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Johnny Got His Gun [DVD] [1971]

Release Date:04/28/2009
Dalton Trumbo was one of Hollywood's most successful and respected screenwriters, but he was also a committed political activist -- his leftist views led to him being blacklisted during the "Red Scare" of the 1950s -- and in 1938 he wrote an impassioned anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun, that was a major critical success. In 1971, Trumbo hade his belated directorial debut with a screen adaptation of the book, but the film received only a limited release, and it found its widest audience through a most unlikely circumstance -- the heavy metal band Metallica used clips from the movie in the music video for their song about a victim of war, "One". Shout Factory has finally given Johnny Got His Gun its North American video debut with a DVD edition of the picture. Johnny Got Hs Gun has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 1.85:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors, and the image looks just a bit soft, with a muted color palate in the scenes not presented in black and white, suggesting the disc may have been mastered from a PAL video source. However, the transfer was taken from a clean looking print, free of scratches and blemishes, and it's noticeably better than the bootleg videos that have circulated on this title for years (some taken from European VHS copies of the film). The audio is in Dolby Digital Stereo, retaining the film's original monophonic sound mix, and the fidelity is good though not unusually so. The dialogue is in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options. A number of bonus features appear on this release, most notably Dalton Trumbo: Rebel In Hollywood, a documentary which looks in detail at Trumbo's career, his years under the blacklist, and the making of Johnny Got His Gun. Also included is a recent interview with actor Timothy Bottoms about his experiences making the film, an audio-only presentation of a 1940 radio adaptation of the novel featuring the voice of James Cagney, an article on the production from American Cinematographer magazine, the original theatrical trailer, and Metallica's "One" video. If this release of Johnny Got His Gun is a few stops less than perfect, it looks very good if not great and makes an elusive title available in North America at last, and the extras offer a fascinating perspective on its history and production.

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (3 out of 3)

    Special Features

    • Dalton Trumbo: Rebel In Hollywood
    • New interview with Timothy Bottoms
    • Metallica Music Video "One"
    • Rare behind-the scenes footage with Commentary by Timohty Bottoms and Director Of Photography Jules Brenner
    • 1940 Radio Adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun starring James Cagney
    • Johnny Got His Gun Article from American Cinematographer (1971)
    • Original Theatrical Trailer
    • Closed Captioned


    Johnny Got His Gun
    The author of the famous late 1930's antiwar book Johnny Got His Gun wrote and directed this film adaptation. It concerns a nameless young soldier (Timothy Bottoms) in a veteran's hospital in the World War I period. The young man has had his face blown off, he is without the use of any of his senses save touch, and also has no arms or legs. He is in a coma at the beginning of the film, and his doctors doubt that he will regain consciousness. This is also what they hope. A nurse, while changing his dressings, discovers that he is awake and responsive. The unrelieved awfulness of his situation is apparent to many. However, in order to keep the "good order" of the military, the regular Army general commanding the hospital will not allow the boy to be seen or his family notified, nor will he permit anyone to perform a mercy killing. Interspersed with this horror are flashbacks of the youth's life before the war. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Image coming soon
      Craig Bovia - Little Guy
    • Peter Brocco
      Peter Brocco - Ancient Prelate
    • Image coming soon
      Judy Howard Chaikin - Bakery Girl
    • Eric Christmas
      Eric Christmas - Cpl. Timlon
    • Ken Clark
      Ken Clark - Hospital Official

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.