Grateful Dead's 'Movie' Revamped For DVD

How does one improve upon what is already considered a landmark concert film?

How does one improve upon what is already considered a landmark concert film? In the case of "The Grateful Dead Movie," it's by restoring the negative and improving the sound for its DVD release, and adding a second disc of with 95 minutes of concert footage that didn't make the cut for the film's 1977 release.

Due Nov. 9 via Monterey Video, "The Grateful Dead Movie" captures the band's legendary mid-October 1974 "farewell" concerts at San Francisco's Winterland. The project was taken up by frontman Jerry Garcia as the Dead prepared for a hiatus of undetermined length.

Garcia worked on the film for more than two years with film editor Susan Crutcher. Together they preserved not only the band's performance through its groundbreaking (if behemoth and fiscally crippling) "wall of sound," but what it was really like to attend a Dead show when the act was in its ramshackle prime.

The first disc boasts a high definition transfer of the film, restoring the full frame that was edited for its VHS release. Fans can choose from three audio selections: a Dolby Digital 5.1 version of original theatrical mix, as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 mix from the master multi-track tapes. There is also a feature-length commentary track with Crutcher and editor John Nutt.

The second disc includes unreleased performances of such Dead favorites as "Uncle John's Band," "Sugaree," "Dark Star" and "China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider," among others. All of the footage was transferred from the original 16mm camera film negative and can be heard in either Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes.

Also included on the bonus disc are documentaries on the making of the DVD and the animated sequences in the film, plus a third titled "A Look Back" featuring new interviews with surviving band members. Additionally, a 1974 TV commercial for the Dead's "Mars Hotel" album is included, as is a gallery of photos, film stills and other items related to the project.