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Bronston epics and Land of the Pharaohs coming at last!
279 replies to this topic
Posted December 11 2006 - 08:12 PM
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.
Posted December 11 2006 - 10:35 PM
This is great news indeed! I've been waiting years for R1 editions of these films.
Death before Streaming!
Posted December 12 2006 - 12:33 AM
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.
Posted December 12 2006 - 01:54 AM
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.
Posted December 12 2006 - 04:08 AM
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Posted December 12 2006 - 04:14 AM
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.
Posted December 12 2006 - 06:44 AM
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.
Posted December 13 2006 - 06:51 AM
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.
Check out my Film & TV Blog (established 5/5/15): Smoking Holes That Were Once My Eyes...
Posted December 13 2006 - 07:15 AM
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
Posted December 13 2006 - 09:15 AM
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...
Posted December 13 2006 - 02:12 PM
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!
Posted December 14 2006 - 12:18 AM
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.
Cinerama web site
Cinerama web site
Posted December 14 2006 - 03:07 AM
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 .
Posted December 14 2006 - 03:30 AM
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.
Posted December 14 2006 - 06:05 AM
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
Posted December 14 2006 - 07:16 AM
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
Cinerama web site
Cinerama web site
Posted December 14 2006 - 08:21 AM
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.
Posted December 14 2006 - 08:58 AM
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
Posted December 14 2006 - 03:21 PM
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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