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Into the Woods


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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (489 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00001PE59
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,275 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Into the Woods" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

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.

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

Customer Reviews

The music and story are fun and very entertaining!
Julz
The music and lyrics are brilliant and you'll love all the fairy tale stories that are magically interwoven.
alameda_ca
Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason shine amazingly.
Lady Jane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Gary Asby on 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.
Read more ›
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Fox on 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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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By jonnybravo on November 10, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Note: I bought a copy of the blu-ray version at the INTO THE WOODS: Reunion show on Nov 9, 2014. The one day performance was at Costa Mesa, CA (Orange County) and Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine and most of the original cast was performing. Bernadette Peters WAS AMAZING!!! The blu-ray disc was sold as a pre-release (prior to official Dec 2 release date) in conjunction with the reunion show.

Didn't know how to rate the blu-ray, but I guess the only conclusion I had was to average it to 3 stars!
- - 5 STARS for the musical itself. This is one of Sondheim's best in my opinion.
- - 1 STAR for the Blu-ray transfer itself. The color saturation is off, few stuttering scenes with artifacts and some of the scenes look really blurry, especially when they pan out to show the entire stage. (Closeups aren't that bad though). I shouldn't be surprised since this the original source wasn't shot in HD. I think the original was taped on video so a transfer may be more difficult. But there are a lot of other older TV shows out there shot on video and have better blu-ray transfers. And so, like many of us who have been wanting a blu-ray version of this show, I think many will be disappointed. The DVD version is actually more watchable because you don't have some of the transfer issues associated to the conversion, and thus less distracting. Plus...like the DVD, there are no extras. Overall, transferring this to blu-ray was pretty moot.

Still....the musical is great and the performances were wonderful. Too bad this was videotaped before they incorporated the song "Our Little World" into the production. I love that song between the witch and Rapunzel.
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98 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Matt Howe on 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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