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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars El Cid - Blu-ray (Anchor Bay) - quality - aspect ratio
A lot of discussion is going on about the aspect ratio of El Cid by reviewers who do not seem to have viewed the film in any format and they may be putting off potential buyers in the hope of a better presentation, which may not materialize. I myself was hoping that a 50th anniversary edition may be issued in USA, but finally succumbed and bought this set and am glad of...
Published 21 months ago by Möchtegernkäufer

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality blu ray
Having already purchased the dvd of El Cid (not great quality) from the same manufacturer I was hoping the blu ray would be of much better quality. Well yes the blu ray is a marked improvement over the dvd but the blu ray quality is still poor. The picture is slightly out of focus throughout the duration of the movie, and I ended up with sore eyes from watching it all the...
Published on 5 Nov 2012 by Rip Bluey


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars El Cid - Blu-ray (Anchor Bay) - quality - aspect ratio, 24 Feb 2013
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This review is from: El Cid [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A lot of discussion is going on about the aspect ratio of El Cid by reviewers who do not seem to have viewed the film in any format and they may be putting off potential buyers in the hope of a better presentation, which may not materialize. I myself was hoping that a 50th anniversary edition may be issued in USA, but finally succumbed and bought this set and am glad of it.

One reviewer, who may not have seen this film at all, claims that this was filmed in Ultra Panavision with the ratio of 2.75:1 but it is not so. The main title states "Super Technirama 70" - they should have added "in selected theatres" though. For details about the Technirama look up Wikipedia. According to the IMDb the aspect ratio of the original negative was 2.20:1 (that would be after unsqueezing the anamorphic image), but 2.35:1 with 35mm prints. Unfortunately no mention of the aspect ratio with Super Technirama 70, so called when printed on 70mm film with 6-channel soundtrack. The comfort is, with the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 we are getting basically what the majority of viewers not living in major cities were getting in smaller cinemas back in 1961 but with the luxury of a surround sound they only heard about.

Some claim this blu-ray is no better than upscaled DVD, but no doubt this is a genuine HD transfer. You can't expect the same crispness like Ben-Hur or Cleopatra which had almost double the negative size, and had been very well preserved, so different from El Cid. Moreover, unusual for such a gigantic production, the picture is rather often out of focus. One ought to be grateful to have this restoration. I never saw such a complete version before with the overture, intermission music, entr'acte and exit music. However, they ought to have clearly separated the short intermission music and entr'acte which follows without break and "intermission" screen still on, and when it ends the second part starts immediately. The sound quality of the music is hardly CD quality - I compare it with the authentic "soundtrack" album conducted by Rozsa - but excellent for its age. The surround sound is nicely done, more effective than even Ben-Hur - for example the echo in the cathedral square and the empty palace hall.

So much for the technical side. As a Heston and Rozsa fan I have to love this film, but it is not a great film in spite of many positive qualities, as Heston himself said in interviews and his books.
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103 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the reviews about the "other" DVD -- this is the real deal, 26 Feb 2008
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Stupidly, Amazon have linked reviews from the older and rubbish pan & scan DVD releases to this new edition -- thus misleading customers into thinking that this MIRIAM TWO-DISC DELUXE EDITION is in some way as shoddy as earlier releases. It is not.

Here are the tech specs for this release:

