Is there any way that I can get invloved in this release and make sure Disney dosen't screw this up. As Brian said that we still have Angela, so it would behoove them to use Angela, as she is getting up there in age, she might not be around for the 45th and 50th Anniversaries. I really want to see this movie get the royal treatment it truly deserves.
Disney STOP BEING CHEAP AND SPLURGE ON YOUR TITLES DAMIN'T, STOP SPENDING IT ONLY ON THE DIAMOND EDITIONS
I agree with you. I don't know how many more chances they're going to get to release this movie on disc; that depends on how long the demand for Blu-ray continues. Unfortunately it's too late to go back and change anything for this release because that would push the release date back. But look at it in perspective. This movie did get better treatment than some of the studio's films, though. Keep in mind its first DVD was a Gold Collection release, and it was one of the few in that line to get an anamorphic widescreen transfer or extras that were halfway decent for a one-disc release of a 139-minute movie.
While we're on the subject of money and Disney's willingness to part with it, did this movie really cost $20 million to make? That's the figure listed in Holliss and Sibley's The Disney Studio Story [which described it as "the studio's most costly film to date"] and "backed up" by the IMDb, but I've seen it corroborated nowhere else, but it would have put it in league with many of the era's other film musicals. Another later Disney book whose name escapes me [I know it was not Disney From A to Z, but it did have a bunch of essays on random subjects in alphabetical order] said Pete's Dragon cost $10 million and at least one reviewer I trust [most of the time ;) ] said it was the most expensive film the studio made at that time [a record it only held until The Black Hole came out].
Don't know why they won't offer both versions to the consumers: The standard 2-hour version (with original mono), or the 25th anniversary edition. Not everyone likes hearing the badly redubbed dialogue for much of the extra footage, much of which isn't even from the original actors.
Right now, we don't even know what version[s] we're getting! My greatest concern is, and always has been, after what happened to Muppet Christmas Carol, Pocahontas, Dead Poets' Society, and Ransom, that if it comes down to one version of the other, the long version will come up short. Or, it could end up like Pete's Dragon, which got the 128-minute version [an exact halfway point between its two predecessors] in the US, but the 105-minute version is on the UK Blu-ray because that's the version that has all the foreign dubs. When they restored Bedknobs, they didn't dub it into any language other than French [I came across "Nobody's Problems For Me" in French on YouTube but it seems to be gone], so a lot of countries have never even seen the restored cut in their native language; some countries got the ultra-short versions of this and the other post-Walt musicals when they came to video! This link is in Italian, but it's the most concise summary of the differences of all three official versions; I have even seen made-for-TV versions that make even worse cuts; one time I saw it, and they cut the ending down to the children's last lines; all the stuff about Mr. Browne enlisting in the military was gone.
I don't like the redubs, either. If they had been handled at least as smoothly as the redubbed dialogue in The Happiest Millionaire's roadshow cut [which had very few redubs], it wouldn't be a problem. But more than that, I dislike the painfully obvious underscore cuts where "With a Flair" should be [as well as other noticeable cuts in the underscore], the absence of the children's backstory [IMO that was one of Cindy O'Callaghan's best scenes, and she's the only one of the children with any post-Bedknobs credits], the fact that Roddy McDowall and Tessie O'Shea's roles were worn down to a nub, and the bizarre spatial logic that allows the children and Mrs. Hobday being able to hear home guardsmen singing so far away. Your mileage may vary, but I will not buy a disc that does not include the longest cut. That's the dealbreaker.
You have to remember that this was done during the post-Wells and Katzenberg era. Considering that some of the worst things Eisner and his allies did during his time happened during the 1995-2005 Third Dark Age [putting a Mickey glove and that hideous wand over Spaceship Earth was the perfect example of "gilding the lily" and summed up the company's mindset during this period perfectly], the restoration department probably had to make budget concessions to get it done at all.
Then there's the question of what to do about "A Step in the Right Direction." One of the things I always thought while watching the theatrical cut was "you know what would make this film even better, a song between The Old Home Guard and The Age of Not Believing." Even though we still don't have it, I doubt it there was an order to destroy it, otherwise they would have destroyed all the other scenes, too. I doubt it ended up in Roddy McDowall's film collection though [you know, the one the FBI seized]. What we have now of the photo reconstruction was done on 480i tape, and it would be nice to see it recreated in HD if the film footage never turns up. If Disney wants to go the seamless branching route [the one that would make everyone happy], they should consider an option to choose whether or not you want to see the song in its originally intended place in the film. Seamless branching would be difficult for this film because in addition to adding scenes, existing ones were rearranged and underscore was added to [or, in the case of the soccer game, subtracted from] existing ones as well. It's doable, though.