As the story of Witch Mountain returns to movie theaters this year with the release of “Race to Witch Mountain,” the original films that launched the Witch Mountain saga, Escape to Witch Mountain and Return to Witch Mountain, are returning to DVD in special new editions from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Laying the groundwork for the new film starring Dwayne Johnson, the two family favorites first put the magical world of Witch Mountain onscreen, and featured such classic stars as two-time Academy Award winner Bette Davis (All About Eve, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?) , Academy Award winner Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend, Dial M For Murder), Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), Academy Award nominee Eddie Albert (Roman Holiday, TV’s “Green Acres”) and Donald Pleasance (You Only Live Twice, The Diary of Anne Frank.)
Long before Harry Potter and the Narnia movies, the Witch Mountain films created a world in which children learned to use their magical powers. In Escape to Witch Mountain, first released in 1975, orphaned siblings Tony and Tia Malone (Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards) discover their paranormal powers and learn the truth about their origin; reviewing the film, Roger Ebert wrote, “something is happening all of the time, and most of the time it’s scary but funny, too.” In the 1978 sequel, Return to Witch Mountain, the Malone children recruit a band of juvenile delinquents to help them battle a pair of criminal masterminds played by Bette Davis and Christopher Lee, who Daily Variety called “one of the best Disney villains in years.” Both Eisenmann and Richards make cameos in the new “Race to Witch Mountain,” a modern re-imagining of the original Witch Mountain story featuring Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Carla Gugino, and Alexander Ludwig.
The new Walt Disney Family Classics DVD editions both contain extensive bonus features, including all new Pop-Up Fun Facts, filmmaker commentaries, and more. They will be available in stores on March 10, three days before the theatrical release of “Race to Witch Mountain.”