Baz Luhrmann’s first feature and the beginning of his "Red Curtain Trilogy," "Strictly Ballroom" finally gets the Blu-ray upgrade with a number of special features to make "Strictly" fans strictly jubilant. The story of a ballroom competitor who must train a new partner in order to win a national competition is a joyous confection of over-the-top shenanigans and a sweet love story. Starring the sexy Paul Mecurio and wallflower Tara Morice, the film was an overnight sensation when it debuted at Cannes. It went on to great acclaim and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Musical or Comedy. It also harkened the career of Luhrman who followed with making "Romeo + Juliet," "Moulin Rouge," and the soon to be released, "The Great Gatsby." Even for non-fans of Luhrmann’s work, this seems to be the film that wins over even the most jaded of audience members.Audio Commentary: With Baz Luhrmann, designer Catherine Martin, and choreographer John O’Connell - it’s relatively engaging and speaks mostly to the production itself (rather than particular moments). It is clear they are proud of their work.
Special Features are numerous, although many are taken from the previous DVD release so just how much you need this on Blu-ray is up to you. Picture and sound is fine, but it is hampered by the quality of the film itself.
"Strictly Ballroom: From Stage to Screen": A mini-doc on the film’s journey from a stage play in 1984 to indie "little engine that could." It’s interesting to note that the play was created in 84’ long before "Dirty Dancing" of which the film has been accused of being a rip-off.
"Samba to Slow Fox Dance": a thirty-minute featurette with interviews with real-life ballroom dance competitors.
Deleted Scene - one scene between Scott and his friend about his decision to dance with Fran at the big competition.
"Behind the Red Curtain": Production and marketing photos with brief commentary by Luhrmann.
"That’s Looking Good": quick montage of costumes used in the film.
"Dance to Win": behind-the-scenes with choreographer John O’Connell.
"Yesterday’s Hero": pictures of a youthful Baz.
"Love Is In the Air": Short featurette on how the stars of the film play their roles.
Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."