Original aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Commentary with William Bronston (Samuel's Son) and biographer Neal Rosendorf
Vintage Radio promo interviews
Text Filmographies and Still Galleries
Disc 2 Featurettes:
Hollywood Conquers Spain: The Making of An Epic (23:56)
Samuel Bronston: The Epic Journey of a Dreamer (52:20)
Behind The Camera: Anthony Mann and El Cid (17:22)
Miklos Rozsa: Maestro of the Movies (30:11)
Preserving Our Legacy: Gerry Byrne on Film Preservation and Restoration (7:38)
Trailer Gallery
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars El Cid German Blu Ray, 27 April 2011
By 
R. James "39000" (Princeville, HI, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: El Cid. Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray)
Amazon do a bad job on reviews with mulitple versions and do not always get the right review with the right disk, so I have made it clear in the title. Amazon have also got confused on some aspect ratios as there is much confusion amongst the public in what they mean. This Blu Ray disk is great. I bought it from Amazon.de but now the UK price is very competitive. The picture quality is fantastic (you can really spot the jet trails and the retakes in the sand), the aspect ratio is 2.35, the sound is good and it appears to be the full movie. I also have the US R1 3 disk DVD and a Japanese DVD. The color is far superior here and for a film from the 1960's it gives a very good result. I love this movie, I do not care what they say about Sophia Loren's relationship with Heston it is great. Only drawback for me is Region B and although I have a Region B player, most of my kit (portable and laptops) are locked into Region A. Never mind may be Weinstein will release this some time in Region A.
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88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous film on a worthless DVD, 31 May 2006
This review is from: El Cid [DVD] (1961) (DVD)
El Cid is one of my favourites from that epic period of American cinema, the 1960s, where every film made seemed to be over three hours long and featured all the stars you could possibly want to see that weren't in the sky. This one also has the distinction of being helmed by one of the great unsung directors, Anthony Mann, whose work with James Stewart in a remarkable and memorable series of westerns in the 1950s deserves to be reappraised. Mann seemed to specialise in films where the hero's mental and phsyical state was always in question (and usually brought to the fore). In El Cid, that inner conflict is dwarfed by the historical conflict, although he later went on to explore the male psyche more dramatically in his last truly great masterpiece, the equally spectacular The Fall of the Roman Empire a few years later.

For those not in the know, El Cid is the legendary Spanish hero who succeeds in driving the Moors from Spain. Charlton Heston (who else?) is the eponymous hero, portraying Cid as a man with a strict sense of honour even when everything and everyone is against him, and the lovely Sophia Loren plays Chimene, his on-off lover. A masked Herbert Lom, however, steals the show in a raving, shouting, wild-eyed performance as the leader of the Moors (he has one of the best and unintentionally funniest deaths in screen history, to boot). Aside from the gigantic battle set-pieces near the end of the film, which are exciting and powerfully shot by the great cinematographer Robert Krasker, the highlights of the film are two ferocious one-on-one fights, the first one a vicious swordfight between El Cid and Chimene's father over their relationship, and the other a trial by combat between El Cid and Don Martin over the the ownership of the city of Calahorra.

Filmed in the widescreen process Super Technirama 70, this brilliant film should have an aspect ratio of roughly 2.20:1. However, this DVD from Universal unwisely crops the image to 1.78:1 after the credit sequence, thereby rendering Mann's exquisite shot composition insignificant. Furthermore, the print used doesn't appear to be the same version so lovingly restored in the early 1990s, exhibiting much more print damage than even the UK TV showing did.

Once again a major distributor shows their contempt for us with this DVD release, so I would recommend getting the new Japanese or French DVDs of this fine film instead, because they're both in the correct anamorphic widescreen ratio.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality blu ray, 5 Nov 2012
By 
Rip Bluey (West Midlands,England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: El Cid [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Having already purchased the dvd of El Cid (not great quality) from the same manufacturer I was hoping the blu ray would be of much better quality. Well yes the blu ray is a marked improvement over the dvd but the blu ray quality is still poor. The picture is slightly out of focus throughout the duration of the movie, and I ended up with sore eyes from watching it all the way through in one go. There seems to be a heavy emphasis on the colour red which stands out a bit too much on the uniforms, flags etc. Compared to excellent blu ray transfers from films around the same period like Cleopatra, Ben Hur, Spartacus and the Ten Commandments this one is definitely at the bottom of the pile.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect, But Aspect Ratio NOT Correct!!, 24 Aug 2011
This review is from: El Cid [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a lovely release from Anchor Bay - the extras are particularly good, albeit in standard definition, and provide a good 3 hours of extremely interesting insights into the making of this epic of epics.

