In release news today, here's something that might give you Gen-Xers a kick: Hen's Tooth Video is releasing a Free to Be You and Me: Special 36th Anniversary Edition on 10/19 (SRP $19.95), "newly remastered from the original ABC-TV master tape!" Extras will include a new introduction with Marlo Thomas, a deleted scene featuring Dustin Hoffman and a photo gallery. Nice.
HBO will release A Dog Year on DVD only on 12/7 (SRP $26.98), distributed by Warner.
Disney will soon announce the home video release of their live action The Sorcerer's Apprentice on DVD, 2-Disc Blu-ray and 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo (SRP $29.99, $39.99 and $44.99). Additional details will follow.
And Vic Barry over at The Movie Bit blog has an interesting tidbit regarding the 5.1 audio mix on the 2004 Star Wars DVD (and possibly next year's Blu-ray as well).
Okay... how about two more Blu-ray reviews for you? Here's my thoughts on Paramount's excellent new Blu-ray upgrade of a favorite of mine - Sam Mendes' Road to Perdition (also reviewed by Barrie here). I've also taken a look at Image Entertainment's surprisingly loaded (and awesome) new Twilight Zone: Season 1 in high-definition. Road to Perdition is now available in stores, while Twilight Zone streets next Tuesday (9/14). Enjoy!
In release news today, First Look Studios has set Leaves of Grass for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 10/12 (SRP $28.98 and $29.98 - yes, just a dollar more for HD). Extras will include a "making of" featurette, the theatrical trailer and commentary by star Ed Norton and director Tim Blake Nelson.
IFC Films has set The Human Centipede for DVD and Blu-ray release on 10/5 (SRP $24.98 and $29.98). Extras will include deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, a feature-length documentary, an interview with director Tom Six and featurettes on the casting and foley work.
And Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Rush: 2112 & Moving Pictures Classic Albums for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 9/28 (SRP $14.98 and $19.98). Each will examine the making of these great albums though the use of new interviews, demonstrations, archive videos, and original multi-track tapes.
In news from around the Net today, dozens of screenshots from Fox's upcoming Alien Anthology Blu-rays have begun leaking out of Europe, and one look should be all that's required to set at ease the minds of anyone concerned that director James Cameron might have gone digital clean-up crazy on Aliens. Judging by these images, the final Blu-rays are going to be absolutely spectacular looking. BTW, we'll have more on this release in a week or two.
Meanwhile, special effects legend Douglas Trumbull has revealed that he's been working on an amazing new documentary about the making of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, called 2001: Beyond the Infinite - The Making of a Masterpiece. You can get a 3-minute peek at the documentary on his website (scroll down to 2001: A Space Odyssey - Documentary and play the video). It looks to be - at long last - THE definitive account of the making of the film... and a helluva lot of fun as well. It also seems pretty damn likely that this is being created for that new Stanley Kubrick Blu-ray box set that our sources at Warner have told us is being prepared for release next year. Very, very, VERY, VEEEEERRY cool. This box might be the Blu-ray release I'm most excited about right now, I'll tell you.
And in Blu-ray 3D news, Disney has just officially confirmed its new partnership with Sony, that will allow consumers who purchase one of 10 different models of Sony Bravia 3D HDTVs to get an exclusive copy of Alice in Wonderland or Bolt in Blu-ray 3D format. More here at Home Media.
All right... we're blowing out more new Blu-ray Disc reviews today...
First up is a look at Paramount's recent high-def release of The Peacemaker, which was DreamWorks SKG's first feature film and one of their first DVD releases back in the day as well. And for you science fiction fans, I've given Warner's new Blu-ray upgrades of Forbidden Planet and THX 1138: The George Lucas Director's Cut a spin as well. The first title streets on 9/21, while the two latter titles hit stores TODAY. Enjoy!
Here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has also posted the weekly update of our Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover art as well as Amazon.com preorder links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it!
Meanwhile, in release news, Music Box Films has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of The Girl Who Played with Fire on 10/26 (SRP $29.95 and $34.95). This is the Swedish sequel to the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. At least some bonus features will be included, but details haven't been released.
Meanwhile, Warner has set New Line's The Long Kiss Goodnight for Blu-ray release on 1/11/11 (SRP $19.98).
And we've just gotten word that Target stores will have a retail-exclusive edition of the Iron Man 2 Blu-ray Combo on 9/28 that includes individually numbered metal packaging. Here's what it looks like...
And Universal has finally set Charlie St. Cloud for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 11/9.
Universal has also releasing The Office: Overtime - Digital Shorts Collection on DVD only on 11/16. It'll include The Office Convention: Cast Q&A, Paley: Inside the Writer's Room, Subtle Sexuality (commentary with Mindy Kaling, B.J. Novak, and Ellie Kemper), the Blackmail Video (commentary with Creed Bratton), the Subtle Sexuality and Dwight Schrute music videos, the Lazy Scranton video, Michael Scott's Dundler Mifflin ad and fake PSAs.
Finally today, Disney has set Army Wives: Season 4 for DVD only release on 12/14 (SRP $39.99).
Here's a look at the cover art for both versions of The Girl Who Played with Fire, as well as Universal's The Office: Overtime - Digital Shorts Collection...
I think I mentioned on Friday that I might check in today, holiday though it is here in the States, with a few new Blu-ray Disc reviews. And in fact, that's exactly what we've got for you this afternoon...
You can now read out my thoughts on the BBC's Wonders of the Solar System documentary series (due in stores tomorrow), Warner's Chuck: The Complete Third Season (also due tomorrow) and an all-region Blu-ray imported from the U.K. - Eureka's release of Ralph Bakshi's Wizards (now available). All are worth a look, so do check them out.
We're going to have a lot of Blu-ray reviews for you to check out this week, so be sure to tune back in early tomorrow morning for a few more. Enjoy the rest of your holiday and we'll see you then!
Okay... first up today, our own Jeff Kleist has a review of Disney's Lost: The Complete Series Blu-ray Disc box set (now available in stores). Sounds like it's about as jam-packed loaded as can be, and I hear the damn thing weighs in at like 100 pounds! Well... maybe not quite 100, but you get the idea. You wouldn't want to have to carry it under your arm all day, let's put it that way. You get 36 BD discs and a whole bunch of cool swag, so hats off to Disney and the Lost team of special edition producers for a terrific set! Check out Jeff's review for all the details.
In announcement news today, Warner has set Luther for DVD release on 11/23 (for the BBC), followed by A Dog Year (for HBO) and Hot Wheels Battle Force 5: Season 1, Part 2 on 12/7, Robert Klein: Unfair & Unbalanced on 12/14 (also for HBO) and Bleach Uncut: Box Set 7 on 12/21.
Information is also starting to leak about Warner's DVD and Blu-ray release plans for Christopher Nolan's Inception. Play.com has details for a 12/6 Blu-ray release in the U.K., which indicates that there will be a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack and a Limited Edition Briefcase version that includes art cards, a spinning top replica and a booklet in addition to the discs. There will also be a regular DVD version. There's no word yet on the U.S. release, but it's very likely Warner will officially announce it in the next week or two. Here's a look at the cover artwork for all three...
Speaking of unannounced titles, as you can see by the artwork and links above, Fox's Knight and Day and The A-Team are both up for pre-order on Amazon.com with no street date listed yet. Click on the covers to visit the pre-order pages on Amazon for each title.
In other news today, I wanted to recommend a great new TV show to you. Anyone watching Mad Men knows that AMC's doing a pretty good job with their dramatic series, so I want to steer you all towards their Rubicon too. It's a great little political/spy thriller, about a team of intelligence analysts who suddenly find themselves in the middle of a deeper plot. Specifically, the main character - Will Travers (played by James Badge Dale) - is trying to investigate the death of his father-in-law, who was also an intelligence analysts, and he stumbles upon a larger conspiracy. Rubicon is nicely paced and very well cast. I really enjoy the show, and you might too, so check it out of you're interested. Here's the show's official website.
Finally today, this is obviously the start of the long Labor Day weekend here in the States, so most people have Monday off. However, I just MAY check in on Monday anyway with some more new Blu-ray reviews, so do drop back in then.
Meanwhile, have a great long holiday weekend and stay tuned!
Afternoon, folks! First of all, thanks to all those of you who sent in nice anniversary wishes. Sarah and I appreciate it very much. Time to start working on the next 20 years!
Now then, down to business...
