Ben-Hur: Prince of Jerusalem
The original clocked in at almost 4 hours, as it attempted to tell the tale of the rise of Christianity along with Ben-Hur's struggles. This edit removes almost all instances of the tale of Christianity, to focus on Ben-Hur, his quest for vengeance, redemption and salvation, all in the far more manageable time of 2 hours and 24 minutes.
2. Cut out "A Tale of Christ" by Lew Wallace title card
3. Cut Carpenter talking about his son and Jesus travelling in the field
4. Cut Ben Hur saying "We shall never see him again" after rebuking Messala at his home
5. Cut Ben Hur's steward calling him "master". As much as I hated the 'benevolent slaveowner' business, could not cut it without messing up Esther's first scene
6. Cut out some of steward's interfering dialogue during Esther and Ben's first scene
7. Shortened scene of Governor's arrival and Messala inspecting rooftop
8. Cut Ben Hur being taken out of cell and led down hallway.
9. Cut Esther waiting outside prison for Ben Hur and his family
10. Shortened scenes of slaves walking in desert
11. Cut scene of Jesus repelling centurion with his gaze
12. Cut shots of Quintus arriving at the galley by boat.
13. Shortened scenes of Quintus spying on Ben Hur during battle. Shortened Macedonian galley battle.
14. Cut scene of Caesar meeting with Quintus to discuss Ben Hur's fate
15. Cut festivities at Quintus' palace.
16. Cut shots of Judah relaxing in oasis and meeting Balthasar
17. Cut dinner scene with Sheik, shortened horse mingling
18. Cut Balthasar's speech about life being a miracle. Dialogue ends with Ben Hur's "I don't believe in miracles" before he leaves (giving scene a darker tone)
19. Ben Hur meeting Messala brought forward to this point. Cuts after Ben Hur exits room.
20. Scene of Ben Hur arriving at his house rearranged to this point. Cut most of Ben Hur's dialogue with steward. Score added to scene.
21. Cut scene of guards discovering Ben Hurs mother and sister, cut scene of them going to see Esther. Ben Hur's scene earlier followed by scene of Esther telling him they are dead. Edited to look as if she hesitates in telling him the lie (the fact she avoids the question when first meeting him helps this editing choice). Ben Hur's mother and sister's fate remain a mystery in this cut at this point, meaning we believe they are dead along with Ben Hur. Cut Intermission
22. Shortened scene of Ben Hur in stable
23. Moved rooftop scene of Ben Hur and Esther here
24. Shortened shots of chariots arriving. Scene starts with Ben Hur praying. Cut Messala's mocking line "Jupiter give me victory!"
25. SHortened preliminary chariot walk around Colosseum. Famous chariot race left entirely intact.
26. Shortened Messala's and Ben Hur's conversation in the hospital
27. Ended valley of lepers scene after Ben Hur's family leaves. Cut Balthasar's meeting, cut sermon on the mount
28. Cut most of Pontius Pilate's dialogue (a lot of it alludes to the pending judgement of Jesus rather than Ben Hur)
29. Shortened second leper valley scene
30. Cut most of Ben Hur's dialogue with blind man
31. Shortened scenes of Jesus being judged and walking with cross
32. Shortened scene on Golgotha with Balthasar
33. Cut Ben Hur's family talking under cross
34. Shortened storm scenes
35. Cut Ben Hur's last dialogue with Esther. I wanted it to have a dreamlike feel, no words are spoken during final scene. Added two fades in here also to give it a more ambiguous tone (did the miracle happen or was it wishful thinking)
36. Shortened shot of sunset over Golgotha
37. "Raangerkris Edits" titles added at end.
Initially looking at the cutlist for this, my thoughts were positive, but seeing alot of it in practice, I don't think it works.
One reviewer commented saying that the film still retains an epic feel, despite having more than an hour chopped off, but I would disagree. The film felt rushed to me. Where lines could have been trimmed to achieve a similar affect, whole characters or scenes were removed. And although I would concur that some of the Christ story is milked, and the prologue is certainly overlong, completely removing it strips the film of its context.
