Three 5 Star Treasures To Enjoy... Better Buy Is Each Separa
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 09/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the "Best Picture Collection - Epic Dramas: Casablanca/Gone With the Wind/Ben-Hur (Warner DVDs)
Three of the most wonderful films ever made, all packaged together would make a beautiful gift for the film lover. And there are so many editions of these films to choose from. Depending on how much of a fan, or collector you are, and how much you are willing to spend, you can find 2 disc special editions, deluxe collector's editions with all kinds of goodies, and I think I even saw a 4 disc set for one of them. Phew, that could add up. So in this set you have the three basic films, all beautifully transferred with some features(see individual film detail pages)for fans to peruse. And if you are interested in these editions as opposed to the more expensive and fully loaded ones, your best bet would be to buy them individually.Amazon is out of stock of this set, and the lowest price here from an outside merchant is higher then buying the three separately. The only one in stock from Amazon at this time is Ben-Hur, but even with buying Casablanca and Gone With The Wind in New Condition from an outside merchant, and even with the shipping charge, it will still come out to be a much better deal at this time. Prices do change, so you may want to compare for yourself. You may also want to compare prices on the many "special" editions available. So I do consider this package a 5 star package, just not the best deal(hence, my 4 star rating).
Here is a little about each film and the transfers:
"BEN-HUR", the story of a Jewish Prince who's life paralells that of Christ, is an epic saga that takes him from a nobleman, to a galley slave to a hero. The film won a record breaking 11 Academy Awards in 1959, including Best Picture, Best Director(William Wyler), Best Cinematography, Best Actor(Charlton Heston) and Best Supporting Actor(Hugh Griffith). This record was unmatched for nearly 40 years, when in 1997 "Titantic" burst onto the scene.
It is a wonderful story, and has something for everyone. The cast includes some of the greats from the 50's. Look for Jack Hawkins as Quinas Arrius the Roman whose life is saved by Judah Ben-Hur, Stephen Boyd as Messala, Judah's boyhood friend who turns on him,Martha Scott and Cathy O'Donnell as his beloved mother and sister, and Haya Harareet as Esther, the woman he loves.
This 1959 classic epic has received a superb treatment of the transfer to DVD. The picture, color, clarity and sound could not be any better if this film was made yesterday. It is presented in the original widescreen, and what a view. You won't miss a bit of the academy award winning cinematography. The chariot race, the sea battle,the splendors of Rome and all the glorious and immense sets will just have you in awe. The wonderful technicolor on this DVD is a stand out compared to some others of this era(there were a couple of occasions where there was some sort of greenish tint, but in the background and did not interfere with the view). The great music, dialogue and all surrounding sounds are crystal clear.
"Gone With The Wind"
How fortunate we are to be able to view this incredibly wonderful film,remastered to the way it was seen in 1939. Scarlett, silhouetted, standing on the red clay of Tara, in the beautiful sunset, swearing she "will never go hungry again", the streets of Atlanta with the thousands of wounded confederates, the ball gowns, Mammy's big eyes,Atlanta burning,the cotton fields, all in the glorious technicolor it was first seen in.
For those that Are seeing it for the first time, you will love the drama,romance,adventure and history of the South during the Civil War era. All the famous characters, Margaret Mitchell gave us, are skillfully acted by Vivien Leigh(Scarlett),Clark Gable(Rhett),Leslie Howard(Ashley),Olivia De Havilland(Melanie) Hattie McDaniel(Mammy),and let's not forget the wonderful Butterfly Mcqueen(Prissy) who uttered the immortal, "I don't know bout birthin no babies, Miss Scarlett".The film won the Best Picture of 1939, along with 9 other Oscars, including one for Hattie McDaniel(Best Supporting actress), making her the first African American in Academy history to recieve the honor.
CASABLANCA....The name alone conjures up visions of World War II, Clandestine meetings, Romance and Exotic places.This film has all that and more. To sum up this wonderful story: it is the eve of WWII, the Nazi's are moving their way across Europe, forcing thousands to flee. Many find their way to Casablanca, Morocco, which is under French rule and as of yet is unoccupied by the Nazi's. Most are looking for exit Visas to get to America but it is easier said then done. Victor Laszlo(Paul Henreid)and his wife Ilsa(Ingrid Bergman)are among those people and it's harder for him then most. He is on the Nazi's most wanted list for leading the Czech Resistance. Rick Blaine(Humphrey Bogart)is his best hope.
Rick, American ex-patriot,doesn't stick his neck out for anybody, until he sees Ilsa. His old flame, that mysteriously left him in Paris,("We'll always have Paris"). Rick still feels the sting of that day,but as Ilsa's story unfolds he does stick his neck out for both Ilsa and Victor to help them get away, even though he loves her still.
The music,including "As Time Goes By",("Play it Sam") the characters, and the famous dialogue unforgettable and timeless. Included in this marvelous cast are Claude Rains, ("Louie, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship"), Peter Lorre,Conrad Veidt and Sydney Greenstreet. It was directed by Michael Curtiz, and won the academy award for best picture of 1943.
The DVD(Warner Bros) is a Pristine transfer. The black and white cinematography with all it's shadows and lights that make film noir so dramatic is crisp and clear.I saw no signs of the age of this film. Ingrid's eyes sparkle as much as her diamond earrings.The sound is perfect.
"Here's looking at you kid"............Laurie