A number of you have asked if Disney's Fantasia Blu-ray will include the censored or uncensored version of the film. As some of you may know, the original theatrical version of the film featured a 'black centaurette' character in The Pastoral Symphony sequence. For the previous DVD release, this character was removed via a digital zoom. Our sources tell us that this change is still part of the new Blu-ray, but that with improved digital tools the edit is more seamless. Like some of you, I have mixed feelings about this. I'd love to see some kind of branching viewing option that allows you to see the uncensored version, with some kind of BD-Java option or featurette that addresses the issue head-on. Even a BD-Live option to view the uncensored version or scenes online. In today's PC climate though, I can understand why Disney wouldn't include it. Essentially, the controversy itself would be all ANYONE in the media talked about. Same with Song of the South - in an ideal world, Disney would release it uncensored as a special edition that directly addressed the subject racism in classic Hollywood films head-on. An unvarnished look at the issue and how far we've come (or not) since then, WITH members of the black community involved - historians, etc. And they could donate all the profits to a charity devoted to ending racism. But in today's media climate, some groups would decide to use the release as an opportunity to generate controversy and stir up PR, and even those people who honestly believe the film should never be seen again would campaign on Larry King, and it would be a circus. My take is, you should never sanitize your own history, but rather deal with it head on. But that requires the ability to look at things in context, in more than the time that it takes to write or read a Twitter feed, and our society doesn't seem to have that ability anymore - at least at the moment. So yes, it's unfortunate, and but I guess I do understand Disney's decision. And while it's important to keep all this in mind, it's not going to prevent me from enjoying what should be an otherwise excellent release, much like the previous DVD set.
By the way, the uncensored version of Fantasia (not to mention Song of the South) IS available on bootleg DVD for the determined collector to find, and it's not that hard to track down a copy via the Internet. To be absolutely clear, I'm certainly not endorsing that any more than I endorse the censorship. I'm just saying.
In news today, there's good reason to believe that Fox is going to finally be releasing James Cameron's Avatar as a Blu-ray 3D release on 12/1... but it will be available ONLY as part of an exclusive deal with Panasonic, packaged in one of their Blu-ray 3D Home Theatre systems. And that exclusive arrangement could be as long as a year or more. Why so long? Well, the simple fact is, there just aren't enough Blu-ray 3D players and 3D-ready HD displays selling right now to make a widespread release financially practical. (Which is pretty much exactly how I've always expected Blu-ray and HDTV 3D hardware to sell for the first few years in the middle of a recession - VERY slowly.) Blu-ray 3D titles are more expensive to author and prepare, and it doesn't really make sense to release your biggest film in 3D when so few people can actually watch it. So instead, the studios have decided to use these titles as incentives to help encourage sales of the hardware for now, and then release them more widely to consumers when the installed base is higher. In addition to the Avatar exclusive with Panasonic, word is that Disney's Alice in Wonderland 3D will be an exclusive with Sony 3D hardware, while DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon and all four Shrek will be Samsung 3D hardware exclusives, as Monsters vs. Aliens currently is. More on all this here at Hollywood in High-Def. Meanwhile, as we've reported previously, Fox's Avatar: Collector's Edition (with 16 minutes of added footage and LOTS of bonus features) should finally be available on DVD and Blu-ray on 11/16. This street date is confirmed by a recent preview trailer discovery by our friends at Blu-ray.com. We expect official details on that release to be announced soon by the studio.
Speaking of exclusives, a number of catalog Blu-rays are now available in Best Buy stores - titles that won't be available widely in stores until after the holidays. These include (we believe): Paramount's Anchorman: The Rich Mahogany Edition (which fans will be pleased to know contains ALL of the previous DVD extras, including the 32-page diary) and The Score, as well as Lionsgate's 2001 Maniacs, Bad Lieutenant, The Blair Witch Project, Open Water/Open Water 2: Adrift, Secretary, Wonderland, High Tension and Hard Candy, and Warner's Deep Blue Sea, a Martin Scorsese Collection (of The Departed, Goodfellas and The Aviator - singles all available widely) and an Oliver Stone Collection (of Natural Born Killers, Any Given Sunday and Alexander: Revisited - again singles available widely).
Meanwhile, Image Entertainment has set Fallen: The Complete 3-Part Movie Event for release on Blu-ray Disc on 11/2 (SRP $17.97).
In other news, Film Score Monthly is preparing an excellent 14-CD box set release of the complete scores from some 40 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's called Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Ron Jones Project (SRP $149.95), and for you diehard Trekkers, it's available for pre-order now on the FSM website. More on it here at Trek Movie.com.
And here's something cool: Turner Classic Movies has a monthly TCM Podcast on their website, in which they talk about many of their favorite movies that are going to be running during the coming month on the TCM cable channel. Well, this month's podcast - about halfway through - features our very own Todd Doogan, talking about Akira Kurosawa's Dersu Uzala, which is going to be showing on TCM on this coming Monday (9/6) at 3:30 AM Eastern. If you've never seen Dersu (reviewed here on DVD as part of our recent Films of Akira Kurosawa coverage), it's WELL worth your time. The TCM Podcast is pretty good too, and you'll get a rare glimpse of the Doogan in his natural habitat. Great job, Todd! Enjoy, folks.
Check back in tomorrow for a few great new Blu-ray Disc reviews. Stay tuned...
All right... today's post is going to be a quick one. Reason: Sarah and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary today, so we're going to take the day and do something fun. You don't get to 20 years and happy as ever without setting priorities... ;)
But I've got a couple things for you this afternoon. First, we've got the text of Disney's official Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 press release...
Releasing for the First Time in Over a Decade
To Astound the Eyes and Ears of a New Generation!
Highly-Anticipated Hi-Def Debut of Disney's Acclaimed Masterwork and the Modern Magnum Opus it Inspired
Fantasia & Fantasia 2000: 2-Movie Collection Special Edition
On 4-Disc Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and 2-Disc DVD
November 30, 2010
BURBANK, Calif., September 2010 -- Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 -- the magical, animated musical masterpiece and the contemporary classic inspired by it -- debut in highly anticipated Blu-ray High Definition and DVD 2-Movie Collection Special Editions on November 30. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is opening the Disney vault to be able to present these two films that broke the boundaries of imagination in the highest quality possible.
The Fantasia and Fantasia 2000: 2-Movie Collection Special Edition will be available in a 4-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack ($45.99 SRP) and a 2-Disc DVD ($39.99 SRP) for a very limited time only. The Blu-ray transformation of Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 will reveal the magic, music and majesty of both films as never before experienced, with state-of-the-art picture restoration of the original Fantasia and pristine 7.1 Digital Theater System Hi-Def Surround Sound. The Blu-ray combo pack is a tremendous value featuring, in addition to the two films in two different formats, a wealth of bonus features.
Among those Blu-ray special features is the highly requested Academy Award® nominated short Destino. Available for the first time ever on Blu-ray, the seven minute film is the result of a unique collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali begun in 1946, but put on hold due to studio financial concerns. In 2003, Roy E. Disney worked with a team of modern day animators to complete the film as a tribute to Walt's pioneering artistic vision. Accompanying the highly anticipated short is an all-new feature length documentary entitled Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino, which explores the origins of the relationship between Disney and Dali, their collaboration on Destino, and ultimately how the film came to fruition so many years after its inception.
Fantasia, an unprecedented and magnificent feast of music and animated images, was initially released by the Studio in 1940 as a "road show" release. The following year, at the 14th Annual Academy Awards, Fantasia earned two Special Awards. The first was given to Walt Disney and associates for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the use of sound in motion pictures, being the first commercial film released in multi-channel sound using a process called Fantasound, and the second to conductor Leopold Stokowski and his associates "for... unique achievement in the creation of a new form of visualized music... thereby widening the scope of the motion picture as entertainment and as an art form."
Considered avant-garde during its time, Fantasia has gone on to become one of the most popular movies of all time and today is considered a classic. In 1990, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Stokowski, this groundbreaking film, which consists of animation set to eight musical pieces, is narrated by Deems Taylor and includes an appearance by Mickey Mouse (voiced by Disney himself).
Equally impressive is Fantasia 2000, the awe-inspiring extravaganza of sight and sound, executive produced by the late Roy E. Disney. Featuring an array of celebrity hosts including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Angela Lansbury, Itzhak Perlman and Quincy Jones, the film, like its predecessor, expertly visualizes classical music compositions with various forms of animation and live-action introductions. Fantasia 2000 is primarily performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by James Levine.
