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Bedknobs and Broomsticks Blu-ray Review

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#21 of 74 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 04 2014 - 05:50 PM

It reminds me of all those contests The Disney Channel used to have that required self-addressed stamped envelopes to some PO Box in Blair, Nebraska.


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#22 of 74 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted August 04 2014 - 07:31 PM

Google says Matthew's address is the Disney Disc Replacement Center, so I think it should be legit.



#23 of 74 OFFLINE   Mark Mayes

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Posted August 04 2014 - 07:46 PM

I fell in love with the theatrical release of this film and have no problem in getting it as an upgrade in PQ.

 

I also saw the extended cut at the Academy with Lansbury in attendance. It was a special evening and I enjoyed the reconstruction and bought the dvd.

 

Disney definitely should have put it in with the suggested seamless branching--BUT I personally think there is a certain amount of excessiveness in the extra length that isn't required to love the film...particularly for younger viewers.



#24 of 74 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted August 05 2014 - 12:11 AM

Most of us were brought up on the 117-minute cut, but the extended version is like discovering a whole new chapter of your favourite book.  



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#25 of 74 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted August 05 2014 - 02:52 AM

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This reminds me of the "Pocahontas" Blu-ray release which omitted the restored "If I Never Knew You" song and it's reprise. I know you can't compare a four minute song to what's happened here, but a lot of us which were fans of the restored 2005 DVD still felt just about as upset. As is the case here, the restored footage was presented in HD on the Blu-ray ... but only available via the "Deleted Scenes" supplement. It was frustrating to the extreme. At least I still own the 2005 DVD.
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#26 of 74 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 06 2014 - 03:28 PM

Disney definitely should have put it in with the suggested seamless branching--BUT I personally think there is a certain amount of excessiveness in the extra length that isn't required to love the film...particularly for younger viewers.

 

I'm not entirely convinced that kids won't sit through long movies. Avatar, the highest-grossing film of all-time, is three hours long, almost long as the previous record-holder, Titanic. At one point, The Godfather was the record-holder, and before that it was The Sound of Music, which in turn replaced Gone With the Wind. All those movies are longer than 139 minutes.

 

As for specific things that are better in the longer cut, "Eglantine" is just warming up in the theatrical cut when it ends abruptly after its second chorus. All the stuff with Miss Price's pointed response to Mr. Browne, particularly when she sings "I have always had a bit of a knack for witchcraft," is gone. Even the visual imagery reinstated to "Portobello Road" adds depth to the characterization; Miss Price rejects the fancies and fineries of ages when Mr. Browne puts them on her, but Carrie loves them. Cutting out most of Mrs. Hobday's scenes was even more detrimental than doing the same to Roddy McDowall's. The relationship subplot is more credible with the initial meeting between Mrs. Hobday and Mr. Browne included. It makes one understand his fear of commitment, especially to a woman he's just met. And without "Nobody's Problems For Me," Miss Price seems not to be affected by Mr. Browne's departure in any way. It's a beautiful, beautiful song, but apparently it got cut before anything else did, and while the fact that the orchestra track is a re-recording is obvious, Disney Magazine claims Irwin Kostal did the actual orchestrations. Some people at the studio seemed to have a bias against ballads, at least in Richard M. Sherman's opinion. Yet those often ended up being the ones that got submitted to the Oscar nomination committee.

 

Radio City Music Hall has gotten most of the blame for the cuts, but the studio didn't put up much of a fight. And would the Music Hall really give up a Disney film even if the studio had stood their ground and tried to call their bluff? And then there's the fact that they made even more cuts in 1979, after they stopped regular film exhibition because their G-only policy backfired on them. Interestingly enough, the attraction for Christmas 1972 was 1776. :D


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Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#27 of 74 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted August 06 2014 - 03:33 PM

Most (if not all) of the "Harry Potter"'s clock in at well over 2 hours, so I don't buy the whole 'kids won't sit through long movies' theory.


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#28 of 74 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 07 2014 - 05:36 AM

Disney won't even do now what Anchor Bay could do 15 years ago!


