AVS Special Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Redlands, Ca. USA
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As I stated in an earlier thread, 2001 will prove to be a bonanza for film buffs for not only will Ben-Hur show up on DVD, but Lawrence Of Arabia and a host of other important movies as well. That is great but there are some troubling aspects to these otherwise good news...
It seems that very quietly Fox recently announced a DVD release of Demitrius And The Gladiators, the sequel to The Robe, slated for February 27. This alone would be great news...if it was not for the fact that The Robe is a far more important film because of its cast (Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, et al), much better acting (even by Victor Mature, who played the Greek slave in this one, and Roman officer-to-gladiator-to-hero in the sequel), and the fact that it was the very first movie to filmed in the CinemaScope anomorphic lensing process, thus of greater historic significance in my opinion (The Robe was also shot flat or with spherical lenses at the same time it was being photographed in CinemaScope. AMC and Fox Movies occassionally show The Robe in the full frame aspect ratio, and it almost seems a different movie altogether. I personally think it should be included along with the widescreen version IF...this movie is ever released on DVD).
I suppose Fox decided to release Demitrius first, perhaps desiring to cash in on GLADIATOR's phenomenal video sales success (just mention the word "gladiator" and the masses will buy, eh?).
I guess that I should be happy with the news that DATG will be put on DVD and released--and in some ways I am--but there is yet another fly in the ointment: the soundtrack...
Apparently Fox will release the DVD with only Dolby 2.0 sound...and not the 4-channel soundtrack, which is readily available as far as I know, so why not use it?
Demitrius, like The Robe, had a directional stereo soundtrack and this fact is most notable as it was Fox who pursued this sound mixing avenue with earnest, for most of their subsequent widescreen epics were endowed with, and featured such, ground-breaking multi-channel sound (it was Cinerama who first deployed several channels during projection besides Disney's multi-tracked sound Fantasia, but the latter two eventually fell to the wayside. Thus Fox deserves the credit for making directional stereo nearly universal in use...at least until movie studios reverted to mono sound almost 100% towards the late 60's).
In any event, this is a travesty that should be stopped before the DVD goes in for pressing. Please, Fox...use the multi-channel soundtrack for Demitrius And The Gladiators...in addition to a HD anomorphic master for the video transfer...and the do same for The Robe...which I hope is soon to follow...Thank you...
[This message has been edited by Frank J Manrique (edited 12-19-2000).]