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Were the problems with Fox's CLEOPATRA (1963) DVD fixed on subsequent pressings? (1 Viewer)

Roderick Gauci

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Mar 3, 2002
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165
Yesterday I have watched my R1 3-Disc Set of CLEOPATRA (1963) from Fox. Considering the length of the film and the numerous supplements I had been postponing it for about a year and a half! Still, now I wish I hadn't waited that long.

Searching the Internet and this site in particular, I discovered that the First Pressing of the set (and my copy seems to be one of them!) had a few anomalies which were supposed to have been corrected later, namely:

1. The "Entr' Acte" which was supposed to open Disc 2 is erroneously inserted at the end of Disc 1
2. The "Exit Music" at the end of Disc 2 is missing

Furthermore, another strange fact occurred to me concerning Disc 1: as the "Entr' Acte" ends, a screen appears which says "Please Insert Disc 2". I pressed the "Stop" button on my DVD remote in order to exchange discs, but it would not work; I pressed it again repeatedly, and then tried both the "Menu" and "Top Menu" buttons, but I just couldn't get it to stop. In the end, I had to shut off the machine completely before I could proceed!

Can someone please confirm that these 'errors' have in fact been fixed on subsequent pressings of the set? And, if so, just how long is the "Exit Music"? The back of the DVD case says that the film's total running time should be 248 minutes: in fact, Part I runs for 119 minutes (including the "Entr' Acte") while Part II is 129 minutes long. Is the running time differnt (i.e. longer) for subsequent pressings? Also, for anyone who owns the R2 edition of CLEOPATRA - does it have these same problems at all?

Finally, for anyone who may have watched both the R1 and R2 versions of CLEOPATRA, can someone please tell me whether there is any marked improvement in any one of these editions over the other? I say this because, apart from CLEOPATRA, this last week I watched other Epics on DVD - THE VIKINGS (1958), BEN-HUR (1959) and the Criterion 2-Disc Set of SPARTACUS (1960) on R1, and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) on R2 - and I have to say that the latter's colors were so vibrant that they blew all the others away! In the event that I need to buy CLEOPATRA again on DVD (as I live in Malta in Europe, I'm sure Fox will not send me a corrected version - seeing how they've treated non-R1 customers regarding the SUNRISE [1927] DVD), I would then go for the R2 edition, which is usually available at discount prices on several UK online stores - that is, if I were to know for certain that the PAL transfer is 'better' than the NTSC one I currently own!
 

John Hodson

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On the R2, the entr' acte music is indeed at the end of Disc 1; but the exit music (which runs 2m 16 secs on the PAL disc) is correct and in place at the end of Disc 2. The problem with the stop button at the 'Please insert Disc 2' screen on Disc 1 doesn't occur on the R2.

I haven't seen the R1, but the R2 has a lovely transfer with vibrant colours - I can't imagine the R1 could be markedly better.
 

Jason Adams

Supporting Actor
Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
635
Real Name
Roger Jason Adams
To answer your question...yes, but not entirely. Years ago. The Entr'acte is still on the first disc, but the exit music has been put back. I always thought Cleopatra looked damn good on DVD.
 

JulianK

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 3, 2000
Messages
843
Thanks, John and Jason.

I might have to pick up the R2 version, by the sound of it - long overdue, especially as my old widescreen VHS box set is taking up the room of four DVDs! :D
 

Jonathan Kaye

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 19, 2000
Messages
399
Real Name
Jonathan Kaye
I bought the R1 some months ago, and it was the old pressing. However, when I finally got round to ringing Fox's helpline the other week, they had no problems shipping the corrected disc two to the UK (their only concern was whether the amount of postage they put on it would be enough to reach the UK). It took about a week to reach me (I assume by surface mail, as the envelope did not have an airmail sticker).
 

Michel_Hafner

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
Messages
1,351
There is something else wrong with the Cleopatra DVDs too.
They are full of noise reduction artifacts. If these are in the HD too the film needs to be retransferred.
 

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