Synopsis: The dreams and visions of Walt Disney come to life in Fantasia, which blends music and film magic into an exhilarating movie-going experience. Unforgettable images are brought to life by some of the world's best music, and highlighted by the comedy of Mickey Mouse as a troublemaking sorcerer's apprentice, along with the beauty of winged fairies and cascading snowflakes, the majesty of Noah's ark and even plump hippos performing ballet in tutus.
Motivated by his uncle's foresight, Roy Disney continued the magic with Fantasia 2000 which begins where its predecessor left off. There are seven completely new segments, and viewers watch a bustling Depression-era metropolis in the style of Al Hirschfeld's famous cartoons, a flock of flamingos with slapstick yo-yo talents, an ark full of animals gathered by Donald Duck as Noah's first mate, and musical life breathed into a family of flying humpback whales.
Fantasia DVD Bonus Features:
-New Audio Commentary with Disney historian Brian Sibley
-Disney Family Museum (running time: approx. 5 minutes) - Walt's daughter Diane Disney-Miller takes viewers on a tour of the new Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California featuring a very large exhibit on Fantasia and most importantly, the Schultheis notebook with long lost Fantasia production notes found in more recent years in the walls of a convent.
Fantasia Blu-ray Bonus Features:
Everything on the DVD plus:
-Disney View - This viewing mode maximizes the Blu-ray viewing experience with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. Original artwork created by a Disney artist, in a style that complements the beauty of the film.
-The Shultheis Notebook: A Disney Treasure (running time: approx. 14 minutes) - An in depth look at the recently discovered Schultheis Notebook. The detailed log was created by Herman Schultheis, an effects man on Fantasia, and intricately breaks down the film from a technical view. Many of the special effects used in Fantasia were a mystery to modern day animators until this notebook was recovered.
-Interactive Art Gallery and Screensavers - Viewers can explore the artwork of Fantasia as never before, in HD resolution with unique Blu-ray interactivity and programming.
-Audio Commentaries from Fantasia Legacy Collection:
With executive producer Roy E. Disney, conductor James Levine, animation historian John Canemaker, and Scott McQueen, manager of film restoration. Audio commentary with interviews and story note recreations by Walt Disney, hosted by John Canemaker.
Fantasia 2000 DVD Bonus Features:
-Musicana: Walt's Inspiration for a Sequel (running time: approx. 10 minutes) - This documentary reveals rarely-seen art created for Musicana, a late 1970's project intended as a Fantasia sequel with a focus on exploring other cultures via their greatest musical compositions. Viewers are offered a look at the origins of pieces that were started by Walt, such as "The Emperor and the Nightingale" which was then taken over by a very young John Lasseter. Ultimately, Musicana was stopped to begin production on Mickey's Christmas Carol, but the memories of this piece still live on with the animators who conceived it.
Fantasia 2000 Blu-ray Bonus Features:
Everything on the DVD plus:
-Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino (running time: 82 minutes) - This feature length documentary explores the collaborative relationship between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali, revealing how and why the Destino short came to fruition under the lead of Roy E. Disney in 2003 so many years after its inception in 1946.
-Destino (running time: approx. 7 minutes) - The legacy of Walt Disney and Salvador Dali lives on in this highly anticipated short film.
-Disney's Virtual Vault -- BD-Live Feature
-Original DVD Bonus Features from Legacy Collection
-Audio Commentaries from Fantasia Legacy Collection (total running time: 84 minutes):
With executive producer Roy E. Disney, conductor James Levine, and producer Don Ernst. Audio commentary with the directors and art directors for each segment.
About Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Combo Packs (Blu-ray + DVD in a single package): To provide consumers with unprecedented quality, value and portability of their favorite Disney classics, in 2008 WDSHE pioneered the Combo Pack - Blu-ray Disc(s) plus a DVD in a single package. Classic Disney titles released as Combo Packs include Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The Fantasia and Fantasia 2000: 2-Movie Collection Special Edition Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack is priced at $45.99 SRP and the 2-Disc DVD set is priced at $39.99 SRP.
Speaking of Disney, I thought you might like a look ahead at what the studio has planned for Blu-ray in the coming year. Well, according to trailers on their recent James and the Giant Peach Blu-ray, you can definitely expect an Alice in Wonderland: 60th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray Disc sometime in 2011, as well as the long awaited The Lion King: Diamond Edition on Blu-ray (and DVD) in the Fall of 2011. Obviously, Tron Legacy will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray sometime early next year, along with a Blu-ray of the original Tron - the brand new HD transfer of which has been running on HDNet in recent months. Additional titles are in development, and we'll have more on that as it comes in.
Here, again, is the cover artwork for the Fantasia titles as well as Beauty and the Beast (due 10/5)...
In other news today, there's an interesting comment by Samsung's vice president of home entertainment, John Revie, over at PC World. Essentially, referring to Toshiba's effort to launch 3D HDTVs that don't require glasses, Revie says it's not ready for primetime yet. Specifically, it's only ready for very small and lower resolution monitors, and if you move even in the slightest the image distorts. Revie confirms that Samsung (like Toshiba and other manufacturers) IS working on it, but it's going to be a few years at least.
Finally today, Apple has just announced a whole bunch of new products, including a rental-only Apple TV device, new iPods, iTunes 10 and iOS 4.2 for the iPad and more. More here at engadget.
Also today here at the site, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all of the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we greatly appreciate it.
We've also kicked off 3 new Giveaways, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's The Middle: Season One on DVD, and Anchor Bay's The Evil Dead and 9th Company on Blu-ray! Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, 9/15. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
In announcement news today, 20th Century Fox has officially unveiled the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition on 11/2. You'll be able to purchase either a 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (SRP $34.99 - available in both Blu-ray and DVD packaging options) or a Limited Collector's Set containing the 3-disc set plus additional extras (SRP $89.99). The 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack will include...
BD Disc 1 - the film remastered in 1080p with 7.1 DTS-HD audio, the Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration enhanced viewing mode (with behind-the-scenes images, trivia, on-screen lyrics and more), a Music Machine sing-along, audio commentaries with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Director Robert Wise, and BD-Live Live Lookup.
BD Disc 2 - the interactive Musical Stages: Creating The Sound of Music backlot tour (with in-depth featurettes on the songs, stage show, film, sound restoration and the von Trapp family), the A City of Song virtual map of filming locations, vintage Rodgers & Hammerstein and Sound of Music programs, screen tests, interviews, photo galleries and more.
DVD - the film in SD, an optional sing-along track, the Music Machine sing-along option and The Sound of Music Tour: A Living Story featurette.
The Limited Collector's Set will include the 3 discs above, along with the 45th Anniversary CD soundtrack, a 100-page My Favorite Things scrapbook, snapshots from Salzburg, a reproduction of the original 1965 souvenir program and an exclusive My Favorite Things music box with letter of authenticity. Here's a look at the Limited Collector's Set along with the 3-Disc Combo artwork (Blu-ray packaging version)...
Meanwhile, MGM has set Mad Max for Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 10/5 (SRP $24.99). Extras on the Blu-ray will include audio commentary by Jon Dowding, David Eggby, Chris Murray & Tim Ridge, the Mad Max: The Film Phenomenon documentary, the original Australian language track, 2 theatrical trailers and TV spots. The DVD disc included will add the Mel Gibson: The Birth of a Star documentary, a Road Rants trivia and fact track, and a photo gallery.
Sony has set The Rita Hayworth Film Collection for DVD release on 11/2 (SRP $59.95), including Cover Girl, Gilda, Miss Sadie Thompson, Salome and Tonight and Every Night.
Magnolia will release Raging Phoenix on DVD and Blu-ray on 9/14.
Vivendi Entertainment has set the Lonesome Dove Collection for DVD release on 9/14 as well. The set will include Larry McMurty's Dead Man's Walk, Lonesome Dove, Return to Lonesome Dove and Larry McMurty's Streets of Laredo.
Vivendi has also set the reimagined The Phantom for DVD and Blu-ray release on 9/7 (SRP $19.93 and 24.99). Extras will include interviews with director Paolo Barzman and star Ryan Carnes.
Image Entertainment has set Fade to Black for DVD release on 10/5 (SRP $27.97).
And Trinity Filmed Entertainment has set the documentary Shooting Robert King for DVD release in the U.K. on 9/25.
Afternoon, folks! Hope you're enjoying your Monday.
