Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment (www.homevideo.paramount.com) is scheduled to release The High and the Mighty on DVD as a two-disc collector’s edition on August 2, 2005. The newly restored 1954 film was directed by William Wellman and starred John Wayne, Claire Trevor, and Jan Sterling. Dimitri Tiomkin received an Academy Award® for his score and a nomination for the title song, with lyrics by Ned Washington.
Disc one contains the film, with an introduction by Leonard Maltin and commentary by Maltin, William Wellman Jr., and others. Disc two includes many special featurettes, including “The Music and World of Dimitri Tiomkin.” Argentinian-born editor Sergio Palermo produced and assembled this 16-minute film for Sparkhill Productions, a DVD content production studio located in Burbank, California, profiling Tiomkin and his score. Olivia Tiomkin Douglas provided rare photographs from the Tiomkin estate and appears in the film. Composer Christopher Young, orchestrator Patrick Russ, conductor Richard Kaufman, and writer/historian Jon Burlingame are all featured in on-camera interviews. They provide professional commentary and personal insights on the man and his music. The interviews, filmed in the Santa Monica office of the late Elmer Bernstein–a composer who thought highly of Tiomkin’s work–are interspersed with film clips, with music from the original motion picture soundtrack.
For the average price of two movie tickets you can own a copy of the entire film and the bonus contents. Amazon.com is taking advance orders for US$13.99 (30% off the $19.99 list price). As of this posting, the amazon.com sales ranking is #4, placing it ahead of current hits like Harry Potter and The Incredibles. The immense popularity may be due in part to the fact that it has never been released on VHS or DVD. Paramount Home Entertainment and Batjac Productions, the production company founded by John Wayne, entered into an agreement in the Fall of 2004 granting Paramount worldwide DVD and television distribution rights paving the way for this release.
A suite from Dimitri Tiomkin’s score was performed late last year by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Kaufman. The concert marked the second public performance of the six-minute suite, arranged and extended by Patrick Russ from a shorter earlier version by Christopher Palmer, which Kaufman recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra last year. Check back here for news announcing the forthcoming release of this music on CD.
Other DVDs currently in release with bonus features related to Tiomkin include High Noon and Giant. “The Music,” featurette on track nine of the High Noon DVD contains commentary by Leonard Maltin and John Ritter (Tex’s son). As for Giant, check out the Gig Young interview with Tiomkin for the 1956 television program “Warner Brothers Presents.”