Amazon just put this massive set up for pre-order (as an Amazon EXCLUSIVE), but we’re short on details. What I can figure out from the product shot (seen further down) is that it includes the following:
Citizen Kane in HD plus extras on Blu-ray
The Battle Over Citizen Kane documentary on DVD
-this feature-length doc was on the Special Edition DVD release, and is excellent
RKO 281 on DVD
-HBOFilms movie starring Liev Schreiber as Welles and John Malkovich as Herman Mankiewicz during the making of Kane
A hardcover book like the ones that came with Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind
Collectible art lithographs featuring production art
What look like correspondence reproductions
What looks like an original premiere program reproduction
-like the one in the Oz megaset
What looks like a piece of Rosebud (70-YEAR-OLD SPOILER ALERT!!!)
A (thankfully) much smaller box that actually fits on standard DVD shelving
-unlike the Oz and Wind sets
The Magnificent Ambersons on a separately-packaged DVD
-with no extras whatsoever
-a crushing disappointment for me
Here’s the short story on Ambersons if you’ve never heard of it:
The movie is based on one of the great American novels, which deals with family legacies and entitlement complexes. It was the was the Oscar bait of its day. While Welles was out of the country, the studio mercilessly chopped the hell out of it, and the original version is now considered completely lost due to the excised footage being destroyed in a fire. The massive failure of the movie sent Welles on the downward spiral that was the rest of his directing career.
I hope someone finds the lost version like we saw happen with Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, but I doubt that will happen.
It’s nice that you get The Magnificent Ambersons thrown in on DVD as part of this set, but I’d rather have the option to buy a Blu-ray of Ambersons. Let me be crystal clear: I would buy this nearly $60-dollar set for more real American Dollars without a moment’s hesitation if I had this option.
I would pay yet more if there were a documentary about the above-mentioned hullaballoo included. One like The Battle Over Citizen Kane could be made, I assure you. Scholars and directors and whoever would donate their time (and gladly so).
All the Welles fans like myself who’d buy Kane on Blu-ray are exactly the same ones who have been clamoring for Ambersons on DVD (and now Blu-ray) for over a decade. So…
FROM: A Bunch of Whiny Film Nerds
SUBJECT: Begging To Spend Money
Dear Warner Brothers, Sisters, and Descendants,
I know DVD revenue is down.
I know that all sorts of market research surveys probably have reasons against mastering Ambersons for Blu-ray.
I know that by packaging it this way, you can force us all to buy Ambersons on DVD and then theoretically release a stacked Special Edition of Ambersons next year which you know we’ll all buy anyway because we’re total suckers.
All of us suckers who would spend $60 on Citizen Kane would pay $5-10 more to get Ambersons on Blu-ray. I promise.
There are probably all kinds of meetings no one has enjoyed that led to this decision. I’m sure those were a major pain in the ass to sit through. We’re asking you guys to risk hemorrhoids and sit in a meeting room for an interminable amount of time so that you can amend this decision and let us spend the money we want to give you.
Hell, go ballsy and don’t put Ambersons on DVD at all. Go Blu-ray only and see what happens.
I’ve said too much.
Maybe I’m overreacting and this is just the “Amazon Exclusive Version” and there’s nothing to worry about. That is my hope.
Love and kisses,
Orson Welles Obsessives of America
Sucker that I am, I’ll probably just pre-order it when I get back drunk from a midnight show of Bridesmaids tonight. I can always cancel it if something better comes along, right?