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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Ben-Hur -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Douglas R

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The last time I saw a 70mm print was at the Plaza and the ABC 2 Shaftsbury Avenue in London in 1977, that was a 2.20 version , but I did see a 4K DCP on the Cinerama screen in Bradford a few years ago that was the full 2.76 version and it did look excellent for a digital screening.
The first and also last time I saw BEN-HUR in 70mm and 2.76 was on the huge screen at the Empire, Leicester Square in the mid-1960s. It was normal prices, non-bookable, continuous performances for a few weeks but had the full Overture and Entr'acte (the film never any exit music). It was a great experience. I'd previously only seen the film at a local suburban cinema as a pre-general release roadshow style presentation but in 35mm.
 

OliverK

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The first and also last time I saw BEN-HUR in 70mm and 2.76 was on the huge screen at the Empire, Leicester Square in the mid-1960s. It was normal prices, non-bookable, continuous performances for a few weeks but had the full Overture and Entr'acte (the film never any exit music). It was a great experience. I'd previously only seen the film at a local suburban cinema as a pre-general release roadshow style presentation but in 35mm.
That must have been very impressive, I love to hear these stories!
 
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Lord Dalek

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Ben-Hur is quite soft and does not have that much detail. Not sure they will release it as long as they can release older titles that look much better like The Wizard of Oz, Singin' in the Rain or Giant.
It's 65mm. Even if it is soft there's still more information there than the movies you just listed. Ben-Hur does need an 8k scan though to work.
 

Alan Tully

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The one time I saw Ben-Hur at the cinema was when it played at The Casino Cinerama, London for a week or so (I think it was the early seventies). Those model shots of ships sure looked bad on that huge screen, but it's only a couple of shots, & the chariot race looked jaw dropping. It really is about time I looked at the Blu-ray again, I think we all know that the 4K is a'coming, the sooner the better.
 

MarkantonyII

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Luckily the 65MM OCN was scanned at 8K for the 4K restoration done around a decade ago (that master was downconverted for the Blu)
 

Stephen_J_H

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Luckily the 65MM OCN was scanned at 8K for the 4K restoration done around a decade ago (that master was downconverted for the Blu)
Doesn't mean they won't scan it again. Scanning and mastering technology has advanced exponentially in the last 10 years. I just don't see an HDR pass as necessary, though it will likely happen.
 

Nick*Z

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It is one of those obscenities of the film world that the more a movie is beloved over time, the worse off it is as a candidate for a full-blown restoration. Warner Home Video and WAC have achieved marvels in high-def. With the passage of years, we've seen the resurrection of movies that, for decades, appeared to only be available in lesser quality than they had once begun their life on the screen.

But now, we live in the age of such miracles as Ben-Hur, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, and, irrefutably, Singin' in the Rain in 4K!!!

There are miles left to go on this journey through time: my candidates for canonization in high-def: The Great Ziegfeld, Around the World in 80 Days, Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), Marie Antoinette (1938), The White Cliffs of Dover, The Valley of Decision, Week-end at the Waldorf, Holiday in Mexico, High Society, The Student Prince and Bathing Beauty.

Aside: as far as Roman Bible-fiction epics go, we could certainly use a complete remaster on Quo Vadis. Watching it the other night in its current Blu-ray incarnation I was reminded how far video restoration has gone since its release. Quo Vadis still has major Technicolor mis-registration issues, age-related artifacts, and some horrendous color saturation issues - intermittent, but ugly anomalies nonetheless. Can we also get remastered Blu's of Gigi, Anchors Aweigh and On the Town?!? Pretty please, from WAC and George Feltenstein.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Aside: as far as Roman Bible-fiction epics go, we could certainly use a complete remaster on Quo Vadis. Watching it the other night in its current Blu-ray incarnation I was reminded how far video restoration has gone since its release. Quo Vadis still has major Technicolor mis-registration issues, age-related artifacts, and some horrendous color saturation issues - intermittent, but ugly anomalies nonetheless. Can we also get remastered Blu's of Gigi, Anchors Aweigh and On the Town?!? Pretty please, from WAC and George Feltenstein.
On these titles you've listed, I think it's a question of available elements. These are MGM titles from the vintage impacted by the George Eastman House fire, so it will be a question of available elements. Only one reel of ONeg survived from Singin' in the Rain, so anything is possible, depending on what's available.
 

