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BBC Four: Timeshift: Epics: A Cast Of Thousands

22 December 2011 12:30 PM, PST | Cinemaretro.com | See recent CinemaRetro news »

Cinema Retro has received the following press release from the BBC:

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(Christmas Eve; 10:40pm; BBC Four)

BBC Bristol’s Timeshift reveals the Ten Commandments of Big Cinema as it goes behind the scenes of the biggest film genre of them all - the Hollywood Epic. See the biggest sets ever known! Hear the sound of Ancient Rome! Count the spiralling costs as budgets soared!  

From Ben-Hur to The Ten Commandments, from El Cid to Cleopatra, these were films that set a new standard in Big. In the days before computers they recreated ancient worlds on a vast scale, and they did it for real. Epic cinema hired armies, defied the seasons and changed cinema. Even the screen wasn't big enough for the epic, so Hollywood made it bigger - and some cinemagoers experienced vertigo watching these vast productions.  

Today, the Epic »

- nospam@example.com (Cinema Retro)

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Ben-Hur: playing to the galley

22 December 2011 7:15 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The chariot race remains one of the most stunning action sequences ever shot, but William Wyler's epic of first-century Judaea puts spectacle before specifics

Director: William Wyler

Entertainment grade: B–

History grade: C

During the first century Ad, the Roman empire took control of the Mediterranean. The eastern province of Judaea was ruled by prefects Valerius Gratus from 15-26Ad and Pontius Pilate from 26-36Ad.

Religion

Lew Wallace, previously a general in the American civil war, wrote his epic Ben-Hur in 1880, when he was governor of New Mexico territory. To the modern reader its appeal may be difficult to unlock, but Wallace's pious, turgid and contrived novel was a massive 19th-century bestseller. Despite the subtitle, A Tale of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth is an incidental character. The film's director, William Wyler, avoids showing his face. "The Christian world would not tolerate a novel with Jesus Christ its hero, »

- Alex von Tunzelmann

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The Big Country Blu-ray Review!

14 December 2011 11:41 PM, PST | Cinelinx | See recent Cinelinx news »

The Movie Pool travels The Big Country Blu-ray!

Blu-ray Specs

Release Date: November 1, 2011

Rating: Not rated

Running Time: 165 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Audio: English Mono DTS-hd Ma, Spanish Mono, French Mono

Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish, French

Special Features: "Fun in the Country" featurette, TV spot, Theatrical Trailer

The Set-up

A boat captain (Gregory Peck) from back East travels to a large ranch in the west to meet the father of his fiance. There, he is challenged by a local ruffian (Chuck Connors) and a tough-as-nails ranch foreman (Charlton Heston), and must decide whether to compromise his principles to save his reputation. Featuring an Oscar-winning performance by Burl Ives (Best Supporting Actor).

Directed by: William Wyler

The Delivery

Acclaimed director William Wyler (Ben-Hur, The Best Years of Our Lives) presents this morality tale wrapped in a western. It stars an impressive cast, with Peck in the lead and Charlton Heston, »

- medina.victor@sbcglobal.net (Victor Medina)

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The Return of Ben-Hur

16 November 2011 8:00 AM, PST | Cineplex | See recent Cineplex news »

Upon its completion in 1959, Ben-Hur stood as the most expensive movie ever made, costing a then astounding $14.5-million to produce. It was a huge gamble for the failing MGM studio, but the 212-minute epic paid off big — winning a record 11 Oscars, doing boffo business at the box office and saving MGM.

The biblical pic casts Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, a prince of Judea who's sentenced into slavery by childhood friend and Roman noble Messala (Stephen Boyd). Ben-Hur vows revenge against Messala, and they ultimately face off during a heart-stopping chariot race.

Remember, that chariot race was filmed without special effects and without any of the stuntmen suffering a single serious injury. »

- Ingrid Randoja - Cineplex Magazine

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Secret Beyond the Door

12 November 2011 4:07 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

(Fritz Lang, 1947, Exposure, PG)

Fritz Lang, whose German expressionist movies helped create film noir, saw his disciple Alfred Hitchcock surge ahead of him in Hollywood. With this psychoanalytical thriller incorporating elements of Rebecca, Suspicion and Spellbound, he sought to establish he was Hitch's equal. It proved a critical and commercial disaster but is now widely seen as a key example of Lang's "fantastical realism". A sublime, delirious melodrama, it stars Joan Bennett as a sleepwalking heiress who meets a charming architect (Michael Redgrave) in Mexico, and marries in haste. He turns out to have a bizarre family past and a weird present that includes re-creating in the basement of his New England mansion the rooms where famous murders occurred. Redgrave was cast because of his schizophrenic ventriloquist in Dead of Night. The outstanding photography is by Stanley Cortez, who shot The Magnificent Ambersons and The Night of the Hunter. The »