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#29 of 74 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted August 07 2014 - 01:16 PM

My suspicions confirmed right here.



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#30 of 74 OFFLINE   Nick*Z

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Posted August 07 2014 - 01:39 PM

Well, folks, I just thought I'd pass this info along to you. It's a reply I received after noting my displeasure over the exclusion of the extended cut from the Blu-ray. At the bottom, Disney Inc. offers several options of contact to renew and/or further express ourselves. My suggestion is that everyone reading this post, who would prefer Disney do a reissue of the extended cut, voice their concerns either by email (just type Disney Home Video, contact into your Google search) or phone (toll free) at the contact numbers provided below. Best.  ...and now - their reply.

 

 

Hello Nick,

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns about Bedknobs and Broomsticks. We're sad to hear that you didn't like the choice of the theatrical version on the upcoming Bluray release. We will note your comments about that as well as the other films you mentioned in regards to future releases. 

We truly appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback! We will be sure to share your thoughts and concerns with the rest of our team. 

If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to reply to this email. You may also contact us at 1-800-723-4763 (Canada: 1-888-877-2843), Monday 9:30-7:30 and Tuesday through Friday 9:30-6:30 CST.


Sincerely,

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Consumer Relations
US and Canada
 


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#31 of 74 OFFLINE   SFMike

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Posted August 07 2014 - 01:42 PM

Disney won't even do now what Anchor Bay could do 15 years ago!

 

WOW! Just as I suspected a bunch of corporate morons.



#32 of 74 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 07 2014 - 02:22 PM

WOW! Just as I suspected a bunch of corporate morons.

 

It was an LA Times article praising Anchor Bay for releasing both versions of The Happiest Millionaire (at a time when Disney couldn't even be arsed to release anamorphic widescreen DVDs) that got Michael Eisner in a tizzy. They had the opportunity to restore a mildly notorious Walker/Tatum/Miller-era film maudit to its original version to see if it was better than the release version, and at someone else's expense...and they punted!


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#33 of 74 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted August 07 2014 - 02:27 PM

I applaud Anchor Bay for doing what they did.  Their DVDs of "Return to Oz" and "The Happiest Millionaire" were, literally, amongst the first titles I collected when I made the switch to DVD in 2001.  Reading this article it seems little has changed at the Mouse House in the decade+ since this all went down. 



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#34 of 74 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 07 2014 - 04:53 PM

There but for the grace of Walt went another 139-minute musical directed by Robert Stevenson. From Hollis and Sibley's The Disney Studio Story:

 

Walt began worrying in case the picture was too long (it eventually ran 139 minutes plus an intermission), and he contemplated cutting the lullaby "Stay Awake" and the episode in which [that woman] takes the children to visit her Uncle Albert and they become infected with laughing gas, but Walt eventually relented and decided to let the film run its complete length.

 

Unfortunately, Robert B. Sherman's Moose is a little light on Bedknobs anecdotes, but this one was revelatory about the film's many years in Development Hell and their battles with Helen Lyndon Goff:

 

...Mrs. Travers' very competent attorney managed to retain certain remedies for his client which would later prove to haunt us throughout the intervening decades.

One clause which Travers emphatically employed was her "final approval over screenplay" clause. I didn't learn about this "minor" contractual appeasement of Walt's for nearly two years. Only when I did, did I understand why Walt wasn't giving the film his final go-ahead. It wasn't that he'd been unwilling. It's just that it was not yet his to give! Mrs. Travers had to give her blessing first. Walt tried to assuage our concerns:

"Don't worry, boys. If that lady pulls [the rights] from us, we can always stick your songs in that Magic Bedknob thing. It's practically the same story anyway."

Walt was referring to the motion picture which would later be called Bedknobs and Broomsticks. That film would be made five years after Walt's death and would bring us our fourth and fifth Academy Award nominations. Even so, it was decidedly not the same story as ... despite our mentor's assurance to the contrary.