RolandL

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Back in the 1980s or early 90s I saw Ben-Hur at the Hollywood Cinerama Dome. Truly epic and a special memory. My brother went with me and neither of us could believe that it is as long as it is because we got so wrapped up in it. I do like the blu-ray very much and I can't believe it is 11 years old!

09/14/90
cd091490.jpg
 

RolandL

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The one time I saw Ben-Hur at the cinema was when it played at The Casino Cinerama, London for a week or so (I think it was the early seventies). Those model shots of ships sure looked bad on that huge screen, but it's only a couple of shots, & the chariot race looked jaw dropping. It really is about time I looked at the Blu-ray again, I think we all know that the 4K is a'coming, the sooner the better.
At the London Casino Theatre, BEN-HUR in MGM Camera 65, Dec 26 1969 to May 6 1970. 19 weeks.
 

PaulRossen

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Ben-Hur is quite soft and does not have that much detail. Not sure they will release it as long as they can release older titles that look much better like The Wizard of Oz, Singin' in the Rain or Giant


If done properly and no reason to believe it wouldn’t be Ben-Hur will look amazing on 4k UHD bluray.
 
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Nelson Au

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After watching Ben Hur last weekend, it had more of an profound affect on me then before. I’m not an expert on this time period, looking it up, this would be about 2,000 years ago.

I kept wondering what life really was like then. It certainly was hard for the lower class Romans and much better for the upper class. I’m doing a little more reading up on it.
 

OliverK

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It's 65mm. Even if it is soft there's still more information there than the movies you just listed. Ben-Hur does need an 8k scan though to work.

If done properly and no reason to believe it wouldn’t be Ben-Hur will look amazing on 4k UHD bluray.

Obviously my attempt at humor was much too subtle.

Ben-Hur would look far superior to the titles I mentioned yet here we are with all of the best looking older titles from Warner still unreleased on UHD and often on Blu-ray. While I fear that fantastic looking titles like Cheyenne Autumn or Mutiny on the Bounty may be a lost cause even on Blu-ray due to their (perceived) lack of popularity we could at least have a UHD release of Ben-Hur by now.
 

TJPC

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The one time I saw Ben-Hur at the cinema was when it played at The Casino Cinerama, London for a week or so (I think it was the early seventies). Those model shots of ships sure looked bad on that huge screen, but it's only a couple of shots, & the chariot race looked jaw dropping. It really is about time I looked at the Blu-ray again, I think we all know that the 4K is a'coming, the sooner the better.
For a much better sea battle and with real ships, watch the silent Ben-hur. I find it really a much better movie over all.
 

OliverK

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For a much better sea battle and with real ships, watch the silent Ben-hur. I find it really a much better movie over all.

Fully agree with your first sentence, but apart from the sea battle I strongly prefer the 1959 version.
 
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One of those movies that has to be seen on a giant screen! Saw it many times in the cinema. Would love to see it again on a giant screen, but I doubt any 70mm prints still exist. It was breathtaking. Have watched it so many times since on first dvd then finally Blu ray. I have the special big box set which is wonderful.
The Astor Cinema in the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda is an art deco single (huge) screen rep house - can screen all formats - 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, 2K and 4K digital. They screen a 2.20:1 70mm print of Ben-Hur each year.
 
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TJPC

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The sequence in the silent version when his mother and sister come across Ben Hur sleeping gets me every time. When I showed the movie to my Highschool classes, I actually used to step in the hall so they did not see me tear up. On the other hand, I did not realize until I showed it to others how religious it was.
 

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