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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Samson and Delilah [Blu-ray]


(Cecil B. DeMille, 1949)





Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paramount Pictures

Video: Paramount



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:13:49.896

Disc Size: 42,125,104,719 bytes

Feature Size: 41,279,109,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.99 Mbps

Chapters: 22

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 11th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby TrueHD Audio English 800 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 800 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB)

Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none



• Trailer (2:04)





Description: Samson and Delilah is Cecil B. DeMille's characteristically expansive retelling of the events found in the Old Testament passages of Judges 13-16. Victor Mature plays Samson, the superstrong young Danite. Samson aspires to marry Philistine noblewoman Semadar (Angela Lansbury), but she is killed when her people attack Samson as a blood enemy. Seeking revenge, Semadar's younger sister Delilah (Hedy Lamarr) woos Samson in hopes of discovering the secret of his strength, thus enabling her to destroy him. When she learns that his source of his virility is his long hair, Delilah plies Samson with drink, then does gives him the Old Testament equivalent of a buzzcut while he snores away. She delivers the helpless Samson to the Philistines, ordering that he be put to work as a slave. Blinded and humiliated by his enemies, Samson is a sorry shell of his former self. Ultimately, Samson's hair grows back, thus setting the stage for the rousing climax wherein Samson literally brings down the house upon the wayward Philistines. Hedy Lamarr is pretty hopeless as Delilah, but Victor Mature is surprisingly good as Samson, even when mouthing such idiotic lines as "That's all right. It's only a young lion". Even better is George Sanders as The Saran of Gaza, who wisely opts to underplay his florid villainy. The spectacular climax to Samson and Delilah allows us to forget such dubious highlights as Samson's struggle with a distressing phony lion and the tedious cat-and-mouse romantic scenes.



The Film:

For Mr. DeMille, that veteran geni who has already engineered three quasi-religious film pageants that tower in the annals of the screen, has here led his carpenters and actors and costumers and camera crews into the vast manufacture of a spectacle that out-Babels anything he's done. There are more flowing garments in this picture, more chariots, more temples, more peacock plumes, more animals, more pillows, more spear-carriers, more beards and more sex than ever before. At least, that's the sizable impression which Mr. DeMille has achieved by bringing together the Old Testament and Technicolor for the first time.

In the dazzling displays of splendid costumes, of sumptuous settings and softly tinted flesh which Mr. DeMille's color cameras have brilliantly pageanted resides the theatrical pre-eminence of this more than two-hour-long film. Color has seldom been more lushly or unmistakably used. Eyes that have envisioned the Bible from stereopticon slides and from Sunday-school-lesson illustrations will see something new added here.

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

Wonderfully chintzy and hokey Bible epic once described as the only film in which the hero had bigger tits than the heroine. Mature looks as constipated as ever, and Lamarr is the Philistine's philistine, but great camp performances from Sanders and Lansbury, and glorious papier-maché sets. Fab.

Excerpt from Timeout Film Guide located HERE

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

Samson and Delilah is already out in Europe and Japan on Blu-ray and I expect this is the same transfer with different audio/subtitle options. I can only say that the image quality looks better than I was expecting. It shows some very even, and appealing, grain textures. Colors can look wonky, but I wouldn't doubt if this was accurate to the theatrical. It certainly advances the color brilliance over SD. I get a nagging feeling, at times, that something is off - but generally I think most will be pleased. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. Skin tones seem fairly true and contrast exhibits decent black levels. Daylight scenes are more impressive but nothing is overly dark and I noted no noise. I'm sure those who can remember it theatrically may recall the Technicolor image differently - even more vibrant. I appreciated the depth and pretty solid detail. This Blu-ray appears to support this film quite well. I enjoyed the video presentation.
























Audio :

Audio is transferred via a fairly modest Dolby TrueHD 2.0 channel at 800 kbps 2.0. I don't hear dramatic impact on the film's sound. There a few aggressive effects with depth but the score, composed by Victor Young (Three Faces West, The Sun Shines Bright, Johnny Guitar, China Gate, The File on Thelma Jordan, etc.), seems to benefit the most from the lossless rendering. This includes the 'Overture' and 'Exit' music. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Only a trailer. Nutt'in else.



Sure, there is a certain cheese factor to Samson and Delilah - but there is also enjoyment in the grand De Mille epic-style. Gotta love Hedy and Victor Mature pulls off Samson with some help from a lion-wrestling stunt double. It would be easy to be harsh on this oddball classic, but there is value too. Paramount's bare-bones Blu-ray is imperfect (less robust audio and no extras) but gives a rich, eye-popping, presentation. Vintage-era fans will appreciate picking this up although purists may have gripes unknown to me. The price is right. 

Gary Tooze

March 4th, 2014




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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Gary W. Tooze






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