It's a good week for Dustin Hoffman fans, and as Midnight Cowboy is also released in a long-overdue special edition this week, that was nearly our pick. In as much as I love a bit of Ratso Rizzo, however, I'm a bigger Watergate geek. And given the fact that more than 30 years later crime still doesn't pay—even if you're the president of the United States and, doggone it, you're only doing what you had to do to protect the people of this great country (cue groans)—there's no better time to revisit All the President's Men.
Knowing what we know today, there's a sense of bittersweet nostalgia about Alan J. Pakula's account of the early stages of the investigation by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford, who also produced) and Carl Bernstein (Hoffman) into the Watergate cover-up; given the sort of ham-fisted resignation with which much of the media have treated our current president's legal transgressions, it's easy to long for the return of this kind of dogged dedication to the truth. (Despite critics' complaints over the years that the film canonizes the duo, it's quite a fair representation of two guys diving nose-first into a giant shitstorm and making their share of mistakes, with Jason Robards' Ben Bradlee keeping them honest and their source list double-packed.) Plus, political leanings aside, only a stubborn fool would deny that the film is a spectacular thriller, masterfully acted and shot through with a quiet, nervous unease.
This week's new two-disc special edition includes a commentary by Redford; various making-of featurettes and documentaries, including one on W. Mark Felt (bless old Hal Holbrook, he was ace, but there's a certain irony in the fact that the real Deep Throat looked more like a movie star); and more.
Also recommended this week: Action!: The Complete Series; Author, Author!; Erik the Viking: Director's Cut; Midnight Cowboy: Collector's Edition; Panic In Needle Park.