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Heat: Two-Disc Special Edition

Heat (1995) is enjoying its 10th anniversary, and Warner Home Video, which initially released a truncated version of the film before re-releasing it in its current 172 minute version, first the big screen and then on DVD, is getting behind the title by publishing an expansive two-disc set (which replaces an earlier bare-bones DVD released in 1999). It's not clear if this anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) is new — it looks about the same as the previous DVD iteration, which was a tad on the soft side. However, the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio continues to show Mann's strong suit, with the famous heist sequence, M-16s blasting like firecrackers in our ears, especially strong. Aside from three trailers, the primary extra on the first disc is the audio commentary track by Mann. Speaking calmly through his thick Chicago accent, Mann does something unusual, which is to concentrate on meaning, motivation, and character rather than location hassles and happy time collaboration anecdotes. Mann is intent upon exploring Neil and Vincent's characters again in this track. Which isn't to say that the track is bereft of facts. One of the tidbits the auditor learns is that Voight's character was made up to look like the scab-faced Edward Bunker, the famed crook turned author whose book No Beast So Fierce was adapted by Dustin Hoffman as Straight Time (Mann worked for a time on the script) and who also appeared in Reservoir Dogs among some 20 other films.

For Heat junkies, the 11 deleted scenes on Disc Two are a treasure trove. Presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, these scenes are a blend of expanded or alternative scenes, and new (if often irrelevant) material. "Season's Starting Early" (00:32) shows Cheritto buying hockey masks, a scene obviously falls among the shots of McCauley stealing an ambulance and Shiherlis buying explosives. "Nicest Guy on the Block "(00:39) finds Cheritto arriving back at his domestic hearth, playing with his kids, giving his wife a packet of money, and then looking mysteriously dazed. "Albert and Hanna" is an alternate take of Hanna's famous dialogue with a snitch (00:18), which may be only the second time Pacino has ever sung on screen. "Shakedown" (00:27) finds Hanna and Sergeant Drucker rattling the cages by pressing a shady TV repairman. "Murder in C Block" expands the dialogue between Pacino and Tone Loc, with the effect of illustrating Cheritto's ruthlessness, even behind bars (00:34). "Let's Dance" (00:45) expands a scene in a restaurant between Hanna and his wife, dancing and talking about how they got married in the first place. "Late Arrival" (00:38) is an expansive of McCauley's crew discussing how they got made, with Cheritto arriving late, showing the transponders used to monitor his car, and making a guess as to how the cops got on to them (dialogue elsewhere in the movie confirms the suspicion voiced in this deleted bit). "Where's Ana?" is probably the key addition. At 02:19, it reveals that Trejo has been blackmailed into betraying Neil, am illuminating scene that readers have found only in the Heat script, available on line. "Double the Worst Trouble" is an addition to the scene between Neil and the shady doctor, who tries to squeeze him for a bigger fee (00:41). "Nate Delivers" (01:12) is another newly informative scene between De Niro and Voight (it explains where Neil would have gone and how if he'd got away). Finally, "No Response" (00:18) is an extraneous shot of De Niro getting into a car into a catatonic Brennamen. The "making of" materials on the second disc come in five parts, three of them comprising one element. "The Making of Heat" is the over all title for three mini films, "True Crime," which gives the background of Mann's interest in the material behind the film, "Crime Stories," which explains how the film was made, and "In the Fire," in which Mann and the cast explore the moral implications of the film (Diane Venora, for example, complains that in her research into the lives of women who are married to cops, she was disturbed to find out how excluded they are from that masculine world). "Pacino and De Niro: The Conversation" focuses quite obviously on the famous diner conversation, while "Return to the Scene of the Crime" follows Janice Polley, the film's location manager, and associate producer Gusmano Cesaretti, as they revisit several of the 65 locations, scattered as far a field as Terminal Island and east L.A. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case with paperboard slipcover.
—D.K. Holm

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