Omar Khayyam (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


A vaguely historical film about great poet Omar Khayyam who romances his great love, the wife of the Shah, as the Shah deals with a radical sect of assassins.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The 1957 Orientalist adventure focuses on the real-life Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam. Cornel Wilde plays the titular character and here, Khayyam is not only the great poet, but a Don Juan-styled lover. His attentions are on the beautiful Sharain (Debra Paget), who has married the Shah (Raymond Massey), but the Shah is distracted by an uprising by a radical sect of assassins. Omar is appointed by the Shah as the royal advisor, allowing him to get closer to the woman he loves.

Omar Khayyam is a lavish film that is difficult to look away from for all the magnificent costumes, backgrounds, and set designs. That said, there is no weight to this film. For such an imposing figure as its subject, exposition is absent and any sense of historical accuracy tossed. All focus is on the lighthearted romance and swashbuckling that helped to get people into seats to see this widescreen extravaganza at a time when television was draining audiences from the cinemas.

  • Tales of Adventure: Collection 1 – Imprint Collection #214 – #217
  • Debra Paget and Joan Taylor in Omar Khayyam (1957)
  • Omar Khayyam (1957) – Imprint Collection #217

The Video

Omar Khayyam is from a new 2022 6K scan of the original negative. A technicolor dye-transfer production shot in Paramount’s VistaVision 35mm (not to be confused with the three-strip Technicolor process), this film, encoded in AVC 1080p and framed at 1.85:1, is the best-looking film in this Tales of Adventure Collection – Vol. 1 from Imprint. The granularity is tight, crisp, and natural. Detail is all here, with a lot textural information. Colors look more natural than the older three-strip process, but still have a vivid, ‘pop’ and a bit of fake look to skin tones. That said, this is reference for this sort of film and looks how I would expect it to.

The Audio

Omar Khayyam comes with the original mono mix in LPCM 2.0. The sound is crisp and punchy with no serious issues presenting intelligible dialogue.

The Supplements

  • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Phillipa Berry
  • Film Historian Sheldon Hall on Omar Khayyam (1080p; 00:22:24)

The Final Assessment

For those movie watchers who love these sort of genre films, this worldwide Blu-ray debut from Imprint Films is magnificently presented. The film is ‘classic’ only by its status of being released in 1957, but it otherwise is forgettable for everything other than its gorgeous production and color palette.

Omar Khayyam (1957) – Imprint Collection #217 is out in a worldwide Blu-ray debut as part of the Tales of Adventure: Collection 1 – Imprint Collection #214 – #217, May 10, 2023, from Imprint Films. Available for purchase on the Via Vision/Imprint Films website.

  • Studios & Distributors: Paramount Pictures | Via Vision Entertainment | Imprint Films
  • Director: William Dieterle
  • Written By: Barré Lyndon
  • Run Time: 101 Mins.
  • Street Date: 10 May 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English HOH

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A vaguely historical film about great poet Omar Khayyam who romances his great love, the wife of the Shah, as the Shah deals with a radical sect of assassins. Omar Khayyam (Blu-ray Review)