Synopsis: The match of wits between conquistador Francisco Pizarro and Inca god-chief Atahualpa. After slaughtering most of Atahualpa's followers, Pizarro and his army hold the Inca leader hostage in return for a fortune ... more »in gold.« less
Stanley C. Sargent | San Francisco, CA | 09/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This great movie is based on the incredibly successful stage play. The movie was not a big hit for some reason, despite incredible performances by Christopher Plummer as (believe it or not) the "brownie" Inca King Atahuallpa and Robert Shaw as Pizzaro. The script is a blatant condemnation of mass murder and slavery as condoned by the church. It also touches on the social issue of whether life in the world of the Inca -- where each person's life was planned from birth and no one wanted for food or shelter -- is better or worse than life under a monarch or even in a democracy. The Incas traded individuality and freedom of choice for programmed lives; the film lets the viewer make up his or her own mind on this. A third, more subtle theme is the intensity of the bond Pizzaro forms with the captive Inca king. It verges on the homoerotic, which is an interesting take, particularly considering the historical facts. When Pizzaro refuses to execute Atahuallpa, De Soto asks (sarcastically) if he loves the Inca king. Pizzaro responds by admitting that if he does not love Atahuallpa, there's no chance he'll learn of it anywhere else.
Thus we have a beautifully filmed movie with a great screenplay, great music/singing, and acting. The only thing missing is a good, clean copy of the film!!!!! I've seen video copies and this dvd copy, and all of them have skips, a few scratches, occasional color distortion, and too-quick cuts in them. Hopefully someone will give this excellent film the remastering it truly deserves, until then, this is the best available video version. It will irk you a few times when a word is lost or the film jumps too quickly from one scene to another, but if you are willing to tolerate these minor irritants, you'll love the film itself."
The Ruined Hunt of the Sun: A Video Rip-off
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Take an intelligent movie with leading actors and some beautiful photography and put it in the hands of seeming rank amateurs for transfer to video and you have The Royal Hunt of the Sun. This video is, without exception, the worst transfer I have ever seen or heard. If it weren't for the fancy box, I would swear it was a pirate copy made by a 6th grader. Although this isn't a long movie, the video is inexplicably recorded in Extended Play mode and the cartridge contains less videotape than a Macarena dance demo. As a result, the already out-of-focus film they used is made doubly blurry, reducing faces in the not-too-distant background to stacks of fuzzy lines. Whole segments of film are missing, and what is left is peppered with a constant rain of dropouts, scratches, missing frames, and even dust caught in the lens at one point. The "letterbox" lines at the top and bottom of the picture are not black, but blue--and idiotically distracting choice. And as if that weren't enough, the entire picture shifts down after about 40 minutes, leaving the top border significantly larger than the bottom border (did I mention that a line of distorted picture flanks the borders?). Eventually, the video transfer man wakes up and the picture creeps back up to the center.Then there is the sound, which seems to have been processed through a fuzz box. The sound is so muddy and distorted, listening to this movie becomes a torture worthy of the Inquisition! Obviously, an optical soundtrack wasn't used, because there is also significant print-through. That means you will hear loud sounds about a second before they happen.Simitar, the company responsible for this travesty, certainly lives up to its name: the Royal Hunt of the Sun is a real hack job."
Same world, different video?
3rd-man | 12/06/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Unless the previous reviewers were too harsh and I too lenient, Simitar may have revised their DVD release of THE ROYAL HUNT OF THE SUN. The version I saw was part of a two-pack featuring it and THE FIFTH DAY OF PEACE in Amaray-type keep cases. Anyhow, the picture is letterboxed, but crops off a bit of the right, evidenced early on by the title reading "Christoph(er) Plumme(r)" and Robert Shaw being cut off when he stands too far to the right. Yes, the print shows damage in the form of scratches, artifacts, and bad splices, along with faded colors and a picture lacking sharpness. The audio is in unexceptional Linear PCM. But get this: the bars are honest to goodness BLACK! In my opinion, it's staill quite watchable, not at all the horrid and incomprehensible mess described by others. The outstanding cast, scenic Spanish locations, energetic score, and resouceful production designing by Eugene Lourie elevate this film far beyond its low budget roots as well as the deficiencies of this video presentation. THE ROYAL HUNT OF THE SUN is a fine movie that certainly deserves better, much better. But as it stands, the DVD is okay...for now. A final note, the DVD clocks in at 95 minutes, not the 88 printed on the cover."
I MUST'VE SEEN A DIFFERENT DVD!
Coleen | Down in the alley | 12/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The quality of the DVD I saw was no worse than many films not fully restored that have a video quality about them. Sometimes it was very clear and the colors were very nice. But what about the FILM ITSELF? CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER IS BRILLIANT as the Inca. He is such an underrated actor. He is one of the finest actors it has been my pleasure to watch during my life - up there with Olivier. Robert Shaw gives a good performance, and the film is one of the most moving and challenging works I have ever seen. If you want to see a brilliant performance from Christopher Plummer and be highly moved, buy this DVD. If you want perfect picture quality, stay away and miss out on a classic film. Hopefully this film will be remastered in the future - until then, I'm quite satisfied with this."
Worst quality I have ever seen or heard on video
Coleen | 01/06/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is unwatchable, The sound is not in stereo though advertised as such on the label. Barely audible and full volume is needed. Cuts in the video, dirty copy off a print.Widescreen bars top and bottom an annoying blue. Worst video I have ever seen or heard, which is a great pity as the subject,the acting, the music and the screenplay are all superb."