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This is a comments thread about Blog Post: Ben-Hur Lives! by Lukas Kendall
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 3:22 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

I don't think Lukas expected this release to sell 2000 copies in two weeks. He was, I think, being questioned by people here about his intentions when he said no repressing.

That's exactly it. Several posters here, seeing the rear cover artwork that read "This Pressing Is Limited to 2,000 Copies," took that phrasing to mean that more pressings were planned (despite every single limited FSM disc using this exact same phrasing!). Several people asked for clarification, and Lukas replied with what was true at the time -- it was not his intention to repress. But Lukas was apparently assuming this set would take months or years to sell out, and very quickly learned he was wrong.

Sure, you could say he was not ultimately true to his word. But who exactly would it serve for him to be so?

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 3:29 PM   
 By:   RM Eastman   (Member)

This is a excellent move by Lukas, he needs the money and this score is just to great to go out of print. Bravo!

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 3:31 PM   
 By:   Jeff Eldridge   (Member)

But there still wasn't and is no excuse for the cheesy wiggly miniature soldiers during the ramming of the ships in the bad sea battle. Something a few frames here and there could have helped.

I'm sure George Lucas will fix that for the 3D re-release.

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 4:19 PM   
 By:   AlexCope   (Member)

What an interestin' turn of events. I don't know how it all went down, but I'm glad it did. Thanks, Lukas.

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 4:43 PM   
 By:   David (Giacchino-fan)   (Member)

Reminds me of Bush 88 with 'Read my lips... no new taxes'.

Don't get the comparison. Taxes are, well, taxing on us. How does another pressing do anything but benefit us? (unless someone was depending on it to make a killing on Ebay)


The comparison was where something was promised and not delivered.


don't think Lukas expected this release to sell 2000 copies in two weeks. He was, I think, being questioned by people here about his intentions when he said no repressing.

He simply had a change of mind. That's not a crime.


No it's not. No one said it was. But it's dishonest, and honesty is the best policy. People (well, me at least) want to see integrity in others and dislike being deceived.
And remember, I'M NOT ANGRY ABOUT THE REPRESSING. I'm saddened by the lack of trustworthiness.

I'm perfectly willing to let it go (I don't want to fling mess all over this thread), but I am hoping others don't set up straw man arguments and they just understand where I'm coming from.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 5:05 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

I'd like to just hark back to the Intrada Spartacus controversy for a moment, for those who can remember this brouhaha (or even want to). A number of us complained that the set was poor value in that A): it was mono, when the original was stereo*, B): it included a lot of stuff of extremely dubious value, like 46,000 versions of the love theme, and C): it was too expensive (there's also D, E and F, which happen to be identical with C). Now some of us were jumped on and beaten up for questioning the value of such a set, as if having waited so long (like 50 years) we should unquestionably embrace whatever the releasing company cared to toss us. I for one never questioned the company's right to make as much money as they could, but I reserved my own right to express disappointment that a release I'd been waiting for with baited breath since I was 15 turned out to be something less than I'd expected and been led to believe.

What has this to do with Ben-Hur? The astute will have already guessed. Here is a release that, to me, is everything the Spartacus wasn't. It contains no extraneous versions of the love theme, no videos of interviews with other composers. It does contain the complete score with all alternates in (apparently--I've yet to receive mine)) excellent sound, and copious liner notes. From all comments, it would appear to be a model for this kind of release, at an extremely reasonably price. I know when I get mine, unles the discs won't actually play I won't be complaining. Even if I have to attack the jewel case with a crowbar I won't be complaining, because I know a fair deal when I see one. I'm not saying the Spartacus was a rip-off, heaven forbid, but I do believe it was very open to criticism--criticism that certain people made every effort to stifle at the time. I'll be honest and admit that I still harbour a few resentments about this episode.

Sorry to rake over the coals, but I thought this present release provided such a brilliant contrast and such a great model of what some of us were hoping for and didn't get with the Spartacus.

(*Yes, I know the Spartacus score wasn't available complete in stereo.)

