A Few Words About A few words about...™ Khartoum & Zulu -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    Misremembered I think. This is apparently a longer version but I doubt that was ever part of it.Zulu Uk has very paint red blood; Us, not so much.
     
  2. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    Reviews (from a reviewer) on another site:

    TT
    Zulu features two audio basic options, DTS-HD Master Audio Mono and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (there's also an isolated score track, as is mentioned below in the audio section of the review). While the mono track corrals John Barry's expansive score, it features excellent fidelity that offers great prioritization of dialogue, effects and the music. The 2.0 mix features some surprising directionality (especially with regard to some panning effects), and also gives Barry's music more breathing room, but it also has occasional out of phase elements which add a slightly processed sound. Both tracks have fairly fulsome midranges, though some might wish for some more pronounced lower frequencies, especially in the battle scenes.

    UK
    There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray release: an English Stereo mix with optional English and English SDH subtitles. Here the Blu-ray disc also offers a serious improvement over the SDVD release. The audio is crisp and crystal clear and the dialog in particular very easy to follow. Furthermore, the SDVD offered a somewhat hollow sound (Dolby Digital Mono) which while passable certainly comes short of matching the quality of this Blu-ray disc. In fact, I would argue that this is a totally different audio mix sourced from a different master (in the United States Zulu was released by MGM). A good example of the more potent sound the Paramount release offers is the extended dancing scene from the opening twenty or so minutes right before the announcement for the massacre arrives. The sound coming off of my speakers is fuller and with plenty of oomph I never heard on the SDVD. The actual dialog on the other hand is crystal clear and extremely easy to follow. I personally did not detect any issues to report here. Finally, the optional English subtitles appear in the film frame, they are not split.
     
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  3. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    KHARTOUM

    This point keeps coming up. I've only ever seen the one (DVD and BLU-RAY) version. Can someone confirm if there is another cut of this film or if the discrepancy is just the addition or subtraction of the roadshow elements - Overture, Intermission etc.
     
  4. billlit

    billlit Auditioning

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    Sorry to see that the Twilight Time Blu-ray is missing that specially-designed Paramount logo, though. Otherwise, great transfer.
     
  5. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    It's not missing, for it was never on the US release. The film was sold to different distribution companies around the world so there would be different logos attached to the film. In the US it was distributed by Embassy Pictures. In the UK it was by Paramount British Pictures.
     
  6. DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    When Zulu was shown in 70mm at the Casino Cinerama Theatre in 1972it had an Intermission,I worked with the person who put in in.Also i have only ever seen 1 version of Khartoum.
     
  7. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    I would imagine anyone from the mother country will get quite a nostalgic kick out of TT's commentary track for Zulu. Both Lem Dobbs and Nick Redman are big ole fanboys of this picture so their lively conversation was peppered with many fond recollections about where and how Zulu played in Britain during their youth. Between this thread and the commentary I now know w-a-y more about vintage British film distribution and exhibition than I ever thought possible!

    Meanwhile, across the pond and north of the 49th, action movies like Zulu came to us mainly via double bills during the 60s...often heralded by a tie-in no one seems to have mentioned here or elsewhere. Our typical earliest point of discovery for these movies - especially those which would be worth seeing early (and often) - was the Dell Movie Classics series of comics:

    [​IMG]

    Often these tie-in comics preceded the picture by a few weeks or months - especially the 70mm epics which were still in reserved-seat roadshow in the major cities when the comic hit the streets. So there was usually enough lead time to plan our campaign for an 'all-dayer' when the picture finally did open locally. Zulu had me at that cover.

    Anyway, just a heads up that the commentary track on TT's Blu-ray offers some breezy, nostalgic, and unapologetically fannish gab...I was 10 all over again. Thanks guys! :thumbs-up-smiley:
     
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  8. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    The 35 mm prints in their reissue also stuck a intermission in the most unlikely place. If I recall it correctly it was during the attack on the hospital. Part 1 ended when thy were going thru a door and Part 2 began when they came out the other side. Crazy!
     
  9. DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    Crazy indeed John, the intermission at the Casino was after just after J. Hawkins goes away in the cart and says" You are all going to die, a much better place.
     
  10. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I think any intermission and placement were at the whim of the cinema involved. The film wasn't designed for an intermission and I'm sure it didn't have one when it premiered at the Plaza.
     
  11. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    The review by Bosley Crowther in the New York Times lists the running time as 138 minutes, with no mention of an intermission.
     
  12. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    There was never an intermission when it screened at the Plaza. I recall queuing with school friends for the first Saturday matinee. The queue went around the block.
     
