Bronston's EL CID, etc Now in NTSC & Anamorphic

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Doug Bull, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Great news for those of us that have been waiting for good quality NTSC ANAMORPHIC DVDs of the Samuel Bronston Epics to become available.

    Henry Hathaway's CIRCUS WORLD ( DD 2.0 )( 2.32:1 )
    Anthony Mann's EL CID ( DD 4.0 ) ( 2.34:1 )
    Nicholas Ray's 55 DAYS AT PEKING ( DD 4.0 ) ( 2.28:1 )
    Anthony Mann's FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE ( DD 4.0 ) ( 2.32:1 )

    These are available at YesAsia and are NTSC Japanese versions, some are even region free and all have removable Japanese sub-titles which is a real blessing.

    The ordering looks to be a breeze with the site displayed in English with the costs in US Dollars.

    You can get all the details with full reviews and frame grabs over at the Beaver site.
    Fall of the Roman Empire looks fabulous.
     
  2. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Thanks! They don't have to be region free for me to play them. I'm interested in "Fall of the Roman Empire" & " 55 Days at Peking".
     
  3. Ken Koc

    Ken Koc Screenwriter

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    As a cautionary note, the sound on "55 Days at Peking" is very poor. Yes it is in 5.1 , but it seems to be a very damaged soundtrack.
     
  4. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    ARE THE OVERTURES, INTERMISSION MUSIC AND WALK OUT MUSIC INCLUDED IF THEY WERE IN THE ORIGINAL 70MM RELEASE?
     
  5. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I don't own these discs, but I doubt it. All of these transfers to me look like they have come from decent 35mm anamorphic elements, I doubt such elements would be the full roadshow versions.

    Ideally we need all these films transfered from their the various large format elements. Especially Fall of the Roman Empire which is Ultra Panavision.
     
  6. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    But we have been waiting for these a long time and there is no sign of "proper"transfers from Miramax/disney. They most probably come from the same 35mm sources as the Laserdiscs which did include the overtures,etc.

    Can those who have these discs post some details? PLEASE.
    Given the rich Technicolor of the orginals, the biggest problem of these transfers seems to be the faded colour(like the transfer of "Barabbas"}
     
  7. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    Very sad. I LOVE the film Barabbas and the color on the dvd gives NO clue as to what it looked like in Technicolor. Missing is the finale of act One and the intermission music.
     
  8. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    If only Warner owned them all... they did something amazing wiht King of Kings.
     
  9. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    Has anybody checked out this Fall of the Roman Empire disc, yet? I've never seen it, and have been trying for years to find it. I would blind-buy if the transfer was at least OAR and the version was complete.
     
  10. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Second Unit

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    FORE is not OAR, as it's a 2.76:1 Ultra Panavision film... you could also quibble and say El Cid should be 2.21:1 as well, but considering their probably both 35mm sourced beggars can't be choosers!

    It's a tough decision, buy these - the best currently available version's, or wait until an official domestic release happens - which considering rumours of release date back to 2000 by Miramax, these films may not appear on dvd, that's presuming whoever owns the rights by then release's them on High Def!

    M
     
  11. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    I have never beeen able to find reference to Empire being released in a wider AR than Scope.I know it was shot Ultra Panavision, but I saw the world premiere print in London in March 1964 and it was standard spherical 2.20:1. I have seen several other 70mm prints over the years and they have all been 2.20:1.

    I thought that it may have been " Cinerama'ed " in the US and some anamorphic 70mm prints made for that but from the details I have managed to find out, it appears not

    Can anyone out can say that they saw in it in true Ultra Panavision?.
     
  12. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Second Unit

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    Bearing in mind that premiere was 42 yrs ago coupled with the fact that prints (premiere or otherwise) are often presented incorrectly, with specific difficulties in showing an anamorphic 70mm film, not least having the correct projection lenses, the only authentic source of it's true ratio is the camera negative..

    ...now seeing that legal teams get paid huge sums of money to ensure correct crediting, and by this time Panavision was becoming extremely succesfull and with relatively few high-profile 70mm features released a year highlighting their very best technology, I find it extremely unlikely that the credit's for the feature would incorrectly credit Ultra rather than Super Panavision if it wasn't photographed that way.

    This coupled with the fact that the 2.32 version still genuinely looks cropped, leads me to no other conclusion that this is a true 2.76:1 ratio feature.

    M
     
  13. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    I have screen captures of the Korean (on the top) and Japanese (on the bottom) dvd of Fall of The Roman Empire -
    http://cinerama.topcities.com/fotre.htm

    At 2.35:1 your seeing 85% of the 2.76:1 frame
     
  14. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Thanks for the captures.

    I have the Korean, but neither edition looks much good.

    For what its worth, EL CID looks the best of all the Korean editions of Bronston films that I've seen, although there is considerable room for improvement.
     
  15. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Just out of interest, I captured a clip from the brief excerpt of Fall of the Roman Empire that appears in Scorsese's Personal Journey Through American Movies documentary. The documentary is a Miramax DVD. Unfortunately the clip is terrible quality, and cropped down to about 2.17:1.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I can't profess to recall what the ratio appeared to be when I saw the film at the Astoria in London but I saw the film again at a 70mm reissue in Leeds in the '70s and it was certainly much wider than 2.20:1 then.
     
  17. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Most Ultra Panavision films were projected on spherical 70mm (Super Panavision) prints. Anamorphic 70mm prints were only for the most expensive first run presentations. My guess is it was hard for cinemas to get the special 1.25 X anamorphic lenses, so spherical prints were an easier but still very high quality option.

    According to Martin Hart, Ultra Panavision was never really intended as a projection format. It was designed simply as a very high quality photographic format, with the capability for the production of the highest quality 35mm anamorphic, 70mm spherical and three strip 35mm Cinerama elements. See here: http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/Widescreen/c65story.htm

    Hart points out that the first Ultra Panavision film Raintree County was only exhibited from 35mm CinemaScope prints. Most cinemas with 70mm projectors were still showing Around the World in 80 Days [​IMG]
     
  18. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    There's no doubt in my mind that "Empire" was shot in Ultra Panavision.I am hopeful(!) that somewhere there is a squeezed 65mm negative, presumably in the Du Pont vaults.Spherical prints from Ultra Panavision negs were common-all 70mm prints of "Ben Hur" after its initial release were and "Khartoum", the last film in the process certainly was.I believe that so was "Empire".

    The 50's and 60's were the time of cinema showmanship and after completely redecorating London's Astoria Theatre for a long run for "Empire"(Rank got a year),they could have easily put in a new screen and lenses for Ultra Panavision but they did not.

    Likewise at the Merrion Center in Leeds which opened with this film in 1964,the projectionist has just confirmed that it was indeed a spherical print.Incidentally he also confirms that the only two cinemas in Leeds in the 70's that could have shown the film in 70mm were never equiped to show Ultra Panavision so any reissue must have been spherical.

    The point I am making is that we should not get too hung up if any DVD gives us 2.35 or 2.20:1 aspect ratio.More important is whether the colour is as rich as is was originally or whether the extra music is included.

    Thank God we now have a dvd at all.
     
  19. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    I personally think Ultra Panavision films should be transfered from 65mm anamorphic elements preserving the full 2.76:1 aspect ratio. I know there is debate about this being necessary, but I think the Ultra Panavision format is a peripheral, but important part of technological film history, and it is important that those materials are made accessible as originally photographed, in the case of Raintree County, for the first time ever.
     
  20. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    Thanks for that interesting information John. I stand corrected. Time plays tricks!
     

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