Stanley Kubrick’s classic “Spartacus” gets a spectacular Blu-ray 4K restoration
- Created on Tuesday, 21 July 2015
- Written by Stephan Jukic
--4k.com July 20, 2015
The 1960’S classic movie “Spartacus”, featuring veteran actor Kirk Douglas, is getting a reboot in full blown 4K resolution.
The film, whose famous “I’m Spartacus” line made movie meme history, was originally released in 1960 and directed by none other than legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.
Now, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced as of a couple days ago that they would be putting out a newly remastered Blu-ray release of the movie, for the U.S market as of October 6th, 2015.
The film, starring the aforementioned Kirk Douglas, also features Lawrence Oliver, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov and Tony Curtis among other partly forgotten stars from that now seemingly distant era. Nonetheless, in an effort to introduce this classic and Hollywood stylized story about the historical revolt against the authority of the ancient Roman Republic by the slave gladiator Spartacus, Universal has given the 1960 film reels a 4K ultra HD movie restoration into digital media so that modern audiences can enjoy the full original film quality in the latest digital resolution technology.
Additional special features on the disc include a conversation with Kirk Douglas titled “I am Spartacus”, A video about the restoration of the movie, archival interviews, Behind-the-Scenes footage, vintage newsreels, an image gallery and finally, the original theatrical trailer.
Kubrick filmed the original movie production in 35 mm Super 70 Technidrama format and then had that footage blown up to a 70 mm format that was the equivalent for the time of today’s highest digital resolutions. This was done specifically to create a sort of reel-based ultra-high definition and capture the massive panoramic shots of the movie in maximum detail. One scene in particular, which shows over 8,000 Roman soldiers in a massive shot really stands out for the spectacle effect it creates in this ultra-high def reel format that Kubrick used.
Most importantly of all though, the original film reel process for the movie also lends itself particularly well to conversion into 4K UHD digital format given that early 35 mm film reels actually created the celluloid equivalent of at least 19 to 20 megapixels or roughly 5400 x 3600 pixels. This means that the footage from Kubrick’s original sequences would have to be scaled slightly DOWN for the sake of converting it to 4K digital resolutions of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
Other companies are also converting classic old celluloid movies to 4K and other ultra HD resolutions for release. Sony Studios is known to be involved in this game and the original 1950’s Godzilla was recently remastered to 4K from its original film reels in Japan.
Kirk and Anne Douglas Donate $2.3 Million to Children's Hospital Los Angeles for Surgical Robot
- Created on Saturday, 28 March 2015
- Written by Chris Gardner
Dr. Paul Kokorowski, Director of Robotic Surgery in the Division of Urology at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Kirk Douglas and wife Anne discuss the benefits of the da Vinci robot.
and — longtime supporters of Children's Hospital Los Angeles — have committed $2.3 million in new funding to be used for the purchase of a da Vinci robot for the hospital's division of pediatric urology in the department of surgery.
Portions of the substantial financial gift will also support the training of physicians in the use of the surgical robot, which will be used on children as young as 4 months old to help correct urologic problems. CHLA's Robotic Program was launched in 2009, making it the first of its kind on the West Coast. To date, more than 400 successful surgeries have been performed, according to the hospital.
In an exclusive interview with , Kirk said the "bottom line is that it's a great help for children." "With this new machine, we will be one of the only hospitals on the West Coast to help children in this way," he said, referring to the surgeries aided by the da Vinci robot, which enables surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control. "Before, there were areas that needed to be reached during an operation that they couldn't get to."
"This single piece of equipment will create more hope and better treatment outcomes for thousands of children suffering from a variety of issues that can be improved surgically," said , M.D. and chief of the division of urology: "It allows for smaller incisions, precise levels of accuracy and magnified high-resolution 3D images of the surgical field. It is an incredible gift.", FACHE, president and CEO of CHLA. Added
And one that continues the couple's decades-long tradition of philanthropic endeavors. The duo started The Douglas Foundation in 1964 and over the years their charitable activities have included the rebuilding of more than 400 playgrounds at Los Angeles elementary schools, the Anne Douglas Center for homeless women at the Los Angeles Mission, and the Harry's Haven Alzheimer's unit at the Motion Picture & Television Fund's retirement home, among many others.
In July 2012, Kirk, 98, and Anne, 84, to further support the causes they are most passionate about, giving made possible by the high-profile auctions of their extensive art collection. More recently, Kirk backed the Kirk Douglas Fellowship at the AFI Conservatory, new in 2015.
