Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TMI Trumbo: Johnny Got His Gun

The too-much-information age is a strange thing indeed. Take for instance Shout! Factory’s long-awaited DVD release of Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun,” which takes place mostly inside the mind of wounded WWI vet Joe Bonham, a deaf/dumb/blind quadruple amputee. Smoothly and effortlessly the film weaves back and forth in time, from the present, B&W hospital setting (seen from third-person POV) to Joe’s colorful memories of the past to the trapped soldier’s vivid fantasy world. Adapted from the legendary screenwriter’s own award-winning book, Trumbo’s sole directorial effort was a film I’d never gotten around to seeing, so I was pretty thrilled when I noticed that the DVD contained a slew of bonus features. In addition to Robert Fischer’s 2006 doc “Dalton Trumbo: Rebel In Hollywood,” there’s a 2009 interview with star Timothy Bottoms, and the music video for Metallica’s “One” (a metal homage of sorts to “Johnny”). As if that weren’t enough, there’s also behind-the-scenes peeks with Bottoms and DP Jules Brenner providing commentary, the 1940 radio adaptation of “Johnny” (the book) starring James Cagney, a 1971 feature article from “American Cinematographer,” the original theatrical trailer and, oh yeah, a replica of the original poster! It’s like an all-in-one, film junkie overdose kit.

Which would be great, save for one giant spoiler, which I could have avoided had I not been so geeky that I watched the extras first.

To read the rest of my review visit The House Next Door.

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