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  1. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Not wishing to deride the ability of the guy who tried to digitize the video for you but was he aware that your tape was PAL ? Goodness knows what could be spewed out if he played that in a NTSC machine. Even a mis-informed assumption that it was copy-protected (macrovision)

    Look, I already provided you with a possible source in the UK to get your tape digitized - Reply #18. There is no harm in contacting them and explaining what have, where you live etc. Jeez. If I lived near Camden in London I might even offer to receive the tape on your behalf and take it in. But I do not and have no plans to visit London in the near future. So there is no offer on my part. Sorry.

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    Originally Posted by LetThemEatCake View Post
    I just heard back from the guy who is helping me, he tells me he uses a SUPER BETA, don't know what that is, and a computer video card? Prior to this he succesfully digitized a VHS for me, a commercial one.
    SuperBeta was an enhancement that increased the resolution (by raising the recording frequency) of regular Beta from ~240 lines to ~280 line. All SuperBeta machines could play regular [commercial] Beta tapes, so this has no bearing on his [not] being able to play the tape. If you play a SuperBeta recorded tape (which yours is not) on a non-SuperBeta machine, you'll get a herringbone pattern on the image.
    Last edited by lingyi; 3rd Sep 2019 at 04:05.

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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Not wishing to deride the ability of the guy who tried to digitize the video for you but was he aware that your tape was PAL ? Goodness knows what could be spewed out if he played that in a NTSC machine. Even a mis-informed assumption that it was copy-protected (macrovision)

    Look, I already provided you with a possible source in the UK to get your tape digitized - Reply #18. There is no harm in contacting them and explaining what have, where you live etc. Jeez. If I lived near Camden in London I might even offer to receive the tape on your behalf and take it in. But I do not and have no plans to visit London in the near future. So there is no offer on my part. Sorry.
    According to Wikipedia, Magnetic Video was bought and merged into 20th Century Fox-Video mid 1982. Macrovision was first used in 1984, so the tape can't be Macrovision protected.

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_Video, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TiVo_Corporation

    Edit: Which means the tape is at a least 36 years old and may well be damaged causing the playback issues.

  4. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Originally Posted by LetThemEatCake View Post
    I just heard back from the guy who is helping me, he tells me he uses a SUPER BETA, don't know what that is, and a computer video card? Prior to this he succesfully digitized a VHS for me, a commercial one.
    SuperBeta was an enhancement that increased the resolution (by raising the recording frequency) of regular Beta from ~240 lines to ~280 line. All SuperBeta machines could play regular [commercial] Beta tapes, so this has no bearing on his [not] being able to play the tape. If you play a SuperBeta recorded tape (which yours is not) on a non-SuperBeta machine, you'll get a herringbone pattern on the image.
    So his equipment is not the issue? If I buy a pal betamax player can we have a shot?

  5. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Not wishing to deride the ability of the guy who tried to digitize the video for you but was he aware that your tape was PAL ? Goodness knows what could be spewed out if he played that in a NTSC machine. Even a mis-informed assumption that it was copy-protected (macrovision)

    Look, I already provided you with a possible source in the UK to get your tape digitized - Reply #18. There is no harm in contacting them and explaining what have, where you live etc. Jeez. If I lived near Camden in London I might even offer to receive the tape on your behalf and take it in. But I do not and have no plans to visit London in the near future. So there is no offer on my part. Sorry.
    I live in latin america 😥

  6. Member DB83's Avatar
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    I know where you are from. You already stated that earlier.

    Firstly, confirm from the person that attempted to digitize the tape was aware that the tape was PAL and he used a PAL player.

    Now since he could not do it for whatever reason - maybe that is one. Another, as pointed out is that the tape, since it is now very old, is damaged.

    So if that person used a PAL player then it is more likely, as also pointed out, that the issue is not actual copy protection. In fact some transfer programs will incorrectly detect macrovision when it is not there. Especially if there is a weak signal from the player. That could be the player, the tape, or even a combination of both.

    So, as I already stated your best course of action is to send the tape to the UK and have a company who will most definitely have PAL equipment and are willing to do the transfer. I posted the link above. I really can not add any more other than to keep repeating myself.

  7. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Firstly, confirm from the person that attempted to digitize the tape was aware that the tape was PAL and he used a PAL player.
    ^^^THIS^^^ is the most important question that needs to be answered.

    LetThemEatCake, if the person doing the transfer is using the correct PAL format BetaMax VCR required for this tape, and still cannot get usable video from it, very likely the tape has deteriorated and can no longer be played.

