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Not so Special Edition
on 21 March 2006
Beware, this is a disappointment. Expectations were high that this would be a definitive TODD-AO version of the film, which was the preferred version of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Indeed, they were persuaded to film it on the evidence of the superlative picture/sound quality available in the system. Sadly, the print quality is the worst I have seen in a DVD. Fox do prepare you for this with a screen apology before the titles and I suspect that the original 70mm version has suffered from poor film preservation over the half century of its existence.
Many younger viewers will never have seen the original TODD-AO Road Show version and I'm afraid will not be impressed with this offering.The CinemaScope version (to be found on Disc 1 of this 2 Disc issue) is excellent for its age and the DVD is worth having for this alone as previous issues were dreadful pan and scan versions.
The music however is a delight and the narration from Shirley Jones is a welcome extra. If you have or are about to order the new Special Edition of 'SOUTH PACIFIC', which also contains the TODD-AO version, you will see the quality that made TODD-AO so exciting - it is excellent. What a pity this print of OKLAHOMA doesn't come near to the same quality.
Update: Having now lived with the TODD-AO version since its Region 2 issue in March, I have to admit I prefer it to the CinemaScope version. Tweak your TV a little and its completely enjoyable.