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A Few Words About A few words about...™ 1492: Conquest of Paradise -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Someone had to do it.

And it was Ridley Scott who took on the task of making a feature length film celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Columbus' discovery.

Photographed by Adrian Biddle, the new Blu-ray looks film-like, with occasional non-problematic bits of minus density, making it appear to be a genuine 35mm print. Resolution, grain, black levels and color, are all quite serviceable, but could be far better, if the rights holders were willing to make an investment.

That noted, the audio mix, which was originally prepped for 6-track 70mm, is now DTS-HD MA, but not 5.1.

1492 has taken a long time to reach Blu-ray, and fans of Mr. Scott should be thrilled that it has arrived.

It's a Blu-ray that's good enough, without checking any boxes allowing it rise above that point in quality.

Image - 4

Audio - 3.75

4k Up-rez - 4

Pass / Fail - Pass

RAH
 

skylark68

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I preordered this and wasn't disappointed. It's not pristine unfortunately but definitely better than adequate. I've always loved this film. Wish it was at least another hour long. There is so much to Columbus' story that is equally dramatic to his first voyage. Next to the Directors Cut of Kingdom of Heaven this is my favorite Scott film.
 

Konstantinos

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If this had 5.1 audio and the longer cut I would buy it.

The colors look as I first watched the film.
But now, unfortunately I can't.
Hope someone in UK releases it.
 

JoshZ

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Someone had to do it.

And it was Ridley Scott who took on the task of making a feature length film celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Columbus' discovery.

And John Glen as well, nearly simultaneously.
 

PaulDA

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I have the German Blu-ray. Pretty sure it's 5.1 (I needed to replace my worn VHS widescreen copy for classroom use, so I found a disc a few years ago online).

Unless there are significant extras on this release, I'll live with the German disc menu.
 

john a hunter

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Any comments on the transfer Paul?
Given the excellent cinematography and I enjoying many of Scott's films, this was an intended buy.
However given the very mixed reviews, I'll pass on the Kino.
Surprised from what I read that Scott approved the transfer.
Can only presume he wasn't paying attention.
 

Dick

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There is so much to Columbus' story that is equally dramatic to his first voyage.

Such as, that he was a ruthless slaveholder and seemed to hold that human life (except for his own) was non-essential? That we actually celebrate this man with a holiday even today completely disgusts me. Filmmakers have never really depicted an accurate picture of this pompous, exploitative "hero," instead choosing to go with the elementary school "history" book version. His landing (due to poor navigation) on what he named "San Salvador" was a travesty of gold theft and the kidnapping of natives he turned into and sold as slaves.

Relatively few films that purport to be based on history are more than merely slightly accurate, but this 1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE is one of the more egregious offenders, along with the other Columbus film released that year. The Columbus character is well-played played by Gerard Depardieu, but it just ain't who Columbus was, according to all more recent accounts from historians, which Mr. Scott would have had plenty of access to.

A miss, Ridley, aside from the beautiful visuals and a listenable Vangelis score.
 

skylark68

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Well, I still like the film even if the legend casts a cloak over the tragedy.

Like you said, there are plenty of biographical films out there that have done the same.

When Columbus Day was first celebrated as a National Holiday it was a huge victory for Italian Americans and Catholics in the United States. If you recall, both groups in general were treated with bigotry in our country in the early years of this country, so in a sense, this was a victory for "multiculturalism." This may be why there is a bit of a whitewash of Columbus' character and actions for most of the century.

You have to admit though, that Columbus' life was not lacking in the drama department. His fourth voyage in particular was interesting. He was stranded on Jamaica and tried to get help but the governor of Hispanola wouldn't even rescue him because he hated Columbus.
 

benbess

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I feel mixed about this movie, for some of the reasons Rick brings up. But the score, the cinematography, and many of the performances are impressive.
 

waltodonnell

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I've been on a bit of a nostalgic kick with the 30th anniversary of the film's release approaching. I've been looking at my copy of the movie novelization (yes one was written) and noticing again all the scenes that were deleted, even from the international cut which runs a bit longer than the American version I knew. In fact there was an entire fourth voyage to Panama taken out of the film, which explains why Columbus's hair goes from slightly gray to stark white from one scene to the next near the end. There was also a death bed scene for Queen Isabel that explains why she is nowhere to be seen when credit for Columbus's discoveries is given to Amerigo Vespucci.

