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article imageNatalie Portman's Oscar-winning transformation in 'Black Swan' Special

By Earl Dittman     Apr 3, 2011 in Entertainment
Natalie Portman would endure months of rigorous physical training and deep emotional self-exploration to portray Nina, the unstable ballerina in the sexy psychological thriller, 'Black Swan' (available on Blu-ray and DVD), a drama set in the dance world.
While director Darren Aronofsky's critically-acclaimed film, The Wrestler, was set in the world of wrestling and featured an incredible performance by award-winning actor Mickey Rourke as a washed-up wrestling star, Aronofsky's latest motion picture, Black Swan, explores what goes on behind and on the stage of a professional dance troupe. However, the filmmaker focuses on one New York City Ballet dancer in particular, Nina (Portman), a seemingly meek and talented, young prima ballerina. While the film features a handful of dance sequences (from a new production of Swan Lake), at its core, Black Swan primarily focuses itself on the confusion, obsession and darkness within Nina's mind and chronicles her mental deterioration as she struggles to keep the light and innocent side of her Swan character, but also bring to life her character’s seductive and evil half. As the artistic director (Vincent Cassell) demands pure perfection from her, she begins to push herself even harder when she perceives that a new dancer (Mila Kunis) is out to take her role, Nina begins to mentally break and has trouble distinguishing reality in her own life to the fantasy that is supposed to be going on while she is onstage. Has she indeed become the Black Swan or is Nina just imagining?
 Black Swan  director Darren Aronofsky
'Black Swan' director Darren Aronofsky
Although Portman admits that she and Kunis went through weeks of near-starvation diets and endless days of dance training, the now pregnant Natalie (who met her new beau Benjamin Millepied, father of her child, on the set of Black Swan) says that she's so happy she no longer has to wear those blasted ballerina slippers anymore. “First off, I like wearing flat shoes,“ jokes the Jerusalem-born Portman, who stars in the upcoming comedy Your Highness. “When the film was over, the first thing I was so happy to stop doing was wearing those point shoes. Point shoes are torture devices. Ballerinas get used to it, so it was definitely a case of it being a new experience for me, but they feel very medieval.”
While Portman was more than happy to put away her torturous pink slippers for good, she was elated that they, in small part, helped her to win countless Best Actress awards from critics, the Golden Globes, BAFTA, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and of course, the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscar) for her role as Nina. Being in the business most of her life, though, Portman has learned how to put the kudos, good reviews and mythic awards into perspective. "The best thing you can hope for – especially when you make a movie and you put your soul into it like all of us did – is that people respond to it well, and the fact that audiences came away moved and excited, entertained and stimulated by this film is extraordinarily flattering,” she admits. “I can’t deny that I feel great about winning the awards. It's a great, great honor. But they are more for the film and they people that worked with me. Without them, I might not have won any award. So, everyone I won belongs to everyone who was a part of Black Swan. They all deserve it.”
Natalie Portman as Nina in the  Black Swan
Natalie Portman as Nina in the 'Black Swan'
On many occasions, you have said, "This is a dream role for me?" Why was Nina such a great part for you?
"I danced when I was younger, until I was about 12, and I guess I always sort of idealized it, as most young girls do, as the most beautiful do – this expression without words. I always wanted to do a film relating to dance. So when (director) Darren (Aronofsky) had this incredible idea that was not just relating to the dance world but also had this really complicated character – two characters to go into... and especially with Darren, who is a director that I would do anything for – it was something completely exciting."
Your costar, Mila Kunis talked about her excitement of being able to eat a Double Double as soon as she was done with her dance training and dieting. What was your first meal when you were done with training?
"I believe the first meals were pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
At its core, Black Swan is about transformation, and you make a complete transformation on film. How do you approach transforming yourself for something like this?
"It was a great challenge, and I had really, really amazing support. All the teachers and coaches and the choreographer, obviously, and the director, first and foremost, were shaping and pushing along the way. But I started with my ballet teacher a year ahead of time – Mary Helen Bowers – and she started very basically with me, but we would do two hours a day for six months. That was really just strengthening and getting me ready to do more so I wouldn't get injured. And then, at about six months, we started doing five hours a day, where we added swimming. So I was swimming a mile a day, toning, and then doing three hours of ballet class a day, and then two months before, we added the choreography. So we were doing probably eight hours a day, and the physical discipline of it really helped for the emotional side of the character, because you get the sense of the monastic lifestyle of only working out only dancing – a ballet dancer's life. You don't drink. You don't go out with your friends. You don't have much food. You are constantly putting your body through extreme pain, and you really get that understanding of the self-flagellation of a ballet dancer."
