Though it will always be remembered as themovie featuring the "other" Hannibal Lecter, Michael Mann's 1986 thriller Manhunter is nearly as good as The Silence of the Lambs, and in some respects it's arguably even better. B... more »ased on Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon, which introduced the world to the nefarious killer Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter, the film stars William Petersen (giving a suitably brooding performance) as ex-FBI agent Will Graham, who is coaxed out of semiretirement to track down a serial killer who has thwarted the authorities at every turn. Graham's approach to the case is a perilous one. First he seeks counsel with Lecter (Brian Cox) in the latter's high-security prison cell--an encounter that is utterly horrifying in its psychological effect--and then he begins to mold his own psyche to that of the killer, with potentially devastating results. As directed by Mann (who was at the acme of his success with TV's Miami Vice), this sophisticated cat-and-mouse game never resorts to the compromise of cheap thrills. Predating Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Lecter by four years, Cox plays the character closer to Harris's original, lower-key conception, and he's no less compelling in the role. Petersen is equally well cast, and as always Mann employs rock music to astonishing effect, using nearly all of Iron Butterfly's heavy-metal epic "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to accompany the film's heart-stopping climactic sequence. All of this makes Manhunter one of the finest films of its kind, as well as further proof that Harris's fiction is a blessing to any filmmaker brave enough to adapt it. --Jeff Shannon« less
"I got the new limited edition 2 disc set of Manhunter and I have to say I have never been more disapointed with a DVD in my life. First of all the first disc that is supposed to be the theatrical cut of the film is not. Several important scenes and patches of dialouge have been removed, and unimportant scenes from the directors cut are added in out of context. And to make matters worse the cuts are made very crudely, sometimes cutting people off in midsentence. Then there is the director's cut on disc 2. Saddly this version was never remastered from the source print so the picture quality of the whole film is that of a deleted scene i.e. worse than VHS. Not to mention that several scenes appear to be taken from brodcast tv as several lines of profanity are crudely dubbed over.Take my advice if you are a fan of this movie stay away from this poorly produced DVD, as refusing to buy it might be the only way get Anchor Bay to correct this horrible problem."
The 1-Disc MANHUNTER is the way to go
firstname.lastname@example.org | Atlanta, GA USA | 02/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"MANHUNTER was a flop when it was released in the mid-1980s, but has enjoyed a much-deserved renaissance in the past few years with the box office success of HANNIBAL and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. And now, finally, it has been released on DVD for a second chance with audiences.The debate rages on as to whether MANHUNTER is the best of the trilogy, and you can read numerous postings below about this. Personally, I think MANHUNTER is superior because it deals with the detailed investigation of horrific crimes versus the crimes themselves, its villain is much more terrifying because he's portrayed with more humanity, and the tone overall is creepy and serious versus horrific and campy.If you're seeing MANHUNTER for the first time and are a fan of the other two films, be forewarned that:1. This is a crime drama, not a horror movie. And while it is well shot, it is a low budget film with production values just slightly above a TV-movie. But you will be so engrossed in the story that this won't matter. 2. It is definitely a film of its time period, with 80s fashions and a MIAMI VICE-type booming soundtrack that tends to interfere with otherwise quiet and introspective moments. But the music, as with most of the other films directed by Michael Mann, is excellent, well chosen and progressive (for the mid-1980s). Even though the film seems dated to some, if we are to judge movies forever by the time periods they were created in, then we might as well stop going to the cinema.3. If Hannibal Lector and Anthony Hopkins are one and the same to you, then seeing Brian Cox in the role might be jarring. He plays Lector (spelled "Lecktor" here) with much more subtlety than Hopkins, and may disappoint those who are fans of Hopkins's over-the-top (though enjoyable) portrayal.You can read plot details in the many postings below - the real question is how good is the DVD? Since I was forewarned about the bad video transfer on the 2-disc Director's Cut, I bought the 1-disc Theatrical Cut, which has all the extras of the former. I am very pleased with the transfer I've seen. There is some graininess at times, but the picture is generally sharp with vivid colors. Probably the best version I've seen since I saw it in a theater in the 80s - maybe better. The audio can be muddy in spots, but the soundtrack booms out of the speakers, particularly the excellent Shriekback songs.There are a couple of scenes on this DVD that I don't remember seeing before - someone can correct me if I'm wrong. One involves Will Graham touring the empty home of one of the murder victims with a real estate agent, the other is a love scene with his wife in a hotel room. The former seemed unnecessary, but the latter only heightened the emotional stakes in Will's pursuit of the killer.There are a couple of short, but very informative, documentaries at the end of this film - one featuring the actors, the other featuring the cinematographer. It was very interesting seeing Tom Noonan (the villain) interviewed, as I've never seen him in any other context but this film. There are some great nuggets of information for fans of the movie, as well as a collection of movie posters from around the world.The glaring omission is any input from Michael Mann himself. I, for one, am not as enchanted with running audio commentaries on DVDs, as I feel they tend to take away some of the "magic" of the film itself. But it's too bad he didn't contribute to the docs at the end. There is a sense from the actors' interviews that the crew had had it with Michael Mann toward the end, and began walking off the set, leaving a skeleton crew for the final action sequence. Perhaps this has something to do with it.To sum up, the 1-disc MANHUNTER DVD is probably the best version we'll ever get of this classic film. Picture and audio are excellent, and the film itself - at least to this viewer - has aged well. The solving of the crime is so complicated that repeat viewings are beneficial and enjoyable. And the extras are very informative without being long and overwhelming. Highly recommended!"