As many of you know, the Emmy winners were announced last night. Congratulations to Mad Men for yet another win as Best Drama Series. Sarah and I have been watching since the beginning - it's a damn good show to be sure. In fact, last's night's episode was pretty terrific. Anyway, click here for more on all the winners.
In announcement news today, Lionsgate has set their November release slate as follows: On 11/2, look for Let's Spend the Night Together, the Highlander: Director's Cut (Blu-ray), Highlander 2 (Blu-ray), LeapFrog Learning DVD + CD Set: Volume 2 and Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage (Blu-ray). Following on 11/9 are Barney: Best Fairy Tales and Locked Down (DVD and Blu-ray). And on 11/16, look for The Gunslingers and a Thomas & Friends: Adventure Pack 4-DVD Set.
Warner Home Video has announced a pair of new Looney Tunes titles for release on DVD on 11/30 - Looney Tunes Super Stars: Foghorn Leghorn & Friends and Looney Tunes Super Stars: Tweety & Sylvester (SRP $19.98 each). Each is a single-disc set with 15 selected animated shorts.
Sony has set Grown Ups for DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 11/9 (SRP $28.96, $34.95 and $38.96). Extras will include bloopers, featurettes, deleted scenes, audio commentary and the usual BD-Live options.
Shout! Factory has announced more Roger Corman's Cult Classic titles for DVD release on 11/2, including Not of This Earth and a double-feature of The Terror Within and Dead Space (SRP $19.93 each). Extras on Not of This Earth will include a new Nadine's Story interview with Traci Lords, audio commentary with Lords and director Jim Wynorski, the original DVD commentary with Wynorski, the film's trailer and other New World trailers. The Terror Within will include audio commentary with co-producer Rodman Flender and trailers, and Dead Space will include audio commentary with director Fred Gallo and trailers.
And around the Net today, Image and Sony have inked a deal that will allow Sony to replicate all of Image's DVD and Blu-ray releases, while Image will get to distribute some of Sony's deeper catalog titles.
Home Media is reporting that Blockbuster is getting ready to file a 'pre-packaged' bankruptcy next month. Tough times for physical media rentals.
Speaking of Home Media, they've just announced the winners of their Third-Annual High-Def Awards. Paramount's Star Trek was the deserving winner in the Best Theatrical Blu-ray category. Click here for the complete list.
You fans of director Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings films should be pleased to learn that Jackson's told a New Zealand paper that Warner is making progress in sorting out all the financial problems with MGM, and should FINALLY be announcing its Hobbit plans soon. Presumably, that would include Jackson as director of the 2 films.
Here's something interesting: The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) has changed its name to UltraViolet, and is planning to launch a service/system that allows consumers to buy digital content, store it "up in the cloud" and access it across multiple playback devices and delivery platforms. Here's a link to the official website. In theory, this is a cool idea. But in practice... well, I may be alone in this feeling (but I suspect I'm not): I don't really want all of my content "up in the cloud." If I buy it, I want to own it myself, and I want control of the files myself on my own hard drive. I don't doubt for a second that there's a rental market that can really grow, work well and be taken advantage of here, but if I'm buying content, I do NOT want my access of it to be contingent on my ability to connect to the Net. Anyone with an iPhone can tell you how frustrating it is to try to access the Net with lousy signal quality. I actually really like the idea of RENTING content that way, but if I'm going to buy it, I want a disc... and all the content darned well better actually be ON the disc. Or at the very least, I want control of the file, unencrypted and on my own hard drive. But that's just me How do you guys feel about it? Drop us an e-mail and let us know.
Here's the question it seems that few people have really asked about this yet: If all your content and work is stored in a digital locker "up in the cloud", who else can see it? How long until hackers start breaking in and messing with it or corrupting it? When do we start seeing virus bombs that sneak in and wipe out all your files? What if you're a musician or a writer, and you store your current work-in-progress "up in the cloud" - who can see it? Who can steal it? What kind of consumer protections will there be? You know damn well that data miners will do everything they can to try to crawl through it, learn everything about you and sell that information to marketing companies. And if it's actually encrypted enough to be truly secure, how much harder will it be for consumers to set up their devices to access it? Call me skeptical. But it's just a bad road to go down if you ask me.
Finally this afternoon, Bits reader Mark J. has reported that he's found the new version of Paramount's Gladiator Blu-ray at a local WalMart store with the yellow UPC symbol. So it looks like the the yellow UPC is soon going to be everywhere, meaning the revised disc will be easier to spot in the coming weeks. If any of you manage to get a new copy from Amazon, please let us know.
We'll leave you today with a look at the cover art for the Corman DVDs, Universal's The Bing Crosby Collection DVD box set (due 11/2) and The Wiz Blu-ray (also due 11/2), and Lionsgate's Highlander: Director's Cut and Highlander 2 Blu-rays...
Back tomorrow with a new High-Def Matters column from Barrie. Stay tuned!
All right... we've got some interesting stuff for you to close out the week this afternoon...
First up, how many of you guys out there are Springsteen fans? Well, Columbia Records has announced that they're releasing a new Deluxe Edition of the album on 11/16, called The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story. There will be TWO 6-disc version, each with 3 music CDs. One of them will also include 3 DVDs (SRP $119.98), while the other will include 3 Blu-ray Discs (SRP $139.98)! Nope, not kidding! CD 1 will include the original Darkness on the Edge of Town album fully remastered. CDs 2 & 3 will include The Promise - 21 previously unreleased tracks from the Darkness sessions. DVD 1/BD 1 will include the 90-minute The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town documentary by filmmaker Thom Zimmy. DVD 2/BD 2 will include a new Darkness on the Edge of Town complete album performance shot at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ last year, as well as vintage behind-the-scenes and performance footage from the Thrill Hill Vault dating from 1976-1978. Finally, DVD 3/BD 3 will include the Houston '78 Bootleg: House Cut - complete footage of the December 8th, 1978 concert at the Summit in Houston, TX. All of the footage on the Blu-rays (if you choose that version) will be in HD. Finally, you'll get an 80-page notebook containing "facsimiles from Springsteen's original notebooks from the recording sessions, which include alternate lyrics, song ideas, recording details, and personal notes in addition to a new essay by Springsteen and never-before-seen photographs." Absolutely BADASS! Here's a look at the packaging (clicking allows you to pre-order the BD set, or you can use the links above for the DVD set), and be sure to visit Matt's fine MusicTAP site today for lots of additional details, including a track listing of all the discs.
Now then... we mentioned these titles the other day, and you've been waiting over a year for news about them. But Disney has just officially confirmed the Blu-ray Disc release (and DVD re-release) of Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 on 11/30. You'll be able to buy a 4-Disc Blu-ray Special Edition (SRP $45.99) and a 2-Disc DVD Special Edition (SRP $39.99). Each will include both films. Let's start with the DVD, which will include Fantasia (fully restored) on one disc, and Fantasia 2000 on the other. Extras on the DVDs will include the Musicana and Disney Family Museum features, along with audio commentaries. Both of these discs will also be included in the 4-disc Blu-ray, which will add a Blu-ray version of each film. Exclusive features on these Blu-rays will include the Dali & Disney: A Date with Destino documentary, the long awaited Destino film itself, The Schultheis Notebook, Disney's Virtual Vault (BD-Live), an Interactive Art Gallery and DisneyView. The aspect ratio for Fantasia will be the original 1.33:1, while Fantasia 2000 will be 1.78:1. Audio on the Blu-rays will be in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 KHz/24-bit), along with 5.1 DEHT tracks in French and Spanish. You'll get English SDH, as well as French and Spanish subtitles. Here's a look at the cover artwork for both versions (both are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking on the cover art)...
Don't forget, Disney's new Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray streets on 10/5 (SRP $39.99) - it's available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Amazon also now has Kino's The Complete Metropolis available for pre-order on DVD and Blu-ray too.
Moving on... Shout! Factory has set Roger Corman's 2-disc The Slumber Party Massacre Collection for release on DVD on 10/5 (SRP $24.97) all 3 films will be included: The Slumber Party Massacre, The Slumber Party Massacre II and The Slumber Party Massacre III. Extras will include the all-new 3-part documentary Sleepless Nights: Revisiting the Slumber Party Massacres, a photo and poster still gallery and the theatrical trailers.
Also due on 10/5 from Shout! is the Roger Corman double-feature DVD The Evil/Twice Dead (SRP $19.93). Extras will include audio commentaries, new interviews and trailers.
