DVD Shopping Bag: Ben Hur 50th Anniversary Blu-ray - Mania.com

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DVD Shopping Bag: Ben Hur 50th Anniversary Blu-ray

Do you care Ben Hur?

By Robert T. Trate     September 27, 2011


The50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition of Ben-Hur arrives on Blu-ray today; a film that held the record for Academy Awards until James Cameron’s Titanic came along. This is an “epic” film in every sense of the word. It is an old Hollywood studio film with a cast of thousands. No computer generated images here. Matte paintings and forced perspectives supply the scenery as well as a few camera tricks. Ben-Hur is definitely one of Hollywood’s crowing achievements. I have to ask, does the normal movie-goer even care about Ben-Hur?
More and more I encounter people younger than my self (only 10 years and less) who cannot watch old movies. I placed into my younger co-worker’s hand a copy of the original The Day the Earth Stood Still and he couldn’t get through the first 10 minutes. His reason being it was in black and white and moved really slowly. I said it was from the fifties and from another era, but the story was as relevant as ever. He asked if there was another remake of it and perhaps from after 1980. Our conversations from that point had a cap of what movies I could talk about. Now, Mania is promptly named and its community is Maniacal about movies. So does a big huge Blu-ray 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition of Ben-Hur matter to you? It certainly wouldn’t to my co-worker.

Ben Hur Blu-ray Box Set

Warner Brothers has out done itself again with another incredible box set. A few weeks ago, they released the Citizen Kane box set. Though I am not a fan of the film (see my column) I felt as if this 70th Anniversary edition buried (in presentation) the recent Star Wars box set. This is the time of year when everyone starts looking for holiday gifts. Box sets like these are an easy buy for the film aficionado in your family. Beh-Hur’s supports a ton of extras, documentaries, and above all a journal from the “Omega Man” himself: Chuck Heston.
It is amazing to see how Hollywood movies have changed in the past 50 years. Ben-Hur opens with a 6 minute and 30 second overture. A total of 12 minutes pass before the title even appears. It is 21 minutes before Ben-Hur (Heston) walks on screen. Imagine if James Cameron’s Avatar would have been the same way? Cameron has the clout to do a film this way. Even he knows you’ll lose the audience without giving them the action, the star, even the title as quickly as possible. There isn’t much that hasn’t been already said about Ben-Hur in its 50 years of existence. William Wyler’s film is a behemoth of film making. There are tons of documentaries here and even a new one about Heston himself. The art book included is what really catches your eye. Tons of production photos, costume tests, storyboards, and premiere photos make this an instant page turner. Paper press booklets and photos are a thing of the past. This book enables you to look back, completely, at Ben-Hur. Beware, because one photo of Heston and co-star Stephen Boyd holding the Ben-Hur board game sparked an immediate eBay search.
The final and best reason for any film aficionado to pick up Ben-Hur is “On the Set of Ben-Hur”. This is Heston’s personal journal of the production. It is a complete re-creation of his date book. When did Heston have javelin practice? May 15th, 1958 on stage 5 at 11 AM. Both tickets and on set photographs are re-created here and taped to the pages. Yes, this 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition has it all.
Is this box set for the true film lover? Yes. I would never start my co-worker off on Ben-Hur without showing him the chariot scene first, mentioning how it is the inspiration for the pod race in Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace, and relate that Ben-Hur is, like him, Jewish. Yet I still don’t think any of that would matter. I’m here to tell you Maniacs that if you love movies, or give movies as gifts, Ben-Hur is the best box set of year.
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
2. The Phantom Carriage (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
3. Treasure Island
4. C.H.U.D.
5. Basket Case [Blu-ray]
Angel of Evil Starring Kim Rossi Stuart, Filippo Timi, Moritz Bleibtreu
Basement Starring Shaun Lawton, Numan Acar and Jeff Burrell
Blue Eyes Starring David Rasche, Erica Gimpel and Frank Grillo
The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman Starring Masanobu Ando and You Benchang
Flyboys Starring James Franco, Scott Hazell and Mack Mcdonald
Forged Starring Manny Perez
Good Neighbors [Blu-ray] Starring Jay Baruchel, Scott Speedman and Emily Hampshire
Good Neighbors
Gunfight Starring Johnny Cash and Kirk Douglas
Heathers [Blu-ray] Starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty
The Hide Starring Alex MacQueen, Phil Campbell and Laura Hopwood
The Jewel Of The Nile Starring Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas
Killer Priest Starring Ciara O'brien Damian Chapa
The Ledge Starring Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Charlie Hunnam
The Ledge [Blu-ray]
The Magnificent Seven Starring Yul Brynner, Robert Vaughn, Steve McQueen
Mexican Gangster Starring Ricco Chapa,Christine Manoukian Damian Chapa
Navy Seals Starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn
Ocean's 12 & Ocean's 13 [Blu-ray] Starring George Clooney
Terror Trap Starring Michael Madsen, Jeff Fahey and David James Elliott
Treasure Island Starring Charlton Heston, Julian Glover, Christian Bale
Dum Maaro Dum Starring Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu
Mardock Scramble: The First Compression
One Piece: Collection Two Starring Colleen Clinkenbeard, Christopher R. Sabat
Trigun: Badlands Rumble [Blu-ray] Starring Luci Christian, Trina Nishimura and Brad Hawkins
Trigun: Badlands Rumble
Shin Chan: Season Three, Part Two Starring Laura Bailey, Chuck Huber and Cynthia Cranz
Squid Girl Series Part 1 Starring Christine Marie Cabanos, Jason Wishnov,
Yu Yu Hakusho: Season Three (Classic) [Blu-ray] Starring Christopher R. Sabat, John Burgmeier, Chuck Huber
Cleveland Show: Season 2
DreamWorks Halloween Double Pack (Scared Shrekless / Monsters Vs Pumpkins Halloween)
Looney Tunes Show: Season 1 V.1
Looney Tunes 3 Pack Fun
Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated: Season 1 V.3
Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] Starring Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd
Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition)
Eddie And The Cruisers Starring Tom Berenger, Michael Pare and Joe Pantoliano
House of Women (Remastered) Starring Shirley Knight, Andrew Duggan, Constance Ford
Julie (Remastered) Starring Doris Day, Louis Jourdan, Barry Sullivan and Frank Lovejoy
W. C. Fields - Three Classic Shorts: Fatal Glass of Beer/The Golf Specialist/The Dentist Starring W. C. Fields
A Fish Called Wanda [Blu-ray] Starring John Cleese and Kevin Kline
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Starring George Carlin, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter
Mr. Mom Starring Michael Keaton and Frederick Koehler
Criterion Collection
Carlos (Criterion Collection) Starring Edgar Ramirez, Alexander Scheer, Alejandro Arroyo
Carlos (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Phantom Carriage (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg
The Phantom Carriage (Criterion Collection)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 & 3 [Blu-ray] Starring Robert Englund
Basket Case [Blu-ray] Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith
The Blood Trilogy [Blu-ray] Starring William Kerwin, Mal Arnold, Connie Mason and Don Joseph
C.H.U.D. Starring John Heard, Daniel Stern and Kim Greist
Cry Terror! (Remastered) Starring James Mason, Rod Steiger, Inger Stevens and Neville Brand
Dead Cert [Blu-Ray] Starring Craig Fairbrass, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher
Dead Cert
The Hills Have Eyes 2 Starring Michael McMillian and Jacob Vargas
Maria's B-Movie Mayhem: Mardi Gras Massacre Starring William Metzo and Curt Dawson
Maria's B-Movie Mayhem (Scream / Barn of Naked Dead) Starring Andrew Prine, Alvy Moore and Pepper Martin
Mimic (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray + Digital Copy] Starring Jeremy Northam, Alexander Goodwin, Charles S. Dutton
Mother's Day Starring Tiana Pierce, Nancy Hendrickson and Deborah Luce
Mother's Day [Blu-ray]
Slaughtered Starring John O'Donnell
Torso [Blu-ray] Starring Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda and John Richardson
Torso (Uncensored English Version) Starring Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda and John Richardson
Vampires, Mummies And Monsters Collection: Roger Corman Cult Classics (Lady Frankenstein, Time Walker, The Velvet Vampire & Grotesque) Starring Ben Murphy, Joseph Cotten, Linda Blair and Tab Hunter
Footloose (Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray] Starring Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest
Dragon Crusaders [Blu-ray] Starring Dylan Jones, Cecily Fay, Tony Sams and Karl Greenwood
The Echo Game Starring Alisha Seaton, Jeannie Bolet, Melissa Lee and Judy Clement
Gamera - Triple Feature Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Starring Tsuyoshi Ihara, Akira Onodera, Shinobu Nakayama
Gamera 3 - Revenge of Iris - Blu-ray Starring Shinobu Nakayama, Ai Maeda, Ayako Fujitani
Lost Future Starring Sean Bean, Sam Claflin and Annabelle Wallis
Marley & Me/The Princess Bride [Blu-ray] Starring Owen Wilson and Eric Dane
The Matrix Reloaded / The Matrix Revolutions (Two-Pack) [Blu-ray] Starring Keanu Reeves
Ray Harryhausen Double Feature [Blu-ray] with She and Things to Come w/ BONUS DVD The Most Dangerous Game Starring Randolph Scott, Helen Gahagan, Nigel Bruce
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) Starring Shia Labeouf and Josh Duhamel
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Army Wives: The Complete Fifth Season Starring Kim Delaney, Catherine Bell and Brian McNamara
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eleventh Season Starring Laurence Fishburne and Marg Helgenberger
CSI: Miami - The Ninth Season Starring David Caruso and Emily Procter
CSI: NY - The Seventh Season Starring Gary Sinise and Sela Ward
How I Met Your Mother: Season Six Starring Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Neil Patrick Harris
Hung: The Complete Second Season Starring Thomas Jane and Jane Adams
Kojak: Season Two Starring Telly Savalas
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The Twelfth Year Starring Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni
Married...With Children - The Complete Series Starring Ed O'Neill and David Faustino
Monkees: Season 1 Starring Davey Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith
Monkees: Season 2
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.


