Blu-Ray Review: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

The current vogue with Hollywood studios seems to be music films, whether they are biopics or films based around a famous artist or band. In the last year we’ve been ‘treated to’ Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, Yesterday and Blinded by the Light. All huge box office smashes which seemed to resonate with people of a certain generation. However, none of them hold a candle to the masterful Hedwig and the Angry Itch.

Born in East Germany, Hansel Schmidt always felt somehow different. Music came naturally as did donning a dress. After falling for an American soldier (Maurice Dean Wint) and a botched sex change operation, Hansel adopts his mother’s name (Alberta Watson), gets married, moves to America and becomes Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell). There she forms a band but world domination doesn’t quite fall into her lap.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch remains one of the greatest modern musicals. It’s John Cameron Mitchell’s baby but it’s very much a group effort. Based on the stage musical he wrote with Stephen Trask, it works as well on the big screen as it does in theatres. Twenty years later it still stands up. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is hilarious, contains some brilliant songs and is in every way a force of nature. An experience you’ll never forget.  

Special edition features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Cameron Mitchell and cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2001 featuring Mitchell and DeMarco
  • New conversation among members of the cast and crew
  • New conversation between composer and lyricist Stephen Trask and rock critic David Fricke about the soundtrack
  • Documentary from 2003 tracing the development of the project
  • Close look at the film’s Adam and Eve sequence
  • New programs exploring Hedwig’s creation, look, and legacy through its memorabilia
  • Deleted scenes with commentary by Mitchell and DeMarco
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek, and (on the Blu-ray) portraits of Hedwig by photog­rapher Mick Rock, illustrations by animator Emily Hubley, and excerpts from two texts that inspired the film: Plato’s Symposium and The Gospel of Thomas

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is released on Blu-ray by Criterion on 22 July.  

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