Natalie Portman rehearsing for  Black Swan
Natalie Portman rehearsing for 'Black Swan'
Can you talk a little about working on the choreography and what that experience was like?
"The choreography were different pieces for Black Swan and White Swan. I had an amazing coach, Georgina Parkinson, who very sadly passed away two weeks before we started shooting. She was the premiere Swan Lake coach for Odile/Odette, so she worked very specifically with me on everything – from fingertips to where you put your eyes on different movements – that was all sort of ballet acting. It's little gestures that you can do that really differentiate between those two characters."
Can you talk about working with costar Barbara Hershey as your mother?
"Darren did a really beautiful thing where he had Barbara write letters to me in character, as Erica to Nina, for the first portion of the film that he would hand to me on important days of shooting – so I should feel my mother. And Barbara wrote really, really gorgeous letters that were really in character and gave that sense."
Natalie Portman and Vincent Casell in  Black Swan
Natalie Portman and Vincent Casell in 'Black Swan'
Given that you have a degree in psychology, what would be your professional diagnosis of your character?
"This was actually a case where something that I learned in school did translate into something practical, which is very, very rare. But it was absolutely a case of obsessive compulsive behavior. The scratching. The bulimia, obviously. Anorexia and bulimia are forms of OCD, and ballet really lends itself to that because there's such a sense of ritual. The wrapping of the shoes everyday and the preparing of new shoes for every's such a process. It's almost religious in nature. It's almost like Jews putting on their tefillin or Catholics with their rosary beads, and then they have this sort of God-like character in their director. It really is a devotional, ritualistic, religious art which you can relate to as an actor, too, because when you do a film, you submit to your director in that way. Your director is your everything, and you devote yourself to them and you want to help create their vision. So I think the sort of religious obsession compulsion would be my professional diagnosis."
So much of Black Swan is about obsession. How do you find your own balance between normalcy and that obsession? How do you pull yourself out of that as an actress, and what works for you to get going and keep going?
"As soon as I finish a scene, I'm back to being me. As soon as I finish shooting, I want to be myself again. I'm not someone who likes to stay in character. This clearly had a kind of discipline that lent itself to me being probably more like my character while we were shooting than past experiences, but I just go back to my regular life after. One of the reasons that I think Darren and I had such a sort of telepathy during this, is that I feel like he's as disciplined and focused and alert as he could possibly be and that's what I try to be. I'm not a perfectionist, but I like discipline. I'm obedient. I'm not a perfectionist. I think it's important to work your hardest and be as kind as possible to everyone that you work with, and that's the goal everyday – just keeping focused on that.
Natalie Portman in  Black Swan
Natalie Portman in 'Black Swan'
Was there ever a Chekhovian influence to your character in this film?
"I did think about it a lot, actually, and probably because of the film's name, although I feel like this has a very different ending than Chekhov's The Seagull, obviously. But there's this young girl who needs to name herself instead of being named by a man because obviously, in The Seagull, when he tells her she is a seagull, she has to name herself later. She has to give herself her own name. There is a lot of that in this, too, where she's being told who she is. Our Nina in this film has to announce who she is rather than have that projected upon her."
Black Swan got the Green Seals Award. Can you talk about being a Green set?
"Darren is a huge environmentalist and talks about it all the time and made sure that there were no water bottles anywhere on set, which is a huge deal.
We could not have water bottles anywhere, and we were drinking tons of water, obviously, because we're dancing and expending so much energy, and everyone was given containers and there were things to fill it up on the set. Then it has to do with everyone getting lunch every day, and instead of having it on Styrofoam, which most movies have for your containers -you can have eco-containers. That's a daily thing where hundreds of people are just wasting stuff that's poisonous. That was all from Darren."
