For its 25th anniversary, The Last Waltz
received a meticulous color-corrected new film transfer approved by director Martin Scorsese and a new digital 5.1 surround audio mix supervised by producer Robbie Robertson, better known as the Band's chief songwriter and guitarist. The DVD adds a crisp anamorphic digital transfer and a clutch of additional features that represent satisfying enhancements to this superb concert documentary. Two full-length audio commentaries tacitly acknowledge the schisms within the surviving membership of the Band: on the first, Scorsese and Robertson deconstruct the film and its production, while the second taps Band drummer Levon Helm and organist Garth Hudson, along with erstwhile mentor Ronnie Hawkins, pop gospel veteran Mavis Staples, and various crew members. A featurette offers new interviews with Robertson and Scorsese, and fans will relish extended "jam footage" of previously unreleased performances by members of the Band, Dr. John, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Ron Wood, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young, although the footage itself never approaches the passion or coherence of the film's best songs. DVD enthusiasts disappointed at the lack of more audio bonuses should pick up the companion restoration of the movie's soundtrack
, expanded to four CDs to contain a wealth of previously unreleased performances from the historic 1976 concert. --Sam Sutherland
It started as a concert. It became a celebration. Join an unparalleled lineup of rock superstars asthey celebrate The Band's historic 1976 farewell performance. Directed by Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Goodfellas), The Last Waltz is not only "the most beautiful rock film evermade" (New York Times) it's "one of the most important cultural events of the last two decades" (Rolling Stone)!