on June 19, 2009
Since Amazon is ALWAYS very lacking in details about their DVD or Blu-Ray products, here is the press release that gives more detail (was on The Home Theater Forum):
WHV Press Release: Woodstock 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition (DVD/BD)
"Few documentaries have captured a time and place more completely, poignantly, and ... entertainingly." -- Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert
"Not just a great slice-of-time documentary but the ultimate rock concert movie."
-- Los Angeles Times, Chris Willman
Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music
The Director's Cut
40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition
Celebrating the Greatest Rock Concert in History!
On Blu-ray and DVD June 9 from Warner Home Video
Three hours of enhanced content includes two hours of
bonus performances, some unearthed after four decades,
with five groups who performed but never appeared in the film
Burbank, CA, March 11, 2009 - Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music - the four-hour director's cut of the 1970 Oscar®-winning documentary about the landmark music event that featured some of the greatest rock 'n' roll performers in history -- will be released June 9 in a spectacular new limited, numbered Blu-ray and DVD Ultimate Collector's Edition (UCE). With two extra hours of rare performance footage -- some of it newly-discovered, some only seen in part and some never seen at all -- the UCE is destined to make its own history. Details of the new releases will be featured at the South by Southwest Music + Film Festival where Warner Home Video will offer festival goers a first look at the new high definition picture and sound on March 21.
Today, four decades later, Woodstock still resonates deeply with those that attended and those that wished they had. Director Michael Wadleigh notes, "Based on the vast e-mails and calls I've received, many from young people, it's very evident that people still relate so much to the film and view the '60s as an age when anything and everything was possible, mostly good. Many hope for a new Woodstock generation since what people loved back then was spontaneity, originality, innocence and honesty - even in superstars; that's why Woodstock, with its open and natural philosophy, has become timeless."
The two extra hours of rare performance footage features 18 new performances as never before seen from 13 groups, including Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker and five (Paul Butterfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Winter and Mountain) who played at Woodstock but never appeared in any film version.
A third hour of bonus material also on the UCE includes a featurette gallery showcasing interviews with Martin Scorsese, producer Michael Lang, director Michael Wadleigh, Hugh Hefner, Eddie Kramer (the concert's original chief on-site engineer and producer-engineer for Jimi Hendrix) and others who chronicle the making of the festival and the film. Included are such segments as 3 Days in a Truck, No Rain! No Rain! and Living Up To Idealism. Additionally, exclusive to Blu-ray a Customize Your Own Woodstock Playlist from the 18 bonus performances and other special features like Media Center, My WB Commentary and Live Community Screening.
The UCE will be packaged in a unique giftbox, numbered as part of a limited run with an array of collectibles that include a 60+ page reprint of a Life magazine commemorative issue, a lucite lenticular display of vintage festival photos, festival memorabilia and an iron-on patch with the classic dove and guitar Woodstock emblem.
Jeff Baker, WHV's Executive VP and General Manager, Theatrical Catalog, stated, "As I reviewed Woodstock interviews and some of the newly discovered concert footage, it struck me how historically relevant this project has become to all of us who have been privileged to be a part of it. The new 'content' we have created, almost 40 years later, and the live performances we've restored in high definition, some in extended cuts, will live on as studio assets forever, and as a testimony to a time and a set of circumstances which will never again repeat themselves."
Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music was newly remastered from original elements and scanned at 2K with an audio 5.1 mix. Eddie Kramer, Woodstock sound engineer, assisted with the 5.1 audio mix of recently found additional footage. The Ultimate Collector's Edition will be available in Blu-ray(tm) Hi-Def ($69.99 SRP) as well as DVD ($59.98 SRP). Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music will also be available on DVD as a Two-Disc Special Edition ($24.98 SRP).
About Woodstock and the Film
Woodstock alumni David Crosby noted, "Woodstock was more than just a concert; it was an event. It was a time for our generation to speak up and let everyone know we had a voice. Whether you were there or are discovering the film for the first time, it still holds up 40 years later and now will speak to a whole new generation."
The Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York on a sometimes rain-soaked weekend from August 15 to August 18, 1969. Half a million people of all colors, shapes, sizes, ages and sexes attended this historical event. They came by car, by truck, a few even by helicopter, but the majority walked to what turned out to be the most famous festival in history, an event that was hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the "50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock 'n' Roll."
Created by promoter Michael Lang with Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, 32 legendary musical acts appeared which, in addition to those mentioned above, included Crosby, Stills & Nash, Santana, Joan Baez, The Band, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Country Joe McDonald and The Fish, Richie Havens, Jefferson Airplane, John Sebastian and Sly & The Family Stone.
Said Michael Lang, "It's gratifying to me that Woodstock remains so relevant today as does the great work that documented it. Artie and Joel join me in congratulating Warner Home Video for putting together this brand new and exciting look at our event and for unearthing more of the historic performances that electrified us all at the time."
Winner of the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature (and nominated for Best Editing and Best Sound), Woodstock was produced by Bob Maurice and directed by Michael Wadleigh, who assembled an outstanding crew that included young filmmakers at the start of their careers Academy Award® winners: director Martin Scorsese (The Departed) and editor Thelma Schoonmaker (The Aviator).
The critically acclaimed Museum at Bethel Woods, located at the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival in Bethel, NY, tells the story of the Sixties and Woodstock through state-of-the-art multi-media exhibits, engaging programs and educational events. The Center provides artists with the opportunity to perform on one of music's most legendary grounds, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is committed to being a world-class cultural destination in the heart of New York State. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts | Official Site
WOODSTOCK Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD Contents:
· Film (Director's Cut), Part 1 128:38 min
· The Museum at Bethel Woods: The Story of the Sixties & Woodstock
· Film (Director's Cut), Part 2 95:34 min
· Woodstock: Untold Stories 18 Performances as never before seen
· Woodstock: From Festival to Feature Interviews of the sights and sounds of the 3 day event, from concert goers, promoters, crew and musicians
Blu-ray Hi-Def Exclusive:
· Customize Your Own Woodstock Playlist (from the18 bonus performances)
o This feature allows you to customize your own personal jukebox playlist from more than a dozen live Woodstock performances as never before seen.
· BD-Live features include Media Center, My WB Commentary, & Live Community Screening
o Media Center is a hub for trailers, features and content
§ You can get sneak peeks of upcoming Warner Bros. films, and rate trailers
§ You can access to Exclusive Content such as interviews, featurettes, and more only seen through WB BD-Live
§ You can access Photo Galleries and other special features
o Live Community Screenings allow you to send invitations to fans and friends across the country for virtual screenings at a specified time and chat online with each other as the movie plays on each person's Blu-ray player. You can host your own Live Community Screening with your buddy list or participate in a WB hosted Warner Bros. BD-Live community event
o My WB Commentary lets you record and post a Picture-in-Picture commentary right over the film, then share it and rate it. Using a web-camera, you can record your own comments and play them back as a Picture-in-Picture feature over the film scene you have chosen and share it with your friends or the entire Warner Bros. BD-Live Community
See below complete description of new performances and featurettes
Woodstock 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition will be supported with promotional partnerships and a national media and publicity campaign spanning TV, print, online/viral, events and grassroots efforts targeting music fans of all ages.
VH1 Rock Docs and History are co-producing the definitive two-hour documentary, "Woodstock: 40 Years Later." Fender®, known worldwide for producing the musical instruments that started the rock revolution will create a limited amount of special ""Woodstock 40th Anniversary Stratocaster®" guitars. In addition, the spirit of Woodstock re-emerges with a vast array of products -- from apparel to guitar straps -- from Signatures Network, exclusive worldwide licensing agents for Woodstock Ventures.
For more information visit: Woodstock 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition on DVD and Blu Ray and be sure to check back in April as many new features will be added, including exciting performance clips, an image gallery, wallpapers, screensaver and much more.
Woodstock 3 Days of Peace & Music
Street Date: June 9
Ultimate Collector's Editions
UCE Blu-ray $69.99 SRP
UCE DVD $59.98 SRP
Two Disc Special Edition
DVD $24.98 SRP
With operations in 90 international territories, Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video's film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment.
