Interesting! When I opened my own shop in 1985, wholesalers in NY still only had the Magnetic Video version on their shelves. Even the huge Tower Records by NYU was still selling multiple Magnetic Video titles (leftover overstocked dogs like Cleo, anyway). Never laid eyes myself on a CBS/Fox Cleopatra until '88.
EDIT: just remembered. In 1982, a double cassette classic from CBS/Fox would have still had the first-wave pricing paradigm of $79.95. Paramount broke this tradition for a select few releases at $39.95 starting with Star Trek: Wrath Of Khan in November 1982. But 90% of all single tapes remained $69.95 and doubles $79.95 until 1987/1988, when 'classics' finally began dropping to $39.95 across the board from all studios. In all likelihood, the 1988 re-dated reprint of Cleopatra under the same SKU number and packaging specifically reflected that dramatic price drop (otherwise the sleeve would have continued to read 1982). Perhaps together with The Robe and other Fox historical epics.
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Last edited by orsetto; 20th Sep 2019 at 22:16.
The 1988 version is VHS Hi-Fi so probably was re-released to take advantage of that. Unlike Beta Hi-Fi which came out a year earlier in 1983 and prerecorded tapes [were available] almost immediately upon launch, I bought Duran Duran's "GIrls on Film" / "Hungry Like a Wolf" Video 45 with my SL-HF 2700. The VHS camp however held out because some manufacturers were still pushing their linear stereo models. Also, there were reports that some of the early VHS HI-Fi releases had playback issues on older VHS machines because of the way signal was recorded.
I remember the Wrath of Khan at $39.95 being a big breakthrough in pricing. I remember the pricing tiers at $69.99/$79.99 for mainstream releases and $89.99/$99.99 for adult releases (ummm...so I heard...ummm yeah, that sounds right! <grin>). As I recall, Warner Bros and Disney tried to push their releases into the $89.99 range to make money before their thankfully short 'rental-only' no customer purchase stage.
Edit: As I recall, I paid either $50 or $60 for Farewell Concert of Cream in 1981. I don't remember where I bought it, but I think I got a discount. This was my second prerecorded tape purchase. My first was Blow-Up, in part because it contained the (then) only known footage of the Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page Yardbirds lineup! I was completely shocked five years ago when more Beck/Page footage started showing up on Youtube and Yardbirds documentaries!
Last edited by lingyi; 21st Sep 2019 at 00:28.
The reason for the 1982 re-release of Cleopatra was probably three-fold. First, Andre Blay, the founder of Magnetic Video, [left in] 1981 (by which time it was owned by 20th Century Fox since 1979) and 20th Century Fox Video and later CBS/Fox replaced the Magnetic Video name. Prompting the second reason, the rebranding of the Magnetic Video releases to the new company name(s). And third, the decision to release the 4 hour version (to replace the previous 3+ hour theatrical/broadcast version which WAS on ALL the previous releases) was made. I'm [not] sure about the history of the discovery/decision to release the 4 hour version was made, but here's an article from The Washington Post in 1984 that discusses an early effort to recover/restore the original 6+ hour print: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/style/1984/09/30/lost-cleopatra/fb505...-3d3962228967/
Below is the entire article, because the OP will continue to pick and choose only what suits his singular delusional mindset. There is one paragraph that is a bit confusing, based on what everyone but the OP asserts and remembers to be true, and he may jump on to "prove" his case.
"George Feltenstein, national theatrical sales manager of Films Inc., agrees: "The cost of reducing to 35mm CinemaScope is so high that we would never see any profit from the theatrical marketplace." The longer video version "was made originally for the run on network television years and years ago." He explains that Films Inc. "just spent many thousands of dollars restoring 22 minutes to Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West," a film with a strong cult following."
