A few words about…™ The Lion in Winter — in Blu-ray

Normally, I'd not recommend, but this one of those cases in which content must come out above technology. 4 Stars

“It’s the way I register despair…”

Tony Harvey’s quite extraordinary 1968 The Lion in Winter, is one of those films that I would take with me, if i knew I was to lost on a desert island.

Albeit with electricity and some playback gear.

I love the film, and Tony became a friend.

After owning a 16mm print, followed by a lovely 35, I was ready for the film to make its way to Blu-ray, and I was certain the it would arrive in style.

I was wrong.

Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray, with a master courtesy of MGM is one of those head-shakers.

All of the original elements survive, but what we’ve been allowed (via no fault of KL’s) is an (apparently) older transfer derived from either a poorly produced IP, or dupe neg — or both — that rather than being rock solid like any decent modern image harvest, continually worms its way around the screen.

And it’s enough to give one a headache.

Color is fine.

Grain is alright in some instances, and disappears in others, with an overall slightly soft image, probably courtesy of double dupes.

Audio if fine, but always just slightly enough out of sync to be annoying, if that sort of thing annoys you.

It’s distressing, as TLiW is a superb production, that deserves far better, and will probably not be re-visited.

Mr. Harvey, by way of trade, began in the industry as a child actor, then made the move, as an adult to editing —
I’m All Right Jack, The Angry Silence, Lolita, The L-Shaped Room, Dr. Strangelove, The Whisperers –before moving to directing.

And direct, he did, no more-so than in Lion, for which everything just seems to click, with performances that are unforgettable.

So what we have, is a new Blu-ray, that’s up to ancient standards, for an extraordinary film.

Normally, I’d not recommend, but this one of those cases in which content must come out above technology.

Studiocanal should be ashamed of themselves.

Image – 3.5

Audio – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Very Highly Recommended (caveats noted)

RAH

Published by

Kevin Collins

administrator

134 Comments

  1. Robert Harris

    […]
    It's distressing, as TLiW is a superb production, that deserves far better, and will probably not be re-visited.
    […]

    I've often wondered why such failures of transfers and/or restorations do not get re-visited. "The Lion in Winter" is an important film that commands a great deal of reverence and respect on every front. Meanwhile, I'm glad to learn that Kino is not at fault; but, at the same time, I disappointingly can not justify the purchase.

  2. If Kino is not at fault who is? It's their name on the label. Supposedly this came from a Studio Canal restoration of a year or so ago. Assume that Kino paid good money to utilize this restored version. Shouldn't they have insisted on a better transfer? Don't they have standards?

    To have anything resembling sync problems in this movie where speech is so important is a disaster.

  3. This is a crushing disappointment. It's one of my all-time favorite films. Back in the time of its theatrical release, there was no home video, of course, but I bought the screenplay in paperback book form and the soundtrack album and would relive the movie at home in my room by reading and playing the score.

  4. Robert Harris

    "It's the way I register despair…"

    Tony Harvey's quite extraordinary 1968 The Lion in Winter, is one of those films that I would take with me, if i knew I was to lost on a desert island.

    Albeit with electricity and some playback gear.

    I love the film, and Tony became a friend.

    After owning a 16mm print, followed by a lovely 35, I was ready for the film to make its way to Blu-ray, and I was certain the it would arrive in style.

    I was wrong.

    Kino Lorber's new Blu-ray, with a master courtesy of MGM is one of those head-shakers.

    All of the original elements survive, but what we've been allowed (via no fault of KL's) is an (apparently) older transfer derived from either a poorly produced IP, or dupe neg — or both — that rather than being rock solid like any decent modern image harvest, continually worms its way around the screen.

    And it's enough to give one a headache.

    Color is fine.

    Grain is alright in some instances, and disappears in others, with an overall slightly soft image, probably courtesy of double dupes.

    Audio if fine, but always just slightly enough out of sync to be annoying, if that sort of thing annoys you.

    It's distressing, as TLiW is a superb production, that deserves far better, and will probably not be re-visited.

    Mr. Harvey, by way of trade, began in the industry as a child actor, then made the move, as an adult to editing —
    I'm All Right Jack, The Angry Silence, Lolita, The L-Shaped Room, Dr. Strangelove, The Whisperers –before moving to directing.

    And direct, he did, no more-so than in Lion, for which everything just seems to click, with performances that are unforgettable.

