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Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Never, ever, ever has there been a musical like Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Originally an actor's exercise by writer/director/star John Cameron Mitchell, he created the title character — a singer from East Berlin who'd suffered a botched sex-change operation — as a performance piece for "drag karaoke" night at the New York nightclub Squeezebox. He and composer-lyricist Stephen Trask used the Squeezebox performances as a chance to try out new songs and dialogue for the character and created an enormously successful off-Broadway show. Told through the songs and reminiscences of transsexual rocker Hedwig, we meet her back when she was called "Hansel" and hoping to escape Germany. In his late teens, Hansel meets a horny American G.I. named Luther and jumps at the chance to get married in the U.S. But her husband leaves her stranded in Junction City, Kansas. Hedwig then falls for Tommy (Michael Pitt) and introduces him to the wonders of rock, christening him Tommy Gnosis. But when Tommy goes off to become a rock superstar, Hedwig hits the road with her own band, determined to get the recognition she deserves for her music. What sets Hedwig apart from other rock musicals is the intricate way in which the songs add to the depth of the film's story, in particular an animated segment showcasing the beautiful ballad "Origin of Love." Meanwhile, Mitchell is stupendous as Hedwig, and the film is inspiring, original and deftly directed. New Line's Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Platinum Series offers a solid anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, as well as Dolby 2.0 Surround. Features include a commentary by Mitchell and director of photography Frank De Marco, the documentary Whether You Like It or Not: The Story of Hedwig (90 min.), deleted scenes with commentary, cast-and-crew bios, the theatrical trailer, and song-by-song access to the film. Snap-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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