Schindler's List 20th Anniversary Blu-ray (Pre-order Up)
Posted January 14, 2013 01:38 PM by Webmaster
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced and detailed the Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet Combo Pack release of director Steven Spielberg's powerful Holocaust drama Schindler's List, starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. Nominated for twelve Academy Awards, with seven wins and countless accolades, the poignant and personal Best Picture-winner arrives on Blu-ray on March 5, 2013.
Adapted from the novel by Thomas Keneally, Spielberg's masterful film tells the incredible true story of the courageous Oskar Schindler (Neeson). Initially a member of the Nazi party, the Catholic Schindler risks his career and life, and ultimately goes bankrupt, to employ 1,100 Jews in his crockery factory during the Holocaust. Schindler's Jewish accountant (Kingsley) serves as his conscience, as Schindler conducts business with an obstinate and cruel Nazi commander (Fiennes), who viciously kills Jewish prisoners from the balcony of his villa overlooking a prison camp. Filmed entirely in black-and-white on location in Poland, Schindler's List does not downplay the faults of its magnanimous and unlikely hero, but relates a story of the triumph of the human spirit in
the face of horrific devastation and tragedy.
The 20th Anniversary release of Schindler's List also marks the beginning of the 20th year of the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. Inspired by the experience of making Schindler's List, Spielberg established the organization in 1994 to videotape interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. The USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive contains nearly 52,000 testimonies, each encompassing a complete personal history of life before, during and after a subject's first-hand experience with genocide. Through its extensive educational initiatives, including the IWitness website for middle and high school students, hundreds of college courses based on the archive that are being taught at universities on four continents, numerous teacher training programs offered in over 20 countries, and major global research partnerships, the USC Shoah Foundation is dedicated to making its Visual History Archive a compelling voice for education and action. Spielberg considers this the most important work of his professional life and the legacy of
Schindler's List. Learn more and view testimony at sfi.usc.edu.
Spielberg also personally supervised the extensive high definition, lossless audio restoration of the film from the 35mm film original negative. Special features include:
Voices from the List: Documentary featuring a number of moving testimonies and heartbreaking stories from men and women who survived the Holocaust thanks to Oskar Schindler.
USC Shoah Foundation Story with Steven Spielberg: The director shows how filming Schindler's List inspired him to establish the USC Shoah Foundation.
"..starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Amon Goeth and Ben Kingsley." Um, Amon Goeth an actor? I think not! He is the Nazi who shot prisoners from his villa balcony and was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List.
Much less well-known are the heroics of someone dubbed the "Japanese Oskar Schindler". Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara saved many lives of WWII Jewish refugees by issuing exit visas in Lithuania so they could flee Europe. The story was made into the 1997 Oscar-winning live-action short "Visas and Virtue". There is also a feature documentary made in 2005 called "Sugihara - Conspiracy of Kindness", but sadly the DVD is OOP (though Netflix still has it). The documentary ends with a moving reunion of the descendents of those whose lives were saved by Sugihara's kindness, not unlike the reunion scene at the end of Spielberg's film.
This is a very good movie and a must-have for any collector.
That said, like many (most?) of Spielberg's movies, it would have been just a little bit better had he hadn't gone sentimental on us. Like the crying veteran at the end of Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's blubbering is over the top and just waters down an almost perfect movie. This habit of his is very frustrating for those of us who believe a story can stand on its own and who don't need to be hit over the head with pathos.
This is one I've been waiting to revisit since the beginning of the Blu-ray format. Only saw it once nearly 18 years ago, in my high school auditorium, as it was required viewing for the senior class. Powerful stuff. Can't wait.
For those of you disappointed in the special features be aware that Spielberg explained years ago that he didn't think "making of" type features, interviews with the actors, how it was done featurettes etc. were appropriate for this film. He wanted it to stand on its own as a record of what the Jews of Europe endured during the Second World War. He didn't want SL to be seen as a Hollywood type production or even a war film. The foundation which is featured on the DVD and now on the BD is very special to him.
Definitely a must-have (my wallet will have to decide if it's day-one). And with Driving Miss Daisy now out and Schindler's List on the way, the last two post-1970 Best Picture winners NOT yet on BD or headed there are... Ordinary People and Terms of Endearment. The ball's in your court now, Paramount (and WB)...
