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Bronston epics and Land of the Pharaohs coming at last!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Douglas R, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. Douglas R

    Douglas R Well-Known Member

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    According to a post on DVD Times Forum, Movies Unlimited say that Weinstein have acquired the rights to the Samuel Bronston epics Fall Of The Roman Empire, El Cid, 55 Days At Peking and Circus World and plan a mid-2007 DVD release.

    The rights for these films had been with Miramax for some years. The Weinstein Brothers left Miramax in 2005 to head Dimension Films. Hopefully the Weinstein Company will provide definitive R1 versions of these fine films.

    Movies Unlimited also say that Land Of The Pharaohs (Warner Bros) is receiving serious restoration so a DVD release may not be far off.
     
  2. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Well-Known Member

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    Great news! I hope the Bronston epics are handled properly. Warner's DVD of King of Kings set the standard, hopefully the other films match that level.
     
  3. Jim_K

    Jim_K Well-Known Member

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    This is great news indeed! [​IMG] I've been waiting years for R1 editions of these films.
     
  4. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Well-Known Member

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    I really wish Warner would do a CinemaScope epics box though.

    Land of the Pharoahs
    King Richard and the Crusaders
    The Silver Chalice
    Green Fire
    The Command (OK this is a western)
    The Adventures of Quentin Durward
    The King's Thief

    Some of these are lesser films, but they would probably sell OK if presented in a good value for money boxed set.
     
  5. kenNew

    kenNew Well-Known Member

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    I've been waiting for these since the start of DVD. We've had our hopes raised before but I hope this comes true. I have German DVDs of the Bronston films but I really hope these romoured releases have OAR, extras etc. The French DVD of 'Fall of the Roman Empire' has a documentary called 'Rome in Madrid' (or something) which I'd really like to see.
     
  6. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Fantastic news! [​IMG]
     
  7. PatrickDA

    PatrickDA Well-Known Member

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    YES! Even more Mann on DVD! I've waited for this since 2001 or so. WOW!

    Please post more details as soon as anybody gets anything.
     
  8. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    I'm really just looking for El Cid and Fall of the Roman Empire, but they are at the top of my list of "most wanteds". It may finally be getting nearly time to retire my laserdiscs of those two titles. Mann's gift for pictorial composition really shines in those two epics.
     
  9. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Well-Known Member

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    I knew it. The moment I transferred my Criterion LD of EL CID to DVD-R (and recorded a TCM airing of FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE on DVD-R), a lightbulb appeared over the Weinstein Bros' heads... Great news, though; I'm looking forward to a nice, anamorphic DVDs of both films.
     
  10. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Well-Known Member

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    Finally! After how many years?! Let's hope they have access to some decent elements to enable uncut, multi-track roadshow editions for all. If Mr Harris is reading are you aware of any information regarding what the Weinsteins have access to on these titles, as if it's a mid '07 release they must be in or near too the early parts of the transfer stage?

    M
     
  11. Mario Gauci

    Mario Gauci Well-Known Member

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    For all my admiration of Nicholas Ray and Anthony Mann - and the latter's two Samuel Bronston epics in particular - I urge everyone to give Howard Hawks' LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955) a rental (at the very least) when it makes its appearance on DVD.

    Frankly, I'm somewhat biased about this movie in two ways: firstly, I consider Hawks the greatest American film-maker ever (and my personal second favorite) and secondly (and, perhaps, more importantly) I still have vivid memories of an early 1980s childhood viewing of it one Sunday afternoon on local TV; I subsequently reacquainted myself with it much later on and, even if it's in no way comparable to Hawks' best films, in my opinion there is much to admire in the film and is certainly one of Hollywood's most interesting epics of its period. Jack Hawkins makes for a dignified pharaoh and Joan Collins a memorable villainess and the distinguished crew members involved (William Faulkner, Lee Garmes, Dimitri Tiomkin, Alexandre Trauner, etc.) speak for themselves. And, if that isn't enough of a lure, it's also one of Martin Scorsese's guilty pleasures...
     
  12. Dick

    Dick Well-Known Member

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    Well, the last five minutes of LAND OF THE PHAROAHS is worth the price of admission - it's one of the greatest endings to an otherwise mediocre movie in history. Check it out!
     
  13. RolandL

    RolandL Well-Known Member

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    Lets hope Fall of The Roman Empire is released with a aspect ratio of 2.76:1 to show the full frame of Ultra Panavsion. Ben-Hur, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Battle of The Bulge have been released properly with this aspect ratio. It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Hallelujah Trail and Khartoum are around 2.35:1 on DVD. It was annouced in another thread that Raintree County will be released mid 2007.
     
  14. Jon Lidolt

    Jon Lidolt Well-Known Member

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    The question remains as to what the correct aspect ratio of an Ultra-Panavision movie really is. Most cinema goers saw these films projected via 35mm prints in 2.35, and "Roman Empire" was cropped even more and printed as a standard spherical 70mm 2.21 print for its roadshow engagements.

    I can't see that this is any different than 35mm films that are shot full-frame but composed to allow cropping in the projector and shown on a theatre's wide screen in 1.85. Since Ultra-Panavision films were always composed with cropping in mind, is that not the way these films should be viewed?

    I myself favor a cropped version for home viewing. The ultra-wide 2.76 aspect ratio, even when viewed on a large wide-screen monitor, results in a tiny image and diminishes a film's impact .
     
