105 Spartacus

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Martha
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105 Spartacus

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:06 pm

Spartacus

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Stanley Kubrick directed a cast of screen legends—including Kirk Douglas as the indomitable gladiator that led a Roman slave revolt—in the sweeping epic that defined a genre and ushered in a new Hollywood era. The assured acting, lush Technicolor cinematography, bold costumes, and visceral fight sequences won Spartacus four Oscars; the blend of politics and sexual suggestion scandalized audiences. Today Kubrick’s controversial classic, the first film to openly defy Hollywood’s blacklist, remains a landmark of cinematic artistry and history.

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET

- Stunning new 16×9 transfer of the 1991 fully restored Super Technirama version
- Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack
- Audio commentary by producer-actor Kirk Douglas, actor Peter Ustinov, novelist Howard Fast, producer Edward Lewis, restoration expert Robert A. Harris, and designer Saul Bass
- Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s scene-by-scene analysis
- Restoration demonstration
- Rare deleted scenes
- Vintage newsreel footage
- 1960 promotional interviews with Jean Simmons and Peter Ustinov
- 1992 video interview with Peter Ustinov
- Behind-the-scenes “gladiatorial school” footage
- The 1960 documentary The Hollywood Ten, plus archival documents about the blacklist
- Original storyboards by Saul Bass
- Hundreds of production stills, lobby cards, posters, print ads, and a comic book
- Sketches by director Stanley Kubrick
- Original theatrical trailer
- Additional Alex North score compositions
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired

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Martha
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#2 Post by Martha » Fri Mar 04, 2005 7:16 am

Fury, disgust, and disinterest about Pepsi and wor Stan have been moved here.

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denti alligator
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#3 Post by denti alligator » Fri Mar 04, 2005 8:37 am

Napoleon wrote:Spartacus is barely a Kubrick film anyway, so I don't see why anybody would get bent out of shape on his account.
This, on the other hand, does belong here. Can its author explain, please.

Napoleon
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#4 Post by Napoleon » Fri Mar 04, 2005 9:21 am

denti alligator wrote:This, on the other hand, does belong here. Can its author explain, please.
OK
Napoleon wrote:Spartacus is barely a Kubrick film anyway, so I don't see why anybody would get bent out of shape on his account.
Spartacus is a studio film where Stan worked within studio constraints. A bit like Rebecca barely being a Hitchcock film.

With any other film in his oeuvre, you can tell that Kubrick is the director. Watching Spartacus this is not the case. It is a good film, but in my mind it is not a good Kubrick film. I thought that this was fairly well established?

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#5 Post by cdnchris » Fri Mar 04, 2005 9:57 am

Napoleon wrote:
denti alligator wrote:This, on the other hand, does belong here. Can its author explain, please.
OK
Napoleon wrote:Spartacus is barely a Kubrick film anyway, so I don't see why anybody would get bent out of shape on his account.
Spartacus is a studio film where Stan worked within studio constraints. A bit like Rebecca barely being a Hitchcock film.

With any other film in his oeuvre, you can tell that Kubrick is the director. Watching Spartacus this is not the case. It is a good film, but in my mind it is not a good Kubrick film. I thought that this was fairly well established?
While I agree, if you actually mute some scenes to get rid of the score, it actually feels more "Kubrickian" and you can tell it's him. Some of the shots and camera movements are definitely his. It's easy to overlook them when you have an "epic score" blaring at you.

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Morbii
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#6 Post by Morbii » Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:28 am

I didn't really even care for this film... but yeah, I think the score was the worst part...

