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Men Like Love Stories Too
An Officer and a Gentleman (DVD)
Member Name: spencer_hawken
An Officer and a Gentleman (DVD)
Advantages: Compelling multi - layered movie
Disadvantages: The packaging
Fed up with his own life, one that is spent in seedy hotel rooms with his father and numerous prostitutes; Zach Mayo heads off to join the Navy.
Zach has a dream of being a pilot, he fantasises about the "glamorous" life that this will provide him with. The Navy it first does not provide him with much relief, however with a bit of training and discipline from Mayo's Gunnery Sergeant, Emil Foley, things soon seem to be heading off on the right track. Warned about local girls Mayo and his good friend Sid Worley decide not to heed the warnings, and engage in relationships with two girls. Things are pushed to the limits during both work and play, and for one of the two men the expression about love never running smoothly is about to have a tragic meaning.
Not a very manly thing to admit to I know, but An Officer And A Gentleman has been one of my favourite movies for a good many years. I first saw the movie back in 1983, and although I skip a few years in between viewings it's a movie I watch again and again!
Why do I enjoy the movie, I hear you cry?
For me it's the mix of genre's; primarily the movie is a romantic movie, but at its heart it's a movie about Navy trainees preparing to go out and fight for there country. This synergy of the two genre's is what I believe is the winning success to this movie. It's a movie that keeps both sexes perfectly happy, while the woman loves the love story, the men can go all macho on the action element.
Director Taylor Hackford the husband of Helen Mirren; claims that An Officer And A Gentleman is a movie aimed more for the male audience. Its themes are close to many a mans heart, the need to be the "alpha male", the desire to succeed, the love of a good woman, or in some cases the love of a bad woman. Hackford describes the movie as a mans love story.
Richard Gere plays the part of Zach Mayo, although he was by this time an established actor his part here spring boarded himself into the Hollywood A-List category. His performance here is totally convincing, he begins the movie full of himself, butch and full of hatred for a variety of things around him. As the movie progresses you see the change in his character take place before your very eyes. You go from disliking this character, to loving him. Interestingly the role very nearly went to John Travolta but he felt that the role would ruin his career.
For his co-actress and love interest for the movie is played by Debra Winger, at the time nobody really knew who she was. She was not the first person, on the producers mind when selecting the person for the role, a whole host of A-list actresses queued up for the part. While Winger portrayed the role very well, there was one thing blocking her way; Don Simpson the movies producer was annoyed because he did not find her "f**kable". Somehow Winger was able to prove this was not the case and Winger got the role. Winger has a great convincing quality to her acting, to the viewer she looks and acts just like someone you meet on the street. This was a key part in her selection for the roll Paula. While all the other women in town are looking to marry an officer it's not Paula's key goal in life; she just wants to be happy and have a loving man by her side.
The most notable role of the movie comes from Lou Gossett Jnr, as the drill sergeant. Having been trained by a genuine drill sergeant for many weeks prior to filming Gossett pulled off the performance of a lifetime. He was fair but tough, with an element of compassion that's rarely seen in similar movies. So impressed were the fans of the movie that Gossett found himself up for an Oscar and won the award in one of the best standing ovations in Oscar's history.
The movie plays with your emotions on a grand scale, just over half way through the movie one of the cast has to deal with the consequences of unrequited love. And the spiral of this characters emotions is stunningly acted out on screen. For me it's the second most memorable thing about the movie. The actor who played the character (who's name I'm emitting so as not to ruin the story) spent a great about of time working with and talking to people in similar circumstances and actually ended up clinically depressed as a result of the trauma.
There is one very big reason why An Officer And A Gentleman is best remembered, and that's because of the massive feel good ending; an ending that belongs in a movie from the 1950's. The musical score that accompanies this ending "Up Where We Belong" rocked the charts, won an Oscar and became the trademark song for disco's end of the night slow dance to this very day.
* "An Officer and a Gentleman: 25 Years Later" Retrospective Documentary - This look back on the movie features many of the main cast and crew. Together they share some good times and bad times as well as to toast the memory of some of the people who are no longer with us, who made the movie possible. Its interesting to see how some of the characters have aged and how some of the actors obviously have great plastic surgeons.
* "The Cadets Reunite", featurette on stars who played the military officers and the men who inspired them - A sort of reunion show, with some of the smaller cast members meeting up with real soldiers. In particular you meet the real life drill seargent that trained Gossett; R. Lee Ermy, who now is an actor in his own right.
* "Return to Port Townsend" visit the town where the film was shot - This is actually quite tragic to see, as in places the town is a wreck; while in others progress has made the town almost unrecognisable. For me this is the best feature of the DVD because I love to see the comparisons, I enjoy seeing change whether its for the good or the bad.
* "Lifts Us Up" The Music of an Officer and a Gentleman - A look at the writing of the song, the performers and the fame that went along with creating one of the most well known movie scores in cinema history.
* Movie introduction from Richard Gere - A brief chance to see Gere in a special feature, he basically comes on and thanks the fans for the success of the movie as well as recalls what the movie did for him.
* "Military Advisor" Scene analysis Featurette - A run through on being a Drill Instructor.
* Commentary by Director Taylor Hackford - Quite nice as is all of Hackfords interviews. Hackford addresses the problems they had with certain actors/actresses for example Lisa Eilbacher when she pretended to be unfit when she was actually in the best shape. He explains that time after time they had to redo shoots because she kept forgetting she had to be bad.
* "Officer Candidate School: Inside and Out" - A look at a real school, as well as setting up the fake school used in the movie.
* "Gere and Gossett: Hand To Hand Combat" - A look at the fight scene towards the end of the movie, from rehearsal to the real thing.
* 3 Easter eggs - Although I only found two, one was a brief discussion of plot, the other a deleted scene which made little difference to the movie so was removed.
An Officer And A Gentleman is a great movie that you can purchase pretty much anywhere for £14.99 that's online and on the high street.
WARNING! The Packaging is card with a sort of silver foil effect, this marks very easily and can annoy you.
Summary: Great love story, that guys can watch without feeling silly