Check out our Blu-ray Spotlight coverage of this new release that chronicles the spectacular 1969 event that took place over three days in the rural town of Bethel, New York where half a million people experienced the defining moment of their generation – a concert unprecedented in scope and influence, a coming together of people with a single common goal: peace and music. They called it Woodstock.
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.”
32 legendary musical acts appeared which, in addition to those mentioned above, included The Band, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, John Sebastian and Sly & The Family Stone.
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 Wolf of Wall Street) and editor Thelma Schoonmaker (The Wolf of Wall Street). Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman created the original Festival.
1969 was a year unlike any other. Man first set foot on the moon. The New York Mets won the World Series against all odds. And for three days in upstate New York, 500,000 young people were part of a generation defining experience; a concert unprecedented in scope and influence, a coming together of people from all walks of life with a single common goal: Peace and music. The Woodstock Festival needs no introduction and stands as a monument within our pop culture. It took place just minutes from my childhood home (I still live in the area) and although I was on five at the time I remember the fervor, traffic jams and impact it had on the community. I have always had a kind of fascination with it as a result and enjoy this film documentary immensely. This new release is jam packed with everything Woodstock and simply a must have.
On July 29, 2014 to celebrate the anniversary of Woodstock, Warner Bros. is releasing a limited edition Blu-ray set of “Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music”- the four-hour (224 minutes) 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. The set will include never-before-seen concert footage from the following acts at the festival:
- Book of Love (Sha Na Na)
- Come Back Baby (Jefferson Airplane)
- Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (Paul Butterfield Blues Band)
- Helplessly Hoping and Marrakesh Express (Crosby, Stills and Nash)
- Mr. Tambourine Man and Tuning My Guitar (Melanie)
- Oh Happy Day and I Shall Be Released (Joan Baez)
- Persuasion (Santana)
- Pinball Wizard (The Who)
This release will contain the complete 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition and all of its bonus supplements (now in HD!) plus the aforementioned brand new concert footage. There are new premiums – a reproduction of Woodstock Festival tickets and an article from Life Magazine – in addition to a re-issue of the Woodstock logo iron-on patch.
New Concert Footage – (Previous Limited Availability) is included as well:
- Mama Tried
- Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
- Spanish Castle Magic
- Woodstock Boogie
The bonus material from the original Ultimate Collector's Edition contained two hours of performance footage from many of the above groups as well as a featurette gallery showcasing interviews with Martin Scorsese, 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! Living Up To Idealism, 356,000 feet of film, Critical acclaim, The Crowd, The Woodstock effect and more.
WOODSTOCK 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Revisited Contents (Those previously released in SD are upgraded to HD here):
Woodstock 3 days of Peace and Music 40th Anniversary Revisited Director’s Cut comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 2.3 Mbps.
- Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music Director’s Cut (244 minutes)
- Woodstock: Untold Stories 18 performances (140 minutes)
- Woodstock: From Festival to Feature: Interviews of the sights and sounds of the 3 day event, from concert goers, promoters, crew and musicians (77 minutes)
- The Museum at Bethel Woods: The stories of the sixties and Woodstock (5 minutes)
- Festival opening and closing (5 minutes)
- Woodstock: From festival to feature revisited (32 minutes)
- Untold Stories Revisited (16 additional performances totaling 73 minutes)
- 3 Woodstock Festival Ticket reproductions
- Life Magazine Article reproduction
- Period newspaper clipping reproductions
- Re-issued Woodstock iron-on patch
This high definition presentation delivered fair overall image quality that appeared faithful to the film’s original elements. Its high definition video offered an appreciable level of detail during close ups and certain wide angle camera shots. The exterior shots of the rural areas and concert venue appeared vivid with naturally rendered colors and stable resolution. The majority of the time the visuals didn’t have a high level of image penetration. Sharpness was good but occasionally inconsistent as the image softened at times. The variety of period colors and earth toned hues were reproduced well but weren’t especially engaging. Blacks were punchy which increased depth perception in low lit sequences. Grain appears natural and occasionally takes on more prominence but I didn’t find it to be problematic. I noticed a few of the nips and tucks from the restoration process (this is the same 2009 encode) but predominantly saw no heavy headed digital manipulation or artifacts that aren’t innate to the source.
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
The Dolby TrueHD surround mix won’t knock your socks off but I found it rendered the components of the original recording quite well. The auditory is clean and free of unwanted clicks, pops or background hiss. Dialogue intelligibility is excellent as it is never lost amidst the other sounds emanating from the front soundstage. There is little call for low end support as things appropriately remain in the limited dynamic spectrum provided by the recording. The end result is a satisfying and appropriate audio presentation that compliments the source quite nicely.
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
Woodstock 3 Days of Peace and Music 40th Anniversary Revisited Director’s Cut is a gem that deserves a place in the collections of film and music fans. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see the Woodstock Festival I can’t think of a better way than this Blu-ray offering from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
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