CATEGORIES Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, New on DVD, Home Entertainment, Cinematical Indie, War, Features, DVDs, CinematicalLast week in my Indies on DVD post, I mentioned a new Stanley Kubrick box set (from Warner Home Video) and Criterion's release of Terence Malick's Days of Heaven. Both releases had raised pre-release questions. Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere sounded the alarm back in August that Criterion's upcoming re-issue of the Days of Heaven on DVD would look "really different" than the previous version from Paramount Home Video. He based his concerns on comments by Criterion's Lee Kline. Now that Wells has seen the new DVD, he writes: "I saw Days of Heaven in 70 mm on the day it opened -- 9.13.78 -- at the Cinema 1 on Third Avenue, and the Criterion DVD took me right back to that transporting experience. This is how it looked back then, and should have always looked. " Good to hear.
The Kubrick set raised eyebrows when it was announced that three of the films (The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut) would be presented in a different home video format than Kubrick had insisted upon when he was alive. Film critic Dave Kehr noted: "Kubrick apparently had his reasons, as mysterious as they may be, for releasing them to video the way he did." The new, reformatted aspect ratio, Kehr says, "would be closer to the way the films were originally seen in theaters." Kehr then quotes a statement from Jan Harlan (the present keeper of the Kubrick estate) and questions the historical sense of Harlan's statement before concluding: "I'm really not well informed enough to have a solid opinion. And without Kubrick around to consult, I don't see how we'll ever know for sure." He recommends hanging onto the older DVD versions as reference points, if nothing else. So if you've been waiting for the definitive edition of these films (others in the set are 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, in addition to the doc A Life in Pictures), you'll need to weigh out the positive and not so positive.