Note: All enhanced content listed above is subject to change.
WOODSTOCK ULTIMATE COLLECTORS EDITION
BAND ROSTER - 22 BANDS TOTAL
· Arlo Guthrie
· Canned Heat
· Country Joe & the Fish
· Country Joe McDonald
· Creedence Clearwater Revival
· Crosby, Stills, Nash
· Grateful Dead
· Janis Joplin
· Jefferson Airplane
· Jimi Hendrix
· Joan Baez
· Joe Cocker
· John Sebastian
· Johnny Winter
· Paul Butterfield Blues Band
· Richie Havens
· Sly & The Family Stone
· Ten Years After
· The Who
FULL DESCRIPTION OF 18 BONUS PERFORMANCES
· Joan Baez "One Day at a Time"
· Country Joe McDonald "Flying High"
· Santana "Evil Ways"
· Canned Heat "I'm Her Man" and "On the Road Again"
· Mountain "Beside the Sea" and "Southbound Train"
· Grateful Dead "Turn On Your Love Light"
· Creedence Clearwater Revival "Born on the Bayou", "I've Put a Spell on You" and
"Keep on Chooglin'"
· The Who "We're Not Going To Take It" and "My Generation"
· Jefferson Airplane "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds"
· Joe Cocker "Something's Coming On"
· Johnny Winter "Mean Town Blues"
· Paul Butterfield "Morning Sunrise"
· Sha Na Na "Teen Angel"
FULL DESCRIPTION OF
WOODSTOCK FROM FESTIVAL TO FEATURE
· The Camera: The Éclair NPR was the best camera around in 1969; Michael Wadleigh talks about why the Éclair was the right camera for this film.
· 365,000 Feet of Film: The stories of how Dale Bell and his crew begged, borrowed and stole just enough film to document the festival.
· Shooting Stage: Those up-close shots of performers didn't just happen by magic; see how Wadleigh and his cameramen got those up close and personal shots of the performers.
· The Line Up: The Who, Sha Na Na, Santana, Ten Years After, Jefferson Airplane and many more; how did all these bands get on the roster for the festival of a life time?
· Holding the Negative Hostage: What does a filmmaker do when Technicolor is sending a copy of your negative to the studio without your permission? Well, you lock up the film and hire a lawyer.
· Announcements: "Don't take the brown acid" or maybe it was green. We'll hear about all the strange and informative announcements heard during those three days of peace, love and enlightenment.
· Suits VS. Longhairs: The clash between the hippie filmmakers and the Warner executives who didn't understand what this film meant.
· Documenting History: Find out from Michael Wadleigh and Dale Bell, along with filmmakers, where the idea of capturing this event on film came from.
· Woodstock: The Journey: Some came by car, others by truck, a few came by helicopter but most walked to the most famous festival in history.
· Pre-Production: We'll find out how this production got off the ground and meet the members of the crew that made it happen.
· Production: How many cameras were used? How much film did they go through? Did anyone sleep? All these questions and more will be answered here as we explore how Woodstock was captured on film.
· Synchronization: How do you sync all this material with out any slates? No slate, no problem. With the help of an upright Moviola, Dale Bell, Michael Wadleigh, Eddie Kramer and the editors were able to make magic from miles of tape and film.
· The Crowd: Half a million people of all colors, shapes, sizes, ages and sexes attended this historical event. We'll hear stories about the number of people and how they all coexisted for three days with only minor incidents.
· No Rain! No Rain!: Everyone talks about the rain at this event as if it were a character. It was. It set the tone, provided moments of danger, fun and disgust.
· 3 Days in a Truck: Eddie Kramer heard some of the most amazing performances as he recorded this historic event. But during those three days of peace, love and music, he didn't get to see any performances because he was stuck in a truck.
· Woodstock Effect: The film, the event and the album catapulted many musicians into the limelight, changing their lives forever.
