The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn, Charles Napier
Extras: Documentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurette, Trailers, TV Spots, Still Gallery, Outtakes, Phone Message

To coincide with the unleashing of ’Hannibal’ on DVD, MGM Home Entertainment has released a new Special Edition of ’Silence of the Lambs’. This single-disc edition boasts a new high-definition 16×9 anamorphic transfer, which is letterboxed at 1.85:1. This new transfer brings us an image, which is very sharp and clear, showing none of the artifacting or redness of the older Criterion DVD. There is a fine sheen of grain in some shots and there is an occasional white or black speck visible from the source print, but other than those flaws, this transfer looks quite good. Those familiar with the film know that director Jonathan Demme shot the film with a cold, flat look and this comes across quite well here, as the blacks and grays look very good, and the occasional splash of color has quite an impact.

The new Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is quite impressive as well, especially when compared to the 2.0 Surround track from the Criterion disc. This new track offers a much cleaner sound, without the distortion or rumbling found on the Criterion disc. The bass response is good, and the dynamic range is acceptable, offering a nice usage of the rear channels. The dialogue is clear and understandable and Howard Shore’s score sounds very nice. Overall, this transfer is very good and is definitely an improvement over the previous two DVDs of ’The Silence of the Lambs’.

The extra features on this new Special Edition are highlighted by a newly made documentary entitled ’Inside the Labyrinth.’ This 63-minute feature offers interviews with many of the principle cast and crew, including screenwriter Ted Tally, producer Ron Bozman, and actors Scott Glenn and Ted Levine. Noticeably absent are Jonathan Demme and Jodie Foster. In lieu of an audio commentary, this doc gives many inside details about the making of ’The Silence of the Lambs’, beginning with the source novel, going through the production, and on to the reaction from the filmgoing world. This is one of the better behind-the-scenes featurettes that I’ve seen. Also included is the original Making-of featurette from 1991. Running at 8-minutes, this offers interviews with cast & crew and shows some behind-the-scenes footage. Also of note are the 20-minutes of deleted scenes which are included here, some of which were on the previous Criterion disc. This deleted footage is made of shots cut from scenes existing in the film, and entire scenes which never made it to the finished product.

Of the more traditional extras, we have the theatrical trailer for the film, eight TV spots, five outtakes, or ’bloopers’, which are humorous, especially the final one with Jodie Foster. A Photo Gallery with 118 stills and Anthony Hopkins’ Phone Message can also be found on the disc. This Special Edition DVD of ’The Silence of the Lambs’ is very well done and gives this fantastic thriller the kind of treatment that it deserves. Also, seeing the film again will only reinforce to the viewer just how bad ’Hannibal’ really was.