Spartacus: CC, pleasantly SHOCKED!

 
Old 06-20-03, 08:00 PM
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Spartacus: CC, pleasantly SHOCKED!

My local library finally purchased a copy of this Criterion, and as one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive double disc in print, I was glad to check it on their dime. I'd never seen the film before, Kirk Douglas stars and produces the 1960 epic(made in response to Ben Hur). Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov and Charles Laughton are principle performers, and it was from the minds of novelist Howard Fast(penned the book) and adapted for the screen by Dalton Trombo(both authors were victims of the blacklist, and it's not lost in the material). I'd always had an aversion to the late 50's/early 60's epics, as their look was quite offputting to me, but I gamble here and I was very pleasantly suprised. For a 190 minute plus movie, it really hums quite well, and is not an arduous at any point. But the movie is far from perfect, and not a classic for all times, but a very good film. But the really enjoyable part was the refreshing candor from the principle parties in basically shredding this in the commentary. Recorded for the laserdisc, track one includes Douglas, Fast, Ustinov, the man behind the restoration(which I'm ashamed to forget since he did such brillant work here and on Lawrence of Arabia), and the art director, all recorded separately. Douglas, Ustinov and Fast in particular, are all hypercriticial of a film that definately toes the line of greatness but falls short. But I"m suprised more has never been made(then again it's over 10 years old, so maybe I missed the hubbub). And the second track is Trombo's notes to Kubrick, Douglas and production, equally lambasteful(if thats a word) of the first cut he saw of the film. The are largely brutual, but make phenomenal points in relation to how the film could have improved. Two of the best commentaries I've ever heard, and must listens for anyone interested working in film in my book, or just plain understanding it.

It's a steep price, but I"ll be checking eBay for it. Definately worth netflixing disc one, however.
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Old 06-20-03, 08:37 PM
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I have to agree. My wife bought me the Criterion 2 disc set for Valentines Day a couple years ago (yeah I know, she's awesome). While it isn't one of my top favorites, it is a very good/enjoyable film. The extras are not to be missed. In fact, the extras alone almost make this disc worth the money!
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Old 06-20-03, 09:37 PM
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I'm 24 and I hadn't seen Spartacus before I bought the Criterion sight-unseen when it was first released. I thought it was an amazing film, one that certainly benefited from the love Criterion bestowed on it (the transfer is amazing!). Even tho its a long film, I've watched it twice and both times I always thought the length didn't deter from the experience.
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Old 06-20-03, 09:41 PM
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I'm not after glory! I'm after Spartacus.
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Old 06-20-03, 10:55 PM
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Excellent film - After the Shining, I sought out everything that Kubrick had directed - Douglas was great. So many outstanding performances in this movie. After renting it on Netflix, I went out and purchased it immediately....still have yet to get through all the extras, but one of my favorites.
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Old 06-20-03, 11:34 PM
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I too have this disc - excellent indeed!
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Old 06-21-03, 12:03 AM
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Hey Nature Boy, Just like you I picked up Spartacus: CC at my library. I am looking forward to watching and the best thing is its free.
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Old 06-21-03, 01:27 AM
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I have this disc too. The movie is good, and the disc set is one of the best I've ever seen.
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Old 06-21-03, 02:04 AM
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It was my first Criterion. My girlfriend bought for me just because. I'm so glad she did, it's a really good film and fantastic dvd.
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Old 06-22-03, 08:21 PM
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Stanley Kubrick is my all-time favorite director so this was a no-brainer for me. The Criterion disc is stunning--I only wish that the rest of his films got the same amazing treatment.
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Old 06-22-03, 09:01 PM
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Great DVD. What's Olivier lines about snails and oysters? That should be plastered in every mens' locker room, frat house, and military barracks in the country!

EDIT: Yes, I know, that's Hopkins's line. Sue me.
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Old 06-22-03, 11:00 PM
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Essential... The definitive version of this excellent film. Should be a mandatory DVD for anyone interested in classic Hollywood epics, Kubrick or Kirk Douglas... And a mandatory viewing for those who were raised on Braveheart and Gladiator. It's a great set and one of my personal top 10 DVDs. Big to Criterion.

I picked this up for pre-order when it was released... Think I paid ~ $16.00 after some Jaboom (remember them?) GCs from Amazon. Worth every penny at $16.00 or $50.00.

BTW, it's Robert Harris (the restoration guru)... He posts here every so often and on HTF on a fairly regularly basis, if you would like to thank him.
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Old 06-23-03, 12:11 AM
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yep..this is a great DVD. One of my first Criterions.
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Old 06-23-03, 12:47 AM
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Originally posted by Johnny Zhivago
Essential... The definitive version of this excellent film. Should be a mandatory DVD for anyone interested in classic Hollywood epics, Kubrick or Kirk Douglas... And a mandatory viewing for those who were raised on Braveheart and Gladiator. It's a great set and one of my personal top 10 DVDs. Big to Criterion.

I picked this up for pre-order when it was released... Think I paid ~ $16.00 after some Jaboom (remember them?) GCs from Amazon. Worth every penny at $16.00 or $50.00.

BTW, it's Robert Harris (the restoration guru)... He posts here every so often and on HTF on a fairly regularly basis, if you would like to thank him.

Here here Johnny, especially regarding Gladiator and Braveheart. My eyes came out of my head watching Spartacus when
Spoiler:
Kirk cuts the dude's arm off! To think this predated Braveheart by 35 years!
. I can only wish they somehow did a Ustinov solo commentary, his stories regarding Olivier and Laughton are really worth the price of this.

And I would certainly love to thank Robert Harris(I didn't realize he did Vertigo too, amongst a slew of classics, truly a patron saint of cinema). What is HTF? I'd check there for him too, and if by chance you're reading this Mr. Harris, bravo on an incredible job done, here and especially on Lawrence of Arabia. I certainly plan to shadow your work and hopefully check out all you've restored, based on what you resurrected with these alone.
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Old 06-23-03, 01:21 AM
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Originally posted by The Nature Boy
What is HTF?
http://www.hometheaterforum.com
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Old 06-23-03, 02:22 AM
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Great set. Pricey, but hey, compared to LDs, $50 isn't really that much - and you can usually get it for about $35 now anyway.

It's one of the best Criterion's done. It's amazing how many extras they have for such an old movie.

-- Jough
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