The couple sat down with at their modest Beverly Hills home on March 25 to discuss the CHLA donation and why they're so passionate about the health and welfare of children. They also shared some laughs about why Kirk no longer enjoys slides, which he lovingly blames on his wife of more than 60 years — proof that they both are still going strong.
I think it will help infants of 3 and 4 months, even. This is all, for me, outer space. I don’t understand how it works. But if it’s that important and they need it so badly and they have wanted it for awhile, so be it.
This is the first time we are gifting a complicated machine. We don’t know how robotic surgery works, but we know that they need it for children. This is the first time we’ve given a machine that we don’t know what it does, but the doctors are pleased with it. We’re giving something that is very useful, and that feels good.
Why did you decide to gift this particular piece of equipment?
Anne: Because we have done a lot for the children of Los Angeles - it's been one of our interests, among others. For eacmple, I read in the Los Angeles Times 15 years ago or more how the playgrounds for children at elementary schools were in poor codition with accidents all the time, and so therefore, they closed the playgrounds and kept the children inside or on the steps. It bothered me. At the time, Mayor Riordan [was in office] and I called him and he said to come over. The next morning at 8 a.m., I brought a girlfriend of mine and by 8:40 a.m. we had $2.5 million from people we called. We started to refurbish nearly all the elementary schools in the L.A. school district.
Kirk: One thing that annoyed me is that when we attended the inauguration of every playground, my creative wife said it would be very nice if Kirk Douglas would go down the sllide. I tell you, I did that for about 9 years, and I said, "Honey, please finish this project because I can't go down any more slides." Fortunately, she finished and I don't go down a slide any ore. (Anne laughs.)
If the funds are not running out of the foundation, we will do what we can to support various important necessary things that we are interested in and that are needed. That might be the Children’s Hospital, it might be something else. But we will continue to donate where we think it is needed as long as the money doesn’t run out.
I started my interest in helping other people because I worked my way through college. Years ago, the first thing that I established was a scholarship for black students because when I was in college, I saw no black students. For years, I have supported a scholarship. We try, in a small way, to help other causes, and Anne helps take women off the street. We have a nice building and nice programs. Anne is fantastic with people who have nothing.
I’m proud of everything that we do to help. I'm proud of what Anne does with the women. I’m proud of the children who are playing on rubberized surfaces and modern equipment. I'm proud of the letters from the students who tell me that they marvel at the scholarships. I don’t know how to pick out one. I’m so proud of everything.
Culture Clash adds more bite in 'Chavez Ravine: An L.A. Revival'
- Created on Saturday, 31 January 2015
- Written by Deborah Vankin
--Los Angeles Times January 29, 2015
Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, the son of an immigrant Russian Jewish ragman, marked his 98th birthday on Dec. 9 with the release of his 11th book.
The legendary star of 87 movies (who can forget “Spartacus”?) can look back, in happiness and grief, on countless one-night stands with filmdom’s most beautiful women, a helicopter crash in which he was the only survivor, a stroke, two bar mitzvahs and the death of a son.
He has written about these and many other parts of his life in previous works. But there is something special about his latest, “Life Could Be Verse.”
“I have expressed my personal feelings and emotions more than in any other of my books,” said Douglas, sitting in his art-filled Beverly Hills home.
In the slim volume of poems, photos and anecdotes, Douglas is no longer the swaggering Hollywood star and serial philanderer of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. His trademark dimpled chin and bright blue eyes are still there, but his blond hair is now fastened into a gray ponytail, and he walks carefully and speaks with a slur, a legacy of his stroke.
What he has not lost is his sharp sense of humor, his pride as a Jew and his love for Anne, his wife of 60 years. The cover of “Life Could Be Verse” shows an early photo of Douglas and Anne fondly kissing and the subtitle “Reflections on Love, Loss and What Really Matters.”
In his previous 10 books, Douglas’ prose is marked by the artlessness of a man whose casual conversation has been surreptitiously taped. His poetry, as well, makes no pretensions to Shakespearean loftiness. But there is no doubt of his deep devotion when he serenades his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary in “Please Stay in Love With Me.”
Does fifty years together
Seem so long to you?
The older the violin, the sweeter the music
It is often said, and it’s true.
To me, it seems like yesterday
We met in gay Paree.
Now Paris is sad, but I am glad
You chose to marry me.
A lesser-known side of Douglas is expressed in “For Eric,” an elegy for the youngest of his four sons from his two marriages, whose drug-induced death still haunts his father.
I sit by your grave and weep,
Silently, not to disturb your sleep.