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 5:09 PM   
 By:   John Smith   (Member)

Lukas: "I want to explain very clearly the reason (after the jump)."



This is an actual frame from the film. Note the camera at right.


I don't know where you got the image from, but a frame-by-frame viewing of the film sequence will confirm that Wyler actually cuts the panning shot a few frames before this. All we actually see on screen is a fleeting view of the left of the camera canopy and a very small part of the lens. smile


You must be looking at some 2.35:1 version because I just looked at this last box set presentation in 2:55 or whatever it really is and the whole camera is totally there.
It makes sense, this was a costly once-in-a-lifetime stunt and our focussed attention is on the chariots and there was no video then to analyze it.
But there still wasn't and is no excuse for the cheesy wiggly miniature soldiers during the ramming of the ships in the bad sea battle. Something a few frames here and there could have helped.



My DVD copy of Ben-Hur definitely has the correct 2.76:1 aspect ratio. However, it's possible that my DVD player is too primitive to capture the two or three frames at the end of the pan that show the whole camera set-up as seen in the frame above...

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 5:16 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

He simply had a change of mind. That's not a crime.

No it's not. No one said it was. But it's dishonest, and honesty is the best policy. People (well, me at least) want to see integrity in others and dislike being deceived.
And remember, I'M NOT ANGRY ABOUT THE REPRESSING. I'm saddened by the lack of trustworthiness.

I'm perfectly willing to let it go (I don't want to fling mess all over this thread), but I am hoping others don't set up straw man arguments and they just understand where I'm coming from.


I'm not sure I understand any of this. Lukas underestimated the sales appeal of this title, didn't want to press too many in case he got burned (it is a 53 year old title, after all), was surprised by its popularity and decided to press more. Where's the dishonesty? Where's the lack of trustworthiness? Is he supposed to give up the opportunity of earning a fair profit and making the discs available to those who might have missed out because he miscalculated and happpened to have been firm in his mind at the time that repressing would not be necessary or a viable option? He's in business. Changing your mind based on sales figures is a part of business--in fact it's essential to survival. Sorry, but I think some people here are being a bit precious.

"I'M NOT ANGRY ABOUT THE REPRESSING"

Perhaps you're just repressing your anger.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 5:22 PM   
 By:   John Smith   (Member)

I'm not sure I understand any of this. Lukas underestimated the sales appeal of this title, didn't want to press too many in case he got burned (it is a 53 year old title, after all), was surprised by its popularity and decided to press more. Where's the dishonesty? Where's the lack of trustworthiness? Is he supposed to give up the opportunity of earning a fair profit and making the discs available to those who might have missed out because he miscalculated and happpened to have been firm in his mind at the time that repressing would not be necessary or a viable option? He's in business. Changing your mind based on sales figures is a part of business--in fact it's essential to survival. Sorry, but I think some people here are being a bit precious.

Spoken like a true Ferengi! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 5:43 PM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

Of course, the fun game is: What if BSX or another label had done this exact same thing? And no matter what people answer now, I think everyone knows exactly what would happen smile

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 5:49 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

Nevertheless, the impression left from the statement that there would be no repressing was allowed to persist and influence buyers until the very last one was sold, perhaps with the delicious thought in mind of speculators needlessly rushing to buy up as many last minute copies as they could.
The Intrada site's "Backordered" description, rather than "Sold Out", suggested they already knew a repress was coming.
I wouldn't call any of this dishonest – everyone who needs a copy will get one, the product is wonderful value for money, and the price is the same whether first batch or second. Deceptive maybe, but not dishonest.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 5:59 PM   
 By:   John Smith   (Member)

If one were in a Machiavellian frame of mind, one might suspect that Lukas knew all along that the demand for Ben-Hur was north of 4,000. But by promising to press only 2,000, he guaranteed himself a rapid sell-out and set in place the eloquent and impassioned justification for an immediate re-pressing of another 2,000 units...

Now that's what I call business sense!

