Rare widescreen prints of these Steve Reeves films
John Black | REDMOND, WA United States | 02/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, these two Steve Reeves films are available in English and widescreen (2:35-1, anamorphic). GIANT OF MARATHON is arguably Reeves' best film, a depiction of the Persian invasion of ancient Greece. The spectacular battle spreads from land to sea, including some great underwater cinematography. This print has better color than all other American home video releases of this title, and the letterboxing shows off the battle scenes to greater effect.
WAR OF THE TROJANS (aka THE AVENGER, aka THE LAST GLORY OF TROY) is a lower budget sequel to THE TROJAN HORSE. Reeves again portrays the warrior Aneas, who flees from the sack of Troy and eventually founds the city of Rome on the banks of The Tiber River. The DVD print, while fully letterboxed, is not quite as good as the print for MARATHON. There is some brief debris, print scratches, and occasional reddish color. However, this release represents the only way to see the film in widescreen and in English, so it's very acceptable as a co-feature."
About as good as it will get, I think.
David Orme | Sydney Australia. | 02/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, I too agree that finally these two movies are now eminently watchable, the only problem I found with "Marathon" was that the print had quite a few joins in the earlier scenes, but the print itself has great color and sound(they've used an english MGM master) and at last it is in 2:35:1. The 2nd movie "War of the Trojans" is also in reasonably good condition but the color is not as good as "Giant". I hope that Retromedia will bring out more volumes of these Steve Reeves classics, how about "Morgan the Pirate" and "Thief of Bagdad" in 2:35:1. Well done, keep "em coming."
Best Prints so far
R. Gorey | New York | 03/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Have to agree with my fellow reviewers here: "Giant of Marathon" does look noticeably better than any of the several other versions currently available, and the widescreen is more pronounced. Several splices early on, but the film is clean, clear, and in reasonably fine condition: a pleasure to see this film looking this good, and the second feature isn't too bad, either. For fans of "Giant of Marathon" (one of Steve's more polished and watchable efforts) this is the version to own."
I Said I'd Double-Dip, and I Did!
Robert E. Rodden II | Peoria, IL. United States | 02/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sometime back, Alpha Video released Giant of Marathon in a letterboxed presentation that I praised for at least trying to get it right. It wasn't a beautiful presentation by any means. In fact, it was a pretty darn awful film print that was used, with a great deal of scratches and jump-cuts, popping and hissing in the soundtrack, and even scenes that were washed out with print damage. In that review, I praised the low-budget company Alpha Video for at least releasing the movie in a truncated widescreen version (no animorphic enhancements, of course) and until that release, I had not had an opportunity to see this entertaining Sword-and-Sandle epic in widescreen. It wasn't great, but it was at least watchable.
I also said I'd step up and buy a future, digitally remastered, animorphic widescreen version, if a studio would release it. I still say good job Alpha Video. However, that was then, this is now, and now Retro Media has released The Steve Reeves Collection, a double feature that includes both, Giant of Marathon and War of the Trojans, both in fairly nice prints (though still with some apparent age related problems).
At last, fans of Steve Reeves can enjoy a very decent print of Giant of Marathon. It is lightyears ahead of the Alpha Video release. It now appears to have it's correct 2:35:1 Scope which is also enhanced for widescreen TVs. The colors are vivid and lush. The black tones are deep and full. The sound is clear, although it does appear to be the original mono stereo, it's fine, and it no longer has the distracting hisses that were prevelent in the Alpha Video version. Both movies are more than acceptable in this release, though not perfect. There still appears to be some popping and small jumps in both films that are probably related to damages from aging (these movies are nearly 50 years old!) But for anyone who has tried to get good copies of any Steve Reeves movies, both films are presented in very attractive, colorful, widescreen formats, with good sound.
Out of the two movies included in this collection, Giant of Marathon fairs the best. War of the Trojans seems to have more print damage, though still looks very nice and is an entertaining action movie from the same era as Marathon. I'd give both movies a B+ here, and a big Thank You to RetroMedia for an attractive package for Steve Reeves fans."
Worth every penny
Bryce David | Cyberspace | 05/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll keep this review brief: if you like Sword & Sandal films or Ancient History or Mythology, you won't be disappointed by this double DVD pack. I like both films equally. Giant of Marathon is probably Steve Reeves' best film. The assured direction by underrated Jacques Tourneur keeps the level of cheesiness to a low level. Yes, there are some cheesy moments here and there but compared to other S&S films, Giant of Marathon is fairly level-headed. The structure of the story is excellent and the cinematography by Mario Bava is a thing of beauty. There are many highlights in this film, most certainly the ending, with the battle between the ships and the underwater sequences.
The second feature, War of the Trojans, is surprisingly good. This is the sequel to The Trojan Horse, also starring Steve Reeves, and War of the Trojan is as good if not better than the first film. I thought the film was surprisingly believable with a low level of cheese.
The DVD transfers are in widescreen and they're pretty good even if i'm sure better transfers could be made from cleaner prints. For what they are, I won't complain because it's fairly rare to find S&S films in a presentable widescreen format.