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Archive for September 6th, 2013

Faraon 1

by Allan Fish

(Poland 1966 183m) DVD2

Aka. Faraon

Sovereign of the two worlds

p  Ludwik Hager  d  Jerzy Kawalerowicz  w  Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Tadeusz Konwicki  novel  Boleslaw Prus  ph  Jerzy Wojcik  ed  Stanislaw Piotrowski, Witold Sobocinski  m  Adam Walacinski   art  Jerzy Skrzepinski  cos  Teresa Taraszewska, Wieslava Otocka

George Zelnik (Rameses XIII), Barbara Brylska (Kama), Krystyna Mikolajewska (Sarah), Piotr Pawloski (Herhor), Leszek Herdegen (Pentuer), Jerzy Buczacki (Thutmosis),

Let us make one thing clear before we start; Pharaoh’s rating as one of the classics of Polish cinema rests upon which version you see.  The version released briefly on DVD by Eureka in the UK is 139m and, worse still, dubbed.  It may be in full letterbox ratio, but it’s like watching any great film minus nearly three quarters of an hour of footage.  Sadly, however, it’s the only version now available.  Even in Poland, the original cut is rarely seen, and the only chance one has to see it with English subtitles, as I write in 2008, is to get hold of the early 1990s VHS version from Polart.  Needless to say, the colour is terrible, bleached and totally washed out.  The ratio is stretched vertically from the 2.35 ‘Scope ratio to standard 1.85, and the English subtitling, though okay, badly needed to be run through a spellchecker.  It’s a miracle, then, that it survives at all, but if you can look through the discomfort of watching any visual epic like this in such a bastardised state, one can, especially on repeat viewings, see the greatness of the thing. (more…)

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