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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have not seen this...


how does this older movie compare to a newer version like "Gladiator"? and is it even worth owning on DVD?


thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by slateef
i have not seen this...


how does this older movie compare to a newer version like "Gladiator"? and is it even worth owning on DVD?


thanks
That's hard to say not knowing your age and tastes... while Gladiator is a good movie and has great cinematography and digital effects, Ben Hur isn't considered one of the greatest films of all time for nothing. :) It's a great story, contains terrific performances (though maybe a bit "hammy" and classical in nature to a modern audience), was considered as visually stunning in its day as Gladiator is now, and features one of the all-time, bar-none great action sequences in the chariot race scene, all done for real by skilled actors and stunt-men (and stunt-horses) and not relying on CGI or special effects. For anyone who likes classic movies I would say it's a must-own. It shouldn't be hard to find to rent- give it a test drive and see what you think.


Fred
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks fred!
 

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Yes I have to agree it will depend a little on accepting what was possible for the time with miniatures, mat paintings and early 60's mores but I feel that Ben Hur is one of the greatest films of all time and stands the test of time quite well.


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I'm not sure if this is what you were asking, but Gladiator is not a "newer version" of Ben Hur. Both films are set in the Roman Empire and feature revenge driven lead characters, but beyond that they are totally different films. For example, Maximus is a Roman/Spanish General while Judah Ben Hur is Jewish Prince. I won't delve further into the plots in order to avoid spoiling anything for you.


You should also note that while Gladiator is an action/effects spectacle with a solid dramatic aspect, Ben Hur is an epic religious drama that features some well done (for the time) effects and some top notch action. The chariot race is superb, but not done in the modern fast-cut/hand-held camera style that Gladiator is done in. However, the film is substantially longer than Gladiator and much more drama driven. The story is a powerful one though. I heartily recommend Ben Hur, but ultimately I cannot say if the older epics will really appeal to you. Perhaps you should rent it first.


If you do enjoy Ben Hur then there is some good news. There's more! Spartacus is another classic roman epic that does share a bit more in common with Gladiator, although again the stories are very different. Russel Crowe is good, but Kirk Douglas is in another league altogether. I would not hesistate to recommend picking this film up either.


If, after watching the above films, you find that you hunger for even more roman epics then you might check out Cleopatra. The special edition recently released is 4 hours and 5 minutes long! (Your buttocks will never forgive you!) Cleopatra is not considered to be in the same league as Ben Hur or Spartacus. Indeed, I must warn you that Cleopatra plods along at a positively glacial rate in places. However, it is a true spectacle. Cleopatra is an absolutely beautiful film that almost makes Gladiator and Ben Hur look low budget by comparison. (Watch the documentary that comes as an extra feature to get an idea of just how much this film cost!) You will see some jaw-dropping shots flawlessly executed that no sane director would attempt without heavy CGI today.


Bottom line, you should at the very least rent Ben Hur and/or Spartacus.
 

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it's a great movie, and looks awesome on a front projector...it's a whopping 2.76:1 aspect ratio, so if you're watching it on a 36'' direct view TV, you might want to skip it.
 

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Stunning film. One of the all time greatest. Few films have such power and meaning. Nearly nothing today can compare.


However, most of those brought up in the MTV generation (I was a teen when MTV was new and cool) may not appreciate the way in which the film sets up the story, the characters over the course of almost an hour. People today want it fast and furious (pun intended) and that is a shame. Once in a while a film like BRAVEHEART will do it the old fashioned way.


But BEN-HUR is a milestone. I'd give my left nut to see it in a theater in 70mm. In the last year I've seen both 2001 and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in that format and they were two of the most incredible film going experiences of my life.


BEN-HUR would top them all.