- Philip French

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2011: A Record Year For Sequels, Prequels, Remakes, and Spin-Offs

5 November 2011 8:27 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

 

If, over the last 10 months, you’ve sometimes felt that sitting through 2011’s movies has been somewhat akin to sitting through TV’s summer reruns, that’s because you have been sitting through reruns.  Well, reruns Hollywood style.

According to a Box Office Mojo story earlier this year, 2011 will end as a record year for sequels, prequels, and spin-offs.  I don’t know if Mojo included remakes in that calculation, but whether they did or didn’t, remakes have certainly added to that oppressive déjà vu feeling which seems to roll into the multiplex every couple of weeks.

And we’re not even considering the familiar-feeling clones and knock-offs.  “Oh, yippee, another superhero flick!  Another The Hangover wannabe!”  It’s like that Twilight Zone where Dennis Weaver is damned to relive the same bad dream over and over; the people take different parts in each cycle, but it’s still the same nightmare. »

- Bill Mesce

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Ramon Novarro Brutal Death Pt.2: Convicted Killer Blamed Catholicism

30 October 2011 10:06 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Movie Star Ramon Novarro Brutally Killed Halloween Eve 1968 Paul Ferguson, in a letter he wrote me at the time I was working on Beyond Paradise, blamed his Catholic background for Ramon Novarro's death: "When [Novarro] kissed me, I reacted like a Catholic, what they call homosexual panic. Some old guy in the desert says, 'Kill homosexuals.' It's inbred. . . . I was too drunk to be civilized. Whatever my most primitive moral standings were, I reacted. It had nothing to do with Novarro, nothing to do with his being homosexual. It all had to do with how I saw myself. And the fact that my brother was there. And that he could see me in that homosexual act. It all had to do with my Catholic upbringing, with my five thousand years of Moses. And that's the only reason why this whole thing happened. Because that's what society teaches you. . . . I think after I hit Mr. »

- Andre Soares

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Blu-ray Review: Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

25 October 2011 8:05 AM, PDT | BuzzFocus.com | See recent BuzzFocus.com news »

The days of the movie Intermission may be long gone. Yet, four-hour-length features like Ben-Hur still remain resonant today thanks to thought provoking storytelling. Ben-Hur, which hit the theaters in 1959 and went on win 11 Academy Awards, celebrated its 50-year Anniversary in 2009. However, Warner held off on releasing the “Ultimate” Anniversary edition until now so that the film could be presented in full 1080p with the least amount of artifacts as possible. This is one “ultimate” collector’s edition that I can completely get behind. Instead of just re-releasing an existing Blu-ray with the same features as before and merely stuffing it with miscellaneous other trinkets, Warner has given viewers an entirely new documentary and a strong HD presentation of a classic. The film begins with the traditional nativity scene with the birth of Jesus Christ. It then moves on to focus on the title character of Prince Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston). His. »

- Bags H.

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The James Clayton Column: the movie actors immune to infection

20 October 2011 2:34 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

As Contagion sweeps like a plague into UK cinemas, James looks at five Hollywood actors who are surely immune to infection…

Are you thinking about going to the cinema this weekend? If you are, I'd urge you to take some baby wipes, a bottle of disinfectant and a surgical mask. Please take the necessary precautions, because the multiplex is full of germs, malicious microbes and bugs - and I mean nasty bugs that bring disease, not the cute animated critters from Pixar's A Bug's Life.

I say this because Hollywood is sick - even sicker than normal. We already knew that Sunset Strip is awash with titan migraines, venereal disease, substance abuse problems and psychological disorders. What we're dealing with now, though, according to the freshly released film Contagion, is a health crisis that no spell in the Betty Ford Clinic or course of antibiotics will cure. This is the »

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Blu-Ray Review: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Beloved ‘Ben-Hur’

6 October 2011 1:26 PM, PDT | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – It may not even be Halloween yet, but Warner Brothers is in full holiday gift set mode, hoping that one of their lavish packages will make its way on to your wish list. Will it be the glorious seventh anniversary edition of “Citizen Kane”? Or perhaps the upcoming gift set of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” with collectibles and a 144-page booklet? For many, the choice will be simple — a film with an iconic actor that set records at the 1959 Oscars as any in history — “Ben-Hur,” strikingly transferred in 1080p and available in a Limited Edition box set that will look fantastic on any hardcore movie fan’s shelf.