The way I read it, George Feltenstein is referring to the 4 hour version that was released on video in 1982 and 1998, but wasn't the version shown on broadcast and syndicated TV. [Edit: I wonder though, if it is a possibility (and I hate to acknowledge this) that Feltenstein IS referring to the the TV broadcast version which comes to 192 minutes less the Overture, Intermission, and Exit music [and if it's present or absent on the Magetic Video release]. If someone could give the times of the three cut elements, it would help confirm or deny this theory. This still doesn't mean the OP somehow magically has a different version than was what shown on TV and released in the U.S. on NTSC tape.]
By Jay Padroff; Jay Padroff is a freelance journalist and
screenwriter.September 30, 1984
WITH THE DEATH last month of Richard Burton, the move to restore some two hours of lost footage to the controversial movie epic "Cleopatra," in which he starred with enamorata Elizabeth Taylor, has gained momentum.20th Century-Fox, the studio that backed and butchered "Cleopatra," denies that the footage comprising what Burton has called "the best performance of my life" exists, but a lean and persistent Los Angeles film scholar and "Cleopatra" buff named Brad Geagley has accumulated a variety of leads toward securing the missing footage.
In the spirit of reconstruction that revived the Judy Garland-James Mason version of "A Star is Born" last year, Geagley is hopeful that by 1986 the public may have a chance to glimpse and reevaluate the financially disastrous production, which (according to Business Week) actually had received 80 percent favorable reviews around the country when it opened in 1963 and was subsequently nominated for Oscars in the categories of best picture and best actor (Rex Harrison as Caesar).
Geagley says "it was Burton's (Marc Antony) part that had suffered the worst butchering. When he was out here in L.A. doing 'Camelot' before he became very ill and pulled out, I had talked to him over the telephone and he had very much wanted to see this done. He said that somewhere in those miles of film was the finest epic ever made and it was terribly unfortunate that audiences were probably never going to see it."
In third grade, Geagley was reading about the historical Cleopatra in an encyclopedia when he felt something "just like an instant electrical jolt -- I had no idea why." When the movie was released, Geagley was 12 and was inspired by the viewing. "I remember thinking, 'Hot damn! This is a great film.' " Today, Geagley, 33 -- employed as director of a design department at an engineering firm dealing in interactive entertainment and education -- finds himself not only trying to restore the original Joseph L. Mankiewicz version of "Cleopatra," but also hired by producer Bernie Sofronski (the former CBS executive behind "Playing for Time") to serve as historical consultant for HBO's planned Cleopatra mini-series (which Ken Russell will write and direct), and writing a two-volume historical novel about you-know-who.
The story behind the making of "Cleopatra," and its subsequent butchery by the studio, was the subject of Geagley's prize-winning film school thesis. "Several years later, I proposed that PBS take the idea behind my thesis and make it into a documentary. PBS wanted to do it, but at that time 1980 , Reagan had just been elected, and all the money went out of the PBS system, and so the project went into abeyance.
"I had gotten an agreement even from Mankiewicz, who has consistently refused to discuss the film, so bitter is he at what happened. I finally convinced 20th Century-Fox to cooperate with me -- that, yes, this footage did exist and they should start looking. It was news to them that 'Cleopatra' had once been seven hours long (in a rough edit), not four. There are many studio regimes that have come and gone since 'Cleopatra' was produced, and they don't know the story behind it. In fact, when they were trying to release the four-hour roadshow version for home video, they called me to okay which print they should use. They didn't know which was the premiere version. Studios are very uninterested in their older movies. My PBS project was geared to reawakening interest in restoring the film, and that was accomplished."
Mankiewicz, who took over the reins of the epic from Roeben Mamoulian and rewrote the film as he shot it in Rome for nearly two years, planned two Cleopatra films that were to run in adjacent theaters or be released in sequence. Each was to be about two hours and 45 minutes. The first would deal with Cleopatra's involvement with Caesar and the second with her subsequent love for Marc Antony. Of course, Elizabeth Taylor's highly publicized romance with Richard Burton gave the second film more box-office clout than the first and made unlikely the possibility that the studio would release two films in sequence. Geagley agrees with Mankiewicz's decision to keep the two stories distinct.