Showing items 1 - 10 of 10
monkeyfoot 9/27/2011 9:18:01 AM

It saddens me whenever I hear about those younger than me who refuse to watch a movie if it happens to be B&W, or its from the 70s or earlier. They miss so much that way. Many have grown up with the internet always available and they can grab a multitude of short videos from youtube and other sites and they develop a short attention span. Something big has to happen every 5 minutes or they get bored. Or the storytelling styles from other areas take too long to develop and they can't wait for it.

I really like Ben-Hur. It is a long film (I was just watching some of it on TCM last week) but it is a classic film with so much to offer. When I was a kid, after it would air on TV every kid in school would jokingly yell "Ramming Speed!" Or would talk about how great the chariot race was. You don't have to be relgious-minded to appreciate a big epic story like this. Movies like this or The Robe, or Ten Commandments were the 300 of their time.

jedibanner 9/27/2011 10:41:11 AM

I was about to say all that you said Monkeyfoot....our future generation seems to not care about the past, only the next gadget and whine about things.

This Ben-Hur box set is on my X-mas list for sure.

ObiWannaJones 9/27/2011 10:57:25 AM

Two thumbs up for the Ben-Hur set.  Definitely one of the finest movies EVER.  Not the crapfest of remakes/reimagining/sequels we are inundated with week after week, year after year now from Hollywood. And, no sex or f-bombs to be found anywhere.

If it was made today, there would be in 3-D and have at least two sequels.  And, the finale would have to be completely remade so not to offend anyone.   

SarcasticCaveman 9/27/2011 2:42:52 PM

 Love the movie, and the Blu Ray set looks pretty awesome (makes me wish I had a Blu Ray player and nice TV and sound system), but just have to point out the irony in your statement, ObiWannaJones...THIS Ben Hur was a THIRD remake.  Also, the second remake (and second silent version) came out *God forbid* LESS than 20 years after the first silent version.  

I wonder if anybody in 1925 bitched about a remake of a picture show that came out in 1907...

SarcasticCaveman 9/27/2011 2:47:37 PM

 Sorry, second remake...first film version was 1907, next was 1925, and the classic Chuck Heston awesome king of the screen was 1959.

SarcasticCaveman 9/27/2011 2:48:12 PM

 Makes me wonder how much silent film technology changed in 18 years.

Hobbs 9/27/2011 4:07:42 PM

Actually we do have a 9 min overture in movies now.  It's called commercials and previews.

The fact that the younger generation doesn't like the older movies means there will be a non stop wave of remakes over the next 40 years.

I like Ben Hur but repeat viewing time for a 4 hour movie just isn't there.  If I have time to watch a 4 hour movie I would pick the uncut edition of Lord Of The Rings.  As it stands I actually liked the 10 comandments better but Heston himself is a classic and missed.  I read his bio and he was a down to Earth guy.  The only time I ever heard anyone beech about him was because he believed in the right to bare arms and libs just hate that and thus made him a target at times.

ObiWannaJones 9/27/2011 6:25:05 PM

 Point well taken Caveman but:  the motion picture technology of 1907 made the first version little more than flickering stills. Little, if nothing even exists.  The 1925 version actually has pretty impressive special effects, and is a classic of silent film art. However, this was still silent. 

karas1 9/28/2011 6:30:19 AM

So if new technology is the key, the time is right for a 3D motion capture remake?  Might not be a terrible idea.  They've remade worse movies which were more reciently made.

Wiseguy 9/28/2011 6:45:20 AM

I would be into that 50th anniversary edition if I was still buying dvd's, I've pretty much have given up collecting except for very few titles in the superhero henre mostly and those rare must have films.

Like Caveman poiinted out, remakes have been a part of Hollywood forever. If you look at the amount of films released per year the number has increased so much over time that percentage wise we're probably seeing a similar number of remakes. 40 years ago maybe 4 or 500 films were released while in 2005 we had over 8000.



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