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Into the Woods (1991)

Bernadette Peters , Joanna Gleason , James Lapine  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)

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Into The Woods: Stephen Sondheim   $2.99 $12.99

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Tom Aldredge, Robert Westenberg
  • Directors: James Lapine
  • Writers: James Lapine
  • Producers: Iris Merlis, Michael Brandman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (PCM Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 27, 1997
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00001PE59
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,641 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Into the Woods" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Fractured fairy tales of a darker hue provide the remarkable context for Into the Woods, which deconstructs the Brothers Grimm by way of Rod Serling. While the faces and names are familiar, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and company inhabit a sylvan neighborhood in which witches and bakers are next-door neighbors, handsome princes from once-parallel fables are competitive (and equally vain) brothers, and all the stories intersect through unexpected new plot twists.

Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning score favors intricate ensemble numbers that present the characters' divergent, then overlapping fears and desires. And it's the latter category that provides a primary thread to James Lapine's ingenious puzzle of a book, which coheres around the inevitability--and treachery--of our innermost wishes. That theme is given farcical energy in the first act, which offers enough comic invention, tart dialogue, and witty music for a satisfying evening of theater as is.

Instead, Sondheim and Lapine offer a bold, darker second act that takes a look at what happens after "happily ever after," elevating the work beyond inspired parody toward allegorical gravity. By the final scenes, with the one-two punch of the score's two most enduring songs, "No One Is Alone" and "Children Will Listen," what began as a clever diversion has touched deeper nerves and primed some tear ducts. This video production by the original Broadway cast gets its marquee shimmer from Bernadette Peters's wonderful witch, but the standout (and Tony winner as Best Actress) is Joanna Gleason, who gives the Baker's Wife a mixture of warmth, pragmatism, and sudden, poignantly romantic radiance.

The DVD version is comparatively no-frills, given its American Playhouse origins, but multiformat digital audio renders the musical performances in immaculate detail. --Sam Sutherland

Product Description

A baker and his wife journey into the woods in search of a cow, a red cape, a pair of golden slippers and some magic beans to lift a curse that has kept them childless. Tony Award winners Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason and the rest of the original Broadway cast weave their magic spell over you in Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece, directed by James Lapine, a seamless fusion of fairy tale characters and what happens after "happily ever after. "With oft-recorded songs such as "Children Will Listen" and "No One is Alone," "Into the Woods" is a music lover's delight from start to finish--and will forever cement Stephen Sondheim's unparalleled position as the giant of the American musical theater.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I HATE MUSICALS!! March 7, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Except for this one...

Bernadette Peters is so perfect as the old crone witch who turns beautiful at the end of the first act. She plays the bitter self-loathing cynic to perfection: when she sings "Last Midnight" its amazing, and of course the bittersweet "Lament"/"Children Will Listen" ties everything together...well, perfectly. A riot, and she can really belt out a tune!

At least as amazing as Ms. Peters is Tony Award-winning Joanna Gleason who is completely brilliant as the baker's wife. Her interactions with Kim Crosby (Cinderella), each night after the Festival, sparkle: every time I watch the exchange that ends with, "I need your shoe to have a child!" I nearly fall off my chair; her appearance as a ghost at the end is touching and a little sad.
Kim Crosby herself is quite good as Cinderella, and Danielle Ferland is wonderful as the jaded and cynical (and a little bloodthirsty) Little Red Riding Hood (she gets it from grannie, who keeps thinking of twisted ways to torture the wolf after they escape), and her song "I Know Things Now," is a cute little song (with just a hint of sexual imagery) about a young woman coming of age.

