Ben-Hur Four-Disc

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ScottR, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    A review at dvdtown.com states that this new release of Ben-Hur is ten minutes longer. Huh? It also states the the first release had an AR of 2.44:1. Huh, again? And that this release is 2.50:1. Um, huh?
     
  2. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    You certainly cannot rely on this review. The man says the dvd sound is in 5.1 of what was a two channel stereo mix in the theater - no - it was six channel and there was no two channel stereo in 1959 film.
     
  3. Justin_P

    Justin_P Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree that the review might not be completely accurate, but IMDB does list a cut of the film that was released in 1993 in the UK with a runtime of 222 minutes. Of course I ditched my old copy of the DVD, so any comparisons I do will have to be from memory.

    I guess we'll all just have to see when we get a hold of the discs for ourselves!

    Justin

    EDIT: I just poked around at some of the reviews of the old DVD and they all seem to list 222 minutes.
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

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    Ben-Hur is not a 222 minute film. Its running time was 212, possibly in addition to music for roadshow release.

    The two films at 222 were GWTW and LoA.

    RAH
     
  5. Justin_P

    Justin_P Stunt Coordinator

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    There we have it - a definitive answer from someone who knows. Thanks for the input Mr. Harris.

    By the way, did you mean GWTW?

    Random question: does Warner typically include the Entr'acte and Intermission on their listed DVD run times? I don't have any of my discs around right now to compare with the listed times at IMDB, and never thought to do it before.

    Justin
     
  6. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

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    Having just revisited THE GREAT RACE earlier this week, I can say that Warner included the Overture, Entr'Acte etc to that film's running time. [​IMG]
     
  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    DVD Town is a horrible site to check for accurate specs. Aspect ratios are measured by what shows up on screen, rather than the original video source (as seen on a DVD-ROM computer).

    For example, they say Around the World in 80 Days (1956) is 2.10:1. When I measured in Photoshop, it was exactly 2.20:1. It seems like everything is viewed on a CRT and judged as such. There's even mention of moire effects (no doubt during the end credits), which do not appear on a non-CRT screen.

    It's a pity they don't realize how inaccurate this stuff is... stuff like bad measurements and misunderstandings on aspect ratio technicalities are polluting DVD review sites. We still get sighs of sorrow over a 1.85:1 film being presented full area 1.78:1!
     
  8. Dannie

    Dannie Stunt Coordinator

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    im surprised no one got this early yet
     
  9. jim.vaccaro

    jim.vaccaro Second Unit

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    There's a review up at DVDMG.com.

    Colin's reviews are usually decent, but this one is lacking IMO. He doesn't mention that the new transfer isn't cropped on all four sides like the old one was. Also I was hoping to hear something about the Dolby 5.1 mix, if it is a new mix or the mix from the old DVD.

    I'd really love for someone to do a side-by-side comparison. Also, I'd like to see this released as a single disc edition. Alot of the supplements (like the silent movie) hold little interest for me.
     
  10. RickardL

    RickardL Second Unit

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    I did some digging about the film's length.

    According to the BBFC, it had a length of 19050 feet
    which they then calculated as 211 minutes and 40 seconds.

    Before it opened up in Sweden in 1962, the Swedish Board
    of Censorship notes 224 minutes and 2 seconds.
    Another source says 6090 meters (19979.7 feet) for the
    35mm print which calculates as 222 minutes and 35 secs.
    In 1969, a 70mm print was measured at 7615 meters (24982.8 feet) which I calculate as 222 minutes and 40 secs.
    When it was submitted for a recertification in 1970,
    the length is 219 minutes and 17 secs.

    My (old) R1 DVD is 222 minutes and 33 seconds which include the
    overture (6:31), intermission (~18 secs) and entracte (3:51).
    Just the main feature then measures as 211 minutes and 53 secs, which is pretty close to 212 minutes.
     
  11. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I'd give it a chance. The '25 version is worth seeing at least for the scenes on the galley ship and the chariot race.
     
  12. Danny Burk

    Danny Burk Second Unit

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    To each his own. I'm only buying the set to get the silent version; the '59 is a "bonus feature" for me [​IMG]
     
  13. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    I'm all about the 4 discs and wasting an entire day watching everything!
     
  14. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    Like Danny, the primary reason I am interested in this set in because of the inclusion of Niblo's original 1925 Ben-Hur. It was and for some, continues to be considered one of the greatest films ever made - certainly of its generation. The original was a monumental effort with stunts and images that went well beyond anything ever filmed before. In many ways it was the Lord of the Rings of the silent era, and had a similar impact on the film industry.

    Until recently, Wyler's 1959 remake was not one of the +350 films selected and preserved by the NFPF (National Film Preservation Foundation), but Niblo's original Ben-Hur was selected about ten years ago.
     
  15. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I'm also one of those who thinks that the silent version is better than the remake, and I love the 1959 film, too! I'm looking forward to getting this one.
     
  16. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I have noticed that many e-tailers are advertising two versions of the 4 disc set. One includes a Bible study guide, where as the other does not. Due to discounting it seems that both versions are selling for about the same price. Does anyone know for sure if both of these versions have exactly the same video content, and that the only difference is the inclusion of the Bible study guide?
     
  17. Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher Screenwriter

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    Video content is the same. The only difference is the inclusion of the Bible study guide.
     
  18. John Stockton

    John Stockton Second Unit

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    For the first DVD, Warner used a 35 MM Cinemascope 2.55 source and they cropped the top and the bottom of the picture into tricking the consumers, that they are getting the original 70 MM anamorphic 2.76 ratio. [​IMG] That is the the reason why the first DVD is cropped on all four sides.

    I read some time ago that they are finally using 65 MM anamorphic elements for the transfer of the new DVD. I would appreciate if anyone here knows if this is really the case.
     
  19. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Nobody tricked anyone. WB used a 35mm reduction print that originated from the negative (in one way or another) using SUPER Panavision specs instead of Ultra Panavision specs. Using the correct UP/MGM Camera 65 specifications, the full height would be captured, with a little bit of the sides (which were expendable) shaved off.

    However, since someone didn't know what they were doing... They used Super Panavision 70 specs, which caused the top and bottom to be cropped.

    Besides... how many people just insist that Ultra Panavision films be transferred at 2.76:1? A lot of people won't complain how lousy the framing is as long as it's the "correct" aspect ratio. Hardly anyone would show the films at any wider aspect ratio than 2.55:1. In fact, even the correctly made 35mm reductions from the early 1960's are 2.55:1 for Ben-Hur. At least anamorphic DVD's make 2.76:1 watchable, in comparison to non-anamorphic 4x3 transfers.
     
  20. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    Although I would assume most HTF members know about this, there is detailed information on Martin Hart's excellent website widescreenmuseum.com about MGM CAMERA 65 and how it related to BEN-HUR's filming and projection.
     

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