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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/nicholas_ray.htm
USA 1963

 

This blockbuster was produced by Samuel Bronston, who produced such epics as "El Cid", "The Fall of the Roman Empire", and "King of Kings". These movies all featured an all-star cast and were characterized by larger than life portrayals of the protagonists. Bronston also spared no expense to bring the flavor of the place and time to his productions building massive sets and using casts of thousands. It is a pity that there are not more producers of this caliber today. The only other film maker I can think of who specialized in big productions was Cecil B. DeMille.

"55 Days at Peking" starred Charlton Heston, a great actor who specialized in heroic portrayals of uncompromising integrity, notably El Cid, General Gordon at Khartoum, Ben Hur, Moses, and John the Baptist. In "55 Days at Peking", he stars as "Major Matt Lewis", a tough-as-nails U.S. Marine in 1900 China. China is fragmented into feudal territories, controlled by warlords and concessions owned and operated by "foreign devils" the Chinese term for the great powers, such as Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and, oh yes, America, who are exploiting China for their gain.

 Excerpt of George Chabot's review located at EOpinions HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 29th, 1963

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Comparison:

Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Filmedia (France) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

Comes out on Blu-ray (unknown region coding) in the UK on April 7th, 2014:

Distribution Tohokushinsha Corp - Region 0 - NTSC Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:39:20  2:42:00.750 
Video 2.28:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,483,312,958 bytes

Feature: 35,228,860,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround)  Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2112 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2112 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3905 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3905 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles Japanese, None French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Tohokushinsha Corp

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.28:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer
• Introduction (Japanese text screen)
• Cast and Crew (Japanese text screen)

DVD Release Date: February 27th, 2003

Keep Case
Chapters: 26

Release Information:
Studio: Filmedia

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.20:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,483,312,958 bytes

Feature: 35,228,860,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• "Le baroud d'honneur de Nicholas Ray" (47:00) par Christophe Champclaux, historien du cinéma : Retour sur les conditions de production et de tournage d'un film qui fut un immense succès mais qui reste sous-estimé par les cinéphiles
• "La révolte des Boxeurs" (12':44) par Christophe Champclaux, historien du cinéma : Que fut exactement la Révolte des Boxeurs ? Quelles différences entre la réalité historique et le film de Nicholas Ray ?
• "Les Boxeurs au cinéma" (6:08) par Christophe Champclaux, historien du cinéma : Les 55 jours de Pékin ne fut pas le 1er film à traiter de la Révolte des Boxeurs
• "Ava Gardner, portrait" (19:21) par Linda Tahir Meriau, historienne du cinéma : Retour sur la carrière de celle qui demeure à jamais "la comtesse aux pieds nus"
• "Histoire(s) de Chine" (37:30) : Le cinéaste Olivier Assayas et le rédateur en chef des Cahiers du Cinéma Charles Tesson livrent leur vision des 55 Jours de Pékin
• Interviews réalisées pendant le tournage (20') - Heston (5:53), Mrs. Heston (5:57), David Niven (5:53), John Moore (7:00)

Blu-ray Release Date: February 19th, 2014
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 6

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Filmedia - Region FREE Blu-ray - March 2014: NOTE: This was restored in 2013 from the 8-perf Super-Technirama 70 Camera Negative! I'm blown away by the image - the 1080P looks incredible - a gigantic upgrade from the DVD. And it is region FREE - AND the French subtitles are totally removable. Look at the colors and detail - WOW!! The Technicolor bursts off the screen at times. Detail, skin tones, depth - it has it all looking tremendous!

The original English audio gets the lossless treatment with two options a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2112 kbps and a 5.1 surround via a DTS-HD Master Audio English 3905 kbps. Originally we had a 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) so the Surround would be closest and it sounds fabulous with plenty of depth in the many aggressive scenes in the film. Separations are plentiful. The powerful score is by the iconic Dimitri Tiomkin (Angel Face, Strangers on a  Train, The Men, Dial M For Murder, The Thing From Another World etc. etc.) and it sounds highly remarkable in the uncompressed rendering. There is a Dolby French DUB and optional French subtitles (they are totally optional when English language is chosen!)

All of the extras are in French (and there are many!) except we get about 20-minutes worth of interviews with Charlton Heston, Mrs. Heston, David Niven, and John Moore. Magnificent release - as good as it gets! This Blu-ray has our highest recommendation!

***

ON THE DVD (July 2003): The print used may have had been a little faded and looks to have  been transferred with a some form of contrast dampening, giving an appearance of being a unusuallty thick, heavy and dull. Although it might be the worst of the Bronston Japanese DVDs with the aspect ratio out of whack. Like "The Fall of the Roman Empire" or "El Cid" this DVD is encoded for Region 0 (still NTSC) so standard North American DVD players will play it suiting those who are not yet Region-free (why though?). NOTE: Gordon has warned us that his ordered copy of El Cid is actually region 2- I can assure you that mine is region 0, but when we find out about the discrepancy we will let you know.

Again I found the Dimitri Tiomkin soundtrack a little overpowering at times. On this DVD there is English 4.0 surround audio and removable Japanese subtitles.  out of

NOTE: We have reviewed 3 more similarly strong Japanese DVD releases (El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire, and Circus World) to include in a possible group order from Amazon Japan or YesAsia.com.  

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus


 

Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

The Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray is the Roadshow Version with:


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Tohokushinsha Corp. - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

Box Cover

 

Comes out on Blu-ray (unknown region coding) in the UK on April 7th, 2014:

Distribution Tohokushinsha Corp - Region 0 - NTSC Filmedia - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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