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== Review: The Deathbed Vigil                         By: Jason Compton ==
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Review: The Deathbed Vigil

The Deathbed Vigil and other tales of digital angst is Dave Haynie's
documentary of the last days of Commodore US and International as they
knew it.  It consists of a 20 minute tour of the nearly bare West Chester,
PA plant and the people that remained in it days before the liquidation
began (oh so long ago).  It progresses to the "Last Layoff Party" at a
nearby bar, where scores of Commodorians had hung out for years.  It
progresses to the Deathbed Vigil Party at Randell Jesup's house, where
loads of stories pour out about the good and bad old days.  It culminates
in the ultimate act of condemnation: the spraypainting upon the Commodore
speedbumps of the people they blamed for the collapse of the once-mighty
computer company.

If I don't have you anxious to see the film, I haven't done a good job of
describing it yet.  The tour through Commodore: seeing the utter bareness
of what was once a 1,000+ employee complex with computers stacked to the
ceilings is depressing.  Seeing the people affected by these last days is
touching.  Reading Dave's editiorial screens, in which he describes a
series of "Where Things Went Wrong", from the story of how Commodore could
have made the 3000UX into an industry standard to the story of how Medhi
Ali twice blew a chance to sell the Amiga in Japan to the story of how the
3000+ was blown off by C= management to the 1200 and CD32 underproductions
is riveting.  Listening to the stories of ages past, when OS 2.0 kept
people at Commodore nearly 24 hours a day in an attempt to finish it was
amazing.  In short, it's a great way to get some sort of perspective about
just what was going on at Commodore for the past 7 or 8 years.

If you want to see What Went Wrong, see this movie.  If you want to see
the people that made the Amiga keep working all these years, see this
movie.  If you want to understand just what Commodore management was like,
see this movie.  If you just want to hear a bunch of really, really funny
stories (and a few that are amusing but not gutbusters), see this movie.

The movie isn't going to win any film industry awards.  The sound is at
times horribly trebled, some of the text-screens are mistyped and it wasn't
exactly cinematographed.  That wasn't what it was all about, though, and it
doesn't detract from the experience.

Sure, $35 ($40 PAL) IS a considerable chunk of change to pay for 2 hours of
film.  But the movie really is worth it if any of the above is important to
you.  It is also required viewing for anybody who thinks they can do it all
over again, and better...CEI, Commodore UK, I'm talking to you.

IAM can be contacted by info@iam.com or 610-853-4406.