Black Swan Blu-ray/DVD Combo: "Metamorphosis": A behind-the-scenes documentary with Darren Aronofsky; "Behind The Curtain" - An inside look at the ballet's influence on the film's costume design and production design; "Ten Years In The Making" - Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky discuss their creative journey, from "preparing for the role" to "dancing with the camera"; "Cast Profiles - Roles Of A Lifetime" - From the Fox Movie Channel, featuring the stars as they reflect on their challenging and rewarding characters; BD LIVE! - Behind the scenes with new, exclusive footage; Live Lookup powered by IMDB and Digital Copy
Mad Men: Season Four
After four seasons of portraying Don Draper on Mad Men, the 3-time Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Outstanding Drama series set in the advertising world of the 1960s, leading man Jon Hamm says he's noticed that some important things have changed with men, as a culture, in the past fifty years. And not all the differences have been for the best. "Sadly, I think all the polish we once had has been worn off," admits Hamm, who recently starred in the film Sucker Punch. "Fundamentally, I think people haven’t changed since the Stone Age. I think that very, very thin veneer of social construct has worn off rather quickly. I don’t think that people have changed too much. I think we hide it better now." As for the cool, hip men from the '60s (depicted in the Matthew Weiner-created Mad Men), Hamm doesn't believe they were as classy as we were all led to believe they were. "Buddy, I don't know if they ever had class back then," jokes Hamm, who will be returning for Season Five of Mad Men. "I could send you a couple of links of stuff where guys are berating their wives for making the coffee badly. What I think happened in the '60s was irony happened. And the idea of selling, non-earnestly, became cool. Obviously, it's not a mistake when the baby-boomers started getting eighteen. We're seeing a lot of it now, we're seeing these cool hipsters going, 'C'mon Willamsburg's cool.' 'No, it isn't, it's in Brooklyn. Manhattan's better. It's better, I'm sorry. It is.'" Blu-ray Bonus Features: "Divorce: Circa 1960s," "How To Succeed In Business Draper Style," "Marketing The Mustang: An American Icon" and "1964 Presidential Campaign" featurettes and Mad Men Season 4 Commentaries.
The Resident
In this skin-crawling new thriller, two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry, Million Dollar Baby) portrays a gorgeous doctor who begins to get the eerie feeling that someone is watching her in her spectacular Big Apple apartment. Little does she know, her landlord has developed a full-fledged obsession with her, which puts her in real danger. Directed by Anitti J. Jokinen, The Resident also stars the iconic Christopher Lee, Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) and Watchmen/Grey's Anatomy star Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The Resident marks the second time Swank and Morgan have worked together in a film. The first time they combined talents for the silver screen was for her romantic dramedy P.S. I Love You -- one of Morgan's first movie roles after almost giving up on acting as a profession. "There is a very good reason why Hilary has two Academy Awards -- it's because she's a brilliant actress and a sweet, wonderful woman," the 44-year-old star of The Losers declares. "Working with an actresses like Hilary reminds you why it's so great to be an actor in the first place -- she's contagious, because you begin falling in love with the craft as much as she does." After landing a few minor TV roles at the beginning of the decade, Morgan went through an incredibly long dry period of securing very few acting gigs. "I could barely pay rent and doing unemployment when I had to," he remembers. "It just wasn’t how I anticipated my life was going to be twenty years ago. I certainly wasn’t happy with what I was doing. I didn’t know what to do." Just when he was about to proverbially call it a day, he landed a role on Grey's Anatomy as Denny, the very ill patient and love interest of Katherine Heigl's character, Izzie. “‘In terms of my career today, Grey’s Anatomy was totally everything to me," Morgan admits. "I wouldn’t be sitting here without Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t even know what I would be doing. Chopping wood? Maybe working at McDonalds? Thanks to Grey's Anatomy, I’m the luckiest son-of-a-bitch ever. I’m not even going to pull any punches. I’m the luckiest f***ing guy ever.”
All Good Things
When it comes to choosing roles, Ryan Gosling tries to read or find out something about every script that hits his desk. "Ireally try to read everything, it doesn’t matter how big or small it is," the London, Ontario-native admits. "I even have a lot of people helping me, too, people whose taste I really trust. Like I’ve been working with one woman since I was 14 and she just really knows the kind of thing that I’m going to dig. Also there’s so few good things out there that it’s not hard to sift through. They stand out like a sore thumb. When something like All Good Things comes around, it’s really obvious, because you’re not reading anything like that." A real-life love story and murder mystery, All Good Things is based on New York most notorious unsolved murder case in the city's history -- the 1982 disappearance of Katie McCormack, the spouse of real estate heir Robert Durst Although Durst would go on trial for killing his wife, he was never convicted for her disappearance (she would never be found -- dead or alive) In the original screenplay of All Good Things that Gosling read through, Gosling (who scored an Academy Award nomination for Half Nelson) was drawn to the newly discovered facts about the case and recently discovered court records, Produced and directed by Andrew Jarecki and featuring a cast that also includes Frank Langella, Kirsten Dunst and Philip Baker Hall, All Good Things is the type of film Gosling considers a successful by-product of his Oscar nod. "Because of the nomination, I certainly get a lot more opportunities now than I did before, but I think also with those opportunities come a certain responsibility to do the most with those opportunities," says Gosling, who is slated to take the lead in the Logan's Run redux. "This was one film opportunity that I'm incredibly proud of. I really think we more than did justice to the story." Blu-ray Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes; "All Good Things: Truth In Fiction": researching the original story, "Beneath the Surface of All Good Things": Interview with Andrew Jarecki and "Wrinkles In Time: Ryan Ages" featurettes; Commentary with Andrew Jarecki (Director/Producer) and Robert Durst; Commentary with Andrew Jarecki (Director/Producer), Marcus Hinchey (Co-Writer/Co-Producer) and Marc Smerling (Co-Writer/Producer) and BD LIVE!
