Disc One (DVD-5):
-Letterboxed widescreen capture
-Original Stereo Soundtrack
-Audio commentary by Rob Reiner, William Goldman,
Andrew Scheinman, Billy Crystal, and Peter Falk
-Rob Reiner reads excerpts from William Goldman's
novel The Princess Bride
Disc Two (DVD-5):
-Behind the scenes footage:
-On the high seas
-Fezzik, Vizzini, and Buttercup
-Westley and Fezzik
-Miracle Max's hut
-Buttercup, the King, and the Queen
-Rob Reiner's production scrapbook
-Norman Garwood's production sketches
-William Goldman's tapestry
-"Morton and Hayes": Excerpt
I don't have enough fingers to count how many times this movie has been released in the United States on home video, but I have quite a few of them: the old laser-rotten Criterion CAV, the recently purchased '97 Criterion CAV, the studio Pan-n-Scan laserdisc, the original letterboxed DVD, and the Special Edition DVD. To the new "super-deluxe-availble-in-pink-or-blue-edition," I say WTF? As a quintuple-owner, I guess it's my fault for giving them cause to re-re-....-re-re-release the movie, but it's getting quite ridiculous.
Hence, I decided to bring the '97 Criterion CAV edition, which I feel is the best of the bunch still, to the fan-preservation community.
Here's some more information on the release, per the liner notes:
"It was my happiest movie experience." --William Goldman
When we asked William Goldman to join us in the production of this tent-anniversary release, he said, "I am very protective of The Princess Bride. It's one of the only things I've written that I like." For a moment, it seemed that this long-overdue special edition of one of Criterion's all-time favorites was over before we'd begun it.
But Goldman invited us to view an exquisite tapestry, based on the film, that he commissioned for his home. And, as if some sort of spell had been woven into it fibers, things began to fall into place. The usually taciturn Rob Reiner coaxed Goldman to join him and producer Andrew Scheinman on the commentary track. Reiner's second for Criterion, Reiner himself had taken the time to record a two-and-a-half-hour audio cassette version of the book (you can hear excerpts from it on analog 1). We found out that Billy Crystal enjoyed the making of The Princess Bride so much that he based an upcoming film on his on-set experiences with Andre the Giant. Peter Falk told us that, at the screening, he had never known less about what he was about to see or been more delighted with the results.
All shared wonderful stories with us, and all looked back with that rarest of Hollywood commodities: fond memories. Woven like the tapestry, somewhere between Florin and Guilder, the experience of filming The Princess Bride holds a special place in the hearts of all who worked on it.
We hope you enjoy this edition as much as we enjoyed producing it.
I contemplated harvesting the video from either on of my DVDs, but that's not really fair to those companies that produced them, so I went ahead and captured the video from the laserdisc. It's nothing exceptional, and the color is a little off, but the important things (the audio tracks) are intact.
Fans of the film will notice gaps between some video segments that aren't supposed to be there. In overlaying the novel excerpts, Criterion allowed the narration to run past the last frame on a few of the side changes. To keep the audio complete, I decided to fill up the extra space with black frames. If you watch the film with its soundtrack, you'll notice the gaps.
I will likely play around with the artwork too, but it's mostly done.
Source: The 1997 Criterion Collection's CAV laserdisc, spine No. 320. Luckily I was able to scoop up a still-sealed copy on eBay earlier this month. I put all other projects on temporary hiatus while I work on this.
Hardware: Pioneer CLD-D704 --> Dazzle DVC90 --> shitbox computer
Software: Pinnacle Studio10 to capture, VirtualDubMod/AVISynth to splice and process, CCE 9-pass to encode video, SonicFoundry SoftEncode 5.1 to encode AC3 audio, and Adobe Photoshop and Encore to build the menus and DVD, respectively.
*Extras: A 300-dpi copy of the above artwork, including disc artwork, and the little "Special Edition" sticker. MP3s of the two audio commentary files, so if you find my video too distracting, you can author your own DVDs with video from those. Also, you can load the mp3's into your iPod or iRiver or whatever trendy doo-dad you have prefixed by a diminutive vowel. Also included: a booklet containing some essays about the film (the Goldman essay from the '97 release, as well as the old essay from the '89-ish release), a Criterion laserdisc checklist I made, and all of my .avs and excel spreadsheets I used. Kind of an "open source" thing.
Like my She's Gotta Have It project, I will send out free copies to the first five who contact me, and just let people trade from there. I don't have any interest in torrenting or otherwise uploading the discs, but if someone else wants to, you have my blessing.
Disc one is done, and I'm still working on disc two. I wanted to post this thread before I got the set done because I wanted to gauge the interest. There wasn't much interest in the She's Gotta Have It set, so if there's similar interest in this, then I won't worry too much about getting it done. If there is, it will light the fire under me.
In Progress Criterions: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (99% done), Taxi Driver (90% done), Citizen Kane (50% done), Othello (99.99% done)
Possibly coming next: Ghostbusters, The Magnificent Ambersons (the theatrical cut, a reconstruction according to Prof. Carringer's script analysis, and the colorized version)