 

Disney purchased the rights to The Magic Bedknob in 1945. I have no idea how he even found out about the original books in the first place, nor do I have any evidence of Mary Norton having any involvement in the film (she died in 1992). Many of the film characters were not in the books and vice versa. One of the most important additions in the restoration is the children's backstory and the fate of Aunt Bessie. In the book, they lived in a relatively nice house in Pepperinge Eye with their Aunt Beatrice, who died between the events of the two books. Mr. Browne was Emelius Jones, a medieval necromancer (Mrs. Hobday was nowhere to be found, but when Mr. Jones came to the present day, he found the grave of a relative named Sarah Ann Hobday).


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Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#35 of 74 OFFLINE   Mark Mayes

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Posted August 07 2014 - 06:45 PM

I'm not entirely convinced that kids won't sit through long movies.

 

 

 

I don't think that is a problem at all.

 

I just don't think that featuring the theatrical cut is so disastrous or will stop new generations from falling for the film.

Nor do I think they will necessarily drink up every second of the extended cut like those of us who already love the film and cannot get enough.

 

 

I am a proponent of the seamless branching.



#36 of 74 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 07 2014 - 07:35 PM

The only person I know of who went from disliking the film to liking it because of the restored scenes saw the 97-minute version first. Even so, those who prefer the theatrical cut still at least are not willing to deprive everyone else of a choice. But Disney did. And it's Disney who should get the blame for this.

 

Meanwhile, Universal, the only major studio that's so consistently inconsistent, is giving 1941 fans a choice of which version they prefer in that Spielberg box set (yet they could not bring themselves to do the same for John Waters' Cry-Baby). Their respective directors put the scenes back in because they wanted them back in. In this case, the director had been dead for a decade, and the producer, whom The Committee overpowered, died in 1975 (and his death was the most devastating blow to the studio since Walt and Roy died), but the Sherman Brothers, who were alive and well, said they wanted it back in. I guess that makes it a "Songwriters' Cut."


Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#37 of 74 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted August 07 2014 - 08:14 PM

The scene where Carrie talks about 'Aunt Bessie' is one of the most poignant parts of the film.  It really illustrates (for those who never experienced it) what an horrific experience the 'Blitz' was for London citizens of WW2.  Ms Lansbury herself has always pointed out that one of the reasons she loves the film is its faithful recreation of the 'Blitz' era.  The magic and fun is all well and good, but at the heart, its a story of a group of people trying to quash one of the most devastating events of the 20th century.


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#38 of 74 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 07 2014 - 09:03 PM

The scene where Carrie talks about 'Aunt Bessie' is one of the most poignant parts of the film.  It really illustrates (for those who never experienced it) what an horrific experience the 'Blitz' was for London citizens of WW2.  Ms Lansbury herself has always pointed out that one of the reasons she loves the film is its faithful recreation of the 'Blitz' era.  The magic and fun is all well and good, but at the heart, its a story of a group of people trying to quash one of the most devastating events of the 20th century.

 

Very well said, Byron. That's what was missing from the theatrical cut. It still has the who, when, where and what, but the why is missing. As a result, it's only 80% of what it needs to be. Put back the why, and it's 99% there ("A Step in the Right Direction" is the last 1%, and one could argue that it's more important than whether or not Carrie asks "what's all that?" at the dinner table, which at least explains why they chose a two-shot of her and Charlie for that particular shot). As someone who lost a good chunk of my family in WWII (and not all of it from combat), that's part of why the film resonates with me so much.


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Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#39 of 74 ONLINE   Ejanss

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Posted August 07 2014 - 09:42 PM

Buy this, and this is how every future release will turn out. The phrase "behavior that is rewarded will be repeated" comes to mind.

 

In the meantime, here's the email I sent to Leonard Maltin:

 

And, you knew that he was involved with the Blu-ray or still working for the company....how, exactly?

(Besides the obvious point of "Well, he did other historical stuff, back on the DVD!")



#40 of 74 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted August 07 2014 - 09:50 PM

I think its important that Maltin is advised of the situation - regardless of whether or not he is "hands-on" at the company anymore.  



"When I get a little money, I buy movies.  If there is some left over I'll attend to utilities and groceries".
 
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