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 Posted:   Mar 20, 2014 - 7:56 PM   
 By:   dragon53   (Member)

Link: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/55-Days-at-Peking-Blu-ray/95783/?e=1


Review (French Blu-ray): http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_61/55_days_at_peking_blu-ray.htm

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 20, 2014 - 10:31 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Link: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/55-Days-at-Peking-Blu-ray/95783/?e=1



Review (French Blu-ray): http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_61/55_days_at_peking_blu-ray.htm




DVD Beaver has confirmed that this is region free so I ordered it thru amazon.co.uk - it received a high recommendation from DVD Beaver

edit -- just found out the UK release isnt region free - sorry for the mistake.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 24, 2014 - 6:39 AM   
 By:   Ralph   (Member)

Does Blu-ray make a bad movie better? Probably not, but it can make the experience much more tolerable.

Two months into filming “55 Days at Peking” Ray suffered a heart attack and was unable to resume duties. The impression given in Heston’s “The Actor’s Life” is that co-star Ava may have been the decisive factor in Ray’s illness — she was pulling a few too many star numbers. Always late, refusing to work if she suspected the papaRatzzi were lurking, demanding rewrites. (On this last complaint, so did Heston and Niven.) And according to co-screenwriter Philip Yordan, she was drunk most of the time. Evidence of that charge shows up in Ava’s occasionally bloated cheeks and the brevity of her scenes, in which large portions of her lines were cut or given to others because she couldn’t remember them. But we don’t miss what we don’t hear; she’s such a super likable broad that minimalism saves her. She’s using Alexandre de Paris for hair styles, which are the closest she gets to being a Russian Baroness, wears a few great hats, looks better in black than white formal and she changes outfits every time she runs from Chinese bullets. In what Heston calls “this unresponsive lump of material” about the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, he’s not much good, either — he’s at his puniest. (His flat fanny, poorly served by sloppy tailoring, would make perfect NRA target practice.) Amusing, though, to see him boozing, beer in one hand, hard stuff in the other. An inadequate script from the very beginning and loaded with idiot simplifications as dialogue, the movie suffers most from a lack of momentum; the danger we need to feel about the bubbling violence the foreign diplomats and their service and military personnel are surrounded by is replaced with a discernible exhaustion, due to various production and heat problems and Ray’s battles with Bronston. The one and only plus in this feeble mess — and stunningly restored in Blu-ray — is the movie city. Originally under construction for “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” when Bronston convinced a skittish Heston to do “55 Days,” the crews quickly modified Roma to Peking. Large portions of the sixty acres of sets were never photographed, not even in a sweeping aerial, but cinematographer Jack Hildyard managed to get a few panoramas indicating how immense the project really was. The sets, designed and appointed to the very max of their utility by those wizards Veniero Colasanti and John Moore (who also did the costumes), ARE the movie — our eyes glued to them to counter the disappointment of everything else. With Imperial throne pillars wrapped in serpents, 3 fold screens as lacquered gems and even sewers this impressive, I’m lamenting the loss of an art form. (Heston was right that the setting would have made an ideal location for an Orson Welles art-farter; when Peking reverted to Roma, the sight became a popular tourist attraction until it fell into disrepair.) Guy Green finished the principal shots, while the second-unit directors completed the climatic siege. Dimitri is at it again with those horns, though he surprises with the Entr’Acte, supplying a lightly orchestrated and at times prematurely jazzy waltz, only to blow it for the Exit with Andy Williams crooning “So Little Time,” co-written by Paul Francis Webster. Flora Robson, who developed a yen for juicy fruiters like Ftataleeta in “Caesar and Cleopatra” and Angelique in “Saratoga Trunk,” is a Bea Lillie kind of Dowager Empress wearing show-stopping headdresses and pendant earrings.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 24, 2014 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

Well, I don’t know. I’ve never seen the art of film as a duty. From my part of the woods, I still enjoy “55 Days in Peking” enormously – and, to me at least, it has aged fairly well as a melodramatic, uber-masculine, entertainment poised on the edge of hysteria. Watching the French Blu-ray edition certainly provides a stirring, stunning visual experience.

Perhaps, too, I personally find that its chaotic structural formulation reflects the action depicted therein (but that’s, admittedly, quite often a critical slippery slope.) The chaos of the plot and decor is also embedded in its crazy-quilt score. In rewatching the film this time I was struck by how often Tiomkin’s huge orchestral forces retreat to the barest, most bittersweet, whisps of melody. Some exquisite stuff here.

