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National Lampoon's Animal House: Double Secret Probation Edition

College, for some, marks the beginning of adulthood. It is a time of character and knowledge, with an emphasis on discovery and the future. For many, however, it is a period of prolonged adolescence, a chaotic orgy of sex and booze. This is the college life National Lampoon remembers in what surprisingly became the highest grossing comedy of all time upon its release in 1978. The house in question belongs to the Deltas, a motley bunch of Frat brothers who find their free spirits oppressed by Faber College's vindictive Dean Wormer and his evil, straight-laced cronies in the Omega house. Although Animal House's reputation as a classic owes more to memorable individual scenes than the total package, Lampoon's style of comic anarchy deserves praise for its narrative risks. As put-upon as they act, our Delta "heroes" actually do deserve to be expelled, and instead of staging a formulaic revenge to prove the moral point that the authorities are wrong to punish them, they merely cause a riot — and a very funny one, to boot. John Belushi heads a great cast of young actors. In its third DVD incarnation, Universal's Animal House: Double Secret Probation Edition presents the movie in an anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) from a restored print and newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (the 2.0 mono mix is also available). New supplements are the featurette "Where are They Now? A Delta Alumni Update" featuring many of the cast reprising their roles to poor comic effect (including Tim Matheson, Karen Allen, Stephen Furst, Peter Reigert, John Vernon, Verna Bloom, and Kevin Bacon), a music video by MXPX for "Shout," and a pop-up trivia track. From the previous release is the terrific behind-the-scenes documentary, The Yearbook — An Animal House Reunion (40 min.), featuring interviews with director John Landis, producers Ivan Reitman and Matty Simmons, cast members Matheson, Allen, Furst, Reigert, Vernon, Bloom and Bacon, composer Elmer Bernstein and writers Chris Miller and Harold Ramis, plus rare behind-the-scenes footage and clips of Belushi. Also on board are the theatrical trailer and textual supplements. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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