While it has yet to really receive it's proper due, MIDNIGHT RUN is truly one of the great American comedies of all time. I mean, I put it up there with SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS, BRINGING UP BABY, ANNIE HALL and SOME LIKE IT HOT. It's a brilliant combination of drama, heart and humor and the cast is second to none. It was an early excursion into comedy for Robert De Niro and he shows just how good he is at being funny. MIDNIGHT RUN is also the prototype for what we came to know in the 80s as the "Buddy Movie" genre. This type of film had it's roots in things like 48 HOURS, but I feel like MIDNIGHT RUN is the best of the Buddy Movies. It's the back and forth between comic genius Charles Grodin and De Niro that makes this movie come to life and sets the tone. I once read that W.C. Fields used to say that a lot of his comedy was based on characters annoying each other. Well his philosophy is full on at work here and in the most wonderful way. So you've got two amazing actors as your leads here, but beyond that there's a remarkable gallery of character actors to back them up. Joe Pantoliano, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton and Dennis Farina to name just a few. It's just a spectacular array of talent in front of and behind the camera.
Let's talk about Martin Brest for a second. This is the director behind BEVERLY HILLS COP and one of my favorite movies of all-time, GOING IN STYLE. His abilities at mixing drama, heart and comedy are among the best I think I've ever seen. BEVERLY HILLS COP is that rare exception of what could have been a straight up star vehicle that ends up being just a superlative movie. Yeah so between BEVERLY HILLS COP and MIDNIGHT RUN, Brest is responsible for two iconic and outstanding American comedy films of the past fifty years. It's a terrific thing that BEVERLY HILLS COP made the AFI's 100 Comedies list, but I find it kind of criminal that MIDNIGHT RUN was left off.
Even just listening to Danny Elfman's music from the film that plays over the menu of this Blu-ray reminded me how much I love this movie. The music has this transcendent joy and exhilaration to it and it makes me think of the superior cinematic themes from John Williams and others. The orchestration is completely different mind you (and unlike most of Elfman's other work), but the music is fantastic and the final piece of the puzzle that is MIDNIGHT RUN, which is awesome.
This disc features a bunch of new interviews that Second Sight did for this special edition.
-"We Got The Duke - interview with Charles Grodin" (13 mins) A neat chat with Grodin who discusses how he was cast, his process and how he deals with people in general. He also adds some touching personal asides.
-"Moscone Bail Bonds - interview with Joe Pantoliano" (15 mins) Pantoliano talks about how he came to acting and finding his place as a character actor. He also discusses his audition process for the film and things he observed other actors doing that he learned from.
-"Hey Marvin! - interview with John Ashton" (18 mins) Ashton talks about getting into acting and how he was basically a have lie delinquent prior to that. He mentions his work with Martin Brest on BEVERLY HILLS COP, and how he later auditioned with De Niro to get the part. Ashton is a very lively storyteller and the tale he tell about how he got the part in MIDNIGHT RUN is a good one.
"MIDNIGHT Writer - interview with screenwriter George Gallo" (25 mins) Gallo talks about his other scripts for WISE GUYS and BAD BOYS prior to MIDNIGHT RUN. I love to hear writers talk and Gallo is a down to earth guy who has tons of insights into the process of writing, getting a film made and how different the business is now. This is probably my favorite interview on the disc. Good stuff.
-"I'm Mosely! - interview with Yaphet Kotto" (8 mins) This is an audio only interview with actor Kotto in which he talks about the films he made (ALIEN, RUNNING MAN etc) that were getting him the most attention. Apparently he got very few comedies offered to him so MIDNIGHT RUN was quite refreshing which was what sparked his interest. He also talks about working with director Martin Brest and De Niro.
-Original Making MIDNIGHT RUN Promo (7 mins) This is a promotional featurette made at the time the film came out. It has interview bites from De Niro, Grodin, Kotto, Ashton and the rest of the cast as well as director Martin Brest.