It pretty much looks and feels like every other peplum of the time and that's not a bad thing. 3 Stars

I got the new Warner Archive and have watched the first half. It’s the American cut, so 128 minutes, as opposed to the European cut which runs around 144 minutes. This was Leone’s first solo directing effort and it shows absolutely zero of the style he’d present to the world with Fistful of Dollars. It pretty much looks and feels like every other peplum of the time and that’s not a bad thing.

I saw it when it originally played, but unlike the Hercules movies, this one made zero impression on me. I had the DVD and that looked bad. So, when the uncut German Blu-ray came out I snatched it up – sadly it wasn’t English friendly in any way – no dub, no subtitles. But the image looked pretty decent, I thought, with good color and the usual tinny sound of those Italian things, especially the Lavagnino score.

The Warner Archive disc is, for me, not quite as visually good – color is decent, but it’s REALLY grainy, mostly because I believe when MGM released this originally they would have had some kind of dupe negative or internegative of the cut version, generations away from any camera negative. I have no doubt it was probably super grainy in its theater prints. But it’s never as sharp as the German Blu (which, BTW, has its own set of peculiar problems with gate weave and some weird color shifts and bloopy edits.

But if you want the English you need the Warner Archive and it’s probably as good as they could get whatever element they had to work with. The film is long even at 128 minutes, but it’s fun

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Billy Batson

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I can just about remember seeing this at the cinema in the early sixties, along with films like, Duel Of The Titans, Hercules Unchained & Sons Of Thunder (I must have been very uncritical about lip-sync in those days), I don't think I could sit through any of them now. This does seem like an odd choice for a WAC release.
 

Douglas R

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I got the new Warner Archive and have watched the first half. It's the American cut, so 128 minutes, as opposed to the European cut which runs around 144 minutes. This was Leone's first solo directing effort and it shows absolutely zero of the style he'd present to the world with Fistful of Dollars. It pretty much looks and feels like every other peplum of the time and that's not a bad thing.

I saw it when it originally played, but unlike the Hercules movies, this one made zero impression on me. I had the DVD and that looked bad. So, when the uncut German Blu-ray came out I snatched it up - sadly it wasn't English friendly in any way - no dub, no subtitles. But the image looked pretty decent, I thought, with good color and the usual tinny sound of those Italian things, especially the Lavagnino score.

The Warner Archive disc is, for me, not quite as visually good - color is decent, but it's REALLY grainy, mostly because I believe when MGM released this originally they would have had some kind of dupe negative or internegative of the cut version, generations away from any camera negative. I have no doubt it was probably super grainy in its theater prints. But it's never as sharp as the German Blu (which, BTW, has its own set of peculiar problems with gate weave and some weird color shifts and bloopy edits.

But if you want the English you need the Warner Archive and it's probably as good as they could get whatever element they had to work with. The film is long even at 128 minutes, but it's fun


US prints may well have been grainy but European prints certainly weren't. I happened to see the film in Ostend, Belgium in September 1961. Although a long time ago, it was one of those films which stood out for me simply because the picture quality was exceptionally good; very clear, sharp and bright. I can still see the images in my mind on that massive screen in what was a very modern cinema with a bar at the rear of the auditorium which was open while the film was playing! (now long demolished as I noted on a recent visit). One thing I certainly can't claim to remember though, is whether the film ran 128 or 144 minutes.
 

Matt Hough

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Thankfully, I don't like the film enough to buy it again (I have the DVD that was in the Warner box set of sword and sandal epics), but I'm glad it's something of an upgrade for those who want it. I really want to support Warner Archive, but this is not a movie I'd ever watch enough to justify its price.
 

Keith Cobby

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I thought WA were only releasing blu-rays with very good image quality rather than the best they could do. If the latter it should be possible to release many other films that wouldn't previously have made the cut.
 

OliverK

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I will go on record here saying that the European Blu-ray is not very sharp or detailed to begin with so with this release having rather less detail it would seem that this release is not up to the usual standards of the Warner Archive.

