A Few Words About A few words about...™ Cleopatra (1963) - U.S. Release -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 22, 2013.

  1. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Yup, you're right gov'nor. I've just finished watching it, & with a few adjustments to my TV (more colour & brighter) the picture looked very good for the most part. Funny how the old memory works, I remembered part two starting on the barge, & Liz & Dick as old lovers! I have to admit it does seem slower every time I watch it, a LOT of talk. I love big 60's Roadshow movies, & ancient world epics, & can still remember seeing it at the pictures (Odeon, Hammersmith, London), but I think modern audiences will find it very slow going, more like a talky filmed play. I don't think it was a good idea having an Italian boy with a thick Italian accent playing Caesar's young son, where did he get that accent from? No one else in the film has it! And when Mark Antony uncovers the dead Ceasar's face, just prior to burning the body, well the bloke lying there didn't look much like Rex Harrison to me!
     
  2. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    "I parrrdo you!"
     
  3. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Very few people know that Cesarion was actually played by a young Don Pardo!
     
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  4. Malcolm Bmoor

    Malcolm Bmoor Stunt Coordinator

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    As there are two Cleopatra threads I'm posting this question in both.

    Is anyone in a position to report whether the UK & US versions are technically different?

    Many thanks.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I don't know what you mean by technically different, but did you read RAH's first post in this thread which is his review of this disc in comparison to the UK release?
     
  6. Malcolm Bmoor

    Malcolm Bmoor Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you for the reply. Referring to the changed position of the interval music RAH wrote:

    'Aside from that this magnificent epic with 65mm cinematography by Leon Shamroy and classic score by Alex North, seems to be precisely the same as the UK version'

    But other people seem to have implied that the colour balance has been warmed up. I have the UK Blu-ray but haven't seen much of it as yet because it doesn't seem so long ago that I saw the previous 2 DVD UK release.
     
  7. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Reading all the reviews it looks like they're the same except for the entr'act music (which never bothered me), & I think the US release has a better cover.
     
  8. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    :)
     
  9. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    Despite the fact that I've never seen the cut version presented on the Magnetic video version, I'm sure that you'll think you're watching a whole new film! Heck, that's how I feel whenever I see a widescreen film in its OAR if I've only seen it P&S'd before.

    Edit: This is for anyone with the disc: can somebody confirm whether or not the directional dialogue has been retained on the DTS HD 5.1 track? This site's review said that it had been placed in the center channel.
     
  10. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Yeah I kind of don't ever want to even see the short short cut, the 4 hour version is hacked down enough already.My first version of this was the big grey box CBS/Fox Laser, thankfully in widescreen
     
  11. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    I loved that big grey box. Still have it for nostalgia reasons. That was the first time I saw the uncut version.
     
  12. Virgoan

    Virgoan Second Unit

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    Actually, it was "intended" to be ONE movie. It was Mamkiewicz, alone, who kept writing and shooting, writing and shooting with the "idea" that he could sell it as two films. It was NEVER the studio's intention to release two separate films and Makiewicz was NEVER hired to direct two separate films.
     
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  13. Virgoan

    Virgoan Second Unit

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    I have that big grey box. And it was not the uncut version. The first time the truly "roadshow" version appeared on home video was on DVD. Like the VHS version before it, Fox "claimed" it was the uncut version. The telling scene is at the tomb of Alexander the Great. NOT on the VHS version and not on the LD version.
     
  14. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Not saying thats not true, but it certainly was a damn good idea.What is the difference between the LD and DVD cuts?
     
  15. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    It would have been a good idea to release it as two films. Trouble was, all the Liz and Dick passion would have been in the second film, and Zanuck was afraid that the whole Liz/Dick affair would be yesterday's news before the second film hit theatres. Even though the first half of the film is by far the better half, it's the second half that sold the tickets and needed to be in theatres right away.

    Who knew in the summer of '63 that they would actually marry and become the Lunt and Fontanne of the sixties and fodder for the National Enquirer for the next twenty?
     
  16. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    That's more or less what I have always read. After Manciewicz produced a final cut of around 6 hours, supposedly he and Taylor "pleaded" to have it released as two halves, but the studio said no.

    BTW, I read through that treatment of what the "uncut" version would have been like. I honestly did not see two hours worth of necessary material there. Sure, there was more depth to some of the supporting characters; but little of the material looked indespensible to me. I think at some point, Manciewicz sort of "fell in love" with the characters and sought to flesh them out more than was practicable for a motion picture; which brought him to a point where he could not bring himself to cut anything else. In many cases I like how the 4-hour version simplified some plot elements. For example, the scene in which Sosigones forwarns that Caesar's epilepsy would help lead him down the path to ultimate power. Same for the scene where Sosigones shows Caesar an early telescope and an early zoetrope. It was cute, but hardly worth tacking on yet more time to a movie that was 4 hours to start with. I think an extra 10 minutes or so of little trims could have been restored to clarify a few things.

    Sure, some actors best scenes may have been left on the cutting room floor, and I can see how they would be disappointed. With the script being written as the film was shot, that kind of thing was bound to happen. It still happens. Entire subplots and characters still go by the wayside when a runnig time becomes too unwieldy.
     
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  17. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Which is why it should have been two films.
     
  18. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    By any chance do you have a link to the full screenplay?
     
  19. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    No, but earlier in the thread, someone linked to THIS. It's not an actual screenplay, with notions for camera angles, etc, but contains the script of the cut scenes interpolated with the existing film continuity. It also includes stills of some of the missing scenes, proving they were shot.
     
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  20. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    It's too bad Fox decided only to capitalize on Burton and Taylor's affair by releasing it as one film. Wouldn't the studio have been able to generate more income had they released it as two films?

    Also, my question regarding the presence of directional dialogue on the BD has still not been answered. Is it there? Or is it gone?
     

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