As of 2006, these scenes still existed. Ridley Scott was in talks to do a four hour cut of the film for an HBO miniseries. This website explains a bit more:


It’s highly doubtful, but I wonder if Scott ever got around to putting together his “mini-series” version. Back in 2006, when doing press for the Director’s Cut of Kingdom of Heaven he mentioned they were going back to look at the material for a 4-hour long version, that would premier on HBO. It’s so odd he mentions HBO directly, there must have been some serious talks for him to mention the channel and not just say “Premiere on cable”.

Here’s what I could find from the interview. DVD Review (UK magazine)

"And the other project?

Well there's a film I did with Gerard Depardieu, 1492. There’s definetely a four-hour-long film in that one, so we're looking at digging out all the old material with a view to doing it on HBO first"."

end quote

I've been checking to see if this would finally come to fruition for the 30th anniversary, but at this point, it seems it will be a missed opportunity.
 

waltodonnell

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A collection of interview and behind the scenes clips, primarily from the "Eye of the Storm" doc on Ridley Scott from 1992, someone merged for a Making of video. Best part is an extended sequence showing Vangelis putting the soundtrack together:



"Eye of the Storm" is also on YouTube.
 

benbess

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So in the good old days/bad old days, meaning the 1930s to the 1970s, the "extra" footage for most movies would be thrown out sooner rather than later to reduce storage costs. That's why for 1963's Cleopatra, and almost all other movies of that era, we don't have extra footage. But starting in the 1980s it seems like this practice of throwing everything out except for the feature changed, at least for a few movies.

It's fascinating to think that there might be footage for a 4-hour version of Ridley Scott's 1492 epic. Scott is probably too busy making new movies, including Napoleon and a sequel to Gladiator, to go back to this movie to assemble that longer version, but I wish he could hire some other people to do it. I feel the same way about Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings. Scott himself said that there was a 4-hour version of Exodus as well, and that they'd even put that one together, but it never saw the light of day.

Ridley Scott is an interesting director for many reasons, but one of them is that the extended versions of several of his movies are better than the theatrical releases, including for these movies from my pov....

Alien
Blade Runner
Legend
Gladiator
Kingdom of Heaven
Robin Hood

Wish we could add 1492 and Exodus to this list!
 

YANG

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it seems that the U.S version...
from the beginning of the optical disc format till today

laserdisc-1492-conquest-of-paradise-ntsc-english.jpg

is 6mins shorter than the European version.

I wonder was that why we have not see any plans on D.C. version of the film?​
 

YANG

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... It's fascinating to think that there might be footage for a 4-hour version of Ridley Scott's 1492 epic... ... ... I feel the same way about Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings. Scott himself said that there was a 4-hour version of Exodus as well, and that they'd even put that one together, but it never saw the light of day.

Ridley Scott is an interesting director for many reasons, but one of them is that the extended versions of several of his movies are better than the theatrical releases, including for these movies from my pov... ... ...

Wish we could add 1492 and Exodus to this list!
I believe majority of those rough cuts for producers' assessment pre-screening would likely to have that kind of running length.
It's the Directors and Editors job later to decide which part to keep or which part to discard such that the length could be shortened for theatrical release.
So... whatever ended up on cutting floor would be the studios or production studios job to keep and preserve until the day an alternate version is planned for reassembly. 1492 is kind of... very old, and i wonder the studios Percy Main and Legende Production does really keep the edited parts well "alive" till today?

Well... PARAMOUNT... we already witnessed what they did to Event Horizon...
 

waltodonnell

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I sure hope so. It's tough to know exactly what was filmed. The September 23, 1991 draft, widely available online, has even less content than the novelization. whatever draft that was based on, earlier or later. The novel is told in flashback with bridging scenes featuring Columbus's son Fernando compiling his father's papers in 1509 in preparation for the biography he eventually wrote. This is where adult Fernando's narration originates from, which abruptly ends before the first scene is over in the final film. There are also some feverish dream sequences in the Panama scenes missing from the 9/23 draft. I could almost hear Vangelis's music while reading them. Of course these could be creations of the novelization author.

Here's an excerpt from the 9/23 script with the deleted Panama sequence. It was filmed for sure as there's a publicity shot online of adult Fernando on the ship's deck. The sequence took place between Columbus' reunion with his wife 1501, and the last scene at the University of Salamanca c.1505 or 1506.

COLUMBUS
God, how much I've missed you!

And they throw themselves into each other's arms.

CUT TO:

INT. DINING ROOM - MANOR HOUSE - EVENING


All that has been left is a simple table and one chair.
They are having supper by candlelight in the vast, empty
room, though the candles throw a warm, sensuous glow on
the figs and hams and wine... and on their faces, as
BEATRIX sits on his lap.

