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The Hannibal Files: The Unauthorised Guide to the Hannibal Lecter Phenomenon - Daniel O'Brien

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Reynolds & Hearn Ltd.

Just in time for Halloween, three of the five Dr. Hannibal Lecter films have made their way onto Blu-ray, albeit without all the bells-and-whistles special features that home-theater enthusiasts have come to expect from the high-def format. To help compensate for the lack of behind-the-scenes banter and making-of documentaries, I recommend reading "? yes, reading words on a page "? Daniel O'Brien's "The Hannibal Files."

Originally released in 2001, the book extensively covered the productions of Michael Mann's "Manhunter," Jonathan Demme's "The Silence of the Lambs" and Ridley Scott's "Hannibal," but now is brought up to speed in a new edition that includes Brett Ratner's "Red Dragon" and Peter Webber's "Hannibal Rising."

It doesn't appear that O'Brien interviewed any of the principals for his franchise-wide exploration, but no matter. Drawing from a wealth of other materials and media, he's able to distill them into production stories that are, if not fascinating, certainly a little intoxicating. You'll learn a lot of nuggets in terms of casting and missed opportunities, and refreshingly none of it of the tabloid variety. Maybe it goes into a little too much detail regarding individual credits, that then lead into tangents of other movies, but that just means O'Brien is a lover of film.

Today, it's funny to recall what a controversy "Hannibal" stirred up; you'll enjoy revisiting much ado about nothing. Two sections of color photos are tucked in amid the chapters.

"?Rod Lott

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