Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|National Geographic's Egypt - Quest for Eternity|
Actor: Richard Basehart
Director: Norris Brock
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Take a spectacular journey to walk among the ancient ruins of one of history's great civilizations. Through the centuries, the ancient Egyptians created and constructed the most glorious monuments the world has ever seen. ... more »
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Great Documentary Butchered in DVD Release! (Get the VHS!)
Eric Paddon | Morristown, NJ | 09/07/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In their long history of classic documentaries, one of my favorite National Geographic's was the 1982 "Egypt: Quest For Eternity" narrated by the late Richard Basehart. Frequently I have used the VHS edition in my class on Western Civilization as a good way of illustrating some of the points about Egyptian civilization to my students. When I learned that this program had been given a DVD release, which is rare for these classic National Geographic programs, I immediately bought it.What a waste of money! For reasons totally impossible to fathom, National Geographic and Warner Video have packaged a butchered version of this documentary that runs only 43 minutes (not 60 minutes as the packaging falsely claims; that is the length of the original version), has totally snipped the opening prologue and the wonderful title credits with the best version of Elmer Bernstein's theme music, and hacked out whole sections at random. Only when fast forwarding to the end did I realize what had happened. This DVD version is a 1994 re-edited version done for the National Geographic Channel and other cable channels today where a shorter running time is dictated by the presence of commercials that was not the case on PBS, where this first aired.Okay, so today this has to air on cable in a butchered format, but what is the excuse for giving the home video viewer this butchered version instead of the original full-length version that has been available on VHS for 15 years? None whatsoever! Shame on National Geographic and Warner Video for this disgraceful packaging of a classic documentary (this is akin to packaging edited versions of classic TV programs on DVD instead of the original uncut versions) and avoid the DVD at all costs! (But by all means get the VHS version which is a four star presentation!)"
Oldie but goodie
Eric Paddon | 02/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Have been interested in Egypt for over 15 years and this is one of the first videos I ever bought. I still go back and watch it often. It was instrumental in my falling in love with Ancient Egypt. It approaches the culture, history and land in a truely refreshing way."
A dated documentary that leaves out most of the good stuff
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 07/30/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let me start by saying what Egypt: Quest For Eternity is not: it is not a video about the Pyramids (or, for that matter, pyramids of any sort) or the Sphinx - the three pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx appear in one quick shot, and that is it. I find it really peculiar that the most famous and fabulous of the ancient monuments were not mentioned, especially given the fact that the video begins its exploration at the earliest sites of Egyptian civilization and works it way up to modern Egypt. On the other hand, I find it ironically fitting that the Pyramids are not mentioned in a presentation about ancient Egypt's quest for eternity, as I agree with the vocal minority of those who say the Pyramids were not tombs of any sort.
So what is covered here? Not a whole lot, given the rich history of Egypt extending back some six thousand years (longer, I would argue). We see some excavation at perhaps the earliest site of human settlement beside the Nile, work our way through several incredible temples such as those at Luxor and Karnak, get a brief look inside the structures at the Valleys of the Kings and Queens, revel in the sight of a number of structures dedicated to Seti I and Ramses II, get a cursory look at the Temple of Isis (which was converted into a Christian church many centuries ago), and then get some perspective shots of modern Egypt. Along the way, we are treated to a number of beautiful wall decorations and hieroglyphics telling the stories of the pharaohs and their gods.
The real theme of this video is protect and preserve, as much of it dwells on the exquisite artwork incorporated into ancient monuments and modern man's efforts to preserve that historical record before it is lost. The video also describes the dismantling, moving, and reassembly of two magnificent temples threatened by the building of the Aswan Dam. When you come right down to it, the only quest for eternity featured here is that of Ramses II who enjoys most of the time in the spotlight.
This is all well and good, but the contents of the video don't correspond with my own conception of the ancient Egyptian quest for eternity. Sure, the afterlife of the pharaohs is discussed to a limited degree, but I wanted to hear about mummification and the building of the truly incomparable monuments at Giza. I can see how some viewers would be bored by the presentation here, as "the good stuff" is basically neglected, and the film really looks its age (it dates back to 1982). If you are fascinated by everything Egyptian, there is certainly much to appreciate here - I for one learned a number of things from it - but if your interest is only in the Pyramids and the Sphinx, this National Geographic Production is apt to leave you disappointed."
A brilliant civilization.
George Brinton Murray | Meriden, CT United States | 03/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Egypt: Quest for eternity is a must have for anyone who is seriously interested in that which once was, millenia ago, in the Nile Valley. This film treats these marvelous monuments and their builders with the respect and dignity that they most justly deserved then, and still deserve today. National Geographic's Egypt:Quest for eternity is an entertaining, thought provoking journey into the distant past, "in search of the essence for the meaning of life itself".*****/Five Star rating."