SANTANGEL (O.S.)
One chair. One table. What more
can a man expect, when he tries to
sue the Crown?

They laugh. With only a little embarrassment, BEATRIX
gets off COLUMBUS' knee. SANTANGEL comes forward, and
COLUMBUS embraces him like an old friend. BEATRIX goes to
the kitchen.

COLUMBUS
I owe you everything, Santangel...
but as you see, I can't repay you.

SANTANGEL
On the contrary. It is I who owe
you everything. Through you, I have
been an adventurer, an explorer!
It's true I shall never see the new
world... but it's here...
(he points to his
head)
And here...
(pointing to his
heart)

COLUMBUS smiles. BEATRIX returns with a plate and glass
for SANTANGEL.

SANTANGEL
What you are, Colon, is a sailor, a
discoverer, a man of imagination...
not a politician. You weren't meant
to govern -- You cannot be all
things to all men.

He takes the wine BEATRIX offers, and raises his glass.

SANTANGEL
I wish you could have compromised.
It would have made your life
easier...

COLUMBUS
But as least we haven't been bored,
have we?

They all laugh, and drink.


EXT. SHIP'S DECK - FERNANDO'S POV - NIGHT

Night on the open sea -- the moon shines on the waves and
we hear the creaking of ropes and timbers -- the
loneliness and mystery of the night passage.

SAILOR'S VOICE
West... southwest, Captain Mendez...

MENDEZ (O.S.)
Steady as she goes...

COLUMBUS walks over to FERNANDO, who is leaning against
the rail. He is smoking a cigar... as the smoke blows
over FERNANDO'S face, FERNANDO wretches... It's clear he's
feeling seasick, trying to control it.

COLUMBUS leans against the rail next to him, staring out
at the darkness. Then looks at his SON again. FERNANDO
won't give in to the sickness, but COLUMBUS knows he'd
feel better if he did.

COLUMBUS
How are you feeling, Fernando?

FERNANDO
(in a strangled
voice)
Not bad.

COLUMBUS nods meditatively, puffs out some smoke.
FERNANDO winces, gags slightly.

COLUMBUS
(almost casually)
You know what I always used to do?

FERNANDO shakes his head.

COLUMBUS
Swallow a piece of pork fat on a
string. It always worked.

At the thought of the pork fat, FERNANDO jerks his head
over the side, and vomits copiously. COLUMBUS smiles,
pats him on the back.


EXT. SHIP'S DECK - DAY

As it plows through heavy seas. COLUMBUS, a coat wrapped
around him, is sitting on a chair topside, directing
operations despite an obvious fever.

Suddenly a cry from the mast head:

SAILOR (O.S.)
Tierra...! Tierra!

SAILORS and FERNANDO rush to the side of the ship, peering
through the spray. FERNANDO wipes his eyes, and then he
sees it: there in the distance, a speck of land.

FERNANDO and his FATHER stand together, watching the low
cloud formation sitting on the horizon.

COLUMBUS
The mainland...

FERNANDO looks excited. Discreetly, COLUMBUS watches his
SON, enjoying his happiness.


EXT. PANAMA (SURREAL IMAGES) - DAY

A most wonderful and surreal image. A heavy mist lies
over the forest. We move above it slowly.

A FIGURE emerges from the mist. At first only a
silhouette -- then, slowly, a golden figure... an INDIAN,
covered in gold... gold artifacts, golden paste on his
body.

The GOLDEN FIGURE turns, and points, into an unknown
distance.


EXT. TREEHOUSE - DAY

From the INDIAN treehouse, COLUMBUS, FERNANDO, MENDEZ and
several INDIANS are gazing west over a necklace of
magnificent lakes.

The INDIANS point and talk gently. FERNANDO has never
seen anything so fresh, so beautiful.


EXT. CAMP - SUNSET

A magnificent sunset. A fire is burning, food cooking.
COLUMBUS looks over his maps, trying to figure out where
they are. We see the outline of the continent of Asia.
An OLD INDIAN squats beside him, silent, also looking at
the map. Then, slowly and very deliberately, he takes a
piece of charcoal from the fire and begins to draw on the
map. Ignoring the Asian continent, he sketches the
Panamanian coastline -- an isthmus. MENDEZ and FERNANDO
gather round. COLUMBUS watches the OLD INDIAN with
initial puzzlement, then growing excitement.

MENDEZ
What's he doing?

COLUMBUS
He's drawing an isthmus... He's
saying we're on an isthmus.

MENDEZ
We can't be.

