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Is "The Greatest Story Ever Told" BluRay a dissapointment?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by mercyflight, Apr 1, 2011.

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  1. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    With KoK and The Bible selling well and the online reactions over how bad TGSET looks I think that whoever is even a bit in touch with the customer base might be able to arrive at a different conclusion.

    Writing to the studio and expressing disappointment because of the bad quality in addition to not buying would be even more helpful - it is just that many seem to do the oppostie (buying and NOT writing) even though they do not like the overall quality of the presentation.



     
  2. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    Unfortunately if they are based on the same source as the German Blu-Rays these are very problematic releases.

    Subjectively speaking one might find them a bit better than TGSET as that one is riddled with noise from the telecine or whatever it is that they did to do the master. With regard to resolution they are a disappointment though and have an effective resolution of maybe half of what Blu-Ray is capable of.

    If you can I suggest to rent and even better try to catch a screening of one of these in a Technicolor 35mm print.



     
  3. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the advice, Greg.

    According to DVD Savant, who, yes, incredibly, actually rated the picture quality on one of his studio supplied free DVDs, "Poor" (though not unequivocally so, of course!), the extras on the SD are the same as on the BD, nothing more or less. So not owning either one, I may as well go for the Blu once it hits the $5 mark. I'm in no hurry to see it.

    I first saw this film in an excellent presentation at LACMA here in L.A. in the 90's and thought it a ponderous mess, but I have a rather unqualified love for Epics, so was easily forgiving. Epics are the very reason I got into Blu.
     
  4. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Actually, unless my review of the old DVD is wrong, the "He Walks In Beauty" documentary is abbreviated here.

    Here's my review:

    http://www.dvdmg.com/greateststoryevertoldbr.shtml
     
  5. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    Chalk it up to another DVD Savant exclusive!
     
  6. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Producer

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    What's with the Savant bashing?
     
  7. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Was the documentary on the old DVD definitely 41 or so minutes? That's what my 2001 review says, but I don't have the disc anymore, so I wasn't sure if I goofed back then.

    The "He Walks..." on the Blu-ray is definitely about 14 minutes. Does "Savant" claim it's full-length?
     
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Was the documentary on the old DVD definitely 41 or so minutes? That's what my 2001 review says, but I don't have the disc anymore, so I wasn't sure if I goofed back then.

    The "He Walks..." on the Blu-ray is definitely about 14 minutes. Does "Savant" claim it's full-length?
     
  9. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Professor Echo /forum/thread/310207/is-the-greatest-story-ever-told-bluray-a-dissapointment/90#post_3798685


    Thanks for the advice, Greg.



    According to DVD Savant, who, yes, incredibly, actually rated the picture quality on one of his studio supplied free DVDs, "Poor" (though not unequivocally so, of course!), the extras on the SD are the same as on the BD, nothing more or less. So not owning either one, I may as well go for the Blu once it hits the $5 mark. I'm in no hurry to see it.



    I first saw this film in an excellent presentation at LACMA here in L.A. in the 90's and thought it a ponderous mess, but I have a rather unqualified love for Epics, so was easily forgiving. Epics are the very reason I got into Blu.





    Most Epics look great on blu-ray. Epics were usually shot on 70MM film shock. No matter how slow or boring an Epic may have been, watching it in 70MM on a big screen brings another level to the film (it is after all art, and like looking at a painting - even though the painting never moves)

    Some people do not care about image and only want a gripping well paced story.



    A friend of mine always asked me if he would like a certain film and then says he doesn't care what it looks like, though he knows it can make a difference for me between buying a film or not.



    I'm all for a gripping well paced story myself, but I can forgive the weaker films when they look as good as they did in the theaters. "Ryan's Daughter" is a favorite example of mine, (So is "Cleopatra") I like both films, they're a bit long and slow at points, but they are so beautiful to look at in 70MM that I don't mind.



    Of course "TGSET" is extremely slow and tendious, but has wonderful vistas and should look quite beauitful. When you take the beauty away, the film isn't really worth watching (as the Blu-ray proves). It's like going to a musem to see a picture of a painting reproduced on a copy machine at Kinkos. You get an idea of what it should look like, but you really do not appreicate it
     
  10. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I've still got the 2-disc DVD. Just checked the documentary... definitely 41 minutes.


     
  11. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    The documentary may have been cut due to rights issues. It contained much material from the 1985 documentary "George Stevens - A Filmmaker's Journey" which was released by Warner Bros on DVD in 2004.
     
  12. Ed Lachmann

    Ed Lachmann Screenwriter

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    This is the thing that always drove me crazy about standard DVDs of widescreen films. One really got a thrill over them in theatre because of the beautiful expansive colorful IN FOCUS images. One could get lost in the exquisite costuming and set design in "Cleopatra" if not the endless romantic bickering. I sometimes feel like a bum scraping through cigarette butts, but with my pockets full of cash ready to buy a brand new pack, with gold filters. We may get a new Platinum Special Edition Blu-ray of "The 40 Year Old Virgin" with newly discovered out-takes of the chest waxing scene, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a decent "TGSET". I wonder what the studios are thinking. The audience for these epic films in blu-ray is certainly there, but it is greying rapidly. Still, it is far more likely to buy product than trade or download it. But, it hates to be taken for a fool. So, I have to get on the same page as OliverK with this. Give us something good because you CAN and we deserve it just as much as the fans of "The 40 Year Old Virgin". And, don't get me started on "Spartacus"!
     