    If he is using the wrong-for-this-tape NTSC format BetaMax VCR, the result will always be static instead of video, and poor audio.

    Be prepared that you may need to give up on this project. If you find out you need a PAL BetaMax VCR because your friend does not have one, you could spend a LOT of money to get the VCR only to discover the tape is in such bad condition it can't be played anyway. Then you would be stuck with an expensive old BetaMax that almost nobody in Panama would be interested in buying from you.

    The Magnetic Video version of Cleopatra was manufactured in 1978, at a time when the basic tape quality was not good. The "Late Show TV syndication" film print used to make the tape was already faded and unsharp. It was severely cropped (sides cut off) to make it fit older more square TV screens: you lose all the spectacle and impact of the original widescreen production. Magnetic Video at that time also added a nasty "CopyGuard" signal to both Beta and VHS, which causes a jittery unstable picture even during normal playback to a television (this is different from MacroVision, which came much later). The Magnetic Video Beta editions often had worse video quality than VHS for several reasons. Finally, this tape is now over forty years old: in my experience, commercial L750 Beta tapes this old are very very difficult to play with a video signal usable enough for computer capture. I'm old enough myself to have worked in New York City video stores when this tape was new, and owned my own VHS/Beta rental store from 1985-1999: trust me on this, you do NOT want to spend hundreds of dollars to make a digital copy of this particular tape.

    If you really MUST own a copy of this film with the Magnetic Video three-hour running time: consider making your own by editing the more commonly available four hour version. It is much higher quality to start with, and has the full wide screen picture frame. Even better, just use the fast forward search button on your disc player or VCR to skip over what you think are "boring" parts of the four hour version.

    FWIW, the 192 (aka 194) minute version was the basis of the 176 minute Magnetic Video release. To save money on manufacturing costs, and avoid confusing home video viewers, Magnetic Video cut out the long musical passages used in theaters (Overture, Intermission, and Exit music) - this alone comes to 10-15 minutes. Before 1980, blank tape suppliers did not offer custom length tapes for studio movie releases: all Magnetic Video could choose from in Beta was L500 and L250 (two hour and one hour NTSC). The two hour tape was still significantly more expensive than one hour, so they decided it wasn't worth wasting half of a two hour tape just to include things home viewers would have had zero interest in back then. So the Magnetic Video release is basically the 192 minute version minus the the three music breaks intended for theater audience, and perhaps a couple of other small edits or speedups here and there. This allowed it to fit on a L500 + L250, vs two expensive L500s. After the first batch of double cassettes sold out, it was put on a single L750 three hour tape, which seems to be the version you acquired. The L750 can hold 195 mins of PAL-format video (vs 180 mins for NTSC), but in 1978 Magnetic Video would not have bothered with two separate home video edits for different areas of the world.
    Last edited by orsetto; 3rd Sep 2019 at 19:16.

  8. Having just researched all the available options, I fully endorse Orsetto's recommendations as the best course of action. Nothing else you are contemplating will yield something that will be enjoyable to watch, even after spending a lot of time and money.

  9. Member DB83's Avatar
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    A really good write-up from orsetto.

    Of course one should never deny any collector even the most narrow window of opportunity to (hopefully) view something so rare these days. But I also have to agree that, even if the tape is not damaged and could be transferred - worried about the copy-protection tho - , the viewing pleasure would be greatly diminished.

  10. Thank you everyone for your replies, the person told me today that they did not know the tape was PAL so that hopefully will be the issue, he will now try again with a PAL converter and I pray that will be the solution.

  11. Good luck! Hope that solves the problem.

    But do remember what I said about the source print for these tapes: it isn't high picture quality by any means, its severely cropped, and Magnetic Video beta tapes tend to have a distracting wriggling "wormhole" pattern on the left side of the frame (an artifact of early Beta II vcrs), plus the CopyGuard interference. My suggestion would be to use this transfer (if it works) as merely a template, from which you can re-create the same edit from a better, restored, fully widescreen source. Since you are so familiar with the film as one of your favorites, it should be simple enough for you to speed-search both versions, logging the differences in a notebook, then follow your notes to edit the superior newer source into the 176 min Magnetic Video cut you prefer.

