Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema (2005) - News Poster


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

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

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
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New Release: Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD

Disc Dish has all the details on Warner’s highly anticipated Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition DVD and Blu-ray that we wrote about several months back and that’s officially debuting on September 27. This release marks the classic film’s premiere in a high-definition format.

This latest release of the Academy Award-winning 1959 classic (which is technically being release two years after its 50th Anniversary, but we’re not complaining!) has undergone a $1 million restoration—a frame-by-frame undertaking from an 8k scan of the original 65 mm camera negative. According to Warner Bros, it’s the highest resolution restoration ever completed by the studio.

Charlton Heston rides his white horses glory in 1959's Ben-Hur.

The restoration of the classic action-adventure epic drama is almost trumped by some newly-uncovered home movies, shot by the family of star Charlton Heston (Dark City) in Italy during the movie’s production. It’s believed to
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Ben-Hur. Blu-ray. Epic.

While Ben-Hur isn’t a genre film in most sense of the term, the genre films it inspired qualifies it as a ground-breaking film in its influence, even though the film is legendary just on its own. Any of that great podrace in The Phantom Menace wouldn’t exist with Ben-Hur, nor would Gladiator in most regards.

TheDigitalBits has the latest on its first ever Blu-ray release from Whv, coming Tbd (Fall 2011). “Included will be a reproduction of the personal diary that Charlton Heston kept during the production, complete with personal photos and his own sketches. There will also be a new HD documentary on Heston’s experiences during the making of the film, entitled Charlton Heston & Ben-Hur: A Personal Journey, which includes home movie footage shot by his wife Lydia inside the Colosseum set. That’s in addition to all of the previous DVD special features, which include audio commentary,
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