DVD companies are going very Goldman Sachs this holiday season: the extras accompanying some movies verge on wretched excess. The five-disc Wizard of Oz gift pack contains a "limited-edition 70th-anniversary watch with genuine crystals." Forrest Gump comes in a chocolate-scented Whitman's-sampler-type box. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation includes a Santa cap, cocktail coasters and some fake snow. With the new edition of the Christmas perennial It's a Wonderful Life you get a little silver bell like the one whose chime signals that Clarence the angel got his wings.
Yet if there's any movie that deserves this grandiose treatment, it's David O. Selznick's 220-minute epic that has sold more tickets than any picture in history and that is still a prime exemplar of Hollywood storytelling. Watch the first half again; it flies by with a concise brio unmatched by any contemporary movie. Then play David Thomson's Making of a Legend, one of the canniest film-on-film docs around. Yes, you get a picture book, a CD of music excerpts, watercolor reproductions of the production design and eight hours of supporting footage. But how could any edition of GWTW be overproduced? This is marketing scented with magnolia. Richard Corliss
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