    Myself, I prefer the longer cut of Cleopatra: I'm a sucker for marveling at Mankiewicz' off-the-rails futile "direction", and can never get enough of Liz at her peak, or those fantastical sets with thousands of living breathing extras (nothing on such a scale had been done since "Intolerance" in 1916, and never would be attempted again). But I understand some people find the shorter TV cut more enjoyable. Hell, if you want to really enjoy a more concise well-told take on the Cleopatra story, the Claudette Colbert version still remains the gold standard (despite also having a stilted pretentious blowhard playing Antony). The '63 version isn't valued for its story-telling, but for jaw-dropping Hollywood excess at its height (right before it crashed into ruin thru the late '60s).

    Its heresy, but in our secret hearts some of us rabid film fans do harbor a few such guilty preferences for "butchered" editions. The two that stand out for me: Steven Spielberg's "Duel" (killer truck action movie) and Coppola's "Great Gatsby" (deadly dull but weirdly compelling Mia Farrow version). The original, fast-paced, purified TV movie edit of "Duel" is the peak of early Spielberg, a showcase of his precocious skill for such a young director. But the cut that predominates now is the later European "theatrical" version, full of filler which knocks the whole movie off kilter and spoils its propulsive kinetic energy. I keep meaning to reconstruct the shorter original, but I'm lazy.

    Re "Gatsby", I stumbled across an interesting phenomenon: this is one of those rare films where virtually all the cuts made for TV syndication fall on one specific sub-category of presumably vital scenes, yet the removal of those vital scenes weirdly makes for a much better film! The biggest problem with Coppola's "Gatsby" is that Mia Farrow and Robert Redford palpably loathed each other during the making of it, so much that the central love story is a completely unwatchable cringe fest whenever both are on screen together. Whether intentionally or by miraculous accident, the TV print surgically omits almost all of the Redford/Farrow love scenes, and what remains is an opulent showcase for the subplots and great second-tier character actors (who perfectly embodied Fitzgerald's novel in a way no other film version has captured). So thats another on my "someday" to-do list: edit the intact restored version to match the cuts on my ancient Beta recording from late night TV.

    Going in the opposite direction, occasional bloated extended TV versions can be fun. When the 1978 "Superman" first aired on American network television, it was a custom longer edit with many more scenes of the bumbling criminal subplot with Gene Hackman, Valerie Perrine, and Ned Beatty. This was some priceless material, but was never made available again after that one airing (none of the dvd or blu ray versions even include those scenes as bonus material). I did make a dvd from my beta recording of that broadcast some years back, but of course it is badly cropped for square TV, and not up to modern quality expectations.
    Last edited by orsetto; 4th Sep 2019 at 10:54.

  12. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Its heresy, but in our secret hearts some of us rabid film fans do harbor a few such guilty preferences for "butchered" editions. The two that stand out for me: Steven Spielberg's "Duel" (killer truck action movie) and Coppola's "Great Gatsby" (deadly dull but weirdly compelling Mia Farrow version). The original, fast-paced, purified TV movie edit of "Duel" is the peak of early Spielberg, a showcase of his precocious skill for such a young director.
    For "Duel," the only cut I've seen is what normally has been shown on TV. I've never rented it.

    I believe that "Duel" was partly done while Spielberg was still a student at film school.

    I have never fully embraced Spielberg precisely because so much of his work, up through and including the Indiana Jones triology, seemed like the work of a "precocious" film student, trying to show off. This was certainly true of Duel with the cuts between Weaver's face and the dark faceless windshield of the "shark" truck. ("Jaws" and "Duel" are, at their core, the same movie.)

    The opening sequence in "Temple of Doom," chasing for the antidote through the diamonds being kicked by the dancers, while bravura film-making and a sheer joy to watch, still feels to me just a little bit contrived and done in a way that someone who hadn't gone through film school probably wouldn't have done.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Spielberg's movies are brilliant and I have enjoyed every single one of them, but in the same way I enjoy Starbucks coffee: both are made exactly according to what amounts to scientific rules; both are predictably enjoyable; but neither quite makes it to the pinnacle of what could be done by a director not following "the book." His attempt to finish Kubrik's "AI" revealed his shortcomings.

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    The biggest problem with Coppola's "Gatsby" is that Mia Farrow and Robert Redford palpably loathed each other during the making of it, so much that the central love story is a completely unwatchable cringe fest whenever both are on screen together. Whether intentionally or by miraculous accident, the TV print surgically omits almost all of the Redford/Farrow love scenes, and what remains is an opulent showcase for the subplots and great second-tier character actors (who perfectly embodied Fitzgerald's novel in a way no other film version has captured). So thats another on my "someday" to-do list: edit the intact restored version to match the cuts on my ancient Beta recording from late night TV.
    I had no idea that Coppola had any involvement with Gatsby. I just checked and while he did not direct it, he gets credit for the screenplay. I learned something.

