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(aka "Ulisse" or "The Loves and Adventures of Ulysses" or "Ulysses" or "Odyssey" or "Odyssey of Ulysses")

 

Directed by Mario Camerini
Italy / USA 1954

 

This lush adaptation of Homer’s grand epic The Odyssey stars Kirk Douglas (The Vikings) as the hero Ulysses. After victory in the Trojan War, Ulysses embarks on a ten-year journey back to his kingdom. But before he can reunite with his beloved wife (Silvana Mangano, Bitter Rice), he must defeat the brutal Cyclops, escape the spell of Circe who turns his crew into swine and outwit the Sirens who lure sailors to their death. Peril is everywhere—even at home, where the arrogant Antinous (Anthony Quinn, Barabbas) plots to steal Ulysses’ wife before he can complete his final quest in this powerful tale of heroism. Co-starring Rossana Podestà (Helen of Troy) with stunning cinematography by Harold Rosson (Singin’ in the Rain).

***

Ulysses (Italian: Ulisse) is a 1954 fantasy-adventure film based on Homer's epic poem Odyssey. The movie was directed by Mario Camerini, who co-wrote the screenplay with writer Franco Brusati. The original choice for director was Georg Wilhelm Pabst but he quit at the last minute. The film's cinematographer Mario Bava co-directed the Polyphemus Cyclops segment (uncredited).

In the film Silvana Mangano plays two roles, as Penelope, the faithful wife of Ulysses and the sorceress Circe. American star Kirk Douglas plays the Greek hero, Ulysses. Anthony Quinn plays Antinous. The tremendous success of this film led to the making of Hercules (1957), which was credited with igniting the Italian peplum craze of the 1960s.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 6th, 1954

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime

English version: 1:42:12.876

Italian version: 1:44:44.236      

Video

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,552,431,599 bytes

English version: 22,268,719,104 bytes

Italian version: 22,433,083,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate English version Blu-ray:

Bitrate Italian version Blu-ray:

Audio

English version:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Italian version:

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,552,431,599 bytes

English version: 22,268,719,104 bytes

Italian version: 22,433,083,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas (only on Italian version)
Includes both the English and Italian Versions
Alternate U.S. Opening Titles and Closing Credits (2:55)
Trailer (1:09)


Blu-ray Release Date:
November 17th, 2020
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10 / 10

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (November 2020): Kino have transferred Mario Camerini's Ulysses to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "4K Restoration". We reviewed the Lionsgate DVD from 2009 HERE, which I have watched a few times in the past 10-years. This Blu-ray contains the English and the 2.5-minute longer Italian versions of the film in separate 1080P transfers. They look very similar. The improvement over the older, muddy, SD transfer is remarkable. Both US and Italian version in HD look excellent (and very similar) - the 4K-restoration has done wonders for the detail, grain, colors and contrast. Being used to the poor quality DVD, I was over-the-moon with the new Blu-ray image quality. With only a few inconsistencies , I was extremely pleased with the presentation.

NOTE: We have added 76 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono tracks (16-bit) in the original Italian language or the, frequently out-of-sync English DUB. It is another advancement in the film's audio and score by Alessandro Cicognini (Terminal Station, Sica's Bicycle Thieves, Shoeshine, Umberto D.) sounding a bit deeper with more consistent dialogue (volume.) Kino offer optional English subtitles (on both versions - can be slightly different - see samples below) on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a fabulous new commentary by Tim Lucas (author of Mario Bava : All the Colors of the Dark), a true expert on many things regarding Italian cinema - notably of the fantasy genre. So, without looking it up, and before indulging in the commentary, I saw a few scenes that reminded me of Mario Bava's "Hercules in the Haunted World" (aka "Hercules vs. the Vampires") with the colors, lighting etc.. I was proud of myself as not only does Tim Lucas mention it in the same scene, but he postulates that Bava was the cinematographer in a few sequences of Ulysses (he is credited as the 'camera operator'.) The Lucas commentary is so filled with data that it deserves second and third revisiting, he discusses film relevance from Georges Méliès' "A Trip top the Moon", to Buñuel and Dali's Un Chien Andalou all the way to Eugene Levy's 1992 Once Upon a Crime! He mentions Quinn and Douglas having a contest in bedding starlets of the production - Douglas conceded. He applauds appreciation for Silvana Mangano (credited ahead of Kirk Douglas) and her acting talents being more apparent in the Italian version of the film. He broaches the 'quirky' editing of the story a few times, Penelope's marital struggle between freedom and commitment, production designer Flavio Mogherini (Danger: Diabolik, director of The Pyjama Girl Case), cinematographer Harold 'Hal' Rosson working as a veteran in Technicolor and fantasy films, Kirk Douglas strongly resembling a surviving mosaic of Odysseus, his affair with Pier Angeli and his remarkable athleticism and the psychological value of Silvana Mangano playing both Circe and Penelope as only a few of the fascinating analysis' and topics covered in the commentary. One of my favorite of the year. There is also a couple of minutes showing the US title credits and ending, and a, very poor condition, US theatrical trailer.  

I watched Ulysses multiple times last night, both language versions (preferring the Italian) and a third with the Tim Lucas commentary. I continue to love this sword-and-sandal fantasy. It's really fun and sparks boyhood Harryhausen efforts like Jason and the Argonauts and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Kirk Douglas really shines as a mythical hero... as does the alluring beauty of Silvana Mangano in her dual roles as the faithful wife Penelope and manipulative sorceress Circe. The Kino Blu-ray not only has the two versions... 4K restored, but the wonderful Tim Lucas commentary. Our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


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

 

1) Kino (English version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino (Italian version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Lionsgate - Region 1 - NTSC DVD - TOP

2) Kino (Italian version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

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Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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