The Hindenburg (1975), directed by Robert Wise, was one of the first older Universal titles to appear direct from Universal Studios Home Video on DVD -- up until 1998, the studio, unsure of precisely how big the DVD market might become, had allowed most of its back catalog titles to be released under license through Image Entertainment and Good Times. The Hindenburg was also one of the earliest films in the Universal library to appear with bonus supplements on DVD, since neither the Image nor Good Times discs had any extra features. The DVD is a essentially a direct conversion of the letterboxed laserdisc edition, with approximately a 2.35:1 aspect ratio that captures the movie's Panavision theatrical image; the latter is essential, as airships are among the most horizontal visual subjects that it is possible to film, and most of the movie's images involve either the vast internal workings of the vehicle or exterior shots of it making its way across Europe and the Atlantic. There are some subtle digital artifacts in the image (in the shots containing a lot of picture information), such as large numbers of faces in medium-shot, which probably wouldn't show up in a contemporary film-to-video transfer. On a large-screen monitor, these anomalies can prove distracting, especially to viewers who aren't accustomed to such flaws in newer releases. Seeing the movie in its proper aspect ratio is also a mixed blessing, firming up the visual appeal and the value of the special effects and production design, but also reminding viewers of the film's fundamental problems, which consist principally of a ponderous script and a cast (led by George C. Scott and Anne Bancroft) that tries to make even the lightest dialogue seem profound -- all of this weighs the action and suspense down far more than any ballast being carried by the Hindenburg. It is an interesting idea for a movie, and the suspense elements are worked in reasonably well, but the DVD is a reminder of why the whole picture just failed to hang together. The movie has been treated respectfully, with 16 chapters -- adequate, though barely -- in a 125-minute film and a bonus section which includes a fair selection of cast bios (and that of director/producer Wise) along with production notes that try hard to make the movie seem more exciting that it actually is. The Hindenburg might be due for an upgrade with a new transfer, and perhaps an interview or commentary track by Wise; it may not be a perfect movie, or even a terribly good one, but it's a far better film and a far more interesting movie than its "cousin" production, Earthquake. The movie begins automatically on start-up, and the menu must be accessed manually. The triple-layer selection of features is easy to use and to enter or exit, and there are optional French and Spanish language tracks and subtitles. Although the packaging claims a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, it seems that the producers cheated just a bit on the letterboxing, cropping the sides of the images very slightly to make the letterboxing less extreme.