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King of Kings


Overview:


The producer of El Cid and The Fall of the Roman Empire and the director of Rebel Without a Cause and 55 Days at Peking team for this powerful, moving tale of the life of Christ that's rich in scale, set against the tumult of Roman occupation and filled with notable performances by Jeffrey Hunter (Jesus), Rip Torn (Judas), Harry Guardino (Barabbas) and others. From the Nazarene's humble birth to his nomadic ministry, from the teachings to murderous conspiracies, from death on a cross to resurrection -- key events of 33 years that changed the world are here. An epic that both entertains and ennobles, King of Kings wears its crown with reverence and strength.












Film:



My Thoughts:



When I was growing up King of Kings was broadcast on TV every year around Easter. As a little boy being raised in the Christian faith I always found it to be spiritually stirring. I liked the idea of putting faces to the names of the Apostles, Joseph, Mary, John The Baptist, Pontius Pilate, Barabbas, Mary Magdalene and the many others depicted in the film. Being able to actually see some of the crucial points in Christ's life, gathering his apostles, performing miracles, the Sermon on the Mount, his trial/crucifixion and resurrection positively affected me. This is my first time seeing it since my younger years. It elicited feelings of nostalgia to be sure although the awe that I often felt back then was missing. Jeffrey Hunter's marvelous performance in the role of Jesus Christ is as effecting as it ever was. It truly is a shame that he died so young. The film has epic aspirations that aren't quite met although there are moments of grandeur (like The Sermon on the Mount and battle sequences) that are beautifully executed. The cast is a mixture of Hollywood talent from the period. Other than Hunter I don't feel that there were any stand out performances but I appreciated the cast as an ensemble. Epic or not there is no denying the film's significance or the positive impression it made on me as a young person of faith. I am pleased that it has found its way onto to Blu-ray. I look forward to sharing it with my children during this Easter season.


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

84




This 1080p AVC (MPEG-4) high definition encoding rendered the film's original 70mm Super Technirama/Technicolor elements with aplomb. Colors were bright with well saturated primaries that were vivid and engaging. Fleshtones were naturally depicted with warm complexions and appreciable tonal separation. Images were discernibly detailed and sharp which brought out plenty of delineation and texture within clothing, physical features, and objects onscreen. Long range visuals were resolved with above average clarity and depth which highlighted the film's gorgeous cinematography. The video had a fine, grainy texture that was apparent but never prominent. Contrast was punchy but never washed out detail or the visible gradational stages in white/gray tones during brightly lit scenes. Blacks were dynamic and stood out nicely when onscreen with mixed content. Dark sequences had appreciable dimension and sufficient shadow detail that combined with the video's higher resolution to enhance depth perception. Video = 90 .

The soundtrack recording showed its age a bit but the DTS-HD Master Audio multi-channel mix maximized its potential. The front three channels carried the bulk of the sound and spread it evenly between them. Imaging was quite good as dialogue, panning effects and directional spacing was right on target within the soundstage. The surround channels were used sparingly for splashes of ambience that served to broaden the soundfield but rarely generated an enveloping atmosphere. The track sounded dynamically challenged which didn't provide tangible presence to the impact carrying components within the recording. I attribute this to the period during which it was made and not to the encoding or mix. Considering the fact that a large portion of the movie is driven by dialogue this was not really an issue. I thoroughly enjoyed the film's music score and thought that its open, detailed and refined quality enhanced the overall presentation. Audio = 78.


Bonus Features:

  • The camera's window of the world - Production feautette

  • King of Kings - Impressive premiere on two coasts

  • King of Kings: Egyptian Theater premiere, Hollywood CA


Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 29, 2011














Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

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Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Hi, Ralph.

Thank you for reviewing this blu ray. I had been considering purchasing "King of Kings", but after experiencing a very surprising disappointment with "The Greatest Story Ever Told", I got a bit gun-shy. Did you see "Greatest Story" at all? It looks like they threw a ton of digital noise at it. The way I made it watchable was to turn down the sharpness and turn on Digital Noise Reduction on my TV. After that it looks decent enough, but pretty grainy and uneven. A real shame for such a classy film.


On the other hand, I received my copy of "The Ten Commandments" and it looks magnificent. I'm saving it for viewing on Holy Saturday, if I can wait that long



How would you compare "King of Kings" to "The Ten Commandments"? Fairly close in quality? If so, I might have another purchase to make...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpellChecker
Hi, Ralph.

Thank you for reviewing this blu ray. I had been considering purchasing "King of Kings", but after experiencing a very surprising disappointment with "The Greatest Story Ever Told", I got a bit gun-shy. Did you see "Greatest Story" at all? It looks like they threw a ton of digital noise at it. The way I made it watchable was to turn down the sharpness and turn on Digital Noise Reduction on my TV. After that it looks decent enough, but pretty grainy and uneven. A real shame for such a classy film.


On the other hand, I received my copy of "The Ten Commandments" and it looks magnificent. I'm saving it for viewing on Holy Saturday, if I can wait that long



How would you compare "King of Kings" to "The Ten Commandments"? Fairly close in quality? If so, I might have another purchase to make...
Greetings,


Close enough to warrant a purchase SC..



Regards,
 

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Hey!


The Blu-Ray does justice to the film. It's the best "King of Kings" has looked since I saw it on a large screen. The sound is hurt not only by age, but by some mundane dubbing of some of the minor charachters. The beautiful music is by Miklos Rozsa, who agreed to do it right after his smilar score for "Ben-Hur" in order to avoid scoring "Mutiny On The Bounty," which he didn't like.


Jeffrey Hunter is wonderful as Jesus, because he keeps things simple, making the words more profound. The sermon on the mount is my favorite religious scene in a movie because of the genuine awe expressed in the Spanish extra's faces and for Hunter's reading of the line; "If you can't believe in me, believe in the work I do." Nobody in "The Divinci Code" conspriacy could have made up anything that smart or effective.


The uncredited strength of the film is the narration written by Ray Bradbury and spoken richly by Orson Wells. The voice over was put in by MGM to make the film coherant after they eliminated an entire subplot about a rich Jewish/Roman character played by Richard Johnson, who is in one shot in the film, who financed Barrabas' revolt against the Romans. Just to show you I'm human, I really enjoyed Brigid Bazlen and her sexy Salome's dance. It was worth Robert Ryan's head!


THanks for reviewing this underated classic, Ralph. It has become more appreciated over the years for it's straightforward approach to the moving events it so beautifully depicts. The Blu-Ray transfer captures the beauty and increases it's impact.
 

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I remember paying 25 cents to see this at the Crest theater when I was a kid, and it was one my most enjoyable memories along with Peter Cushing and all the Hammer films. I'm looking forward to see it again on BR when it comes out.

Thanks for the review and heads up that it was coming Ralph!.
 
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