· Living up to Idealism
· World's Longest Optical
· Critical Acclaim
· Courtesy of The Museum at Bethel Woods: The Hog Farm Commune
· Hugh Hefner and Michael Wadleigh: The Woodstock Connection
3 hours 44 minutes 19 seconds long (edit), probably the greatest music event ever, a remarkable documentary; finally meets the sound and visual treament it always deservered (Blu-Ray and Dolby TruHD).
For those familiar with the movie, you've never seen this film in such perfection. A pristine or incredibly well cleaned print of this film was lovingly transfered to 1080p resolution. The transfer is so good, you can actually see the grain of the film. There is no more that can be done to improve video at home. I'm pretty certain that the theater sound systems were nowhere near up to the level of home theater today. The addition of rear channels and subwoofers, and given the limitations of the original recording, just can't get better. Since this film is all about the music, what could possibly be better? There were times when the couch rattled with the power of the bass. The one nit, the surrounds tend to be a bit loud, so the soundstage gets a little confused. I'll take that any day of the week to hear this music the way it was recorded.
For those new to Woodstock - buy this version. The music: some of the best rock, folk, and blues music ever. Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane - the gods of rock and roll. Crosby, Stills and Nash, Joan Baez, John Sebastian, Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie - the crossover gods of folk music. Canned Heat, Joe Cocker, Ten Years After - crossover blues.
The Jimi Hendrix' three songs are almost worth the price alone - the greatest guitar player ever, playing to a very small crowd at the end of Woodstock (that will teach people that leave early to beat the traffic).
The movie is what documentary film making is all about, capture the moment, render the feeling, place the audience in the event. The opening, pristine fields, interviews with locals, traffic rolling in, and the gorgeous CS&N singing Long Time Gone; followed by Canned Heat Going Up The Country; ending in CS&N Wooden Ships. The feeling is almost surreal as the site gets more and more crowded. Richie Havens opens the concert with his great acoustic guitar playing and protest songs. It's not straight linear time filming, but uses shots from different times to support the story line. Arlo Guthrie sings 'Coming into Los Angeles', a song about flying on an ariplane with a couple of keys (drug running); the visuals are of people enjoying that drug. It's almost a McGyver for how to enjoy that drug. The film cuts back occasionally to Guthrie singing at night. The director Michael Wadleigh uses split screens (twos, threes and fours) at just the right moments. The Who play and what is more important, Roger Daltry singing or Pete Townshend playing guitar? We get both with a 3 screen split, because they are both incredibly important to the performance. Wadleigh knows what is important and gives it to the viewer.
The soundtrack to the main film was reworked in a few places. Santana's Soul Sacrafice is very obviously altered - the marachas emit sound when they are nowhere near a microphone, and the sound is specifically placed in surrounds or specific channels. It's pretty clear when this enhancement was done. Is that a crime? On the one hand, yes - it isn't what was really performed at Woodstock exactly that way. No its not a crime - you can think of these as sound effects that don't alter the feel of the performance. Purists already know what they think about this. Personally, I don't have a lot of problem with the changes.
Disc 2 - Bonus Features. Two parts, more music and a look at behind the scenes / snapshot of life in the late 60's early 70's.
The music - for one reason or another these performances were not included in the movie. Some, the sound wasn't recorded very well, some the film was underexposed, some acts just weren't popular enough, or some just didn't fit the story line. Frankly, pick your reason for the clip you happen to love. The description of this disc includes the play list, it's long. The great part of Blu-Ray, the music is presented as a table and you make your own playlist that you then play. It can be saved, skipped around, whatever. Great way to watch the clips. The three Amazon bonus tracks are excellent.
The Film bonuses. This is a bit less great. In some ways it's a view at television / life in the 60's / 70's. The Hugh Hefner bit was interesting, but there was too much talking head for my taste. Playboy After Dark was an icon of the era, and it would have been way better to just play the 20 minutes of that show - instead there's only about 3 or 4 minutes of super young Hugh Hefner (and glimpses of the gorgeous young Barbie Benton next to him). Mostly these featurettes are like what you see in most movies anymore, talking heads, some clip back to the film or examples. It runs long, it runs deep. If you are addicted to Woodstock - you will enjoy this more than you can imagine. For normal humans, probably pass on this whole featurette section.