    So what we have, is a new Blu-ray, that's up to ancient standards, for an extraordinary film.

    Normally, I'd not recommend, but this one of those cases in which content must come out above technology.

    Studiocanal should be ashamed of themselves.

    Image – 3.5

    Audio – 4

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    Upgrade from DVD – Yes

    Very Highly Recommended (caveats noted)

    RAH

  5. Matt Hough

    This is a crushing disappointment. It's one of my all-time favorite films. Back in the time of its theatrical release, there was no home video, of course, but I bought the screenplay in paperback book form and the soundtrack album and would relive the movie at home in my room by reading and playing the score.

    And, might I add, that we can all have a better shot at reliving the color and clarity through the miracles of memory and the mind's eye over that of what Studio Canal has put out. At least with the Amazon – Arrow debacles over the sales of "The Apartment", there was still an ultimately perfect transfer waiting for us all.

  6. Mark-P

    I held off buying the UK disc waiting for this one and now I don't know which one to buy! I don't demand perfection, but which is the lesser of two bads?

    I bet they are exactly the same.
    I've seen screenshots of the UK one and it doesn't look good either.

  7. Konstantinos

    I bet they are exactly the same.
    I've seen screenshots of the UK one and it doesn't look good either.

    But what about sound? The main complaint with the UK disc was that the sound was very thin with hardly any bass, and now RAH mentions sync issues with the Kino.

  8. Please keep in mind. I'm very picky.

    Also some minor white cut through scratches on occasion. Nothing terrible.

    And as noted, sync is a minor issue, which may go unnoticed.

    One would presume that this is the earlier transfer from UK.

  9. PMF

    So, why is Kino waving the "4K restoration" banner at us?
    I was under the impression that the term of 4K was a lock-down on achieving the ultimate in picture and sound.

    I was unaware that this is purportedly a 4k rest.

    Ummm, no.

    Although anyone can scan anything in 4k, or above.

  10. Mark-P

    I held off buying the UK disc waiting for this one and now I don't know which one to buy! I don't demand perfection, but which is the lesser of two bads?

    I'll buy this when Kino has one of their sales in which I can purchase it for $12 or less.

  11. Robert Harris

    […]One would presume that this is the earlier transfer from UK.

    When you say "earlier transfer" does this suggest that there is a "latest transfer"?
    If so, then what would preclude them from not using it?

  12. PMF

    When you say "earlier transfer" does this suggest that there is a "latest transfer"?
    If so, then what would preclude them from not using it?

    I think what Mr. Harris means is based on his perusal of THE LION OF WINTER Blu-Ray, specific to instances of projector weave and bobbing, erratic grain management, and inconsistent color and sharpness, this advertised "latest transfer" is in fact an "earlier transfer." Not that a later transfer exists, but rather that the current LION IN WINTER blu seems to be taken from an older HD master, for if there was indeed a "latest transfer", as is advertised on both the UK & US Blu-Rays, these problems, which generally crop up in older masters, would not exist.

    I own the UK Blu, and as far as I'm concerned, especially considering all the negative word of mouth on this and other forums, I was pleasantly surprised. Then again, I have a 32 inch screen, so these issues, while present, are not that obvious as they would be projected on a large screen. In fact, I didn't really notice any of these issues the first time through. Maybe it's just such a powerful film on so many levels, it's impossible to dispassionately analyze the visual quality of the film. In any case, after reading Mr. Harris' appraisal, I sampled sections of the Blu-Ray again, and in fact noticed them, but for me (and the size of my monitor) they don't really get in the way of watching the film for me.

    Then again, because this is advertised as a recent 4k scan, it should be perfect, and it isn't. However, based on my viewing arrangement, these issues (which shouldn't be there at all) are minor and fairly intermittent, and didn't at all get in the way of appreciating Douglas Slocombe's amazing cinematography.

    Still, while this Blu ray does express at least a sense of the majesty of the film's visual artistry, it should be a whole lot better, on many different levels, which is why Mr. Harris gave it a less than positive grade. But it certainly isn't garbage, and I found it more than acceptable. But considering how this film should look based on a scan of the original negative (if that is indeed what happened) the final results are very disappointing. But I'm happy to own it regardless, since I haven't seen the film in 50 years.

  13. atcolomb

    My only copy of the movie is the 2001 MGM dvd release so i will buy this blu-ray anyway. Also i like the film.