Mankiewicz shot his 327-page screenplay (each screenplay page averages one minute of screen time) under the regime of Spyros P. Skouras, but when Skouras was removed (in part for the alleged overbudgeting of "Cleopatra"), Darryl F. Zanuck replaced him and took a harsher view. Zanuck cut down Mankiewicz's two "intimate epics," according to Geagley, into "one monstrous four-hour film." Today the four-hour version exists only for home video use (where because of the squarish TV picture, about two-thirds of the wide-screen photography is not visible), since Zanuck decided to cut the film down still further -- to three hours 12 minutes -- when the "general release" version was sent out to neighborhood theaters in 35mm. (The original roadshow prints had all been 70mm.)
Frank Rowley, manager of the Regency Theater, a distinguished film revival house on Manhattan's Upper West Side, recently tried to secure a good full-length print to play in 35mm (as part of his series "The Films of Herman J. and Joseph L. Mankiewicz") and had to settle for the shortest version. Even though Films Inc., which handles distribution to theaters of pre-1982 20th Century-Fox films, had recently struck new 35mm prints to replace the faded ones in circulation, there was no four-hour 35mm negative, and the cost of creating one did not seem justified. "I wish they would restore the film," Rowley gripes. "They've decided not to do it for financial reasons."
George Feltenstein, national theatrical sales manager of Films Inc., agrees: "The cost of reducing to 35mm CinemaScope is so high that we would never see any profit from the theatrical marketplace." The longer video version "was made originally for the run on network television years and years ago." He explains that Films Inc. "just spent many thousands of dollars restoring 22 minutes to Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West," a film with a strong cult following.
"Cleopatra" will have to be reconstructed from the shooting script, from edited scenes, from separate tracks of dialogue and from uncut three-strip Todd-AO negative that ran through the camera and may still be in lab vaults in Paris, where much of the editing was done. Geagley notes, "Of course they say it was destroyed. 20th Century-Fox doesn't like to be reminded of what they did. Next to Warner Brothers' 'A Star Is Born,' 'Cleopatra' is the film most known for its butchery at the hands of its distributor. Universal's 'Isadora,' with Vanessa Redgrave, is probably next in line. No studio wants to be known for butchering artists' work, so you have to deal with the fact that they dislike the recognition.
"As Ron Haver of the L.A. County Art Museum, who restored 'A Star Is Born,' told me, 'Studios always say at first that the footage is destroyed because they don't want anyone poking around in their bins.' But they have essentially lost treasure there, and my last source at Fox told me -- although this is not confirmed by the studio -- that they indeed have found a great deal of 'Cleopatra' when they were just recently thinking of restoring it for home use. The processor at Deluxe General, the lab that processed the film, says that 20th Century-Fox is notorious for never throwing away anything."
The rebuilding of "Cleopatra" will enlist the services of director Mankiewicz and composer Alex North, whose score for the four-hour version Geagley calls "the shining success of 'Cleopatra.' You cannot take issue with the music." With credits encompassing "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," North considers his critically acclaimed Cleopatra score to be one of his finest, and at age 73, he looks forward to extending his creation of two decades past.
North says, "There are plans to reissue the albums of many of the old Fox films, including 'Cleopatra.' I just regret not having, for my files and to listen to, more than just the music that's on the album. Or the scores, which they refuse to let you have." He explains that Lionel Newman, who heads Fox's film music department, conducted the Boston Pops doing excerpts from "Cleopatra" three years ago -- but the composer himself is unable to obtain scores and parts to include in an upcoming concert he will conduct in Berlin. "It's always complicated trying to get through to those people at the studios. People change over there so often, and you can't get to Lionel Newman. They still have all the scores and the parts in their vaults."
