Warner Home Video’s Ben-Hur Bluray streets tomorrow. It’s been selling in at least a couple of Manhattan DVD stores over the past week or so. If I was home in West Hollywood I’d have a screener by now and a review posted like everyone else. But I’m going to wait five days to see it on a big, panoramic screen at Saturday morning’s New York Film Festival showing at Alice Tully Hall. I’ll probably never see it projected like this again.
Five days ago Bluray.com’s Jeffrey Kauffman described the Ben-Hur Bluray as “astonishing — really breathtaking, and I mean that literally. Is there any other studio that has so lovingly gone back to its iconic catalog (albeit one that officially “belongs” to M-G-M) as Warner has? Once again the studio has returned to the original negative to source new high-rez scans, along with a frame-by-frame restoration, to present this film in high definition, and to say the results are spectacular is something of an understatement.
“What a difference a careful transfer, including absolutely accurate telecine color timing, can make for a release. The film is also stunningly damage-free, with nary a scratch, speck or other distraction in view.
“This well over three hour film has been wisely spread across two BD-50′s, so kiss any latent fears of compression artifacts goodbye, especially since the bulk of the supplements are included on a third Blu-ray disc. Everything from the copious Roman foliage to the ornate grillwork in the Hur compound resolves perfectly, with precision and absolute accuracy. Colors are incredibly well saturated and those gorgeous Technicolor reds and purples are all that they should be.”