    The film is much better than I remember. It's possible I was too young to appreciate it then. At the time, it seemed a bit overly "au courant" to present Henry II & his brood as a fairly modern dysfunctional family a la WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, within the context of a meticulously researched and crafted period film. Watching the film a second time back in 1968; beyond Katherine Hepburn's remarkable performance, it just didn't hold together for me. The film seemed overly coy and calculating, almost winking at the audience. Seeing it again today, it's simply a masterpiece.

  14. Robert Harris

    I was unaware that this is purportedly a 4k rest.

    Ummm, no.

    Although anyone can scan anything in 4k, or above.

    Can you say how this is an upgrade to the DVD? I almost feel like cancelling my Blu-ray order, but I trust your judgement! Thanks Robert

  15. The Amazon listing says this:

    Newly Restored in 4K! Acting greats Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia), Katharine Hepburn (The African Queen), Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) and Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights) star in this epic masterpiece directed by Anthony Harvey (They Might Be Giants). Behind the great stone walls of an English castle, the world's most powerful empire is in crisis. Three sons struggle to win their father's favor, as well as his crown. King Henry II (O'Toole) and his queen, Eleanor (Hepburn), engage in a battle of royal wits that pits elder son Richard (Hopkins) against his brothers John (Nigel Terry, Excalibur) and Geoffrey (John Castle, Man of La Mancha), while the cunning King Philip of France (Dalton) takes advantage of the internal fracturing in his bid to destroy their kingdom. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Actor (O'Toole), Director (Harvey) and Costume Design (Margaret Furse) and winner of 3 Academy Awards – Best Actress (Hepburn), Adapted Screenplay (James Goldman) and Music Score (John Barry).

    Special Features:
    -2016 4K Restoration
    -Audio Commentary by Director Anthony Harvey
    -Interview with Sound Recordist Simon Kaye
    -5.1 Surround / 2.0 Audio
    -Original Theatrical Trailer​

    I wonder if this is another situation like the prior My Fair Lady blu where they had a later transfer but mistakenly used an earlier one (or supplied an earlier one to KINO)?

  16. trajan007

    The UK version I have looks fine. I had an earlier Spanish import that had syn issues, but this one is fine.

    I have owned several European editions of the Blu. The PQ on the most recent UK edition looks decent to me, but what was completely unacceptable was the tinny soundtrack with not a trace of low end. I assume because Mr. Harris gave the audio a "4," the sound, at least, has been fixed.

  17. Dick

    I have owned several European editions of the Blu. The PQ on the most recent UK edition looks decent to me, but what was completely unacceptable was the tinny soundtrack with not a trace of low end. I assume because Mr. Harris gave the audio a "4," the sound, at least, has been fixed.

    The sound is there.

  18. Wow. What a total disappointment from KINO. a 50th anniv. edition that lacks bonus features and attention to detail. Pity.

    I've been working on a special project to go along with this when I found out about the lack of bonus features, and I have been anxiously awaiting this to arrive.

    Why can't KINO do some restoration themselves? Why are they throwing this out there when they know it's not 100% perfect?

    If anyone cares to know about my special project, send me a PM.

  19. Paul Rossen

    What a disappointment. No wonder TT passed on this title. Wish Criterion had it. They would do Mr. Harvey proud.

    J. Casey

    I take it that this is a different transfer than the 2016 U.K. blu. Is that, then, the best version to get?

    The source master for our release is the 2016 Studio Canal 4K restoration, the same one as the UK release, which has received great reviews everywhere – look it up. And we're pretty sure the North American reviews will also be very positive and we're also sure that 95% of fans will be very happy with the transfer. The only difference between the UK and US one is the 5.1 audio… we did a new one.

    TT never has access to this master and we're positive they would've loved to release it, the master they turned down was a very old MGM HD master. And we did not use this older master by mistake.

  20. Kino Lorber Insider

    The source master for our release is the 2016 Studio Canal 4K restoration, the same one as the UK release, which has received great reviews everywhere – look it up. And we're pretty sure the North American reviews will also be very positive and we're also sure that 95% of fans will be very happy with the transfer. The only difference between the UK and US one is the 5.1 audio… we did a new one.

    TT never has access to this master and we're positive they would've loved to release it, the master they turned down was a very old MGM HD master. And we did not use this older master by mistake.

    Thanks so much for this info! I've had this pre-ordered since it was announced and look forward to it!