Geagley sums up: " 'Cleopatra' at four hours is barely a film; 'Cleopatra' at three is, well, Mankiewicz said it best, 'There's a good chance that it may wind up as a handful of the world's most expensive and beautifully photographed banjo picks.
"What I am doing now is trying to interest various film art societies and museums and also the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences into providing some sort of funding to see this through. Then at least, a real, full-time search can be mounted. That's how they found "A Star Is Born," and that's the kind of campaign that has to be mounted for "Cleopatra."
"I would very much like to see if Elizabeth Taylor will support this project," Geagley says."
Last edited by lingyi; 21st Sep 2019 at 01:46. Reason: Grammer / Additional Info
I have to ask, what is your ******* point after 11 pages?? That the three hour version of Cleopatra was widely available and still is?? By all means produce then, or ******* shut up. This is what sheeple like you do, just argue endlessly to put the spotlight on someone else in order to create trouble. What is your point after 11 pages?? I'm waiting.
'1983' maybe a false positive since isn't that was the date that Fox acquired Magnetic so would have become the video distributor in its own right ?
And the OPs quest for a single tape VHS of the earliest release will never happen. 180 mins would be the maximum for a single tape. And I just would hope if nothing else he would get out of his thick skull that no one, I repeat no one, has EVER suggested that the 192 min >> 176 min tape is the 4 hour version sped up.
Look yer *******, you have a 3 hr 15 min Betamax. Don't believe me just look it up and read that Beta tapes were of a longer run time than VHS - 195 mins against 180 mins for VHS.
That 176 min Betamax would not fit on a 180 min VHS due to the speed up of PAL. The equivelant VHS would be 184 mins (192 minus the music interludes of appr. 8 mins). And do not believe me on that either. The information is all out there if you cared to read about it.
So all VHS releases ANYWHERE were on two tapes. Or are those earlier scans just an optical illusion ?
And just for the record, yes, there are both longer VHS and Beta tapes. One could get a E240 = 4 hours. So even that would not be big enough for the longer 4+ hour version.
But we all know you will NEVER accept these. Unless, that is, you ever get your hands on one of those early VHS. And do keep looking for a single tape one.
EVERY Magnetic Video release with a running time longer than two hours was sold as a two tape set in NTSC countries like USA/Canada. Commercial tapes were standardized at the SP speed, which maxed out at 120 mins recording time on a standard T120 (the longest NTSC tape available until the T160 debuted a few years later). Most films got released as a T120+ T60, with a random break point. Extremely long epics that wouldn't fit on that were released on two T120s or two T90s. In Beta, this would have been two L500s for NTSC until the L750 became more accepted.
PAL complicates things tremendously, due to variations in how VHS and Beta were re-engineered for that format. VHS PAL is more efficient than VHS NTSC: a T120 holds 120 mins of NTSC but 176 mins of PAL. So, many long NTSC movies converted to PAL would fit on a single PAL VHS. Beta did not have nearly the same discrepancy: an L500 held just slightly more than two hours in PAL, so like NTSC would require two L500 tapes until the thinner extended-play L750 became common.
So, you will NEVER see a single-tape version of Cleopatra in American NTSC format: none were ever made, because even the 192/184/176 theatrical version would have been well beyond VHS T120 or T160 storage capability at SP speed. You WILL see single-tape NTSC Beta copies, because Beta L750 NTSC can store just over 180 mins.
In PAL format you are more likely to find single-tape Magnetic Video Cleopatra in both VHS/Beta, as you indeed did. The CBS/Fox might also be a single-tape release in PAL VHS, but still a double-tape in PAL Beta (even the fragile ultra-thin L830 could not hold more than 216 mins in PAL).
