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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Family > Literature > TVMini-Series > Comedy > Animation > Stop Motion > Holidays > TV > Action > Sing > Heidi (1993/FilmRise DVD*)/Original Christmas Specials Collection (2021 steelbook edition of 2018 upgrades/Rankin Bass/Universal Blu-ray Set)/Roy Rogers Double Feature: Mackintosh and T.I. (1975)/Unde

Heidi (1993/FilmRise DVD*)/Original Christmas Specials Collection (2021 steelbook edition of 2018 upgrades/Rankin Bass/Universal Blu-ray Set)/Roy Rogers Double Feature: Mackintosh and T.I. (1975)/Under Western Skies (1933/Blu-ray Set/*both MVD)

Picture: C/B/B & B- Sound: C/B-/B & B- Extras: D/B-/B- Main Programs: C+/B/C+

Here come the holidays and that includes family titles, some of which are upgrades or reissues...

We'll start with the oft-filmed classic Heidi, here in its 1993 min-series version once touted by Disney as being theirs. Many of the versions have been a success, going back to the 1937 Shirley Temple version (a Fox film Disney now owns) but this one has Jason Robards, Jane Seymour and Patricia Neal with music by Lee Holdridge and Noley Thorton in the title role. It is not bad, but not the best version, though it has some good moments. If you are unfamiliar with the story of the young gal who goes to live in the country with her family, you can read about this more recent 2017 import production I was not impressed with, but my fellow writer was at this link:


This is a 2-DVD set with no extras.

Next up are The Original Christmas Specials Collection now owned by Universal of the Rankin Bass TV classics we first reviewed in 2018 when the studio restored most of them, which you can read more about at this link:


It also has the same exact extras, so you can now choose from two cases, but these remain popular and the restorations hold up well in the face of increasing 4K releases.

Finally, we have a Roy Rogers Double Feature: Mackintosh and T.I. (1975) and Under Western Skies (1933,) which are his first and last films where he is the star. We reviewed the final one at this link:


His first dinging cowboy film obviously set the tone for the rest of his insanely successful popularity and career, thriving at Republic Pictures, but it only lasts 65 minutes. Originally intended for Gene Autry, he left the studio because he felt they were not paying him enough money, but also continued to have his own hugely successful career as well. Almost a musical, like the other many such films, a greedy local water company intends to stick it to farmers in a severe drought until you-know-who shows up and gets the farmers to unite.

It has the great fighting and stunts Republic was known for and the supporting cast (including Smiley Burnett and Carol Hughes) cement the formula for a new star. A historical film, it is worth a look for serious Rogers fans and makes a nice pairing with the other film.

Extras this time include a new trailer for the film, a trailer for Mackintosh and a half-hour look at location used for the film called Exploring The Alabama Hills (in Lone Pine area) that looks better and is smoother than expected.

Now for playback performance. The Christmas set has the same solid 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers and same solid sound as the other set, while the 1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white digital High Definition image transfer on Skies can show the age of the materials used, but has its moments despite being a 16mm reduction print. Apparently, this is the only surviving copy of the film as we post! The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix shows its age, but is as good as this will likely ever sound, but the film is 83 years old and on, so background noise, a little harmonic distortion and lack of dynamic range for such a low-budget film is expected.

Finally, the 1.33 X 1 image on Heidi is soft and noisy, from apparently an older video master and an issue that also gets in the way of its sound, here in older, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. The combination is trying and not great, so you had better be a big fan of this one to get this version. Also, be careful of high volume playback and volume switching.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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