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    The New York Post, September 10, 2001

    Blockbusters on Disk
    Grab your remote (and your wallet)it's going to be a big season on DVD.

    By Bruce Kluger


    Leading the pack among the special bells-
    and-whistles DVD releases this fall are
    Warner Home Video’s 60th Anniversary
    edition of the Orson Welles classic, Citizen
    Kane and Paramount Home Entertainment’s
    long-awaited release of The Godfather.

    Priced at $29.99, the digitally remastered,
    two-disk edition of Kane (which was recently
    selected as the best movie of all time by the
    American Film Institute) includes two separate fill-length commentaries on its audio
    trackone by film critic Roger Ebert, the other by director and Welles biographer
    Peter Bogdanovichand a two-hour documentary, The Battle of Citizen Kane,
    which reveals the painful back story to the Welles epic: Although the film's thinly
    veiled portrait of publisher William Randolph Hearst, by all accounts, was dead on,
    Hearst was enraged by the movie, and set out to destroy Welles’ careerand
    succeeded. The Kane DVD also boasts a gallery of storyboards, memorabilia (e.g.,
    call sheets), rare production stills and newsreel footage of the 1941 premiere).

    As daunting as the Kane package is, it practically pales beside the five-disk boxed
    set of The Godfather (Oct. 9, $74.95). All three of director Francis Ford Coppola’s
    installments of the Corleone crime family saga (based on the books by Mario Puzo)
    are included here, accompanied by treasure chest of documentary featurettes. The
    Godfather: A Look Inside is a 73-minute chronicle of the making of the film, tracing
    the production back to its origins, with footage of both screen tests and rehearsals.
    The package also includes separate segments on the cinematography, art direction
    and music of The Godfather, as well as scenes that did not appear in the film’s
    original releases (but were added at later dates). For those who have seen the
    movie repeatedly but still can’t follow along, Paramount has thrown in one other
    indispensable extra: a special section devoted to “The Corleone Family Tree.”

    Just as extravagant as The Godfather, but not quite so bloody, is Disney’s two-disk
    release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Oct. 9, $29.99), which debuted in
    theaters 64 years ago. Like it did with its critically hailed DVD box sets of Fantasia
    and Toy Story, Disney has loaded up the Snow package with “guided tours” of the
    film’s animation process, providing viewers with colorful glimpses of story boards,
    deleted scenes and even an interactive game (“Dopey’s Wild Mine Ride”). But the
    jewel of the releaseand one that Disney will spare no effort in marketingis its
    inclusion of the song Someday My Prince Will Come on the soundtrack, specially
    recorded for Disney by Barbra Streisand. Disney is also crowing that this is the first
    DVD release to use a patented grain-reduction process in the film’s restoration
    something that will delight technophilesas well as the first time the studio has
    used an animated host for DVD navigation (a “Magic Mirror” takes viewers to the
    various on-disk locations).

    On the heels of Snow White, Warner will roll out the 1965 Russian Revolution saga
    (and beloved Oscar hog), Doctor Zhivago (Nov. 6, $29.99), starring Omar Sharif
    and Julie Christie, and directed by David Lean (whose Bridge on the River Kwai and
    Lawrence of Arabia have also enjoyed deluxe-set treatment on DVD). Sharif
    introduces the film, and is then joined by co-star Rod Steiger in a newly produced
    full-length audio commentary of the film. The double-disk features no less than ten
    separate documentaries--including the compelling Doctor Zhivago: The Making of
    an Epicas well as cleverly inserted audio sound bites of interviews with the cast
    and filmmakers.

    On September 25th, Fox Home Entertainment with celebrate the 30th birthday of
    The French Connection ($26.98), with a two-disk edition of William Friedkin’s drug
    trafficking thriller, starring Gene Hackman (who, like Friedkin, won an Oscar for his
    efforts). The disk includes the BBC documentary, The Poughkeepsie Shuffle, a
    riveting replay of the real life events on which the film was basedan international
    sting operation that was hailed as the biggest drug bust of all time. The DVD also
    includes seven deleted scenes, along with explanations by Friedkin as to why these
    segments ultimately landed on the cutting room floor.

    Other classic DVD releases throughout the fall will include MGM’s It's a Mad, Mad,
    Mad, Mad World (Sept. 18, $14.95), Stanley Kramer’s madcap 1963 buried-
    treasure comedy, which includes Something a Little Serious, a 60-minute making-of
    documentary highlighted by celebrity interviews and never-before-seen outtakes;
    Warner’s Empire of the Sun (Nov. 6, $24.98), Steven Spielberg’s cinematically
    majesticbut critically overlookedWorld War II epic, which is accompanied on
    disk by the equally gripping behind-the-camera documentary, A China Odyssey;
    and October 23 double-whammy release by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment:
    Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront (1954), starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie
    Saint, and Fred Zinnemann’s From Here to Eternity (1953), with Burt Lancaster,
    Deborah Kerr and Oscar-winner Frank Sinatra ($25.95 each). Columbia has
    graced both films with a generous array of extras, including backstage featurettes,
    full-length commentaries, theatrical trailers and “talent files” on all the stars.