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Auto Focus (Widescreen Special Edition) (Bilingual) [Import]

3.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello, Rita Wilson, Ron Leibman
  • Directors: Paul Schrader
  • Writers: Michael Gerbosi, Robert Graysmith
  • Producers: Alicia Allain, Brian Oliver, James Schamus, Larry Karaszewski, Patrick Dollard
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : General Audience (G)
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 18 2003
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000087F7Q
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Product Description

Academy Award(r) nominees Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets) and Willem Dafoe (Shadow of the Vampire, Spider-Man) star in a provocative drama about the colorful life and mysterious death of legendary television actor Bob Crane. Bob Crane (Kinnear) became well known as the star of the hit comedy series"Hogan's Heroes." With an abundance of fame, wealth and success, Crane dove headfirst into the darker, destructive side of the celebrity lifestyle. He eventually teamed up with a video technician (Dafoe) who helped him to systematically document his copious sexploits with beautiful young women. Butwhen the fast living and hard loving got out of control, the end result was a brutal murder that remains one of the most scandalous unsolved mysteries in Hollywood history.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The title "Auto Focus" relates to "self-involved", not the operation of camera lenses (which were not around in Bob's day.) The movie covers the period of 1965-1978 in the life of actor Bob Crane.
"But why Bob Crane"? you might ask. Good question. Bob Crane is best-known as "Colonel Hogan" in the hit TV sit-com "Hogan's Heroes" which aired for 6 years. Previous to that, Bob did mostly radio work, and some minor acting. After "Hogan's Heroes" was abruptly cancelled, he had a hard time getting much meaningful work, mostly because of his reputation for having an addiction to sex and pornography, which is the main thrust of the movie.
While at first blush this may not seem to be much of a story, it is strangely compelling. It was directed by Paul Shrader, who wrote Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, so he is no lightweight when it comes to dark subjects. However, the movie is pretty quite bright and cheery for the first third or so. Then by design, as we see more and more of Bob Crane's degrading life and lifestyle, the colors get darker and drabber, different film-stock is used for a grungier feel, the camera becomes hand-held rather than having smooth pans, etc.
Bob met up with a man named John Carpenter, who was sort of a video enthusiast/merchandiser, when video was just getting going. There is a fair amount of retro-video technology shown in the movie - big bulky cameras (VTR's - video tape recorders)- which produce reel-to-reel tape, then big bulky cassettes, etc. In fact, like modern men, these two characters sometimes would be more interested in the working of the technology than the ladies they have brought home.
These two men struck it off and became good friends. With his TV show on the air, Bob had no problem getting women, and John reaped some benefits as well.
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Format: DVD
Best:
1) It gives you the details behind Bob Crane's wild sex life and subsequent murder (except the absolute identity of his killer).
2) Greg Kinnear was the best choice to play Bob (Hogan). Willem Dafoe also did a good job as his ever-present photographer friend.
3) There was a decent amount of female nudity throughout (although from unknown actors).
4) There are special features including commentary tracks and behind-the-scenes shows.
Worst:
1) If you didn't watch the TV series "Hogan's Heroes" back in the 1960's (reruns on cable don't count), then you won't find anything interesting in this partial biography.
2) For a movie that is about the sexploits of two wild swingers (Crane and his photographer), there wasn't much sex. Much more time is spent talking about the process of setting of their new-fangled video equipment to record their sessions.
Recommendation:
If you're REALLY interested in the last 20 years of Bob Crane's life, especially the scandal behind his tragic death, then this one is a must-have. Everybody else will probably find this movie boring. Buy this one cheap (or rent it) because you may never watch it again.
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Format: DVD
Paul Shrader's "Auto Focus" should have been a better movie than it turned out to be. For starters, it's hard to get past the fact that Greg Kinnear looks nothing like Bob Crane; Kinnear's narrow face and aw shucks expression mismatches Crane's boyish demeanor and beguiling, if smug, looks, and the hair is styled and even parted the wrong way. In fact, everyone except the chunky actor portraying the late Werner Klemperer just seems coarse and bony when compared to their real life counterparts. My, how times have changed. In much the same way, the rest of "Auto Focus" is anemic somehow, mostly because the script focuses on the broad strokes of Crane's tragic life, without subtlety or nuance. Further, the sex and nudity are devoid of spark, which seems odd in a film designed to explore the lure of sexual addiction. Clearly, it's a low-budget film, and while the re-creation of the "Hogan's Heroes" sets are nostalgic, the other elements seem a parody of late 1960s through mid-1970s fad and fashion, like the more recent "Brady Bunch" sets and costumes. The result is that "Auto Focus" never quite feels enough like a docudrama to elicit tears and never quite enough like a parody to elicit laughs, which left me unsatisfied. Even the presence of Willem DaFoe--appropriately pathetic here--can't quite lift "Auto Focus" to the heights it seeks.
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Format: DVD
I guess I would rate this in the middle. Bob Crane died when I was young. I loved watching the repeats of Hogan's Heroes before going to kindergarten. I was shocked by his death and could not understand why or how it happened. I was hoping this movie would give some info that I missed as a seven year old in 1978. I was looking for more clues/hints than a documentary would give seeing this was full blown motion picture. So much of the movie seemed to be about his sex life. It was too creepy to imagine that someone could know so much about his sex life so many years ago. So with those parts of the film most likely made up, it was hard to believe the movie at all. Why did they not report this stuff earlier? Finally in the end it kind of reminded me of one of those books an angry family member writes after their famous celebrity relative dies. I doubt any of his wives waited 25 years to give information. I guess I expected more facts and true plot. It was not so easy for me to believe the information as it was told. More of a biography about Bob Crane would have been nice with a little less sex and less topless women at the end. I missed information about the Hollywood Talent Scouts show and his mental state while his career fell apart. More women had their tops off than on from the middle to the end of the film. That took away any hope for me that the film could be realistic. It seemed like the writer's main topic was sex and tried to squeeze the rest of the film around it. Maybe see it once if you have the time. The acting was done well enough but Bob Crane's character might have been more believable if the actor was as good looking as he was. It was hard to imagine women so wild and crazy for two not so good looking men.
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