DVD Rating: 5.0/5.0

We were lucky enough to get our hands on the Ultimate Collector’s Edition of “Ben-Hur” and while some of these WB holiday releases often feel perfunctory (another release for “Christmas Vacation”?), this one seems perfectly in line »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Ben-hur 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

5 October 2011 2:35 PM, PDT | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

Ben-Hur is the biggest of the big, the mightiest of the mighty, the most epic of the epic. Released in 1959, Ben-Hur was the event film of its day and sold 111 Million tickets, which makes it the fifth most successful movie of all time when prices are adjusted for inflation. The story of Judah Ben-Hur (Charleton Heston) and his journey to defeat his old best friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) - and meeting Christ along the way - is a long movie that is celebrated for its chariot race, justly revered as one of the great pieces of stunt filmmaking. The Blu-ray celebrates Ben-Hur’s fiftieth anniversary, and our review follows after the jump. First off, if the film came out in 1959, you add fifty and you get 2009. Don’t get the Fiftieth thing at all. Whatever, it’s a marketing tool, I guess. Charlton Heston stars as Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish »

- Andre Dellamorte

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Skip or Double Dip? That is the Question for 'Ben-Hur,' 'Dumbo,' 'Citizen Kane' and 'Children of the Corn'

30 September 2011 3:15 PM, PDT | Movies.com | See recent Movies.com news »

There is a chain of buzzwords—collector's edition, anniversary set, director's cut, unrated cut, extended version, digitally remastered, Digibook, etc.—that studios slap on DVD and Blu-ray cases to tempt you to buy the same movies over and over again. Some are worth the upgrade—especially if it is a first-time purchase of a movie you like—but many of those double dips are just the studio returning to the well one too many times. Read on and decide if you want to skip or double dip this month. Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition If you own an HDTV and are a fan of epic movies, why would you watch something as legendary in scope as 1959's Ben-Hur on DVD? Director William Wyler's biblical classic starring Charlton...

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- Robert B. DeSalvo

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Daily indieWIRE Clicks: Netflix Woes, "Human Centipede II" Trailer, Nyff Treasures and More

27 September 2011 2:23 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Today on indieWIRE, we prepped you for the upcoming New York and Hamptons Film Festivals, looked at the ever-declining selection on Netflix, and more! Charlton Heston’s Son on “Ben-Hur”: “I thought my dad was a professional chariot driver.” William Wyler’s epic “Ben-Hur,” gets the deluxe treatment in Warner Bros.’ 50th-anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition. Attention, Documentary Producers: ArcLight Cinemas Wants to Give You $10,000 ArcLight Cinemas is launching their first documentary »

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Charlton Heston's Son on "Ben-Hur": "I thought my dad was a professional chariot driver."

27 September 2011 7:06 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

William Wyler's epic "Ben-Hur," gets the deluxe treatment in Warner Bros.' 50th-anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition. It hits stores on DVD and Blu-ray today and it's our pick of the week. Warners has gone all out with this release by giving the film a $1 million makeover (it's been restored from the original 65mm camera negative) and loading three discs with over four hours of extras. The set's best bonus feature »

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The Lion King Surpasses The Phantom Menace, Fantasia: Box Office (Inflation Adjusted)

26 September 2011 3:04 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Musafa, The Lion King Disney's The Lion King 3D pulled in $21.92 million in North America this past weekend, Sept. 23-25, according to box-office actuals found at Box Office Mojo. Originally released in 1994, The Lion King has by now become a 2011 sleeper hit. The animated feature directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff was down only 27% from last weekend — the lowest drop-off rate on the North American top-twelve chart. Partly thanks to the 3D surcharges, The Lion King also boasted the highest per-theater average among the top twelve films: $9,412. After ten days, The Lion King has added $61.47 million to its already impressive box-office cume. In fact, with $676.32 million, The Lion King is now #20 on the inflation-adjusted chart of the all-time domestic top grossers. Just this weekend, it surpassed both Walt Disney's Fantasia and barely edged out George Lucas' Stars Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. In terms of actual number of tickets sold, »

- Zac Gille

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Blu-ray Review: Ben-hur Ultimate Collector’s Edition – Biblical Epic Is Greatest Restoration Ever?

