Blu-ray/DVD Watch: 'Mutiny on the Bounty,' 'West Side Story' and 'Ben-Hur'

Classic titles are cleaned up for new releases.

The Blu-ray movie format may be hitting a new height this fall when an unprecedented number of high-end editions of classic hit the format.

On one hand, it’s great for cinephiles but for format watchers, you can’t help but think that when the DVD platform hits this stage --  where everything is a whiz-bang edition --  everything after is a slow decline into mediocrity and cheap, toss-away editions.

For now, let’s focus on the positive.

Mutiny on the Bounty, the 1962 classic starring Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard hits stores for the first time in Blu-ray November 8. The movie was the first film shot in 65mm Panavision and the Blu-ray boasts restored elements from the 65mm negative and is promising the most vivid presentation to date.

The bonuses are those seen in the two-disc DVD edition, among them alternate prologue and epilogue sequences not seen theatrically and four vintage featurettes.

On November 15, lace your dance shoes for West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is rolling up its sleeves for the Blu-ray version of the Oscar-winning MGM classic, a 1950s style musical take on the story of Romeo and Juliet and starring a young Natalie Wood, heralding hundreds of hours of restoration.

On top of the extras from the very fine 2003 collector’s edition, there will two new featurettes: Pow! The Dances of West Side Story, which analyzes the film’s famous dance sequences; and A Place for Us: West Side Story’s Legacy, a look at the impact the movie has had.

The Blu-ray will be available in a limited edition 4-disc boxed set (2 disc Blu-ray, newly-restored DVD, tribute CD and collectible memorabilia) and a 2-disc collector’s edition Blu-ray.

The one I’m salivating for is the Ben-Hur 50th anniversary “ultimate collector’s edition.”

Warner Home Video has put the Charlton Heston sword-and-sandal epic through a $1 million restoration – "frame by frame from an 8k scan of the original 65 mm camera negative, making this the highest resolution restoration ever completed by Warner Bros. studio," according to the company.

The edition will be limited and numbered, contains more than four hours of extras including an all-new hi-def feature length documentary hosted by son Fraser Heston (with never-before-shared home movies of Heston and his family), a reproduction of Heston's diary during filming, and a hardbound photo book.

The package hits stores September 27.

Blu-ray editions of the Star Wars movie series, Citizen Kane, Scarface and others are also hitting this autumn, so better start saving up now.

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