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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 April, 2004, 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK
DVD review: Schindler's List
By William Gallagher
BBC News Online

Steven Spielberg's award-winning Holocaust drama Schindler's List has been released on DVD in the UK for the first time.

Steven Spielberg's World War II drama Schindler's List
Schindler's List won seven Oscars in 1994
If you are new to DVD, you may be surprised by the way Schindler's List is split over two discs for no clear reason.

DVDs have a finite capacity and Lord of the Rings fans know that masses of extras and commentaries plus overlong movies can burst that capacity.

Schindler's List does not. But still you have to swap discs during the film and it does dent the tense mood that is built up.

Mind you, you might be glad of a moment to bring your emotions down again.

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For this is the true story of a reasonably unpleasant businessman who is changed by seeing the horror of the Nazis' treatment of Jews during World War II.

He goes on to risk his own life to help protect them from being sent to concentration camps.

The film is as much a social document as it is a movie, and it knows it - the extras are about the real events and not about the making of the film.

It would seem a bit trite to do it any other way but, as interesting as the Shoah Foundation is, the physical production of the movie is not boring.

This time, you should probably buy the cheaper edition at 24.99. The special version at 49.99 does not add a great deal.

There is a soundtrack CD, a book and a frame from the film, though - so your mileage may vary.


Blow-up

Where Schindler's List is a deliberate document of a particular time, Blow-up is an accidental one.

The 1966 movie Blow-up
Blow-up starred British actor David Hemmings
The photographer at the centre of the story goes about capturing the swinging life of 1960s London.

But in the process, he unwittingly appears to have snapped a murder being committed.

The late David Hemmings plays the photographer who believes his happy shot of a couple embracing is really a testimony to a murder.

The film, made in 1966, has dated hugely. But it has its good moments, and does manage to conjure some mystery.

The extras include a commentary by the writer plus the option to switch off the dialogue and sound effects so you can concentrate on just the music


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What do you think of these new DVD releases? Does Schindler's List maintain its tension when presented over two discs? Is Blow-up too dated for contemporary audiences?

Send us your views.

What's the big deal? So it's split over two discs, meaning you have to spend, what, 15 seconds moving to part two? My attention span takes longer than that to wane, especially for such a worthy film as Schindler's List. A cracking film, one of the best DVD transfers I've seen, and some interesting and appropriate extras.
Alex Knibb, Bristol, UK

Did anyone complain when the first two extended versions of LOTR where released? Two of the discs were for the film (and a couple of commentary tracks) so it's no surprise that Schindler's List is over two discs coming in at 197 minutes. If Universal had squeezed it on to one disc it would have compromised the picture quality which I am sure people would have complained about. Will you complain when the multi-disc Kill Bill is released in the future? Be happy though that the UK release is not like the US where they have produced the film on one flipper disc.
Matt Horne, Maidstone, Kent

I am a big fan of war films but Schindler's list is the only one that you feel as though you are there at the time. This film is the most educational and intresting film and I suggest that all schools should view this film as a great lesson for our time.
ken, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Schindler's List is an engrossing classic which locks the user into the timeframe and sincerity of an appalling situation. To be suddenly brought back to your living room to change DVDs is totally inexcusable. This isn't some disposable Hollywood flick, Universal have shown a huge lack of respect.
Stephen Powers, Ipswich, UK

The Godfather: Part 2 is split over two disks and seems to be the better for it, but maybe that film fits a two-disc DVD better? I own it but I have yet to watch the DVD of Schindler's List and I hope they have cut split the 2 disks at a well timed point, personnaly though I am not bothered - I come from the good old days of the laserdisc where every film was split in two - ohhh the memories
Dave, England

I just watched the DVD and it was just as heart wrenchingly depressing and poignant, even with changing the disk. Sure enough it is a bit odd and a drag having to change it but the film is already quite broken up anyway, so this doesn't really matter. The quality is superb and, as this was a rent copy, i am sure to be buying a copy myself as soon as the shops open tomorow morning.
Tom Cockett, Billericay, Essex

Schindler's List, the one all-time classic movie that will have every pair of eyes watching it glued to its extremley well-told story.

The DTS and DD audio tracks are completely unnecessary as the ONLY versions available, why Universal didn't place the DTS and DD audio tracks on the more expensive Special Edition and have the original audio track on the less expensive version is anybody's guess.

This epic was great first time over on VHS cassette tape, and is the same great quality everytime I watch it. Universal have made the terrible mistake to place this picture over two DVDs.

So, will I buy it? Well, actually yes I will. Why? Because I threw my VCR in the skip last month, this DVD is a must have for any fan of the original, especially for the footage from the Shoah Foundation about the actual events during the Holocaust.
Simon Stevens, Alfreton, Derbys.

Yes a great film. I saw it in the cinema and it was eerily quiet throughout. Personally I can't imagine wanting to watch it again and again. It doesn't exactly put you in a good mood does it? And I am not saying that to take anything away from the film. It did what it should. But a repeat viewing? No thanks.
Pete Edwards, Manchester

Schindler's List could have fit on to a single disc had Universal not included the space-consuming DTS audio track. The studio has in the past released separate DTS and Dolby Digital versions to avoid this kind of problem, but alas it seems cost-cutting even has to affect a release such as this.
Robin, Birmingham, UK

Thanks for the warning. Splitting a film like this over two discs is inexcusable - I will now be able to save the price, and not buy it, a pity, as it was a good film, and one I would have liked to own.
John, Wokingham, Berks

I was disappointed to hear the film was split over two discs, but I think it's not enough to not buy one of the best films ever made! The transfer is superb, and I for one don't regret buying the more expensive box set for the additional soundtrack, book and film cel. It doesn't suffer at all for being split over two discs - at least it wasn't in the middle of a scene, like some of the layer transitions I've seen!
Piers, Southampton, UK

The DVD over TWO discs? Back to the video version of Schindler's List for me then I'm afraid!
Steve Freestone, Lincoln

One film split onto two disks! Well done Universal, possibly the only way to spoil a classic movie release on DVD.
James Henaghan, Newcastle upon Tyne

Presumably the audio is space-consuming because it is better quality and a decision had to be made between audio quality and the minor issue of changing discs. Intermissions have never affected my enjoyment of art whether it be stage or screen. Whilst one may find it mildly irritating, I don't think that a break to change discs is a sensible reason not to own a film that you think has merit.
Mish, London, UK

I sometimes wonder what goes through the minds of those in the studios marketing divisions. I too, will be saving my money to buy other releases. I thought the days of artificially hiking DVD prices on the back of Oscars and box office success was in the past. Anyone remember the original release price of Titanic? As for the DTS and DD soundtracks - I think the studios underestimate the growing volume of discerning consumers who appreciate the releases as they were meant to be seen. There should definitely have been separate DTS and DD releases.
Paul Allan, Berkhamsted, Herts

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