I recall that Robin Wood once wrote, not quoted exactly, that no actor ever gave a bad performance in a Nick Ray film. Which is, of course, hyperbole. But by and large the enormous cast, even Ms. Gardner weighed down under a frayed elegance, acquit themselves well given the baroque spirit of the film.

It is often unwise to judge a film by its backstage dramas – or the offscreen public personas of its cast (that was a rather cheap shot at Mr. Heston IMHO). When something is as big as “55 Days” the temptation is to go for the jugular because the stories are so juicy – which, as temptations go, should be judiciously approached.

There are some stunning widescreen moments in the film – and also some carefully wrought dramatic moments. Also lots that is not so sublime. I recall that in the heyday of “Movie” magazine, the Brits undertook a most persuasive visual/semiotic deconstruction of “55 Days at Peking” – which, as I recall, was convincing without being too dogmatic.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 24, 2014 - 12:15 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

Link: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/55-Days-at-Peking-Blu-ray/95783/?e=1

Review (French Blu-ray): http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_61/55_days_at_peking_blu-ray.htm


DVD Beaver has confirmed that this is region free so I ordered it thru amazon.co.uk - it received a high recommendation from DVD Beaver


Thanks. I've been interested in seeing this. Good to know it's not region locked. smile

Since it's an Anchor Bay release, maybe we'll see it released stateside?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00I3ZMDCC/dvdbeaver-21/ref=nosim

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 10, 2014 - 7:26 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I received the UK release. Rotten cover & a bare-bones release, but it is the Pinewood restoration & it looks & sounds fantastic. It has been posted that it's region B locked, so Americans that are region A will have to import the French release which is more expensive, but has a nice cover & a load of extras (none of which interested me).

I don't know why Ralph bought the French Blu-ray, as he seems to really dislike the film & hate Charlton Heston's guts. I think it has its dramatic problems, but it's a lot of fun, & a masterpiece compared to a lot of the stuff that's released these days. It has a lot of stuff you don't get now, big sets, a big score, big larger than life actors & stunning photography.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 10, 2014 - 9:16 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Link: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/55-Days-at-Peking-Blu-ray/95783/?e=1

Review (French Blu-ray): http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_61/55_days_at_peking_blu-ray.htm


DVD Beaver has confirmed that this is region free so I ordered it thru amazon.co.uk - it received a high recommendation from DVD Beaver


Thanks. I've been interested in seeing this. Good to know it's not region locked. smile

Since it's an Anchor Bay release, maybe we'll see it released stateside?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00I3ZMDCC/dvdbeaver-21/ref=nosim

Greg Espinoza


I apologize for the mistake - I misunderstood the info at dvdbeaver and thought that it had been given an incorrect listing at amazon.co.uk - I am returning the one I ordered as soon as it arrives.
Unfortunately the French BR runs over $40 with shipping from Amazon.fr to the US. Hopefully it will receive a US release

 
 Posted:   Apr 12, 2014 - 10:15 AM   
 By:   robertmro   (Member)

Even as an artistic flop, the spectacle of crowds of real extras on real sets far surpasses CG everything. Tiomkin's horns are an important part the spectacle.

I wonder how the young audience of today would feel if they actually saw something that wasn't computer generated on the big screen.

I will buy.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 13, 2014 - 2:20 PM   
 By:   paulw   (Member)

Even as an artistic flop, the spectacle of crowds of real extras on real sets far surpasses CG everything. Tiomkin's horns are an important part the spectacle.

I wonder how the young audience of today would feel if they actually saw something that wasn't computer generated on the big screen.

I will buy.


I doubt if they would even go to these type of movies these days. It would have to be something "tweeny" like Hunger games or the like where you only need an attention span of 2 minutes..

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 15, 2014 - 10:26 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Link: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/55-Days-at-Peking-Blu-ray/95783/?e=1

Review (French Blu-ray): http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_61/55_days_at_peking_blu-ray.htm


DVD Beaver has confirmed that this is region free so I ordered it thru amazon.co.uk - it received a high recommendation from DVD Beaver


Thanks. I've been interested in seeing this. Good to know it's not region locked. smile

Since it's an Anchor Bay release, maybe we'll see it released stateside?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00I3ZMDCC/dvdbeaver-21/ref=nosim

Greg Espinoza


I apologize for the mistake - I misunderstood the info at dvdbeaver and thought that it had been given an incorrect listing at amazon.co.uk - I am returning the one I ordered as soon as it arrives.
Unfortunately the French BR runs over $40 with shipping from Amazon.fr to the US. Hopefully it will receive a US release.

Of course I've been waiting 2 + years for EL CID or FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE to receive a BR release in the US.

