I spent a fair amount of time last weekend watching some of the many intensive behind-the-scenes documentaries on the Blu-Rays for The Expendables and Kick-Ass. Both of them have fairly in-depth documentaries on the making of - a far cry from the days when a "Behind the Scenes" segment was a 20-minute EPK that consisted mostly of press junket interviews intercut with some occasional on-set B-Roll. These were deep enough to be considered documentaries in their own right.
2009's Star Trek Blu-Ray also had one of the most in-depth behind the scenes features I've ever seen for a film, as did 2006's Superman Returns. In fact, the documentary on Superman Returns runs three full hours! I'm always glad to see such care go into these features as I've heard from people in the DVD business that their figures show only 25% of the sales come from buyers looking for that sort of peek behind-the-curtain. Apparently that sort of production doesn't come cheap, and for a while it looked like the market would soon reach the point where it was no longer cost effective to produce those kinds of features for the little difference they make to the sales.
The other thing that occurred to me as I watched this is that it would be truly fascinating to have the same sort of access to classic films. Can you imagine a three-hour documentary following Orson Wells as he directed Citizen Kane? Or what about a feature-length glimpse inside Alfred Hitchcock's process on Psycho? If it were possible, what film would you like to send a documentary crew back in time to study?
For me, it would have to be either Jaws or the simultaneous production of Superman and Superman II. Both films have rather infamous tales of production woes. Both fell behind schedule drastically. On Jaws, the stories of shooting days gone wrong have passed into legend. Imagine an all-access crew being there to document every moment of it - ever trial that Spielberg faced, certain that his career was over... only to emerge with what was the biggest box office hit up to that time.
On the Superman films, I'd love to see Richard Donner working to keep everything together as he simultaneously shot two films and dealt with producers with rather dubious ethics... and then there's the whole matter of bringing on a new director for the remainder of the second film and reshooting fully half of the movie. Yes, all parties involved have had their say in interviews, but to actually see it play out before us would be very compelling.
So what behind-the-scenes documentaries do YOU wish existed?