• Most new users don't bother reading our rules. Here's the one that is ignored almost immediately upon signup: DO NOT ASK FOR FANEDIT LINKS PUBLICLY. First, read the FAQ. Seriously. What you want is there. You can also send a message to the editor. If that doesn't work THEN post in the Trade & Request forum. Anywhere else and it will be deleted and an infraction will be issued.
  • If this is your first time here please read our FAQ and Rules pages. They have some useful information that will get us all off on the right foot, especially our Own the Source rule. If you do not understand any of these rules send a private message to one of our staff for further details.
  • Please read our Rules & Guidelines

    Vote now in wave 1 of the FEOTM Reboot!

Ben-Hur: Prince of Jerusalem by ranger613

ranger613

Well-known member
Faneditor
Messages
1,106
Reaction score
17
Trophy Points
58
Hi all,

Recently read about a resurgence in the latest Hollywood fad of remaking/retelling classic Biblical epics-- Noah, Moses, The Bible.. and Mark Burnett is now set to remake Ben Hur (itself a remake of the 20's film). The original was in my opinion the pinnacle of 'classic' Hollywood movie making, when epics were really epics lasting 3 to 4 hours. Its also one of my favorite films and one that is widely regarded as one of the best of all time. The story is of a Jewish aristrocrat (Charlton Heston in an Oscar winning role) who is wrongfully accused of attempting to assassinate the new Roman governor by a Roman provincial who was his one-time trusted friend, causing him to be exiled as a slave and his mother and sister to be locked away, but not before he swears vengeance. Has the great chariot race sequence which is impressive to this day, some Really good acting, and the themes of exile and vengeance are echoed in modern epics like Gladiator and so on.

However, its a story which could be streamlined a lot more in my opinion, for instance I did not like the fact that it was trying to tell two stories at once (that of Ben HUr, and in the background the rise of Christianity-- I get that they're thematically linked but I always thought it would have been better if they told one story or the other). Also, many points are made, remade and reiterated throughout the film--partly resulting in its massive runtime of 3h 42 min. And lastly, there's a whole middle portion with Ben Hur and the Arab prince in the oasis which does not move the story anywhere and deviates from its otherwise dead serious tone, despite some interesting philosophizing and great acting by Hugh Griffith.

I have the special edition Blu Ray, and am thinking of officially making this my next project-- just seems very different from the other stuff I've done so far in terms of editing style with constant fades and constant music in the original, it'll be challenging to edit a huge epic like this to a manageable 2hr 20? min revenge and redemption story which focuses on Ben Hur and loses the Jesus subplot (until the conclusion). For now, just doing minor changes. I want to still have the classic movie and epic feel, and not "modernize" it in any way. Just a great 50's movie told in little over 2 hours instead of nearly 4.

I was just curious if it'll have an audience other than me lol? Would anyone else be interested in watching this?

 
I own that one. I wouldn't have to order it or nuttin.

Two days until Thunderball arrives.
 
I'd be interested but I don't own the Blu-Ray. I rented it once because it's a classic but didn't manage it all the way. I found it dull and overrated, maybe you can fix it.

By the way, is this actually "In-the-works" or is it just an idea?
 
DominicCobb said:
I'd definitely watch this.

Linten1 said:
I own that one. I wouldn't have to order it or nuttin.

Two days until Thunderball arrives.

Rogue-theX said:
Same here.

TM2YC said:
I'd be interested but I don't own the Blu-Ray. I rented it once because it's a classic but didn't manage it all the way. I found it dull and overrated, maybe you can fix it.

By the way, is this actually "In-the-works" or is it just an idea?

Wow thanks for the positive response guys! Its a go then. Hi TM2YC, its in the works, just had second thoughts about whether it was worth releasing. The original can be got for a really reasonable price, I actually bought my 50th anniversary special for 11. DVDs on Amazon go as low as 6. And I hope to fix it!

DominicCobb and Rogue, Coming soon. Just came to me out of the blue, and if just one or two people watch it I'm happy!