Been amazed how this hadn't been released on blu yet. Such an amazing film, won a ton of awards, to just get around to it now is irritating. I REALLY wish studios would quit holding out for 10th, 20th, 50th, etc anniversaries to release movies. The great escape is another prime example, were likely getting it this year because it's the 50th anniversary, but it should of been out YEARS ago on blu...
Why should it have been out years ago? The studios have not been very successful with their release of old titles on BD. Few have made much money. Despite all the clamouring here for certain titles it seems that few people are really buying. LOA barely made it into the top 10. Others haven't even registered. By waiting for an anniversary the studios are hoping that the milestone will add to the attractiveness of the movie.
Schindler's List is my personal favorite film of all time. And up until a few years ago, I had absolutely no idea that anyone regarded this movie with anything but incredible respect. Then I began reading the criticisms on film fan message boards, etc., and I must say, they just floor me. The two main gripes I've seen are that Spielberg goes too sentimental with Schindler at the end of the film and that Spielberg can't resist the urge to give us his typical, feel-good happy ending so that we feel some kind of catharsis coming out of a negative film. Well, let me just come to my favorite movie's defense here and say that I think both of these criticisms are positively ridiculous. I have never seen an emotional scene that is more EARNED than the one with Schindler at the end of this. I don't find it pandering or artificial. It's a slow, three-hour build to this man finding his kindness and letting the horrors of the holocaust into his heart. It's a shattering performance by Neeson. I truly feel sorry for anyone who can't see past the director in that moment. How would people have the film end? Schindler takes the letter and the ring and nonchalantly gets in the car and tells them all good luck? The film had built up way more than that. And with all respect to those who see this film having a happy ending, I don't agree. Yes, it's an inspiring ending...as well it should be. The man saved 1,100 people, the descendants of which make up more of the Jewish population than those actually living in Poland! How can you spin that in any way other than to say it's a testament to what one man could do under the worst conditions imaginable? And I'm sorry, but any film which closes with the text "in memory of the over 6 million Jews murdered" and runs its closing credits over a street lined with graves does not qualify in my book as having a "happy, feel-good ending". A masterpiece. Day one, no questions asked.
I would love to see some other additional materials, like interviews with filmmakers etc.. As for now, it seems like this BD will contain exactly the same additional stuff of the DVD edition. Both of these documentaries are terrific, but they cannot replace the interviews with Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Janusz Kaminski, John Williams and others. This masterpiece deserves better treatment.
@Croweyes1121: I have been making those exact complaints about Schindler's List since I first saw it. (I wasn't aware others had too.) I am against the spectacle of Schindler's blubbering because it's just not necessary. I don't need conspicuous (and fictional) pathos to tell me genocide is a bad thing. I think the first 90% of the movie does an excellent job of conveying the horrors of that. If you aren't already feeling what Schindler laments and you require Spielberg to deliver it to you on a silver platter then you haven't been paying attention.
@repete66211 I guess I just see that differently. I definitely would never call it blubbering. It's an earned moment. And an emotionally true one. As far as whether it's a factual moment, there are actually conflicting reports on that point. I don't think that just because a moment happens that it's being spoon-fed to me. It's perfectly reasonable that Schindler would've broken down at this point. He'd been so stoic and so gathered through seeing so much, which just made it all the more difficult to see that pour out of him in the end. I doubt if anyone could have, as I said, simply taken the letter and the ring and just said "thanks" and gotten in the car. Not to mention, what a non-existent ending that would have been. I don't need a *film* to tell me genocide's a bad thing, either, so why not just argue that the whole movie's unnecessary instead of just that particular scene? Now, I'm not a Spielberg apologist. I think "Saving Private Ryan" suffers the "silver platter" issue you mention horribly. It *tells* you the point of what you just saw through those hideous bookend scenes at the graveyard. It literally spells out that we should all live good lives and earn what soldiers died fighting to give us. Now THAT was insulting direction after watching that film (and I still contend that SPR would've won Best Picture in 1998 without those two scenes). But I fail to see how Schindler crying because he could have done even more rather than waste so much of his money early on *explains* the message. It exposes how *he* feels...it doesn't tell you how to feel. If they'd had a scene set ten years later where Schindler was sitting around and then broke down, saying he didn't understand how people allowed such atrocities to happen and never should again...now that would be belaboring a message. But that's me. The irony is that another criticism the film has had in the past is that no concrete reason is given for Schindler's change of heart. He just ponders what he's seen and suddenly acts differently. So on the one hand, people want certain things handed to them explicitly but not others. Well...still a masterpiece in my opinion...but it is only mine, after all.