Some things to watch for:
- Cinderella's birds
- the horse that moves backwards
- "Milky White," especially after the baker gets tired of leading(dragging) her, and picks her up by the handle on her top
- the stepmother cutting off her daughter's heel and then picking it up by stabbing it with the knife like a piece of ham
- "Agony" by the two princes
- "No One Is Alone"
- and lastly, "Your Fault.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Musical October 19, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Into The Woods is at all times humorous, sad, disturbing, and thought-provoking. It is enjoyable by all ages. Children will find it to be a delightful twist on conventional fairy tales, and Adults will find it thought-provoking and moving, as well as a delightful romp through childhood stories. Despite what people may say, the second act does not drag; it is merely less fairy-tale-ish compared to the first act, as the characters keep getting killed off. It is a bit less subtle than some of Sondheim's other shows, which may irk some of the fans devoted to Sunday in the Park With George or Assasins (which I also recommend), but newcomers to Sondheim will find it to be a very easily enjoyed and accesible play. With melodic tunes and clever, moving, and thoughtful lyrics and book, and exceptional performances by Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, and Bernadette Peters (this is a must for any of her fans), Into the Woods is and will remain a Broadway classic.
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92 of 102 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD ... Happily Ever After June 14, 2000
Format:DVD
The DVD of Sondheim's INTO THE WOODS is not that remarkable other than the fact that it's great to have this wonderful television production available in the format. The picture is crisp and the sound is pristine. There are no extras on the disc. I do enjoy the chapters, however. Unlike my video tape version, it's great to be able to skip to a particular song I wish to view.
INTO THE WOODS is such a great show. The first act is hilarious and witty. It very smartly weaves together all those fairy tales so familiar to us all. Then act two makes us look at them through adult eyes. I think Sondheim and Lapine are telling us that in fairy tales as well as "real" life, the simple words "I wish..." are truly the beginning of whatever story each of us is about to tell. They counsel us to be careful of what we wish in life -- our wishes effect everyone.
My favorite song in this production is "The Last Midnight" which is performed by Bernadette Peters as the Witch. It is very macabre and Sondheim reveals so much about the Witch's character through the lyrics. Plus, it gives Ms. Peters an opportunity to belt!
INTO THE WOODS is a hoot! Enjoy it.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Upon a Time. Musically. March 29, 2002
Format:DVD
This musical takes several fairy tales and combines them for a fresh, fun journey. A baker and his wife have learned that they are under a curse and can't have any children. To lift the curse, they must find the cape as red as blood, the cow as white as milk, the hair as yellow as gold, and the slipper as pure as glass. Fortunately for them, they are going into the same woods that Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Rapunzel are entering.
The second act picks up "Later." Things don't quite work out as well as everyone expected them to, and they once again find themselves entering the woods to deal with their new challenges.
The first act is a perfect musical comedy with some wonderful moments, but the second act is much darker in tone. While it still has it's funny moments, it is much more serious. But the dramatic turn works well, and what started out as a fun romp turns into a powerful story. Still, because of this, I have a hard time recommending it for children.
The cast does a wonderful job. It's really hard to pick out a highlight because everyone works well together to make it so good. The format, video recording of a live stage performance by the original Broadway cast, took me a little time to get used to when I first watched it, but soon I forgot all about that. The camera captures everything on stage; can't imagine a better seat in the house.
The DVD is just a bare bones version; there's nothing outside of the musical. But it's still worth getting since you will want to watch it many times.
Teens and adults will love this musical's sense of humor and be moved by its emotion. It provides all the joys of a stage play in the comfort of your own home. Buy it today and get ready to journey "Into the Woods."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another Sondheim favorite. His musicals are always on my list.
Published 5 hours ago by Josephine D. Croucher
5.0 out of 5 stars A family event
A great one for adults and children alike -- morals for the adults, and fairy tales for the kids...maybe a little racy for kids with the wolf's anatomically correctness but... Read more
Published 22 hours ago by Florida
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly amusing
This is a highly amusing spin off from childhood fairy tales. The music and story are fun and very entertaining!
Published 2 days ago by Julz
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! Shared the experience with my grandkids.
Excellent performances by the entire cast and a production that will appeal to older (age 7 and up) children as well as adults-- though you might end up with some uncomfortable... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Nancy22204
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful and speedy!
Published 5 days ago by Sandy Summerfield
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money
Didn't like it at all
Published 13 days ago by Simon Westie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I LOVE THIS MUSICAL! Pay attention or details will be missed.
Published 15 days ago by Emilee Keyes
5.0 out of 5 stars My Fav!!!!!
This is all time favorite musical, and my favorite cast too!!! :)
Published 20 days ago by Ariel G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
According to Amazon I bought this 14 years ago but was reminded of it today now that I see that a movie musical version directed by Rob Marshall will be released soon. Read more
Published 22 days ago by RocketJay
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Done
I reall enjoyed this play! The actors were outstanding and the sets were very well done. Red Riding Hood, the bakers wife, and the witch were my favorites!
Published 24 days ago by Darryl G. Maddox
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