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Seventy-six year old Lou Mozells (Walter Matthau) is aging ungracefully. Hes bitter that his wife left him. Hes a recovering alcoholic. Hes slowly losing his mind. Hes made a vain attempt to end his life. Yet Lous acid-tongue and libido remain in perfect health. He also has three saving graces - his daughters: Georgia (Diane Keaton), the all-conquering editor of her self-titled magazine; Eve (Meg Ryan), the tightly-wound middle child barely coping with a family of her own and the lions share of her Dads woes; and Maddy (Lisa Kudrow), the waif-like youngest sibling with a part in a little-watched daytime soap. The phone line acts as an umbilical cord that keeps all four connected until daddys-girl Eve - overburdened and unappreciated - is forced to disconnect from her loved-ones if she is to survive their antics.

"Watching this Nora Ephron family comedy again on DVD makes me realise what a disservice the US theatrical marketing campaign did for this film. Marketed and promoted as a flimsy, flippant comedy with the accent on one liners and abundant phone use, the expectation could never be fulfilled. Hanging Up has a lot more going for it, and perhaps ended up being slotted incorrectly. Essentially a moving story about the love of a daughter for her father, it boasts three superb comedic performances and a memorable cameo from an obviously ailing Walter Matthau in his last screen role. The comedy comes from the drama and sheer tragedy of the situation, and its resonance is far more poignant than we were initially led to believe.

The outtakes are the highlight of the DVD, showing scene after scene of members of the cast 'losing it', and breaking up into fits of hysterical and uncontrollable laughter. It's mostly Meg Ryan who has trouble keeping a straight face, and there's a wonderful scene with Walter Matthau in which Ryan buries her head between two bunches of flowers to hide her mirth. But all the girls have their share of being out of control, and it's obvious that there was much fun on the set.

There's one very long deleted scene, which mostly takes place in a Chinese restaurant. From the dispute with the Chinese waiter over the shape and size of the table to the exchange in the ladies' room where the initial concern about their father's real estate plans becomes cutting and personal, this scene shows the very fine line between humour and tragedy.

In the behind-the-scene featurette, we hear from cast and crew, who talk about the essence of family and relationships. Nora Ephron's story is about the sister in the middle the one sibling who gets lumbered with most of the caretaking of an ill father. Director & star Diane Keaton confides her initial hesitancy, as for her, this project is close to the bone, being the eldest of three sisters. Producer Laurence Mark talks about Keaton's preparation and how as an actress she knows what room to give other actors and subsequently gets the best performance.

Navigation is easy and the presentation is in its original wide-screen with language options of English and German plus a host of sub-title options. And I did - eventually - find the isolated track of songs and David Hirschfelder's music score (listed under Language/audio set up). The extra features, as well as the talent profile & scene selection, are really there to enhance the film itself, which in the privacy of your lounge room is a poignant and enjoyable affair."
Louise Keller

Publication date: October 26, 2000

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CAST: Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow and Walter Matthau

DIRECTOR: Diane Keaton

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Col TriStar Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: October 10, 2000

Original widescreen

Original movie trailer

Never before seen deleted sequence


Behind the scenes featurette on the making of (with cast & crew interviews)

Isolated track of songs & David Hirschfelder's music score

Talent profiles


We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD player from Philips.


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