And Shout! has a new 7-disc Frank Sinatra: Concert Collection coming to DVD on 11/2 as well. Included will be a number of great vintage performances and TV specials, including A Man and His Music (1965), A Man and His Music, Part II (1966), A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim (1967), Sinatra: The Man and His Music (1981), Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back (1973), Sinatra: The Main Event (1974), Sinatra in Concert at Royal Festival Hall (1970), Sinatra in Japan: Live at the Budokan Hall, Tokyo (1985 - previously only released in Japan), Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing (1968), Sinatra (1969) and Concert for the Americas (1982 - first ever U.S. DVD release). Also included are two rare TV specials that include classic Sinatra performances, including Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank (1957) and PBS's Vintage Sinatra (2003). You also get additional previously unreleased performances, included separately. Concert for the Americas will also be released on DVD separately the same day.
Here's cover art for the Shout! titles...
Finally, yesterday we mentioned the passing of filmmaker Satoshi Kon. Well, it turns out that Kon had a personal blog for his family and friends, and he had time to write up some last words there - words that are as insightful into who Kon was as any you'll ever read. Kon lays out all his feelings, his love, his regrets and insecurities rather fearlessly. His words are heartbreaking to read, but also extraordinarily moving - especially if you're a fan of the man and his work. Thanks to our friend Rob Burnett for the link.
And I'd say that's an appropriate place to call it a week. We'll be back on Monday with lots more news, so stay tuned and enjoy the weekend. Peace out.
Okay... we've got a bunch of stuff to run down today...
First up though, I just wanted to let you know that Paramount is now sending out its Gladiator exchange Blu-rays. A lot of readers are reporting that they've received their copies, so if you've sent in yours you should be getting it back very soon. Readers who've finally seen it are very happy with the video quality of the new disc, so it's worth the exchange if you haven't done it yet.
Are there any fans of Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers' The Power of Myth? Acorn Media is releasing a new DVD version of the excellent PBS documentary series on 9/21 (SRP $49.99). The 6-disc set includes all 7 episodes, along with selections from Moyers' interview with George Lucas, a never-before-released conversation with Campbell from Bill Moyer's Journal and a new 12-page viewers guide. The guide includes "profiles of artists influenced by Campbell, an essay on mythology in everyday life, a Campbell bio and discussion on animal symbolism in myths." Also included are episode photo galleries, a Bill Moyers bio and excerpts from the film Sukhavati. It looks like a nice set and slightly upgraded from the previous DVD version.
Warner and the BBC have announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of Sherlock: Season One on 11/9 (SRP $34.98 and $39.98). For those of you who haven't seen it, it's a present-day take on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle novels, which is actually a pretty cool idea.
Universal has revealed a new catalog Blu-ray, but it's a bit of an oddball: The Wiz will arrive on 11/30. I'm sure the title has its fans, but it seems a bit of an odd choice given all the other great catalog titles the studio has to release in HD. Meanwhile, Universal has also released a trailer for the upcoming Blu-ray release of the Back to the Future Trilogy on 10/26. Here's a look (One caveat: It would be a mistake to pre-judge the transfer quality based on this compressed trailer - even in HD. Trust me, you just can't see all the fine image detail here that's actually in the final discs)...
Any Cher fans out there? Fox has set a 6-disc Cher: The Film Collection DVD box set for release on 11/2 (SRP $49.98). It will include the films Chastity, Good Times, Mermaids, Moonstruck, Silkwood and Tea with Mussolini. Fox also has The Michael Douglas Film Collection due on DVD on 11/30 (SRP also $49.98). This one is a 10-disc set including Star Chamber, Romancing the Stone, A Chorus Line, Jewel of the Nile, Wall Street, War of the Roses, Shining Through, Don't Say a Word, It Runs in the Family and The Sentinel.
By the way, a number of you have asked about the Blu-ray and DVD release status of Disney's Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. Sources tell us they're still on for release sometime in November, and are expected to be announced very soon. So keep checking back for all the latest updates.
Other titles newly announced...
Magnolia Home Entertainment has set Casino Jack and the United States of Money for DVD only release on 9/14, followed by Ondine on DVD only on 9/21.
And Warner has set the kids titles LEGO Hero Factory: Rise of the Rookies for DVD release on 11/16.
Also today, Lionsgate has launched an official site to promote their forthcoming Apocalypse Now Blu-ray release on 10/19, and it confirms that the film will come with audio commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola. Very cool.
Around the Net today, electronista is reporting that Toshiba plans 3 glasses-free 3D HDTVs for release by the end of this year. THAT's intriguing, as while the technology has been possible for a while, usually the viewing angles are VERY restricted. I'd love to see how this looks, and we have little doubt Toshiba will be promoting them pretty heavily at CES in January. Still, we hear that the technology doesn't work with larger display sizes - only smaller ones in 20-inch range. But we'll see. It's an interesting development regardless.
Speaking of 3DTV, there have been a couple reports in recent weeks that consumers still find it a tough sell given the "new-ness" of the technology, the need for glasses, perceived safety and the economy. More here at Home Media and here at CNN. I know it's a 'chicken and egg' thing, but I also don't think it helps that there's so little software available, that so much of it is exclusive to specific hardware packages... and that you have stuff like Piranha 3D reminding people of how cheesy/bad 3D used to be (and in some cases still is).
In other news, Samsung is apparently having trouble with a recent firmware update of their 2009 BD-Px600 line of Blu-ray players. After rolling out the v2.09 firmware update, customers were suddenly unable to play Blu-ray titles from Warner and Universal. The immediate fix is for customers to rollback to the previous firmware v2.07 and Samsung is apparently working to fix the newer software. More here.
We're sad to report today that the immensely talented Japanese anime director Satoshi Kon has passed away, apparently after a fight with pancreatic cancer. He was just 46. Among his works are such recent classics as Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Perfect Blue, Paprika and the Paranoia Agent TV series. He was just finishing his latest film, The Dream Machine, when he died. (We can't wait to see it.) It's a MAJOR loss, and Kon will surely be missed.
And finally today, it looks like Apple is finally going to have a serious Android-based competitor for their iPad tablet computer. Samsung is set to introduce the Galaxy Tab at the IFA 2010 consumer electronics show in Berlin on 9/2. It's rumored to come shipped with the Android 2.2 "Froyo" OS, a 7-inch Super AMOLED display (16:10 aspect ratio, with either 800x600 or 1024x600 resolution), a 1.2GHz A8 processor, support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and 3G, TouchWiz UI, full web browsing with Flash, USB and front and back facing cameras (the front allowing for video calling). It will also have an eBook reader, come in 16GB and 32GB memory versions, and will be memory expandable via SD/SDHC card slot. I'm personally pretty excited that the age of really good, affordable tablet computing is finally be here, and the more devices available (Apple, Android and otherwise) the better. More here and here. By the way, Apple is also set to make new product announcements early next month as well (reportedly including a new AppleTV and a cloud-connected iTunes), watch for updates everywhere then.
Here's one we've all been waiting for! You may recall that, a few weeks ago, we reported that Sony was prepping a Blu-ray version of Sir David Lean's Bridge on the River Kwai for release before the end of this year. Well... Sony has just finally announced the title as a 2-disc Blu-ray Disc/DVD Combo Collector's Edition, due to street on 11/2 (SRP $34.95). In addition to HD and SD versions of the film (presented in the original 2.55:1 aspect ratio, fully restored and mastered from a 4K scan with audio in newly-remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1), extras on the 2-disc set will include a new Crossing: Picture-in-Graphics viewing mode, an exclusive new retrospective documentary covering everything from the adaptation of the original Boulle novel to the restoration, 2 featurettes (An Appreciation by John Milius and Rise and Fall of a Jungle Giant), rare audio of William Holden narrating the film's premiere events, a USC short film introduced by Holden, footage of holden and Alec Guinness on The Steve Allen Show and a photo gallery. The package will also include a 35-page book with liner notes and production photos, as well as original lobby card replicas. As we noted on 7/30, Amazon.com is already taking pre-orders on the release - they currently have it priced at 30% off, or just $24.95 - not bad!
Here's a look at the packaging...
You may have noticed that we also included the Blu-ray cover art for Paramount's White Christmas Blu-ray (due 11/2), as well as a little something else classic film fans might enjoy...
