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Gary Vidmar (Colorado Springs)

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Cleopatra [Masters of Cinema] (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray] [1934]
Cleopatra [Masters of Cinema] (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray] [1934]
Dvd ~ Claudette Colbert

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The DeMille monochrome epic looking marvelously accurate on blu-ray., 12 Nov. 2012
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Colbert offers up a glorious, glamour-girl performance for DeMille in this trashy, opulent version CLEOPATRA. DeMille panders his audience with the kind of potboiler that generally had them lining up at the movie-palace box-office, and the film is ripe with his brand of heavy-handed entertainment value.
This blu-ray has filmlike accuracy, and is rich with the correct amount of film grain, so those in need of big, old-fashioned, silver-screen glamour certainly will relish this high-definition version of an early DeMille spectacular. US customers who wish to indulge will need a multi-region player because the discs are both region-B (2) encoded.

The Curse of Frankenstein (Blu-ray + DVD) [1957]
The Curse of Frankenstein (Blu-ray + DVD) [1957]
Dvd ~ Christopher Lee
Price: £15.00

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb and accurate blu-ray presentation., 12 Nov. 2012
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There seems to be much debate about this blu-ray release, but after comparing it to the Warner-released, US DVD version, it appears to be an accurate high-definition presentation of the film. The US version is matted in Academy widescreen (1:85 to 1); the UK blu-ray, in either the standard Academy ratio (1:33 to 1) or the 1:66 to 1 widescreen version, are equally acceptable presentations. The European widescreen version (1:66 to 1) was my preference. I projected the film using a ViewSonic Pro8200, 1080p projector on a matte-white screen with a 1.5 gain, and color saturation in both the US and UK versions looks accurate. The high-definition version exhibits a proper boost in clarity and contrast compared to the standard DVD. Black levels and contrast were fine. I'd recommend this upgrade to Hammer fans, especially to those partial to this particular version of the Frankenstein story, which offers up a superb performance from the great Peter Cushing and a nicely-envisioned creature turn by Christopher Lee.

The Night Porter [Blu-ray] [1974]
The Night Porter [Blu-ray] [1974]
Dvd ~ Dirk Bogarde
Offered by UK_Media_Offers
Price: £7.54

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superior high-definition transfer of Cavani's moody psychosexual romance, 9 Aug. 2012
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Anchor Bay offers up the same clean transfer of THE NIGHT PORTER on blu-ray as the French Wild-Side version (negligible for its forced French subtitles). The restored elements often look better than the original theatrical prints. There are a couple of DTS-HD audio options; both 2.0 and 5.1 options present the original, monaural English-language version of the soundtrack. It's region-B only, and requires multi-region player capabilities for US collectors.
The film offers up an oppressive atmosphere of decadence, but isn't as compelling an examination of post-war, repressive guilt that it should be; and the self-destructive nature of the paternal sexual relationship on display slowly loses impact. Well worth checking out, inspite of the criticism.

Attila The Hun (Blu-ray + DVD) (2001) (Region 2) (Import)
Attila The Hun (Blu-ray + DVD) (2001) (Region 2) (Import)

3.0 out of 5 stars Attila looking sharp on blu-ray, 30 Jun. 2012
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Gerard Butler's big breakthrough as Attila the Television Hun is offered up in high definition for those that care. There is noticeable sharpening of the image, but this is a definite upgrade for those who own the standard dvd. This is a Danish, region-2 blu-ray featuring the English soundtrack in DTS-HD 2.0 stereo, with optional Scandinavian subtitles.
As for the film, it's strictly soap-opera, and designed for the cheapest of thrills, albeit without any of the titillating, exaggerated sex and violence that personifies this kind of historical TV at present. It's presented in two-parts according to its broadcast origins.

Cleopatra [Blu-ray] [1963] [Region Free]
Cleopatra [Blu-ray] [1963] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Elizabeth Taylor
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £6.75

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleopatra's entry into blu-ray is a worthy one!, 2 Feb. 2012
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Good news about the UK blu-ray of CLEOPATRA:

The double-disc set is a stunner, and no one waiting for this big one will be disappointed. It's glorious and looks to be mastered from the latest Todd-AO 70mm source. Colors are rich and detail and depth are superb. The DTS HD 6-track master offers up splendid fidelity and the original, discrete 4-track stems are offered as a Dolby-digital audio option.

The Overture, Entr'acte and Exit music are intact, but once again, the intermezzo music is misplaced at the end of the first disc. The distraction of this alteration isn't too bad since the second disc starts immediately with a continuation of the film as soon as it loads (there is not a pause for menu startup). All the musical interludes are played against a card displaying red velvet curtains, instead of a black screen as in the theatrical prints. The curtain cards worked for me because they actually look pretty cool.

I haven't watched the extras, but they are the same as the Fox DVD sets, along with the inclusion of some new material especially for the blu-ray. Extras are spread across both discs. There is one entitled CLEOPATRA'S Missing Footage - which should probably offer up the latest on the original 6-hour intent.

CLEOPATRA gets a wonderful 50th Anniversary release and fans will find it worth the wait.

Last, but not least, the UK blu-ray is region free (A,B and C).

