LEFT: International Edition RIGHT: Limited Collector's Edition
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT - DV11197 (International Version) ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT - DV11109 (Limited Director's Cut)
International Edition STATS
Widescreen (2.35:1) Anamorphic Enhanced for 16x9 TVs, THX Mastered, Color, CC, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0, Languages: English, Chapters: 24, Running Time: 124 mins., Not Rated, Price: $22.98
Limited Collector's Edition STATS
Disc 1- International Version
Widescreen (2.35:1) Anamorphic Enhanced for 16x9 TVs, THX Mastered, Color, CC, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0, Languages: English, Chapters: 24, Running Time: 124 mins., Not Rated
Disc 2 - Director’s Cut Edition (2.35:1) Anamorphic Enhanced for 16x9 Tvs, THX Mastered, Color, CC, MONO, Languages: English, Chapters: 24, Running Time: 138 mins.
International Edition VISUAL
The colors pop out in this clear and bright transfer. Never has this film appeared so good on home video. Finally the entire image has been made available in this widescreen transfer. The image is incredibly sharp and vivid. There are no contrast problems or digital interference. Although the colors are perfect there are times I felt the red in SUPERGIRL’s cape did seem a little off. Sill, it all looks terrific.
Limited Collector's Edition VISUAL
Before the film begins the now famous “S” shield appears over a blue sky with billowing white clouds and text scrolls up the screen alearting the viewer that this rare almost lost version of the film has “minor anomalies”. Don’t let this alarm you though it only amounts to a difference in color timing ( cooler in tone than the INTERNATIONAL VERSION) in certain scenes. ( most noticable in Chapt. 2, “Argo City”.) In fact the color differences, although sutble, are interesting bring out greens (most noticable in the crystal insect’s wings) and the flooring which the sphere, that Supergirl will use to enter our world, rests on. There is also a bit more grain, but never enough to be distracting. Apart from the snippets of added material (See SIGHTS AND INSIGHT BELOW) the rest of the film is basically the same in quality as the INTERNATIONAL VERSION.
International Edition AUDIO
If you have a 5.1 set-up you’re in for a treat. Dialog is sparingly panned into the Front Left and Right. Sound effects however are generously heard in those locations.
Originally released to theaters in DOLBY SURROUND (a 2.0 mix with a single, MONO, SURROUND which is also included.) it has been re-mixed and up-graded to Dolby Digital with a split (STEREO) SURROUND and descrete Subwoofer Channel (.1). So instead of a single MONO track shared amongst the Rear Left & Right locations there are no two. This allows movement of the sound to change between the two Rear speaker locations and any of the Front. Examples: In Chap. 3 THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, as Kara (soon to be Supergirl) travels through inner-space there is a loud explosion in the Right Rear (where she happens to be looking off to). In Chap. 13 POWER OF SHADOW, as Selena releases the killer storm different lightening bolts snap alternating between the Rear Left & Right. Of course the isolated bass track is more accurtate and more preciese roaring wonderfully in segments such as Chap 21, THE MAELSTROM.
The icing on this re-mix is hearing Jerry Goldsmith’s score sounding more open and dynamic.
Limited Collector's Edition AUDIO
Because this version was never entirely mixed for a Theatrical Stereo presention it is presented here in MONO.
Nothing is lost from flatening out the sound, in fact, some dialog is more pronounced.
There is also a surprising amount of bass that tight and never over barring. Considering the proposed usage of this print this is solid MONO mix.(SEE SIGHTS AND INSIGHTS below.)
Me (in my Superman shirt) and Jeannot (in the hat I presented him) at the studio, recording the Commentary on Feb. 27th 2000
International Edition EXTRAS
Trailers: Teaser, Domestic, UK, German, International, TV Spots: 90 sec. & 2 - 30 sec., Story Broads, Still Gallery: Posters & Artwork/ Helen Slater as Supergirl/Color Stills/B&W, Talent Bios, Audio Commentary, “THE MAKING OF SUPERGIRL Featurette, THX Optimode.
The vast differences in advertising a film are made apparent in the TRAILERS. The TEASER is little more than an aerial POV (point of view) flying over the Chicago skyline accompanied with the SUPERMAN theme. In the UK a dark supernatural element is made predominant with a narrator orating like it was a HAMMER film. The INTERNATIONAL is the worst with an awfully gruff and unemotional narrator. Leaving the DOMESTIC addressing the more “adventurous” qualities, and eluding to some of the romantic ones as well. (The 3 TV SPOTS are all culled from the DOMESTIC TRAILER.) However for pure entertainment the GERMAN TRAILER wins the prize. Keeping in mind that scenes and dialog are deliberately chosen to appeal or insight interest to a given audience this Trailer is both scary and hysterical to see a dubbed Faye Dunaway proclaiming “I am seeking world domination!”
STORYBOARDS , broken down into the following: Flying Ballet, Two Thugs, Monster Tractor, Invisible Monster, The Vortex, Final Confrontation., advance on their own and are supported by music for the given scene as in the film.
