Customer Review

140 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done, Paramount, July 6, 2004
This review is from: The Winds of War (DVD)
Paramount deserves major congratulations for doing right by The Winds of War with their DVD release.
I was anxious to make sure this DVD measured up, so I watched it with my old VHS playing at the same time, and switched back and forth occasionally on the remote to see the difference. It's nothing less than astonishing. The old Winds videos look unwatchable when compared to the new image, which probably looks as close as possible to the way it was shot.
This is, of course, a TV miniseries from 1983, long before anyone imagined the resolution of DVD, so it's not going to look perfect. Still, almost every time I switched to the VHS, then back, I literally said "wow." Colors are distinct and deep, details are sharp and the variously-colored hazes that afflicted most of the VHS are gone. Having only seen the series this way, the DVDs were a revelation. These discs represent what is best about DVD and its success, bringing a long-quiet catalog title back to life.
Although Paramount usually mixes new 5.1 audio tracks for their old films, with 15 hours of film here, they can't be blamed for leaving the existing mono tracks, which are certainly decent and don't detract at all from viewing the film. (I can't understand the other reviewer who gave the DVD set one star, largely because of the audio. Doesn't he understand how prohibitively expensive a new sound mix of that length, for such a complex series, would have been? We're very lucky with what we've got.)
Paramount also fixed some framing mistakes on the VHS edition. Large portions of episodes 5, 6 and 7 were noticeably off-center when compared to the re-aligned DVDs. This had never caught my attention before, but when flipping back and forth, I could see that the tops of people's heads were actually lopped off quite frequently on the VHS.
I've read horror stories of missing scenes when TV shows find their way to DVD, so I was especially anxious to be sure that wasn't the case. Rest assured, every moment of the VHS version is here. The only difference is that the commercial break spots have now been lengthened to about five seconds, where they were almost instant cuts on the VHS. This gives more of a breather between acts, which I totally approve of. (As for the other reviewer who found scenes that were not on their old VHS, I can't imagine what they were watching, but it wasn't the official Paramount 7 VHS set, which was identical to this new DVD in film content.)
The extras are also pretty thorough for a title that's clearly not going to sell millions of units. There are a series of featurettes that actually run into a pretty comprehensive feature-length documentary. Almost all the surviving cast and crew are interviewed, with the standout being series producer/director Dan Curtis. Just what a labor of love the series was for him is quickly apparent, and he has wonderfully clear memories of the production, which he is given ample time to share.
Bravo, Paramount, for giving this landmark miniseries the careful treatment it deserved.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 6, 2009 2:54:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 6, 2009 2:54:42 AM PDT
Ben Masters says:
I saw the first disc from Netflix, and Paramount is also to be commended for leaving the original "Blue Mountain" television logo on the closing credits. I've heard the horror stories about how studios replace their older logos with the current ones for DVD releases, but based on what I've seen from the first disc, Paramount did not do that, and as such, they deserve the highest honor.

Posted on Nov 16, 2014 9:52:50 PM PST
Paladin says:
Agreed that this was a compelling series; for the most part, the actors were well- suited for their roles. The glaring exception was Ali McGraw, who was so awful she actually detracted from the viewer's enjoyment. I have seen better performances from students in a high school play. The only plus was that she was replaced by Jane Seymour in the sequel.
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