@Crow: I'm glad you brought up SPR. The bookend scenes in SPR and the Schindler breakdown are in my eyes no different--two versions of the same thing, Spielberg's pathological compulsion to inject these broad, sweeping Life Lesson like his movies are after school specials. Still, SL is an excellent movie and one of Spielberg's best so I look forward to its release on Blu-ray.
Well, that's a load of underwhelming special features... same as the DVD and as short, I would imagine... I thought anniversary edition meant they would break their heads off to provide as much as they could... but then again, maybe that's what "limited" edition means, nowadays...
Not complaining about the film itself, which is one of my favorites ever, but this "unload" of features is definitely giving me cold feet so I'll wait... maybe the 4K format will get it right.
For g*ds sake do you you really want characters stepping out of their roles in SL to talk about how they got the part after their agent yada yada yada .... This is not that type of movie. Spielberg has said himself that he didn't think the typical type of special features are fitting for this film because of its subject matter. This is a movie that should make you think about what happened in Europe to the Jews and others in the second World War. It is engrossing, thought provoking, deeply moving but it is not meant to be entertaining. I suspect most of the actors themselves would say that they don't think talking about the making of the film or their roles in it is appropriate. SL is something very different from just about any other film. It should be treated that way and not as just another frivolous and frothy Hollywood property.
I think it's strange so many clamor for extras. I barely have time to watch most of the movies I want to see, let alone production extras and interviews. I don't give a squirt about the behind the scenes crap, just the final product. Dissecting the production takes away the magic of movie narrative. I can't even make it through a commentary track. Bare bones? Fine with me, bring it on.
@repete: For many of us the extras do add to our enjoyment of a movie by letting us appreciate the skill, craftsmanship, artistry and hard work that goes into the project. However in the case of Shindler's List knowing all that means nothing and in fact trivialises the story.
@reidw: I think it trivializes any story. The skill involved in making the movie should be evident in...the movie. I know some people really enjoy the extras, so I guess I'll just file it in the "I don't get it" drawer.
Spielberg can't win for losing. This is a film dealing with some extraordinarily heavy subject matter, there's no denying that. And yet he still manages to have some humor in it from time to time as well. It's at times hard to watch, and yet there's also a personal element (Schindler's relationships to Stern and, to a lesser degree, to Emily) that keeps the film moving and - for me, at least - very rewatchable. It's interesting that, depending on who you ask, this film is either too depressing to watch more than once or it's typical Spielberg sentimentality all wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end. I'd assert that it really can't be both...and if it is, I think I'd call it rewatchable just to see that pulled off in one film. If we're listing films too depressing to watch over and over, I'd put United 93 or Requiem For A Dream far higher than Schindler's List. Both have little to no humor, no nothing but tragedies unfolding unflinchingly. And don't misunderstand, I think those are brilliant films, too. But I for one am very glad that not all movies are like them. And I personally don't think they all need be to qualify as great films on tough subjects.
I saw Schindler's List when it came out in 1993 and it was and remains one of the most gut-wrenching movies I have ever seen. I've only ever seen it that one time. I will get it now that it's coming to blu-ray, and it will be a proud part of my collection, but I agree it's not the kind of film that can be watched over and over again, or at least not "enjoyed" with popcorn at the ready.
Excellent posts by Croweyes here. I applaud such an eloquent and insightful defense of SL. I have to agree that the bookend cemetery scenes in SPR are that film's weakest moments, but overall SPR still ranks as a ferociously awesome piece of cinema in my mind. There a number of Spielberg's films I've never seen and don't care to, and there are some films of his I don't like at all - but maybe I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt more so than other filmmakers. Don't know if that makes me a Spielberg apologist or not. But he's made enough brilliant films over the years to have won my utter respect. I'm in awe of his directorial wizardry. He's a great filmmaker. What am I? Just another bum on the internet.
a true Masterpiece in the movie history and a very difficult watching movie. but it deserves a better blu-ray release with any more documentaries (Making Of). Those bonusfeatures are the same like on DVD.
I understand this is important movie / History and not a "money maker". I will buying this blu-ray but not sure that I could watching it.