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Last Emperor [Blu-ray]

4.4 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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4 used from £14.84

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Product details

  • Actors: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ying Ruocheng, Victor Wong
  • Directors: Bernardo Bertolucci
  • Producers: Jeremy Thomas
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 19 April 2010
  • Run Time: 160 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0039LAPWU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,965 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-winning epic about the last imperial ruler of China. In 1908 the three-year-old Pu Yi is made Lord of Ten Thousand Years, but is soon forced to abdicate. He is, however, kept on as a symbolic figure and educated by an English tutor (Peter O'Toole) until he is thrown out by the new government. Now in his late twenties, Pu Yi takes his two wives to Tientsin and lives the life of a playboy.

From Amazon.co.uk

Bernardo Bertolucci does the nearly impossible with this sweeping, grand epic that tells a very personal tale. The story is a dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the emperors of China. It follows his life from its elite beginnings in the Forbidden City, where he was crowned at age three and worshipped by half a billion people. He was later forced to abdicate and, unable to fend for himself in the outside world, became a dissolute and exploited shell of a man. He died in obscurity, living as a peasant in the People's Republic. We never really warm up to John Lone in the title role, but The Last Emperor focuses more on visuals than characterisation anyway. Filmed in the Forbidden City, it is spectacularly beautiful, filling the screen with saturated colours and exquisite detail. It won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. --Rochelle O'Gorman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The movie is basically a straight-forward biopic of the last emperor of China as the name implies. What sets this Oscar winning film apart is the adept direction by Bernardo Bertolucci and his equally talented crew (especially the DP Vittorio Stararo). The colours that fill the screen is amazing. This movie has to been seen in the 70mm format in an IMAX auditorium.
Production values aside, the only flaw in this film, is the deadpan performance of John Lone. He still represents the Western archetype of Asians in the Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu style of bad acting with equally bad accented English. The movie could have been better if it had been using the authentic Mandarin language (Pu Tong Hua).
Overall, this edition is a marked improvement from its Region 1 cousin, being the presence of an audio commentary and a documentary. The Region 1 DVD that I owned was a general disappointment.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Nothing to be said about the movie, it is just a masterpiece. But this tranfer is awful. Scene by scene comparison shows that it is not signficantly better than the upgraded dvd. Details are blurry, and the DNR is so excessive that it is distracting. Plus, following the US release, it has cropped the sides to show an artificial 2.00:1 ratio instead of the original 2.35:1 ratio. A disaster. I will not bother to return the blu ray, because it was very cheap, and the mailing would be as expensive. But, if you are reading this, do not bother to buy, stick to your DVD and wait for an HD transfer worth of this movie, as I will. IMPORTANT NOTE: this review was about the UK edition of the movie, not for the Criterion Collection edition, I don't know how Amazon got it mixed up. I am confident that the image of the Criterion edition is much better, crisp and DNR-free, as in all their releases, despite the format problem.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought the Optimum Home Entertainment Double Disc Special Edition, released in 2004. The theatrical version (DVD 1 of 2) in this set is first class. It displays with 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Other releases, including Blu-Ray, offered a cropped 2:1 ratio. The movie screened in theatres at 2.35:1 though Bertolucci later said he had intended it to be seen at 2.2:1 or 2.0:1. Personally I prefer to see it as it was shown in the cinemas, so I like this latest release (I have a 2.0:1 version as well). The earlier PAL DVD release had really horrible picture quality. This one has been remastered and the transfer to DVD is excellent. The picture quality is *flawless*. The audio is stereo AC-3.

Some drawbacks: The audio on the director's commentary is out of sync, though it doesn't really matter as the voices of the Bertolucci, Jeremy Thomas and Ryuichi Sakomoto dominate.

The "Director's Cut" on DVD 2 is no such thing. It is an extended version which was cobbled together for TV. There were reasons why that extra hour of footage didn't make it into the cinema version..... Now Bertolucci approving it being issued on DVD has led to marketing monkeys making the bogus claim that it's a director's cut. The picture quality of this extended version is lamentable, being soft, dark and extremely grainy. It would look bad under any circumstances but releasing it alongside this pristine theatrical version is inviting criticism.

This is definitely a UK PAL release, not a Europe PAL release; there are no foreign language subtitles. In fact there aren't even English subtitles for the hard of hearing.

Despite the lame second DVD and the lack of subtitles I've rated it 5 stars because the picture quality of the theatrical version in this set is as excellent as such a film deserves, which is what matters most in my opinion, and the double DVD edition didn't cost any more than a budget single disc.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I'll start my review by saying that I only saw this film for the first time last year. It was free with one of the newspapers. Needless to say I loved it and promptly decided to buy the blu-ray

After a bit of research I decided to go with our own UK release. Why? Because all 'official' reviews state that it's the best of what's available. Some people mention the region-locked US Criterion version - well apparently it's the same transfer as the UK release.

So, onto the blu-ray disc.

Picture - I thought the picture was brilliant most of the time; but there are a few shots where the natural grain is more distracting. Never could this be considered a poor transfer though. As for the aspect ratio: I'm aware that this film was originally shot in 2.35:1 ratio and that the Director of Photography has since changed his mind and it's now 2.00:1. Personally, this was not a problem for me. Also, I'm quite happy to not complain about the decisions of the film makers. It's their film after all.

Sound/Subtitles - one of the few disappointments with this disc. Originally in a simple 2.0 Stereo; the blu-ray upgrades to a PCM 2.0 track (which apparently sound almost identical to the Criterion DTS HD-Master 2.0 track). The PCM track does its job adequately; I'm just so used to a minimum of 5.1 that I noticed the difference. I use a Yamaha soundbar for viewing and I can hear the difference. Especially on a film with such a masterpiece of a score. There are no subtitles at all. None.

Extras - Commentary. Featurettes. Trailer. AND....the Director's Cut of the film!!! This is both the DC and the 'Italian TV Version' of the film and runs for an extra 45 minutes. This version is exclusive to the UK blu-ray to my knowledge.
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