Placing as much importance on macho dialogue as on rain-soaked backdrops, 1992’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” is the ultimate guy movie. Hardly a hit but a must-see for its prickly perfs, primal production design and writer David Mamet’s skewed take on the American Dream, it remains one of recent cinema’s strangest releases; New Line film scored an Oscar nom for Al Pacino and spots aplenty among year-end lists, but its B.O. haul ($10.7 mil) never lived up to the stellar cast and critical kudos. Ten years later, Artisan, which got the pic after a rights transfer, has released the James Foley film with a two-disc set that isn’t particularly special — a story about real estate doesn’t exactly scream out for lavish treatment — but has a few notable extras.
The best bells and whistles are, appropriately, verbal, since “Glengarry” is as talky as projects get. Along with an informative commentary from Foley, there are additional bonus audio tracks from production designer Jane Musky, cinematographer Juan Ruiz Ancha and Alec Baldwin, whose most interesting tale revolves around casting. Baldwin claims that he was next in line to play slimy salesman Ricky Roma if Pacino failed to show up during a preliminary rehearsal. That indeed happened, but Pacino heard about Baldwin’s ascendancy and immediately signed on for the role.
Flip side to the germane additions are elements that show off exactly what isn’t needed on a DVD. Two quickies, a talking head appreciation for salesmen nationwide and a strange documentary from unknown archivist Tony Buba about a used furniture huckster, are simply meaningless. Juxtaposed with classy excerpts from Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey’s respective appearances on “Inside the Actors Studio,” a ’92 Lemmon sit-down with Charlie Rose and an appreciation of Lemmon in which director John Avildsen (“Save the Tiger”) and Peter Gallagher wax rhapsodic, the sales stuff comes off as a silly stretch.
Classiest asset remains the film itself, which holds up well through a decade in which its key focus, success, has been totally redefined — from the heady Clinton days of Wall St. roofraising to post-Sept. 11 family togetherness.