Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Say hello to my little friend

Releasing Brian De Palma's SCARFACE on Blu-ray is good news. But this is absolutely crazy. The SCARFACE Limited Edition Humidor lists for $999 (or $699 at Amazon), is handcrafted by humidor designer Daniel Marshall, and includes all kinds of collectible extras.

While I know that Tony Montana smoked cigars in the movie, I don't think that was his premier vice of choice. So the digital accouterments are somewhat misplaced in conjunction with a film that explores the depravity of a completely debased (if not charming...and, let's face it, he is charming) sub-human being. Cocaine and guns meant more to Montana than cigars (albeit his favorites were, no doubt, Cuban). So this very expensive DVD set packaged in a humidor - while cute - is all wrong.

If I'm going to pay a buck shy of a grand on this set, it better include a gold plated coke spoon, a ticket to Bolivia and a get out of jail free card...and the best image money can buy. I'd prefer Montana's uber-cool suit that he's wearing when he gets peppered at the end of the film.

I don't know if writer Oliver Stone meant for SCARFACE to be anti-violent, anti-drug, anti-Castro, anti-anything and I don't know if Stone (and De Palma) meant to glorify this exceedingly excessive lifestye, which still influences thug-of-all-creeds anti-social behavior, but the film is still a major kick in the ass.

I saw it on initial release in 1983 at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles, Illinois and remember walking out stunned and thrilled. It was one of the first films I saw that made me want to study the art of filmmaking even deeper. I was entranced by De Palma's use of the camera and its movement. While watching the film, I became aware of the way it was edited, how it was framed and how the music (Giorgio Moroder) played a role as large as Al Pacino. I also discovered that a truly horrific subject matter can be out loud funny. Tony Montana really is a funny guy - as long as you don't cross him.

So, yes, I'm glad they're releasing this masterpiece on Blu-ray. But I won't be splurging on the humidor. I'll just have to settle for this.

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