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Will EL CID, THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, and 55 DAYS AT PEKING ever get a proper restoration and hi-def release.

Robert Harris

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#1 of 83 Nick*Z

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Posted January 06 2013 - 06:48 AM

The epics of Samuel Bronston have never been given their proper due on home video - mainly because of their deplorable PD status for many years. Bronston, part visionary/part showman (some would suggest part con - I disagree) had impeccable vision. Moreover, he spent money to make money - or in his latter film's case - to lose it, badly. Regardless, we are missing three immortal classics from his canon: El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire and 55 Days at Peking. When Weinstein acquired these titles back in the early 2000s I held out some hope we might be gearing up for their reemergence on home video in pristine new transfers. I was mistaken. Weinstein has since lost the rights to these movies and I'm not sure what the future holds for any of them. I realize I've omitted Circus World from this collection (never cared for it). But quite frankly, isn't it about time Bronston - the man, the film maker, the mogul, and his legacy - received their due on home video? Thoughts? Facts? Prayers for some sort of not too distant resurrection for these flicks on home video?

#2 of 83 Yreg335

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Posted May 28 2013 - 03:18 PM

I can't agree more. I am at a loss when I think of someone who owns this property and won't let it out. For years I've been waiting for 55. Let's hope that it is done soon BUT done right. BTW 6:30am is probably the best time of this kind of thinking.

#3 of 83 Stefan Andersson

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Posted January 22 2014 - 11:38 AM

A recent post spotted on blu-ray.com, posted by member "Aclea" re: missing footage in FOTR --

 

 

"The 'trilemma' sequence - where Commodus explains that if there are gods, it doesn't matter what he chooses to do because they'll have already decided for him, if there aren't any gods it doesn't matter what he does and if he is god it also doesn't matter what he does - does still exist on the 16mm negative and was on the feature length Super 8mm prints released in the 1990s (which had much more detail than the BD), the only time since the film's first run they were seen. I was asked to locate the footage, which at the time was held at Filmbond on the UK, but the Weinsteins then decided to wasn't worth paying to add it (I wasn't paid either, bless 'em)."

 

No Word about the allegedly missing reaction shot of Commodus watching the burnings at the stake at the end.

 

 

Maybe Criterion would like to remaster and release El Cid, FOTR, 55 Days and maybe Circus World?

 

Circus World has been restored from 8-perf materials and released in France on Blu.

 

A new French blu of 55 Days has been announced. No online reviews yet.
 



#4 of 83 Ernest

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:30 PM

I purchased Region "B" Blu-rays of El Cid & Fall Roman Empire from Amazon.uk sometime ago and although they are noting to rave about they are a big improvement when compared to the DVD's.  Circus World is also available on Blu-ray in Region "B".  I don't own a copy so I can't comment on the Blu-ray quality.  I do own anamorphic 16 x 9 DVD's of 55 Days and Circus World.  Would love to own 55 Days on Blu-ray.

 

As Weinstein found out their is not a large US Market for any of these titles.  From what was reported El Cid and Fall Roman Empire experienced weak DVD sales so Weinstein did not release Circus World and 55 Days.  These are the specific type of titles that are best served by Twilight or Criterion.  

 

Unless you buy the region "B" versions of El Cid and Fall Roman Empire, is they are still available, I think you are out of luck.



#5 of 83 ahollis

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:30 PM

The films are not PD and presently controlled in the US by The Weinstein Company. Not sure when and if ever their agreement runs out.

They lost interest in the titles after poor sales of EL CID and FALL OF THE RIMAN EMPIRE. Which was actually their fault due to the poor transfers. I thought the transfers were acceptable, but just acceptable. I could never understand why they did not start with CIRCUS WORLD due to the popularity of John Wayne. That would have been a sure seller.

I am concerned that the elements for the four films are in dire shape and it's going to take an angle that loves the titles to get them to us in Blu.

If and when they do arrive. There is a sure sale here.
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#6 of 83 JoHud

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:38 PM

So does the Weinstein Company still have these films?  The first post says the Weinstein Company no longer has the rights but others say they still do.

 

At any rate, it seems like the rights holders in France seem to be the only ones doing anything with these films for blu-ray lately.  I'm hopeful their 55 Days in Peking is as good as the blu-ray of Circus World, which was outstanding.



#7 of 83 RolandL

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:45 PM

Circus World French Blu-ray. Click on image to see full 1080p.

 

cw222.jpg


Roland Lataille
Cinerama web site

 


#8 of 83 John Hermes

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:48 PM

Circus World French Blu-ray

 

cw222.jpg

I have the French Circus World BD and it is outstanding.  Hopefully, 55 Days will be in that class.



#9 of 83 SAhmed

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:59 PM

I, too, would love to have top notch, high def transfers of any of the 4 Bronston movies mentioned but El Cid in particular which I think is the best of this bunch and my personal favorite! It, along side "The Magnificent Ambersons" are by far my "Holy Grails" for my collection.

 

Regards,

 

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#10 of 83 ahollis

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Posted January 22 2014 - 01:12 PM

Circus World French Blu-ray. Click on image to see full 1080p.

cw222.jpg


Does this have burned in sub-titles? I think I heard it did
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#11 of 83 ahollis

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Posted January 22 2014 - 01:19 PM

So does the Weinstein Company still have these films? The first post says the Weinstein Company no longer has the rights but others say they still do.