The film is rated R for good reason. Strong language, drug use (almost a how to film), and nudity are all there. No, younger viewers should not see this. Up until the Arlo Guthrie song, would be acceptable (almost the first half of the film).
This edition with all the funky packaging. I've posted some pictures of a more or less unboxing. The pictures inside the acrylic frame is lame - the frame is actually kind of cool (use it for another picture - it's held together with magnets). The reprinted Life Magazine is sweet. The best, in my view, is the reprinted ticket on heavy ticket stock. Frankly, all the extras aren't really worth much extra money. I would have gladly bought this as a straight no extra stuff, blu-ray edition with the two discs alone.
In a time when music videos have reached epic high-tech proportions twenty-four hours a day with the flick of a switch it was a delightful afternoon for me as I sat back to re-visit a piece of high-life history with the jaundiced eye of the political cynic. I loved this video. I loved the music. Indeed, I studied the undercurrent, with the interest of political science as I've been studying it, in hopes of gaining more insight, and I did. I also had fun, and I'm sure I will have fun every time I watch it. Why is it that everyone looks so YOUNG? (sigh) From Arlo Guthrie to Richie Havens to Joan Baez to Carlos Santana to Janis Joplin to Sly and the Family Stone ah, youth is wasted on the young! And the side interviews and shots of young people wading their way through the crowds, and the over riding theme of peace, love and anti-war...anti-capitalism as well, which more recent Woodstocks have not been able to copy. Woodstock I still has much to teach us, it's not just a walk down memory lane. If you do decide to pick this up, I can only hope you have as much fun with it as I am!
on February 7, 2013
Purchasing the import Blu-Ray version of "Woodstock" was the right choice to make. Not only do you get the film itself on one disc but you also get all the extra footage from the expensive box set edition. So, if you love this film buy this wonderful Blu-Ray edition.
Review Update: April 26, 2014
According to the insert in the case it has the following exclusive content to this Blu-Ray edition.
Woodstock Untold Stories:
Canned Heat: Woodstock Boogie
The Who: Sparks
Jimi Hendrix: Spanish Castle Magic
Reflections of an Era
A farm in Bethel
Review Update: April 28, 2014
On a personal note: I don't remember the first time I saw the film. I either saw it on HBO at the early hours of the morning or it was on my local PBS station with all the naughty parts cut out. Either way Peace and Love to you all :)
on September 19, 1999
Having been in Vietnam in1969 i did not have a chance to actually go to woodstock.I waited almost 30 years before i saw this documentary.This is the kind of experience that one has to open the mind and heart and close off all pre-concieved ideas,prejudices,religious and any and all other ideas and thoughts and just (to quote the hippies)go with your feelings.This was a once in a lifetime experience that will likely never be back again.360,000 young people(and some not quite so young)brought together for three days love,music,drugs and rock and roll.Even disallowing all the illecit drug use(the reference to the "bad acid"(not poisoned)just bad.One can watch this movie and maybe get just a small glimmer of what was occuring those three days.I finished movie and for a good week could not quit thinking about what i had seen and heard.Young girls and boys swimming in a lake naked,people getting rained on and instead of griping and complaining making a game of it! Feeding each other,both physically and spiritually and emotionally and no one getting hurt.My God! Where has this country gone wrong in the last 30 years?Maybe only people from my generation can truly understand what happened then.I am passing this movie around to friends and people at work ,some whom are my age and others much younger and they seem to really get into it(oops another hippie slang-sorry)Watch this movie-if only for your own peace of mind!(Yeah i borrowed part of that last sentence also) P E A C E
on June 26, 2004
Although I was a teenager soon after this concert, I somehow never got around to seeing the moving until this year. (I guess concert films don't get screened frequently on terrestrial TV.) So over the years I've become more familiar with the triple LP of the movie and, of course, the many posters the rock stars in heroic poses that dominated the early 1970s -- i.e. the Who's Roger Daltrey, Jimi Hendrix and Ten Years After's Alvin Lee.
