A Few Words About A few words about... The Cecil B. DeMille Collection -- in Stardard Definition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    This is a superb omen. A portent of things to come.

    Universal has released ten classic films -- 5 classic Cecil B. DeMille productions from the Universal owned Paramount library, and 5 John Wayne films.

    In giving us previously unreleased DeMille material, it becomes quite evident that a library which has been slowly accessed, is now be opened to the home video world in ernest.

    There are ten DeMille productions currently owned by Universal, and this first beautifully boxed set, with each production on its own disc, gives Mr. DeMille his due in quality form.

    The selection of these films, all in black & white, also gives the studio a bit more time to prepare the more difficult three-strip Technicolor productions for home video.

    The first set includes five important films:

    The Sign of the Cross (1932) in its complete form as restored by The UCLA Film & Television Archive. This early epic has been beautifully rendered.

    This is followed by Four Frightened People (1934), the classic Cleopatra (1934), The Crusades (1935), an interesting early comparison to Kingdom of Heaven, and finally Union Pacific (1939), which almost seems as if Mr. DeMille is moving to Mr. Ford's turf.

    All five films are of the finest quality, brought to DVD with proper respect for their creator.

    This will leave us with four more to come in the future...

    One early black & white, This Day and Age (1933), and three Technicolor productions, North West Mounted Police (1940), The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944) and Unconquered (1947).

    If things go as one would suspect, there will be very few of Mr. DeMille's sound films unreleased.

    This is a very important release from Universal, and comes Extremely Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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    Paramount still owns the 1938 version of "The Buccaneer." It did not go with the pre-48 group to MCA in 1958, probably because of the remake Paramount was doing at the time. That leaves Paramount with three DeMilles they need to release --- both "Buccaneers" and "Samson and Delilah".

    http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    You're quite correct, and the above has been corrected.

    To make matters even a bit more complex, the Paramount / Universal deal is apparently not based upon release dates, but rather production dates. This means that one cannot simply refer to the "pre-1949" Paramounts...

    Thankl you.
     
  4. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Nice to see such an enthusiastic thumbs up! I blind bought this when it came out based largley on price, as I'm largley unfamiliar with DeMille.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Four of these films are acknowledged epics of their era.
     
  6. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Cleaopatra was one of the last laserdisc titles I needed to replace (I think only The Hurricane, Wuthering Heights, and Scarlet Pimpernel are left) so this collection was one of the ones I was most looking forward to this year.
    Cleo looked great, and no hiccups. It may take me a while to get thru the rest, but every other title was just gravy to me anyway.

    so far my only complaint about the set is the packaging. I may end up making my own keep cases for these as the book style box that houses the digipack sticks out about a half inch too far for me to close my case
     
  7. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Speaking of DeMille, what of Madam Satan? I believe this was his only musical, as well as the only musical ever to be set aboard a Zeppelin.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Judging from the DVD Beaver captures, they look great! Universal really does a nice job of remastering their films... especially the Paramounts.

    One thing Universal needs to be praised for, as well, is their marketing of these film collections. I spotted the DeMille box at Wal-Mart. In the past, I've seen the Monster Legacy, Fields, Marx, Glamour, A&C, Brando, Wayne, etc. sets all in stock. It's nice to see classics for sale in such an available store. Not just for the already-established classics fans, but for the ordinary shopper. Perhaps someone who is on the way to pick up Doom and The Princess Diaries 2 will spot a nicely priced set of classics.
     
  9. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

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    I now own this Collection, the new Ten Commandments set, and the Greatest Show on Earth. Any other DeMille recommendations available on DVD? (Sunset Boulevard doesn't count!)
     
  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I am going to be broke so I 'll wait
     
  11. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Universal's Reap The Wild Wind has a gorgeous three-strip Tech transfer, The Plainsman is slightly less eye-popping, but Coop and Jean Arthur, need I say more?
     
  12. JohnPM

    JohnPM Second Unit

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    "Northwest Mounted Police" and "Unconquered" used to come on AMC, and they both looked great. I can only imagine how nice they'll eventually be on DVD. Guess their future release will depend on sales numbers for the current set.

    http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/
     
  13. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Agreed and I really want both of these as well as Samson and Delilah.
     
  14. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    MADAM SATAN is a hoot; it's also from MGM, so wouldn't WB package it?
     
  15. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Grrrrrr; Universal is set to release Cleopatra as a stand-alone...with a slew of extras (conspicuously missing from the box). From ClassicFlix:

    Previously exclusively part of The Cecil B. DeMille Collection, Universal has announced Cleopatra - 75th Anniversary Edition (Universal Backlot Series) set for release on April 7th. It has been digitally remastered with all new bonus features (listed below).

    The single disc Epic will retail for $29.98, but is available at ClassicFlix.com for only $23.99.

    NOTE: Unmentioned in the previous post, this new wave of titles from Universal is known as the "Universal Backlot Series." For the last two years, April has meant 4 releases from their "Cinema Classics" series, so we don't yet know if "Backlot" is seen as a replacement for "Cinema Classics" or is an additional line.

    -- David Greenstreet

    SYNOPSIS:
    Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra, one of the most spectacular motion pictures ever to hit the silver screen, is now available in a new 75th Anniversary Edition DVD.

    Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, it stars Claudette Colbert who gives a stunning performance as the alluring Queen of the Nile in this colossal epic of passion and deception. Determined to exert her power of Julius Caesar (Warren William), Cleopatra uses her beauty and wit to seduce the famous Roman leader into leaving his wife for her. After Caesar's tragic downfall, Cleopatra turns her attentions to the dashing Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon). But as their passionate love affair threatens the peace of the empire, Cleopatra fights a desperate battle to hold on to her happiness and her throne.

    Filled with spectacular sets and amazing performances, Cleopatra is a triumphant cinematic masterpiece. Featuring a digitally remastered picture and all-new bonus features, Cleopatra 75th Anniversary Edition is a stunning tribute to one of the most breathtaking motion pictures ever made.

    BONUS FEATURES:

    Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Sliver Screen
    Cecil B. DeMille: Hollywood's Epic Director
    Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era
    Feature Commentary with Filmmaker F.X. Feeney
    Theatrical Trailer
    3 Collectible Poster/Photo Card Reproductions


    I think I'm doomed to double dip...
     
  16. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the update John
     

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