Yes, Warner Home Video is preparing a The Busby Berkeley 9-Film Collection for release on DVD soon (street date TBA). The 10-disc set will include the films 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, Dames, Gold Diggers of 1935, Gold Diggers of 1937, Varsity Show, Hollywood Hotel and Gold Diggers in Paris. Based on the content listed, this appears to be a repackaging of the two previous Berkeley DVD sets into one larger box. Bonus features on each disc will include: 42nd Street - 3 featurettes (Harry Warren: America's Foremost Composer, Hollywood Newsreel and A Trip Through a Hollywood Studio), plus notes on Busby Berkeley; Gold Diggers of 1933 - 5 featurettes (42nd Street: From Book to Stage to Screen, The 42nd Street Special, Gold Diggers: FDR's New Deal... Broadway Bound, Rambling 'Round Radio Row #2 and Seasoned Greetings), 3 classic cartoons (I've Got to Sing a Torch Song, Pettin' in the Park and We're in the Money) and a Busby Berkeley trailer gallery; Footlight Parade - 3 featurettes (Footlight Parade: Music for the Decades, Rambling 'Round Radio Row #8 and Vaudeville Reel #1), 2 classic cartoons (Honeymoon Hotel and Young and Healthy) and a theatrical trailer; Dames - 4 featurettes (And She Learned About Dames, Busby Berkeley's Kaleidoscopic Eyes, Good Morning, Eve and Melody Master: Don Redman and His Orchestra), 2 classic cartoons (I Only Have Eyes for You and Those Beautiful Dames), an audio-only bonus: Direct from Hollywood radio promo and the theatrical trailer; Gold Diggers of 1935 - 2 featurettes ((buz'be bur'kle) n. A Study in Style and Double Exposure), 2 classic cartoons (Gold Diggers of '49 and Shuffle Off to Buffalo), the audio-only bonus: Direct from Hollywood radio promo and a Gold Diggers trailer gallery; Gold Diggers of 1937 - the historical short The Romance of Louisiana, 2 classic cartoons (Plenty of Money and You and Speaking of the Weather), 2 excerpts from 1929's Gold Diggers of Broadway; Varsity Show - the Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy comedy short A Neckin' Party and the classic cartoon Have You Got Any Castles; Hollywood Hotel - the historical short The Romance of Robert Burns, the Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy comedy short Double Talk and the classic cartoon Porky's Five & Ten; and Gold Diggers in Paris - the Broadway Brevities musical short The Candid Kid and 2 classic cartoons (Cinderella Meets a Fella and Love and Curses). The set will also include the same bonus DVD, The Busby Berkeley Disc, that was in the first set, featuring a compilation of 21 classic musical sequences.
By the way, back to Lean for a moment: For those of you wondering about a Blu-ray release of Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, rest assured Sony is working on it but don't expect it to street until sometime later in 2011 at the earliest.
One other quick note this morning: Fox's Predators is now available for pre-order on Amazon on both DVD and Blu-ray. Just FYI.
Back with more later. Stay tuned!
We've got a BIG release news exclusive for you today, but first things first this afternoon...
Our own Russell Hammond has just posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray and DVD cover art, and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, whenever you order ANYTHING from Amazon after clicking to them through our links, it supports our work here and The Bits and we do appreciate it!
Now then... let's get right down to business: We're very pleased today to break the news that our friends over at Kino have just officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of The Complete Metropolis on 11/16! Here's the full text of their press release...
"KINO LORBER IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASE OF METROPOLIS
THE COMPLETE METROPOLIS
PREBOOK: OCTOBER 19, 2010
STREET DATE: NOVEMBER 16, 2010
Metropolis takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century, many of which presage such sci-fi landmarks as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and modern science fiction style, Metropolis stands today as the crowning achievement of the German silent cinema.
Kino International is proud to announce the DVD and long awaited first time ever Blu-ray release of the new restoration of Fritz Lang's 1927 science fiction masterpiece METROPOLIS, now with 25 minutes of lost footage and the original Gottfried Huppertz score. This new 147-minute version (being released as THE COMPLETE METROPOLIS), opened theatrically in April 2010 earning over $350,000 at the box office, and since it’s original restoration, has gone on to earn $1,000,000 in theatrical ticket sales!
When it was first screened in Berlin on January 10, 1927, the sci-fi epic ran an estimated 153 minutes. After its premiere engagement, in an effort to maximize the film's commercial potential, the film's distributors (UFA in Germany, Paramount in the U.S.) drastically shortened METROPOLIS, which had been a major disappointment at the German box office. By the time it debuted in the United States later that year, the film ran approximately 90 minutes (exact running times are difficult to determine because silent films were not always projected at a standardized speed).
METROPOLIS went on to become one of the cornerstones of science fiction cinema foreshadowing BLADE RUNNER and THE MATRIX to name just a few recent examples. Testament to its enduring popularity, the film has undergone restorations in 1984 and again in 1987. The 2001 restoration combined footage from four archives and ran at a triumphant 124 minutes. And at the time was widely believed that this would be the most complete version of Lang's film that contemporary audiences could ever hope to see. But, in the summer of 2008, the curator of the Buenos Aires Museo del Cine discovered a 16mm dupe negative that was considerably longer than any existing print. It included not merely a few additional snippets, but 25 minutes of "lost" footage (about a fifth of the film) that had not been seen since its 1927 debut in Berlin. The discovery of such a significant amount of material called for yet another restoration, carefully executed by Anke Wilkening of the Murnau Stiftung (Foundation) (the German institution that is the caretaker of virtually all pre 1945 German films), Martin Koerber, Film Department Curator of the Deutche Kinemateque and on the music side, by Frank Stoebel. Regarding the quality of the added footage Ms. Wilkening has said: "The work on the restoration teaches us once more that no restoration is ever definitive... Even if we are allowed for the first time to come as close to the first release as ever before, the new version will still remain an approach. The rediscovered sections which change the film's composition, and at the same time always be recognizable through their damages as those parts that had been lost for 80 years."
UPC# 7 38329 06902 5
- Original 1927 score by Gottfried Huppertz, performed by the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Berlin, conducted by Frank Strobel presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
- Limited Edition Collectible "O-Card" Packaging
- Voyage to Metropolis, a 50-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film
- Interview with Paula Felix-Didier, curator of the Museo del Cine, Buenos Aires, where the missing footage was discovered
- 2010 re-release trailer
UPC# 7 38329 07132 5
- Original 1927 score by Gottfried Huppertz, performed by the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Berlin, conducted by Frank Strobel presented in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
- Limited Edition Collectible 3-D Lenticuar Box Packaging
- HD Video: 1920 x 1080p
- Voyage to Metropolis, a 50-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film (presented in HD)
- Interview with Paula Felix-Didier, curator of the Museo del Cine, Buenos Aires, where the missing footage was discovered
- 2010 re-release trailer
And here's a look at the final cover art for both versions. We'll update with Amazon pre-order links as soon as they're available, probably over the next few days...
As you can see, we've also posted the Blu-ray cover artwork for Fox's upcoming Predators this afternoon. That's because our friends at IGN have revealed that the film will street on DVD and Blu-ray from Fox on 10/19 (SRP $29.98 and $39.99). Extras on the Blu-ray will include audio commentary with producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimrod Antal, a Predators "motion comic", the multi-part Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn documentary, 2 featurettes (The Chosen and Fox Movie Channel presents Making a Scene), 9 deleted scenes, and BD-Live options including Live Lookup.
Not bad for a Tuesday afternoon. Stay tuned!
Okay, let's start things off early today. Hope you had a great weekend.
First, a quick update on a title I mentioned on Friday: The World at War. After posting an article about the recent HD remastering of the series, I'd wondered if the new Blu-ray version would be released here in the States. Turns out it's already set for release on 11/16 from the History Channel and A&E Home Video (SRP $149.95). And Amazon has it up for pre-order for $112 (see image and link below). [Editor's Note: Be aware that the original 1.33 aspect ratio of these documentary episodes has been cropped to 1.78 for the Blu-ray. I have sort of mixed feelings about it, though you should keep in mind that cropping 1.33 footage for HD broadcast is fairly common in the documentary arena especially with vintage 16mm war footage - witness the recent WWII in HD series and also Ken Burns' The War, neither series a slouch in terms of preserving the historical record. But I do understand that some won't be happy with it here. In any case, if that's a deal-breaker for you, adjust plan accordingly.]
