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The Last Emperor (The Criterion Collection)

Criterion Collection

DVD | Box Set

4.3 out of 5 stars 453 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bernardo Bertolucci s The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated quite a feat for a challenging, multilayered epic directed by an Italian and starring an international cast. Yet the power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable the life of emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and outside of the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Qing-dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, The Last Emperor is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy.

Special Features
* - DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FOUR-DISC SET FEATURES:
* - All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro
* - All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer of the extended television version
* - Audio commentary featuring director Bernardo Bertolucci, producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Mark Peploe, and composer-actor Ryuichi Sakamoto
* - The Italian Traveler: Bernardo Bertolucci, a 53-minute film by Fernand Moszkowicz tracing the director's geographic influences, from Parma to China
* - Video images taken by Bertolucci while on preproduction in China
* - The Chinese Adventure of Bernardo Bertolucci, a 52-minute documentary that revisits the film's making
* - A new, 47-minute documentary featuring Storaro, editor Gabriella Cristiana, costume designer James Acheson, and art director Gianni Silvestri
* - A 66-minute BBC documentary exploring Bertolucci's creative process and the making of The Last Emperor
* - A 30-minute interview with Bertolucci from 1989
* - A new interview with composer David Byrne
* - A new interview with Ian Buruma examining the historical period of the film
* - Theatrical trailer
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by David Thomson, interviews with production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti and actor Ying Ruocheng, a reminiscence by Bertolucci, and an essay and production-diary extracts from Fabien S. Gerard

Additional Features

Among the finest Western-made movies about the East, Bernardo Bertolucci's epic traces the emergence of modern China through the life of one man. After taking on Italian history in The Conformist and 1900, the director was well placed to tackle the story of Pu Yi (played by John Lone as an adult). The narrative proceeds along two tracks: the emperor's post-Forbidden City existence and his cloistered upbringing. Educated by Scotland's Reginald Johnston (Peter O'Toole, in a role slated for Sean Connery), the monarch develops into a sophisticated, if powerless figure. After taking an empress (Joan Chen) and playing into the hands of the Japanese, Pu Yi ends up a menial member of the People's Republic.

This four-disc special edition honors Bertolucci's vision, starting with restored transfers of the final cut and the 218-minute broadcast edition, the former overseen by Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Recorded in 2003 and 2007, the audio commentary features Bertolucci and fellow award recipients Jeremy Thomas, Mark Peploe, and actor/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (co-composer David Byrne appears in a separate interview). Among the revelations: the film was originally planned as a five-part series, Peploe adapted the screenplay from over 50 books, and the filmmaker admits he now finds some scenes embarrassing. The supplements continue with documentaries about the director's path from Parma to Peking ("The Italian Traveler") and the production ("Bernardo Bertolucci's Chinese Adventure" and "The Southbank Show"), a video diary ("Postcards From China"), and a new featurette ("Making The Last Emperor"). Lest viewers fear these features merely flatter their subject, 1986’s "Adventure" captures Bertolucci pitching a fit on the set (in an attempt to protect his youngest actor from distractions). As lavish as the film it celebrates, this beautifully designed keepsake concludes with the theatrical trailer, two additional interviews (Bertolucci and historian Ian Buruma) and a 96-page booklet. --Kathleen C. Fennessy


Special features

  • All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro
  • All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer of the extended television version
  • Audio commentary featuring director Bernardo Bertolucci, producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Mark Peploe, and composer-actor Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • The Italian Traveler: Bernardo Bertolucci, a 53-minute film by Fernand Moszkowicz tracing the director's geographic influences, from Parma to China
  • Video images taken by Bertolucci while on preproduction in China
  • The Chinese Adventure of Bernardo Bertolucci, a 52-minute documentary that revisits the film's making
  • A new, 47-minute documentary featuring Storaro, editor Gabriella Cristiana, costume designer James Acheson, and art director Gianni Silvestri
  • A 66-minute BBC documentary exploring Bertolucci's creative process and the making of The Last Emperor
  • A 30-minute interview with Bertolucci from 1989
  • A new interview with composer David Byrne
  • A new interview with Ian Buruma examining the historical period of the film
  • Theatrical trailer
  • A booklet featuring an essay by David Thomson, interviews with production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti and actor Ying Ruocheng, a reminiscence by Bertolucci, and an essay and production-diary extracts from Fabien S. Gerard

Product details

  • Actors: Joan Chen, John Lone, Peter O'Toole
  • Directors: Bernardo Bertolucci
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Box set, Color, Dolby, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Restored, Surround Sound, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 218 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 453 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000ZM1MIW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,604 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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