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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 77:37)
  Languages
  • English: Linear PCM Stereo
  Subtitles
    French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
    Into The Woods - Original Broadway Cast
    Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 153 mins . G . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    What do you get when you mix the stories of popular fairytales with the adorable music talent from Steven Sondheim? You get the excellent stage production Into The Woods. The story centres over the Baker (Chip Zien) and his wife (Joanna Gleason) as they venture into the woods to try to find “the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn (and) the slipper as pure as gold” to lift the curse off of their house laid by the Witch (a beautiful Bernadette Peters). However, Jack (Ben Wright) sells his cow Milky White in exchange for some magic beans which he uses to climb into the Giant’s kingdom but creates trouble when the Giant follows him down the beanstalk. And then there is Cinderella who wishes to be happy but is restricted by the evil stepsisters and stepmother. The lyrical songs interweave together with repetitive rhythms, melodies and anthems along with the enjoyable story to deliver stunning performances from all involved. It is easy to see from this production where the two Tony Awards came from.

      Video
      Audio
      Extras
    Contract

    The audio is in uncompressed PCM stereo, and offers a very clear and audible soundtrack. There is only the one soundtrack on the disc, and that is in English.

    Steven Sondheim was the amazing composer for this comic fairy tale and brings life, emotion and humour into the entire score. The vocal lines during the songs hit the high notes with striking perfection and the men scouring out the low notes with gutsy awe and great covering of the sound. The clarity of the words during the songs is very good, with all the words being audible throughout the entire performance, with only one or two words being lost due to an overpowering male singer. When the vocal parts split into duelling male and female lines, words are often inaudible and undeterminable but this is fairly normal for a musical. The audio track is crystal clear with the uncompressed PCM format, and is a delight to listen to.

    The video is very good, especially given the fact that it is a filmed stage production. The layer change occurs at 77:37 which is in a quiet part in between lines of the Witch. This is a very neat change and it adds to the humour of the lines being delivered by the witch. The layer change adds a level of suspense for the viewer, and really adds to the next movement performed by the witch. The colours come up brilliantly on this clear video transfer, and the intricate sets appear with no MPEG artefacts. Apart from a few short moments where one of the cameras goes out of focus, the clarity and sharpness of the image is brilliant, especially given that it was originally an NTSC master. The costumes are bright, cheerful and excellently help portray the personalities of the characters. The acting is superb from the older actors, but somewhat lacking with the two younger roles, Little Red Riding Hood (Danielle Ferland) and to a lesser extent Jack (Ben Wright) where there line delivery sounds like it is being read directly from the script rather than being performed from the heart of the actors. But still, an excellent video transfer none the less.

    There are absolutely no extra features on this disc. Except a menu, and a poorly designed menu and the first menu I have seen that doesn’t have a Play Feature button. The subtitles are in nearly a dozen languages, but none in English. This is disappointing – what if you wanted to sing along?

    With the very bad 80’s hairstyles put aside, Into The Woods proves to be a very good transfer, with an enjoyable and entertaining program content. The poorly made menu and severe lack of extras just can’t detract from a transfer as clean as this one is. However, a small quibble which is more a fault in the original music score is that the last two notes where Cinderella sings “I wish…” are sadly lost by applause in this recording of the production, but in a production undertaken by Pembroke School in September 2000, the same notes were also lost from the applause from the audience. A filmed musical is always hard to portray on screen, that is why you see it on stage rather than on screen, but given that Into The Woods is an excellent version of the original stage production and is a must for die hard fans, and even highly recommended just to be added to your collection.


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  •   And I quote...
    "This is a story of love, fairy tales and evil that is sprinkled with humour accompanied by a magical score from Steven Sondheim"
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          REC R-800c
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Centre Speaker:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Surrounds:
          Cambrige pc works
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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