Do not buy the Director's Cut
Mark Johnson | 02/06/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The movie itself is decent entertainment. The second disc (the actual director's cut) is fuzzy. Imagine if you will transferring an SLP VHS to DVD. OK, now you have the idea of the quality of the 'special' second disc. Don't bother with it. Just purchase the regular release DVD. In which case, it would get ***."
Terrible Treatment of an Outstanding Movie
Solanio | Silicon Valley, California | 02/22/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"For big fans of Manhunter, I would advise you to steer clear of this DVD if you plan to own - rent instead. In fact, I'm going to see if they will take this DVD back since it is a case of blatant mis-adverstising. What has been billed as the "Theatrical" version is in fact a poorly spliced rendition that awkwardly edits two scenes that had been in the theatrical release, including one of the most pivotal scenes, and yet has within it some of most banal footage restored from the cutting room floor. These cuts are both poorly done and have no sense to them, given how they do not represent the theatrical release and destroy the momentum of what had been a finely edited movie. I don't know if it was ignorance or arrogance, but this is the worst hack job I've ever seen trying to pass itself off as product. Whoever was in charge of this at Anchor Bay was an idiot and if I were Michael Mann, I'd be calling my lawyers. The "Director's Cut" is even worse in that it includes the "Un-theatrical" release AND the so-called "Director's Cut" - a compilation of some interesting and not so interesting out-takes. As a companion to a true theatrical release, this would have been a fascinating addition; BUT here again, Anchor Bay finds a way to ruin what should be a good product. The entire disc has not been put through video post-production, is smudged and blurry, as if transferred from a VHS tape - and a worn one at that. - Just incredible that anyone could have the audacity to offer this kind of cheapness for hard earned money.I saw this movie when it first came out in the theatre and considered it one of the best of that year; and I rushed to buy the LaserDisc version when it came out. When the Director's Cut DVD was released by Anchor Bay this year, I'd been on the waiting list - ready to welcome the widescreen THX enhanced version. Being intimately aware of the movie, imagine my disappointment. Don't waste your time. Wait for a better version to come out.As for those folks who want to compare Silence of the Lambs to Manhunter, usually they favor one over the other and their minds are pretty much made up at this point. I'm squarely in the Manhunter camp. For myself, I enjoyed Silence, but I could never take it seriously since I found the portayal of Lector both cartoonishly superhuman and therefore unrealistic and unsuspensful. However, Manhunter's Lector is a chilling but more realistic portrayal that awes me every time I see it in how one evil genius manages to manipulate events outside of his cell through the simple device of a telephone. This Lector is safely behind sterilized bars - and yet still manages to be a forceful presence to be reckoned with.I hope every fan and future fan of Manhunter gets to see it the way it first came out, a fine piece of craft that was lean and edgey, and yet which flowed stylishly. Siskel and Ebert rated it one of the best movies ever, years after it came out. But for now, I'll be holding onto my LaserDisc."
Not as vivid and sharp as the 2001 DVD release
Adam S. Carter | Dickson, TN United States | 12/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Manhunter the restored director's cut is the most comprehensive version of the film and the transfer was supervised by Michael Mann, but the source print doesn't look like it's in as good of shape as the one used in the Anchor Bay 2001 theatrical version DVD release. I am referring to all of the scenes. The color is more washed out and there is more film grain present than the 2001 release. The picture has a darker look to it, the lush colors of the 2001 release are lacking. The opening scene is framed differently and is grainier than the other version. The scenes edited back into the movie are of horrible quality, and add little to the film, but nevertheless work very well. The opening credits appear as Will Graham is asked to help track the Tooth Fairy on the beach instead of shortly before. There is an extra scene with Will and Molly having a telephone conversation, along with an extension of a scene with Dennis Farina. The most noticeable difference is the end where an additional scene is provided where Graham visits the Jacobis, which on the theatrical release were only referred to. The shootout between the Tooth Fairy and Graham is edited a little different too. I prefer the 2001 DVD for this scene, but that's just me. This version of the film is in Dolby Digital 2.0 instead of Dolby 5.1 used in the 2001 release. The sound isnt going to test your home theater, but does exhibit decent separation. This movie is a Super 35 movie which shows more grain than anamorphic 2.35 or Academy Flat 1.85. This also means that both DVD versions show more width than what you might have seen on TV, or the VHS release, but are matted and show less height. This is just the Super 35 process which allows more flexiblity in framing. This is the version Michael Mann intended for you to see, still if you like the film, the 2001 DVD release isnt a let down because of the slightly better transfer. The director's cut print doesn't seem to be in as good of shape. Highly recommended. I like this better than Red Dragon, because this is more realistic, and the characters are more developed and believable."