 
 Posted:   Apr 16, 2014 - 4:33 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Flora Robson, who developed a yen for juicy fruiters like Ftataleeta in “Caesar and Cleopatra” and Angelique in “Saratoga Trunk,” is a Bea Lillie kind of Dowager Empress wearing show-stopping headdresses and pendant earrings.


In one of her biographies, Dame Flo (a very down-to-earth and genuinely good woman) mentioned that the black hair-dye she was forced to wear couldn't cope with the heat and turned GREEN and ran down her face. They used so many chemicals that her real hair began to fall out, and she wore a wig in real life ever after.

A high price to pay, but a real trouper, she never complained.

Dame Flo was one of those fascinating women on screen who, though never what the industry would class as a classic beauty, was strangely compelling, with a sort of almost eroticism all her own. Actually, she was born too soon. Her looks in youth would have been 'in' in 1970s fashions for instance, a sort of Scandinavian/Scots look, but she was playing older character parts by then.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2014 - 12:15 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

I purchased the French release on BR from amazon.fr and it is the best version Ive seen of this ever - impeccable picture and great sound. And it is region freeunlike the UK BR.

If it is possible for this Bronston epic to be released in a beautiful restored print , why cant the other ones - EL CID , FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE , even CIRCUS WORLD - be restored and issued on BR too? The current foreign BRs I understand are sadly not good and not region free.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2014 - 5:31 PM   
 By:   dragon53   (Member)

PHILIPERIC:

I'm waiting for a US release.....but if it's not released in the US, is the French version with its extra special features worth the extra cost over the UK version?

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2014 - 6:33 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

PHILIPERIC:

I'm waiting for a US release.....but if it's not released in the US, is the French version with its extra special features worth the extra cost over the UK version?


I would say yes -- even with much of the documentaries in French, what I have watched such as a bio on Ava Gardner was fairly easy to follow with English dialogue -

I had to return the UK disc because I dont own a multi region player - the French BR cost about $15 more but I cannot be sure that this will see a US release any time soon.

DVD Beaver offers a full list of all the extras so you should check that for more info.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 30, 2014 - 10:05 PM   
 By:   dragon53   (Member)

PHILIPERIC:

Thanks for the info. Hopefully, a US version is coming.

 
 
 Posted:   May 1, 2014 - 5:12 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

I purchased the French release on BR from amazon.fr and it is the best version Ive seen of this ever - impeccable picture and great sound. And it is region freeunlike the UK BR.

If it is possible for this Bronston epic to be released in a beautiful restored print , why cant the other ones - EL CID , FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE , even CIRCUS WORLD - be restored and issued on BR too? The current foreign BRs I understand are sadly not good and not region free.




CIRCUS WORLD has already been restored by Pinewood Studios, along with 55 DAYS AT PEKING. It's available on Blu-ray in the UK on Anchor Bay and in France on Filmedia. Personally I think it's a lousy film - but I can't resist buying films which I saw originally in Cinerama - and the picture quality is wonderful. I read somewhere that the cost of restoring these two films was paid for by a couple of European film distributors (not Anchor Bay).

Presumably the problem with EL CID and FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE is that they have already been released on Blu-ray throughout Europe from the unsatisfactory Weinstein master so I suppose it's not going to be economic to pay for a new restoration, when most people in Europe who want them, have already bought them.

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 12:38 AM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

I purchased the French release on BR from amazon.fr and it is the best version Ive seen of this ever - impeccable picture and great sound. And it is region freeunlike the UK BR.

If it is possible for this Bronston epic to be released in a beautiful restored print , why cant the other ones - EL CID , FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE , even CIRCUS WORLD - be restored and issued on BR too? The current foreign BRs I understand are sadly not good and not region free.




CIRCUS WORLD has already been restored by Pinewood Studios, along with 55 DAYS AT PEKING. It's available on Blu-ray in the UK on Anchor Bay and in France on Filmedia. Personally I think it's a lousy film - but I can't resist buying films which I saw originally in Cinerama - and the picture quality is wonderful. I read somewhere that the cost of restoring these two films was paid for by a couple of European film distributors (not Anchor Bay).

Presumably the problem with EL CID and FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE is that they have already been released on Blu-ray throughout Europe from the unsatisfactory Weinstein master so I suppose it's not going to be economic to pay for a new restoration, when most people in Europe who want them, have already bought them.


I agree on CIRCUS WORLD - still may want it too ---

EL CID + FOTRE are the great ones so it is ironic that they may not get a resoration -- I hope that you are wrong --

 
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