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The Silver Chalice, letterboxed presentation


danthemoviefan
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For Paul Newman completists, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is scheduled to air The Silver Chalice at 3:30 a.m. ET this Thursday, Dec. 27. I tuned in during its last showing on the channel a couple of months ago, and the movie was:

 

A) Letterboxed

 

B) Presented commercial-free

 

C) In great shape, picture-quality-wise, and

 

D) Every bit as bad as I thought it would be.

 

I receive TBN on DirecTV, and it's also available on many cable systems, sometimes in basic-cable packages.

 

At 4 a.m. Sunday, TBN is showing Saving Grace (1986), which isn't on DVD, is hard to find on VHS, and is rarely broadcast. That's the film where Tom Conti plays a pope who's frustrated with the way things are going at the Vatican. When he ends up getting locked outside his garden gate in his "street clothes," he decides to stay out and travels to a troubled village (hoping he won't be recognized) to help solve its problems.

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Interesting. I have to admit that TBN is about the last place I'd look for movies, especially letterboxed and without commercials. It's one of a lot of channels that I've removed from the scan in my remote because I never watch. Mybe their doing a series of religious films. THE SILVER CHALICE is pretty bad, but I wouldn't mind seeing it again letterboxed.

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TBN's movies aren't shown in DirecTV's printed guide, so it's easy for them to slip past me. I was surprised myself, when I tuned in in the middle of The Silver Chalice the last time it aired, and saw that it was getting the TCM treatment: letterboxed and commercial-free. It's 142 minutes long and is in a 2 1/2-hour slot tonight, so it would appear to be commercial-free again.

 

The sets in the film, Jack Palance's diving skills, and Ben Cartwright as St. Peter are reasons to tune in (or out!) tonight.

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Did anyone watch/record this last night? It was letterboxed 2.55:1 and commercial-free with a run time of 135 minutes. That matches the run time Amazon lists for the VHS version, and Wikipedia's article also states 135m. IMDb and at least two printed guides I checked show a run time of 142 minutes. Does anyone know if overture/intermission/entr'acte/exit music might have padded out the time? There was no such music in TBN's print. The picture quality was outstanding--not perfect but comparable to many DVD transfers of films of that era.

 

One oddity about the presentation last night: a Warner/Seven Arts logo came up before the movie itself began. I thought the WB/Seven Arts association ended long before the era of letterboxing for TV, so it seems odd to find that on a modern TV copy.

 

TBN had two graphics at the bottom of the screen throughout the broadcast, but both were in the black bar below the image. One was a phone number/website in rotation in the left corner, and the other was a TBN logo in the right corner. That didn't bother me too much, but it would be annoying on a full-screen broadcast.

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