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The Agony and the Ecstasy/L'extase et l'agonie (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]

4.1 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 4 2014
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00HIE11RC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,514 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

Carol Reed (The Third Man) directed this 1965 portrait of the relationship between Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) and Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison), who commissioned the artist to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Based on a novel by Irving Stone, the script plods along, juggling the dynamics between the two men along with a somewhat perfunctory love story and distracting battle sequences. Reed seems more attuned to the nuances and great pains of the artistic process, as seen in sequences of Michelangelo working. But the overall focus of the film is unfortunately fuzzy. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This fictionalized account of the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling focuses on the battle of wills between the artist, Michelangelo (Charlton Heston), and his patron, Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison). As the story opens, Michelangelo is commissioned by the warrior Pope to decorate his ceiling. Michelangelo doesn't want to do it, but the Pope wins that battle, the first of many, for the two men are equally matched in their stubbornness and pride. The work is detailed against the backdrop of Julius' many military battles and we learn a lot about life during the Renaissance.

Both Michelangelo and Julius are portrayed as stiff-necked, driven men who use reverse-psychology on each other to get what they want. We learn a great deal about Julius as a man, but less about Michelangelo. These are bravura performances by Heston and Harrison; they play men with monumental egos and ambitions but infuse them with human faults and foibles. A wonderful documentary over-view of Michelangelo's work that precedes the film would have been better at the end. Very enjoyable.
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Format: VHS Tape
There is no other film on the subject of art that is better than this one in my opinion. Irving Stone's best-seller was a great read, but in this case the film is better than the book. It centers on the creation of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and the contentious but invigorating relationship between Michelangelo and Pope Julius II; one drove the other "to complete his work", and even their verbal battles were productive. It is about the courage of putting one's vision into reality, the hard work, and the faith in one's self and in God.
The script by Irving Stone and Philip Dunne is fabulous; the words flow like sweet wine and there is not a single unnecessary scene, or rarely one that is not meaningful. The direction by Carol Reed is meticulous, the cinematography by Leon Shamroy a marvel, and the score by Alex North adds much to the film. The costuming and sets are lavish for the papal quarters and the Medici household, and give one a sense of 16th century Rome, and the depictions of the fresco painting technique is interesting and educational.
Charlton Heston, gaunt and bearded, is brilliant as Michelangelo, as is Rex Harrison as the warrior pope. The interactions of these two actors is riveting, and the dialogue between them worth hearing repeatedly. Others of note in the cast include Diane Cilento as the Contessina de Medici, Harry Andrews as Bramante, and Tomas Milian as Raphael (the most famous papal portrait I know of is by Raphael, of Pope Julian II).
Though Stone's book and script take much artistic license, there is also a good deal of accuracy. This period of 16th century Italy was one of the most fascinating in all world history, and Pope Julius II was not only one of its greatest art patrons, but also an extraordinary man.
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After a decade of declining profits in Hollywood where Biblical epics were concerned, Twentieth Century Fox's "The Agony and The Ecstasy" (1966) managed to recapture much of the glory, if not the box office, of that sort of 50s storytelling without getting too religous. Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison star as two of the Renaissance's most explosive and emotional titans; the great sculptor/painter, Michelangelo and Pope Julius II. Julius is a tyrannical, often crass, dictator who's true aspirations are for the ultimate glory of Rome and preservation of the Catholic church. To this end he will stop at nothing to inspire his people and ignite controversy amongst the clergy. Michelangelo's career as sculptor par excellence is sidetracked when Julius orders him to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. "But I'm not a painter," Michelangelo explains. All evidence to the contrary.
The battle of wills that ensues is heavy on melodrama but rather flat on inspiration. As Michelangelo, Heston is solid, stoic and virtuous - a sort of Moses with a paint brush. What he ultimately lacks is any real conviction as one of the artsy set. Also, knowning as we do today that Michelangelo was not interested in women romantically, per say, Heston's faux romance with Contessina de Medici (Diane Cilento) is grossly misleading from a historical perpsective. What is compelling about this sometimes stagy, rather long-winded film is the way in which Heston and Harrison's unique acting styles spar off of one another. Director, Carol Reed, whose greatest contribution to cinema will forever be "The Third Man", on this occasion, fills the vast expanse of Panavision with lush photographic set pieces that strangely are cold and disengaging.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of those mammoth movies produced in the period when Giant Actors roamed the Earth. One cannot rekindle that spirit and that creativity in our modern times. Harrison and Heston are divine and interact with strength. Today most likely the director would focus more on gadgets and special effects. Who could play those 2 megastars now?? Liam Neeson and Hugh Grant?? To be seen...

The material and physical quality of the movie you sent to us is of good standard.

The delivery of the film was quick, spotless and spit spot.

Enjoy your day. In Canada it is the Queen's birthday weekend. Bye

Michel Laverdière
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