AND FOR THE VERY LAST TIME: do the math properly, LetThemEatCake, Stop being obtuse. It has been explained multiple times: the theatrical cut was 192 mins. This was trimmed for home video to about 184 mins give or take by removing the Overture, Entr'acte and Exit music cards. When converted to PAL, this running time speeds up to an apparent 176 mins. So, your tape (and all other Magnetic Video copies in PAL or NTSC) is of the short theatrical cut. NONE of us has said the four hour version converts to 176 mins in PAL. YOU are insisting on that because you are so stuck on the fallacy that the shorter cut is rarer than it actually is. The tapes are old, old tapes expire, old tapes from Magnetic Video are cult collectibles: thats why they're rare now. They were not as rare 20 years ago.
Last edited by orsetto; 21st Sep 2019 at 08:22.
Re the George Feltenstein article: his remarks have to be taken in the context of what he was talking about and when. The discussion was sparked by the Regency Revival Theater in NYC wanting to exhibit the roadshow premiere 246 mins version that was shown on television in 1966. The Regency was the best revival theater in NYC, fully equivalent to a standard first-run Manhattan theater. But like 95% of movie theaters in the late 1970s, it was not capable of projecting the oddball "IMAX" formats of the 1950s like Cleopatra's Todd-AO, or VistaVision or Cinerama. It could only project standard 35mm anamorphic prints.
So they asked Fox for an optically-reduced-to-35mm widescreen print of the four-hour Todd-AO Cleopatra. Feltenstein replied Fox could not provide this, because none existed and it would be far too expensive to create one just for the Regency and other occasional revival requests. The only 35mm prints Fox had in the '70s were the 192 mins cut. By implication, he was telling us the four hour version shown on TV was loaned to the network as a one-off cropped (not widescreen) reduction print, because TV networks would not have been able to telecine the Todd-AO either. This also verifies the TV syndication prints (after the network run) were 16mm (or less likely, videotape) cropped 4:3 prints of only the common 192 min cut, reduced from 35mm for efficient TV distribution.
Far from being useless, this old article all but certifies the Magnetic Video release (worldwide) HAD to have been derived from the 192min theatrical cut, because no other existing print could have fit into the most widespread telecine or conversion-to-videotape hardware available in the '70s.
Last edited by orsetto; 21st Sep 2019 at 08:43.
The OP should also be thankful that two VHS tapes were employed and recorded in SP.
Some time later, various distributors, to save on media, would issue tapes recorded in EP. And while they played fine stateside the recording failed in NTSC playback on PAL equipment. I know only too well since I have a few of these sourced from the US for titles that were then not available over here.
that I bought A SINGLE TAPE that contained a three hour film, which could be the three hour version of Cleopatra not seen since 1963. Instead of registering that fact
Now people in here are even stating that the 176 minutes label on the box is not accurate ... when in reality, not a single box out there contains tape longer than what is specified in the box.
The evidence suggests that the OP is totally oblivious to the various definitions of 'ad nauseum' that float around the net.
Maybe he knows more about the expression 'Let them eat cake'. Whilst I know who this is attributed to I have not done any deep research to discover if she ever said that. But what I do know, and this is well documented, is that the person to whom this statement is attributed quite literally lost her head. Which, for me, rather sums up the OP and his choice of of nick.
The 1993 X-MEN cartoons from Pizza Hut were also master EP, 50 minutes on T-20 tapes. Lots of the Marvel toons from late 80s and early 90s were extended on T-15 and T-20, including Pryde of the X-MEN, a few Spiderman & His Amazing Friends episode releases, a Hulk 82 episode, and some others. I still have all these tapes.
A few anime tapes from the early/mid 90s, and the Orguss series is one of them.
Various workout and ad videos were the same, LP or EP, on sub T-60 tapes.
I've never seen T-60 or greater with EP mastering.
The EP mastering quality is generally garbage, but the Marvel was all okay. The Pizza Hut tapes were strangely the best of them all. I have a Lucky Luke tape, and a couple Bugs Bunny, that simply refuse to fully track no matter what VCR is used. Thankfully I was able to extract all the data with multiple VCRs and multiple captures, stitching everything back together.
