The Last Waltz gets a grand revival

In a massive collaboration between the film, home video and music industries, MGM Home Entertainment, United Artists and Rhino Records will be teaming up to bring the 1977 definitive concert film The Last Waltz back to theatres, to DVD and to CD this summer.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1976, The Band (Rick Danko, Helm, Hudson, Richard Manuel, and Robertson) took the stage for the very last time at the Winterland Theatre in San Francisco. Produced by legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, the concert was billed as The Last Waltz, perhaps to make the final statement on an era that is arguably unrivalled in rock history. The $25 ticket included a full turkey dinner, complete with trimmings. Robertson composed the title song — written mostly the day before the show — then The Band rehearsed it backstage during the only break they took in their five-hour performance. Joining The Band on stage throughout the evening were legends and pioneers in rock, pop, country, and R&B. Days before the concert, Scorsese put together a detailed, 300-page “script” for a concert documentary – the first to be shot with 35mm film. Seven cameras, 160,000 feet of stock and two years of editing later, The Last Waltz premiered at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, setting a new standard for feature-length concert films.

The twenty-fifth anniversary celebration for the film begins on April 5th with a theatrical re-release of the film followed by a 4 CD boxed set on the 16th. Finally on May 7th, MGM will release a new special edition DVD of the event. A new anamorphic widescreen print has been made for the film as has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix which will accompany the films original stereo mix. Two audio commentaries will run the length of the film. In one, Robbie Robertson and Martin Scorsese provide a shot-by-shot narrative of the film with detailed memories of all aspects of the production. In the second commentary, remaining ‘Band’ members Levon Helm and Garth Hudson, musicians Hawkins and Mavis Staples, and various production crew members and music journalists tell tall tales, dissect lyrics and recollect the making of the legendary concert event. The “Revisiting The Last Waltz” featurette, a newly created Jam Footage segment, a photo gallery, theatrical trailer and television spot round out the rest of the features.

Coming May 7th to DVD. “The Last Waltz” will be priced at $24.98. Make sure to order your copy from our DVD Review Store for only $17.49!

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