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Biblical-Roman-Egyptian epics not yet on Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Douglas R

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Unfortunately, the KL Insider confirmed that whoever ended up with the Weinstein Company owns both El Cid and Fall in perpetuity, so there’s no telling when we’ll ever see proper restorations of those films.
KL Insider didn’t say the Weinstein Company. He said they are owned by Harvey Weinstein himself. So unlikely to ever have a US Blu-ray release unless/until he sells them.
 

OliverK

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Unfortunately, the KL Insider confirmed that whoever ended up with the Weinstein Company owns both El Cid and Fall in perpetuity, so there’s no telling when we’ll ever see proper restorations of those films.

I have gone into this before in other threads but the situation is most probably still that these 4 Bronston productions belong under the same ownership, not with the Weinstein company or a successor by the way:

El Cid
55 Days at Peking
The Fall of the Roman Empire
Circus World

The reason we do not have El Cid and Fall looking a lot better is that the Weinstein company got them first and created those subpar HD masters that since have shown up on something like a dozen different releases all over the world. The current owwers last I heard do not really see how they would get sufficient income from going back and creating new and better masters as those companies who currently hold the rights everywhere would not likely pay much or anything at all to be able to use them.

So for the time being both movies are still looking for funding which due to their age and the amount of film involved would be quite substantial especially if one wants to do things right.

edit:

Here are all 4 movies courtesy of Hollywood Classics offering the movies for Euro London Films who as I understand represent the owners:

1713976287925.png
 
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Stefan Andersson

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Thank you very much OliverK! Very interesting info about the ownership.

There remains the question of footage still missing from the film:

"The film was cut a number of times, from 187 minutes to 185 to 165 to 158. The very first scene to go was one between Commodus and Livius in the middle of their drinking session on arriving at the German fort. As they go upstairs to pick out two of the hostage German women, Commodus explains that he is on the horns of not a dilemma by a trilemma - if there are gods, they have decided what he will do so it doesn't matter whether he is good or bad; if there are no gods, then it simply doesn't matter if he leads a good or a bad life; and if he himself is a god, then he gets to decide what is good or bad. That is why, if you listen carefully, you can hear the gods laughing... The omission of this scene explains that incredibly abrupt cut from them going upstairs to Commodus trying to force a drink on the German girl. /.../ Sadly, the only version that was ever released uncut was the Super 8mm feature release back in the early 1990s, which was taken from the original 16mm neg that was struck before any of the cuts were made but which was prohibitively expensive."

Source:

A reaction shot, with Commodus, seems to be missing from the end of the film; there is an abrupt cut at this point.

Other relevant quotes:

"The 'trilemma' sequence - where Commodus explains that if there are gods, it doesn't matter what he chooses to do because they'll have already decided for him, if there aren't any gods it doesn't matter what he does and if he is god it also doesn't matter what he does - does still exist on the 16mm negative and was on the feature length Super 8mm prints released in the 1990s (which had much more detail than the BD), the only time since the film's first run they were seen. I was asked to locate the footage, which at the time was held at Filmbond on the UK, but the Weinsteins then decided to wasn't worth paying to add it (I wasn't paid either, bless 'em)."

"at one point the film was even longer - stills exist of Eric porter murdering Finlay Currie's character in the Senate (still of Anthony Mann showing Porter how he wanted him to stab here: http://www.gettyimages.ae/detail/new...hoto/106752081) - but those additional scenes were all cut before the film's disastrous premiere at the Cannes Film Festival which (as with Once Upon a Time in America) led the US distributors to panic and start cutting the film further. When the Weinsteins found out that searching for the cut scenes from the pre-release version (which probably wasn't even scored or properly dubbed) would be time-consuming and they'd have to spend some money they lost interest in looking for it."

Source: posts 16-17 by Aclea here:

The link to gettyimages above is dead. I got no relevant hit when searching Gettyimages.
 

Allansfirebird

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Some time ago, I spent a few days at the Herrick library out here in LA reading and transcribing the revised shooting script for Fall of the Roman Empire held in the Paramount Pictures scripts file. There was a lot removed from the final cut: More stuff with the Barbarian girl Helva, the aforementioned murder of Currie's character, a significant extension of Livius' cohort infiltrating a "swamp of death" before the fight with Ballomar, a reveal that some of the senators burned at the stake during the ending sequence were Christians, and some other bits throughout. The script even has a different intermission point than the final cut - right after Commodus essentially exiles Livius and Lucilla from Rome and says they'll never see each other again, which actually falls at the mid-point of the script.

I'd probably estimate it would amount to another 15-20 minutes of footage in total.
 

PatrickDA

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murrayThompson

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Is there any one BD copy of Fall of the Roman Empire thats good qaulity?
My BD copy is one of the worst I have out of 3000 BDs, its discusting it almost looks like DVD upscaled, I just cant watch it!
 

