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New 2003 DVD transfer: Restored video and audio, plus extras
on January 12, 2003
I managed to find this a few days before its official release date and am happy to report that it finally gives this classic film the treatment it deserves. The video and audio have been restored from orignal source material with noticeable improvements over the previous DVD transfer. The picture has none of the scratches and dust that were present on the earlier version, and there is a Dolby stereo option as well as the original mono. The stereo soundtrack offers greater clarity and depth and there's no low-level hum or hiss.
Besides offering a major improvement in the quality of the image and sound, the new DVD also includes a good selection of extras. There's a 25 minute "Backstory" from AMC that is very informative and entertaining. There are two separate commentary tracks, one with Celeste Holm, Christopher Mankiewicz (Joseph's son), and Kenneth Geist, the other with Sam Staggs, author of "All About 'All About Eve'". There are
promotional interviews with Davis and Baxter, four newsreels, a trailer, and a restoration comparison.
The restoration comparison is one of the strangest that I've seen. Instead of an audio track explaining the problems and processes involved in the transfer, there's a series of screens with text printed on them. There then follows a series of comparisons from various versions of the film. There's nothing really wrong with any of this, but considering the huge amount of time and effort that goes into a restoration of this magnitude, I expected something a bit more dynamic.
For any "All About Eve" fan, old or new, this is the DVD we have been waiting for, and at five dollars less than the original DVD, a real bargain.