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Press Release Criterion Press Release: The Last Waltz (1978) (4k UHD) (Blu-ray) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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More than just one of the greatest concert films ever made, The Last Waltz is an at once ecstatic and elegiac summation of a vital era in American rock music. Invited to document the farewell performance of the legendary group the Band at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom on Thanksgiving, 1976, Martin Scorsese conceived a new kind of music documentary. Enlisting seven camera operators (including renowned cinematographers Vilmos Zsigmond, László Kovács, and Michael Chapman) and art director Boris Leven to design the strikingly theatrical sets, Scorsese created a grandly immersive experience that brings viewers onstage and inside the music itself. That music—as performed by the Band and a host of other generation-defining artists, including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, the Staple Singers, Muddy Waters, and Neil Young—lives on as an almost religious expression of the transcendent possibilities of rock and roll.

FILM INFO​

  • United States
  • 1978
  • 117 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #1118

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES​

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by musician Robbie Robertson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
  • Alternate uncompressed stereo soundtrack
  • Two audio commentaries, featuring director Martin Scorsese; Robertson; other members of the Band; members of the production crew; and performers Dr. John, Ronnie Hawkins, and Mavis Staples
  • New interview with Scorsese, conducted by critic David Fear
  • Documentary from 2002 about the making of the film
  • Outtakes
  • Interview from 1978 with Scorsese and Robertson
  • Trailer and TV spot
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Amanda Petrusich

    New cover by Fred Davis

    March 29, 2022
 

Ronald Epstein

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link. As an Amazon Associate HTF earns from qualifying purchases

 
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Josh Steinberg

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I never upgraded from DVD to the existing BD, so this will be a great excuse to finally upgrade.

^ Same here.

A Criterion of the Last Waltz? You know this is gonna be good.

The MGM Blu-ray is…underwhelming. It’s missing the majority of the bonus features from the earlier MGM DVD too. It looks like this Criterion includes all the MGM DVD bonuses plus new ones, and of course a new master. For a movie I watch every year, it’s an easy choice. I’m not 4K equipped yet but I’ll future proof and pick up that combo.

You guys really did not miss much on the older Blu!
 

Mark VH

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Sounds like I'm in the same boat as a lot of folks - have this one on DVD but never upgraded, so am incredibly excited about this given that I also watch this every Thanksgiving.
 

SeanSKA

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I have the Blu ray but I will be upgrading to the 4K disc.
Me too. When I really think about it, this has probably been the most played titled I've owned- across several formats: VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray,,,,and soon 4k (never owned it on LD, for some reason)
 

Colin Jacobson

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Watching the new BD and 4K. Looks great but I'm curious about the 5.1 mix compared to the audio from the DVD.

When I reviewed the DVD 20 years ago, I thought the 5.1 mix focused mainly on the forward speakers and used the surrounds mostly for ambience/crowd.

The 5.1 on the BD/4K uses the surrounds much more actively than my review reflects.

I may still own the DVD - I need to hunt.

If I can't find it, can folks offer impressions of the DVD's 5.1 mix? Was it more aggressive than I thought 20 years ago, or has the mix been mucked with to use the back channels more actively?

The 1978 surround mix doesn't go "surround crazy" like the 2001 version so I can't blame my system!
 

Malcolm Bmoor

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Yesterday I watched part of the previous Blu-ray issue and it seems perfectly good to me but appreciate that the Criterion is causing great excitement. Part of that excitement is over extra EXTRAS but as I virtually never watch any of them on any of the discs I buy that doesn't affect me.

What I saw of the film yesterday doesn't leave me yearning for higher quality in picture or sound so I won't buy the new one.

However, what I was left yearning for was a proper concert performance with all Mr Scorcese's interviews removed and delivered separately. Because I worked in tv for quite a long time I hate to be reminded of the phoniness of so much interviewing:

'I'll ask that again and this time can you say .......'

The new issue I'd buy would be a reassembled concert in the correct order and losing the constant stopping and starting that ruins absorbtion in the great occasion. Of course that's available on CD versions but it's good to see the pictures.

The interviews could be one of those extras I wouldn't watch.
 

titch

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I've purchased all the Criterion 4K UHDs and so far this is my favourite! I rate Stop Making Sense and The Last Waltz as the two greatest concert films ever made. The Last Waltz was made completely differently, however: storyboarded by Scorsese and assembled interspersed with interviews, whereas Stop Making Sense was a much more linear concert experience.

The sound is terrific - I have the 5.1 remix on a DVD-audio from 2002. The 5.1 remix appears identical to the 2002 LCPM 5.1 remix on the DVD-Audio. It's your basic front-centric, audience all around you mix. Nothing special, but still done well, as you get the immersion you want from a live music experience. There is music piped into the rears, but it is duplication of the front channels.

Impossible not to watch this with a group of friends without it turning into a party!

IMG_7314.jpg
 

Sam Favate

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Watched this last night. Always loved the movie, but the picture is absolutely stunning. Sound is perfect to my ears as well.
 

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