  13. Richard Pyke

    Richard Pyke Auditioning

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    I first saw 'Khartoum' at the Casino Cinerama on it's premiere run.

    Gordon's head has never been seen on the pole. The shot tracks up and finishes before it reaches the top, cutting, if my ancient memory serves me well, to the reaction shot of The Mahdi.
     
  14. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    Okay, just finished Khartoum. I missed this one theatrically, because by that point in the mid-60s seeing Charlton Heston's name over the title of a roadshow epic was like..."What, another one?!?" By '66, I think I was just 'Chucked-out'. And in subsequent video incarnations I also missed (avoided) Khartoum because after a few minutes I just couldn't get into either the panning and scanning (for TV and VHS), or rejigging of OAR via letterboxing (for LD and DVD). Probably I made 3 or 4 other aborted attempts to watch this picture, all unsatisfactory in one way or another, thus abandoned it after the first 15 to 20 minutes.

    Too bad, because this really was a good film. Talky, I'll admit, but exceptionally smart and insightful talk, always elegantly framed for best ultra-wide effect. Olivier was just fantastic, stealing every page of script they handed him; Heston's effectiveness varied somewhat with his accent; but the supporting cast was uniformly solid throughout. The bell-ringers here were really the writing and direction. So maybe it just took all these years (plus some miles on my own life odometer) to appreciate the nuances of the history being depicted, as well as its continuing echos into the present.

    Whatever the reasons for Khartoum remaining unseen for so long...well...better late than never. And much better in this form than anything previously sampled in passing. No expert on the film of course, but I didn't feel any compelling need to adjust the colour; it looked nicely of a whole in terms of palette. The 2k resolution of the scan wasn't even a problem, at least at my viewing scale. I never felt the image was constrained in any way...mostly as breathtaking as I recall 60s large format. Just a really solid rendering of 2.76:1 Ultra Panavision.

    One aspect worth noting - though pretty standard for Twilight Time releases - was the sound, specifically Frank Cordell's expressive score, reproduced here in its entirety for the first time via Isolated Track, In fact, there are several very illuminating passages on this disc demonstrating what his score is doing for the narrative and character development...just check out the IST around 1:34 through 1:39 or so for an example of how much is being conveyed in purely audio/visual terms.

    So all in all, a great night 'in' at the movies. And if this is a sample of what we can expect from the other large format roadshows in MGM/UAs library, then bring 'em on!
     
  15. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Glad to see a good response to Khartoum. For some reason, the fact that it is not Lawrence has given people the impression that the film is somehow a failure. It's quite literate and eye-filling. I agree with your comments except that I thought Ralph Richardson as Gladstone was the real scene-stealer.
     
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  16. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    Yeah, ole Ralph sure made his mark, albeit briefly. But he always had that knack David. ;)

    I don't think the perceived *failure* of Khartoum was a case of 'what' it was, but rather 'when'. By 1966, I doubt I was alone in my waning interest in yet another Charlton Heston epic roadshow, and frankly, was too young to fully appreciate the presence of Olivier, as well as the historical turf covered.

    Khartoum just fell through the cracks for me, but no reflection on the quality of the film, or its production values, both very well served by this presentation.
     
  17. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    I agree it just fell through the cracks.
     
  18. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    That's a viewpoint which the British critics didn't go along with at the time. When the film was released in the UK the majority opinion of the major newspaper critics was that Olivier gave a very hammy performance whilst Heston was praised (and surprised the critics) for his performance.Seeing the film in Cinerama it seemed very plodding but I think I had hoped for more of an action film. Seeing it again more recently in HD on TV it was better than I remembered, partly due I think to a realisation that such epic historical films unfortunately are not made today.
     
  19. lark144

    lark144 Stunt Coordinator
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    Steve, loved your post and glad you finally caught up with Khartoum. I was lucky enough to grow up in a town with a Cinerama theater (the Eckel, in Syracuse, NY) so I originally watched Khartoum as a 15 year old on this gigantic curved screen. For me, the images and colors on this Blu are pretty close to what I remember seeing way back then. I also would like to share the fact that what got me into the cinema to see Khartoum was the cover article of TRUE MAGAZINE in July 1966 about Yakima Canutt and a detailed report with color photos of the shooting of the battle scenes in the desert. I'm pasting a photo of the cover below.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    It is no Lawrence of Arabia but there can only be one anyway. For a lot of people who like historical epics Khartoum will do just fine and it also looks really good which is a nice bonus :)
     

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