ascent of man - anyone know if it's due out?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by andrew markworthy, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    Please does anyone know if The Ascent of Man, that excellent documentary series from the 1970s, is due out anytime soon? I know that it was available in a very expensive version for schools a couple of years ago, but since then, I've heard nothing. A great shame, because even in a bare bones version with unrestored visuals I'd buy it.
     
  2. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Andrew I purchased the expensive set you are talking about a few years ago for $395 + the "Connections" set for the same price. Since then it has had price reductions to about $150. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] It is bare bones & unrestored. As far as I know it is still only available at the online site, perhaps still at the "reduced" price.

    To move off topic slightly. I wish I could find a DVD or VHS release of the documentary "The Making of a Continent". It was once released on VHS I think.
     
  3. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Bringing this thread back to say that I finally broke down and paid $150 for the set (which is only available through a dealer of educational videos and therefore actually includes a "public performance license" for showing in classrooms.) Like Jeff, I first found the set when it was going for aroung $400. Then this year it got a new digital transfer, the price dropped by more than half and I've given up hope of eventually getting a better deal. (Plus I had a private consulting job that will earn me about $600 drop into my lap this week, so I can justify splurging. [​IMG])

    Of course, it is now assured that the series will get a regular commercial release with an MSRP of $60 and a street price of $40.

    The disc should arrive early next week. I can hardly wait. This is my most extravagent Christmas present to myself. [​IMG]

    P.S.

    Just found out today that they have a 10% off coupon code on the home page of their site. (I did a Google search on the title and went directly to the product page and ordered from their.) I've e-mailed customer service to see if they can apply it to my order retroactively. The code is WB9901. Oh, and they've reduced the price on Connections to $150, too, but I can't justify buying both at this time. Maybe I'll pick it up in 2007.
     
  4. Bonnie*F

    Bonnie*F Stunt Coordinator

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    Is that the original Connections that you're talking about?
    I've found Connections 2 and 3 at DVDPacific.com for under $100 but haven't found the original.
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yes, it is the original. Ambrose Video and Documentary Video are actually the same place, they have the same address and phone numbers and both have the same price. I suspect that they may once have been competing companies that merged and consolidated into a single location while maintaining their separate brand names in the marketplace. But by all means order from Ambrose Video if you're going to buy the set, because the Documentary Video site does not display the 10% off coupon (WB9901) and it is possible that it won't apply if you do your order on their page. [​IMG]

    I just received an e-mail from Ambrose confirming that they would apply the 10% discount to my Ascent of Man order and also providing me with a UPS tracking number. (I sprung for 2nd day air shipping.) Unlike many sites, they don't provide links for tracking information, but they will provide it if asked and if your shipping method allows for it. (USPS ground, for instance, doesn't use tracking numbers.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  6. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    For those of you who are multi-regional, I'm pretty sure "The Ascent of Man" is available from Amazon UK.
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    It certainly is. And for a mere £37.99 - about $74.50 USD at today's exchange rate. Unfortunately my old region-free Apex is in storage and I'm not even sure if it still works. Also it didn't do the world's greatest job of convering PAL to NTSC, so I'm probably better off with the U.S. set - even if I spent about twice as much to own it.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Well, I received my Ascent of Man set, popped in disc one just to check the video transfer...

    ... and a few days later finished watching the series. What can I say? [​IMG]

    The "digitally remastered" video may have been cleaned up somewhat, but it isn't a huge improvement over my homemade "TiVo2Go" DVD transfers from the last time the show aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. The film (probaby 16mm?) looks grainy in places, and there is some macroblocking evident. Far inferior to any commercial feature DVD, but in point of fact not that much worse than A&E/The History Channel's release of The History of Britain, which I also picked up this past week.

    Still, I wasn't expecting spectacular video from this series. The DVDs are clear enough and entirely watchable, and the picture seems to get better after the first episode or two (so the surviving source materials may have been part of the problem.) I do with there were some kind of extras, a retrospective on the series, its impact and meaning. But at least I'm able to watch it without commercial interruptions and above all uncut for what may be the first time. (I'm not sure that even PBS included all of the birth footage from "The Long Childhood" on American television the when the series originally aired, and I'm quite sure the Science Channel didn't. [​IMG]) I was surprised at some of the editing choices in the series itself. Bronowski and his team were content to let things play out and speak for themselves in a way that it is hard to imagine similar show made today would. (I'm thinking particularly of the singing of the mass that goes on for several uninterrupted minutes during his discussion of Erasmus's life in "The Long Childhood".)

    Great stuff. With many little bits and pieces added back that have been trimmed for commercial broadcast the series is, if anything, better than I remembered it. 2009 is the series 35th annivesary. I wonder if we can convince the BBC and/or Time Life or Ambrose to do a real special edition and a mass market release. This is a series that needs to be seen by a lot more people than ever saw it originally (I think ever leader of every country in the world should be strapped to a Luduvico machine and forced to watch "Knowledge or Certainty".) It shouldn't be a rare and expensive academic curiosity.

    Regards,

    Joe
     

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