Despite the mud and the squalor, this is an extraordinarily beautiful film, with the screen often breaking up into two or three segments. (Note on the closing credits the name of Martin Scorsese on the production team.)
It's well worth contrasting this movie with the DVD of the 1970 Isle of Wight festival. Only a year separates the two concerts, but the late 1960s idealism of Woodstock gets replaced by prototype British vandalism. The Who perform at both concerts, and make an equally good account of themselves. Daltrey's emotional delivery of 'See Me, Feel Me' helps to explain why 'Tommy' became such a phenomenon in America. Hendrix also performed at both, but his meandering solo at Woodstock was not of the highest standard.
The other highlight of the show was Santana, a Latino band only just beginning to establish themselves in California at the time. As others have noted, the drum solo by Mike Shrieve is impressive for one so young. As with the Who, Santana's album sales will have multiplied as a result of their Woodstock performance.
It's interesting how many great acts weren't at Woodstock -- e.g. Joni Mitchell (despite her song about the concert!), the Doors, Bob Dylan or the Stones. The first two clearly realised how important these festivals were in the breaking of artists into markets, and so they appear on the Isle of Wight DVD.
For most of my life, Woodstock has been a set of static images, largely taken from the cover of the album. But as this film reveals, there is so much more imagery than pictures of beautiful women bathing in the lake. Quite apart from all the idealism of passing whisky bottles and reefers around, of sliding in the mud, the film shows the flip side: of people queuing in the mud to phone home, of helicopters rescuing the sick, of helpers cleaning toilets, and of barefoot stragglers looking for a pair of shoes amid a post-concert site that looks more of a wasteland than the trenches of the First World War.
Enjoy it in all its glory and all its grime.
on June 10, 2009
The movie has been beautifully restored. Warner Bros did what they could with the directors cut, but most of the technology they used on this release didn't exist then. Even on the most basic home system you'll be getting a version that looks better and sounds better than any previous release. And if you have a home system with 5.1 sound, you're in for a real treat.
For me, the best part is all the additional concert footage. I've seen the original film a number of times, but I wish I could convey how cool it is to watch new footage from a number of the acts performing at the festival - especially the ones that never appeared in any other version of the film (CCR, Mountain, etc). It makes me wonder just how much more concert footage there actually is. If there are any complete performances, I would love to see them. In fact, you can put me down for Mountain, CCR and Johnny Winter right now.
Several of the reviewers have been making a stink over the overdubs. Let me say that this is still very much a live album. The so called fixes aren't performance related, they're purely technical. All the mistakes have been left in and there are no triple tracked guitar solos or anything like that. The video clip on this site is Santana's "Evil Ways" performance. In this instance, there are two percussion players performing, but no percussion on the soundtrack. It might have been a problem with the equipment the day it was recorded, but since this footage has been sitting in a vault for forty years, it's more likely that the original elements were either lost or corrupted to the point where they were unusable. So, what do you do? Do you release concert footage of Santana without a percussion section? In this case, the restoration crew decided to restore the tracks as close as they could to what the audience heard that day.
This is a wonderful worthwhile release from start to finish, but it's all the new concert footage that really puts it over the top.
The Woodstock Festival was a defining for the counterculture movement. The young hippies showed a nation that they could exist together in a peaceful, communal state. The Woodstock documentary captures the essence of those three days on a farm in upstate New York. We see hippies skinny-dipping, the locals looking around in amazement on the deluge of people who descending on their quiet, little town, kids, cops and others are interviewed and of course we see the music. From Richie Havens' opening things up with "Freedom" to Jimi Hendrix's defining "Star Spangled Banner", we are treated to a 60's rock who's who. Joe Cocker, Santana, CSN&Y, John Sebastian and Sly & The Family Stone particularly standout and we get bonus material not in the original release from The Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and others. Director Michael Wadleigh's film won a deserving Best Documentary Oscar and a young Martin Scorcese was an editor on the film. Some of the acts are woefully dated and long forgotten, but Woodstock is an impressive snapshot of a memorable moment in our history.
