Zulu (1964) Could Use a Restoration/Special Edition

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JoshB, Jul 18, 2002.

  1. JoshB

    JoshB Supporting Actor

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    This is one of my favorite movies that I have seen for many years and would very much like to see it restored and updated with some type of special edition. For those unfamiliar with the movie/story, its about the British soldiers who defended the remote outpost of Rorke's Drift in Natal, South Africa on January 22, 1879. The outpost was maned by about 100 British soldiers and they soon discovered they are about to be attacked by 4,000 Zulu warriors.

    What follows are some of the most spectacular battle scenes ever filmed, as the outnumbered British soldiers are repeatedly attacked by hordes of Zulus. This was also the first movie that featured 2 time Oscar winner Michael Caine. This is the kind of movie that widescreen was meant for. The movie is stunningly filmed, with great scenic backgrounds(no special effects or matte paintings), as well as battle scenes shot on a wide scope and grand scale. If you have seen it, you will notice that many of the great action movies of the past borrow heavily from this movies battle scens. Most particuarily are Aliens, The Last of the Mohicans, and especially Starship Troopers(the battle scene at the outpost where they are vastly outnumbered and attacked by thousands of bugs).

    Zulu is shown many times on stations like TCM and AMC, and it has had several DVD releases. All feature pretty much the same transfer and no extras. It is in widescreen, with sound in mono and very simple packaging and menus. The print is not terrible, but really only a little better than VHS. A restoration to clean it and the sound up would do this great film a service, as well as some type of extras about the movie itself or the battle, and possibly a commentary by Michael Caine. It would be great to get his input about his first movie and what it has been like 40 years later. You can find this movie pretty cheap at stores and online(I got mine for about $8.00) so its well worth the purchase. So let me know what you think.
     
  2. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    This is from the chat with MGM In March 2001. I haven't heard anything since. I agree this is a great film and richly deserves a better DVD release.
     
  3. Walter Smailus

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    I picked up this DVD from the $6 rack at CC about 6 months ago. It comes in one of those clear plastic cases and you see them together with the old martial arts flicks as well. It's still a great movie regardless. The quality of the transfer is horrible and the sound left a lot to be desired but it's better than nothing. I really hope they put out a special edition or at least one with an improved transfer.
    What would really be good is if they could do a commentary by a history expert describing the accuracy/innacurracy of the scenes or further background to the story.
    Just my $0.02
    [​IMG]
     
  4. ChristopherM

    ChristopherM Stunt Coordinator

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    Paramount are releasing "Zulu" in the UK this October. I haven't seen any details confirmed, but have heard that it will contain a better transfer than the current US disc.
     
  5. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    VCI is releasing a letterboxed version of Zulu in August for $9.95 retail. I'm tempted to order it, transfer unseen at that price. VCI has made some nice DVDs, although overall, they are hit & miss.
     
  6. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Can you say, "anamorphic"?
     
  7. John Koehler

    John Koehler Stunt Coordinator

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    It is going to be hard to match the Criterion LaserDisc issue of the full roadshow version (which was 70mm 6-track), widescreen, in stereo, with John Barry's magnificent score resounding throughout (though I can't remember if there was an overture and/or walkout music). Another reason I keep my LD players in good repair! Glad to see there is interest in this fine picture.
     
  8. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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  9. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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  10. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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  11. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    I dream of an excellent version of "Zulu". One of my favorite flicks. Thank goodness I still have my Criterion version. BTW, if you are ever in London, visit its film museum. It was Michael Cain's uniform from the movie. A historical commentary would be nice to put the events shown in the movie in proper perspective. An isolated track of Barry's score would be nice since I've never seen it on CD or LP, for that matter.
     
  12. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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  13. Larry Schneider

    Larry Schneider Second Unit

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    I e-mailed VCI asking whether their upcoming DVD was anamorphic. The reply I receieved was "yes, it's widescreen."
    Who knows?
     
  14. andrew markworthy

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    I've got the new R2 on order. Checking the various R2-oriented websites, there's v. little info. The R2 retailers just announce that it's due out on Oct 7th and that's about it.
    The R2 project has this little snippet:
     
  15. Larry Schneider

    Larry Schneider Second Unit

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    Andrew, there are a couple of widescreen versions available in the US on no-name labels; they're usually not listed on internet retailers' lists. None are anamorphic and none of high quality.
     
  16. andrew markworthy

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    Larry - damnit, I *knew* there was something I was going to add to my previous post about the info not being quite right, and that both R1 versions are widescreen!

    I've got one of the R1 versions (I can't recall which offhand, but it's the one which you good people at HTF said was the better of the two), and to be frank, I've better-looking VHS tapes.
     
  17. Larry Schneider

    Larry Schneider Second Unit

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    The link to the VCI info: http://www.vcientertainment.com/1024.html
    Andrew, there are pan & scan versions of Zulu for sale over here, too and I was concerned that you might be stuck with one of those.
    Maybe we should all e-mail VCI?
     
  18. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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  19. andrew markworthy

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    I suspect there may be some confusion here. I think that there are going to be two separate issues (making at least four versions of Zulu on DVD!) coming out at nearly the same time - the VCI in the USA and the Paramount version in the UK. For once, it looks as if we Brits are getting the better deal!
     
  20. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Be aware that of all the disc versions of ZULU that have been discussed here, the only ones that are of worth are the R2 Paramount edition and the old Criterion laserdisc.
    I do not know what is the murky public domain basis that allows all these companies both reputable (VCI) and disreputable (Front Row, Brentwood, etc) to be putting out their own versions (and blatantly stealing Criterion's widescreen transfer), but it does not do this film a service. Nor does it put any impetus on a clean, legal transfer from the proper rightsholders, which for the U.S. are StudioCanal (Embassy library inheritors), working through MGM. Martin Blythe has gone on record as saying that the numerous cheap, badly transferred PD DVD's of ONE EYED JACKS have impeded Paramount's desire to issue a widescreen, legal DVD of their own. I can only imagine a similar situation at MGM.
    Think of it this way. If I or fellow HTF members were running a Hollywood studio, and saw multiple copies of a movie we made being sold by PD companies, we would be smart enough to see this as consumer demand, and would rush out our own clean bells and whistles edition to beat these bootleggers. But they don't work that way. They look at this as a battle already lost to the profiteers -- they can't match the low price, and these companies are always good at hiding from the law, so they give up. CHARADE and MY MAN GODFREY spent years as PD eyesores. If it hadn't been for Criterion, Universal would have never felt any impetus to release them properly.
    And speaking of Criterion, how would you feel if you were one of their employees, spending hundreds of manhours and money to create a beautiful laserdisc master of a neglected classic like ZULU? And then you find some anonymous charlatan buys your laserdisc, copies it onto a cheap tape or DVD, and starts selling that for $10? You did all that work, and now you're being cheated out of potential sales.
    I know I'm a grump about this, but I firmly believe that buying any DVD of ZULU other than the R2 Paramount edition is being part of the problem and not the solution. I will spend my time lobbying MGM, and my money on their eventual,
    legal version.
     

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