Spartacus - 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review

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Reviewed by Alan Paterson, 25th January 2011.
That four time Oscar winner ‘Spartacus’ makes its Region free UK Blu-ray debut with a somewhat variable looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer of the 1991 restored version in the widescreen 2.20:1 aspect ratio. Better than the previous HD-DVD release, the transfer now suffers from the use of DNR which appears to have robbed it of detail and film grain in some shots. Good strong colour and contrast appeal to the eye. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track makes use of directional dialogue in the wide front soundstage with not much coming from the rears except in battle scenes. Alex North’s score is punched out by the main stereo pair. A brace of deleted scenes, archival interviews, vintage newsreel clips, an image gallery as well as the Academy Award trailer make up the extras. Kirk Douglas stars alongside Tony Curtis, Peter Ustinov, Laurence Olivier and Jean Simmons in the epic tale of the uprising of gladiator slaves as a young Stanley Kubrick directs. A moving tale, told well and in a leisurely manner.

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