    Clayton (the director) sure didn't coax very good performances out of anyone, with stilted, patterned performances from everyone. Dern, Watterson & Chiles were totally wooden, giving performances which sound like a first reading. As for Farrow, I cringe every time I think of how she delivered that "Rich girls don't marry poor boys" line.

    IMHO, the only way to make that movie better is shorten it, so I agree with you there, although perhaps not for the same reasons.

    I will say this: it is a gorgeous-looking film.

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Going in the opposite direction, occasional bloated extended TV versions can be fun. When the 1978 "Superman" first aired on American network television, it was a custom longer edit with many more scenes of the bumbling criminal subplot with Gene Hackman, Valerie Perrine, and Ned Beatty.
    There was also that scene of Kent running alongside the train while Lana tries to figure out what she has just seen. I found that to be a very key, and very important omission in the theatrical version because it really helps drive home the problems Clark/Superman had trying to fit in with normal people while not revealing anything about his abilities.
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 4th Sep 2019 at 15:45. Reason: typo

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    I'm torn on the TV version of Halloween which added additional footage and info to fill in all the cuts that had to be made. IMO, it's necessary (as planned) for the plot line of Halloween II which I'm also torn about whether I love it or hate it. Either way, it's there and as far as I'm concerned, the true Halloween series ends with it.

  14. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    I believe that "Duel" was partly done while Spielberg was still a student at film school.
    This was after, perhaps you're thinking of the (ludicrously still unseen) "Amblin". He was full-on pro by this point, being a contract director at Universal-MCA television studio for nearly two years already (having proved he could handle responsibility for an independent "Movie Of The Week" by dint of finessing the likes of Joan Crawford and Peter Falk in several series episodes). For decades, his whole early career was shrouded by self-mystification and autobiographical BS, so its still confusing to sort out. I agree he can be overly facile, but "Duel" was an unexpectedly nifty little flick at the time. He has a distinct skill set, but few directors are perfectly well rounded: i.e., that same year there was another "Movie Of The Week" he could never have pulled off: "The Neon Ceiling" with Lee Grant and Gig Young. This was as close to an arthouse classic ever made for American television, about as far as you can get from Spielberg's wheelhouse. OTOH that director (Frank Pierson) could never have made "Duel" "Jaws" or "Sugarland Express": horses for courses. Despite my misgivings about some of his work, Spielberg has my eternal gratitude for giving Douglas Trumbull an unlimited-budget platform for the last great hurrah of handmade optical effects with "Close Encounters".

    Clayton (the director) sure didn't coax very good performances out of anyone, with stilted, patterned performances from everyone. Dern, Watterson & Chiles were totally wooden, giving performances which sound like a first reading. As for Farrow, I cringe every time I think of how she delivered that "Rich girls don't marry poor boys" line.
    By no means is it a great or even good film, but I do enjoy the secondary character actors. Dern is his usual over-the-top self, wildly inappropriate for the film, yet he sorta fits into the whole misbegotten conceit. Waterston fits the self-congratulatory, disingenuous qualities of Nick like a glove. Chiles is a cipher, but Jordan is a cipher in the novel too, so "eh". The standout is Karen Black, giving a totally gonzo performance as off the rails as Dern's (if not more). She has the single best line delivery in the film, when her cuckolded husband warns her "God sees everything" and she replies chillingly "Thats an advertisment: you're so dumb you don't even know you're alive" (a line lifted directly from the book, but taken to another level by Black). The bewildered husband is very well played by the always-reliable Scott Wilson.

    But yeah, its very subjective: I can see where most people would view most of these performances as wooden or stilted, and the stunning recreation of Jazz Era opulence might get buried in the dismal lack of directorial urgency. I think of it as an interesting (but failed) multi-million dollar experiment in trying to move a classic novel intact to the screen: the script is quite literally the novel almost word-for-word, for better and worse. Redford's performance is phoned in thru a disconnected cable: he's never seemed more like a mannequin. As for Farrow: ugh. First she decides to get pregnant months before filming starts (so she comes off as a Macy's float decked out in gauzy poorly-disguised maternity wear, instead of the required manic pixie dream girl). Then she gives a leaden performance full of incongruous leftover tics from "Rosemary's Baby" - yikes. One thing you gotta hand Hollywood in the '70s: when they made a bad bet, they quintupled down on it, resulting in some pretty wild fiascos. MAD magazine published a hilarious, dead-on parody of "Gatsby" upon its release, pounding it mercilessly for its inertia.
    Last edited by orsetto; 4th Sep 2019 at 17:02.

