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The Last Emperor (Widescreen Director's Cut)


Price: CDN$ 47.73
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The Last Emperor (Widescreen Director's Cut) + Empire Of The Sun (L'empire du Soleil) (Bilingual)
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ruocheng Ying, Victor Wong
  • Directors: Bernardo Bertolucci
  • Writers: Bernardo Bertolucci, Enzo Ungari, Henry Pu-yi, Mark Peploe
  • Producers: Franco Giovale, Jeremy Thomas, John Daly
  • Format: Color, Director's Cut, Dolby, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Artisan
  • Release Date: Feb. 26 2002
  • Run Time: 218 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305261032
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,914 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Everything that was good about the 163-minute theatrical release of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor in 1987 is even better in this new 218-minute director's cut. By contrast, much that was peculiarly distant and lifeless the first time around isn't really better or worse in this edition. Conclusion: the net gains are considerable if you invest time to appreciate Bertolucci's full feeling for the odd story of Pu Yi, China's final monarch. You remember the saga: taken from his mother at the age of three, Pu Yi is brought into the enclosed walls of the Forbidden City to replace the real emperor. There he becomes a pampered prisoner and hollow symbol of an older monarchy that has since given way to a ruthless, 20th century republic. With his pining loyalists beheaded or kept at bay by armed soldiers outside the City's walls, Pu Yi is tutored by an English gentleman (Peter O'Toole) and wed to a kindred spirit (Joan Chen). Eventually cast from his gated paradise, Pu Yi (wonderfully portrayed in adulthood by John Lone) becomes, by turns, a playboy, a dupe to the Japanese, and a victim of China's cultural reforms and re-education programs. This longer cut largely top-loads the film with greater reason to feel compassion for the emperor, with his often wordless sense-adventure in the mysteries that could only be known to one little boy plunged into indecipherable alien decorum, robbed of self-determination and common sense by his infinite privilege. Added scenes (including some in the political rehabilitation camp where Pu Yi is held for a decade) fill out not so much added facts as density of experience. This improved The Last Emperor is richer in soul and a pronounced sense of Bertolucci actually directing this film in the most personal and profound sense. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe Comer on March 4 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film is too aware of the epic proportions of its story. This is a shame because the story is a fascinating one. It tells of Pu Y, who became China's last emperor during the early part of the 20th century. He lived in the Forbidden City, unknowlegable of the world and even the country around him. As a very young child and through his teens he had everything done for him, but then is pitched away when the country becomes involved in war. Not aware of life it becomes an uphill task to accustom himself. The story is incredible and actually excellent material for a mini-series. And, unlike a lot of mini-series would not be boring or stretched beyond interest. There is a lot of material here. But rather than rely on that material, director Bernardo Bertolucci elects to ignore the foundation and depend instead on never letting the audience forget the size of the tale. We are as an audience, therefore, put off everytime the story moves to a new plateau. We are forced to ask questions that are not answered because he attempts to cram too much spectacle into a three-hour movie.Technically, the film is superior. Its costumes, art direction and editing are incomparable. The music score co-written by David Byrne (formerly of the rock band, Talking Heads) is also superb. But it's the cinematography that is really the thing here. If it wasn't for that, the few bare threads of the original story that do come through would have been non-existant, leaving the film as shallow as they come.But the characters are the thing here and they become mere backdrops for Bertolucci's overblown self-awareness. It's not that Pu Y comes across cold and distant as some critics have remarked. And it's certainly not John Lone's very brave performance of said character that creates problems.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 21 2009
Format: Blu-ray
I wish all blu-rays had this feature, but so far Last Emperor is the only disc I own where under Timeline you can add and delete your own bookmarks (utilizing the remote's green & blue buttons). It makes for easy access to your favourite scenes or where you last left off. The epic itself is a huge cinematic achievement and deserved of the additional blu-ray features which also include numerous documentaries and featurettes (over 4 hrs. worth).
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By R Jess on April 1 2004
Format: VHS Tape
With 'The Last Emperor' Bernardo Bertolucci finally succeeded where he had failed with '1900'. In the previous film he tried too hard to document a period of Italian history through 2-dimensional characters placed in didactic situations. In this film he moved closer to the story of the central character and as a result we get a greater insight into the political upheavals of China at the time and how they effected those in power.
The story itself isn't entirely objective however as the Chinese government had final say over the script and made sure to correct any 'historical inaccuracies' they deemed damaging to China's image. Like most westerners I saw the individual fate of Pu Yi as essentially tragic, a once powerful if somewhat naive figure, brought to his knees by political machinations beyond his control. However, this is not how the story is seen in China or even by Bertolucci himself (who I believe is still a member of the Italian Communist Party). For them the emperor acts as a symbol of the collective and his re-education is seen as an act of redemption. The first step on his road to becoming a fully-fledged adult shorn of the childish priviliges and illusions he has lived with all his life. In one of the final scenes of the film, Pu Yi comes across his old prison governor being publicly humiliated by the youth of the Cultural Revolution. For the first time in his life he seems to empatise with the individual plight of a fellow human being and this spurs him to futile, yet ultimately redeeming action.
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By A Customer on March 12 2004
Format: DVD
I bought the director's-cut dvd and I wish I hadn't. The movie was long around 3hrs and 20 mins, and the added scenes from the director's cut didn't make any difference in making the movie any better. I thought the movie moved quite slowly. In the beginning of the movie I thought it was obscene how the emperor Pu Yi's wet nurse kept showing her breast, I thought that it was quite indecent, especially when she breast fed him when he was already 7 or 8 years old. I guess my reaction was due to culture shock. After watching this movie I learned that the emperor Pu Yi really had quite a sad life, he was king but that title didn't bring him much happiness. He was used by the Japanese, he couldn't trust his servants, and in the end he was treated like a commoner. In the end it was so heart breaking when he had lost it all (all his wealth, respect, loved ones, etc.) I truly do feel for him. Even though I thought the whole move was slow and boring, the sad ending made the whole story and the experiences in his life meaningful. The ending is what ties it all together and make you look at your life in a whole different light. After having watched this movie I learn to appreciate the things that I have in my life and the people whom I share my life with. I have a greater appreciation of these things because I've learned from the movie that people and material possessions may not always last and be with you forever, so don't take anything or anyone for granted. This is a story of riches to rags. John Lone is a great actor in the movie, his acting was so genuine and believable, you'd think he really was the emperor of China. Overall, this was a boring movie but it brought great meaning to the words "Life" and "Destiny". If you think your life sucks right now, watch this movie and you'll appreciate what God has given you.
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