John Sturges' Ice Station Zebra
(1968) was an extremely long movie -- but not the longest he ever did; it just seemed that way. The movie was so long, in fact, that it used to get shown over two nights when it was broadcast on network television, which proved disastrous because the second half, set at the polar ice cap, barely allowed one to see the stars that mattered to the network audience, and also moved at a leaden pace (evidently not even the presence of Ferris Webster
as editor could save this movie's pacing). As a DVD, it's a long session, complete with the entrance music and intermission music and 40 chapter markers. It looks good, letterboxed to 2.35:1 or thereabouts (it was shot in Super-Panavision and marketed as single-lens Cinerama), and sounds okay, but it's still a long haul, especially the second half. The bonus features include a selection of trailers from what are generally better movies, including Sturges' best picture, Bad Day at Black Rock
-- all letterboxed, of course -- and the featurette "The Man Who Makes a Difference," which is about the making of the movie but really deals with the work and career of John Stephens
, the movie's second unit director. In all, it's a decent and reasonably diverting if unambitious presentation of a flawed but interesting movie, no more and no less, though it does look great on big-screen monitors, and anyone who's suffered through it cropped on television will find the letterboxing a revelation.