Barry Lyndon (Remastered) (1975)

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Released 3-Sep-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Awards
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1975
Running Time 177:19
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (88:19) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stanley Kubrick
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Ryan O'Neal
Marisa Berenson
Patrick Magee
Hardy Kruger
Diana Koerner
Leon Vitali
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Leonard Rosenman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.59:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
French
Spanish
German
Romanian
Bulgarian
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is a remastering of Barry Lyndon, digitally restored. I'll take the liberty of including Michael D's plot summation, so I can concentrate on telling you about the differences between the two versions of this DVD;

"Barry Lyndon is Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of the William Makepeace Thackeray novel of the same name. It chronicles the rise and fall of Raymond Barry (Ryan O'Neal). Raymond starts the movie as an innocent soul, but he quickly learns the ways of the world. He encounters an assortment of characters along his life's journey, including the affluent Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson) whom he decides to marry for the sake of his own comfort, but things do not turn out exactly the way he plans. 

Barry Lyndon is a slow, sweeping epic that sedately moves us through the life and times of Raymond Barry, and shows the characters that influenced him and the ones that he influences, not always to the good. In many ways, it is similar in scope to the more recent Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil, in that the goal of this movie is not the end of the journey, but the journey itself, and the characters we meet along the way. 

Sit down, relax, and enjoy the marvellous storytelling that is Barry Lyndon. And take a little break to refresh yourself during the Interval."

 

    I am pleased to report that the restoration has been an unqualified success. The comparison between the two is quite interesting, because the original has a plethora of film artefacts, and a softish transfer, with an excess of contrast - some highlights appear over-exposed. The new disc is an awesome job, removing all but one of the film artefacts, and providing an excellent balance to the brightness - highlights are perfectly balanced and truly beautiful. 

Technical Note

Telling The Two Versions Of This DVD Apart

    You may want to know how you tell the two versions apart, so you can be certain of getting the new one. Firstly, and very easily, the old one is in a snapper case (the old cardboard cases Warner stopped using here, even though they use then elsewhere); the new one is a transparent Amaray. Secondly, the old cover quoted an aspect ratio of 1.66:1; the new one is
labelled 1.59:1. Thirdly, which is really obvious if you can see the disc, the old one had a picture disc label with a picture of Lady Lyndon; the new one has a copy of the cover art (line drawing). Lastly, as a quadruple check, the old one has a banner across the top "Stanley Kubrick Collection"; the new one adds a second line under that saying "digitally remastered and
restored". That's a lot easier than looking for release numbers on the data side of the disc, isn't it?

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Transfer Quality

Video

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.59:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. The original disc was presented at 1.66:1, not 16x9 enhanced. This is not a huge difference.

    The image is clear rather than sharp, with excellent shadow detail and no low level noise. There is no visible edge enhancement. The original disc was softer, with some edges blurred badly by the appearance of over-exposure - supersaturation.

    Colour is marvellous: deep, rich, lambent. It is difficult to credit that all of this was shot in available light. In lots of cases, an external window will be far brighter than the interior being filmed, so the external window will appear to be a hot white, but that is reasonable, and does not detract from the quality of the cinematography.

    There are a few moments where you might judge the presence of a light dusting of film grain, but it is always faint. There is a single film artefact - a hair at the bottom of the frame at around 6:46 (this same hair appears in the original disc - I wonder if it is part of the source material) - there are no other film artefacts. There are faint hints of aliasing, particularly on the soldiers' hats, but it never becomes obvious. The only really noticeable aliasing comes on some fine stripes on a carriage. There is some moire on the side of the carriage featuring during the eighth birthday party, but it is not overly distracting. I didn't notice any other film-to-video artefacts, nor any significant MPEG artefacts. All up, this is a remarkably clean transfer, made even more remarkable by the comparison to the original disc.

    The subtitles are just as good as on the original, even though the choice of languages is slightly different.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted as an RSDL disc. The layer change is at 88:19. It comes between scenes, but it is still noticeable. It is not objectionable.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    We get a choice of soundtracks; English, French, and Italian. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 kbps, but you could be forgiven for considering it stereo.

    The dialogue is clear and readily made out. Some of the dialogue is in French, and some in German, but it is easy enough to work out what is being said by context. There are no noticeable errors in audio sync.

    The score is a mixture of classical music, arranged and conducted by Leonard Rosenman. It is truly appropriate to the film, and works extremely well. 

    There is so little for the subwoofer to do that mine went to sleep partway through, and never re-awakened. The surrounds, too, get little to do. This was originally a mono soundtrack, and little has been done to expand it in making the 5.1 mix. At least they didn't mess it up.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The main menu is static, with some of the theme music behind it. Perfectly functional, but nothing fancy.

Awards

    A list of some of the awards this movie won, including both American and British Academy Awards.

Trailer (2:05)

    A trailer displaying pieces of the movie, with a voice-over listing the many awards it won. Nothing special.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Two versions of this disc have been released in Region 1, too. By all accounts, they differ in the same way as do these two, with the second version being a considerable improvement.

Summary

    This is an impressive remastering of a classic film.

    The video quality is excellent, especially considering the way the film was shot.

    The audio quality is rather good, but a bit disappointing for a 5.1 mix.

    The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, October 23, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)

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