This 3D, musically-animated take on the famous hair-raising fable Rapunzel (the 50th full-length animated feature in The Walt Disney Studios’ celebrated library) showcases the incredible vocal talents of Mandy Moore (A Walk To Remember) as Rapunzel, Zachary Levi (Chuck) as Flynn Rider, Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Hook Hand Thug, Donna Murphy (Spider-Man 2) as Mother Gothel and Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as the Stabbington Brothers. Directed by Byron Howard (BOLT), Nathan Greno and Alan Menken, the award-winning songwriter of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, Tangled is an exciting adventure featuring an exciting storyline and memorable melodies. Zachary Levi, the star of the comedic spy television series Chuck. “I guess you could say I play the hero of the story, but like the character of Chuck, he’s still learning the ropes about how to be heroic -- he’s a beginner,” Levi jokes. “People think it’s easy to be like Flynn or Chuck, guys who end up saving the day. I’m here to tell you it’s a tough job. For Tangled, I was lucky that I just had to act with my voice. If I would have had to do the things that Flynn does to save Rapunzel, the stunts would have probably killed me.” Still waiting to find out if Chuck is being picked up for another season, Levi is still thankful that fans of the show fought to keep in it on the air in the early days. "I've always believed that to get to do what I do is just a blessing,” the Louisiana-born actor explains. “It's a blessing and it's one that you have to respect and you have to nurture it and part of that is respecting and nurturing the very people that give you that opportunity. Those are your fans and they are your critics and the media that can send you to do it. So, you have to shove yourself down the public's throat, you know what I mean?” Levi ends with a laugh. Blu-ray/DVD Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes; “Untangled: The Making Of A Fairy Tale” and “Original Storybook Openings.”
Made In Dagenham
Based on a true story that took place in 1968 at a Ford auto assembly plant located in Dagenham, England, this comedic drama from Calendar Girls director Nigel Cole) is an extraordinary tale about the fight for equal rights by 187 ordinary British gals. At the local Ford plant in Dagenham -- run by a working force of 55,000 men and 187 women -- Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins) is tired of having to function and be paid less in what it clearly a man’s world. Many of her working sisters believe in equal rights, and Rita convinces to join in defying the company bigwigs, despite the toll it is her marriage and family life. Their fight begins to pick up steam when a shop's steward (Bob Hoskins) and an Employment Secretary from the government (Miranda Richardson) help them with their cause. Before long, the working women of Dagenham become quite famous in their native England, so much so that real changes seem possible. Even though the part of Lisa Hopkins was only considered a supporting role, Die Another Day, Pride & Prejudice and Barney’s Version star Rosamund Pike wanted to be a member of the Made In Dagenham cast. “The last three films that I’ve done -- An Education, Barney's Version and Made In Dagenham -- are three films that are all linked by one thing, which is very good writing,” admits Pike, who won a British Independent Film Award for The Libertine. “With Made in Dagenham, if you look at that, it's not much of a part for me. But, there's one scene, one speech that is brilliant, and I thought, 'I want to say that, even if that‘s all I say in the whole movie.’ So the character gets it's own voice that's specific and unusual and it falls to you to make it work. I loved doing Dagenham, because I said just as much as Lisa needed to.” Blu-ray and DVD Bonus Features: Outtakes; Deleted Scenes; Commentary with Director Nigel Cole; “The Making of Made In Dagenham” featurette and BD-LIVE Enabled.