The Fall Of The Roman Empire [Blu-ray]
The Fall Of The Roman Empire [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Sophia Loren
Price: £7.99

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE Blu-Ray: UK versus German versions, 14 Jun. 2011
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Both the new FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE Blu-ray from Anchor Bay and the previous Koch version from Germany use the Weintraub/Miriam Collection restoration elements. The Koch Germany release is complete, while the new Anchor Bay drops the roadshow overture, intermission and exit music (as well as a commentary track in the special features). The mastering of the UK release (as with EL CID) is again warmer (richer reds); the Koch version gives the Roman cloaks an orange hue and the film a more golden aura (perhaps a minor question of accuracy). The missing portions on the UK version should disqualify it for purists, but this general-release cut is still a major improvement over the dvd version. Both are satisfying presentations with some compromises. The elements for FALL appear in better shape than those for EL CID, but still display softness in some scenes. Filtering has definitely been done to both blu-rays. The DTS-HD soundtracks on the Anchor Bay and Koch sound identical. FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE still deserves to be rediscovered in high-definition, inspite of marginal mastering flaws of less-than-stellar restorations; and the bigger the screen, the more pleasurable the experience.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2012 7:41 AM GMT

El Cid (Two Disc Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray]
El Cid (Two Disc Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Charlton Heston

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars El Cid Blu-Ray: UK versus the German Version, 14 Jun. 2011
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Both the new EL CID Blu-ray from Anchor Bay and the previous Koch version from Germany use the Weintraub/Miriam Collection restoration master elements. They are close in quality, but this UK release has the slight advantage. The color timing is warmer, giving the reds a more appealing richness (the Koch reds have an orange hue). The dialogue offset appears to be higher in the UK version also, giving its DTS-HD soundtrack louder volume at the same reference level - the Koch volume needs to be set higher for equal fidelity. The quality of the print noticeably exceeds the dvd versions, and is a very satisfying experience as screen size increases, albeit with some inconsistencies. Some scenes display softness and color-alignment problems, but these are marginal infringements, and shouldn't detract from a fine experience for fans of the film. Sadly, the Bronston epics lack the perfection of many, better-protected 70mm roadshows finding their way to blu-ray of late, but this is no reason to deny oneself of their vast pleasures.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2012 1:16 PM GMT

Wer Hat Angst Vor Virginia Woolf
Wer Hat Angst Vor Virginia Woolf
by Bob Willoughby
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Willoughby does his thing on the set of VIRGINIA WOOLF., 25 Nov. 2010
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Bob Willoughby has photographed the sets of some seminal American movies, and WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? contains photographs that are among his best - including some rare color stills. He did a set of books like this (THE GRADUATE, ROSEMARY'S BABY, THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? and THE LION IN WINTER) and they make great essentials for anyone who collects film, or fine-photography, books. The text for this edition is all German, but the photo exhibition speaks for itself.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves [Blu-ray] [1944]
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves [Blu-ray] [1944]
Dvd ~ Maria Montez
Offered by bestmediagroup
Price: £6.99

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A stunning early Technicolor film proving the value of Blu-Ray upgrades on classic films, 19 Oct. 2010
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This blu-ray is barebones except for a music and effects track, but it certainly makes a point in favor of high-definition upgrades of classic films. The Universal region-1 DVD was quite impressive in showcasing the original color elements of this Technicolor matinee movie, but the the blu-ray gives it a detailed rendering that closely resembles an original film print. Noticeable brightness and detail is the big plus; and while the blu-ray colors are less saturated than on the dvd, this is a result of more accuracy in the transfer. The original soundtrack and optional music and effects track are presented in lossless DTS 2.0 that will correctly matrix to a monaural center-channel delivery; the blu-ray is region free in the correct 1:37 to 1 standard projection ration.
The film is a lavish, cheeecake adventure, campy in it's excesses, but beautiful to behold as a glorious Technicolor remnant of Hollywood in the forties.

I Spit On Your Grave - Ultimate Dual Format Collector's Edition  [1978] [Blu-ray]
I Spit On Your Grave - Ultimate Dual Format Collector's Edition [1978] [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Camille Keaton
Offered by Home Entertainment Online
Price: £12.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 70's-style, rape and revenge, for the drive-in crowd..., 26 Sept. 2010
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This notorious, revenge potboiler gets a Blu-Ray release (no doubt thanks to a 2010 remake), and the result is a high-definition upgrade of the USA ELITE Millenium Edition DVD. This dual-disc package includes a version of that DVD and a new Blu-Ray disc with all the associated extras (including a commentary by the director and another, exceptional one, by Joe Bob Briggs). The booklet and poster are nice sweeteners. The 1080 line-progressive conversion is well-done, with accurate color timing, and a filmlike quality reminiscent of the 1980 theatrical prints. Both the DVD and the Blu-ray feature the 100-minute, uncut version.
The film reached peak notoriety when critics Siskel and Ebert decided to make a moronic assault on the picture, probably on behalf of the overbearing Disney Corporation, who produced their old TV show, "AT THE MOVIES". I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE was their prime target for a silly, generalized, conservative assault on the prevalence and popularity of slasher films specializing in violence directed towards women (a tradition as old as film itself). Jack Valenti and the idiotic MPAA also made a big show of disapproval when the film was cut (by 17 minutes), from an original X-rating, to a restricted (17 and over) version.
Rape and revenge are the subject of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, and it basically provides an almost documentary view of both, albeit with heavy-handed, amateurish characterizations and deliriously dubious plot devices. The bourgeoise-versus-hick subtext is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the picture. The film itself is par for the course when compared to similar, independent, audience shockers of the 70's and 80's.

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