  15. [QUOTE=orsetto;2559268]
    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    ... the script is quite literally the novel almost word-for-word, for better and worse.
    First, I enjoy your writing and film criticism.

    Second, while I had already seen the film in the theater, when "Gatsby" was first broadcast on commercial TV, I thought I'd follow along with the book while sitting on my couch, watching the tube. I was amazed to find that nothing was taken out of order, and as you said, a large amount of the dialog was word-for-word directly from the book. Perhaps Copolla shouldn't be credited for much as the screenwriter.

    It was a little like what they did with the first "Harry Potter" movie where they were afraid of disappointing all the fans of the book, and so ended up leaving almost nothing out, and quoting large sections directly.

  16. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Good luck! Hope that solves the problem.

    But do remember what I said about the source print for these tapes: it isn't high picture quality by any means, its severely cropped, and Magnetic Video beta tapes tend to have a distracting wriggling "wormhole" pattern on the left side of the frame (an artifact of early Beta II vcrs), plus the CopyGuard interference. My suggestion would be to use this transfer (if it works) as merely a template, from which you can re-create the same edit from a better, restored, fully widescreen source. Since you are so familiar with the film as one of your favorites, it should be simple enough for you to speed-search both versions, logging the differences in a notebook, then follow your notes to edit the superior newer source into the 176 min Magnetic Video cut you prefer.

    Myself, I prefer the longer cut of Cleopatra: I'm a sucker for marveling at Mankiewicz' off-the-rails futile "direction", and can never get enough of Liz at her peak, or those fantastical sets with thousands of living breathing extras (nothing on such a scale had been done since "Intolerance" in 1916, and never would be attempted again). But I understand some people find the shorter TV cut more enjoyable. Hell, if you want to really enjoy a more concise well-told take on the Cleopatra story, the Claudette Colbert version still remains the gold standard (despite also having a stilted pretentious blowhard playing Antony). The '63 version isn't valued for its story-telling, but for jaw-dropping Hollywood excess at its height (right before it crashed into ruin thru the late '60s).

    Its heresy, but in our secret hearts some of us rabid film fans do harbor a few such guilty preferences for "butchered" editions. The two that stand out for me: Steven Spielberg's "Duel" (killer truck action movie) and Coppola's "Great Gatsby" (deadly dull but weirdly compelling Mia Farrow version). The original, fast-paced, purified TV movie edit of "Duel" is the peak of early Spielberg, a showcase of his precocious skill for such a young director. But the cut that predominates now is the later European "theatrical" version, full of filler which knocks the whole movie off kilter and spoils its propulsive kinetic energy. I keep meaning to reconstruct the shorter original, but I'm lazy.

    Re "Gatsby", I stumbled across an interesting phenomenon: this is one of those rare films where virtually all the cuts made for TV syndication fall on one specific sub-category of presumably vital scenes, yet the removal of those vital scenes weirdly makes for a much better film! The biggest problem with Coppola's "Gatsby" is that Mia Farrow and Robert Redford palpably loathed each other during the making of it, so much that the central love story is a completely unwatchable cringe fest whenever both are on screen together. Whether intentionally or by miraculous accident, the TV print surgically omits almost all of the Redford/Farrow love scenes, and what remains is an opulent showcase for the subplots and great second-tier character actors (who perfectly embodied Fitzgerald's novel in a way no other film version has captured). So thats another on my "someday" to-do list: edit the intact restored version to match the cuts on my ancient Beta recording from late night TV.

    Going in the opposite direction, occasional bloated extended TV versions can be fun. When the 1978 "Superman" first aired on American network television, it was a custom longer edit with many more scenes of the bumbling criminal subplot with Gene Hackman, Valerie Perrine, and Ned Beatty. This was some priceless material, but was never made available again after that one airing (none of the dvd or blu ray versions even include those scenes as bonus material). I did make a dvd from my beta recording of that broadcast some years back, but of course it is badly cropped for square TV, and not up to modern quality expectations.
    I did try making my own 3 hour Cleopatra from the bluray, it just didn't work, it felt butchered, maybe the official three hour version will feel that way too, but I still wish to see it, hope it works. Also, people don't prefer the shorter tv version because no such version exists. The theatrical cut version of Cleopatra hasn't been seen since it was in theaters back in 1963. I love DeMille's Cleopatra and I love Henry Wylcoxon as Antony! I think he was great, far more goodlooking than Burton, but Burton is magnificent as Antony too.

