White Of The Eye was one of those indie titles of the ’80s that passed through a few sets of hands and somehow managed to miss DVD altogether in the U.S. It got an overdue revival in the U.K. when Arrow Video did a nice special edition for it – and that same transfer has now made it stateside thanks to the folks at Scream Factory. They have released the film as a blu-ray/DVD combo set that combines this transfer and several extras from the Arrow set while adding a few new extras of its own.
The 2K transfer used here does well by a challenging-to-transfer film, which utilizes a lot of filters to soften the image and a bleach-bypass process in its flashbacks to drain the color of those moments. The result has a proper “celluloid” texture to its visuals but still boasts an impressive level of color and detail. As usual, Scream Factory offers 5.1 and 2.0 lossless stereo options to accompany the transfer. The 5.1 was used for this review and it adds some spaciousness to the mix, particularly in its use of music.
Extras begin with a commentary track by Donald Cammell’s biographer, Sam Umland. It’s an ambitious, tightly scripted sort of commentary that covers a variety of topics while offering pertinent information or observations for every scene. He points out the films that White Of The Eye alludes to, offers a sophisticated psychological analysis of the story, explains the differences between the film and the book that inspired it, gives biographical info for the director and comments on the use of music. In short, it’s an informative and thoughtful listen from start to finish.
Next up are a series of interview featurettes. The first comes from the Arrow set and offers a sitdown with co-cinematographer Larry McConkey. In eleven minutes, he explains how the film ended up having two cinematographers and how Cammell’s insistence on chaos, mixed with a tight schedule, forced the crew to innovate.
The other two interviews make their debut on this special edition. The first is an 18-minute chat with Alan Rosenberg, who paints a portrait of Cammell as a tormented genius while admitting he didn’t fully understand the character that the director wanted him to play. Still, he has warm feelings for the film, which he considers a pioneer of a realistic style of horror film. The other is an interview with Art Evans, who fondly recalls being chosen by Cammell for the film and working hard to justify his faith. In under 16 minutes, he offers up many memories of the director, Cathy Moriarty and David Keith.
The remaining extras are additional or alternative takes on material in the film itself. Five and a half minutes of deleted scenes are included: no sound was available for these outtakes but Umland offers a detailed commentary for each that explains their significance and why they were cut. Twelve minutes of flashback footage are shown in their original form so you can see how different the colors were prior to the bleach bypass process. Finally, an alternative credits sequence offers a slightly different take on the opening titles.
All in all, this is a worthwhile special edition. Those with the U.K. edition may want to hold onto it for a few exclusive extras it has but U.S. viewers will find this to be a fine alternative that throws in a few unique interviews to sweeten the deal.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of White Of The Eye, click here.