  21. Kino Lorber Insider

    The source master for our release is the 2016 Studio Canal 4K restoration, the same one as the UK release, which has received great reviews everywhere – look it up. And we're pretty sure the North American reviews will also be very positive and we're also sure that 95% of fans will be very happy with the transfer. The only difference between the UK and US one is the 5.1 audio… we did a new one.

    TT never has access to this master and we're positive they would've loved to release it, the master they turned down was a very old MGM HD master. And we did not use this older master by mistake.

    I believe everything being said.

    The problems do not stem from KL. They go back to the “restoration” performed by Canal, which while it could be 4k, neither has 4k information, nor has the stability of a modern scan.

    It is technologically impossible for Canal to have performed a modern scan on an OCN, and ended up with the image that I'm seeing.

    If they're using anything other than the OCN, there is no reason to go 4k.

    And I also agree that the majority of viewers will be happy.

  22. Kino Lorber Insider

    The source master for our release is the 2016 Studio Canal 4K restoration, the same one as the UK release, which has received great reviews everywhere – look it up. And we're pretty sure the North American reviews will also be very positive and we're also sure that 95% of fans will be very happy with the transfer. The only difference between the UK and US one is the 5.1 audio… we did a new one.

    TT never has access to this master and we're positive they would've loved to release it, the master they turned down was a very old MGM HD master. And we did not use this older master by mistake.

    Thank you for the response. Will await reviews and word from Forum members before taking the plunge. Have another question. There being a new 5.1 stereo audio track …is the slight sync problem with the original mono or the new stereo or both?

  23. Matt Hough

    This is a crushing disappointment. It's one of my all-time favorite films. Back in the time of its theatrical release, there was no home video, of course, but I bought the screenplay in paperback book form and the soundtrack album and would relive the movie at home in my room by reading and playing the score.

    Same here. I must have gotten rid of the LP years ago, but…

    View attachment 44435

  24. Kino Lorber Insider

    The source master for our release is the 2016 Studio Canal 4K restoration, the same one as the UK release, which has received great reviews everywhere – look it up. And we're pretty sure the North American reviews will also be very positive and we're also sure that 95% of fans will be very happy with the transfer. The only difference between the UK and US one is the 5.1 audio… we did a new one.

    TT never has access to this master and we're positive they would've loved to release it, the master they turned down was a very old MGM HD master. And we did not use this older master by mistake.

    I was on the fence as to which Blu-ray to buy. The new 5.1 soundtrack has sold me on the Kino disc. Thanks!

  25. Paul Penna

    So given RH's "Seems to be multi-channel monaural" and Kino's "US one is the 5.1 audio… we did a new one" what do we have and what exactly did RH hear? Five channels all with the same audio plus an LHE?

    I’m hearing no channel separation, although the track is 5.1

  26. Robert Harris

    I’m hearing no channel separation, although the track is 5.1

    Perhaps, it could be one of those requires electronic testing to prove whether the 5.1 audio track is true stereo and/or true surround sound scenarios?

    CHEERS! 🙂

  27. While disappointing that StudioCanal's master isn't what it should have been, I'll still be picking it up to replace the DVD.

    How exactly are the rights split between StudioCanal and MGM on the Embassy titles? Perhaps only MGM has access to the camera negative and StudioCanal's main element is a dupe? It's not the first time MGM and SC masters differed, as in the case with Zulu and The Graduate.

  28. I felt some real disappointment on reading RAH’s words the other day, but as the conversation transpired I’ve turned around to really looking forward to having my copy. For one thing, I haven’t watched the film in years (after bingeing on it when released) and I never had it on any home video format, so from that standpoint it’s kind of a no-brainer. I’m relieved to hear that the audio is especially satisfying. This film is just too brilliant to deprive oneself of (of which to deprive oneself?).

    I’ve also got people around me — some of whom know how wonderful it is but haven’t seen it in years, and others who I know will absolutely thrill to it for the first time — but they aren’t film buyers or collectors, so it’s time to play host and improve a few lives.

    In a wonderful coincidence, a local stage production with an excellent director and killer cast opens next week just a few miles from me. I’ve never seen it on stage, so how perfect is that as a warmup and companion piece? Another no-brainer. Good times ahead.

