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Another classic comes to blu ray at last!
on 9 June 2012
Alexander The Great, like many of its 1950s CinemaScope contemporaries is an ideal subject for Blu ray treatment. These films were composed for the wide frame, not with one eye on a future TV release, and were made, for the most part, in glorious Technicolor or the more economical Eastmancolor.
Other reviewers have detailed the plot, or the various perceived shortcomings of Rosson's epic: overlong, talky, weak battle sequences, wooden performances etc. But none of this matters because this was very much a film of its time. If you are going to buy a pre 1960s costume picture on DVD or Blu ray, it will be much the same as Alexander The Great; this was how they made them then. Helen Of Troy has better battles and more spectacle, for example, but Alexander The Great has a better script and acting. Both films look terrific, however and should have been studied carefully by the makers of Alexander and Troy before they set work recreating ancient Greece with CGI.
Strangely, this Blu ray release comes from Denmark, with the Blu ray cover in Danish, though even more oddly, the menu page features a photograph of the same Blu ray cover which is entirely in English. The disc defaults to the original English soundtrack - which seems to be in stereo - and optional subtitles in a variety of languages, except English, can be selected. The print is clean and sharp and colours are bright and steady, though one scene has a brief cutaway that is so soft as to appear almost out of focus. That lasts only a few seconds, though. The original aspect ratio has been preserved at 2.35:1, anamorphically enhanced, though this is not stated on the cover. The sound is clear, too, with all dialogue clearly audible (unlike most of today's films), but the downside of this, of course, is that Mario Nascimbene's dull and plodding music is also clearly audible, too. However, he would redeem himself a few short years later with magnificent scores for The Vikings, Barabbas, Room At The Top, Doctor Faustus and One Million Years B.C.
Overall, Alexander The Great has never looked or sounded better since it was first released in 1955 and this comes as a two-disc set (a DVD version is included) making this Blu ray release a must-buy for fans of the genre.
More of these films on Blu ray, please!