Amazon is also showing a 10-disc Toy Story Trilogy Blu-ray box set from Disney and Pixar, due on 11/2 (SRP $100). It'll include the single-disc Toy Story and Toy Story 2 Blu-rays, plus the 2-disc Toy Story 3 Blu-ray, plus DVD and Digital Copy versions of all three films.
Want a surprise this morning? Sony appears to be readying at least a DVD release of Ishtar. [Editor's Note: We've confirmed with the studio this morning that Ishtar IS coming on both DVD and Blu-ray, though don't expect it to street until early next year. Nevertheless, great news for fans of this rarified title.] Meanwhile, due on 10/19 is Please Give on DVD and Blu-ray. And following on 11/9 is Grown Ups on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo.
Meanwhile, Paramount is releasing White Christmas in a DVD Giftset and also on Blu-ray on 11/2. Extras on the Blu-ray will include audio commentary Rosemary Clooney, 6 HD featurettes (Backstage Stories from White Christmas, Rosemary's Old Kentucky Home, Bing Crosby: Christmas Crooner, Danny Kaye: Joy to the World, Irving Berlin's White Christmas and White Christmas: From Page to Stage), plus an SD featurette (White Christmas: A Look Back with Rosemary Clooney) and 2 theatrical trailers in HD.
Paramount and Spelling Entertainment also have Beverly Hills 90210: The Final Season and a Beverly Hills 90210: Complete Series Pack due on DVD that same day.
And Fox has set an It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas Blu-ray Giftset for release on 11/16 (SRP $29.99).
Speaking of Fox, the studio (along with MGM) is reissuing Quantum of Solace on Blu-ray Disc on 10/19, but be aware this is the same BD as before. It's NOT the new ultimate edition. The James Bond Blu-ray Collection: Volumes 1-3 are also being reissued on 10/5, again the same as before. Our sources tell us the Quantum of Solace: Ultimate Edition and the remaining classic Bond Blu-rays are waiting on the theatrical release next new Bond film, which is itself waiting on the resolution of MGM's financial difficulties. In other words, don't hold your breath.
Any Golden Girls fans out there? Disney has officially set The Golden Girls: 25th Anniversary Collection for DVD release on 11/9 (SRP $149.99). Get this - it comes packed in a replica of Sophia's purse, and contains a set of playing cards.
Here's a look at that... along with the Blu-ray cover art for A&E's The World at War, Warner's Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam (due 11/9) and Criterion's America Lost and Found: The BBS Story (11/23)...
And finally this morning, in news from 'round the Net, the Guardian has a somewhat ironic piece relating to Lucasfilm's recently announced Blu-ray collection of the Star Wars films. The first of many we suspect in the months ahead. Thanks to Bits reader Dave R. for the link.
Okay... we're going to round out the week with a little more announcement news... including a little something that'll get you Kubrick fans excited. Read on...
Anchor Bay has set Party Down: Season 2 for DVD release on 9/28 (SRP $29.97).
MDV Entertainment has set Eric Clapton: The 1960s Review for DVD release on 10/19
Vivendi and the Weinstein Company are releasing the Shaw Brothers' The Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms (a.k.a. Crippled Avengers) on DVD on 9/7 as part of their continuing Dragon Dynasty collection (SRP $19.93).
Microcinema International has set Conceiving Ada for DVD release on 9/28, along with Todd P. Goes to Austin, Arcimboldo: Nature and Fantasy 1526-1593, Andy Mann: Street Tapes & Cable Access and Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen: Volume 3.
Cinema Libre has set For My Wife and Water Wars: When Drought, Flood and Greed Collide for DVD release on 8/31.
20th Century Fox has set Lie to Me: Season Two for DVD release on 11/9 (SRP $59.99). You'll get all 22 episodes on 6 discs, plus deleted scenes, Dr. Ekman's Blog, 2 featurettes and a gag reel.
And word is that the Blu-ray version of Universal's new The Office: Season Six (due on 9/7 on both DVD and Blu-ray) will include an industry first. If your BD player is connected to the Internet, you'll have the ability to watch the latest 5 episodes of the new season in HD via BD-Live after they air regularly. So it's sort of like BD-Live On Demand. Kinda cool, I'll admit.
Any fans of Space: 1999 out there? Yeah, I know. Me too. Well, Amazon.com has released some details as to the extras that will be included on the 6-disc Season One Blu-ray from A&E. Look for new 5.1 surround mix for each episode (along with the original mono broadcast audio), audio commentaries, music-only tracks, behind-the-scenes featurettes, photo galleries for each episode, trailers and TV spots, "text-less" opening and closing title sequences, alternate opening and closing titles, Barry Gray's theme music demo, Martin Landau and Barbara Bain's U.S. premier introduction (and outro), SFX plate footage and deleted/unused SFX footage with a music track. Keep in mind, A&E hasn't released the final list of extras, so there could be more. So that's the U.S. A&E release. Word from Network DVD in the U.K., however, is that the U.K. release of the same set may have additional features. You can click here to see the EXTENSIVE list. Holy crap, I hope all that content finds its way to the A&E version! If not, I may have to get a Region B Blu-ray player. DAMN.
Speaking of the U.K., Bits reader Rezaul L. sent over a link to this cool article: It seems that Fremantle Media across the pond is restoring and remastering all of the original 1973 The World at War films for release on Blu-ray Disc later this year. According to the piece, "All 26 episodes of the series have been completely cleaned, re-graded and restored." That could potentially be very cool. I hope the Blu-ray set is released here in the States as well.
Finally today, let's bring this baby full circle: A few readers have asked us recently: "Why haven't there been any updates of The Rumor Mill in a long time?" And the answer is simple - most of those updates have actually been here in the daily column, with the whole "Rumor Mill-worthy, so salt accordingly" disclaimer. Nevertheless, the natives are restless, so today we have an actual, genuine Rumor Mill update for you. And it's one you Stanley Kubrick fans are definitely going to want to check out. So here it is, and enjoy!
We'll leave you this week with BD cover art for Lionsgate's Winter's Bone (due 10/26) and MGM's SG-U: Stargate Universe - The Complete First Season (10/5), as well as DVD art for Warner's Secret Origin: The Story of D.C. Comics (11/9)...
Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. Peace out!
All right... let's catch up on some title announcements, shall we?
First up today, the fine folks at Criterion have added yet ANOTHER fantastic batch of titles to their November and December DVD and Blu-ray slates. On 11/9, look for Lars Bon Trier's Antichrist (#542 - DVD & BD). Following on 11/16 are Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (#541 - DVD & BD) and Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (#543 - DVD & BD). Then on 12/14, America Lost and Found: The BBS Story collection will round things out on both formats (DVD & BD), including the films Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show, The King of Marvin Gardens, Head, Drive, He Said and A Safe Place. How in the heck do you not love that? I'm just saying. Very cool. Here's a look at the cover art for three of the BD titles...
Meanwhile, Fox and MGM have set Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for release on Blu-ray+DVD Combo on 11/2 (SRP $34.99). It'll be available in both DVD and Blu-ray packaging. Extras will include 5 documentaries and featurettes (Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke, A Fantasmagorical Motorcar, The Ditchling Tinkerer, Dick Van Dyke Press Interview and The Potts Children), a photo gallery, a vintage advertising gallery with rare trailers and TV spots, rare Sherman Brothers song demos, a Music Machine, a Sing-a-long version of the film, the all new interactive Toot Sweet Symphony melody maker and Chitty Chitty's Bang Bang Driving Game. The film's audio has also been remixed in 7.1 DTS-HD.
MGM and Fox will also release SGU Stargate Universe: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray on 10/5 (SRP $59.99). All of the extras from the previous DVDs and Blu-rays will be included.
Fox has also confirmed Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge and Romeo+Juliet for Blu-ray release on 10/19 (SRP $34.99 each). Moulin Rouge will include an exclusive Spectacular, Spectacular Picture-in-Picture viewing mode with audio commentary (by Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Donald M. McAlpine and Craig Pearce, and featuring behind-the-scenes footage and stills), the A Creative Adventure featurette, an Introduction by Baz Luhrmann, uncut and unreleased footage (including the Father & Son alternate opening and Nicole Kidman's first vocal test), 6 production featurettes (The Stars, The Writers, The Design, The Dance, The Music and The Cutting Room), The Making of Moulin Rouge documentary, BD-Live: Live Lookup and more. Romeo+Juliet will include a new Shaking Up Shakespeare Picture-in-Picture viewing mode with audio commentary (by Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Donald M. McAlpine and Craig Pearce and featuring behind-the-scenes footage and stills), uncut footage, the Romeo+Juliet: The Music featurette, filmmaker and interview galleries, BD-Live: Live Lookup and more.
