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The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm Blu-ray Review

“The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm” is a visually stunning gem. 

Directed by Henry Levin with the fairy tale sequences directed by George Pal (who also acted as a producer), “The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm” is part biodrama and part anthology fantasy movie. The biodrama element is essentially the prominent wraparound portion that revolves around the actual Brothers Grimm writers- Wilhelm and Jacob. The two are working on writing a Duke’s family history, but Wilhelm’s true passion is wanting to write down fairy tales that have been passed on for generations. 3 such tales are included here as fantasy segments- “The Dancing Princess,” “The Cobbler And The Elves,” and “The Singing Bone.” 

“The Dancing Princess” involves a Woodsman wanting to win the heart of a Princess. In order to do so, he has to find out where she goes every night so he can report it to the King. He discovers that she goes dancing. As luck would have it, he’s quite the dancer himself.

“The Cobbler and the Elves” revolves around an aging, kind hearted, overworked cobbler who can’t meet his customers’ demands before Christmas. As luck would have it, some elf dolls come to life and finish his work for him.

“The Singing Bone” is the most cartoonish of the lot. It involves an oafish, greedy knight and his squire venturing off to slay a dragon. The squire is the real hero, but the Knight kills him and takes credit. The knight’s past comes back to haunt him though in a most unexpected way.

Elsewhere in the story are subplots involving the Grimm brothers’ financial struggles, their respective love interests and their scholarly book efforts (which gives them academic acclaim). Also, there’s an overture and intermission so you know it’s epic.

In an era where biopics are so commonplace, it’s fascinating to see one done in such a unique fashion here with 1962’s “The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm.” The film is a loving tribute to storytelling, dreams, and the authors (the Brothers Grimm) and one big love letter to fantasy stories. While the Brothers Grimm story is involving in its own right, the 3 fantasy segments by the ahead of his time George Pal are nothing short of enchanting. Aided by truly awe inspiring Cinerama (and Paul Vogel’s award nominated cinematography), the sequences are filled with lavish production design, exotic location shooting, grand sets, colorful costumes, special effects and some riveting sequences (the coach ride in “The Dancing Princess” comes to mind). Sure, there’s some dopey humor in here (particularly with “The Singing Bone”), but they all capture the spirit of fantasy stories and show you what cinema is capable of (even back in the 60’s). Both Pal and Levin use every inch of the frame here and, to be honest, it’s fun to just marvel at the beauty of the imagery. Why this title is relatively obscure in this day and age is beyond me, but hopefully it has a new lease on life with this Blu-ray release. 

Note: This set contains both the Letterbox and Smilebox versions of the film. The Letterbox version is the way to go although the curved image of the Smilebox version is more akin to what you would have seen in the theater. 

* This title is available for purchase on the Warner Archive Amazon Store and other online retailers.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.89:1 1080p. How does it look? Given that the print was restored in 4K master files from 6K files of the original Cinerama Camera Negatives, you can expect glorious things. In fact, this is one of the best restorations you will ever see (and I don’t say that lightly). The Smilebox is impressive, but, let’s face it, the Letterbox print is the real treasure here. Not only is it pristine, but it best represents the scope and fisheye view of Cinerama. 

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Expect a nice crisp new 5.1 track. 

Extras:
* “Brothers Grimm” announcement and theatrical letterbox trailers
* 2 separate radio interviews with Russ Tamblyn and Yvette Mimieux.
* “Epic Art For The Brothers Grimm” Justin Humphreys shows off art pieces.
* “The Wonderful Career Of George Pal”- An informative tribute to the career of the influential late filmmaker.
* Song selection option
* A rare Warner Archive booklet that contains information about George Pal, the restoration, the story, Cinerama and the Background Story.
* “Rescuing A Fantasy Classic”- A lengthy 40 minute featurette that covers the restoration, Cinerama history and more.
* “Rothenburg, Germany Location Commemorative Plaque”- A look at the town plaque.
* “A Salute To William R. Forman” the Cinerama Chairman.
* “Brothers Grimm Slideshow”- A 12 minute photo slideshow.

March 23, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , ,

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