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 6:02 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

If one were in a Machiavellian frame of mind, one might suspect that Lukas knew all along that the demand for Ben-Hur was north of 4,000. But by promising to press only 2,000, he guaranteed himself a rapid sell-out and set in place the eloquent and impassioned justification for an immediate re-pressing of another 2,000 units...

And he lulled us into a false sense of security years ago by pressing 4,000 too many copies of the "Star Trek" Ron Jones box, just to throw us off the scent!

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 6:03 PM   
 By:   TJ   (Member)

Of course, the fun game is: What if BSX or another label had done this exact same thing? And no matter what people answer now, I think everyone knows exactly what would happen smile

I think everyone knows that by "another label", you really mean yours, and I imagine that has more to do with the reputations of representatives from the referenced labels as participants on these forums than any business decisions those labels choose to make.

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 6:05 PM   
 By:   Anthony Marose   (Member)

I said it in another thread, I'll say it here:

Drop the "Limited Edition" schtick, and they'll be no further problems. Imagine, Lukas, if you had never stated a number from the beginning... just kept it all behind the scenes; no explanation would have been necessary, no bitching would have surfaced. Intrada now has this down cold - well, except for their Predator boo-boo.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 6:19 PM   
 By:   John Smith   (Member)

I said it in another thread, I'll say it here:

Drop the "Limited Edition" schtick, and they'll be no further problems. Imagine, Lukas, if you had never stated a number from the beginning... just kept it all behind the scenes; no explanation would have been necessary, no bitching would have surfaced. Intrada now has this down cold - well, except for their Predator boo-boo.


And how many unsold copies of (potentially) unlimited pressings would it take before Bruce (et al) called it a day....?

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 6:43 PM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Glad to hear that more copies will be pressed...I was worried I'd missed this. eek

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 7:23 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Drop the "Limited Edition" schtick, and they'll be no further problems. Imagine, Lukas, if you had never stated a number from the beginning... just kept it all behind the scenes; no explanation would have been necessary, no bitching would have surfaced. Intrada now has this down cold - well, except for their Predator boo-boo.




Perhaps I'm missing something, but isn't it the case that FSM have certain legal deals with MGM/Warners/Watertower etc. that their brief is to produce more or less ONLY limited edition releases? Am I wrong on this?

In such cases it's necessary, probably obligatory, to carry a legend or a statement to the effect surely that these ARE limited edition. People here are only quibbling over numbers.

Economically, it's standard business to change strategy and press more product of a sure seller. From the point of view of the greater goal of getting this music out to a wider audience and publicising a composer's work, there's nothing to be angry about. From the humanitarian slant of allowing more people more time to buy this, what's the problem?

LK is in business. He's not a surrogate father. Business is business.

It just occurred to me, this is the 'parable of the workers' (maybe not in its spiritual sense) where the late-comers are attacked by the early birds who feel they deserve more.

Just be grateful we've got it.

 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 7:43 PM   
 By:   Amer Zahid   (Member)

Good decision. The new batch should also sell out !

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 8, 2012 - 8:36 PM   
 By:   peterproud   (Member)

Believe it or don't believe it, I have not seen BEN HUR...and I'm 40-something.....and I'm a film loving fiend....I know, I know. I do have it on my AppleTV wishlist (in HD...I love AppleTV) and will see it probably Easter-ish when I have a few days off work. When Lukas released this set I was torn. I had the Decca/London CD a few years back and enjoyed it but ended up selling it. I'm not a huge Rozsa fan though I truly acknowledge his body of work and what he has contributed to the Hollywood Golden Age. I must single out THE RED HOUSE which I discovered on the Gerhardt SPELLBOUND disc - it absolutely blows me away everytime I hear it and makes me think I am probably missing out on some choice Rozsa.

Anyway, I just bought the BEN HUR FSM set because Lukas made it available again. I was fence-sitting and was honestly really disappointed when I heard it was sold out, I figured I had lost out on the quintessential representation of the score many believe to be one of the best of all time. Thanks Lukas for a second chance on this one....oh, and any other recommendations for Rozsa listening would be very appreciated.

 
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