on May 17, 2014
Great music and interesting narratives from people within the festival of the original Woodstock; this collection also includes 2 hours of other footage not used in the main film, and a bunch of short documentaries about the making of the film and the making of a generation. This was a loving, caring, maybe naive group of people (I include myself) who had great ambitions and goals for the world (yes, World!) The end of war, racism, sexism, pollution, poverty, and more. Too bad it hasn't gone that way. One of the great commentaries contained within this film is by a police officer who talks about how peaceful and gracious all the "kids" were. Blu-Ray video and audio are superb and the extras well worth the price increase over the standard edition of film only. Extra footage includes Jimi Hendrix playing Spanish Castle Magic, and selections from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mountain, Joan Baez, Santana, and others. Don't hesitate, if you want the Ultimate Edition, this is it.
What an experience watch "Woodstock: The Director's Cut!" For the entire 3 hours, 45 minutes of this movie, I was completely transfixed by this spectacular Academy Award winning (Best Documentary, 1970) film, with its (then) ground-breaking multiple image, amorphous widescreen formats. I found myself swept back to 1969, the summer of my 18th year, wistfully longing to be there with the rest of those 500,000-plus "hippies", listening to the music, partying, being part of that special three-day weekend... As this fully restored DVD version of Wadleigh's masterpiece shows, it was indeed a special event! This film documents the efforts of a group of musicians, entrepreneurs, and financial backers, who worked for over nine months to bring to fruition the history-making rock `n roll music festival that took upstate New York by storm on August 15-17, 1969.
With a sure eye for the finest detail, Wadleigh captures hundreds, perhaps thousands, of everyday little incidents, both positive and negative, that made up this special musical event.
Using the multi-image format I mentioned earlier, and widescreen formats of varying aspect ratios (the only way this film can be seen without sacrificing substantial portions of it to television's confining 1.33:1 aspect ratio), Wadleigh presents his viewers with powerfully eloquent vignettes:
The twenty-mile long traffic jams and the interminably long lines of pedestrians hiking to the site of the concert... The reaction of Bethel's local residents, a few outwardly irate, some mildly irritated, but the vast majority very receptive to the half-million strong horde of "hippies" descending upon them... The "scenes from a disaster area:" just how do you provide the basic necessities of sanitation, medical care, and food for a large city camped in a hay field? And what happens when those services are suddenly and arbitrarily stopped?... The countless numbers of people openly passing around joints and pipes and bongs, all getting mightily "wasted," while the bands played on... The sudden downpour and almost instantaneous submersion of the multitudes in thick, gooey mud, while the bands tried to play on... and many, many more...
And through it all, the heart of the film: the music, always the music. Pure rock and roll as it was meant to be... hard edged, lyrical, harmonious, boisterous, folksy, raucous, raunchy, promoting peace and goodwill, almost religious in its fervor...
...Richie Havens passionately strumming his battle-scarred acoustic guitar, all the while soulfully belting out his song "Freedom..." Joan Baez' gentle "organizing" ballad "Joe Hill..." The Who kicking up their heels: "See me, feel me, touch me, heal me," the opening lyrics of "We're Not Gonna Take It Any More," from the rock opera "Tommy..." A perspiration soaked, gravelly voiced, youthful Joe Cocker putting every ounce of his body and soul into his incredible "With a Little Help from My Friends..." Jimi Hendrix' incredible, spectacular, pyrotechnical rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Purple Haze..." and many, many more...
I have two complaints about "Woodstock: The Director's Cut." First: the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired. Throughout the film, there seemed to be a lot of background hiss and crackling. This was probably caused by the equipment Wadleigh used while making the film; however, modern technology still should have been able to eliminate most background noise. My second complaint: The varying aspect ratios (anywhere from 2.35:1 to 1.78:1) make viewing the movie on a standard television a bit difficult. Some images seem very small even on a 32-inch TV! Still, widescreen is the best format to use when viewing this film.
It matters not whether you're sixteen or sixty; whether you've never been to a rock concert in your life, or you're a grizzled old concertgoer like me; "Woodstock: The Director's Cut" is a film not to be missed!