"Live" Feature-Length Video Commentary
Here are some of my favorite segments of the video/audio commentary.
People in silohuette from left to right: Joe Medjuck, Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman.
It should be noted that when Ivan, Harold, and Joe were seated watching the film, they did not hear the film's audio track (not even in little earpieces -- which is what I thought). This becomes apparent in the scene where Janine tells Peter that "there's a man from the EPA here to see you." Ivan remarks, "I don't even remember what they're saying here." Obviously, if he was hearing the film WHILE he was watching it, he'd KNOW what they were saying.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP:
Due to technical limitations, it was not possible for the team working on this DVD to do this feature properly. The video commentary only works if you have your DVD player set to 4:3 mode. If you have it in 16:9 widescreen, you will be shown a message telling you that the feature is unavailable.
As such, this feature was dropped in the next DVD release, and all future Blu-ray releases never even bothered to try to recreate it - if it's even technically possible to recreate it in that format, of course. The audio portion of the commentary remains in all post-1999 home video releases. For what it's worth, it's no great loss because the silhouettes hardly moved. Only one time, when they were going up the Shandor building stairs, did Ivan actually move and point out something (the matte painting area). The screenshots you see below were done by me back in 1999 with my old analog DVD player. If I wanted to redo the screenshots now, I'd have to get out that old analog DVD player (which doesn't even have HDMI outputs), connect it to my computer's video capture card, and play the DVD in letterboxed 4:3 mode - and the highest-resolution I'd be able to get out of it would be 640x480 (more like 640x270 once the top and bottom black bars are removed). Honestly, it's just not worth it.
Ivan: Hi. I'm Ivan Reitman. I was the director and producer.
Harold: Harold Ramis, writer and actor.
Joe: Hi. Joe Medjuck, associate producer.
Ivan: And welcome to Ghostbusters, the original.
Ivan: Now, the part [of Louis Tully] was originally written for John Candy. Do you remember that? We called up John and said, "John, you gotta be in this. You know, Harold's in it." Harold and John had worked together in SCTV up in Canada.
Harold: And we'd done Stripes with Ivan and Bill.
Ivan: And all of us worked in Stripes and it was only natural that he should be in this film. And John didn't understand this part. He kept coming back and saying, "Well, maybe if I played him in German, with a German accent, then he would have Rotweillers." And I said, "You can't have dogs. We have too much other dog imagery in the movie." And he finally passed on the film. Rick Moranis, who had been sent the script by his agent, was waiting patiently in the wings, and was very happy when John passed.
Joe: How did you pick your name, "Egon"?
Harold: Egon Spengler. The "Egon" came from Egon Donsbeck, who I went to school with, who was a Hungarian refugee. And "Spengler" was from Oswald Spengler.
Joe: The building actually exists at 55 Central Park West. Then, I think we added one number so to misidentify it. And then John DeCuir decorated it a bit, and then optically added that top.
Harold: What's interesting about this kind of shot is when the movie is panned and scanned for TV, I'm always cut out.|
Ivan: That's right. There is no more Harold Ramis. So be happy you bought a DVD, so you can see it in the proper format.
Harold: So, you can see me in every shot.
Ivan: This is the first shot we ever shot in the movie. Bill Murray had just arrived from France on an airplane, immediately got taken down to midtown Manhattan, put on one of these outfits, and boom, we were shooting on Madison Avenue. I had an amazing shiver when I saw the guys in their outfits. I knew, there's something special here.
Ivan: I think this will be a big player during the upcomming millenium celebrations.
Harold: Yeah, if the world doesn't end.
Joe: If the projectors work, if the TVs work.
Harold: If the world does end, all that money people are spending on DVDs is really wasted.
Ivan: I actually do the voice, the deep voice of ...|
Harold: You do?
Ivan: Yeah, that's me.
Harold: Kids find that very scary, too.
Ivan: Yeah, I did Slimer and I did the voice that comes out of her here.
Joe: The Exorcist voice.
Joe: This is, this is ...|
Ivan: a matte painting.
Joe: Yeah, there's one or two stairs and everything up there's a matte painting.
Ivan: This was actually shot at the Biltmore Hotel. I think everything above this line is phony.
Harold: But, you animal lovers should know that no Terror Dogs were actually killed or injured in the making of this movie.
Joe: This is "The Wild Bunch" shot.|
Ivan: Well, I thought that the mythology of the Westerms had a part to play here in terms of, again, how the shots were layed out and the bravery of our heroes.
Harold: But no Western ever faced a villian ... as menacing ... as the Yugoslavian fashion model. What's her name?
Ivan: Oh, God.
Harold: Slavitza. There she is.
Joe: Hey, Loverboy. Smile.|
Ivan: This is about all we have left of the relationship between the two ...
Harold: ... the shot. But Rick gets her in the next film, I guess.
Ivan: Yeah, we made a shift in the story.
Harold: Made more sense.