Alan Tully

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As I understand it both Fall & El CID were transferred from new low-contrast prints (some years ago now), & that’s just not good enough for Blu-ray. I’m thinking that any Blu-ray that pops up in any country has come from the same source, that old transfer.
 

murrayThompson

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The French version is a very nice package but I don’t think picture quality is any different to other BD versions. However to say they look like DVD upscaled is a massive exaggeration.
Its not an exaggeration when you screen it on a 150" curved scope screen. Its horrible and again I say the worst print I have out of 3000+ films.
 

richardburton84

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Pardon me if this has already been brought up, but I was browsing the Film Foundation website for potential Warner Archive restorations and found mention of a restoration/preservation of Demetrius and the Gladiators performed in association with Disney (Disney was specified rather than Fox like its predecessor, The Robe). Anyone know when this restoration/preservation was performed as I didn’t see a date listed when I clicked on the title to try to find more information (mind you, I don’t at present expect a release of any kind given its with Disney, I’m just curious about the whole thing). If this has been brought up before, please disregard this post.
 

OliverK

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The French version is a very nice package but I don’t think picture quality is any different to other BD versions. However to say they look like DVD upscaled is a massive exaggeration.

Agreed on the French version, in caps it basically looks like all the other releases.

About the upscaling comment it is not that much of an exaggeration for Fall as it had a decent DVD and compared to that a really disappointing Blu-ray:


Even in these mass scenes the difference is modest between the Blu-ray and the DVD and the current masters are just among the worst masters of large format movies out there. Just a very bad job done at a time when the result could have been a lot better.

El Cid is a bigger improvement but not because the BD is better than Fall, the DVD is just very bad - soft with an orange tinge that also carried over to the now defective German Blu-rays.

Incompetence and waste caused the fall of the Bronston empire, but they also still haunt these two movies.
 
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OliverK

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That's because it and 55 Days at Peking both got fresh transfers from their original Technirama negatives, something that sadly remains elusive for El Cid and Fall (the latter being shot in Ultra Panavision).

There is a little upside to this in that El Cid if they revisit it would be scanned at a higher resolution and that will be a bit of an advantage for a UHD release.

Peking and Circus World were scanned in 2K from perf to perf which comes out to 3k by 2k for its 8 perf OCN and El Cid would probably be scanned in 4k which would then come out to 6k by 4k.

And even Fall could now be handled at Pinewood from what it looks like as there is now in-house Kodak 65mm processing and scanning that should be adaptable enough to work with the OCN of Fall:

 

RolandL

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There is a little upside to this in that El Cid if they revisit it would be scanned at a higher resolution and that will be a bit of an advantage for a UHD release.

Peking and Circus World were scanned in 2K from perf to perf which comes out to 3k by 2k for its 8 perf OCN and El Cid would probably be scanned in 4k which would then come out to 6k by 4k.

And even Fall could now be handled at Pinewood from what it looks like as there is now in-house Kodak 65mm processing and scanning that should be adaptable enough to work with the OCN of Fall:


Well, that's great news! The 70mm prints were flat 2.2 AR. We could finally see the full 2.76!
 

Allansfirebird

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There is a little upside to this in that El Cid if they revisit it would be scanned at a higher resolution and that will be a bit of an advantage for a UHD release.

Peking and Circus World were scanned in 2K from perf to perf which comes out to 3k by 2k for its 8 perf OCN and El Cid would probably be scanned in 4k which would then come out to 6k by 4k.

And even Fall could now be handled at Pinewood from what it looks like as there is now in-house Kodak 65mm processing and scanning that should be adaptable enough to work with the OCN of Fall:

The questions are - who owns the international rights to El Cid and Fall of the Roman Empire, and are the OCNs still available? When last I heard, Harvey Weinstein was holding onto the domestic rights with impunity (just as he's doing with Kevin Smith's Dogma) and is content to let it fallow.
 

richardburton84

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The questions are - who owns the international rights to El Cid and Fall of the Roman Empire, and are the OCNs still available? When last I heard, Harvey Weinstein was holding onto the domestic rights with impunity (just as he's doing with Kevin Smith's Dogma) and is content to let it fallow.

Not to drag this thread off-topic, but I didn't know that Dogma was in the same boat as El Cid, Fall, and The Thief and the Cobbler. A few months ago, I donated my family's copy to a library in New Jersey at my mother's request (they don't watch it much) and the custodians were quite thrilled about getting Dogma. I guess this is why.
 

Douglas R

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The questions are - who owns the international rights to El Cid and Fall of the Roman Empire, and are the OCNs still available? When last I heard, Harvey Weinstein was holding onto the domestic rights with impunity (just as he's doing with Kevin Smith's Dogma) and is content to let it fallow.
I read somewhere that the films are owned by a French banking consortium who presumably license them out on a territory by territory basis. Blu-ray releases all seem to give copyright to Samuel Bronston Productions Incorporated. A Google search gives no information about that name as a current company. Harvey Weinstein must have paid a very hefty amount to obtain US rights in perpetuity.
 
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