26 September 2011 12:10 AM, PDT | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

It was set for a 50th Anniversary release back in 2009, only to be delayed due to the sheer extent of restoration work done to upgrade this classic film. Read on to discover whether the wait for the ultimate edition of Ben-Hur was really worth it!

Produced in an era that bore a number of epic Biblical tales, Ben-Hur is possibly one of the most celebrated of a bunch of films that reflect this time period within Hollywood. Made by MGM in 1959 for $15 million (a staggering amount of money for the time and one that meant the film was the most expensive the studio had ever produced), Ben-Hur is an ostentatious symbol of all that is great about Tinsel Town and the sheen and glamour it churns out. However, the film is also a lot more than a simple big-budget Hollywood romp of excess and high-polish: at the heart of the »

- Stuart Cummins

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NYFF2011: Shorts Program Lineup Announced

18 September 2011 8:06 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced two short films programs for the 2011 New York Film Festival as well as late-breaking updates for the Oliver Stone presentation and the Masterworks screening of Ben Hur.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Oliver Stone’s “Untold History of the United States” will no longer screen at the 2011 New York Film Festival. We are, however, pleased to announce that Oliver Stone will still be appearing at Nyff to present a 25th Anniversary screening of Salvador, a film that burst onto the American film scene with a force that immediately established Stone as an artist to be reckoned with. For more information, please go to http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/25th-anniversary-screening-of-salvador.

The Masterworks screening of Ben-hur at Alice Tully Halll on Saturday, October 1 at 10:30Am will now be a family affair, with the attendance of Fraser Heston (the son of Charlton Heston), Catherine Wyler »

- Christopher Clemente

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James Stewart on TCM: The Stratton Story, No Highway In The Sky

13 August 2011 7:48 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

James Stewart remains one of the most beloved film actors in Hollywood history. Well, at least in the United States, where Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington are considered the apex of studio-era filmmaking. Stewart's shy, naive, wholesome, aw-shucksy boy-next-door (later man-next-door) manner continues to endear him to millions whose idea of shyness, naiveté, wholesomeness, and boy-next-doorishness has nothing to do with mine. In fact, I wonder if anyone anywhere, whether in the United States or elsewhere, has ever lived next door to a "boy" who acted, sounded, romanced, and punched — lest we confuse shyness with softness — like Stewart. I'm glad I haven't. Today, Turner Classic Movies has been presenting several James Stewart movies as part of its "Summer Under the Stars" film series. Right now, TCM is showing John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), considered by many the director's best post-The Searchers effort. »

- Andre Soares

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Invasion of the dumbasses

11 August 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

What is it with the space-invader films that are all the same? Are movies about our real-life woes too close to the bone, or is Hollywood out of ideas?

Last month I went to see X-Men: First Class. It was pretty good, though less because of the story itself than because of Michael Fassbender's magnetic presence as … Magneto. The action was set in the early 1960s, during the Cuban missile crisis, when John F Kennedy told the Soviet Union that if they tried to put nuclear weapons in Cuba, just 90 miles off America's coast, there would be hell to pay. Possibly a third world war.

As everyone has such itchy trigger fingers, it fell to the X-Men, a motley crew of insecure, untested kids, to keep the Russians and the Us from blowing up the planet. In the end, they achieved their objective, sparing mankind the unspeakable horrors of »

- Joe Queenan

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Nyff "My Week With Marilyn" as Centerfold. Er.... Centerpiece!

4 August 2011 1:26 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

News continues to trickle in about this year's New York Film Festival, the 49th (September 30th through October 16th). So, yes, expect 2012's festival to pull out all the stops to honor its own 50th birthday. We always cover this festival since its the easiest for The Film Experience, being NYC based, but this year we're aiming to do thrice the amount of our usual coverage. Stay tuned.

Here's what we know so far.

Opening Night ~ Roman Polanski's Carnage

Centerpiece ~ Simon Curtis's  My Week With Marilyn (World Premiere)

Closing Night & Lineup In General ~ Tba... though it's usually selections that previously debuted at Cannes or Toronto. The Skin I Live In is frequently rumored.

The Burmese Harp (1956)Masterworks ~ This is the section where they show old films, rare prints and retrospectives.

This year they'll be screening a restored and aspect-ratio corrected print of William Wyler's much-Oscar'ed Epic Ben-hur »

- NATHANIEL R

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