Finally! After a short run in New York last year, Ang Lee’s Director’s Cut of his amazing film RIDE WITH THE DEVIL comes not only to Blu-ray on April 27, but via the discerning folks over at Criterion. This is exciting news, indeed!
RIDE WITH THE DEVIL was all but lambasted by critics, dumped by its studio and, as a result, ignored by audiences in its initial 1999 release. But it has found many a fan since then. For the record, I saw RIDE opening weekend and was dumbfounded by the negative critical reviews for a film I thought was as good as anything Lee had directed previously. I have been a diehard fan ever since and have taken every opportunity to show this uniquely engaging film to anyone who would watch.
Not having seen the Director’s Cut yet, I cannot speak to its full merits, but I do know that I will be buying the Blu-ray regardless. This cut extends the film from its original running time of 138 minutes to a full 160.
Here is Criterion’s synopsis of the film:
With this new director’s cut, Ang Lee reconstructs his original vision for his Civil War epic, Ride with the Devil, an intimate, harrowing look at a country torn in half, told from a daringly unorthodox perspective. Set in 1862, during the Kansas-Missouri border war, the film stars Tobey Maguire as Jake and Skeet Ulrich as his friend Jack Bull; they join the Confederate-sympathizing Bushwhackers after Jack’s father is killed by marauding members of the abolitionist Jayhawkers. But Ride with the Devil is also the story of their unusual ally Holt (an astonishing Jeffrey Wright), who’s fighting for the South despite being a former slave. A rumination on identity and loyalty, both political and personal, Ride with the Devil is a provocative challenge to preconceptions about America’s bloodiest conflict.
And here are the Disc’s Features:
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:
- New director’s cut of Ride with the Devil, featuring thirteen minutes of added footage
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Ang Lee and director of photography Frederick Elmes (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- Two audio commentaries, one featuring Lee and producer-screenwriter James Schamus and one featuring Elmes, sound designer Drew Kunin, and production designer Mark Friedberg
- New video interview with star Jeffrey Wright
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Godfrey Cheshire
You can pre-order this DVD or Blu-ray from the kind folks at Criterion HERE.