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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Barry Lyndon [Blu-ray]


(Stanley Kubrick, 1975)






Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 3:05:03.175

Disc Size: 39,322,799,215 bytes

Feature Size: 38,905,657,344 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.92 Mbps

Chapters: 47

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 31st, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2086 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2086 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none



Trailer (2:09 in 480i)





Description: How does an Irish lad without prospects become part of 18th-century English nobility? For Barry Lyndon (Ryan O’Neal) the answer is: any way he can! His climb to wealth and privilege is the enthralling focus of this sumptuous Stanley Kubrick version of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel. For this ravishing, slyly satiric winner of 4 Academy Awards, Kubrick found inspiration in the works of the era’s painters. Costumes and sets were crafted in the era’s designs and pioneering lenses were developed to shoot interiors and exteriors in natural light. The result is a cutting-edge movie bringing a historical period to vivid screen life like no other film before or since.



The Film:

As with all Kubrick films, the performances here are meticulous and precise with Kubrick making good use of his repertory of character actors (Patrick Magee, Leonard Rossiter, Philip Stone) with memorable turns by Marie Kean (Barry's mother), Hardy Kruger (Captain Potzdorf) and Leon Vitali (Lord Bullingdon). There has been some disappointment expressed over the casting of Ryan O'Neal as Barry, an opinion I do not agree with.

Kubrick often cast his films based on an actor's personality, rather than their ability to play varied roles. Think of Nicholson, Sellers, Duvall, Ermey and others, all portraying variations of their own persona. The character of Barry Lyndon is somewhat similar to a Rorschach ink blot (naive? calculated? opportunist? victim? pawn?). Who better to portray the blank-page character of Barry Lyndon than Ryan O'Neal, a likeable if somewhat bland actor. O'Neal is perfect in the role and I find it hard to imagine someone else as Barry Lyndon.

The film was lukewarmly received on its December 1975 premiere, however it did find itself on many Top 10 lists and was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. The film has never quite been given the adoration that other Kubrick films receive, no doubt due to the subject matter, time period and length of the film. Unfortunate, as this is one of Kubrick's very best.

Excerpt from Bill McAlpine review for DVDBeaver located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Barry Lyndon looks impressive on Blu-ray from Warner. Film textures remain uninterrupted, colors are bright and the natural lighting seems finally at ease in digital thanks to 1080P. From Wikipedia: "Kubrick's express desire was to avoid electric lighting where possible, most shots were achieved with conventional lenses and lighting, but were lit to deliberately mimic natural light rather than for compositional reasons. In addition to potentially seeming more realistic, these methods also gave a particular period look to the film which has often been likened to 18th century paintings..." SD was problematic with this title but Blu-ray has 'turned the corner' returning the visuals to the painterly luster of their theatrical roots. This is dual-layered with a modest bitrate for the over 3-hour film framed for this release in 1.78:1. Colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate and there is softness in the scenes that were shot in that manner. This Blu-ray probably looks as close to Barry Lyndon as we have seen from the digital medium. Kubrick fans should rejoice.


















Audio :

Warner have used a DTS-HD 5.1 at 2086 kbps for the original English track and a number of standard Dolby DUBs are included. There is some aggression (cracking gunfire) and subtleness. Kubrick was a big fan of classical music, and the film score utilizes pieces by Bach (Concerto for violin and oboe in C minor), Vivaldi (Cello Concerto in E-Minor, a transcription of the Cello Sonata in E Minor RV 40), Mozart, Schubert and more. It sounds very pleasing - there is some depth and minimal range - but the uncompressed track supports the film with perfect grace. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Like Lolita - nothing but a trailer. It runs 2:09 in 480i.



Cited by Martin Scorsese as being his favorite Kubrick film - Barry Lyndon has an immense amount to appreciate. There is abundance of beauty just from a purely cinematic viewpoint. The Blu-ray format has benefitted the presentation extremely confidently. I would have liked some extras but perhaps they are down the road - as for the a/v transfer - I am highly recommending it! 

Gary Tooze

May 24th, 2011






About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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