The Stunt Man 1980
This brilliant and provocative film has the dubious distinction of sitting on the shelf with the label "commercially unviable." Lawrence B. Marcus's screenplay is based on Paul Brodeur's 1970 novel of the same title. The movie presents a fast-paced, revealing, and thoroughly engaging look at the movie business. Propelled by the excellent music of Dominic Frontiere and the expert cinematography of Mario Tosi, The Stunt Man is a beguiling work of art which lingers in the mind long after its closing credits.

Cameron (Steve Railsback) is a Vietnam veteran who is being pursued by the police and the FBI. During his flights from the law, he is involved in a strange episode where he apparently causes the death of another man. Eli Cross (Peter O'Toole), a charismatic and authoritarian film director who is making a movie about World War I, offers him work as a stunt man. Cameron soon discovers that the dead man was his predecessor in the job. For a while, the young fugitive is safe from discovery by the police; instead he is at the mercy of the director — an obsessed genius who senses that Cameron possesses the feral drive and madness to make his film something extraordinary.

Director Richard Rush thrusts us into the mad mad world of moviemaking. We see the hectic last three days of production from Cameron's point of view. In several daring stunt scenes, Cameron proves his pluck and death-defying courage. Each of the film's stunts is more dangerous than the one preceding it, and Eli Cross seems hellbent on capturing Cameron's death on film. Cameron is driven the point of total paranoia, unsure if he can trust anyone around him or even if he can rely on his own perceptions.

Director: Richard Rush
Cast: Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey, Allen Garfield, Alex Rocco, Sharon Farrell, Adam Roarke, Philip Bruns, Charles Bail, Gabe Delutri, Jim Hess, John Pearce, Michael Railsback
Country: United States
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Thriller

BD50, 2xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 02:10:41 | 43.2 Gb + 14 Gb
Language: English
Subtitles: none


Audio Commentary features writer-director Richard Rush, along with stars Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey, Alex Rocco, Sharon Farrell and Chuck Bail. Well edited and featuring a wealth of background information, the commentary is in some ways more illuminating and entertaining than the actual film.

The Sinister Saga: The Making of The Stunt Man (1080i; 1:54). This feature length documentary looks back on Rush's long struggle not only to get The Stunt Man made but released. Featuring a ton of archival footage (including a rare look at Regis Philbin as movie critic), this is a really interesting expose of the machinations involved in getting a film produced and out to theaters.

The Maverick Career of Richard Rush (HD; 34:18) reveals Rush's influence by American-International Pictures, going back through his early films, like the abortion shocker Too Soon to Love, before giving a general overview of his better known films.

Peter O'Toole Recounts The Stunt Man (HD; 18:46). O'Toole is obviously quite fond of this project and reminisces with a fair amount of affection about this film which he feels marks his entry into middle age and a different kind of role.

Devil's Squadron: An Interview with Steve Railsback and Alex Rocco (HD; 18:59). The two actors met while working on this film, and they reunited to talk about their history and the project, talking about everything from casting to pre-production to actual filming. Rocco is either too close to his mic or there were recording issues, as the audio is slightly distorted at times.

Barbara Hershey on Nina Franklin (HD; 14:23) has the actress discussing the ambiguity of her character. The audio on this featurette is somewhat muffled and distorted for some reason.

The Stunt Man at the New Beverly (HD; 17:18, only on Blu-ray) shows a talk back after a screening (with Freebie and the Bean) of the film. Railsback, Hershey and Rush answer questions from the audience.

Deleted Scenes contains two short snippets, Sand Pile (HD; 2:39), featuring O'Toole pouting and ruminating on a sand pile, and Police Station (HD; 3:15), with O'Toole and Hershey at the police station, including some dialogue that pops up in the finished film in different contexts.