FERNANDO is still confused. The OLD INDIAN continues to
sketch, talking quietly all the time. An INDIAN
TRANSLATOR listens.

COLUMBUS
Tell me what he's saying.

TRANSLATOR
He says -- water on the other side.

COLUMBUS
Ask him if he means a lake. A big
lake.

The TRANSLATOR asks. The OLD INDIAN shakes his head,
laughs, points to the west, way beyond the other lakes,
emphatically.

TRANSLATOR
No. Says those are lakes. Water on
other side big -- as wide as here.
Above and below, much land.

COLUMBUS
(stunned)
An ocean...? He's says it's an
ocean?

FERNANDO
I don't understand.

COLUMBUS is too stunned for a moment to explain. The
INDIANS laugh.

Then COLUMBUS takes the charcoal, and begins to draw on
the map, for his son.

COLUMBUS
Here is Europe... and over here, the
continent of Asia. But there's
something in between! Another
continent! We've found... another
continent!

FERNANDO stares west, then back at his FATHER. COLUMBUS
looks very feverish, his face bathed with sweat.

FERNANDO
Father...

COLUMBUS
There must be a passage to that
other ocean.

CUT TO:

INT. SHIP - COLUMBUS' CABIN - NIGHT


COLUMBUS, feverish, lies on the bunk. He shivers
violently. FERNANDO anxiously watches over him, bathes
his eyes.

Suddenly THE TRANSLATOR enters.

TRANSLATOR
I help.

A little reluctantly, FERNANDO lets him go to his FATHER.
The INDIAN crouches over the bed, takes out a handful of
leaves from a pouch. He chews the leaves himself for a
moment, until they form a sticky pulp, then opens
COLUMBUS' mouth and puts the pulp inside, encouraging
COLUMBUS to chew with the motions of his hands.

COLUMBUS chews, quickly falling asleep.


EXT. MOONLIT VISION OF VAST LAND MASS - NIGHT

We see things from COLUMBUS' hallucination. We are
plunging through layers of clouds, the speed accelerating,
giving us a sickening sensation of falling to land, closer
and closer...

COLUMBUS wakes up with a jolt. Everything is silent.
COLUMBUS walks outside.


EXT. DECK - NIGHT

COLUMBUS' fever has subsided. He raises his head and
stares at the mainland passing in the night. He smiles.

CUT TO:

EXT. JUNGLE AND BAY - HIGH WIDE SHOT - DAY


The roof of the jungle, the bay beyond, the caravel at
anchor.

CUT TO:

EXT. RIVER - DAY


Two canoes going upstream, deeper and deeper into the
jungle.


EXT. JUNGLE AND VILLAGE - DAY

Smoke rises lazily above the trees.

CUT TO:

The boats reaching the bank. THE FIRST HUTS of a village.
THE SOLDIERS spread out into the empty village.

FERNANDO, COLUMBUS and MENDEZ preceded by TWO ARMED
SOLDIERS enter one of the huts. The remains of a meal is
still warm in bowls on the matted floor.

A famished SOLDIER dips his hand in one of the bowls and
devours its contents: some kind of stew. Stepping back
accidentally, FERNANDO bumps into a large earthen jar
behind him. It rolls and crashes, revealing the remains
of meat marinating in liquid. There is something
disturbing about the appearance of the content.

FERNANDO
Oh my God...

The remains of human beings.

COLUMBUS
(approaching)
What is...?

He stares at the remains, stunned. THE SOLDIER stops
chewing. He drops the half-empty bowl he was still
holding. He runs at the back door, rams his fingers deep
in the back of his throat, and vomits.

SOLDIER
Oh Virgen Maria... Oh Madre de
Dios...
(Oh Virgin Mary... Oh Mother of
God...)

But as he vomits and cries, he notices:

A HEADLESS HUMAN TRUNK spread open, like a sheep carcass.
Disturbed flies rise in clouds.

SOLDIER
Jesus, Maria, y todos los Santos...
(Jesus, Mary, and all the Saints...)

CUT TO:

COLUMBUS and the SPANIARDS meet in the center of the
village. All have made the same horrific discovery.

COLUMBUS
(urgently)
Out! Get out!

THE SPANIARDS back out of the village, crossbows pointed
at the invisible enemy hidden in the jungle.

They are running through the dense forest for the river
bank.

The CANNIBALS materialize among the trees, running
alongside. Bounding, skipping, frightening FIGURES, their
brutal faces painted in black. They release arrows at the
running SOLDIERS. A SOLDIER stops, kneels to the ground,
fires his crossbow and kills one of the CANNIBALS... but
he is pierced by a spear. TWO CANNIBALS drag him and cut
his throat to finish him.