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#7 Post by unclehulot » Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:13 pm

cdnchris wrote: While I agree, if you actually mute some scenes to get rid of the score, it actually feels more "Kubrickian" and you can tell it's him. Some of the shots and camera movements are definitely his. It's easy to overlook them when you have an "epic score" blaring at you.
I agree that there is some odd kind of disconnect between the score and the film, but not because it's a stereotypical "epic score". There's a bit more grit and dissonance (lots of different kinds of percussion, and interesting wind/brass blends) than that the classical Hollywood style at work here. The more romantic stuff in the score is much more transparently (and interestingly) orchestrated than the norm also. The modern restoration really dials up the volume on the score quite a bit....which is great if you're an Alex North fan, but I think it clunks up the sound mix a bit. Interesting that North also wrote the discarded score to 2001. [/b]

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#8 Post by Poncho Punch » Thu Mar 31, 2005 5:31 pm

Poncho Punch wrote:Not to go too off-topic, but while we're on the subject of price points, does anyone have a definitive reason for the curious $49.95 pricing of Spartacus? Is it simply because they had to cover licensing costs? It doesn't seem like there's a precedence for Criterion to pay significant amounts of money to get there hands on a film, unless they really wanted a Kubrick in the collection.

BWilson
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#9 Post by BWilson » Thu Mar 31, 2005 7:16 pm

It might have something to do with the cost of making an HD transfer from 70mm elements, but I'm only guessing.

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Gordon
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#10 Post by Gordon » Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:57 am

"No, I'm Kirk Douglas' son!

Quite amusing. As is this:

Kirk Douglas' snails

Peter Cook actually interviewed Kirk on his ill-fated 1971 sketch/chat show, Where Do I Sit?, where he opened not with "How are you?" but "Who are you?". A combination of antipathy for celebrities and alcohol should be avoided when undertaking a TV chat show. That clip was going to be used for the 1976 Derek and Clive album, but it had to be left off, but their stories of working for Jayne Mansfield and Winston Churchill were included, thankfully.

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HerrSchreck
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#11 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:56 am

I never picked this up, but semi-curious to get it into my collection (due to nostalgia over a recent trip to Rome... predictable, me) I took a look at the screencaps. The last time I saw the film was a rental of the Uni discs. Looking at Gary's caps, the CC looks thin, yellow-biased, and hugely cropped vs. the Uni. As the discs were released at approx the same time, and despite all the extras on the CC, I'm actually veering towards the Universal. The CC looks a bit vomitous.

Just look at this for examp-- top is Uni, bottom is CC:

Universal
Criterion

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colinr0380
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#12 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:26 am

I'll have to watch my copy again, but I think that exact sequence (is that from the meeting in the tent between Kirk Douglas and Herbert Lom?) was shown in the restoration demonstration featurette, and I seem to remember that they did manipulate the colours, under the supervision of Robert Harris, to make it closer to how the film originally looked.

These are a couple of quotes from the featurette:

"With Robert Harris providing acetate film segments from an original dye transfer print approved by Stanley Kubrick, true colours and density can be precisely determined."

"Colourist Alan Rogers matched each shot referring to the prints....[In the sequence with Douglas and Lom] Kubrick preferred a slightly greyer than blue night sky and less red in the skin tones."

Either way, the Criterion edition is excellent for the extras! A pre-stroke Kirk Douglas and Peter Ustinov's raconteuring is almost worth the price alone, not to mention the actor reading Dalton Trumbo's very frank comments on how his script is being 'Hollywood-ised'! Some of his phrases have a very Schreck-ian quality to them :wink: :

"If I were making a picture and considered the script of any importance to it, I would take a magnifying glass to read a script microscopically written in shit in rows on the ass of Beelzebub"

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Gregory
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#13 Post by Gregory » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:36 pm

Gary lists both ratios as 2.2:1, but they look distinctly different to me. Was that a result of making the caps, or is everything really that distorted on the Universal? In the one above, Kirk's head looks way too spherical, i.e. not tall enough.

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Matt
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#14 Post by Matt » Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:51 pm

Gregory wrote:Gary lists both ratios as 2.2:1, but they look distinctly different to me. Was that a result of making the caps, or is everything really that distorted on the Universal? In the one above, Kirk's head looks way too spherical, i.e. not tall enough.
The AR for the top image is 2.44:1. And that's the same for all of Gary's caps from the Universal disc (which must be cropped or something because they all have different pixel ratios). Weird.

