• Story
  • Picture & Sound
  • Bonus Features

Now available for the first time ever on Blu-ray is Dead Poets Society.  Starring Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting), Ethan Hawke (Training Day) and Robert Sean Leonard (TV’s “House”), Dead Poets Society was originally released in 1989 (two years after the success of Good Morning Vietnam) and showed us that Robin Williams could handle dramatic roles just as well as comedic roles in film.

Set in Vermont, the story takes place in 1959 at an all-boys college preparatory school named Welton Academy. Welton is bound by years of tradition and seems a bit elitist, but the whole point of such a school is to prepare these young men for college.  Typically going on to attend ivy league universities and on to such careers as lawyer, doctor, politician or business, the boys lead a very structured and sheltered life.

Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) arrives for the new semester at Welton.  Following in his older brother’s footsteps of attending Welton he is paired with Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard) as a roommate.  Todd’s course in life has been plotted by his parents, as has Neil’s.  Todd should go on to Yale and will eventually become a lawyer and Neil is to eventually become a doctor.  Unfortunately Todd would rather become a writer but is too shy to tell his parents and Neil discovers he would like to become an actor but could never tell his domineering father (played by Kurtwood Smith).

The boys (along with the rest of their class) get quite a surprise when the new English teacher, John Keating arrives at Welton.  A former student of Welton himself, Keating is very liberal, and nothing like the other teachers at the academy.  On the first day of Keating’s class he has one of the students read the introduction from their poetry textbook.  He then goes on to tell them that what the author of the textbook wrote is rubbish and that they should tear the whole introduction out of their books.  This, combined with Keating’s passion for poetry (which he manages to impart on all his students) starts a chain of events in motion.

A small group of Keating’s students found that when he attended Welton he was listed as a member of the Dead Poets Society.  When asked what it was, Keating responds that they were a group of men that were “dedicated to sucking the marrow out of life”, a quote from Thoreau that was to be recited at the opening of each meeting of the Society.  These students seem to be entranced by what Keating has just shared with them and decide to reform the society, holding secret meetings in a cave in the middle of the night while reading poetry, smoking cigarettes and pipes and sharing about the life that they (and not their parents) really wanted for themselves.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to see this movie, do it!  If you have seen it, then this is an excellent opportunity to add it to your blu-ray collection.  Not only is this a wonderful story about conformity vs. free-thinking, but the location shots are incredibly scenic and colorful and the hi-def remaster really makes the cinematography of this film shine!

Film Synopsis:
For generations, Welton Academy students have been groomed to live lives of conformity and tradition – until new professor John Keating inspires them to think for themselves, live life to the fullest and “Carpe Diem.” This unconventional approach awakens the spirits of the students, but draws the wrath of a disapproving faculty when an unexpected tragedy strikes the school. With unforgettable characters and beautiful cinematography, Dead Poets Society will captivate and inspire you time and time again.

Bonus Features:

  • “Dead Poets: A Look Back” featuring interview footage with Director Peter Weir, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and many others
  • “Raw Takes”
  • “Master of Sound: Alan Splet” – interviews with David Lynch And Peter Weir
  • “Cinematography Master Class” – an intensive and inspirational lighting workshop with Cinematographer John Seale
  • “Audio Commentary” with Director Peter Weir, Cinematographer John Seale and Writer Tom Schulman
  • “Original Theatrical Trailer”