  29. The film is much better than I remember. It's possible I was too young to appreciate it then. At the time, it seemed a bit overly "au courant" to present Henry II & his brood as a fairly modern dysfunctional family a la WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, within the context of a meticulously researched and crafted period film. Watching the film a second time back in 1968; beyond Katherine Hepburn's remarkable performance, it just didn't hold together for me. The film seemed overly coy and calculating, almost winking at the audience. Seeing it again today, it's simply a masterpiece.

    When I first saw this film, maybe a decade ago, I was constantly reminded of Virginia Woolf. Both have the hateful bickering couples. It's quite exhausting in a way to watch, as both films have a few characters who are almost always at each other's throats.

  30. But the dialog's the thing.

    I think the comment above that the script here was like a cross between Shakespeare and Mamet is pretty astute. For the sake of his audiences, James Goldman found a middle ground that made viewer-friendly modern vernacular ("What family doesn't have it's ups and downs?") sound like it could conceivably have been spoken centuries earlier. This is largely successful due to the outstanding performances. There is great wit and good humor throughout the film, which lightens an otherwise (and necessarily) oppressive atmosphere. How much pleasure might one have derived from living in a damp, cold, under-decorated castle?

    The film still carries a lot of weight, and is incredibly memorable. John Barry's operatic score is sublime…I think I wore out three or four copies of the Columbia soundtrack album (so nice to have it on CD now). THE LION IN WINTER is probably my favorite release of 1968, and there were a lot of good ones.

  31. Kino Lorber Insider

    […]The only difference between the UK and US one is the 5.1 audio… we did a new one.[…]

    Thank you KL for being forthright and for taking far greater initiatives over that of Studio Canal.:cheers:

  32. Robert Harris

    Kino Lorber has confirmed that their new 5.1 is derived from 2.0 monaural.

    Pssst,..pssst…don't tell anyone, Robert, but I think I'm gonna give those guys at KL my support.
    After all, we're talkin' Peter and Kate. Right? Right.

  33. Robert Harris

    Kino Lorber has confirmed that their new 5.1 is derived from 2.0 monaural.

    I've never understood the dislike for monaural around here. I stand to be corrected but The Lion In Winter was never released in stereo but in mono. Enthusiasts who would be furious about a film not being in the correct aspect ratio seem to make an exception when a film is not presented in its correct audio. I understand sometimes original stereo tracks are lost and it's not possible but creating a "stereo" track from mono elements seems a poor substitute.

  34. Thomas T

    I've never understood the dislike for monaural around here. I stand to be corrected but The Lion In Winter was never released in stereo but in mono. Enthusiasts who would be furious about a film not being in the correct aspect ratio seem to make an exception when a film is not presented in its correct audio. I understand sometimes original stereo tracks are lost and it's not possible but creating a "stereo" track from mono elements seems a poor substitute.

    For those folks who like to see ALL of their speakers, used ALL of the time, a 5.1 re-mix is the best of all worlds.

    Even if it’s still mono.

    Nothing wrong with it, and it sounds fine.

  35. Robert Harris

    For those folks who like to see ALL of their speakers, used ALL of the time, a 5.1 re-mix is the best of all worlds.

    Even if it’s still mono.

    Nothing wrong with it, and it sounds fine.

    I’ll reserve judgment. If it’s simply the same mono track (including dialog) blasted out of all 5 speakers, then I hope there’s an alternative. But if it’s a proper remix where they separate out the dialog track and keep it in the center, and only expand the music and effects track into all speakers then I would be happy.

  36. I'm beginning to wonder exactly what elements Studio Canal actually has, because this is not the first time something like this has happened and it's not going to be the last. For example, they purportedly own the Lumet Murder on the Orient Express, except they don't have the original negative, which resides here at Paramount, which I presume is why their Blu-ray of it looks so disgustingly awful. I don't get it, really. Who owned this film and where are those original elements?

  37. I'm beginning to wonder exactly what elements Studio Canal actually has, because this is not the first time something like this has happened and it's not going to be the last. For example, they purportedly own the Lumet Murder on the Orient Express, except they don't have the original negative, which resides here at Paramount, which I presume is why their Blu-ray of it looks so disgustingly awful. I don't get it, really. Who owned this film and where are those original elements?

  38. Per the vault inventories on the film, there is no stereo. An M&E exists, but no record of original mx, which Mr. Harvey once told me he “recalled” as being recorded in stereo.

    Of course, the mx stem could have survived elsewhere, but it’s not evident.

