Uni thinks fans are gonna take it

Who DVD set sports new interviews, concert footage

Theatrical feature films are the lifeblood of the major studios' home entertainment divisions, supported by catalog, direct-to-video and TV-DVD releases.

But from time to time a studio will venture out on a tangent, which is precisely what Universal Studios Home Entertainment is doing when it steps into the music DVD market with two documentaries on seminal British rock band the Who, an acquisition near and dear to the heart of division president Craig Kornblau.

"On a personal level, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to help bring the definitive documentary of this legendary band to home entertainment audiences," said Kornblau, also president of Universal Pictures Digital Platforms. "As they did for anyone growing up in the 1960s and '70s, songs like 'My Generation,' 'Baba O'Riley' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again' served as anthems of my youth."

"Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who" and "Amazing Journey: Six Quick Ones," both feature-length films produced by Spitfire Pictures in association with Trinifold Management, will be released Nov. 6 on DVD. The films were conceived as complementary pieces of work, one for a wide audience and one for the die-hard rock fan. Musical guests commenting on the influence of the Who include such rock luminaries as Sting, the Edge, Eddie Vedder and Noel Gallagher.

"The Story of the Who," the film for wide audiences, will make its worldwide debut Sept. 12 at the Toronto International Film Festival — just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Who's first North American appearance. The film chronicles the history of the band through never-before-seen interviews with surviving band members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, rare and recently discovered concert footage and artist profiles.

"('Amazing Journey') reveals the enduring influence and continued vibrancy of a band whose groundbreaking songs, virtuoso musicianship, experimental production techniques and electrifying stage shows pushed the envelope of rock as no other band has before or since," Kornblau said.

The companion film, "Six Quick Ones," features four segments on the musical abilities of band members Townshend, Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. A fifth part, "Who Art You," explores the Mod culture that spawned the band's visuals, while segment six, "Who's Back," chronicles the 2003 recording of "Real Good Looking Boy," the Who's first new studio recording in more than 20 years.

The two films will be released in a two-disc set that includes a companion book and bonus content. Extras include the earliest known footage of the band, filmed in 1964 at the Railway Hotel.