Blu-ray reissue: Barry Lyndon ****

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on July 2, 2011)

Barry LyndonWarner Bros.  Blu-ray

Although it remains a mystery as to why Stanley Kubrick’s most visually sumptuous film took so long to arrive on Blu-ray, I’m just happy that it finally has. This beautifully constructed, leisurely paced adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s rags-to-riches-to-rags tale about a roguish Irishman (Ryan O’Neal) who grifts his way into the English aristocracy is like watching 18th-century paintings come to life (and to its detractors, about as exciting as being forced to stare at a painting for 3 hours, strapped to a chair).

This magnificent film has improved with age, like a fine wine; successive viewings prove the legends about Kubrick’s obsession with the minutest of details regarding production design were not exaggerated-every frame is steeped in verisimilitude. Michael Hordern’s delightfully droll voice over work as The Narrator rescues the proceedings from sliding into staidness.

Warner includes no extras to speak of (they are notorious for issuing “bare bones” editions), but the film looks spectacular.


2 thoughts on “Blu-ray reissue: Barry Lyndon ****”

    1. That would be fabulous. I’m a big fan of the BFI reissues…meticulously assembled packages, with film-buff friendly extras. Another great UK reissue studio is Masters of Cinema. Both give Criterion a run for their money. Amazon UK has become my primary movie store; especially since the pound has been trending closer to parity on currency conversion (post-Brexit). I’ve discovered that in many cases, the PAL DVD and Region B Blu-ray reissues are actually cheaper than their domestic counterparts. My multi-region Blu-ray player was a great investment!

      *UPDATE* 7/17/17

      It’s official…Criterion just announced a Blu-ray edition will be released in October 2017!

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