  15. Douglas R

    Douglas R Well-Known Member

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    I'm a bit confused here. Surely 70mm roadshow presentations of "Roman Empire" were shown 2.75:1. However, I agree that there is a case for debating whether this ratio is too wide for satisfactory home viewing.
     
  16. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Well-Known Member

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    Having watched both Ben Hur & B of the Bulge at 2.76:1 on my 82" screen I'm afraid I disagree that "The ultra-wide 2.76 aspect ratio, even when viewed on a large wide-screen monitor, results in a tiny image and diminishes a film's impact."

    On the contrary, IMO the ultra-wide image makes it stand out from the crowd of normal 'scope production and makes it feel far more cinematic and gives it a sense of grandeur.
    There's plenty of others with screen's far bigger than mine too, that i'm sure would agree!

    As for the notion that it was composed for something less than it's photographed ratio, then it begs the question why did Bob Krasker chose to go with U.P. over Super Panavision/standard 70mm unless he wanted this ultra-wide look. He shot El Cid 3 years earlier in 2.21 so he must have had a reason for U.P. As he's unfortunately been gone for 25 years he is not around to ask, nor supervise a re-formatted transfer, therefore I suggest it remains in 2.76:1 as photographed.

    M
     
  17. RolandL

    RolandL Well-Known Member

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    Well, there must have been Ultra Panavision prints made as they recently had a Wide Screen Weekend at the Pictureville Cinema, Bradford, England this year (see below - March 10 - 19:30).



    2006


    March 9
    16:00 "Krakatoa: East of Java" on the curve in 70mm Todd-AO/Super
    Cinerama with 6-track magnetic stereo
    20:15 "Batman Begins" in 70mm IMAX with 6 track digital stereo


    March 10
    10:00 "Custer of the West" on the curve in 70mm Super Technirama 70
    with 6-track magnetic stereo
    13:30 "How the West Was Won" on the curve in 3-strip Cinerama with
    7-track magnetic stereo
    16:45 Widescreen Welcome - Reception - drinks for the weekend delegates
    - Kodak gallery
    18:15 Tony Cutts 50th Anniversary as projectionist Moderator: Bill
    Lawrence
    19:30 "The Fall of the Roman Empire" on the curve in 70mm Ultra
    Panavision 70 with 6-track magnetic stereo


    March 11
    10:00 "The Golden Head" on the curve in 70mm Super Technirama 70 with
    6-track magnetic stereo + "Fortress of Peace" in 70mm MCS-70
    Superpanorama with 6-track magnetic stereo
    12:00 "Windjammer" on the curve in 3-strip Cinemiracle with 7-track
    magnetic stereo
    15:00 "Zulu" on the flat screen in 35mm Technirama
    17:30 "Zulu" cast and crew Moderator: Sheldon Hall
    19:30 "South Pacific" on the curve in 70mm Todd-AO with 6-track digital
    DTS sound


    March 12
    10:00 Cineramacana including "Stuyvesant", "Motion", digital
    projection demo + the odd surprise. Academy of the Widescreen Weekend
    13:00 "The Bible...in the beginning" on the curve in 70mm Dimension
    150 with 6-track magnetic stereo
    16:15 Richard Vetter in conversation with Thomas Hauerslev about
    Todd-AO & Dimension 150
    17:00 "This is Cinerama" on the curve in 3-strip Cinerama with
    7-track magnetic stereo
    20:00 "Far and Away" on the flat screen in 70mm Panavision Super 70
    with 6-track magnetic stereo


    March 13
    10:30 "Doctor Zhivago" on the flat screen in 70mm Panavision 70
    with 6-track magnetic stereo
     
  18. john a hunter

    john a hunter Well-Known Member

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    This has made my Christmas especially as Weinstein are exclusive HD DVD users and there is a chance to see these films in HD.As anyone who has seen MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY in HD DVD will testify, it's the way to go.!

    Now on to ROMAN EMPIRE. All 70mm presentations in UK and the rest of the world where Rank had the rights( and probably in the US where it was released by Paramount)where in 2.20:1. This certainly includes the world premiere at the Astoria in London. It was probably shot in that format as 65mm processing had only just began to be available in Europe and there was some idea of a release in single strip Cinerama. All releases up to that time had been shot in Ultra Pan for " Cinerama".If Bradford showed a print I would guess it was the same print as used for the premiere which I fondly remember to this day as the sharpest 70 mm print I have ever seen. It was the one shown at NFT in the late70's where I saw it several times. It was of course not anamorphic but 2.20:1. Did anyone see the Bradfield presentation and is qualified to confirm?
    I will be happy with what ever we get but to be true to the original intent, it should be in 2.20:1.
     
  19. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Well-Known Member

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    The problem is that as the producer, cinematographer and director have all been dead for many years who can say what the original "intent" was re: aspect ratio apart from what is on the camera negative and any notes that survive from the production and subsequent processing? Thus far I have heard nothing concrete to say otherwise.

    Cropping a 2.76:1 picture to 2.2 is, IMO, the same as panning & scaning any other format (how many people have complained about scope films P&S to 16:9 on widescreen TV broadcasts - the amount of picture lost is almsot the same as 2.7 to 2.2) or to use another favourite with purists akin to remixiing a mono track and not including the original.

    M
     
  20. john a hunter

    john a hunter Well-Known Member

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    IF the producer wanted EMPIRE to be shown in full Ultra Pan he could easily have insisted. He did not. The film was shown world wide in 2.20:1. I think it is correct to presume that that was how it was intended to be seen.
     

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