    Another problem, is that the record keeping at the time, did not break out elements by reel or unit, merely an overall line or lines.

    One would hope that Canal inventories have been upgraded since that time, c. 1994, at which time the OCN was unusable, as it had been mishandled. I believe that problem may have solved itself a few years later.

    RAH

  39. It gets weirder. Unlike the TV library which is owned lock, stock, and barrel by Sony, the Embassy Pictures theatrical films are split three ways between StudioCanal for actual copyright management, MGM (and by proxy, their licensees) for American home video, and Sony Pictures Television for TV broadcasts.

    I will never understand why Columbia didn’t keep the movies along with the TV shows. It’s not a big library, but it does have some high-quality titles.

  40. Dick

    For the sake of his audiences, James Goldman found a middle ground that made viewer-friendly modern vernacular ("What family doesn't have it's ups and downs?") sound like it could conceivably have been spoken centuries earlier. This is largely successful due to the outstanding performances.

    So true. Another case in point: At least twice a character refers to how beautiful or handsome someone looked when they were younger by saying, "I've seen the pictures," as though they are talking about photographs. Did people refer to "paintings" as "pictures" in those days? Don't know. Even if they did, I doubt they would accept an artist's rendering on royal assignment to be evidence of how beautiful or handsome the person actually looked in real life. So our minds instantly conjure and image of that character musing over photos, perhaps in a family album. Which, of course, would not have been possible. But the actors speaking the lines are so truthful and in the moment we are not jarred by the reading and implications of the utterly contemporary phrasing, if we notice it at all.

  41. They absolutely did use paintings to judge the looks of a person living in a foreign land. Henry VIII roared in anger when he first met Anne of Cleves in person. The portrait painted of her by his official portrait painter Hans Holbein for his perusal before he agreed to the marriage was a flattering image not borne out by her actual looks once she arrived at court. Henry II and Eleanor lived several centuries before, but it isn't unreasonable to assume it was the practice then, too.

  42. IMHO, 1968's true Oscar race for Best Actor was between Ron Moody in "Oliver!" and Peter O' Toole in "The Lion in Winter".
    I suspect that Cliff Robertson's win was due mostly to a splitting of the votes.
    Any takers on that idea?

  43. Alan Arkin won the New York Film Critics Best Actor Award for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and I suspect he got some votes, too.

    I have to admit, however, I was REALLY shocked when O'Toole didn't win that night.

  44. Matt Hough

    Alan Arkin won the New York Film Critics Best Actor Award for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and I suspect he got some votes, too.

    I have to admit, however, I was REALLY shocked when O'Toole didn't win that night.

    I was also surprised, but I thought Ron Moody's Fagin was superb, too. Cliff Robertson's win might have had to do with the good old person-with-handicap handicap. Voters have always loved actors who play dysfunctional and disabled people as proof they can act way outside of their norm. O'Toole had already played Henry II in BECKET, so everyone knew he could bellow. Moody's part was in a musical and so might not have been taken as seriously. Arkin was very low key. Robertson, I submit, was the sentimental choice.

  45. Matt Hough

    They absolutely did use paintings to judge the looks of a person living in a foreign land. Henry VIII roared in anger when he first met Anne of Cleves in person. The portrait painted of her by his official portrait painter Hans Holbein for his perusal before he agreed to the marriage was a flattering image not borne out by her actual looks once she arrived at court. Henry II and Eleanor lived several centuries before, but it isn't unreasonable to assume it was the practice then, too.

    Ok. Then I'm betting the higher up the social ladder or royal lineage of the subject in those portraits, the more foolish anyone viewing them would be to conclude they look anywhere near as attractive as the portrait artist portrayed them to be.

  46. Dick

    […] O'Toole had already played Henry II in BECKET, so everyone knew he could bellow. […]

    No, Dick, not you…say it ain't so. I, myself, would swap this out from "bellow" to "gusto". And, oh, just four short years later how wonderfully he aged his physical gait. You could feel the heaviness of those mounting years whenever he lifted his sword.

  47. Just one more week to go before the American BD release of "The Lion in Winter".
    Being still on the fence – in my case, over the sync question – I'm eagerly awaiting the other reviews.
    Deep down inside, I'm truly hoping that the scales will be tipped towards KL's favor.
    We shall see.

