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Mad Dog and Glory
Produced by legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas) and longtime collaborator Barbara DeFina, Mad Dog and Glory is a original comedy-drama from director John McNaughton (Wild Things). It's a quirky comedic gem with an all-star cast featuring Robert De Niro, Bill Murray, and Uma Thurman.
Wayne "Mad Dog" (Robert De Niro) is a detective working in Chicago who finds himself accidentally saving the life of a well-connected mobster boss (with a side-job as a stand-up comedian), Frank (Bill Murray). Frank is extremely pleased that Mad Dog helped save him and he decides to give Frank an unsusual "gift" by having a girl who works for him, Glory (Uma Thurman), stay with Wayne for one week.
Mad Dog and Glory (hence the title of the film) soon find themselves in a unusual predicament. Wayne "Mad Dog" soon becomes infatuated with Glory and the two start to fall in love despite their unusual encounter. The unlikely pair discover they have more in common than they thought at the start. The "favor" from Frank turns into a mission from Wayne to get Glory out of the clutches of Frank's mob. Determined to help her out and start a real relationship, Wayne does what he can to face-off against Frank.
The cast is terrific here in their respective roles. Uma Thurman is as beautiful as always and her charm practically leaps off the screen. Robert De Niro is just as impressive. He's clearly having a blast with this part and the chemistry between him and Thurman is clear as day. Murray is a scene-stealer with great delivery and charisma throughout the film.
The film has many notable production aspects which help it excel: from the score by the great Elmer Bernstein (Far From Heaven, To Kill a Mockingbird) to the interesting cinematography by Robby Muller (Paris, Texas, Breaking the Waves). The costumes by Rita Ryack (Hairspray, The Fan) feel character appropriate. The production design efforts by David Chapman (High Fidelity, Grumpy Old Men) help to develop this world and make it feel more real.
The screenplay written by Richard Price (Sea of Love, Ransom) is a slyly funny and charming script filled with great character moments. Director John McNaughton (Wild Things, The Harvest) has a bunch of fun playing around with this absurdist story. The film has a strong energy behind it which carries audiences to the pitch-perfect conclusion. Mad Dog and Glory is a pure delight, through and through, and is worth revisiting (or discovering for the first time).
Mad Dog and Glory arrives on Blu-ray (for the first time) with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation. The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio. This is a reasonable step up from the faded and heavily compressed DVD from so many years ago. It's great to see the film finally receive a reasonable upgrade. The film retains a nice layer of film grain as well. The release has some minor print damage and wear to it as well so it's not a pristine print but it's still miles better than the DVD. The colors look a little bit drab and lack the kind of punch one hopes to find. The gains in quality far outweigh the weaknesses of this dated master. Don't go in expecting perfection and it's a pleasing release.
The audio on Mad Dog and Glory is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo audio. This is a modest sounding audio presentation which lacks great fidelity but dialogue still sounds reasonably clear and clean. Given the age of the film and source material utilized, this is a modest upgrade on audio quality. It's a decent bump in sound quality and aids the overall presentation.
English SDH subtitles (for the deaf and hard of hearing) are also provided.
Audio Commentary by Director John McNaughton and Co-Producer Steven A. Jones
Making-of Featurette (SD, 3 min.) is a short but sweet behind-the-scenes featuring interviews with the cast, director, and producer Martin Scorsese as they discuss the film.
Bill Murray, Robert De Niro, and Martin Scorsese (SD, 3 min.) discuss the film in this short and entertaining interview.
Uma Thurman (SD, 12 sec.) gets 12 seconds to discuss her part. Can you really call it an "interview" when it's such a brief clip?
Director John McNaughton (SD, 34 sec.) fares slightly better than Uma Thurman with 34 seconds. Start your stopwatches.
Producer Martin Scorsese (SD, 32 sec.) gets two seconds less than McNaughton to share his views.
Lastly, the release includes the original theatrical trailer for Mad Dog and Glory and other Kino releases.
Mad Dog and Glory is a great flick. It's not on a level high enough to be deemed as a certified "classic" but it's a highly entertaining film which has has plenty of drama, laughs, and surprises. It's carried by three terrific actors bringing their A-Game with Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, and Bill Murray all equally impressing. Mad Dog and Glory is essentially an A-Grade "B movie" which shouldn't be overlooked.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.