  17. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Cleopatra was a crappy film imho so to me it's not worth capturing from a low resolution 3 hour source,get the 5 hour blu-ray to see all of it.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.

  18. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    From Betainfoguide: "In the 70's Magnetic Video Corp. acquired the rights to 50 Twentieth-Century Fox movies, and released them on Beta cassettes, available only thru mail-order. They incorporated an electronic signal in the tape, called "Stop-Copy" and "Copyguard," so the tapes couldn't be copied....an early version of Macrovision".
    The list contained Cleopatra, so I believe a modern Betamax VCR should ignore that outdated copy protection.

    A format converter as you mentioned is not going to help because he would need a PAL VCR in the first place to playback the tape correctly before converting it to another format, and if he has a PAL VCR he may as well just capture it that way into digital and you can do frame rate change later, it is less lossy that way.

  19. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LetThemEatCake View Post
    Hello everyone, this is the tape I have, what do you think I should do in order to get it digitized? Honestly, I do trust ebay, if the equipment doesn't work, the company that brings it to me allows for it to be returned. I do not live in the US or UK so I can't sent it there. Do you think that buying a betamax player would be enough to get it digitized? I will ask this to the person I know but would like to know your opinions.
    The version you have is 176min or 2hrs 56min, The Blu-ray Disc Set, 50th Anniversary is 251min or 4hrs 11min, How is it that your version is better? Let alone the crappy quality of the tape version, I'm loosing ground here.
    Last edited by dellsam34; 5th Sep 2019 at 17:43. Reason: Hour count

  20. Member DB83's Avatar
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    ^^ You're losing an hour here as well. 251 mins = 4hrs 11min

    Methinks the OP feels the shorter version will be 'tighter' editing-wise. But this film has had so many edits one would hardly know what, other than what orsetto already stated, is missing.

    Mentioned in another topic or three I have a 'thing' about the 1943 Munchhausen. That was also cut shortly after its premiere. And reduced even more later and in several VHS releases. Only this year has it been released practically complete and even that, if memory serves, has a different edit in certain 'export version' scenes.

  21. Originally Posted by johns0 View Post
    Cleopatra was a crappy film imho so to me it's not worth capturing from a low resolution 3 hour source,get the 5 hour blu-ray to see all of it.
    There is no 5 hour blu-ray, the bluray contains the 4 hour 10 minutes version, which, believe me I've learned to LOVE and do love but it's a bad film because it's missing 1 hour and 30 minutes of humor, charm and drama. That's why it's so boring. At least a three hour version is more manageable. Also, the bluray has been destroyed with revisionist color timing, so I don't really care much for it.

  22. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    From Betainfoguide: "In the 70's Magnetic Video Corp. acquired the rights to 50 Twentieth-Century Fox movies, and released them on Beta cassettes, available only thru mail-order. They incorporated an electronic signal in the tape, called "Stop-Copy" and "Copyguard," so the tapes couldn't be copied....an early version of Macrovision".
    The list contained Cleopatra, so I believe a modern Betamax VCR should ignore that outdated copy protection.

    A format converter as you mentioned is not going to help because he would need a PAL VCR in the first place to playback the tape correctly before converting it to another format, and if he has a PAL VCR he may as well just capture it that way into digital and you can do frame rate change later, it is less lossy that way.
    thank you, I still haven't heard from him but I will tell him this in case there is any issue.

  23. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    ^^ You're losing an hour here as well. 251 mins = 4hrs 11min

    Methinks the OP feels the shorter version will be 'tighter' editing-wise. But this film has had so many edits one would hardly know what, other than what orsetto already stated, is missing.

    Mentioned in another topic or three I have a 'thing' about the 1943 Munchhausen. That was also cut shortly after its premiere. And reduced even more later and in several VHS releases. Only this year has it been released practically complete and even that, if memory serves, has a different edit in certain 'export version' scenes.
    Exactly, it also has historical value, like I said it hasn't been seen since 1963! I'm not sure why is no one sharing my excitement. Today we have a reverance for the Director's cut, but Director's cut isn't always better. Touch Of Evil, which in my opinion is a terrible movie, only exists in Director's Cut restored version. The theatrical version is gone forever. What do you know? Maybe the theatrical version is better.

