British distributors Eureka Entertainment have officially announced that they will release Dual Format and Limited SteelBoopk editions of Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra (1934), starring Claudette Colbert, Warren William and Henry Wilcoxon. Street date for both is September 24th.
Gorgeous HD transfer of the film officially licensed from Universal and presented in its original aspect ratio, in 1080p on the Blu-ray
Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Original theatrical trailer
Lavish booklet featuring the words of Cecil B. DeMille, rare archival imagery, and more
More features to be announced closer to release date!
A pre-code film that sneaked onto screens just as the censorious Hays Office began cracking down on Hollywood's racier propositions, Cleopatra is a libertine paean to decadence and depravity that can still send a viewer's mind reeling and pulse thumping – all courtesy of the Golden Age's swampiest psychosexual auteur, Cecil B. DeMille (The Ten Commandments; The Greatest Show on Earth; The King of Kings).
Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night; The Palm Beach Story; Drums Along the Mohawk) presides over the most outrageous spectacle this side of The Scarlet Empress as the eponymous pharaoh queen who speeds from Julius Caesar (Warren William) to Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon), from Egypt to Rome, from war-room to bedroom… The whiff of incense permeates every scene, with each connected to the next in a veritable matrix of whips, blindfolds, and bindings – the crazed arrangement laying bare all the fetish inklings of the moving-picture dream.
Lavishly produced with some of the most inspired waxing-moon photography and unwholesome set-design to come out of the studio system, DeMille's film is an erotic tour-de-force that obliges us to re-examine the appeal of this most popular of Hollywood directors.
Great! But when, oh when, will they stop foisting dual editions on us?
Bad enough to have to find homes for the standard dvds we already have of the titles, without being given yet another SD in the bargain to unload when we buy the blu-ray.
'Since we released our first Blu-ray in 2008, we have struggled with the added work of creating two separate formats per film. This slowed down our small team considerably and was logistically frustrating (two items of inventory, two catalogue numbers / barcodes, two lots of complicated proofing, two of everything..). Within 18 months we were jumping the gun, and ignoring the installed DVD userbase, by moving to Blu-ray only releases, in the small hope that we’d help quicken Blu-ray adoption. The titles we released during this time were not big-hitters and the Blu-ray only policy frustrated as many people as it pleased. For the time being, it became clear that we had a two- tier system and we’d have to continue making both formats.'
There's also a problem with a lot of stores not giving shelf space to both versions, especially for titles that won't sell in big numbers.
With all the classics being restored in HD quality, that alone should prompt people to "upgrade" to Blu-ray. I cannot understand how people would think Blu-ray is some kind of luxury or just a hype, or whatever they think. I always adopted the new formats. Even if it wasn't immediately. But Blu-ray is actually not new any more. DVD is low definition and I don't think they should use money to "restore" a movie in that low quality. So people should have to buy Blu-ray players. :P HD isn't more expensive any longer. It's basically the same price as buying an SD set. And I don't see any nostalgic value in DVD, as I might in VHS, for example. But I still haven't watched a movie on VHS in decades. Even if I was a skeptic about Blu-ray, I'd be at least a little curious to upgrade when real classic movies came to this format. I have seen what HD is capable of doing to old movies and I am definitely pleased and in awe. When it's done right, of course. But that happens a lot. And that also has made me pickier as I know what we should demand from important restorations.