Linten, will do! And I love that Thunderball's almost there haha.

Pre-release trailer:
 
I own both versions.
Prefer the silent.
 
Hello....AUDIENCE MEMBER HERE...Love all the classic 50s and 60s epics...grew up with them...In fact I have been toying with the ide of tightening up Spartacus for years....and I already have edited together The Robe and Demitrius and The Gladiators (its sequel)...and again, toying with the idea of tightening it up...
Then The matrix and other stuff got in the way (oh and my day job and wife...LOL)
 
Yet another one I've toyed with editing myself. I'd remove the whole Bethlehem prologue and also the Nazareth scene right after the credits, and start with the Romans' arrival. We'll meet Jesus when Judah does.
 
Wraith said:
Hello....AUDIENCE MEMBER HERE...Love all the classic 50s and 60s epics...grew up with them...In fact I have been toying with the ide of tightening up Spartacus for years....and I already have edited together The Robe and Demitrius and The Gladiators (its sequel)...and again, toying with the idea of tightening it up...
Then The matrix and other stuff got in the way (oh and my day job and wife...LOL)

Thanks man! I'd love to watch your Robe edit-- and Spartacus would be awesome to edit. I tried once a long time ago but abandoned it, got busy with other work lol.
 
Dwight Fry said:
Yet another one I've toyed with editing myself. I'd remove the whole Bethlehem prologue and also the Nazareth scene right after the credits, and start with the Romans' arrival. We'll meet Jesus when Judah does.

Hi Dwight, I'm sorry man I had no idea. I hope this does justice to your envisioning of it.

My cut does what you suggested tho I opened with the soldiers' march (Messala's exchange with the foot soldier indicating they were at Nazareth and only a day away from Jerusalem puts the location in context). I loved having a reason to use fades finally. Rough cut is 2h 26 min (1 h 16 m cut), but still needs to be tightened up.

Question for you, the only scene I'm really a bit torn up about cutting is in the galley, when Quintus forced the rowers to row faster and faster while relaxing-- I personally liked this scene but I cut it because it really didn't move the plot along.
What do you think about this scene? Did it leave an impact--Was it important enough to leave in the final cut or no?

Thanks man
 

I tried adding back Gore Vidal's and Christopher Fry's credits but I cant find a font to match the opening titles... "Castellar" is the closest I can come to it
 
I'm torn - used to love this movie, but when Heston later became a whacked out gun nut I lost my ability to watch him. Of course, Mel Gibson going nuts hasn't stopped me from liking his early movies, so maybe a good edit can help me get over it.

I like the idea - edit out the Jesus story line. Refer people to Jesus of Nazareth if interested in a good movie covering that tale, or Jesus Christ Superstar for that matter!

And just my two cents, but the Ben-hur rowing scenes are pretty classic, I don't think you should edit much in that department.
 
kellenpure said:
I'm torn - used to love this movie, but when Heston later became a whacked out gun nut I lost my ability to watch him. Of course, Mel Gibson going nuts hasn't stopped me from liking his early movies, so maybe a good edit can help me get over it.

I like the idea - edit out the Jesus story line. Refer people to Jesus of Nazareth if interested in a good movie covering that tale, or Jesus Christ Superstar for that matter!

And just my two cents, but the Ben-hur rowing scenes are pretty classic, I don't think you should edit much in that department.
My sentiments exactly. I felt a lot of the Jesus subplot detracted from Ben Hur's own story (despite it being true to the book and all). I also agree with the actors actions tarnishing the films, but with time, the film remains while the actor's real world actions fade away.

Thank you for your feedback on the oar scene. I could easily justify dropping everything else that I did, but something felt just not right about cutting it, even though it shaved a fair bit off the final runtime-- like the movie lost something on cutting it. Give convinced me :) Cheers my friend
 
Added rowing back in. Also Adding the Sheik scene in oasis back in to set up the chariot race. This gets rid of the countless unanswered questions that would arise in any other case, like where Ben Hur found the horses, etc.