ELSEWHERE IN THE JUNGLE -- CRIES AND CONFUSION, SPANIARDS
and CANNIBALS moving in hand to hand combat.

A CANNIBAL comes sprinting at FERNANDO, brandishing his
lance.

COLUMBUS jumps on the man, and plants a knife in his
abdomen. Blinded in sweat, he stabs the CANNIBAL, who
collapses. Frenzied, COLUMBUS stabs over and over again.

He stops and looks at his forearm -- soaked in blood.
Shocked by his own fury, he raises his hand and stares at
it.

A GIANT BLACK BUTTERFLY alights gently on his bloody
fingers, COLUMBUS staring fascinated at its palpitating
wings. FERNANDO, screaming at his FATHER, drags him to
his feet. They run...

CUT TO:

THE SPANIARDS, COLUMBUS, MENDEZ, FERNANDO... all running
hard to the boat. ARROWS whistle around them as they leap
into the canoes, nearly capsizing them, launching them
into the current.

SOME CANNIBALS still follow them along the riverbank. But
the canoes are faster, and soon, they are left behind.


EXT. SHIP AT SEA - DAY

Endless seascape, the caravel plowing.


EXT. SHIP'S DECK - DAY

FERNANDO is crouched on the poop deck, wrapped in a
blanket. He seems in a state of shock: he is pale and
shaking. As COLUMBUS goes and sits near his son, he hands
him a flask of alcohol.

COLUMBUS
(kindly)
Take it. Come on. Drink.

As COLUMBUS insists, brandishing the flask, FERNANDO
notices that his hands are shaking too. His FATHER'S
forehead is dripping with sweat.

FERNANDO drinks a gulp and grimaces. He drinks again and
hands the flask back to his FATHER, who does the same.
FERNANDO notices dried blood on his FATHER'S fingers.
COLUMBUS immediately hides his hand and stands.

COLUMBUS
I... I have to see Mendez.

Then, with sudden anger.

COLUMBUS
Your brother was right. I should
have never taken you with me. I'll
never forgive myself. Never!

He walks a few steps, lurches, and has to lean against the
rail. He raises his hand to his eyes, grimacing in pain,
as if they were burning. FERNANDO scrambles to his feet
and rushes to him. COLUMBUS' eyes are already fixed
somewhere -- fever is eating him up.

COLUMBUS
Will you ever forgive me?

FERNANDO turns around for help.

COLUMBUS
Captain Mendez!


INT. SHIP'S CABIN - DAY

COLUMBUS is lying on his couch. FERNANDO is bathing his
eyes, sweeping off the pus that continuously forms in
them. COLUMBUS is drenched in sweat.

CUT TO:

FERNANDO is writing under his FATHER'S dictation.

COLUMBUS
I came to Your Highness with honest
purpose and sincere zeal. I did not
undertake these voyages for honor or
wealth -- that is certain. After
years of service to the Crown, I do
not have a roof to put over my
head... Your Majesty allowed me to
explore the continent, believed to
be Asia. I now believe that it is
an new Land, of unknown proportions
and wealth... Life has more
imagination than we carry in our
dreams...

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. ALCAZAR PALACE - GARDENS - DAY


The DUENA, sitting beside ISABEL, quietly continues to
read COLUMBUS' letter aloud.

DUENA
"I should be judged as a Seaman who
by Divine Will discovered a New
World, and thereby placed it under
the sovereignty of Your Majesties.
I humbly beseech Your Majesties that
if it pleases God to remove me
hence, you will help the name of
Columbus to be remembered with
honor... Weep for me, whoever has
charity, truth and justice."

She stops reading. ISABEL turns her face away.


INT. UNIVERSITY OF SALAMANCA - DAY

An ivory-sculptured hand -- the end of the back scratcher
belonging to AROJAZ -- indicates a line across a large
globe: the route between Europe and America.

AROJAZ (O.S.)
The sunset route to the new
continent is now well-established...
 

YANG

Screenwriter
Joined
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Messages
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it seems that the U.S version...
from the beginning of the optical disc format till today

laserdisc-1492-conquest-of-paradise-ntsc-english.jpg

is 6mins shorter than the European version.

I wonder was that why we have not see any plans on D.C. version of the film?​
okie dokie... the German release of FHD-BD seems to be the one to source for. or if we're to hold for 4K remaster that still have no clear schedule of release date, i guess i'll temporary look into streaming platform for 4K upscaled versions...
 

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