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Hansel and Gretel: Opera Fantasy [DVD] [1954]

Hansel and Gretel (1954), a stop-motion animated film credited to director John Paul (which, one suspects, was a pseudonym for a much more Teutonic monikered filmmaker) and producer/director Michael Myerberg was one of the more enchanting children's films for many a youth;V.I.E.W. Video has done right by it in this DVD edition. The 72- minute film (originally released theatrically in a longer version) featuring the voices of Anna Russell, Mildred Dunnock, Constance Brigham et al, looks reasonably good despite a slight general fading of the materials and a softness to the image -- it's at least comparable to what one remembers from television, and the sound is better than this reviewer remembers it. The film has been mastered in full-screen (1.33:1) about as well as it is ever likely to look, absent a major restoration effort, and has been given a generous 33 chapters, covering the plot elements and each of the songs. V.I.E.W. has sort of insinuated themselves on the end credits, but if one switches the image off quickly enough, it's easy to avoid their obnoxious effort at getting subscribers to some sort of newsletter. As a bonus, they've included a black-and-white film clip (evidently transferred off of a damaged VHS source) depicting the shooting of the movie in progress, which is very interesting to watch, though its quality gives this release a little of the feel of a bootleg.

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    Special Features

    • Dolby Digital Stereo audio
    • Digitally mastered audio and video
    • Multi-directional interactive menus
    • Instant chapter access to songs
    • Over 30 scene selections
    • Composer biography
    • Story synopsis
    • The making-of featurette


    Hansel and Gretel
    Engelbert Humperdinck's delightful opera Hansel and Gretel comes to the screen in a novel manner, courtesy of producer Michael Myerberg. This beloved tale of two children who get lost in the woods and foil a cunning, cannibalistic witch was enacted by a cast of electronically controlled puppets. The voices of the characters are provided by Anna Russell, Mildred Dunnock, Frank Rogier, and Constance Brigham, the latter playing both Hansel and Gretel. The English-language libretto was adapted for the screen by Irish-American essayist Padraic Colum. Released theatrically by RKO Radio in 1954, Hansel and Gretel was released to television four years later, where it became a Yuletide tradition in several markets. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Image coming soon
      Anna Russell - Rosina Rubylips
    • Mildred Dunnock
      Mildred Dunnock - Mother

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