Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Masada - The Complete Epic Mini-Series|
Actors: Peter O'Toole, Peter Strauss, Barbara Carrera, Anthony Quayle, David Warner
Director: Boris Sagal
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Special Interests, Television
In first century A.D., Flavius Silva (Peter O?Toole), commander in Roman Palestine, leads his forces in combat against the remaining Jewish Zealots who have taken refuge in the seemingly impregnable fortress of Masada. The... more »
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E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 07/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Masada is one of the most eagerly anticipated DVD releases of the year. This Classic TV 1981 miniseries is arguably one of the greatest ever produced in its genre, and garnered a lot of awards in its day. It is MORE than highly recommended!
It is well written and has a stellar cast that more than lived up to the script. The series, based on Ernest K. Gann's historical novel The Antagonists, is a dramatization of a documented revolt by nearly a thousand Jerusalem Jews against Roman oppressors in A.D. 72 to 73.
Epic in its scope, the actors bring nobility and pathos to the ultimately inspiring and tragic story. Following a city-wide siege by Rome's soldiers, Jewish Zealots move into a desert fortress in the mountains of Masada of Judea. It is from that remote location that they make their last stand against the tyrannical Roman Empire. Amazingly, their defensive battlement is strong enough to convince the enemy to negotiate after a two-year battle!
The brilliant Peter O'Toole, portrays Cornelius Flavius Silva, commander of the Roman legions, while Peter Strauss (who was cast in several miniseries in the 80's) portrays the Zealot leader Eleazar ben Yair, who end up developing an improbably respect for each other during the life-and-death struggle.
O'Toole, is fresh from the Roman conquest of Judea. Exhausted emotionally and physically, he has been affected by the constant warring, but remains the ruthless Commander of the elite Tenth Legion. He yearns to return home to Italy, but is prevented from doing so by a violent uprising of a small band of courageous Jews led by the volatile renegade soldier, Eleazar ben Yair (Strauss).
Silva is ordered to capture Eleazar and his followers. He is beset by internal strife because the brutal desert conditions have his legion teetering on the brink of mutiny, while he finds himself falling in love with a Jewess (portrayed with sensitivity by Barbara Carerra.) At the same time, Pomponius Falco, portrayed by David Warner, is working to steal his command.
Inside the fortress, Eleazar is struggling to keep his followers together. A diverse mix of defected soldiers, wanted criminals along with women and children totally about 900, they struggle to find enough food and water to survive their courageous stand against impossible, truly hopeless odds.
The actors leave nothing on the cutting room floor in their heart wrenching renditions of their unforgettable characters. Somehow, O'Toole brings humanity to his character, while Strauss is integrity, fury and courage personified.
Both of their characters believe the negotiations are real, and represent each side in good faith, struggling to find a way out of the deadly situation.
Unfortunately, neither realizes that Rome has no intention of yielding, but instead sends thousands of soldiers in a horrible seige of Masada resulting in one of the worst tragedies in Jewish history.
Masada was brilliantly directed by Boris Sagal (The Omega Man), and the musical score is unforgettably moving."
Why does it take so long for the GREATEST shows to make it t
S. B. Topel | Owings Mills, MD United States | 08/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this series when it originally aired in the 1980's and its impact has lingered with me all of these years. I managed to acquire a VHS transfer of the entire series just in time for my VCR to completely die - leaving me no way to enjoy this powerful drama again. After passing scores of copies of "Gilligan's Island - The Complete Series" and "Bosom Buddies - Collector's Edition" on the shelf of my local video store, I am exhilarated to find this one released at last!
Visually stunning (filmed on location) and dramatically riveting, the "Two Peters" duel on screen with searingly intense chemistry and vie for best performance, though O'Toole's ability to humanize his Roman commander makes this series so enticing. His final moments on screen as he comes to the full realization of the cost of Roman domination, is the stuff of legend. Barbara Carrera is positively luminous as a Jewess torn between her people and the man who controls her destiny.
A must see production, well worth the wait, and a demonstration of what "Event Television" was in the 1980's. They TRULY don't make them like this anymore!"
Get the 4-tape version, definitely
cine-curmudgeon | Santa Cruz, CA USA | 06/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The major virtue of the hacked 1-tape version is that it inspired me to go get the real one.This miniseries is one of the few historical epic TV series that is any good -- and strangely enough it is way more than "any good" -- it is superb. The two leads (Roman general and Zealot leader) are almost equally charismatic, compelling actors, though Peter O'Toole's trademark weary melancholy tends to steal the show. The supporting parts are solid. The writing is tight, wry, and literate. The scenery is convincing, the siege weaponry looks darned authentic.I have a weakness for costume epics, and this is perhaps the all-time best... reasonably large in scale, very well-mounted, but best of all, very well written and acted. It feasts the eyes without insulting the intelligence.The viciously cut 1-tape version is incoherent, of course, but by Hollywood standards it's still a pretty good film -- many mainstream movie directors can't be coherent even when they know they're working to a 120 min format. But do yourself a favour and get the complete edition."
Uh oh!...THIS RELEASE IS MISSING FOOTAGE!
Robert D. Hodson Jr. | Chicago, IL USA | 01/08/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Ive bought Masada in its single VHS and its 4 VHS version. I own the soundtrack. I'm a MASADA-MANIAC. I scooped up the DVD on first sight, although the DVD art looked a little.."unofficial" by comparison with the lavish 4 tape box set. It seems that MASADA is owned by MCA-Universal, but this release is put out by KOCH Entertainment. Okay, I thought, so the cover art is a bit flat...at least it's out on DVD! Well, I watched it, and it looks REALLY good. Not restored or even cleaned, mind you. You can see scratches and damage to the negative, but its only minor and to be expected with anything that's been in the vault since the 80's. However, what I was aghast to notice are gaps in the scene where Silva is deciding to torch the wall of Masada or not. The scene is clipped short on the DVD. In the original film, Silva (Peter O'Toole) says "Burn it!" to his engineer, and storms off. Then we see the archers setting their fires. Before he says that line on the DVD, the screen goes black, and they cut to the archers shooting fire-arrows into the wall. Hmmm. I dug out my 4 tape VHS to be sure. Sure enough, his "Burn it!" line is missing from the DVD. Indeed, I noticed there is other dialog missing from this scene as well. Silva asks for suggestions other than fire from his officers. When no one speaks up he tells them he doesn't blame them, and would probably keep silent if he was in their place. Those lines aren't there either. Now, this is just ONE scene I noticed, but I suspect there are probably other bits missing as well. While its not the end of the world, I am disappointed. Why couldn't MCA have just put out a decent and COMPLETE version of Masada themselves? Suffice to say, Im holding on to my 4 tape VHS set, which I have to recommend over this DVD release. Sorry folks. Keep your fingers crossed, maybe next time they'll get it right."