The King of Kings
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With this silent-era spectacle, Cecil B. DeMille cemented his reputation as the master of the biblical epic. DeMille tells the story of Christ's life and Passion with great attention to historical accuracy, along the way paying homage to the religious illustrations of Da Vinci and Doré, and, in a modern flourish, restaging Christ's resurrection in luminous Technicolor. In time for Christmas, Criterion will present fully restored editions of both versions of this glorious spectacle in a heavenly two-disc set: the original 155-minute silent version from 1927 - never before available on home video - and the 1931 release, re-cut by DeMille to 112 minutes. The DVD edition will also include new Dolby Digital 5.1 scores by composers Donald Sosin (1927 version) and Timothy J. Tikker (1931 version); the original score for the 1931 release by Hugo Riesenfeld; behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film; cast portraits, production and costume sketches, a stills gallery of production photos and promotional material; the original illustrated program and press book featuring photographs from the film's gala premiere; and more.
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The 2-Disc Criterion DVD presents this immortal masterpiece in two versions: the original 155 minute cut screened at the grand opening of the Chinese Grauman's Theater in 1927, and a shorter version recut by DeMille himself for general release in 1928, with four audio options: silent (1927 and 1928 releases), a new score by Donald Sosin (1927 release only), the original score by Hugo Riesenfeld (1928 general release) and a new score by Timothy J. Tikker (1928 general release), transcriptions of DeMille's introductory remarks and blessings from ministers of different faiths, the original silent trailers (Disc 1 only) and much more.
All of the scores for the film are appropriately reverent, but the only flaw is in Sosin's score during the scene in the Temple when the crowd cometh in waving palm branches, as on the soundtrack a choir is heard singing, 'Blessed is He who (cometh) in the Name of the Lord,' which breaks the mood of the picture, and the Alleluia at the end is distracting as well. But that should not dampen your enjoyment of this excellent motion picture.