Ben Hur UCE (US) in September
Warner Home Video have announced the US DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Ben Hur: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition on 27th September 2011. William Wyler’s epic 1959 film starring Charlton Heston has been newly restored for this release and will be available for $64.99 SRP (Three-Disc Blu-ray), $49.92 SRP (Five-Disc DVD set) and $20.97 SRP (2-Disc 50th Anniversary Edition DVD).
Here is some info from the press release on the restoration and new extras found on this release…
For this release, Ben-Hur has undergone a $1 million restoration -- frame by frame from an 8k scan of the original 65 mm camera negative, making this the highest resolution restoration ever completed by Warner Bros. studio.
We have been working on this extensive restoration for several years, hoping we could be ready with a 2009 release for the actual 50th. The meticulous process took longer than expected, but our primary goal was to deliver the finest quality presentation possible, and we have succeeded in doing just that, said Jeff Baker, WHVs Executive Vice President and General Manager, Theatrical Catalog.
Ben-Hur has been on moratorium for the past year. Now limited and numbered, each set contains more than four hours of extras including an all-new hi-def feature length documentary hosted by son Fraser Heston; a reproduction of Heston's diary during filming; and an exclusive hardbound photo book.
The restoration is almost trumped by some newly-uncovered Heston family home movies, shot in Italy during production, that reveal unique behind-the-scenes activity. Believed to be the only footage of its kind in existence, this marks something truly historic and unprecedented. And we are thrilled to be able to incorporate it into the documentary made by Laurent Bouzereau and Charlton Heston’s son, Fraser. The documentary will be obtainable only with this release.
Baker believes fans also will be enthralled with Heston’s diary, which reflects his thoughts and feelings on many of the days before, during, and immediately after the films physical production.
The diary is a replica of the original, Baker said. We did not transpose Chuck’s words onto a clean white piece of paper. The natural fading of the pages, and any mistakes, are all seen as they are in the original diary. The concept is to preserve the authenticity. It’s a remarkable, collectible keepsake. No other disc release in history has included a personal diary of an actor, let alone an Oscar®-winning legend, sharing this type of personal information.
Details of the new bonus content for this release are:
- Charlton Heston: A Personal Journey - An all-new high-definition feature-length documentary chronicling Charlton Heston’s life while filming Ben-Hur. Includes behind-the-scenes details and home movie footage shot by his wife Lydia while in Rome. The film shows a rarely seen, different side of Heston as a warm, loving father and husband balancing his home and work life, and as an artist devoted to his craft.
- Charlton Heston: The Ben-Hur Diaries - First-time exclusive look into an Oscar-winning actors experience while making an award-winning film. A reproduction of Charlton Heston’s private and insightful diary from January 1958 through April 1960, documents his time before production of the film all the way through his Oscar win. Includes personal photos from the Heston family and Charlton Heston’s own sketches.
- Exclusive hardbound book with rare photography, production art and reproductions from the original theatrical press book.
Blu-ray Special Features Include
Disc One & Two: The Movie
- Newly Remastered and Restored from Original 65mm Film Elements
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
- Commentary by Film Historian T. Gene Hatcher with Scene Specific Comments from Charlton Heston
- Music-Only Track Showcasing Miklos Rozsa’s Score
Disc Three: Special Features
- Charlton Heston: A Personal Journey (78 min) [HD] NEW!
- Ben-Hur: 1925 Silent Version, from the Thames Television Restoration with Stereophonic Orchestral Score by Composer Carl Davis (143 min)
- 2005 Documentary: Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema - Current filmmakers such as Ridley Scott reflect on the importance and influence of the film on modern epics (58 min)
- 1994 Documentary: Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic Hosted by Christopher Plummer (58 min)
- Ben-Hur: A Journey Through Pictures - Audiovisual recreation of the film via stills, storyboards, sketches, music and dialogue
- Screen Tests (30 min)
- Vintage Newsreels Gallery
- Highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards ® Ceremony
- Theatrical Trailer Gallery
The DVD UCE will have the feature film restored and remastered for standard definition plus the same Special Features spread over five discs.
The 2-Disc 50th Anniversary Edition DVD will have the feature film restored and remastered for standard definition with commentary plus a special edition poster mail-in offer and a commemorative o-sleeve.