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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/roeg.htm
USA / UK 1990

 

From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Wizard of Oz, many classic tales through the centuries wouldn't be half as exciting without the devious doings of a witch. Now add another to the venerable tradition of stories that deliver family fun every witch way, a collaboration combining the effects wizardry of executive producer Jim Henson and the imagination of Willy Wonka creator Roald Dahl.

Academy Award® winner* Anjelica Huston won the Los Angeles and National Society of Film Critics Best Actress awards for her marvelous work as the Grand High Witch in this enchanting fable directed by Nicolas Roeg. Jasen Fisher plays Luke, the 9-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! But some big, bad witches may be no match for the resourcefulness of a single tiny rodent.

***

In Nicolas Roeg's adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel The Witches, a young boy is vacationing at the seaside with his grandmother when he discovers that the hotel he is staying at is hosting a convention of witches. Eavesdropping on the witches, he learns that the Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston) has devised a plan to turn all of the children in England into mice. With creature-effects by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, The Witches was the last film Henson worked on before passing away in 1990.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 25th, 1990

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Warner Archive - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Warner Archive - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:31:32.695       
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 27,250,379,799 bytes

Feature: 26,759,344,128 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2016 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2016 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Warner Archive

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 27,250,379,799 bytes

Feature: 26,759,344,128 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Trailer (01:26)


Blu-ray Release Date:
August 20th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 31

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Warner Archive Blu-ray (September 2019): Nic Roeg's "The Witches" arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Warner Archive. The film is housed on a dual-layered Blu-ray (though only 27 GB) and the 1080p HD presentation of the film features a maxed-out bitrate. The 1.85:1 picture shows a fair amount of clarity, with Jim Henson's creations looking particularly detailed and creepy. Colors seem to be faithful to the film's intended color scheme, with bold hues standing out. Though not too many scenes take place amidst the dark, there is a reasonable contrast supporting such moments.

The film is given a 2.0 24-bit DTS-HD Master audio track. The musical compositions of Stanley Myers (X, Y + ZEE, Take a Girl Like You, The Wilby Conspiracy, Eureka, Cimino's The Deer Hunter, Roeg's Insignificance, Harold Becker's The Boost, Pete Walker House of Mortal Sin and Frightmare, etc.) really stand out as iconic and memorable. Dialogue is intelligible as well. There are optional English subtitles (in all CAPS) on this Region 'Free'
Blu-ray from Warner Archives.

Unfortunately, the sole extra on this
Blu-ray disc is the film's trailer.

A childhood favorite of mine, Nicolas Roeg's adaptation of Roal Dahl's "The Witches" is a delightful addition to
Blu-ray. The film shares the kinetic energy of early Peter Jackson films (imagine "Meet the Feebles" mixed with "Dead Alive", yet for children). In fact, "The Witches" was released right between those two films. Roeg had a formidable cast and crew, with the puppetry of Jim Henson, the memorable score from Stanley Myers, the tight editing from Tony Lawson (Barry Lyndon, Don't Look Now, Straw Dogs), not to mention Angelica Huston and Rowan Atkinson stealing the show (with Atkinson doing his best 'Basil Fawlty'). The Blu-ray from Warner Archives is light on extras (just a trailer) but the visuals are faithfully transferred in 1080p. Fans would be doing themselves a disservice by not picking this up for themselves despite the bare-bones status. 

Colin Zavitz

 


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Distribution Warner Archive - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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