Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: An Epic Rivalry

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Epic Rivalry

Fifty-two years after its initial release, Ben-Hur arrives on Blu-ray in a 50th (?) Anniversary Edition

by Tony Dayoub

William Wyler’s Ben-Hur has finally made it onto Blu-ray in a special three-disc collection labeled as the 50th Anniversary Edition, despite the fact that the movie was actually released in 1959 (!?). Well, Warner Home Video’s mistake is our gain, since this gorgeous release is replete with all kinds of semicentennial-flavored goodness. In addition to the previous DVD version’s bounty of extras, the 1925 silent version of the film is again included, although it appears upgraded to 1080p high definition. New to the set is Charlton Heston & Ben-Hur: A Personal Journey, a feature-length hagiography that covers the star’s life offscreen with his family. They would frequently accompany him on extended shoots like the months-long lensing of Ben-Hur in Italy. The documentary is notable mainly for the extensive home-movie footage supplied by Heston’s family. Though perhaps of interest to completists, the Ultimate Collector’s Edition’s only additional extras are a hardbound book of the film’s production art and a hardcover replica of Heston’s personal journal. Otherwise, one can purchase the three-disc collection for a much lower price without all of the UCE’s stuffers...


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