  48. PMF

    Just one more week to go before the American BD release of "The Lion in Winter".
    Being still on the fence – in my case, over the sync question – I'm eagerly awaiting the other reviews.
    Deep down inside, I'm truly hoping that the scales will be tipped towards KL's favor.
    We shall see.

    Sync is extremely minor, and will not be noted by the majority of viewers. If you find it disturbing, you can always advance or retard, as needed, via your player.

  49. Robert Harris

    Sync is extremely minor, and will not be noted by the majority of viewers. If you find it disturbing, you can always advance or retard, as needed, via your player.

    Being that your discerning eye had uncovered the disparities between Rex Harrison and the rest of the "My Fair Lady" cast; where sync was involved; I would be foolish not to take your well advised cue. Many thanks.

  50. Being that both "The Shape of Water" and "The Lion in Winter" will be released on the same day, I find it telling that of the two; with one in native 4K and the other not; that my own inner cravings would still prefer to pounce upon the latter, first.

  51. PMF

    Being that your discerning eye had uncovered the disparities between Rex Harrison and the rest of the "My Fair Lady" cast; where sync was involved; I would be foolish not to take your well advised cue. Many thanks.

    Only in musical numbers…

  52. Robert Harris

    Sync is extremely minor, and will not be noted by the majority of viewers. If you find it disturbing, you can always advance or retard, as needed, via your player.

    I’ve yet to own a player or receiver with “advance” capabilities. Only audio DELAY which can compensate when the audio is ahead of the image but not behind it, which is mainly meant to be used for slow pixel response. And “retard” is politically incorrect. 😀

  53. Mark-P

    I’ve yet to own a player or receiver with “advance” capabilities. Only audio DELAY which can compensate when the audio is ahead of the image but not behind it, which is mainly meant to be used for slow pixel response. And “retard” is politically incorrect. 😀

    Oppo

  54. Robert Harris

    Only in musical numbers…

    Wouldn't the synch issues with musical numbers in "My Fair Lady" have to do with the fact that Rex Harrison was reportedly recorded "live" via a microphone hidden in the Windsor knot of his necktie (according to the "making of" documentary that accompanied the earlier DVD)? If that's the case, Harrison probably looked like he was synched perfectly in the musical numbers, whereas the rest of the cast (mostly dubbed)may have looked "rubbery" in their audio delivery.

  55. Mark-P

    I’ve yet to own a player or receiver with “advance” capabilities. Only audio DELAY which can compensate when the audio is ahead of the image but not behind it, which is mainly meant to be used for slow pixel response. And “retard” is politically incorrect. 😀

    My Denon AVR receiver has an "Audio Delay" feature that can add or subtract (via numerical values) the delivery of the audio. I would imagine most, if not all, Denon receivers have this feature. I rarely use it when playing DVD's, but Blu-rays sometimes need a slight adjustment (in the negative direction).

  56. Filmgazer

    Wouldn't the synch issues with musical numbers in "My Fair Lady" have to do with the fact that Rex Harrison was reportedly recorded "live" via a microphone hidden in the Windsor knot of his necktie (according to the "making of" documentary that accompanied the earlier DVD)? If that's the case, Harrison probably looked like he was synched perfectly in the musical numbers, whereas the rest of the cast (mostly dubbed)may have looked "rubbery" in their audio delivery.

    By George, I think he's got it.
    OR: "Let the others of my sex, tie the knot around their necks".;)

  57. PMF

    IMHO, 1968's true Oscar race for Best Actor was between Ron Moody in "Oliver!" and Peter O' Toole in "The Lion in Winter".
    I suspect that Cliff Robertson's win was due mostly to a splitting of the votes.
    Any takers on that idea?

    I agree. I suspect more than a few winners were because of split votes.

  58. Charles Smith

    Tonight's the opening of a local production of the original stage play. Very much looking forward to it.

    Speaking of the stage play, remember that the original Henry was the Music Man himself, Robert Preston.

  59. I don't know what Kino's looks like, but I have the 2017 French BD release of The Lion in Winter (which uses the same material than the UK one) and it indeed doesn't seem very good looking.

    It looks closer to a pre-existing HD master than a newer 4K restoration. It is quite smooth, lacks the typical fine grain that 4K restorations have, has frequent color fluctuations and most surprisingly to me is quite dirtier than your typical 4K restoration, with lots of small scratches and dust specks that 4K restorations extremely rarely display nowadays.

    If this is a brand new 4K restoration, something went very wrong somewhere.