As Keith points out this not a bad thing if it means that now we will also get other releases on Blu-ray that Warner already has available in some kind of quality that is somewhere in between a good DVD and a good Blu-ray.
 

Lord Dalek

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This is Techniscope right? That would add to the grain since you're working with 50% real estate.
 

skylark68

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I love this movie but pulled my pre-order. I have a strange feeling that Warner Archives is going to have a sale by the end of the July. If I'm wrong, I'll go ahead and order it... One of my favorites of the sword and sandal era (peplum). Rory Calhoun is great.

I would like Helen of Troy and Land of the Pharaohs as well though, don't get me wrong. But I'm happy to see any of this genre released. I especially enjoy the tomb scene and the fight in/on the Colossus.

Maybe one day another party will release the Steve Reeves films too, particularly Hercules and Hercules Unchained.
 

Billy Batson

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Maybe one day another party will release the Steve Reeves films too, particularly Hercules and Hercules Unchained.

I can just about remember seeing Hercules Unchained. I was 9 or 10, & there was a huge publicity campaign, vans driving around the streets displaying a huge film poster, so me & some school mates went to see it, big colour poster, very colourful stills as we shuffled into the cinema, the film starts...& it's b/w! Not even a nice b/w, but a murky flat b/w. It wasn't until years later that I found out it was supposed to be in colour. Of course now I know what happened, obviously the distributer only had a colour print & knocked off a load of cheap b/w prints from it.

Anyone interested in these ancient world epics, I can thoroughly recommend the book, The Epic Film by Derek Elley, although it's probably out of print now.
 

OliverK

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john a hunter

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No. It was credited as Supertotalscope. An Italian anamorphic lens similar to CinemaScope.
I saw it as a bottom half of a MGM double bill on the ABC circuit in London.
A western with "Doctor Kildare" was the top half.
Colossus got a rave review in the Evening News paper and ended up "going solo" for a season at the Ritz next to the Empire Leicester Sq.
As a kid with a developing interest in Ancient history, I thought it was great.
Shame though it didn't get Steve Reeves or Richard Harrison.
 

haineshisway

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OliverK said: "I will go on record here saying that the European Blu-ray is not very sharp or detailed to begin with so with this release having rather less detail it would seem that this release is not up to the usual standards of the Warner Archive."

So you're going "on record" as having actually seen the German Blu-ray? Because I feel like I'm being gaslighted here. I A/B'd the two releases - to my eyes the German had slightly better color and it sure looked more detailed to me and I'm not sure how you can say, outside of a handful of shot, that it has no detail when it clearly does, and certainly more than the Warner Archive. As I said, the German has its own set of issues - scratches, some weird editing shifts, gate weave, but detail is not a problem. There's nothing terrible about the Warners transfer and I'm sure they did the best with whatever element they had - it looks fine and if you're a fan you should get it.
 
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haineshisway

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I haven't done that comparison - maybe someone has. I saw a few shots in the opening - violence mostly - that weren't in the US.
 

OliverK

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So you're going "on record" as having actually seen the German Blu-ray? Because I feel like I'm being gaslighted here. I A/B'd the two releases - to my eyes the German had slightly better color and it sure looked more detailed to me and I'm not sure how you can say, outside of a handful of shot, that it has no detail when it clearly does, and certainly more than the Warner Archive. As I said, the German has its own set of issues - scratches, some weird editing shifts, gate weave, but detail is not a problem. There's nothing terrible about the Warners transfer and I'm sure they did the best with whatever element they had - it looks fine and if you're a fan you should get it.[/QUOTE]

I am a big fan of peplums and of Sergio Leone so yes I watched the German Blu-ray version some time ago and found the detail to be disappointing, even in the well lit scenes shot during the day.

There was no malice towards you in my post by the way and I had to look up being gaslighted :) Me and I am sure a lot of other members would be happy if Warner lowered their standards a bit and gave us more releases that otherwise would not make the cut. And I would not think that this makes this release terrible, just that it may be the first release for some time that looks a bit less than perfect which is not a bad thing.