- Actors: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ruocheng Ying, Victor Wong
- Directors: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Writers: Bernardo Bertolucci, Enzo Ungari, Henry Pu-yi, Mark Peploe
- Producers: Franco Giovale, Jeremy Thomas, John Daly
- Format: PAL
- Language: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 2
- Studio: Studiocanal
- DVD Release Date: 24 May 2004
- Run Time: 156 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 129 customer reviews
- ASIN: B000216XSA
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,742 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Last Emperor 
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is a service Amazon offers sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's warehouses, and Amazon directly does the picking, packing, shipping and customer service on these items. Something Amazon hopes you'll especially enjoy: FBA items are eligible for and for Amazon Prime just as if they were Amazon items.
If you're a seller, you can increase your sales significantly by using Fulfilment by Amazon. We invite you to learn more about this programme .
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Disc One: Original theatrical version plus extras (total running time: 230 minutes)
Disc Two: The Directors Cut (running time: 220 minutes)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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. I was incredibly pleased to see this included...until I started to watch it. The picture quality is awful. It hasn't been restored and is very grainy and damaged. Anyone with any doubts about the picture quality of the theatrical release on this disc should compare the DC to the TC.
Personally, I think this is a beautiful film and a very good blu-ray release. The ONLY things that could have improved it would have been a 5.1 DTS HD-Master audio track and the Director's Cut to have been remastered.
releases of the film. The Criterion releases have been reformatted from
the original 2:35 to 2:1, but it was done at the request of, and under the
supervision of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.
Also, the Criterion BR doesn't have the longer Italian TV cut, but the
2 disc Criterion DVD does.
Then there is this 2 disc Optimum UK DVD set which has the film in
it's original 2:35 theatrical ratio (and a quite nice transfer, if not quite
up to Criterion's quality.) It also contains the longer TV cut, but in a
transfer much weaker than the Criterion DVD.
Now, as for the film itself...
I can understand someone loving "The Last Emperor" (as I do), or being
bored stiff. Visually ravishing, it is an epic film about an empty man,
the last emperor of China Pu Yi.
Raised from birth with no real experience of the outside world, trained
only to fulfill his role as a symbolic figurehead, we watch Pu Yi swept
along by the great tides of history in the 20th century east. Only
after going through ten years 're-education' at the hands of the
Chinese communists does he start to seem connected to the world and to
The film forces a lot of challenging 're-thinking'. While clearly not
forgiving the murderous excesses of the Chinese cultural revolution in
the 60s, it does show that ' at least in this specific case ' the
harshness of the Chinese communists was better for Pu Yi as a human
being than the false kindness of all those that surrounded him for much
of his life.
There are weak spots. Peter O'Toole - who I usually love - is at his
most self-consciously theatrical as Pu Yi's western tutor, a tone that
makes it feel like he's in a different film. Some scenes feel like pure
exposition, with characters having conversations only so we the
audience understands historical context. And it's sometimes hard to
stay fully connected to a 165 minute epic about an empty man (although
'Citizen Kane' could be looked at that way).
But in the end, when Pu Yi finds some measure of happiness and
wholeness as a simple gardener, there is a fascinating feeling of deep
emotional reward for much of what felt flat earlier.
The Italian TV cut is almost a full hour longer than the feature
version (which Bertolucci is now said to prefer), I find each have
different strengths. I agree that the longer version is a bit "more
boring" to quote the director himself, but it also fills out the story
in important ways. By giving us more information about Pu Yi's
childhood, and time in prison (even if some of those scenes do feel a
bit clunky with exposition) his character feels much more fleshed out,
less of a cipher. More a man, less a symbol. And some of the important
changes both in the story and in his personality feel less sudden or
confusing. Probably my personal 'perfect' version would split the
difference, but I was very glad to see this alternate cut.
The story is a bit adjusted by Chinese interests, at the time the movie was made, of course, as thousands of people were seconded to the production of the film, as soldiers, people in general and so on.
So the story does not mesh 100% with the story about the Last Emperor as told by other sources, but pretty close.
The acting is impeccable, the sets awesome, and very much an educating story for us all!
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews