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Spartacus
     

Spartacus

4.3 3
 
Universal Pictures originally released Spartacus as a bare-bones DVD, and The Criterion Collection also released the film as a three-disc laserdisc with most of the same extras as this disc. Neither can hold a candle to this splendid two-disc release. The film's transfer is stunning. Spartacus' long-troubled restoration history, supervised by the

Overview

Universal Pictures originally released Spartacus as a bare-bones DVD, and The Criterion Collection also released the film as a three-disc laserdisc with most of the same extras as this disc. Neither can hold a candle to this splendid two-disc release. The film's transfer is stunning. Spartacus' long-troubled restoration history, supervised by the preeminent film restorer Robert A. Harris (who also restored Lawrence of Arabia and Vertigo to their undisputed glories), has been well documented. The arduous process yields results that are nothing short of amazing. Shown in its original aspect ratio of 2.2:1, enhanced for widescreen TVs, the picture was digitally transferred from a 65 mm intermediate positive. Though Kirk Douglas does seem a bit too red at times, the color correction is stable, tends not to bleed, and seems perfectly balanced overall. The high-contrast picture is sharp throughout, giving many modern-day films a run for their money in terms of visual quality. There is no evidence of compression artifacts whatsoever. The film's 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks have also been remastered and reconstructed from multiple elements. Alex North's thunderous score really shines here. Disc one contains two audio commentaries. The first track, which was originally recorded for the earlier laserdisc release from 1992, contains insights, observations, and production details from producer/actor Douglas, actor Peter Ustinov, novelist Howard Fast, producer Edward Lewis, restoration expert Harris, and legendary designer Saul Bass. This is simply one of the best DVD commentary tracks around, as all of the contributors have ample time to reminisce about the film's sometimes troubled production. Ustinov almost steals the show with some of his more acerbic comments. The second track is a scene-by-scene analysis taken from screenwriter Dalton Trumbo's notes, written after he viewed a rough cut of the film. The track is narrated by Michael McConnohie and also contains some Alex North music compositions. Disc one also contains an informative restoration demonstration. Disc two contains a wealth of information, including some rare deleted scenes, vintage newsreel footage of the film's premiere, some rather amusing promotional interviews of Ustinov and actress Jean Simmons, another great interview with the droll Ustinov from 1992, an excellent documentary concerning the Hollywood Ten (of which Trumbo was a member) and much, much more.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Stanley Kubrick's first big-budget movie, a rousing testament to the unquenchable human thirst for freedom, was phenomenally successful when first released in 1960 and is today regarded -- rightfully so -- as one of the truly great cinematic spectacles. It was certainly a career highpoint for Kirk Douglas, who is superbly stoic as Spartacus, the former gladiator who led an army of fellow slaves against their Roman oppressors. But his was only one of many vivid characterizations. Equally memorable are Laurence Olivier's deliciously sly aristocrat, Peter Ustinov's conniving promoter, Jean Simmons's adoring maiden, Tony Curtis's rebellious slave, and Charles Laughton's wily senator. Kubrick's legendary perfectionism (which sparked repeated on-set clashes with producer/star Douglas) manifested itself in astonishingly intricate period re-creations and large-scale stagings of battle scenes. He added his own flourishes to the script, written by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, and never allowed spectacle, action, or pageantry to overshadow human emotion. An enormous influence on Gladiator, this sprawling epic has consistently thrilled moviegoers.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/24/2001
UPC:
0715515011723
Original Release:
1960
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, stereo, monaural]
Time:
3:16:00
Sales rank:
50,795

Special Features

Disc one: the restored 1991 Super Technirama version of Spartacus; audio commentary by actors Kirk Douglas, Peter Ustinov, novelist Howard Fast, producer Edward Lewis, restoration expert Robert A. Harris, and designer Saul Bass; scene-by-scene analysis by Dalton Trumbo; restoration demonstration; additional Alex North score compositions Disc two: Behind-the-scenes "gladiatorial school" footage; deleted footage; gallery of production stills, lobby cards, posters, print ads, a comic book; sketches by director Stanley Kubrick; Saul Bass's storyboards; vintage newsreel footage; 1960 interview with Jean Simmons and Peter Ustinov; 1992 video interview with Peter Ustinov; 1960 documentary The Hollywood Ten, plus archival material about the blacklist; original theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Spartacus
1. Overture [:10]
2. Opening Credits [4:02]
3. "A Disease Called Human Slavery" [3:42]
4. The Gladiatorial School [5:36]
5. Spartacus Meets Varinia [5:43]
6. Training [4:41]
7. A Slave's Courtship [1:30]
8. Crassus Orders a Show [6:36]
9. Selecting the Gladiators [4:52]
10. Crassus Buys Varinia [3:30]
11. Fight To the Death [2:53]
12. The Slaves Revolt [7:36]
13. The Roman Senate [6:51]
14. A Singer Of Songs [4:05]
15. Crassus Admonishes Glabrus [1:37]
16. A Natural Leader [3:02]
17. Spartacus Finds Varinia [5:38]
18. "A Tendency Toward Corpulence" [4:34]
19. Oysters and Snails [3:36]
20. Slave Camp At Vesuvius [3:55]
21. Antoninus Entertains [4:49]
22. Splendor In the Grass [3:41]
23. The Pirates' Agent Cuts a Deal [3:08]
24. The Roman Garrison Falls [5:51]
25. Entr'acte [6:08]
26. Glabrus Is Sentenced [2:23]
27. To the Sea [4:14]
28. Varinia's News [3:43]
29. Caesar Is Made Commander [2:47]
30. Celebrant Slaves [1:15]
31. Strategizing Against Spartacus [1:43]
32. A Jubilant Arrival [5:04]
33. Tigranus Brings Ill Tidings [1:34]
34. Calls To Arms [4:52]
35. A Deal Is Struck [5:51]
36. The Eve Of Battle [3:09]
37. The Battle [5:23]
38. "I Am Spartacus" [9:35]
39. Batiatus Pleads His Case [1:37]
40. "A Bad Attack Of Dignity" [4:14]
41. The List Of Traitors [3:43]
42. Crassus Woos Varinia [2:39]
43. Spartacus Fights Antoninus [6:19]
44. Gracchus' Last Laugh [9:22]
45. A Son Who Is Free [2:28]
46. Restoration Credits [3:41]
1. How It Began [:10]
2. The Inspiration For Spartacus [4:02]
3. Death Valley [3:42]
4. The Gladiatorial Set [5:36]
5. A Tough Scene To Play [5:43]
6. "Most Authentic Part Of the Film" [4:41]
7. Douglas Brings In Kubrick [1:30]
8. Ustinov On Olivier [6:36]
9. The Politics Of Spartacus [4:52]
10. Fast On Varinia [3:30]
11. "The Great Scene In the Film" [2:53]
12. Actings's Inherent Dangers [7:36]
13. Laughton's Frustrations [6:51]
14. Trumbo's Approach to Decadence [4:05]
15. Similarities In Cultures [1:37]
16. Breaking the Blacklist [3:02]
17. Restoration Issues [5:38]
18. "A Harmonious Tennis Match" [4:34]
19. Olivier's Crassus [3:36]
20. Kubrick Exerts Control [3:55]
21. Slaves In Ancient Rome [4:49]
22. Casting Varinia [3:41]
23. Technicolor Printing [3:08]
24. The Role Of Saul Bass [5:51]
25. Key Art [6:08]
26. An Antagonistic Relation [2:23]
27. Missing Footage Restored [4:14]
28. The Naked Scenes [3:43]
29. Filming In Spain [2:47]
30. Coddling Actors [1:15]
31. The Actors Disagree [1:43]
32. Different Directorial Styles [5:04]
33. Bass and the Final Battle [1:34]
34. Roman Fighting Strategies [4:52]
35. Frustration With Roman Pictures [5:51]
36. Two Sides Of Spartacus [3:09]
37. The Issue Of Violence [5:23]
38. A Love Story [9:35]
39. Olivier and the Horse [1:37]
40. When Movies Were Events [4:14]
41. Injecting Political Humor [3:43]
42. Ustinov On Acting [2:39]
43. "A Scene Of Love" [6:19]
44. Trumbo's Initial Reactions [9:22]
45. The Crucifixion Scene Offends [2:28]
46. Fond Remembrances [3:41]
1. Battle Over the Screenplay [:10]
2. Spartacus' Noble Aims [4:02]
3. The Frightful Animal [3:42]
4. An Excised Subplot [5:36]
5. The Power Of Spartacus' Restraint [5:43]
6. Score Variation #1 [4:41]
7. Powerful Acting [1:30]
8. Two Worlds Collide [6:36]
9. (No Analysis Provided) [4:52]
10. Large Vs. Small Spartacus [3:30]
11. The Death Of Draba [2:53]
12. Spartacus Comes Into Power [7:36]
13. Two Main Adversaries [6:51]
14. (No Analysis Provided) [4:05]
15. Emergence Of Large Spartacus [1:37]
16. Large Replaces Small [3:02]
17. Trumbo Is Overruled [5:38]
18. Ustinov's Contributions [4:34]
19. Homosexuality In Ancient Rome [3:36]
20. Public House/Slum Street Scenes [3:55]
21. A "Need For the Specific" [4:49]
22. Problems With the Love Scene [3:41]
23. Spartacus As An Equal [3:08]
24. Portrayal Of Slave Women [5:51]
25. The Cast's Full Potential [6:08]
26. Expanse Of Time [2:23]
27. Score Variation #2 [4:14]
28. Reaction To Varinia's Pregnancy [3:43]
29. Historical Context [2:47]
30. Caesar's Rise To Power [1:15]
31. Spartacus' Effect on Roman Society [1:43]
32. Futility Of the Slave Revolt [5:04]
33. Slave Clothing and Appearance [1:34]
34. Large Vs. Small [4:52]
35. "Stonewall" Ustinov [5:51]
36. "Can't We Get It Right?" [3:09]
37. Sexual Politics [5:23]
38. Score Variation #3 [9:35]
39. Olivier Comes Off Best [1:37]
40. Muddling the Film's Meaning [4:14]
41. The Crassus Character [3:43]
42. Writing By Committee [2:39]
43. Risk Of Homosexual Implications [6:19]
44. Balancing Scenes [9:22]
45. Score Variation #4 [2:28]
46. American Legion Boycott [3:41]
Disc #2 -- Spartacus
1. Secular Spartacus [3:04]
2. Kirk In Palm Springs [2:08]
3. Comedy and Tragedy [2:00]
4. Working With Kubrick [1:05]
5. Anthony Mann [1:10]
6. The First Reading [4:22]
7. Laughton's Fans [2:42]
8. Airplane Prank [:55]
9. Hedda Hopper [:55]
10. Payola [1:09]
11. Dalton Trumbo [2:12]
12. Oscars And Numerology [2:36]

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Spartacus 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
When i rented this movie i was expecting a great Kubrick film, instead a got a paced epic with little to nothing in common with Kubrick. I would have given this movie two stars, if not for the exceptional acting and revolting storyline. I now understand why Kubrick isn't proud of this movie, it does not belong to have his great name in the credits. This movie is exceptional but a let down, the scenic epic scale is the only thing holding it up.