The “MAKING OF SUPERGIRL” is a Featurette made to publicize the film during its release and aired on Network TV. The style is more documentary than MTV glitz offering not only information but a visual record of the production - a welcomed change to the “in your face” commercial style that passed for featurettes today.
Director JEANNOT SZWARC (and myself) talk through the feature in the COMMENTARY. It’s strange how both of us got into the film forgetting we were being recorded - explaining why there are gaps in the Commentary not excusses. (See SIGHTS & INSIGHTS below.)
As a bonus there is a THX Optimode consisting of various tests for calibrating your system, both audio and video.
Limited Collector's Edition EXTRAS
All EXTRAS are on Disc 1 accompained with the INTERNATIONAL version.
International Edition Disc
International Edition PRESENTATION
One of the film’s European poster artworks is used on the cover of a red Amaray, and again on a bi-fold insert. Inside there’s an essay on the film with some colorful visuals.
Menu Screens are both audio enhanced and animated in a comic booked framed motif.
Limited Director's Edition Disc
Limited Collector's Edition PRESENTATION
Befitting this Special Limited Edition a silver plastic Amaray had a new cover artwork that both clever and classy. Re-working the film original theatrical artwork (Supergirl flying away from NY and by the Statue of Liberty - an ad concept both unfitting the film and disliked by the director) the image of Supergirl is reflected in the silver “S” shield.
Inside a 16 page booklet with liner notes, cast backrounds, Director’s Bio, and promotional material re-productions.
The Main Menu is animated with music from the film.
Insert for International Edition
SIGHTS AND INSIGHTS
The making of this DVD started about 2 years ago when I first became introduced to ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT. The company had plans to evolve their DVD production and I suggested some titles, which were of interest to me, and had been missing from home video in general for a few years. Two of the titles I had suggested were SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE and SUPERGIRL. The legal rights of course had to be procured and once they were I was brought in as a project consultant. The film’s director was of course extremely eager to participate who I interviewed first before a Commentary was decided. The story was different however for the film’s stars...
Upon contacting them for interviews and or participation in the Commentary I was continually met with a negative response. Even if all could not lend their time I tried to do pairings, interviews that would cross complement each other, eg: Slater/Dunaway or Slater/Bochner or Dunaway/Vaccaro. In all fairness Ms. Dunaway never said no, she simply couldn’t fit it into her busy schedule while in the midst of two films. That cancelled out her pairing with Vaccaro (and Slater, explained further on.) Hart Bochner stated he was busy as well with his own project. I was most surprised by Ms. Slater’s reaction which began with a “no”, changed to “maybe”, which altered to “yes” - first in doing only an interview then opting to join in the Commentary and finally, maybe, doing a taped introduction to the film. This went on for about six months and ultimately ended without any final contact. Through it all the film’s director Jeannot Szwarc was a trooper and a gentleman.
ANCHOR BAY sent their technical specialist who over sees their film transfers to Europe where the film’s elements were stored. Together he and I confirmed the different versions of the film on phone and he later located the Trailers, TV spots and “Making Of “ Featurette. To our surprise 3 versions were found. The Domestic version (with the shortest running time), the International version and a never before seen Director’s Cut. It was decided that the International and Director’s Cut be released on DVD. Because of the different elements used for the Director’s Cut the audio would be MONO.
Upon viewing this version of the film I realized that what had been found was probably meant for television syndication, as was done for the SUPERMAN films. I concluded this mostly from edited lines of dialogue. Missing are references to Jehovah’s Witness’. A line originally spoken, “She’s retarded!”, is now, “She’s rotten!”. Brenda Vaccaro’s exclamation of, “Jez-sus!”, is blotted out completely as is Faye Dunaway’s line as she toasts Hart Bochner, “Here’s to the seeds we’ll sow.” - a double pun made to him being a gardener and her future plans for him. Last but not least the infamous “dingle berry” line is no more.
Although most additions are minor, longer walk-ons and offs three ae some extra lines of dialog - one of the best spoken by Faye Dunaway to Peter Cook, “I’m a nasty little pill that’s hard to swallow.”
Other worthy additions: In Argo City there is an odd, yet interesting bit with citizens practicing a kind of yoga - akin to something out of ZARDOZ.
One of my favorite additions is sweet scene between Lucy Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Also, after the final confrontation there a better tie-ing up of the individual story lines.
In February of 2000, on Saturday the 26th I detailed the Chapter Selections and where they would be. Then on the 27th the Commentary with Jeannot was recorded. We viewed only a test transfer which was still anamorphicly compressed so when I received the first test disc 4 months later I was astounded by the quality. Before the recording of the Commentary Jeannot and I had decided we would steer clear of comic origins and deal with the production of the film. This happened to be a wise decision since months later DC Comics decided not to allow certain material to be included in the insert booklet.
Although the film was not well received upon its theatrical release (especially in America where audiences given a terrible edited down edition) in its longer versions it stands up better in retrospect. There is no doubt if done today technically there would be improvements, but in terms of how it was presented - with good taste, I doubt it could be done better. And in terms of the royal treatment given to it on home video, I don’t know of any other company that would have rolled out the red carpet. Thank you ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT.