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To some extent, movie-fans who live in the areas of the world that are covered by DVD region four are, for no readily-apparent reason, occasionally short-changed when it comes to releases of movies in this new digital format. A small injustice at best but one that is forever put right following the release of this item - the long, long awaited release of Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho in DVD format. In fact, as of this writing, this item is only available in region four as the movie still awaits the attention of DVD distributors for the rest of the world.
It should be noted, however, that whilst the disk is only distributed in areas of the world covered by region four, and the DVD package itself is clearly marked as being compatible only with that region, in fact this content protection does not appear to be enforced on the actual disk itself. It appears to play just fine on most DVD players in other parts of the world.
The high-pitched but pleasantly relaxing tones of Eddy Arnold as he sings Tex Owen's ballad "Cattle Call" is instantly recognizable from the soundtrack of the movie and it begins playing just as soon as the DVD is inserted into a player. It provides an absolutely perfect accompaniment for the main menu and initially leads the viewer to expect high things from this release but a quick navigation through the short menu structure soon proves that this is not the case. There are no subtitles or foreign language sound-tracks, there aren't even any simple cast biographies but it is the DVD bonus option entitled "Trailers" that proves to be the biggest disappointment of all. The full trailers for the unrelated movies The End of Violence and Cookie's Fortune are presented but that's all. A promotional trailer for My Own Private Idaho is nowhere to be found.
Rather more effort appears to have been put into the rear of the DVD case. It is generously illustrated and against a backdrop of Scott Favor gently trying to bring round an unconscious Mike Waters underneath that Portland statue, are two further photographs. One features Keanu Reeves and Chiara Caselli and the other sees Keanu again along with Mike Parker. River sits between the two of them, and rather unfortunately for River, he was right in the middle of a big yawn when this candid, behind-the-scenes photo was taken.
As to the presentation of the movie itself, it can only be viewed in a cropped, pan-and-scan television screen sized format rather than the original wide-screen version as seen in movie theaters and this is somewhat surprising. When all said and done though, the release of this item, appropriately enough on the tenth aniversary of the movie, makes it a valuable, and for now, unique addition to the DVD collection of anyone with a region-encoding-free DVD player.