by Ted S. McGregor Jr. & r & & r & Apocalypse Now: The Compele Dossier & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & N & lt;/span & early 30 years later, Apocalypse Now stands as more of a commentary on the dark side of man rather than as a record of the Vietnam War. It's doubtful that junior high history classes of the future will be watching it; film classes, however, will study Francis Ford Coppola's epic for as long as the medium exists. It remains a remarkable movie.
The new DVD package contains both the original cut and Apocalypse Now: Redux, for which Coppola restored 49 minutes of footage. Some of the additions are quite surprising, including an upbeat sequence in which Martin Sheen's Willard steals a surfboard belonging to Kilgore (Robert Duvall). The notorious French plantation scene is back as well, though it feels a bit unnecessary. The original remains a better offering.
Notoriously, nothing went right during the production of this movie. Typhoons wiped out sets; stars were replaced. (Sheen took over the role of Willard from Harvey Keitel.) Marlon Brando showed up grossly overweight for his role as Col. Kurtz, refusing to read the script and generally driving his director nuts. The healthy-looking Sheen suffered a heart attack on set and punched an actual mirror during the film's opening sequence. (That's real blood he smears on his face.)
You can find some remarkable deleted scenes among the special features, including the death of a photojournalist (Dennis Hopper) at the hands of Scott Glenn's Colby. Glenn's character never actually spoke in the original cut, but a couple of the deleted scenes feature him talking (and dying). There's also audio of Brando reading T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" over random deleted footage from the filming.
Coppola provides commentary for both versions of the film, and it's fun to hear him talk about his craft. He points out that Donald Rumsfeld was the secretary of defense and refused to lend the production military equipment. This was one of the reasons the production took to the Philippines. (President Marcos had plenty of American military equipment to rent.) Other features include The Post Production of Apocalypse Now, which discusses the madness of making a movie out of a 16-month shoot that compiled a million feet of film.