At any rate, it seems like the rights holders in France seem to be the only ones doing anything with these films for blu-ray lately. I'm hopeful their 55 Days in Peking is as good as the blu-ray of Circus World, which was outstanding.


From what I remember is the Weinstein agreement was for 10 years and it was signed in 2007. I could be wrong with the length and it was much shorter.

Some of confusion on the rights is that Genius released the Weinstein product at the time and that agreement ended end.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#12 of 83 JoHud

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Posted January 22 2014 - 01:21 PM

The subtitles aren't "burned in" onto the transfer, but the blu-ray is hardsubbed meaning they can't normally be turned off.  I've heard that with an Oppo player that the subtitles can be moved off-screen.



#13 of 83 ahollis

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Posted January 22 2014 - 01:56 PM

The subtitles aren't "burned in" onto the transfer, but the blu-ray is hardsubbed meaning they can't normally be turned off. I've heard that with an Oppo player that the subtitles can be moved off-screen.


Thanks.
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#14 of 83 OliverK

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Posted January 22 2014 - 04:23 PM

I have the French Circus World BD and it is outstanding.  Hopefully, 55 Days will be in that class.


The same company that did Circus World worked on 55 Days. This release will even have 5.1 sound so there should be both great video AND audio.

#15 of 83 Mark Edward Heuck

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Posted January 24 2014 - 02:54 AM

From what I remember is the Weinstein agreement was for 10 years and it was signed in 2007. I could be wrong with the length and it was much shorter.

Some of confusion on the rights is that Genius released the Weinstein product at the time and that agreement ended end.

 

Genius was actually 70% owned by The Weinstein Company, so they were their de facto home video arm. When TWC ran into money trouble in the mid-noughties, they shut down Genius and mortgaged all those previous releases to Vivendi, who was serving as their replicator/rackjobber; it was after that when TWC started putting out movies through Sony and Anchor Bay for DVD and Blu-Ray.

At last check, Vivendi (which was fused with rackjobber Gaiam) got bought out by upstart indie Cinedigm, who put out SHORT TERM 12 and themselves took over New Video Corp., who were known mostly for documentary releases. I am guessing that for now, their license on all previous TWC titles is still valid.

What I suspect this means is that if the Weinsteins still have the Bronston package, it might still be up to Cinedigm (or whatever the label will be called) to decide if they want to put it out. Seeing as how they have done very little with their TWC titles since the Blu-Ray release of the complete GRINDHOUSE, this might be part of the problem.


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#16 of 83 ahollis

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Posted January 24 2014 - 03:12 AM

Genius was actually 70% owned by The Weinstein Company, so they were their de facto home video arm. When TWC ran into money trouble in the mid-noughties, they shut down Genius and mortgaged all those previous releases to Vivendi, who was serving as their replicator/rackjobber; it was after that when TWC started putting out movies through Sony and Anchor Bay for DVD and Blu-Ray.
At last check, Vivendi (which was fused with rackjobber Gaiam) got bought out by upstart indie Cinedigm, who put out SHORT TERM 12 and themselves took over New Video Corp., who were known mostly for documentary releases. I am guessing that for now, their license on all previous TWC titles is still valid.
What I suspect this means is that if the Weinsteins still have the Bronston package, it might still be up to Cinedigm (or whatever the label will be called) to decide if they want to put it out. Seeing as how they have done very little with their TWC titles since the Blu-Ray release of the complete GRINDHOUSE, this might be part of the problem.


Just about correct except that Genius products and Weinstein formed another entity called Genius Products LLC with Genius products owning 25% and Weinstein owning 75%. It was basically just used for physical distribution to brick and mortar stores with both companies participating in profits. When Weinstein fell on hard times and the loss of the B & M outlets, the company did not make sense so Weinstein sold out and took their films with them. Which in turn created hard times for Genius Products and they sold.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman


#17 of 83 Dr Griffin

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Posted January 24 2014 - 05:33 AM

*
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The deluxe DVD box editions of El Cid and Fall of the Roman Empire with lobby/post cards and booklets were very well done. I'm hanging onto those no matter what.


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#18 of 83 Richard V

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Posted January 24 2014 - 05:59 AM

The deluxe DVD box editions of El Cid and Fall of the Roman Empire with lobby/post cards and booklets were very well done. I'm hanging onto those no matter what.

 

Agreed.


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#19 of 83 Charles Smith

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Posted January 24 2014 - 06:26 AM

Agreed.  And the same with the similar Cinema Paradiso box -- which was way too deep, but the Blu-ray fits perfectly inside, helping to push out all of that extra air.



#20 of 83 Vic Pardo

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Posted January 24 2014 - 08:33 AM



A recent post spotted on blu-ray.com, posted by member "Aclea" re: missing footage in FOTR --

 

 

"The 'trilemma' sequence - where Commodus explains that if there are gods, it doesn't matter what he chooses to do because they'll have already decided for him, if there aren't any gods it doesn't matter what he does and if he is god it also doesn't matter what he does - does still exist on the 16mm negative and was on the feature length Super 8mm prints released in the 1990s (which had much more detail than the BD), the only time since the film's first run they were seen. I was asked to locate the footage, which at the time was held at Filmbond on the UK, but the Weinsteins then decided to wasn't worth paying to add it (I wasn't paid either, bless 'em)."

 

 

 

 

Can someone explain that reference to me? Why would there have been "feature length Super 8mm prints released in the 1990s"??? Who would have wanted Super 8 prints of a movie in the 1990s? I never heard of this.

 

Thanks.







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