However, for those who have been singing the joys of the 2.35:1 ratio as opposed to the admittedly terrible 1.78 ratio of the vastly inferior DVD release, bear in mind that this, as well as 'The Fall of the Roman Empire' were actually shot in Ultra Panavision, and correctly, should be in a 2.75:1 ratio. You can see signs of cropping throughout the entire movie, and it's especially noticeable in the opening credits to both films.

Don't get me wrong, the 2.35 ratio is a great improvement, and the blu-ray is a really lovely print, but this is a common occurrence with movies from the 50s and 60s which are cropped down from Cinemascope, Cinerama, Todd-AO and Ultra Panavision to the 2.35 ratio. Not many distributors will present those original 2.55 or greater ratios as they were originally intended - a couple of exceptions are Ben Hur and Battle of the Bulge, both from Warners noticebaly, which retain the 2.75 ratio.

Perhaps there is some concern that the greater the ratio, the thicker the tram lines on the screen to provide the width?

Personally, I want to see these kinds of movies in ALL of their glory, but I guess I'll have to put up with 2.35 for now.....
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 star film...3 star DVD, 26 Jun 2010
By 
Ian Armer (Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: El Cid [1961] (DVD)
Glad another reviewer pointed out the flaws of this DVD as it saves me the time! However the Dutch edition is amazingly cheap (I paid three Euro's for my copy) so as a cheap widescreen alternative to the full frame UK edition it's not bad - as long as you are aware of the flaws. The biggest offender - thought it doesn't happen often as tracking shots and camera sweeps are somewhat lacking in El CId - is the afore mentioned 'jerkiness' of the image. It's annoying although seems to become less over time. I didn't have any problems with lip sync, however the image is very soft and the colours muted. I wanted it to look sharp, vibrant and crisp and fel the Spanish sun soaking into me!

The film is amazing, however. I'd forgotten just how EPIC this movie is - in every sense! A huge, vast canvas of emotions, exciting battle sequences, fine performances and a rousing score by Miklos Rosza. You can't go wrong and I even suspect that it's a great film to show the kids as it rivals Lord of the Rings for scope and emotion and intelligent storytelling.

So, if you can find a better copy (my hunch is the Region 1 release) go for that, but if you want a cheap acceptable edition, opt for this. But scout around as the film deserves better than this fudged release.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this DVD--waste of money, 5 July 2004
By 
Orson Welles "Hollywood" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: El Cid [DVD] (DVD)
This wonderful film deserves a Criterion or BFI DVD complete with a restored print. It certainly is a timely film and I find its vision of mutual tolerance and charity between Christians and Muslims particularly welcome at the present moment (especially with all those frothering neocons yapping about a clash of civilizations). It will be interesting to see Ridley Scott's forthcoming Crusades film, which looks to be an avatar of El Cid.
But do not buy this DVD. It is full screen, not widescreen. There is a DVD available from Amazon.fr, however, which does have widescreen. I saw the film when I was eight (for my birthday) in 1962 and saw it on television (wth a pan and scan edit) which butchered the 70 mm Technirama print. The fullscreen (tv) format gives one only less than two thirds of the actual frame. It's a wonder to see the French DVD version on my 23 inch flat computer screen. the only problems with htis DVD are that the print is not a great one--there are scratches every now nad then, and hte sound track is momentarily off for a few seconds. More troublesome is that the French subtitles were burned into the print, so they can't be removed when you watch the DVD in English (there is also a French dubbed version). And the various menu features don't work except for film and language tracks. Still, I'm glad I got it and recommend it until a DVD here becomes available.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars " And the Cid rode thru the gate and into legend ", 17 Sep 2014
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: El Cid [DVD] (DVD)
El Cid is the story of legendary Rodrigo Diaz who lifted his country with valour and integrity to drive the Moorish invaders from Spain.

I think the best thing I can say about this film is that even though it's nearly three hours long, I never once look at the clock. It's a thoroughly engaging picture that boasts all the great hallmarks of a sweeping historical epic. The colour, the costumes, the scope, and the attention to detail from director Anthony Mann are first rate, and par for the course is the suitably rousing score from Miklos Rozsa. Big square jawed bronzed beefcake Charlton Heston takes the lead role as Diaz, and firmly cements himself as the go to guy for gargantuan epics. Support comes in the form of Sophia Loren, Genevieve Page, Raf Vallone, John Fraser (excellent), and Gary Raymond (also excellent).