Also today, Warner has set Batman Beyond: The Complete Series for DVD release on 11/23 (SRP $99.98). The 9-disc set will include all 52 episodes, 3 exclusive new featurettes (Tomorrow Knight: The Batman Reborn, Gotham: City of the Future and The High Tech Hero), the Secret Origin: The Story of D.C. Comics documentary and a 24-page booklet, all collected in limited edition packaging.
Warner and the NFL have also set Ultimate NFL for DVD and Blu-ray release on 10/26.
And Disney has set Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete Second and Final Season on 10/31.
We'll leave you with a look at the final BD cover art for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Moulin Rouge and Romeo+Juliet...
Okay... today is "Mastering and Restoration Day" here at The Bits. The reason will become obvious in a few minutes...
First up today, there's been a small degree of panic in some quarters online in the last couple days about director James Cameron's recent comments on the remastered Aliens transfer. Cameron was video interviewed over at Coming Soon.net about Avatar, and about 5:30 into the clip he talks about the new Aliens HD master for the upcoming Blu-ray. To quote: "It's spectacular. We went in and completely de-noised it, de-grained it, up-rezzed, color-corrected every frame, and it looks amazing. It looks better that it looked in the theaters originally. Because it was shot on a high-speed negative that was a new negative that didn't pan out too well and got replaced the following year. So it's pretty grainy. We got rid of all the grain. It's sharper and clearer and more beautiful than it's ever looked. And we did that to the long version, to the 'director's cut' or the extended play."
As you might expect, all that talk of de-noising and de-graining has some fans freaked out that the release is going to suffer the same excessively DNR-ed fate as Fox's recent Predator: Ultimate Hunter Blu-ray. Here's the deal: Everyone we trust who was involved, and/or has actually SEEN the new Aliens HD master for Blu-ray, reports to us that the film looks terrific. To the degree that DNR was used, it was applied carefully and with a light hand, with an eye toward striking the proper balance between maintaining the detail and integrity of the image and the desire to reduce grain and address the deficiencies of the stock used at the time. There is apparently STILL grain left in the image, it's just no longer excessive or distracting. Plus, Cameron is no slouch when it comes to the presentation quality of his films on disc, and he approved this transfer and master. Look, there's a VERY big difference in digital mastering when the filmmakers are directly involved in the process, as opposed to when they're not. So we're told the disc looks great, we trust that it looks great and I'll personally work to directly confirm that. My own feeling is that Predator was probably an aberration. Fox has generally been doing very good mastering work for Blu-ray in the last year or so, and I suspect this is going to be a non-issue when we all get our hands on the Aliens disc. 'Nuff said for now. By the way, it's a good interview at Coming Soon, so do check it out.
Next stop on the restoration express today: Universal. Last Friday morning, I had the chance to personally visit with the catalog and mastering team at Universal Studios Home Entertainment to talk about the quality issues with some of their recent catalog Blu-ray titles. Specifically, many enthusiasts have been disappointed by the HD video quality on such titles as Spartacus, Out of Africa and Flash Gordon. When I contacted the studio about this a month ago, they were kind enough to invite me up to meet with their technical team to discuss the subject. Among them were their VP of Operations, VP of Technical Services, VP of TV & Catalog Brand Marketing and SrVP of Communications & Publicity. So on Friday morning, we all gathered in one of Universal's in-house QC Rooms - one calibrated and maintained by home theater industry legend Joe Kane specifically for the purpose of checking the A/V quality of all the studio's HD masters, as well as final DVD and Blu-ray product. The system included about a 100" Stewart front projection screen illuminated by a Samsung SP-A800B 1080p DLP projector. We looked at actual Blu-ray check discs and final product, played into the system on a Sony PS3.
After all the introductions, I began by telling them about some of your concerns with specific Uni catalog BD titles - as relayed to me in MANY reader e-mails over the last few months - and they were very receptive to my input and comments. It's absolutely clear to me that they care about these issues as much as we all do. The Uni team took me though their telecine and mastering process, and we looked at the specific titles I'd listed to them as problematic - Spartacus, Out of Africa and Flash Gordon. I explained what I felt the issues were with each, and they were very open about discussing them. With Flash Gordon, I mentioned the slightly-too-excessive use of DNR - they understood my perspective and noted that their intent had been to reduce the coarse grain resulting from the optical printing process used in the film. They also admitted that it's a fine line they have to walk - some BD consumers hate seeing grain and are very vocal about it. But I noted that given current sales numbers for the format (and its premium price), the reality is that market for most of these titles - especially catalog BD titles like Flash Gordon - is really driven by enthusiasts, many of whom know the film better than all of us (in the room) and probably already own multiple copies on DVD and even laserdisc. Enthusiasts are willing to buy the film again on Blu-ray, but if they're going to pay $29.99 or $39.99, they demand the highest possible A/V quality - meaning one that's true to the original film presentation - and they at least want all of the previous DVD extras to carry over. So the transfer and mastering work really needs to be done with these enthusiasts in mind. And for those newcomers to Blu-ray who may not understand film grain and like issues, it's really a matter of educating them - just as was (and continues to be) the case with complaints about "those damn black bars". The fact is, DNR is going to get used on HD masters - it's just another part of the digital mastering process. But the key is to find the right balance in preserving the integrity of the original film image and also updating it for HD presentation on Blu-ray. The folks at Universal clearly understood this. They seem to me to be very aware of it, and are working hard to find that right balance.
With regard to Spartacus and Out of Africa - not to mention the original Gladiator Blu-ray (the master and elements for which were supplied to Paramount by Universal) - what I learned is that these titles were all mastered from recent transfers, but from native 1080p transfers only. And it quickly became clear to me that - 9 times out of 10 - native 1080p transfers just don't work for Blu-ray. That to me really seems to be the whole crux of the problem. If you really want to maximize the level of fine detail and image quality on Blu-ray, you have to go to higher resolution scans. The difference in quality from this resolution difference alone is, I think, huge. And again, I think Universal is well aware of this and is working to improve. All in all, I'm pleased to report that it was a very good meeting. The big takeaways should be: 1) These guys really do care about the quality of their BD product, 2) They're working harder to make sure their catalog BD quality is what enthusiasts expect it to be, and 3) I think the result of those efforts is just starting to show up in actual streeting product. For example, their new Breakfast Club BD looks great.
More importantly, some of you will be relieved to hear that, while visiting the studio, I had the chance to personally preview the HD quality of the upcoming Blu-ray releases of both Psycho and Back to the Future. And both look absolutely terrific. Yes, there's light film grain - just as there should be. But the textures, contrast, color (in the case of BTTF) and overall image detail are just wonderful. Bob Gale was personally involved in the work on the Back to the Future films, and I'm told he's very happy with the results. He certainly has every reason to be. I think fans and enthusiasts are going to be very pleased with these releases too. And if they're representative of what we can expect from Universal going forward, and I suspect they are, the studio's BD catalog quality is definitely on the upswing. My personal thanks to the folks at Universal for their hospitality, for their willingness to engage with us on these issues (both now and going forward), and for all their efforts in general. I certainly appreciate it, and I think readers of The Bits do as well.
Finally today, you may recall that we first posted word a few weeks ago that Sony was readying a new HD master of Sir David Lean's Bridge on the River Kwai, and would be releasing the film on Blu-ray Disc before the end of the year. Well, Bits reader Rezaul L. sent over a link this morning to a recent article over on the El Paso Times about the restoration. The restored film was recently screened at the Plaza Classic Film Festival there, and Sony's in-house restoration guru, Grover Crisp, talked about the 4K restoration effort and process. Crisp is as good as they come at this stuff, so it's well worth a read. Thanks to Rezaul for the link!
More soon. Stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks! Well... there's a lot going on behind-the-scenes here at The Bits today. I'll explain tomorrow, but it means today's post is going to be very brief. And no, it has nothing to do with Brett Favre's return to the Vikings, though I'm certainly very pleased about that this afternoon... ;)
Meanwhile... our very own Adam Jahnke has updated his Electric Theatre with a new reviews of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (now in theatres) as well as a TFTQ look at 13 Tzameti on disc. Enjoy!
Also today, Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans, and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of ANYTHING you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we greatly appreciate it!
Okay... back tomorrow with a big post/update. See you then...