Paramount Home Video have always been aware that Cecil B. De Mille's 1956 production of "The Ten Commandments" is one of the true jewels in their crown, a timeless classic that defies fashions and trends. This year - 2011 - they decided to give it the presentation it deserves. Beginning with the original Vistavision camera negative they did a full 6k scan that has brought out the colours, flesh tones and amazing sets like never before. This is particularly apparent in the Blu-ray version which is, quite simply, awesome to behold. Never have I seen a Blu-ray - not even a modern-day film - that can hold a candle to it. Every scene is presented in stunning detail.
Paramount's Special Edition Gift Set - a real eye-opener in every respect - is a six-disc limited edition of just 100,000 numbered copies. It comes in an 11 by 8 inch box with an outer perspex cover giving a 3D effect of Moses parting the Red Sea. Then it splits open to complete the effect and inside is a duplication of the twin tablets on which the ten commandments are written in ancient Hebrew. When this is opened, it contains SIX discs - three Blu-ray and three DVDs. The Blu-rays present the film on discs one and two ( for maximum bit-rate ) which splits the 3 hours and 39-minute film intelligently at the intermission point. Disc three offers De Mille's original 1923 silent version of "The Ten Commandments" plus a newly-produced feature-length documentary "Making Miracles - The making of The Ten Commandments" Discs four, five and six presents the DVD versions of the film and the documentary only. Both film versions carry absorbing audio commentaries with a wealth of background stories and anecdotesthat are fun to listen to.
But that's not all. Apart from a whole series of theatrical trailers tracing the film's various releases and re-releases across the decades,there's a 48-page hardback book on the film's costume and set designs and a 35-page reproduction of the film's original 1956 souvenir booklet plus an envelope containing original costume design sketches and even a copy of the Paramount commissary's 1956 lunch menu. In an age when the term "special features" is applied to nothing more than a trailer and possibly an audio commentary or an intervew, this spectacular gift set offers a set of features that can be truly called SPECIAL in every sense of the word.
The film itself,of course, will be around forever but this very special gift set is limited to just 100,000 copies and when it's gone it's gone forever ( and I'm told that it's fast disappearing) So my advice is grab it while you can. If you're a fan of the film or a collector of Blu-ray, it doesn't get any better than this. As a presentation it's worth every penny. I can't recommend it too highly.
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