DVD COMMENTARIES

Below are DVDs on which Alain Silver has provided audio or video (on-camera) commentaries. Links are keyed to the box covers for use in ordering the DVDs (from Amazon on-line).  

Audio Commentaries (* with James Ursini)

Latest Releases:

Released in May, 2013 by Pendragon Film: *He Walked by Night
Released in June, 2012 from Twilight Time/Fox: *The Wayward Bus

“Film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini provide a laid back but informative running commentary
on the film with only an occasional slight pause between comments.” Matt Hough, Home Theater, June 4, 2012

Released in June, 2011 by The Criterion Collection: *Kiss Me Deadly

“The one audio commentary features noir historians Alain Silver and James Ursini,
who do a detailed and thorough job contextualizing Kiss Me Deadly as the quintessential 1950s noir
and, more importantly, a ‘Robert Aldrich’ film.” Glenn Heath Jr, Slant Magazine, June 20, 2011

Released in July, 2011 from Twilight Time/Fox: *The Egyptian

"There’s a lively and informative audio commentary with film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini,
who discuss many aspects of the film from its production to its harsh reception.
Silver and Ursini also touch on the film’s cast here and there;
it’s always funny for a self-professed b-movie fanatic like myself to hear
'real' film scholars talk about actors and their careers." "Luigi Bastado," blocritics.org

Murder, My SweetMurder, My Sweet, Warner Bros. The entire first Warner Bros. Film Noir Collection WB Film Noirat Amazon

"Commentator Alain Silver knows his stuff--he wrote the book Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles. He points out that only about a dozen true film noir films featured private detectives--half of them based on Chandler books." Glenn Abel, Hollywood Reporter   

To go the site for Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles
CLICK HERE OR ON THE BOOK COVER Raymond Chandler

Call Northside 777 *Call Northside 777, 20th Century--Fox

"Ursini and Silver offer the kind of insight only multiple viewings or a trip to the library would offer, and their commentary puts the film in its proper context. They also offer their encyclopedic knowledge of movies from the era. For example, they describe the real-life events that inspired Northside, and how they differ from what's on-screen. " Marty Mapes, Turner Classic Movies   

For info on our Film Reader series and other book on noir go to Film Noir Reader FilmNoirReader.com.

Thieves' HighwayThieves' Highway, 20th Century--Fox/Criterion Collection

"A more objective assessment is offered throughout on a commentary track by Alain Silver, editor of Film Noir Reader. Silver's not quite the kind of academic film scholar Criterion usually has offering commentary on these things, and that's good. Noir deserves insight as accessible and direct as the films themselves, and Silver handles the chores beautifully." Wade Major, Boxoffice

"Includes an excellent commentary track by noir historian Alain Silver (editor of The Film Noir Reader series) that calls attention to framing and shooting as well as background on the milieu and collaborators in making the movie." Stephen Murray, Epinions

Panic in the Streets *Panic in the Streets, 20th Century--Fox

"The commentary track by James Ursini and Alain Silver is excellent. If you are a fan of the genre then the names of Alain Silver and James Ursini are very familiar. The authors have written a number of books and articles on Film Noir. You will have a hard time finding more knowledgeable experts on the field. Thanks to Fox for bringing these great film historians in on their Film Noir project. The education you get on this commentary track is worth the price of admission by itself." Rusty White, Entertainment Insiders


Dark Corner*The Dark Corner, 20th Century--Fox

"As they have for a number of other titles in this series, film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver tag team for a commentary track, with an emphasis on the technical particulars of the shoot-though set in New York, most of the movie was shot on a Hollywood backlot, with a few pickups back east for which not all the actors made the journey. These guys are clearly well informed, and it's a free-ranging discussion of all things noir.." Jon Danziger, Digitally Obsessed


Nightmare Alley*Nightmare Alley, 20th Century--Fox

"The major inclusion is the audio commentary by prolific noir historians Alain Silver and James Ursini. Chatty and enthusiastic, what makes this track so interesting is the fact that they concentrate more on discussing the film's ambiguities than they do the background. As such it immediately makes you want to check out the film and take into account their considerations. Admittedly, I care less for Nightmare Alley than they do, but it's hard not to be taken in by their passion. " Anthony Nield, DVD Times


Crossfire*Crossfire, Warner Bros.

"Film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini carry on a lively wall-to-wall discussion about film noir, the movie itself, its sources, the blacklist (which hovered over the careers of several key players in this movie, in front of and behind the camera), the Red Scare, and the era that gave rise to pictures such as Crossfire and the violent political reaction to them. They're aided with archival interview quotes from the director, Edward Dmytryk; between the three voices, the lively talk, and some good editing, the commentary track ends up as entertaining as the movie." Bruce Eder, The All Movie Guide

       The second Warner Bros. Film Noir Collection Classic 2at Amazon House of Bamboo

*House of Bamboo, 20th Century--Fox

"The audio commentary is a dense supplement that features film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini, who provide interesting historical and anecdotal information regarding the production and Fuller's place in the film-noir canon. Both men make insightful comments about several aspects of the project and many of Fuller's collaborators." Kenneth Sweeney, American Cinematographer

Kiss of Death *Kiss of Death, 20th Century--Fox

"The sole supplement is a commentary from film historians (and regular Fox Noir DVD participants) Alain Silver and Jim Ursini, who do a bang-up job providing a comprehensive overview-filled with production tidbits and critical analysis-of the film and its place in noir history. Their discussion of the various locales used for shooting, as well as a scene in which Bianco and Udo visit a whorehouse, is great." Nick Schrager, Slant Magazine

*The Street with No Name, 20th Century--Fox.

Street with No Name "Commentating partners Alain Silver and James Ursini provide plenty of context for the film's conventions, drawing from a range of genres and industry background. As well, they set up for a second DVD commentary on House of Bamboo, Sam Fuller's 1955 remake of Street With No Name. In both cases, Ursini and Silver's conversations are smart and appreciative and the comparisons they make between the films are entertainingly sharp." Cynthia Fuchs, Pop Matters

Lady in the Lake *Lady in the Lake, Warner Bros.

"All of the movies in Film Noir Collection 3 contain the same kinds of extras: audio commentaries and trailers. In the case of "Lady in the Lake," the commentary is by film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini, who have done this kind of thing before. They are knowledgeable, affable, and fairly amusing, too. I enjoyed their exchange of opinions, reflections, and descriptions." John J. Puccio, DVD Town [Currently only available in Film Noir Vol. 3--see below]

*The River's Edge, 20th Century--Fox

The River's Edge
"Audio Commentary by authors and historians James Ursini and Alain Silver: Informative talk, mostly about Dwans' directorial career. Particularly interesting were observances on the straight-forward direction Dwan employs because of the low budget, and where it failed him, like in the unconvincing "day for night" scene where the officer is run over. Continuity issues are pointed out, like the trailer that might look small on the outside, but had plenty of room on the inside to film three actors moving around." Paul Schultz, The Trades

*Brute Force, Brute ForceUniversal/The Criterion Collection

"Film noir historians Alain Silver and James Ursini are old hands at commentary and they make a good verbal tag team. Well versed in the history and art of the film noir, they share their knowledge and observations with a conversational easiness, keeping it from getting too professorial. They are also fans, and their affection for the film keeps their talk engaging and animated yet focused." Sean Axmaker, MSN Movies

Boomerang
*Boomerang, Warner Bros.

"Noir experts James Ursini and Alain Silver deliver an excellent audio commentary on Boomerang."
Barrie Maxwell, Digital Bits


In the Warner Bros. Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (released Summer, 2007)

*Where Danger Lives Where Danger Lives

"Alain Silver and James Ursini, who are also John Farrow experts, add many details about the director's background.
The comments are generous with academic accolades for the film, especially Farrow's superior direction
that enhances/rescues Ms. Domergue's performance. They also point out several long-take scenes,
including one that lasts seven minutes. The movie is so smoothly directed, I never noticed it before."
Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant

Also on that DVD Tension. Joint commentary with Elizabeth Ward on that and

Mystery StreetMystery Street

Also on Tension Video comments on Act of Violence, They Live by Night and Crime Wave.

Lodger
*The Lodger in Fox Horror Classics.

"The Lodger has another excellent commentary by the film historians team of Alain Silver and James Ursini. Most have heard this pair working on notable Film Noirs and I feel quite comfortable listening to them share their encyclopedic knowledge of classic film which is always evident and they genuinely seem to enjoy their work with each other." Gary Tooze, Dvd Beaver


Smart Money

*Smart Money, Warner Bros. Gangsters Collection Vol. 3

"Smart Money has an Alain Silver/James Ursini commentary that will have you watching the film twice.." Nicholas Sheffo, Fulvue Drive-in

Hobson's Choice
*Hobson's Choice from the Criterion Collection.

"The feature-length commentary by Lean scholars Alain Silver and James Ursini is a more predictable, though informative and utilitarian take on Lean's body of work, highlighting his perfectionism and giving historical perspective on his career, and factoids about the actors. They make useful observations about Lean's compositions, which use moving two-shots to convey 'the shifting relationships in terms of character dominance'." Jeremiah Kipp, Slant


Invisible Stripes

*Invisible Stripes, Warner Bros. Gangsters Collection Vol. 3

"Silver and Ursini talk a lot about the Production Code. They also discuss how this and other gangster films presaged the postwar noir era. While they do offer occasional biographical notes on the filmmmakers, they do not do this to the extent that most of the other commentators in this set do, which is fine since the biographical details get a little repetitive when you listen to all of these tracks close together." Ken McAlinden, Home Theater Forum




Also completed with James Ursini - Coming Soon?
Probably not ever on these two released without our Audio Commentaries

Virgin Queen Nanny

Video (On-camera) Commentaries

The Gangster CollectionThe Gangster Collection, Warner Bros.

"On-camera speakers in the featurette Beer and Blood: Enemies of the Public include a particularly entertaining Martin Scorsese and Alain Silver." Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant

Other film featurettes include: Angels with Dirty Faces: Whaddya Hear? Whaddya Say?; Little Caesar: End of Rico, Beginning of the Antihero; The Petrified Forest: Menace in the Desert; The Roaring Twenties: The World Moves On; and White Heat: Top of the World.

Laura
Laura
, 20th Century--Fox/Pathe:
French 2-Disc Special Edition

Disc 2 featurette: L'Obsession



The Dirty Dozen, Warner Bros.Dirty Dozen

Bette Davis
The Bette Davis Collection: Vol. 2
,
Warner Bros.


Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 3, Warner Bros.FN 3
PeeperPeeper, 20th Century--Fox.

             Double Indemnity Special Edition, UniversalDouble Indemnity

The Mike Shayne CollectionThe Michael Shayne Mysteries, vol. 1, 20th Century--Fox.
Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4, Warner Bros.Film Noir Vol. 4
They Live by Night They Live by Night and Crime WaveAct of Violence
Gangsters Collection, Vol. 3, Warner Bros.Gangsters Vol. 3

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, "Ben Hecht: the Shakespeare of Hollywood"

Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Finally if you prefer the written word, Essays for Criterion DVDs:

On Samurai Spy (click on cover to read it): Samurai Spy Click here to Buy it
or get the whole collection Rebel Cinema

and on Seven Samurai 7 Samurai

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