Rest in peace my beautiful son
It won’t be long before we are one,
While I lie down by your side.
And talk, no secrets to hide.
Tell me, Eric, what did I do wrong?
What should I have done to make you strong?
Now I sit here and cry,
Waiting to be with you when I die.
Neither Anne nor Douglas’ first wife, actress Diana Dills, are of Jewish descent. But Anne converted to Judaism 10 years ago, explaining, “Kirk has been married to two shiksas, it’s time he married a nice Jewish girl.” The conversion did not change the couple’s relationship except for one ritual: Anne has taken over the Shabbat candle lighting on Friday nights that Kirk handled in their first 50 years together.
During an hourlong conversation, Douglas looked back on the lessons of a full and long life.
On God and religion: “I grew up praying in the morning and laying tefillin. I gave up much of the formal aspect of religion. … I don’t think God wants compliments. God wants you to do something with your life and to help others.”
Douglas celebrated his first bar mitzvah at the Sons of Israel congregation in his hometown of Amsterdam, New York, and his second at 83, after the traditional biblical lifespan of 70 years, at Sinai Temple in West Los Angeles. He skipped his third bar mitzvah at 96, and plans to do the same at 109, when he would be entitled to his fourth bar mitzvah.
“That would be showing off,” he said. “I’m an actor, so I have already been showing off all my life.”
After the interview, Douglas emailed a final thought on a more serious topic.
“In the Jewish tradition, a birthday gives a person special power,” he wrote. “And if he issues a blessing, this blessing becomes true. So on my 98th birthday, I bless all people in the Land of Israel that the current conflict resolves itself, that no more people die or are hurt and that you can continue your lives in peace.”
What do you actually want to see get a sequel or a remake?
- Created on Friday, 23 January 2015
- Written by A.V. Club
--avclub.com January 23, 2015
[Editor's note: A.V. Club Austin asked its staff what classic film they would like to see remade. Here is William Hughes's response.]
I feel a little bad proposing a remake of a movie that’s already a bona-fide classic, but I can’t help but think a modern-day version of Billy Wilder’s 1951 masterpiece of satire, Ace in the Hole, would be something special. After all, the media has only grown more saturated with the need for spectacle since Wilder and screenwriters Walter Newman and Lesser Samuels told their tale of an opportunistic newspaperman (a beautifully seething Kirk Douglas) who manipulates the fate of a trapped miner to garner fame and fortune for himself. Expand the original’s focus on the corruptibility of “human interest” to encompass 24-hour news networks, social media, and the rest of our elaborately hashtagged culture, and you could have the toothiest piece of satire Hollywood has unleashed in years. George Clooney’s hungry charisma would fit like a glove in the role of Chuck Tatum, and his frequent collaborators Joel and Ethan Coen would finally get to marry their dual fascinations with screwball dialogue and the darker side of human nature in one neat, nasty little package.
Honoring Actors of Every Age
- Created on Thursday, 15 January 2015
- Written by Marshall Heyman
--Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2015
Photo: Kirk Douglas receives AFI Life Achievement Award, 1991
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—There isn’t much time for schmoozing at the American Film Institute awards luncheon, except perhaps afterward, while waiting for the valet. (The clever attendees park on the street outside the Four Seasons, where the annual event is held.)
Call time is noon, and while other events drag their feet, everyone gets to their seats by 12:30 p.m.
This year “everyone” included Matthew McConaughey, Oprah Winfrey , Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway , Clint Eastwood, Jon Hamm, Clive Owen, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, thanks to the fact that the 11 films and 10 television shows added to the institute’s pantheon of entertainment included “Interstellar,” “Selma,” “Mad Men,” “Unbroken,” “American Sniper,” “The Knick” and “Into the Woods.”
Other newcomer TV series were “Jane the Virgin,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Silicon Valley,” “Fargo” and “Transparent.” On Tuesday, the American Film Institute released a series of videos, made during the luncheon, for its Almanac, in which some of the aforementioned performers discuss how they want their work to be remembered.
For years, the afternoon has managed to remain relatively earnest. “It’s a mad, mad, mad world, and you manage to make sense of it,” A.F.I. President Bob Gazzale told the crowd, echoing his comments from the year before. “There is no game to be played here today. You have won.”
Perhaps more so than other organizations, this one tries to create a continuity between the entertainment and entertainers of the past with those of the present. To that end, Kirk Douglas began the lunch.
“It’s nice to see so many familiar faces,” he said, “especially when you are 98 years old.”
