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The Witches (Keep Case Packaging)

4.5 out of 5 stars 863 customer reviews

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(Sep 08, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

From the great Muppet creator Jim Henson comes this classic bursting with enchantment and adventure. Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston stars as the Grand High Witch in this fable of a nine-year-old boy who must foil the plans of a society of witches to turn the world's children into mice. It won't be easy: they've already transformed him into one.

Special Features

None

Product Details

  • Actors: Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Paterson
  • Directors: Nicolas Roeg
  • Writers: Allan Scott
  • Producers: Jim Henson, Mark Shivas
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Stereo)
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (863 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002GOAH10
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,366 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Witches (Keep Case Packaging)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"The Witches" is one of my favorite films. The film combines the substantial filmmaking talents of Nicholas Roeg with the wonderworking of Jim Henson and an unforgettable performance from Angelica Huston. Every time I watch this film, I find something new to like about it.
Since I have seen the film numerous times, I was a bit disappointed that the DVD did not contain any special features, such as a commentary from the filmmaker or one of the actors. Other than the most basic chapter selection, the DVD does not offer any of the bonuses that one would like to see. Fortunately, the film itself is so good that it is worthwhile to buy this disc in spite of the substandard packaging.
From the very beginning of the film, we are thrown into an imaginative world where witches reside in literally every small village and where no child is safe in any country. As the credits roll across the screen, Roeg treats us to a ride on a broomstick, to a witch's-eye view of the frozen Scandinavian countryside.
The film then introduces us to Luke and his grandmother, the protagonists of this tale. We learn that the grandmother has long been fighting the witches and even has lost part of her finger in the struggles. After tragedy strikes the young boy's parents, the pair travel to England, which is literally infested with witches. Fortunately, Luke has been well-warned how to recognize them and can play safely in his tree house when other children would be in grave peril.
The delicious irony compounds when the grandmother takes Luke to a seaside resort hotel for her convalescence. It is the precise time when all the witches of England are meeting under the cover of the Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
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Format: DVD
Roald Dahl, best-known for his "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory", also penned this dark little tale, which is brought to vivid cinematic life by gifted director Nicolas Roeg ("Walkabout", "Don't Look Now"). The late Jim Henson's distinctive talents are on display in some of the rodent and witch representations, and the film also boasts broadly amusing turns by Anjelica Huston (as The Grand High Witch) and Brits Brenda Blethyn and Rowan Atkinson in supporting roles.
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Format: Amazon Video
I love this movie and there are plenty of reviews. What I'm going to "review" is the availability of the movie and the full 16:9/widescreen transfer.

The movie had previously only ever been released on home video in "fullscreen" (4:3 or 1.33:1 ratio). Both the VHS and DVD releases have only ever had the fullscreen format. A widescreen VHS, LaserDisc or DVD was never released, in any country. The only way to have viewed the complete widescreen version of the film was if you got to see it in theaters when it was released.

Even subsequent airings on HD television channels seem to play a butchered version of the 4:3 cut, further cut from the top and bottom for the illusion of widescreen. What you got was a twice-butchered version (first, the fullscreen version is missing video from the left and right, THEN, the HDTV version cuts data from the top and bottom of the fullscreen version to make a fake-widescreen transfer).

So call me skeptical when Amazon Video claimed the movie was available in widescreen. I bit the bullet and viewed it.

The Amazon Video version, I can confirm, is the full 16:9 release of the film. In both SD and HD resolutions!

As of this review, the movie is available to stream for free if you have a Prime subscription. It is also available to purchase or rent on Amazon Video. If you want to watch it on your TV, a Roku box, PlayStation3 or Xbox 360 can achieve this. You can also watch it on your iPad with the Amazon Prime Video app (sadly not available for iPhone or iPod Touch yet).

The digital release also exists on iTunes and Vudu, but I cannot confirm if they are truly the widescreen version (though it's likely, as Amazon, Apple and UltraViolet probably get their digital release from the same source).
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Format: VHS Tape
Anjelica Huston is so hideous as a witch it isn't funny. Actually, it is a bit funny, with the accent and everything. Oh, and the mice are simply adorable. Everyone else told the plot, so I won't linger about it. Basically, the Grand High Witch turns a boy, Luke, into a mouse and he has to save all the children in England. While a mouse. That presents some problems, and a kinda scary scene with the Grand High Witch's cat. The witch convention would be the most impressive scene in the movie. Eva Ernst (The Witch) tells everyone to take off their shoes. Then she tells them to remove their "vigs" (wigs). They are bald with purple eyes and ugly teeth. Then Eva proceeds to remove her hair AND face at the same time, with a little help from her secretary. Eva's chin grows, her nose lengthens, and underneath her mask is the most hideous thing you have ever seen. Long ears, no hair, and that awful face. I suppose it's still Anjelica Huston under all that. She keeps the accent, and even while she is being scary she is funny when explaining the results of her Formula 86. I highly recommend this movie, because the acting is suberb and the effects are better.
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