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Blu-ray Review: BEAT THE DEVIL
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DVD Review by David Blackwell


DETAILS: 123 minutes, audio commentary, film intro, deleted scene, featurettes, audio interview, original theatrical trailer, and Heath Ledger wardrobe test

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO: English, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH


STUDIO: SONY Picture Classics/ David Films/ Infinity Features/ Telefilm Canada

RELEASE DATE: 4-27-2010

erry Gilliam always seem to have problems with his movies like his battle over the editing of BRAZIL, a DON QUIOXTE film being undone after the actor playing the lead dies, and now the death of Heath Ledger during the shooting of THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS.   Luckily, the untimely death of a good actor didn’t mean the end for the film and Terry Gilliam was able to recruit Heath’s friends to finish Heath’s part in an imaginative way.   The film is a tribute to Heath Ledger and combing the best of Terry Gilliam’s movies into one film.


Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is an immortal with extraordinary powers after making a deal with the Devil.   However, Parnassus doesn’t want to lose his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) because he promised her to the Devil when she turns 16.  Not all is lost as a mysterious stranger (Heath Ledger) comes into the lives of his traveling troupe (Parnassus, his daughter, a midget played by Verne Troyer, and Anton (who is love with Valentina)).  Parnassus makes another deal with the Devil in an attempt to save his daughter.  He must save five souls before the devil takes five souls.    Will the stranger be able to help Parnassus save his daughter or will it cause some new problems?


THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS is another fantastic off-kilter film from Terry Gilliam.   The cast performs well in this very visually imaginative film.   I hope many people discover on DVD (and Blu-ray) how good the film is and not just to see Heath Ledger in one more role.  Also be on the look out for Lily Cole.  She shows great promise and she is fantastic as Valentina.





Feature audio commentary by Director Terry Gilliam

Film Introduction by Director Terry Gilliam



BEHIND THE MIRROR- promotional featurette

BUILDING THE MONASTAREY- the visual effects that went into creating the monastarey (a combo of miniature and CGI elements)

DOCTOR PARNASSUS AROUND THE WORLD- footage from the world press tour

CAST & CREW PRESENTATION ON STAGE- Terry Gilliam introduces the cast and crew before showing the movie

THE ARTWORK OF PARNASSUS- Terry Gilliam talks and shows the artwork for the film


Audio Interview with Heath Ledger is an interview that was recorded three weeks before Heath started shooting what would be his last film

Heath Ledger Wardrobe Test with optional commentary by Terry Gilliam shows the fun side of Heath as Terry tries to find the right looks for Heath and the film.

Deleted scene with optional audio commentary shows an extended scene that was cut for pacing.


FINAL ANALYSIS:   THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS is one of Gilliam’s best films with a wonderful final performance form Heath Ledger.  


This DVD review is (c)5-15-2010 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com