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HerrSchreck
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#15 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:54 am

That's one of the things I was commenting about-- how can the ratios be the same considering the heavy cropping on the right hand side of the CC? There seems to be some loss in detail & resolution on the CC (look at the highlights on Douglas' forhead, for example.. the dif makes the CC appear to be from a SD transfer versus potential hidef on the Uni).

However it may well be that the CC is correct colorwise (certainly one of the wonderful-- and increasingly lost-- hallmarks of technicolor was it's artificiality vs the far more naturalistic color of the present day.. it resulted in a painterly otherworldliness well exploited by geniuses like Perinal & Cardiff, and that can be washed away by telecine colorists looking to naturalize away the fabulous saturations & bright hues resident in so many masterpieces from the late silent era straight thru to the 70's).

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#16 Post by 4LOM » Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:44 am

From the Widescreenmuseum:

Image

YELLOW: Area used in Universal Home Video transfer
RED: Area used in Criterion transfer
BLUE: Standard 35mm extraction area
GREEN: 70mm projector aperture dimensions
Universal copied more information than would be seen in either a 70mm or 35mm print, more than would wind up on the screen in a theatre. And while they state on the box that the transfer is 2.21:1, in fact it's 2.35:1 due to the fact that image information that is normally hidden by the magnetic sound stripes has been included on the sides. This is probably welcome by some film enthusiasts, but your Curator doesn't think it's an especially good idea considering the fact that the transfer was not in 16:9 anamorphic and the greater extraction area diminishes the ability to record fine detail. Criterion's transfer, while infinitesimally off-center, conforms to the 70mm projector aperture dimensions.

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Awesome Welles
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Re: 105 Spartacus

#17 Post by Awesome Welles » Tue May 19, 2009 11:34 am

I thought it might be of interest to some that Spartacus is being re-released in the UK on newly restored digital prints so I wonder if this will lead to new Blu-rays, Criterion or otherwise, probably the latter. In the UK the new restoration is being distributed by Universal.

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dad1153
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Re: 105 Spartacus

#18 Post by dad1153 » Tue May 19, 2009 1:07 pm

Hope it's a vast improvement over the HD-DVD version Universal released a while back, which doesn't look at all like any work or restoration was put into it.

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Re: 105 Spartacus

#19 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:11 am

An interesting essay on the film by Jonathan Rosenbaum.

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Cash Flagg
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Re: 105 Spartacus

#20 Post by Cash Flagg » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:34 pm

From Blu-ray.com--
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced that, on May 25th, it will release Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus (1960). In 1961, the film won four Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Peter Ustinov) and Best Cinematography (Russell Metty).

Special features will include:

* Deleted Scenes
* Interview with Peter Ustinov
* Interview with Jean Simmons
* Behind-the-Scenes Footage
* Vintage Newsreels
* Theatrical Trailer
* Production Stills
* Concept Art
* Costume Designs
* Saul Bass Storyboards
* Posters & Print Ads
* My Scenes
* BD Live

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captveg
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Re: 105 Spartacus

#21 Post by captveg » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:06 pm

No surprise there. Let's hope it turns out better than the HD-DVD.

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Re: 105 Spartacus

#22 Post by cdnchris » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:08 pm

They're not grabbing the Criterion commentary? That's one of the best commentary tracks ever!!

mbschwartz

Re: 105 Spartacus

#23 Post by mbschwartz » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:32 pm

Glad you liked the commentary track. I just found this site today! I was a sound editor and interviewer for several criterion laserdiscs between '89 and '93. Spartacus was a lot of fun. I recorded Kirk Douglas at his home. He came out to greet us shirtless and buff and almost broke my hand with his tight grip. He is one of the nicest men I've ever met.

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Re: 105 Spartacus

#24 Post by Zumpano » Fri May 14, 2010 12:54 pm


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Feego
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Re: 105 Spartacus

#25 Post by Feego » Mon May 17, 2010 1:49 pm

Beaver Blu-ray comparison. If you ask me, those close-ups look rather "waxy."

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