Another old-timer—the 92-year-old Norman Lear —closed out the event with what the A.F.I. calls a “benediction,” perhaps the nicest touch of this particular ceremony. Mr. Lear, like Mr. Douglas, got a standing ovation.
“When you hit 90, there’s a huge change,” said Mr. Lear, who apparently has a proclivity for expletives. “It doesn’t take place in me, but it takes place in you. At 88, I got a warm reception, but at 92, holy s—.”
Mr. Lear added that he was “knocked out” by the films and TV honored this season. “The best advice I can give is just keep on doing what you’re doing.”
Despite their ages, Messrs. Lear and Douglas are apparently doing just that. Their recently published books—Mr. Lear’s “Even This I Get To Experience” and Mr. Douglas’s “Life Could Be Verse”—were in the gift bags, alongside award certificates to the many people involved in the honored projects.
Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas & More to Star in 'CHAVEZ RAVINE' at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
- Created on Monday, 22 December 2014
- Written by broadwayworld.com
--December 19, 2014
Casting is set for powerhouse Latino theatre group 's ": An L.A. Revival," which opens February 4, 2015, at the /Theatre in Culver City. Previews begin January 27 and performances run through March 1.
This revisited and reimagined "" is directed byon (who was at the helm of the world premiere in 2003 at the ) and features 's, and along with Sabina Zuniga Varela and musicians Vaneza Mari Calderón, Randy Rodarte and Scott Rodarte.
"" has set design by , costume design by , lighting design by José López, sound design by Paul , music direction/arrangements by and projection design by . The production stage manager is Kirsten Parker.
Energized with new material and music from the Rodarte Brothers, continues to examine the constantly changing landscape of urban Los Angeles, in particular, the potential transformation of a small, tightly knit neighborhood into what was initially to bea low-income housing project, but eventually became Dodger Stadium.
A Haunting Look Into Child Protective Services: ‘Luna Gale’ At The KDT
- Created on Monday, 08 December 2014
- Written by Casey james Dunn
--neontommy.com December 7, 2014
The world of Child Protective Services is not an elegant one and “Luna Gale,” now playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, thrives in its gritty world. Directed by Robert Falls, the play provides for a provocative and emotional rollercoaster throughout its full two hours.
The Kirk Douglas Theatre has a reputation for consistently putting on intense and revolutionary shows that push the boundaries of the theatrical arts and “Luna Gale” is no exception. Possessing some of the best acting in town, direction that is meticulously detailed, and a set design (Tood Rosenthal) that is, for lack of a better word, badass, "Luna Gale" exceeds expectations.
Written by Rebecca Gilman, “Luna Gale” delivers hit after hit of excitement and torment. The story centers on Caroline (Mary Beth Fisher), an employee for the Child Protective Services who helps decide whether children are placed within foster care, or given back to their families. The play begins when an infant named Luna Gale is brought to the emergency ward with a threatening illness. Her parents, Karlie (Reyna de Courcy) and Peter (Colin Sphar), suffer from an addiction to meth that they must learn to control if they want to retain custody of their child. When Karlie’s mother gets involved in the fight for custody (wanting the child herself) a thrilling drama ensues concerning cruel family secrets and the dark recesses of the human psyche.
Mary Beth Fisher gives a phenomenal performance as the quick witted and deeply tormented Caroline. Constantly providing a great mix of humor and honesty that keeps the heavy subject matter from overwhelming the production, while still fully immersing the audience in her struggles. Fisher does a terrific job of playing a character that is not entirely morally agreeable, blurring the line between what is acceptable for someone of her position to do and what is not. Accompanying her on stage is a fantastic ensemble performance in which every character adds different perspectives to the overarching conflict. In a show with no true villain, it is electrifying to see the emotional depths brooding within each character.
Colin Sphar (Peter) gives a uniquely enjoyable performance, seeming at first like any other stereotypical teenager who is not ready for the responsibility of adulthood. But Colin immediately rises above those assumptions and reveals the layered craft in which his character has been constructed. A caring boyfriend, loving father, and recovering meth addict, Peter, like so many people, struggles to find stable ground. Colin performs this role with skill, expressing so much with so little. It does not take outlandish movements or large fluctuations in his voice to express character objectives. Instead itnis the small looks and the minute actions he takes. This compliment really spans to the whole cast and production overall. There is a clear attention to detail that gives the show a refined feel.
This specificity carries into the directing of the show which is spot on. Robert Falls gives justice to all of the great aspects at his disposal – the actors, set, script – and raises them to the highest level. The play moves like a dream, never dragging or stalling in action. "Luna Gale" truly is a show that you will not want to end, but do not worry, the end is done with class and entirely earns its climactic finality. Robert does a terrific job of making the world feel real, every setting is impeccably designed and the actors feel completely comfortable within the scenes.
