Rembering a great transfer of a classic. Criterion SPARTACUS

Discussion in 'DVD' started by David Coleman, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2000
    Messages:
    764
    Likes Received:
    3
    A lot of talk has been on the spectacular release of NORTH BY NORTHWEST on DVD and comparing it to TO CATCH A THIEF. I just wanted to remind those here on the forum that Criterion's SPARTACUS is an absolutele wonder, especially in comparision to the Universal release! If you've not seen this one you need to! Sharpness and detail to die for and color accuracy not seen in the original release plus an improved soundtrack!

    Anyone agree??

    David
     
  2. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I agree. [​IMG] Beautiful DVD of a good film. I love Ustinov's comments on the commentary! RAH gives great insight on the track too. Criterion always produce quality and I look forward to their many great DVD coming out in 2003. [​IMG]
    Gordy
     
  3. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2000
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    47
    color accuracy not seen in the original film - it reminds me onf one of scarlett o'haras lines - "Whats wrong - has my face gone green or something". universals anamorphic high def trasnfer was great (I was privileged to see it through friendsin California) then others got their hands on it to do some secondary color correction. They seemed to be having a bad day with many things tinged to the green side ( that never were!) night shots looking green. Ipromptly returned my Criterion disc and held onto my old universal non anamorphic disc - far from perfect, but not the 50 dollar horror the new Criterion was.
     
  4. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 13, 2001
    Messages:
    760
    Likes Received:
    0
    paging Robert A. Harris..
    Time for another epic duel of wits. [​IMG]
    (for the uninitiated, there was a grand thread, long since destroyed on the HTF between RAH and Joe Caps, debating the merits of Spartacus on DVD. Worth it's weight in digital gold.)
     
  5. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought that Criterion DVD was color-correct to Kubrick's specified instructions using unfaded dye-transfer prints from 1960? I think I'll go check out those night shots...
    I speak for him, but I'd imagine that Mr Harris will not wish to get into a heated debate about this. If he does reply - be courtious. [​IMG]
    Gordy
     
  6. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, if there are parties who are unsatisfied with aspects of the transfer, then the best course of action would clearly be to take it up with the late director's estate, as all I can see is that Lee Kline of Criterion and Mr Harris have color timed the transfer to Kubrick's original specifications.

    And it looks and sounds magnificent!
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Put me down as loving the Criterion edition. Both the transfer and the commentaries. I found all of the discussion in the extras about the blacklisted writers just fascinating. As well as the differences that Dalton Trombo had with Kubrick (and Ustinov’s writing).
    Great DVD. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    One of my favorites. A superb transfer. Hallowed edition.
     
  9. Rain

    Rain Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2001
    Messages:
    5,015
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've seen both and the Criterion is far superior, likely due in large part to Robert Harris' participation. [​IMG]
     
  10. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2000
    Messages:
    5,172
    Likes Received:
    2
    I have owned both the Universal (now sold) and Criterion DVD's and I personally prefer the Criterion version both for richness in the colour pallet and sharpness of detail.

    One thing I have noticed however, the Criterion version has a bit of flickering in the blue sky sections (print damage that couldn't be helped I assumed) during the opening "Mines of Libya" sequence, however I don't remember seeing this damage in the older Universal transfer.

    Can anyone correct me about this? I'm sure I'm wrong.
     
  11. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    As for that flickering, I think Criterion president Peter Becker explains that here, from this Salon.com interview:
     
  12. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2000
    Messages:
    5,172
    Likes Received:
    2
    Actually, no, I don't believe it's a light leak, the scene that he (I assume) is referring to is later in the film at the end of Spartacus & Varinia's reunion when they ride away, what I am referring to is the whole of the blue area of the sky flickering in the very first live shot of the film and many of the following shots in the entire opening Libya sequence.
     
  13. Vic_T

    Vic_T Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2001
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    1
    What I find truly amazing, is that Criterion was able to get such a crisp looking picture on a 3 hour movie with 4 audio tracks (two channel, 5.1, 2 channel commentary, and 1 channel commentary) on one disc. Goes to show you, expertise goes a long way.
     
  14. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,541
    Likes Received:
    170
    Location:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    Judging from screenshots on DVDBeaver.com, not only is the Universal DVD darker...it's compressed!

    The Criterion DVD looks like dye-transfer Technicolor and looks fantastic.

    I guess it's important to some that a DVD looks like the un-timed negative rather than the actual output. That's fine...Universal has their non-anamorphic, distorted, and unproperly timed DVD while Criterion has their anamorphic, correctly framed, and vivid DVD.

    Hey...you get what you pay for.
     
  15. Todd Phillips

    Todd Phillips Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2000
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  16. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    0
    I never seen the movie (god help me) and I was wondering if I should pick up the Criterion edition soon. I been meaning to get more Criterions lately and I bet this one would be a good purchase.
     
  17. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,683
    Likes Received:
    11
    I don't choose to view the Universal, so I can't really comment on its quality.

    I saw the restored Spartacus in the theaters about 10 times -- it was a revelation!

    How anyone could live without the Criterion disk is beyond my ken. The commentary from Robert Harris alone is golden! and Ustinov is hilarious and pointed about the filming experience.

    I'm actually surprised that Universal left their disk in print.
     
  18. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2000
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Criterion set has been sitting on my shelf for 16 months until yesterday when I finally watched it. I've seen the film before, but I always felt that this film was Kubrick going through the motions, which kinda hampers my enjoyment...but it's Kubrick, I must own it. [​IMG]
    Anyway, thought the film-like transfer was terrific. Star of the video extras is Ustinov; his Charles impression was a hoot, what an actor!!!
    I didn't know Tony Mann was involved, so he shot the opening 5 minutes? Yet to hear the audio commentary.
     
  19. Daniel J.S.

    Daniel J.S. Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    0
    ^^^Kubrick never liked the film because he was a director for hire and had no control over the script. Nevertheless, there are some Kubrick touches: the bathing scene with Crassus and Antoninus equates sexuality (particularly homosexuality) with decadence and amorality. This view towards sex is pure Kubrick. He's always viewed sex as dangerous and amoral. Look at "A Clockwork Orange" where sex and violence are intertwined. As Danny Peary wrote in "Cult Movies 2" it is a world where "all emotional stimuli...is lumped together as harmful. All art is pornographic." Or how about the femme fatale wife in "The Killing," who uses sexuality to manipulate people. The "good" couple is Sterling Hayden and his girlfriend, who are an asexual couple in the film. Finally, there's "Eyes Wide Shut," where Cruise and Kidman never have onscreen sex (only the leadup to it). The only sex we see is this perverse orgy (Kubrick films this scene as if it were a living nightmare). To sum up, Kubrick actually did manage to impose some of his views into "Spartacus."
     
  20. Chad A Wright

    Chad A Wright Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been meaning to pick this up for over a year now. I guess now is as good a time as any.
     

Share This Page