Vega$: The Second Season, Volume 1
No private investigator was as slick, cool and great at his job as Dan Tanna. Doing whatever it took to assist the LVPD fight crime in Sin City, Dan Tanna (played by Robert Ulrich) and his cohorts Bea (Phyllis Davis) and Binzer (Bart Braverman), were enemies to every criminal element that stepped over the Las Vegas city limits line. For Tanna, when the line in the sand had been drawn, he was not about to let his enemies get away. "I learned so much working doing Vega$," recalls Michael Mann, the creator/writer of Vega$ and the director of such films as Ali, Public Enemies and Collateral. "It was like a crash course in learning -- really quick -- what to do and how to avoid the things you shouldn't do. More than anything, it taught me how the avoid the pitfalls of making a bad show, and it gave me some of the secrets of how to make a great series or movie. I'll always be glad I had that time on Vega$ -- it was the best teacher." (Only on DVD) Bonus Features: Episodic Promos.
Warner Bros.
IMAX: Hubble
The Date: May, 2009. The Mission: The Space Shuttle Atlantis Crew need to make crucial repairs and repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope. The Outcome: An IMAXO camera shoots incredible footage of five spacewalks and captures tons of close-ups with the assistance of the shuttle mechanical arm. Narrated by Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic), IMAX: Hubble allows viewers to travel to faraway galaxies to study the mysteries of their celestial surroundings. Additionally, viewers can join spacewalking astronauts as they attempt to fix one of the most important and difficult tasks in NASA history. IMAX: Hubble offers a breathtaking and brilliant look into the legacy of the Hubble Telescope and the impact it has had on space travel and mankind itself. (Only on DVD) Bonus Feature: “Inside IMAX's Hubble 3D” featurette. IMAX: Hubble is available on DVD, On Demand and by Download. For more information about IMAX: Hubble visit the link
Upstairs, Downstairs: Series One
With a revival of the groundbreaking series beginning next month on the BBC, make no mistake about it, this is the original, First Season of Upstairs, Downstairs, the most popular English drama show in television history This epic ITV saga about life in Edwardian England originally aired from 1971 to 1975 in over 40 countries -- to an estimated one billion television viewers -- scoring seven Emmy Awards, two BAFTAs, a Golden Globe and a Peabody. Now, four decades after its initial airing, Series One -- alongside the 21-disc Upstairs, Downstairs Complete Series: 40th Anniversary Edition -- is being released just weeks before the BBC remake begins. This is the 30-year story about the Bellamys, the wealthy Upstairs residents of 165 Eaton Place in London, and their loyal, Downstairs-living servants. Series One is set during the 1903 to 1909, and introduces viewers to the Upstairs residents of the posh London home, Sir Richard Bellamy, his dutiful wife Marjorie, their dissolute son James and their determined daughter Elizabeth. You also get to meet the servants and cooks who occupy the Downstairs part of the house -- Hudson, the butler, Mrs. Bridges, the cook, the sweet and carefree maid Rose and several other minders who keep the Bellamy household in order. While the men and women who live and work on both levels of the house continue their daily tasks, social change, political upheaval and even the terrors of World War 1 are taking place outside the Bellamy's front doors. But life goes on for them all -- love blossoms, some are struck by tragedy, scandals are avoided and wedding bells will begin to ring. Series 2-5 will be released throughout 2011. (Only on DVD) Bonus Features: Part 1 of "The Making of Upstairs, Downstairs" Documentary; Episode Commentaries and Alternate Pilot Episode.
Warner Bros.
Charlton Heston Presents: The Bible
Long before the printing press was even invented, the chapters and verses of the Bible were spoken -- from one person to another or by someone talking to a group of people sitting around their dinner campfire. Throughout the ages, the stories and tales of the Bible survived and continue to be passed down to willing ears. In this hi-tech age, Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston (The Ten Commandments) is the latest storyteller to recite the tales of the Bible to a worldwide audience anxious for his take on the greatest stories ever told. Charlton Heston Presents: The Bible -- which consists of the four films, Genesis, The Story Of Moses, Jesus of Nazareth and The Passion -- takes viewers to many of the actual locations that are written about in the Bible. Filmed on location in the Holy Land, join Heston as he visits such legendary biblical sites as Beit She'am, Jericho, Jerusalem, the Negev Desert, the Red Sea and the Sea of Galilee. Reading from both the Old and New Testaments, the late Charlton Heston adds his own unique, purely recognizable voice, poise and talent to this epic project. (Only on DVD) Bonus Feature: A 28-minute "Behind-the-Scenes" featurette for each of the four chapters. For more information, visit the Official Site at
Warner Bros.
