It was only a few months ago that speculation arose about whether When the Levees Broke would ever get a DVD release. Spike Lee's four-hour made-for-HBO documentary about the New Orleans-area floods resulting from Hurricane Katrina and a faulty levee system premiered a year after New Orleans flooded. Speculation arose that rights issues, either for the footage or the score, might prevent HBO Home Video from releasing the movie on DVD. I was worried it might end up like the civil-rights documentary Eyes on the Prize, which was not available for public viewing for years, although in the past couple of years, an unscrupulous person might be able to find and watch an illegal copy through the internet.

Thankfully, I found out that When the Levees Broke has been given a DVD release: in fact, it went on sale yesterday. I haven't seen much news about the release -- it was under the radar enough that Scott missed it in this week's new DVD roundup, and I can't find many reviews of the DVD. A review at DVD Talk informs us that the three-disc set includes a full-length commentary track by Spike Lee as well as a 90-minute "epilogue" with updated footage about New Orleans. Honestly, Lee could go back every six months for the next five years and probably find 90 more minutes to tack on ... the difficulties there are far from over. DVD Talk also mentions the excerpts from Inside Man's soundtrack remaining on the DVD, so that must not have been an unavoidable rights-issues problem. I'd love to find out whether the documentary had to be edited in any way to avoid rights issues for the DVD. But that's just me being curious, because I don't mind a few minor edits or music changes if it means I can see the movie again. (As long as they keep "St. James Infirmary" on the soundtrack, even though it does make me cry.)

[Special thanks to John DeFore of Hollywood Reporter and the Austin American-Statesman for the tip, otherwise I would never have known about the DVD release.]