Caroline’s office is covered in stacks of folders and papers, a complete mess. But this chaos adds to a very important aspect of the plays message, revealing just how little support there is for Child Protective Services’ employees and how overwhelming the career can be. Another great touch in Caroline’s office is a self-motivation poster hanging center stage that says “perseverance.” This poster connects perfectly to Caroline who is obsessed with her job and gives everything she has to help children. While uplifting, the poster is also very disturbing as the play progresses and Caroline’s perseverance begins to really show the inner turmoil that is gnashing and tearing within her.
The set of a show is often something that an audience notices but does not pay much attention to. That is not the case with “Luna Gale.” The set is unbelievable in its construction and use throughout the show. It is a show within the show. Designed by Todd Rosenthal, the set is built on a wheel that spins during scene changes to reveal the next scene. The set is broken into three main layouts with one facing the audience at a time. Often switching between Caroline’s office, Karlie’s mother, Cindy’s (Jordan Baker) kitchen, and an emergency room. These three main locations are also traded out for Karlie and Peter’s living room and a coffee shop throughout the production. Unbelievably difficult to properly describe, it is a magic show to watch as these sets come out so consistently and so beautifully.
A thrilling, heart wrenching analysis of the modern Child Protective Services, “Luna Gale” keeps the audience on edge long past curtain. A great show is measured by the discussion that it provokes after its completion, and “Luna Gale” gives more than enough to talk about. The cruelty and beauty of humans, the insanity that exists within everyone, and the complexity of faith are all driving factors in this play. The show never lets up from the important messages within the script, but still manages to provide plenty of moments of intelligent humor and honest passion. “Luna Gale” succeeds on all accounts and is a must see for anyone. Two hours of great theatre that will linger for so much longer.
"Luna Gale" is playing through December 21 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (9820 W Washington Blvd, Culver City). Tickets $25-$55. For more information visit CenterTheatreGroup.org
St. Lawrence University to name new residence hall after actor Kirk Douglas
- Created on Saturday, 06 December 2014
- Written by Tom Lane
--northcountrynow.com December 5, 2014
St. Lawrence University will name its new $14 million residence hall after famous actor and SLU alumni Kirk Douglas.
On behalf of The Douglas Foundation, which the star and his wife Anne created to support their many charitable gifts, Kirk Douglas said, “I am very happy that the new residence hall will bear my name. This way I will always be part of the campus I love. While I appreciate this great honor, my wife and I find our greatest joy in the heartfelt letters we receive each year from our scholarship recipients, telling us what a St. Lawrence education means to them and their future.”
In his bestselling autobiography, The Ragman’s Son, the legendary star told how he hitchhiked to St. Lawrence University on the back of a fertilizer truck. A sympathetic Dean, Edwin Hulett, gave him provisional admission to the college, despite his confession that he only had $167. With a wrestling scholarship and numerous campus jobs, young Izzy Demsky graduated in 1939 and went on to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. For his Broadway and Hollywood career, he changed his name to Kirk Douglas.
As the son of impoverished Jewish immigrants from Russia, Douglas has always remembered how difficult it was for a poor kid from a minority background to afford a higher education. He and his wife, Anne, through their Douglas Foundation, started the Kirk Douglas Scholarship at St. Lawrence in 1999 to support students who represent diversity, have financial need and demonstrate excellence in academic ability and community leadership. They expanded the program in 2012 with an additional $5 million gift.
According to St. Lawrence University president William L. Fox, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the new residence hall on campus in honor of the actor who will celebrate his 98th birthday on Dec. 9, with the publication of his 11th book, a small volume called "Life Could Be Verse: Reflections On Love, Loss, And What Really Matters." The book contains two poems he wrote while at St. Lawrence and includes a photo in which Douglas poses with classmates, one of whom is the red-headed girl who inspired both poems.
Among Douglas’s many prestigious awards – including the French Legion d’Honneur, the Freedom Medal (America’s highest civilian honor), an Academy Award and a Kennedy Center Honor – he proudly cites his honorary doctorate from St. Lawrence in 1958, SLU said. Now he has his own residence hall. It’s in close proximity to another building on campus named for Dean Hulett, the man who once took a chance on a poor boy from Amsterdam, New York.
Kirk Douglas Hall will be dedicated at a future ceremony, the details of which will be announced at a later date, SLU said.