  13. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Could be, but if anyone's saying/implying that the BD's version hasn't been cut, then they clearly didn't bother to look at it...


     
  14. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    I agree with this 100%, Greg.

    I have a friend that always asks himself before he buys a Blu Ray DVD, "Do I need to see this in 70mm?" It's his way of determining what is worth upgrading from SD and what isn't. I don't go that far, but there have been times where I've used that philosophy in making a decision about some lower profile films that TO ME would not necessarily benefit by Blu (e.g. several of the Blue Underground titles, which to me work just as well in SD). Expense wise, I need to draw the line somewhere.
     
  15. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Having picked this up cheap at Costco, I saved it for a Good Friday viewing. And my answer to the original poster's question is No, it is not a disappointment in the least. I watched it projected 9 feet wide and thought the picture looked quite good and film-like. No it didn't get the eye-popping restoration that Ben-Hur received, but I was very happy with the lovely, colorful vistas that looked very nice in high definition. A few speckles and some flickering here and there but nothing overly obtrusive. I think a lot of people have been way too harsh on this release.

    I'll admit I have a different philosophy than most enthusiasts. I don't mind transfers that look like a film print. I understand that a full restoration is just not feasible for every title, and The Greatest Story Ever Told is one of the less regarded Bible epics so it's not going to get the same attention of, say, The Ten Commandments.
     
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  16. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    I wonder if FOX fixed this transfer and said nothing about it (as they sometimes do)?

    Color, speckles and flickering weren't really the problem - it was obvious a low defination transfer was used (some said they used the laserdisc master) and so the sharpness and clarity were missing
     
  17. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I've hesitated to get the Blu-Ray because I've heard that the picture wasn't much of an upgrade and with the fewer bonus features, I figured there was little point. The standard DVD helped open up the viewing experience for me in many ways that earlier versions never did before and as time goes by, I consider this film to be a grievously underrated and underappreciated classic. It is infinitely a better movie than "King Of Kings" which has not a drop of Scriptural authenticity to it nor does it get any of the larger Roman/Jewish history right. It's weaker in developing a better through-narrative as "Jesus Of Nazareth" did more successfully a decade later and I would sure love to see even a shooting script of the original rough cut if the footage is irrevocably lost. But many of the complaints the film received I think have diminished with the passage of time since the "star cameo" thing really isn't as big now as it would have been then.

    Whether I get the Blu-Ray I still can't say but this film does deserve a better treament overall.
     
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  18. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    If we are talking about the same release of TGSET (and I very sure that MGM would have announced a re-release if they had the decency to do the movie justice) I have to strongly disagree.

    It is very misleading to say that the Blu-Ray of TGSET looks like a film print because it doesn't. It looks like ugly video and probably more so than any other release of a large format movie from a major studio.

    I can see that there are people out there who want this release to look good and I am also among them but let's face facts: This is not how it should look on Blu-Ray and it is not looking like film, especially not like anything projected in 35 or 70mm.
     
  19. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    I cannot comment on the scriptural authenticity and I will take you word for it, the question remains if that is what makes a movie good?

    Imo King Of Kings looks fantastic, has a great score and works as a movie. Can't say as much about TGSET which looks almost black and white in comparison and with cinematography ranging from fantastic (wide vistas) to amateurish (matte and effect shots, the crucification). On top of that it is a rather long winded and boring matter with unexpected and I think unintended comic relief in some scenes, overall I found it strangely uneven and definitely much less entertaining.

    Regarding authenticity how can you get over the fact that Stevens foolishly decided to fillm the movie in the US because he thought the scenery looked more impressive when just about everybody will recognize that the whole movie does not even look remotely like it was shot where Jesus actually lived? I found this very distracting in many scenes, it felt like Jesus way out West and not like Jesus of Nazareth.
    Agreed, no movie deserves to be released like this.
     
  20. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    For a movie about the life of Jesus, yes. A movie that manages to get all aspects of Roman history wrong (making Pilate's wife the Emperor's daughter), minimizing the Jewish protest against Christ to near non-existence (one would watch this film and not come away thinking Christ ever challenged the Pharisees) a bogus rendering of Jesus before Pilate with the absurdity of the improbable fictional character Centurion acting as a defense counsel for Jesus. This is but some of the many things that render this film unauthentic from a Scriptural standpoint and if you're not going to let Scripture be your guide to telling the story of Jesus, you're failing on all levels. The film has a glorious Miklos Rozsa score but "Greatest Story Ever Told" is the superior film. To me, it is not "long winded" or "boring" to hear the actual words of Scripture come to life for the first time in moviemaking as this film did on so many levels.
     

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