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directed by Barbet Schroeder
USA 1987

" Between the ages of 17 to 21 I read the entire literary works of Charles Bukowski, an enigmatic author whose character was a sterling representation of a modern day gutter-poet... zenith angst from grassroots-slum philosophy. Bukowski's books are, like the screenplay for 'Barfly', all semi-autobiographical. They portray their protagonist (in most cases a fellow named Henry Chinaski) as an unemployed alcoholic with a philosophy skewered from both the writings of several classics of literature and real life existence on the wrong side of the tracks. Chinaski takes life less seriously than anyone in history, seemingly unafraid of fist'a'cuffs, women or lack of personal hygiene. His charm and artistic conviction will always remain - even now after his death in 1994 - untouchable. His life is detailed with little poetic license, in "Barfly" which later had him produce one of his final books entitled "Hollywood" (in which he detailed how he wanted his friend, Sean Penn, for the lead). It is somewhat comforting that a man can carve out his place in society and obtain a stage for his creation with such stalwart conviction that forces society to rethink their perceptions of life, materialism and their own delusions. This film is by-no-means everyone's cup of tea, but Barfly is something that I think some would definitely benefit from viewing."

Gary W. Tooze

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Theatrical Release Date: December 1987

Reviews     More Reviews

Comparison:

Warner  Region 1 - NTSC vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

Box Cover

Distribution Warner Region 1 NTSC Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:39:36  1:39:59.034
Video 1.78:1.00 Letterboxed WideScreen / anamorphic
Average Bitrate: 5.93 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,475,850,345 bytes

Feature: 20,159,821,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.64 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes

Bitrate: Warner

 

Bitrate: Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) , English- Director's Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) DTS-HD Master Audio English 853 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 853 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 896 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 896 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, Japanese (traditional and simplified) and none. German and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Barbet Schroeder
• Documentary - "I Drink, I Gamble, I Write..." 4:3 - 12:01
• Widescreen anamorphic trailer - 2:02

 

DVD Release Date: September 3, 2002
Snap Case

Chapters: 26

Release Information:
Studio: Koch Media

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,475,850,345 bytes

Feature: 20,159,821,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.64 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Trailers

Blu-ray Release Date: December 2nd, 2011
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 16

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Koch - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (December 11'): I wouldn't expect the film to look much better than this. The Koch media transfer is single-layered with a modest bitrate but the production achieves a gritty, less-polished image that advances beyond the NTSC DVD via 1080P. The DVD was transferred in 1.78:1 and opened up a shade so there is a small amount of information not visible in the 1.85:1 Blu-ray. Flesh tones appear more natural and detail jumps up a peg. This certainly looks more film-like with the superior contrast and tighter colors.

 

The audio is a modest stereo uncompressed track with an optional German DUB. The only music I recall is when the paramedics show up at his door and he has the radio blaring. There are optional German subtitles on the region 'B'-locked disc. We lose the commentary from the DVD and the 12-minute documentary but stalwart fans of 'Buke' will probably indulge to advance their viewing ability to another level closer to theatrical. This Blu-ray definitely does that. I've always liked this film.

***

ON THE DVD: The picture quality is anamorphic and solid. There is a short featurette, "I Drink, I Gamble, I Write..." on Bukowski and the making of "Barfly", plus a wonderful commentary by director Barbet Schroeder. He details his difficulty in bringing this story to the screen with examples that Mickey Rourke would not return his phone calls for 2 years and required a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce to the set each day as well as the years of research it took to find the correct bar location. In the final stages of completing the negotiations for the film, Schroeder had to threaten to cut off his finger and perform a hunger strike in front of Cannon Films office. This is a strong DVD with true sound, beautiful contrast and a sharp image.

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 
 

 


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Screen Captures

 

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


  Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


  Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


  Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Warner - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

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Box Cover

Distribution Warner Region 1 NTSC Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...