Runtime 150 min, still feel that's too long.. Going over film again.. target is 140 min. I'll put a cutlist up soon for feedback.
 
Final cut: 144 min. Cutlist below. Overall its a much darker take on Ben Hur, with all of the 'hopeful' scenes removed, and removing all dialogue from the last scene to give it a dreamlike/ ambiguous feel. Most scenes were very challenging to edit because of the long unbroken takes as was the style, and even more frustrating were sudden jump cuts in the original. Worked around as best I could.

1. Cut entire epilogue about history of Jerusalem BC and birth of Christ
2. Cut out "A Tale of Christ" by Lew Wallace title card
3. Cut Carpenter talking about his son and Jesus travelling in the field
4. Cut Ben Hur saying "We shall never see him again" after rebuking Messala at his home
5. Cut Ben Hur's steward calling him "master". As much as I hated the 'benevolent slaveowner' business, could not cut it without messing up Esther's first scene
6. Cut out some of steward's interfering dialogue during Esther and Ben's first scene
7. Shortened scene of Governor's arrival and Messala inspecting rooftop
8. Cut Ben Hur being taken out of cell and led down hallway.
9. Cut Esther waiting outside prison for Ben Hur and his family
10. Shortened scenes of slaves walking in desert
11. Cut scene of Jesus repelling centurion with his gaze
12. Cut shots of Quintus arriving at the galley by boat.
13. Shortened scenes of Quintus spying on Ben Hur during battle. Shortened Macedonian galley battle.
14. Cut scene of Caesar meeting with Quintus to discuss Ben Hur's fate
15. Cut festivities at Quintus' palace.
16. Cut shots of Judah relaxing in oasis and meeting Balthasar
17. Cut dinner scene with Sheik, shortened horse mingling
18. Cut Balthasar's speech about life being a miracle. Dialogue ends with Ben Hur's "I don't believe in miracles" before he leaves (giving scene a darker tone)
19. Ben Hur meeting Messala brought forward to this point. Cuts after Ben Hur exits room.
20. Scene of Ben Hur arriving at his house rearranged to this point. Cut most of Ben Hur's dialogue with steward. Score added to scene.
21. Cut scene of guards discovering Ben Hurs mother and sister, cut scene of them going to see Esther. Ben Hur's scene earlier followed by scene of Esther telling him they are dead. Edited to look as if she hesitates in telling him the lie (the fact she avoids the question when first meeting him helps this editing choice). Ben Hur's mother and sister's fate remain a mystery in this cut at this point, meaning we believe they are dead along with Ben Hur. Cut Intermission
22. Shortened scene of Ben Hur in stable
23. Moved rooftop scene of Ben Hur and Esther here
24. Shortened shots of chariots arriving. Scene starts with Ben Hur praying. Cut Messala's mocking line "Jupiter give me victory!"
25. SHortened preliminary chariot walk around Colosseum. Famous chariot race left entirely intact.
26. Shortened Messala's and Ben Hur's conversation in the hospital
27. Ended valley of lepers scene after Ben Hur's family leaves. Cut Balthasar's meeting, cut sermon on the mount
28. Cut most of Pontius Pilate's dialogue (a lot of it alludes to the pending judgement of Jesus rather than Ben Hur)
29. Shortened second leper valley scene
30. Cut most of Ben Hur's dialogue with blind man
31. Shortened scenes of Jesus being judged and walking with cross
32. Shortened scene on Golgotha with Balthasar
33. Cut Ben Hur's family talking under cross
34. Shortened storm scenes
35. Cut Ben Hur's last dialogue with Esther. I wanted it to have a dreamlike feel, no words are spoken during final scene. Gives it a more ambiguous feel (did it happen vs. wishful thinking)
36. Shortened shot of sunset over Golgotha

Any feedback welcome. Cheers!
 
If you really want to make your run time, maybe there are parts of the rowing that can go with little effect. It's been a while since I've seen it, I just remember it's one of my favorite scenes.
 
Back
Top Bottom