The first DVD release of Ferris Bueller's Day Off came out six years ago. While that disc was fine for the time, a lot has changed in the industry since then and while that release did have a director's commentary, fans were left wanting more. Paramount has stepped up to the plate and delivered some pretty interesting extras on this new release (which is not, as some have speculated, a two disc set but is in fact a single disc), and here's how they pan out
The first of the supplements on this release is Getting The Class Together: The Cast Of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. This is a collection of interviews with the cast and crew of the film, including segments with Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Gray, Ben Stein and of course, Alan Ruck. Broderick, interestingly enough, discusses his concern of coming off of the stage version of Biloxi Blues into the role of Ferris Bueller, despite the fact that the roles are quite different. He also points out that for some reason in his early years he found himself in roles where he wound up talking to the audience a lot. Some vintage interview clips with John Hughes from 1986 (look at that hair) cover the basics of Broderick's performance. Jennifer Grey talks about the connection that she felt with some of her co-stars almost immediately and talks about how it's not fair that Ferris gets away with everything while her character, Jamie, can't get away with anything and therefore can't contain her grief about her life and her hatred for her brother. Cindy Pickett, clad in a Pink Floyd t-shirt, discusses how she ended up marrying Lyman Ward in real life and how she feels about her performance in retrospective and reminisces about her audition. Ben Stein, who is more or less always funny, talks about how the kids in the class started applauding for him after his performance in front of the class because he thought that he had really taught something to them about the basics of economics. Kristy Swanson, who looks fantastic, talks about how her agent had her read for the part and how John Hughes had already shot the part, which is how she ended up in a different role that Hughes wrote for her. At 27:44 it's a reasonably thorough look at the film through more modern eyes courtesy of the people who made it and fans of the movie will likely enjoy this look back. Plenty of clips from the film are used throughout here to illustrate various points and although some of this is talking head footage it's a well put together piece with some good information.
Up next is a documentary simply titled The Making Of Ferris Bueller's Day Off which examines the behind the scenes activities that resulted in the finished version of the film that we all know and love. Kicking off with the instantly recognizable sounds off Yello, we're then treated to some keen behind the scenes footage before Ben Stein tells us what a genius John Hughes is. Producer Tom Jacobson talks about how quickly John Hughes was able to put the script together very quickly because there was the threat of an upcoming writer's strike that put a bit of outside pressure on the project. Broderick claims that he heard Hughes wrote the script in six days, which is pretty amazing. Some more of the vintage 1986 Hughes interview footage is found in here which gives us the director's take on the making of the film, and Jennifer Grey shows up in here as well, as does the always amusing Edie McClurg who played Grace the secretary. Alan Ruck shows up to talk about his experiences here and goes into some detail about the car, used in the film (there were three of them all together) and again, plenty of clips and still photographs are used throughout this segment. At 15:26 it probably could have just been edited into the first documentary as they tend to cover some of the same ground, but what's here is good material though more behind the scenes footage, if it's even available, would have been a nice touch.
A third featurette called Who Is Ferris Bueller is a biographical bit on Matthew Broderick that also examines the character of Ferris in a fair bit of detail. Starting off with Stein's infamous role call, then cutting into various clips of people asking about Bueller from the film, we then segue into some vintage interview footage with John Hughes (this time from 1987) who talks about how he wanted to create a character who could benefit from not taking himself quite so seriously. Footage of Jeffrey Jones from 1985 explains why Ferris is such a fun character, while some modern day interview footage with Jones explains how he and Broderick were committed to making the movie work. Broderick and Pickett show up in here as well, talking about what they like about the character of Ferris Bueller and the mom/son relationship they have on screen while Alan Ruck explains what he likes about the character. This segment runs 9:06 from beginning to end.
The Economics Teacher gets his time to shine in the next featurette, The World According To Ben Stein. Again, starting with the role call scene, leads into a quick section of Stein related material, both new and old. Stein talks about how he got into show business, how he ended up being cast in the film, and about his real life experience in business and how he used to work with Nixon. As such, he seems to really enjoy the more comedic turn that his life has taken, and he states that his work in this film is his personal career highlight. At 10:51 in length, it's a good talk with Stein, who proves to be an interesting and hilarious subject.
Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes is a great selection of on set interviews from when the film was still in production that runs a combined total of 10:01 in length. It starts with Broderick and Ruck interviewing one another about their roles, talking about how they enjoyed their parts in the movie, and what it was like working together on this film and Biloxi Blues. It's a fun piece, very tongue in cheek, and they seem to be having fun with each other. Up next is a segment with Alan Ruck and Mia Sara, talking about the film, who they played, how they feel about the movie. After that we're treated to a lost scene entitled The Isles Of Langerhans that involves the three kids trying to order in the French restaurant. This is not a finished version of the scene as the boom microphone is in the shot and it's not light properly but it's cool to see it as it's kind of funny. From there we get a segment called Meet The Principal in which Broderick interviews Jeffrey Jones about why his character is so obsessed with catching Ferris in the movie. The section finishes up with more of Ruck and Broderick goofing around, talking about which character they resemble more, Ferris, Cameron, or Lee Harvey Oswald.
Finally, Paramount has also included a Class Album supplement that is essentially a photo gallery of about twenty promotional images shot for the movie.
Trailers for the Airplane Special Edition DVD, the Tommy Boy Holy Schnike! DVD, and Cameron Crowe's Elizabeth Town play before you get to the main menu screen and are also available in the special features section as well should you not get enough of them the first time. The disc also includes chapter selection available off of the main menu, but you probably knew that already.
For whatever reason, the John Hughes commentary track that was on the earlier Paramount DVD release has not been carried over for this new special edition. Why this is the case is anyone's guess, but the fact that it isn't here is definitely an unfortunate strike against this otherwise fine release. Likewise, the trailer for Ferris Bueller's Day Off is nowhere to be seen on this release.