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"Dust Bowl" DVD/Blu-ray Release Set

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 9, 2012

The Ken Burns documentary airs Nov. 18 and 19, then arrives on video on Nov. 20.  The retail price is $24.99 for DVD. $29.99 for Blu-ray. The official word:

Celebrated documentarian Ken Burns delivers an engrossing chronicle of America’s greatest environmental catastrophe with THE DUST BOWL, arriving on Blu-ray and DVD November 20, 2012 from PBS Distribution. The two-part, four-hour documentary offers a dramatic depiction of how human blindness to the balance of nature destroyed the farmlands of the Great Plains throughout the 1930s as prairies were turned into deserts and massive deadly dust storms took the lives and hopes of many Americans. Yet amidst the heartbreaking tragedy, there are also tales of heroic perseverance as families found ways to survive and government agencies and farmers worked together to develop new farming and conservation methods.

Filled with seldom-seen movie footage, unpublished photographs, the songs of Woody Guthrie and the observations of two remarkable women who left behind eloquent written accounts, the film explores this critical time in American history in all its complexities. The fascinating documentary also features compelling interviews with 26 survivors of those hard times and may well be the last recorded testimony of the generation that lived through the Dust Bowl.

“The Dust Bowl was a heartbreaking tragedy in the enormous scale of human suffering it caused. But perhaps the biggest tragedy is that it was preventable,” said Burns. “This was an ecosystem—a grassland—that had evolved over millions of years to adjust to the droughts, high winds and violent weather extremes so common to that part of the country. In the space of a few decades at the start of the 20th century, that grassland was uprooted in the middle of a frenzied wheat boom. When a drought returned, all that exposed soil took to the skies, and people worried that the breadbasket of the nation would become the next Sahara desert. If we show the same neglect to the limits of nature now as we did then, it is entirely possible that this could happen again.”

THE DUST BOWL is narrated by Peter Coyote and features voiceovers by Carolyn McCormack, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Conway, and Amy Madigan. The Blu-ray and DVD both feature over an hour of bonus material, including more eyewitness interviews, additional stories, revealing footage and a look at the legacy of the Dust Bowl.

Blu-ray & DVD
THE DUST BOWL Blu-ray is presented in widescreen 1080p high definition with
5.1 Surround, English, Spanish DVI and descriptive video and English and Spanish subtitles. The DVD is presented in widescreen with 5.1 Surround, English, Spanish DVI and descriptive video with English and Spanish subtitles. Total runtime is 4 hours. The DVD and Blu-ray will be available for the suggested retail prices of $24.99 and $29.99, respectively.
Disc contents are as follows:
Disc 1:
Part 1—The Great Plow Up
Bonus Material:
Uncovering the Dust Bowl
A Land of Haze
Dust Bowl Stories

Disc 2:
Part 2—Reaping the Whirlwind
Bonus Material:
Grab a Root and Growl
The Dust Bowl Eyewitnesses
The Dust Bowl Legacy

The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History, written by Dayton Duncan with a preface by
Ken Burns, will accompany the film. The book, which will be published by
Chronicle Books, will be on sale in October.

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