Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Second Sight - GREGORY'S GIRL on Blu-ray ""

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Second Sight - GREGORY'S GIRL on Blu-ray

GREGORY'S GIRL (1981; Bill Forsyth)
I came to director Bill Forsyth via my fascination with John Sayles when I was in college. In addition to wanting to see every film that Sayles had directed at that point, I also started tracking down all the films he had written as well. This led me to things like ALLIGATOR, PIRANHA, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS and THE CHALLENGE. It also turned me into a lovely little character drama that Sayles scribed called BREAKING IN, which Forsyth directed. I was already a fan of both Burt Reynolds and Casey Siemaszko (of THREE O'CLOCK HIGH fame) so it was a no-brainer and I loved it. The name Bill Forsyth was familiar to me and I recalled that he had also directed LOCAL HERO which was a favorite of one of my coworkers at the video store I was working at. I had to see that film next and eventually worked my way around to GREGORY'S GIRL and COMFORT AND JOY. I liked both quite a bit and would later discover that Tarantino was also a Forsyth fan insofar as he would call out COMFORT AND JOY on a list of favorites in a book I read about him. In rewatching GREGORY'S GIRL, I really noticed how Forsyth would seem to be a filmmaker that most probably was also an influence on Wes Anderson. There's a certain sense of humor and a balancing of tone which has a kind of underlying melancholy to, very much in line with Anderson's films. Also, the film is primarily from the the point of view of the young people in the film so it makes it quite reminiscent of something like RUSHMORE or MOONRISE KINGDOM perhaps. Forsyth absolutely specializes in making these wonderful, observant, character-based comedies. They are populated with interesting, quirky people that are almost all endearing in one way or another. He really takes his time and lets his characters talk to each other. It's no surprise really that he and Sayles eventually hooked up and made a film together. They are quite similar. While Sayles leans a bit more dramatic with his material, Forsyth veers more down the light comedy fork. It's disarmly pleasant stuff. Feels like there might be some Truffaut influence in there too.

Special Features:
This disc has some excellent supplements which is quite refreshing as few of his movies have had much in the way of extras. These include:
-An Audio commentary track with Director Bill Forsyth and film critic Mark Kermode. This is a great commentary for a number of reasons. First, it's just great to hear Forsyth talk about this movie at all. I like his work quite a bit so it's neat to hear him break down his process a bit. Second, I like Mark Kermode, so it's great to hear him here too. Lastly, Kermode is obviously a big fan of GREGORY'S GIRL so he's coming at the movie from a very good place. He has lots of great specific questions about the origins of the production, where the story came from, how Forsyth came to cast the movie and what his working relationship with the actors was like.
- "Bill Forsyth: The Early Years" a new 20-minute interview with director Forsyth wherein he talks about how he came to be a filmmaker and the things that influenced that decision.
- "GREGORY'S GIRL Memories" - an 11-minute interview with actress Clare Grogan. She discusses first meeting Bill Forsyth and the process of being cast in GREGORY'S GIRL, meeting the other actors and actually making the film as well as promoting it.

1 comment:

beamish13 said...

You REALLY need to check out Forsyth's HOUSEKEEPING (1987). Very possibly the best American studio-produced film of the 1980's. He's just brilliant .