Yesterday Paramount and Warner Home Video released a 4-disc Bluray package containing the perfectly remastered high-def version of The Ten Commandments (originally issued in March 2011) as well as the magnificently remastered Bluray of Ben-Hur (originally issued in September 2011). The Amazon price is $14.99. Bluray discs are often repackaged and remarketed — I get that. But the 2011 Blurays for these large-format ’50s epics were a big whoop-dee-doo and their original prices were fairly high. It seems odd that they’re now comprising a two-for-one Bluray cheapie in the bargain rack.
I’m calling this Bluray Ten Ben. Lo, how the mighty gave fallen.
Warner Home Video’s original 4-disc Ben-Hur Bluray collector’s edition is now going for $39.95 on Amazon, but I think it cost a lot more when it first came out. There’s also a 2-disc Ben-Hur Bluray that’s selling for $10.09. Amazon is now selling Paramount’s original six-disc Ten Commandments Bluray for $66 and change. There’s also a more modest package that came out a year ago, selling for $14.99.
I know, I know — physical media is dead, right? Wrong. Not until digital delivery systems can handle much greater amounts of data in order to provide true high-def versions to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other content providers. I realize that 95% of the movie-downloading public doesn’t care if they’re watching Bluray-quality or regular DVD- or analog-broadcast quality, but the minute you start saying “well, what can I do?…the lowest common denominator crowds wants what it wants,” you’re dead. You’ve surrendered your soul. You’ve become a rug merchant.
There’s a moment in Who’ll Stop The Rain when Tuesday Weld‘s Marge says “we can still make a deal!” to Nick Nolte‘s Ray Hicks, and Nolte replies “No! They’re animals! You can’t make a deal with animals!” You have to address the better angels and the finer manifestations. Bluray is heaven, the peak, the way movies should look. To hell with Joe Download and his basement vistas.