It should be noted that the 2005 feature The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit is not on this set (presumably for rights reasons as it was co-produced with DreamWorks) but it does feature a decent selection of extras and the brand-new short A Matter Of Loaf And Death, in which the pair run a bakery but come across a mysterious plot when all the bakers in the town go missing.
For those unfamiliar with the famous characters, Gromit is the faithful canine companion of the cheese-obsessed inventor Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and they are the brainchild of Nick Park, who won Oscars for the first three films. All the characters were made from moulded plasticine modelling clay on metal armatures, and filmed with stop motion clay animation.
Information about extras is a bit thin on the ground but apparently it includes:
Behind the scenes featurette
Various shorts with Wallace and Gromit that were created for the internet
A spin-off episode of Shaun the Sheep
A scrapbook with blueprints and a photo gallery of some of the inventions
This isn’t the first time the first three shorts have been released on DVD but the big deal here is that it’s their debut on Blu-ray. [Buy it from Amazon on DVD or Blu-ray]
It’s A Wonderful Life (Universal): The perennial Christmas favourite directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart comes to Blu-ray and is worth getting if you don’t already own it.
The following specs for the Blu-ray are:
Black & White Original and Colour versions
1080P 1.33:1 Full Screen
English DD2.0 Mono
English SDH subtitles
There will also be a new DVD release that also includes both the original and colour versions of the film, although why anyone would want to colourise a film like this is beyond me. There are reportedly no extras on the DVD, which frankly is a bit poor. [Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Proposition (Palisades Tartan): This 2005 Australian western directed by John Hillcoat and written by Nick Cave (yes, the musician) stars Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, John Hurt and Danny Huston.
Set in the Australian outback in the 1880s, the story follows the series of events following the horrific rape and murder of the Hopkins family, allegedly committed by the infamous Burns brothers gang.
Grimy but compelling, this is a timely release on Blu-ray as Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road will soon be seen in UK cinemas.
Directed by Victor Fleming, it was based on the 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and starred Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Frank Morgan, with Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charles Grapewin, Clara Blandick and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins.
Originally released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it follows the story of a Kansas farmgirl Dorothy (Garland) who gets transported to the magical land of Oz where she encounters all manner of characters including the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tin Man (Jack Haley) and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) and the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton).
Although successful when it was originally released the songs from the film became huge, with “Over the Rainbow” nabbing the Oscar for Best Original Song and the film itself garnering several nominations, including Best Picture.
However, the film became permanently embedded in popular culture when it was screened every year on US television from 1959 to 1991, becoming one of the most watched films of all time.
The UK DVD and Blu-ray Disc release is a newly remastered version with a raft of new extrasand a sing-along feature.