Wilkes. It’s a horror movie with little blood but teems with tension in every scene. The writing, directing and acting are top-notch but it’s Kathy Bates who steals the show with her razor-sharp performance. A retrospective featurette offers further background behind this modest production, while several fascinating featurettes have psychologists explaining the psychology behind stalking. Packing all of these extras onto a single DVD diminishes the picture quality of the film, but not to the point of distracting viewers. This is an excellent package. (MGM)