EDIT: I have to add my bravo thoughts to the chariot race. Nothing done since can compare to it. It was real. Very real. No special effects to enhance the scene. Just real actors doing it. Heston drove that chariot himself and except for a few shots, it was all him. The one shot of Ben-Hur almost thrown from the chariot is a stunt man and that shot was a mistake! He was not supposed to be knocked over like that, but it looked so sensational, they wrote it into the scene.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Matt_Stevens
In the last year I've seen both 2001 and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in that format and they were two of the most incredible film going experiences of my life.

You just Loooooove to throw that out there, don't you *he says, seething with jealousy lol* I saw 2001 in 70mm curved screen when I was 10 years old and it warped my fragile little mind- absurdly awesome... but that's O/T-


Cor, you've convinced me. I love Ben Hur, like Spartacus a lot (though I have to wonder what it would have been like had it been a true Kubrick picture through and through) but I've always been a bit fearful of Cleopatra. My local groovy video store has it on DVD and I'm going to check it out this weekend!!


Fred
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by FredProgGH
... I love Ben Hur, like Spartacus a lot (though I have to wonder what it would have been like had it been a true Kubrick picture through and through) but I've always been a bit fearful of Cleopatra. My local groovy video store has it on DVD and I'm going to check it out this weekend!!

Fred
Fred

I just saw this myself. Like you I was quite fearful of investing in this disk.

All I can say is "Fear Justified"!!!

While it is true that this is a stunning looking movie, Elizabeth Taylor is just

so far in over her head as to destroy this picture. This movie really needed

an actress who could not only look the part (Liz does), but also one who

could carry the picture (Liz does not). What you get is really just two "OK"

films costarring Liz. One starring Rex Harrison (could be titled Ceaser & Cleo).

The other starring Richard Burton (could be titled Marc Anthony & Cleo).

All in all, worth a rent but not really one you would watch often.
 

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slateef,


you should be careful with those older flicks. They contain not-so-popular things like a script, acting and some meaningful content. ;)


(Don't get me wrong, I'm a great fan of Gladiator)
 

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What you get is really just two "OK" films costarring Liz. One starring Rex Harrison (could be titled Ceaser & Cleo). The other starring Richard Burton (could be titled Marc Anthony & Cleo). All in all, worth a rent but not really one you would watch often.
I think what bothered me the most about this film was how uneven the two halves were. The "Ceasar & Cleo" bit was very well done on the most part, but the "Marc Anthony & Cleo" half that followed was a major let down. Had the second half been as good as the first half I think this movie would have been one of the great classics. Personally, I would blame the script before Taylor. She was actually pretty good I thought. In any case, you are not going to watch a freaking 4 hour long movie often! Your buttocks would bond to your armchair!


I suppose Cleopatra might be considered a bit like "Attack of the Clones". While not that great of a film, it is visually stunning. It's worth seeing just for the amazing shots they pulled off, like Cleopatra's floating palace or her entrance into Rome.
 

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I was lucky enough to see Ben Hur on FILM this past Monday at the theater of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with Mr. Heston, the uncredited actor who played The Christ, and members of William Wyler's family in attendance. :)
 

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The DVD stands up extremely well, It's definetly worth having
 

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RobertR, you truly are evil and we all want to be you. ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RobertR
I was lucky enough to see Ben Hur on FILM this past Monday at the theater of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with [...] the uncredited actor who played The Christ,
Well did they at least say his name at the screening? :)


Fred
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by WatchThis
it's a great movie, and looks awesome on a front projector...it's a whopping 2.76:1 aspect ratio, so if you're watching it on a 36'' direct view TV, you might want to skip it.
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!! This is the WRONG thing to say on this forum! It sounds way to much like a statement a J6P would say about widescreen all together being bad.


This film is OUSTANDING and no matter what the OAR is it is a MUST see film! So it's smaller then a 2.35:1 OAR film... so what!
 

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did they at least say his name at the screening?
Absolutely. His name is Claude Heater. He was introduced along with the others. Also introduced was the film's editor, Ralph Winters, whose career stretches back to the late 1920s! Mr. Heston drew standing ovations, as well as applause when his name appeared on the screen.
 
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