The Bluray of Michael Wadleigh‘s director’s cut of Woodstock is a curiously beautiful thing to sit through. There’s something in the way it brings you back to ’69 and makes you feel the whole tingle of it, the way it felt “out there” before the festival kicked off and how the emotional generosity and benevolence from the crowd and the performers alike seemed to catch on and reverberate every which way.
I’m glad I own it, glad I’ve seen it. I’ll be watching portions from time to time over the summer. The Bluray mastering adds stronger colors and sharper detail to my recollection of how the film looked in theatres, although I haven’t watched the regular DVD version. The bottom line is that it was filmed in 16mm so it can only look so good. The sound, as you might imagine, is excellent and full of good throb, but I’m sure it all sounds better in a big theatre with heavy-duty speakers.
The best back-to-Woodstock experience would be for Warner Home Video to have a huge public screening on a massive screen at the original festival site in Bethel, New York. At night. With good food and drink and killer digital sound. But that’s not going to happen, apparently.