The story is an excellent one because Diaz was such a fine character from the annals of Spanish history, uniting the sulking Christian kings of Spain whilst simultaneously lifting the people of the streets off their knees and getting them to believe in the cause. Yet it has to be said that El Cid is far from the perfect historical epic movie, even allowing for the usual Hhollywoodisation of facts, one can't quite get past the fact that El Cid comes across as a glamorised glory tale without any hindrances. Surely here in the 11th century, El Cid's path would have been fraught and sodden with a great deal more death and destruction? It takes away greatly from the film's end because the build up of Cid's heroism actually didn't contain a great deal of hard work. It was a stroll in the park so to speak.

Still, it's a wonderful film that ticks all the boxes for genre staples, and as churlish as I may be as regards the assumptive nature of El Cid's story being told here, I'm still the first to start cheering and thumping my chest as the credits role, and not even Sophia Loren's pout can distract me from the bravado warmth washing over me. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect knight - but many of the releases are less than perfect, 8 Oct 2005
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: El Cid [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Rather unhelpfully, Amazon have bundled all the reviews for different editions of this title on different format together. This review attempts to describe the differences between some of them at the end.

The first of Anthony Mann and Samuel Bronston's ambitious and intelligent epics, El Cid has to boast the most gorgeous use of the widescreen ever - the Cid and Chimene's first meeting makes the most of every inch of the screen, while Robert Krasker's gliding camera is remarkably sympathetic to screen format, architecture and exteriors alike. Indeed, the whole film displays Mann's typically intelligent use of location, here in interiors (often his weak spot) as well - during their bleak wedding feast, he keeps Chimene and the Cid at a distance, the staircase where he killed her father (never a great start to any marriage) prominent between them; and while the good king's court is filled with colour, light and people, once the weak Alfonso assumes power it is a dark, empty hall. Despite some occasional over emphatic Christian imagery - when he's not standing in front of a cross, he's literally carrying one - this spectacular account of Spain's greatest hero uniting Christians and Moors alike against a common enemy, making friends of enemies and teaching his weak king the path to greatness by example manages to put a surprisingly human face on the myth of the perfect knight: the Cid's quest to do the honourable and right thing brings him little joy and much sorrow and even his resolve is nearly broken by his burden.

Charlton Heston when he was still an icon instead of an ass is one of the few actors who could carry off such a part, and he does it very well despite his curious conviction that Mann's superb direction was below par. The pomp and splendour never swamps the drama, and the setpiece duel for Calahora still stands out as one of the most remarkable and remarkably vicious screen swordfights of all time. A great score from Miklos Rozsa and good support from John Fraser and Douglas Wilmer too, although Andrew Cruickshank's portly King's champion implies that there was something seriously amiss in the kingdom long before the warring infantas succeeded to the throne.

Sadly (unlike the 2.35:1 German DVD which has an English soundtrack with removeable German subtitles), the astonishingly shoddy original UK DVD from Polygram/Universaal has been cropped from its original ratio to 1.85:1 and is a terrible transfer with no real extras, despite much material being available. To add insult to injury, the overture, intermission, entr'acte and playout music have all been cut from the film.

The Weinsteins' 2-disc NTSC DVD set is a slight improvement picture wise over the Criterion laserdisc but still doesn't look as good as a film shot in 65mm should - largely because they mastered it from a 35mm version. Still, it's a great film and the extras are good, though it's a shame they didn't include the full Anthony Mann interview from the laserdisc (though that can be found on Criterion's DVD of The Furies). Still, it does include the overture, intermission, entr'acte and playout music have all been cut from the European DVDs of the film.

Anchor Bay's UK DVD and Bluray are a marked improvement, boasting the plethora of extras from the US Weinstein/Miriam DVD (though the theatrical trailer has atrocious quality), but sadly the picture has been mastered from 35mm elements to save money with the result that, while the best version available it's still short of what a 70mm epic should look like.
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