That new HERCULES UNCHAINED HD from RAI TV…

Like HERCULES (1958) recently, there’s a new RAI TV HD of HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) making the rounds on the internet. Like the HERCULES one, the HERCULES UNCHAINED print is the same as the Japanese Blu-ray. It’s sorta nice but it’s not a new transfer. The biggest issue is that it’s cropped or zooming in. It doesn’t have the original aspect ratio which makes it pretty much worthless. Here’s are screenshots of the RAI TV broadcast and the German DVD (below, from my collection).

The screen shot above is from the German DVD. It’s the correct aspect ratio. Below is the one from RAI TV (and also the Japanese Blu-ray). The image is zoomed in or cropped.

Above is a screen shot from RAI TV version (and Japanese Blu-ray) and below is the same scene from the German DVD. Everything inside the red rectangle is what you see in the RAI TV version. Everything outside the red rectangle has been cropped out. That’s a lot of information.

I really don’t like this cropped print. The original framing should be available. If RAI TV can’t even show the correct version of this classic, I’m afraid the movie will never get released properly in HD.

Oddities in CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS…

While examining the new German Blu-ray version of CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS (1961), I’ve noticed many particularities. The movie was heavily cut not just for the US version but the French and German versions differ greatly from the uncut Italian version. It’s not just missing scenes but same scenes but shot differently. I’ve seen this in other movies such as QUEEN OF BABYLON (1954), in which a US version was filmed and edited that’s different to the Italian (European) version but this one is simply odd. Take the scene at Monte Gelato waterfalls. The new Blu-ray includes the uncut Italian version and also a DVD-quality version that’s in German. The Monte Gelato scene in both versions are basically the same but shot differently. With Fausto Tozzi and Christine Kaufmann.

Same scene, shot differently: notice how the towel is different. How the placement differs. How he hold is clothes. It’s very odd when one notices it. It’s the same scene but it’s also not the same. Even the clarity is different. BTW, this scene is cut from the French version.

The German and US versions are the Irving Rapper directed/edited one while the uncut Italian version was directed by Lionello De Felice. This is the ┬ámain explanation but if the scene is basically identical why film it twice? Anyway, with QUEEN OF BABYLON, the Italian/European version felt like a rough cut while the US version felt tighter and more direct. The same thing can’t be said with CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS. It’s more sprawling and has so many different sets and situations but the movie sorta feels, in both the uncut De Felice and Irving Rapper versions, cobbled together.

Batch of new titles on Blu-ray…

A batch of new Blu-ray releases of PEPLUM titles from Germany has been announced. Getting all of these will be costly as Amazon Germany adds Shipping & Handling.

THE MONGOLS – In German and Italian only

Link

THE LION OF ST MARK – In German and English

Link

CONSTANTINE AND THE CROSS – In German and Italian only!

Link

THE SON OF SPARTACUS (aka The Slave) – In German, Italian and English!

Link

THE GOLDEN FALCON – In German only

Link

And there’s the HANNIBAL Blu-ray I already mentioned before. There’s also a new boxset of GOR and GOR II from Germany that was released in January.

Amazon being wonky again…

The new SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD Blu-ray from Kino Lorber is set to be released on August 16. I got an email from Amazon.com and I’m confused. August 31 to September 5? Wha? Anyway, hopefully, it’s a mistake. This is not the first time Amazon’s automatic emails were incorrect. Well, let’s hope so…

SUDAN on Blu-ray…

Nothing much on the BR front. The one interesting title, and it’s a pretty cool one, comes from the new Maria Montez – Jon Hall BD set. The set, which will be released in July, includes WHITE SAVAGE, GYPSY WILDCAT and SUDAN. Of course, their bigger titles, like COBRA WOMAN, ARABIAN NIGHTS and ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES, have all been available on BD already. So this set is not the top Montez – Hall titles but it’s still great news. SUDAN is a pretty cool movie. Buying the set just for that title will be worth it.

Jon Hall and Maria Montez

KING DAVID Blu-ray…

I just want to mention that this blog wasn’t supposed to wrote only about Blu-rays but it’s basically what it has become once and if the magazine project take hold.

Okay, back to Blu-ray releases. Paramount will release KING DAVID (1985) on Blu-ray on April 26. Great news. Unfortunately, it’s KING DAVID. Lol!

Anyway, one has to support all PEPLUM movies. Production is good but the casting of Richard Gere…well, the less said the better. I already have a HD copy of this movie and the movie itself looks good. But I just can’t get past Gere as King David. It’s a shame because it had a good director/crew/cast. Needless to say, this didn’t inspire a Biblical revival in the 1980s. PEPLUM movies were more the Sword & Sorcery or Adventure/Fantasy kind.

AMAZON

The image is nice. The audio is excellent. But this is not from the soon-to-be-released BD. But it is in full HD.

Watching movies in HD is great but it also showcases the bits were the movie tried to cut corners. In one violent battle scene, you can clearly see that mannequins were used for dead soldiers on the field. Oops…