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Opening the Warner vaults

Home Vid arm bundles classics for DVD extras set

When you’ve already put out DVD special editions of classics in your film library like “Citizen Kane” and “The Wizard of Oz,” what do you do for an encore?

You present double-disc special editions on the same day you release five other classics, three of them Academy Award winners.

Warner Home Video will release ” ‘Amadeus’ Director’s Cut,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Unforgiven” (10th Anniversary Edition), “Singin’ in the Rain” (50th Anniversary Edition), and ” ‘True Romance’ Unrated Director’s Cut” on Sept. 24 at a suggested retail price of $26.99 each ($19.95 MAP).

All the titles feature new digitally remastered transfers and multiple extra features.

The double-disc special editions, which continue the packaging and production approach started last year with “Citizen Kane” and “Doctor Zhivago,” will be supported by a multimillion-dollar national ad campaign reaching more than 80% of its target audience five times. The studio is putting more marketing dollars into the campaign than it has for any other catalog release, according to Michael Radiloff, VP of DVD marketing.

A new group of special editions from Warner’s enormous library that encompasses most of the historic films made at MGM in its heyday will be introduced next year. Some of those pics have never been released on DVD.

Moment in the sun

Radiloff said the Sept. 24 release date was chosen to ensure that the movies get attention before the anticipated crush of fourth-quarter blockbusters.

“We didn’t want to take a chance that they would get missed with all the big holiday titles coming out,” he said.

In addition to the extra 20 minutes of footage added for the recent theatrical re-release, the special edition of “Amadeus” includes commentary by director Milos Forman and writer Peter Shaffer and a 37-minute behind-the-scenes documentary.

Forman also provides an audio commentary on “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz. The special edition includes additional scenes and the 48-minute documentary released previously on laserdisc focusing on the actors, moviemakers and writer Ken Kesey recounting the history of the original novel to its stage and movie adaptations.

“Moulin Rouge” helmer Baz Luhrmann weighs in with commentary on one of his favorite films, “Singin’ in the Rain.” The title also includes a new 30-minute documentary, “What a Glorious Feeling”; soundstage sessions; the deleted musical number “You Are My Lucky Star”; a 96-minute documentary about the career of producer-songwriter Arthur Freed; excerpts from movies inspired by Freed/Brown songs; and separately recorded commentaries by thesps Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse and Rita Moreno and Kathleen Freeman; Luhrmann; screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green; Rudy Behlmer; and director Stanley Donen, woven together and introduced by Debbie Reynolds.

Ol’ trail hand

Perhaps one of the most unique extra features is included on Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven.” That DVD set will feature an episode of the classic TV Western series “Maverick” from Feb. 1, 1959, called “Duel at Sundown” featuring Eastwood in a role very similar to the character he played in “Unforgiven” decades later. The DVD also includes commentary by Time film critic and Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel; Schickel’s career retrospective “Eastwood on Eastwood”; a featurette hosted by Morgan Freeman called “All on Account of Pullin’ a Trigger”; behind-the-scenes docu “Eastwood & Co. Making ‘Unforgiven’ “; and interviews with Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Richard Harris.

Radiloff said “True Romance,” written by Quentin Tarantino, directed by Tony Scott, and starring Christian Slater, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Patricia Arquette and Gary Oldman, is one of the studio’s most requested titles.

” ‘True Romance’ Unrated Director’s Cut” includes three separate audio commentaries by Slater and Arquette, Scott and Tarantino; more than 30 minutes of deleted or extended scenes with optional director commentary; an alternate ending with optional director and writer commentaries; selective commentaries with Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt and Michael Rapaport; and a behind-the-scenes multi-angle featurette.

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