  24. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by LetThemEatCake View Post
    Hello everyone, this is the tape I have, what do you think I should do in order to get it digitized? Honestly, I do trust ebay, if the equipment doesn't work, the company that brings it to me allows for it to be returned. I do not live in the US or UK so I can't sent it there. Do you think that buying a betamax player would be enough to get it digitized? I will ask this to the person I know but would like to know your opinions.
    The version you have is 176min or 2hrs 56min, The Blu-ray Disc Set, 50th Anniversary is 251min or 3hrs 11min, How is it that your version is better? Let alone the crappy quality of the tape version, I'm loosing ground here.
    Cleopatra only exists in a 4 hour 10 minutes version. This was the roadshow theatrical version just in New York and it was the version that premiered on TV and the one who has been commercially available since the 80's. All the other multiple versions were workprint cuts, they were never released and don't exist anymore. The worldwide theatrical release was 3 hours 10 minutes long, because 20th Century Fox wanted more showings in order to have more profit. This version has never been released after the theater run. Somebody ****ed up and used the theatrical print for release on beta in the tape that I have, this is a oncee in a lifetime thing. If I fail to digitize this, the theatrical version of Cleopatra, which has been unseen for almost 60 years, will be lost forever. I feel like Howard Carter holding on to Tutankhamun. Even if the film is shit, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  25. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Keep in mind, the Blu-ray version have been scanned from one of the very original in pristine condition well preserved prints but the foreign tape version you have most likely was scanned from a multiple generation film copy. Digital restoration is done to revert back to the original colors assuming films will fade by age, and there is nothing wrong with removing dust and scratches digitally, I have a copy of the 10 Commandments and Sound of Music that I bought few years ago just to appreciate the restoration work as a hobbyist not a big fan of those type of movies, and guess what I just bought this 50th anniversary Blu-ray copy, I'm curious to see how the restoration came out.

    I still think having the full length of film is better than an edited version, but hey it's your pocket.
    Last edited by dellsam34; 5th Sep 2019 at 17:48.

  26. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Sorry my friend. But you really did not read what orsetto wrote. Not that I am in a position to judge it seems more logical that the 3 hr+ version was on the tv since with commercials that would seem to run for 5

    You might not appreciate the situation but blank video tape was horrendously expensive in the late 70's early 80's. I can actually recall paying 10 for just one L750. And back in the day it was hardly an economic position to actually purchase a tape with them over here costing 30+ although I did just that. Rentals were predominant.

    And I would also imagine that putting those epically long films on home video was simply a non-starter unless it was under 3 hours. So not a fook up but a solid commercial decision.

  27. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Keep in mind, the Blu-ray version have been scanned from one of the very original in pristine condition well preserved prints but the foreign tape version you have most likely was scanned from a multiple generation film copy. Digital restoration is done to revert back to the original colors assuming films will fade by age, and there is nothing wrong with removing dust and scratches digitally, I have a copy of the 10 Commencements and Sound of Music that I bought few years ago just to appreciate the restoration work as a hobbyist not a big fan of those type of movies, and guess what I just bought this 50th anniversary Blu-ray copy, I'm curious to see how the restoration came out.

    I still think having the full length of film is better than an edited version, but hey it's your pocket.
    Unfortunately they no longer just restore but actually re-record soundtracks, alter colors, etc. In the case of Cleopatra, the film is darkened heavily and has a very dark and saturated magenta filter all throughout, to fit with modern tastes accustumed(sp?) to the pitch black darkness style of Nolan and Fincher, to the point where it's no longer the film that once was. It's so bad that the gold in Cleopatra doesn't look gold but actually silver. Same thing with Vertigo and that is why I digitized a first batch of the betamax, it's closer to the original film than what is sold in the bluray.

  28. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Sorry my friend. But you really did not read what orsetto wrote. Not that I am in a position to judge it seems more logical that the 3 hr+ version was on the tv since with commercials that would seem to run for 5

    You might not appreciate the situation but blank video tape was horrendously expensive in the late 70's early 80's. I can actually recall paying 10 for just one L750. And back in the day it was hardly an economic position to actually purchase a tape with them over here costing 30+ although I did just that. Rentals were predominant.

    And I would also imagine that putting those epically long films on home video was simply a non-starter unless it was under 3 hours. So not a fook up but a solid commercial decision.
    You are not listening to me. The 3 hour version was never broadcasted on tv anywhere.