Rangerkris removed the subtitle "A Tale of Christ" - and rightly so, because this is really the tale of Ben Hur - however, Ben Hur's story only works in the context of the life of Christ. Without it the film loses a lot of emotional weight and the healing of Judahs family at the end seems like a massive deus ex machina.
Some personal gripes (no points deducted):
- Would have been nice to have a custom title for the edit (I.e. Ben Hur - Prince of Jerusalem)
- There's a jump cut that another reviewer mentioned. It's inherent in the source, so no points can be deducted. It really bothers me, but I'm not sure if anything can be done about. I might have a go at it myself.
- "I am already part of this tragedy" is a great line, and I was sorry to see it cut.
Video quality was excellent, although the picture seemed darker to me than my blu ray copy, which I watched on the same TV the previous evening. Could be that something went ary in the editing process, or maybe just a different transfer.
Audio quality was good, though once again, having seen the blu ray the day before, it sounded more compressed to me. This is me nitpicking though, and I doubt you'd notice a difference unless directly comparing. Overall quality is very good.
Editing was excellent for the most part, which comes as no surprise. In terms of slick editing, rangerkris is probably one of the most professional that I've come across. The only noticeable transitions were some rushed fades, of which others have noted. Audio-wise there was one scene where Judah us talking to the horses. His mouth moves, but no dialogue comes out. I assume this happened during trimming.
Nothing to mark points off of, but worth noting: The cutlist is not complete and a lot more was removed than I expected. The trailer also displays several scenes and lines of dialogue that are not in the edit.
Overall, worth watching, but definitely too streamlined for my taste. It might work for some, but personally I felt the narrative was hindered. I will probably be doing my own edit of this at somepoint.
Ramming speed! That's how you've been pumping out these rad edits Ranger613! I own this flick, but swore it off years ago when Charlton Heston became an old whack job. Now that he's gone and I've watched this, I remember the power he gave this role and why I bought it so long ago. Some would say over the top, but Heston makes it work - convinced me he's just a super passionate guy. Anyhow, his acting was enhanced even more in this edit by the focus staying on him. The only reason I take the narrative down a notch is that there were a couple times where things seemed to jump just a little too much, after he saves the ship captain for one. But really, this edit was high quality and high enjoyment, nice job!
WOW...this is a TOUR DE FORCE...
I love BEN HUR...and most films of this ilk...Rager613 has taken this monster and re-tooled it for the 21st century WITHOUT sacrificing the epic grandeur or story. In fact, it made me appreaciate what a superb actor Charlton Heston is....but I'll come to that.
Removing the Christ subplot and the narration streamlined this into a digestible epic and the running time is spot on.
Visual quality is magnificent as is the audio...so onto the technical aspects.
There is a jump cut 55:46ish and that is the only poor transition in the entire movie. Whil Jack Hawkins character and Ben Hur are taking to each other the scene closes in suddenly, a transition which could have been masked by inserting a reaction shot. Also, some of the cross fades were a tad rushed for the tone oof the film and again these could have been a second or two longer even if it mean slowing the speed of clip during the transition when the fade begins...(a trick I've used many times when the source material does not permit a longer fade. For that reason I did not give a 10 here.
Similary, a couple of the audio segues could have had a slightly longer fadeout ...but that now is just a taste question since most viewers will not detect it.
Finally narrative. For the most part SPOT ON. The only areas for constructive criticism are that Ben Hurs fate becoming a galley slave is a tad abrubpt and could have used the removed exposition. Finally, the finale....a tad more Christ earlier would have made his final appearance a tad less abrubpt...and I would have cross faded to the crescendo at Ben Hur's home post the miracle to keep the musical momentum going to a closure rather than inserting the quitter scene post miracle and then the big hug...For me that hurt the narrative flow at both point and drew me out of the edit...
but don't be dissuaded by this over technical review THIS IS A SUPERB EDIT and I highly recommend it. The pace reveals the nuances of Heston's performance in a manner that the 4 hour monster detracts from. IS subtle, wide ranging and full on in its range and for that, we should Thanks RAnger613 for having the vision to touch the untouchable....
ENJOYMENT 10...and that has heavier weight than the other scores.