Coming Home on Blu-ray

Thursday, 18 July 2019 14:36

Triple Oscar winner “Coming Home” is an emotional drama about the impact of the Vietnam War on U.S. soldiers mentally and/or physically injured in battle, and their families back home. Jane Fonda, John Voight and Bruce Dern headline the cast. Sally (Fonda – “Klute”, “Barbarella”) says goodbye to her slightly starchy husband, Captain Bob Hyde (Dern – “Silent Running”, “Nebraska”) as he heads off to join the conflict.

Forced to move off the military base, Sally befriends the girlfriend of another soldier, and takes a job in a local hospital caring for wounded troops. She hits it off with Luke (Voight – “Midnight Cowboy”, “Deliverance”), a furious and immensely frustrated spinal injury victim who she went to college with and helps him find a new purpose in life. As the reacquainted friends grow closer, the distance between Sally and her absent husband increases.

Directed by Hal Ashby (“Being There”, “Harold and Maude”), the film is a wonderfully subtle and genuine piece that brings out some stunning performances from its cast. Voight in particular goes through such a range of feelings and states as Luke, initially storming his way around the hospital lying face down on a gurney with two wooden walking sticks used like oars for movement. Once he connects with Sally and gets a wheelchair his life improves immeasurably and his demeanour with it.

Sally also finds a sense of purpose where before she was a kept woman, stranded on the base and not allowed to express herself thanks to her controlling husband. Fonda delicately conveys the transition from loyal but restricted wife to active, charitable carer and companion.

Whilst the anti-war message of the film is very clearly expressed, it is not crudely thrust down our throats. More is said about the lack of care and attention soldiers receive when they return home (if they are the ‘lucky’ ones) than it is about the pointlessness of the fight itself.

The movie’s soundtrack features many classic rock and roll numbers, many of which have since become a bit clichéd but work well in this context. They include the likes of ‘Born to be Wild’ by Steppenwolf, Hendrix’s ‘Manic Depression’ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘My Girl’.

The inevitable confrontation when Bob returns home does not disappoint, and by that stage we and the cast have been through every emotion possible. It is worth every minute.

Special features include:

  • 1080p transfer of the film on Blu-ray
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Brand new and exclusive audio commentary by author Scott Harrison
  • Feature-length commentary with actors Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, and cinematographer Haskell Wexler
  • “Coming Back Home” (25 mins) archival featurette
  • “Man Out of Time” (15 mins) archival featurette
  • Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Scott Harrison and critic Glenn Kenny

“Coming Home” (1978) is out now, courtesy of Eureka Entertainment Ltd. The main feature has a running time of 126 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £19.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com.

Last modified on Thursday, 18 July 2019 14:42

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