The only thing I could find in my collection are some VHS EP tapes from Panda Productions. They are all 1950s TV shows that are somehow in the public domain. They are all recorded on T-60 cassettes, and the recording date is listed as 1996.
I have no recollection of T-180, only T-160, so I can't provide any information on T-180 and when or if it was used in the rental market.
Last edited by johnmeyer; 23rd Sep 2019 at 11:58. Reason: clarified last sentence
My recollections are from my Betamax loving days, but if my memory serves me correctly...
Sony introduced the L-830 (3 hr, 20 min @ BII) in the mid-1980's and the VHS camp used the thinner tape for the T-160. Both tapes maxed out the capacity of the reels of the cassettes. It took a long time for the T-180 to be introduced (early to mid 90's?) because it required even thinner tape than used in the T-160s. Like the L-830, older machines didn't do well with the thinner tape because of the more robust, less delicate loading/unloading mechanisms. I bought only three L-830s (one Sony when it first came out and 2 Fuji much later). Two of the three tapes immediately jammed in my older machines upon eject and I kept the third a novelty.
I believe the T-140 (2 hr, 20min) didn't use the thinner tape of the L-830/T-160, but just packed more tape on the reel. AFAIK, T-140's were only sold to duplication houses and never to the general public. AFAIK, these were the longest length tapes used for prerecorded movies due to the unknown age and quality of home VCRS.
Duplication houses could get custom length tapes to fit the movie length at a slight cost savings, with overruns sometimes used for those 50 cartoons on one tape deals. I bought a case of L-125 (30 min @ BII) and a couple of L-165 (40 min @ BII) Fuji tapes from a Audio/Video store that also sold professional equipment. What I found interesting was that they were in the regular white retail boxes that Fuji used.
Tape traders commonly ruined videos with
(1) Go.Video dual decks, the worst decks ever made, and
(2) Fuji Pro tapes, the worst tapes available
Fuji S-VHS tapes were fine. But still not as good as TDK, Sony, BASF. (Maxell was better visually/audio, but there were sometimes tape-eating issues, as the tape was seemingly thinner stock.)
Unfortunately, I can not advise the length of tape employed on the one (there, I'm' sure, are more) 'commercial' tape * I had mastered in EP. I still have the slip-case but the contents are on a E240 so I guess I ditched that un-playable tape when I was able to see/record the particular film on a European channel. I since I have it on native dvd.
I also have another US version of that film but the tape does not disclose its media.
*methinks the distributer bordered on the line of 'illegal'. I known there is a quaint notion of 'public domain' in the US. More so that a lot of companies have released media under that notion for a quick buck and having no qualm about the quality they spew out.
BTW How's that Betamax transfer lookin' ?
I watched Cleopatra, once. Because I had to, for film class. I might watch it one more time because my tastes may have matured in my age, or because of hidden gems & references. That's it.
Star Wars is a cultural & geek thing that I can get into & bond with fam & friends with. It's melodrama, but it's iconic and epic, in a way Cleo never could be. Cleo & Ben Hur are those grandiose types in the manner of Intolerance. Yawn.
But don't mess with Indiana Jones! Yes, #2 and #4 faltered, but #1 and #3 are Tour-de-Force - in the writing (for adventure), editing, shooting. Have watched no less than 25 times each, and will gladly watch again, especially when grandkids are grown to be ready for them. Lucas may be overrated, but Spielberg is underrated (if that's possible). Mankiewicz is quite good, but he's no Spielberg.
Well, as noted earlier, I watched Cleo quite recently. I must have seen it before but I just do not recall.
To call it 'the greatest film ever made' does take the proverbial but then everyone is entitled to their opinion. So while the 'epic' nature of it struck me, so did the somewhat crass dialog in places. Example "Anthony. How will I live?". The greatest insight in to this film can be gleaned from that 2-hour docu which appears as a extra (also referenced to in an earlier post) on the blu ray. It is simply a flawed production with a studio digging a bigger hole each time it tried to get out of the last one it dug.