I took a post and added it to the essay page so that I could keep developing it as a single document.
Some DVDs of movies have been issued with a commentary track by critics or film historians that are very illuminating. Most commentaries are not. The worst seem to be those that involve the actors, and commentaries by directors are generally not the best ones, and often are worthless.
DVDs (or Blu-rays) that have a commentary track that is able to genuinely open up the film to the viewer and teach a lot about movies and how to watch them:
Alex Proyas, Dark City, commentary by Roger Ebert
Michelangelo Antonioni, Blow-up, commentary by Peter Brunette
Claude Chabrol, Les Biches, commentary by Wade Major and F. X. Feeney
Claude Chabrol, Le Boucher, commentary by Howard Rodman and Terry Curtis Fox
Claude Chabrol, La Rupture, commentary by Howard Rodman, Terry Curtis Fox and F. X. Feeney
Claude Chabrol, Une Partie de Plaisir, commentary by Dan Yakir and Ric Menello
274) Jules Dassin, Night and the City, commentary by Glenn Erickson
482) Jean-Luc Godard, 2 or 3 Thinks I Know About Her, commentary by Adrian Martin. Granted it is another ham-handed Godard movie, but you turn on the commentary, use subtitles for dialogue, and it becomes endurable
The Fox Film Noir series was issued with commentary tracks:
01) Otto Preminger, Laura, two commentaries, one by Rudy Behlmer dealing exclusively with background and production history, and no film comment such as we are after here, and one by a film professor Jeanine Basinger with selected comments by the film composer David Raksin which is merely OK.
02) Henry Hathaway, Call Northside 777, commentary by James Ursini and Alain Silver, worthwhile within the limitations of the movie itself.
03) Elia Kazan, Panic In the Streets, the commentary by James Ursini and Alain Silver is better than 02, because the movie gives them a lot more to work with.
04) Samuel Fuller, House of Bamboo, commentary by James Ursini and Alain Silver
05) William Keighley, The Street With No Name, commentary by James Ursini and Alain Silver
06) Edmund Goulding, Nightmare Alley, commentary by James Ursini and Alain Silver
10) Henry Hathaway, The Dark Corner, commentary by Alain Silver and James Ursini
11) Henry Hathaway, Kiss of Death, commentary by James Ursini and Alain Silver
12) Otto Preminger, Where the Sidewalk Ends, commentary by Eddie Muller
14) Otto Preminger, Fallen Angel, commentary by Eddie Muller and Susan Andrews
17) Joseph L. Mankiewicz, House of Strangers, commentary by Foster Hirsch, perhaps the best in the series
Jacques Tourneur, Cat People and Gunther V. Fritsch and Robert Wise, The Curse of the Cat People, commentary by Greg Mank, good within the limitations of the movies. What other discs should be on this list?