King Of Kings
Nicholas Ray, the director of the iconic '50s film A Rebel Without A Cause, starring James Dean, would make another legendary film when he decided to direct the entire life story of Jesus of Nazareth in the unforgettable King Of Kings, Produced by Samuel Bronston (the man behind El Cid and The Fall Of The Roman Empire), the moving and inspirational King Of Kings features an all-star cast that includes Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus, Rip Torn as Judas, Harry Guardino as Barabbas and other actors such as Rita Gam, Maurice Marsac, Viveca Lindfors, Brigid Bazlen, Carmen Sevilla, Frank Thring, Robert Ryan and Guy Rolfe. From the Nativity to the Resurrection, Ray chronicles every important aspect of the Nazarene's life. Filmed in 1961, King Of Kings is celebrating its 50th anniversary with its inaugural release on Blu-ray. Bonus Features: "Vintage Featurette The Camera's Window Of The World"; Premiere Newsreels and Theatrical Trailer. For more information on King Of Kings, visit its Official Website at
The Ten Commandments
Many films have been called "epic" throughout the ages, but not all of them deserve the title. Legendary director Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, with Charlton Heston in the leading role of Moses, more than deserves be called epic, along with sweeping, masterpiece and iconic. Considered one of the American Film Institute's Top Ten epics of all time. The Ten Commandments, is now available, for the first time ever, on Blu-ray and restored to a stunning new visual experience. You can now experience The Ten Commandments in the best picture and sound possible. From Academy Award-winner Cecil B. DeMille's brilliant direction, its revolutionary Oscar-winning special effects (the parting of the Red Sea, accomplished without a single CGI effect) to its unforgettable musical score and an all-star cast -- Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson and Yvonne De Carlo -- The Ten Commandments (nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1956), a bio-pic about the life of one of the Bible's greatest figures, Moses, has stood the test of time and still deserves to be called "a sweeping, groundbreaking epic" -- even more so now that it is in Hi-Definition. Bonus Features: Commentary by Katherine Orrison, Author of Written In Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille's Epic, The Ten Commandments; Newsreel: The Ten Commandments Premiere in New York and Theatrical Trailers: 1956 "Making Of" Trailer/1966 Trailer/1989 Trailer.
The Civil War: 150th Anniversary Edition - A Film By Ken Burns
The year 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of that dark, gray day in United States history when the first gun shot was fired to ignite the battle of all battles -- the Civil War. To mark one of the most significant events in America's young history -- the division of the country over slavery -- filmmaker Ken Burn's epic documentary, The Civil War, is being re-released with a bonus disc of never-before-seen interviews and a collectable companion booklet. With digitally enhanced images and 5.1 surround sound, The Civil War -- the winner of an Emmy, Peabody, People's Choice and two Grammy's -- has lost none of its powerful and compelling ability to remind us about the real damage war can inflict on a nation. (Only on DVD) Bonus Features: "Behind the Scenes: The Civil War Reconstruction" featurette; Commentary by Ken Burns; Additional Interviews with Ken Burns, Shelby Foote, George Will and Stanley Crouch; Biography Cards; Battlefield Maps; Civil War Challenge; "Ken Burns: Making History" featurette and A Conversation with Ken Burns.
Emergency: Final Rescues
Long before medical series such as ER, Quincy, Grey’s Anatomy or Mercy hit the airwaves, there was the legendary paramedics drama Emergency. Running for six highly-rated seasons in the 1970's, Emergency followed the heroic, life-saving calls and adventures of two dedicated Los Angeles paramedics -- Kevin Tighe as Roy DeSoto and Randolph Mantooth as his partner John Gage. After the series finished its network run, there was a loyal contingent of Emergency fans anxious to see more of Tighe, Mantooth and the Golden Globe-nominated Julie London (as the fearless Nurse Dixie McCall). Instead of brining the show back for a whole additional season, a series of stand-alone specials were produced to play throughout the next season. The six new Emergency specials -- Survival On Charter 220, The Steele, Inferno, What's A Nice Girl Like You Doing, Greatest Rescues of Emergency, Most Deadly Passage and The Conversation -- not only had the duo saving lives in their home base of Los Angeles, but these specials had the super-paramedics taking their groundbreaking skills to locations such as San Francisco and Seattle. (Only on DVD)
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