  29. Originally Posted by LetThemEatCake View Post
    I did try making my own 3 hour Cleopatra from the bluray, it just didn't work, it felt butchered, maybe the official three hour version will feel that way too, but I still wish to see it, hope it works.
    Well, thats kind of the point people have been trying to make with you, here and at your thread on the Turner Classic Movies forum. This bedeviled film was improvised as it was shot, into an hours-long self-indulgent mess. Some such projects are improved by the studio cutting them down shorter, others like this aren't. Between the accursed production snafus, cast changes, and lack of script: Cleopatra is what it is. In its day, the mega budget visual spectacle (and publicity from the Taylor/Burton scandal) was enough to carry it with 1963 audiences. It was a big hit, only losing money because it cost more to make than any film could have possibly earned in 1963. Today, not so much: for those not old enough to have a soft spot for the people and production wonders involved, its a snoozefest at any length (176 mins of boredom is not going to grab them any better than 250 mins of boredom, esp if the 250 mins at least makes more sense).

    You seem convinced that showing the shorter version would make more people appreciate the film, but length is not the problem: its generational audience change. This Cleo does not speak the visual and moral language of today, so it alienates many viewers below retirement age: they turn against it after the first 30 mins. Running time edits beyond that will not change their minds: they find it ponderous and dated. Much as the attempts to make Shakespeare more popular with today's audience are doomed to failure (Joss Whedon, anyone?): to the modern ear, the dialog d-r-a-g-s, nobody ever gets to the point, the plots are considered offensively misogynistic, etc, etc. Sure, there's a self-selecting audience in every generation that does appreciate such works as classics in the context they were created, but its almost impossible to grow that niche audience into a mass audience.

    Also, people don't prefer the shorter tv version because no such version exists. The theatrical cut version of Cleopatra hasn't been seen since it was in theaters back in 1963.
    You're splitting hairs: the 192 min theatrical cut BECAME the syndicated TV cut. No other version was shown (in USA) until we were well into the '90s era of TCM and dvd/bluray restorations, when the four-hour-plus cut became standard. As noted earlier, the Magnetic Video version is the syndicated (not network premiere) TV print, right down to the Overture, Intermission, and Exit sequences being deleted (because they would make no sense in an afternoon or late night TV broadcast). Ninety-five percent of "Cleopatra" enthusiasts want more, not less: the appeal of this film is its very excess. You crave a shorter, tighter version in hopes it would make a more compelling experience that would attract more of a following, but it isn't that kind of a film (it never had a solid core of screenplay). The shorter you make Cleo, the less it has to offer: you reduce it to just another rushed historical hack job. The thing that makes it interesting (to those who still care) is the extravagance, the unusual length taken to tell the tale, the splendor. Chopping any of that off is like chopping the top off a Christmas tree.

    As opposed to "Apocalypse Now", which had similar production issues and similar editing dilemmas. With "Apocalypse" many do feel less is more, and do prefer the original theatrical cut (which works well almost in spite of itself). Every time Coppola reworks it and adds footage back in, the additions are interesting in themselves but dilute the impact of the film as a whole. "Apocalypse" was always intended as more an experience than a movie, so perversely benefits from being tightened and focused. "Cleopatra", OTOH, was intended to be a bog-standard traditional narrative movie. But when it collapsed into a scrambled production mess, it lost its footing and structure as a traditional film, instead becoming a legendary showcase of excess. Since the storytelling went south, all thats left is that excess, and fans want as much of it as the studio can recover. There is little to no market demand for a shorter Cleopatra, which is why it was withdrawn years ago: most of the world dismisses it now as a joke, those that do appreciate it want the longest cut possible. Follow the money, and you'll see why the 176-194 min version has disappeared.
    Last edited by orsetto; 5th Sep 2019 at 12:22.

  30. Originally Posted by LetThemEatCake View Post
    Touch Of Evil, which in my opinion is a terrible movie, only exists in Director's Cut restored version. The theatrical version is gone forever. What do you know? Maybe the theatrical version is better.
    I've seen both, and agree in this case: the studio cut of "Touch Of Evil" works a hell of a lot better (for me) than the "directors cut" which has now replaced it everywhere. The print restoration of the DC is nice, but otherwise I don't like that cut much (aside from the virtuoso opening scene, and even that seems a little too "look at me, I'm a brilliant director" when I'm not in the mood).

    It would be nice if the studios took advantage of bluray features to make all variations available on one disc, but the market has dwindled so much they often can't be bothered with the expense of extra disc programming. Ideally works like Cleopatra, Touch Of Evil, Brazil, etc should be offered in all available cuts to anyone willing to buy a disc. This worked really well for me with the releases of Blade Runner and Close Encounters: much as I enjoy the directors cuts, I find I return most often to the comfortable familiarity of the theatrical versions as I first saw them ages ago.




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