    Here are a few caps :
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

  60. Charles Smith

    Tonight's the opening of a local production of the original stage play. Very much looking forward to it.

    Hope you enjoyed it Charles. I’ve seen LION IN WINTER on stage and, with apologies to those who love the film, I thought it worked much better on stage.

  61. Rex for My Fair lady, did the same as he did in Dr. Doolittle. he used his live recording only as a guide track and went back in and post dubbed the vocals. The production logs for Lady at USC confirm this and give the dates.

  62. PMF

    IMHO, 1968's true Oscar race for Best Actor was between Ron Moody in "Oliver!" and Peter O' Toole in "The Lion in Winter".
    I suspect that Cliff Robertson's win was due mostly to a splitting of the votes.
    Any takers on that idea?

    My own theory concerning that 1968 Best Actor Oscar competition is that since Cliff Robertson was known as a nice guy in the Hollywood community, PLUS, he was an American, Mr Robertson simply won a popularity contest. Sort of reminds me of high school contests for Class President, in which the guys who reap the most votes are often popular members of one, or more, of their school's sports teams, and end up defeating much more accomplished scholars to win the title of Class President. (And BTW, no, I never ran for any type of office when I was in school, but was actually quite a goof-off when it came to academics, and was on just one team, the Lacrosse team, which I had to leave after a month, anyway, due to health reasons.)

  63. If I'm not mistaken, Cliff had already portrayed Charlie in a television program (The U.S. Steel Hour) and won an Emmy for it, so I suspect folks were very familiar with him in this role (in addition to his being a really good guy and a fine actor).

  64. Matt Hough

    If I'm not mistaken, Cliff had already portrayed Charlie in a television program (The U.S. Steel Hour) and won an Emmy for it, so I suspect folks were very familiar with him in this role (in addition to his being a really good guy and a fine actor).

    Thanks for your response and information, Matt.

    BTW, it's off the subject, but since I see that you live in Charlotte, I must mention that my late father grew up in Charlotte, and every summer, when I was a kid, my family would drive from our home on Long Island, down to North Carolina, to spend my dad's vacation at my grandmother's house.

    My grandmother lived on a little street called Mimosa Avenue, and her home was about 5 houses from a boulevard which was called The Plaza. Then, after my grandmother's death, we used to stay at my aunt's house which was on Lexington Ave, and was much closer to downtown Charlotte, in what was known as the Dilworth neighborhood.

    Hope that my brief digression down memory lane isn't too out of line here, but since I'm the only one of my family who's left, sometimes an occasional need to think about things that once were, and briefly acknowledge those who are now silent memories, is a compulsion that gets a hold of me.

  65. Rick Thompson

    Speaking of the stage play, remember that the original Henry was the Music Man himself, Robert Preston.

    Yes, and I'd kill to see a clip of him in that.

    Rosemary Harris was his Eleanor, and King Philip of France was played by none other than Christopher Walken…a decade before he made his mark in ANNIE HALL. (The mind boggles at that one.)

  66. I just watched the new Blu-Ray. It's the best home video version I've owned, and I've owned it on VHS, laserdisc, and DVD.

    And I could also have used those exact words in 2011 to describe the CBS/Paramount Blu-Ray of "My Fair Lady". Was it enough of an advance over the previous home video versions to spend money on at the time? Yes, if barely. Was it permanently eclipsed a few years later by the superb 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray? Yes, yes, 50 times yes.

    So today's new "The Lion In Winter" Blu-Ray is worth owning, in my opinion. And I hope that history repeats itself.

  67. Mike Boone

    BTW, it's off the subject, but since I see that you live in Charlotte, I must mention that my late father grew up in Charlotte, and every summer, when I was a kid, my family would drive from our home on Long Island, down to North Carolina, to spend my dad's vacation at my grandmother's house.

    My grandmother lived on a little street called Mimosa Avenue, and her home was about 5 houses from a boulevard which was called The Plaza. Then, after my grandmother's death, we used to stay at my aunt's house which was on Lexington Ave, and was much closer to downtown Charlotte, in what was known as the Dilworth neighborhood.

    It's a lovely reminiscence and thanks so much for sharing it. WHile I live on the other side of town from there, I'm very familiar with The Plaza and DIlworth, have had friends that lived in both areas, and even know Mimosa Avenue! And in ironic contrast, we used to drive to New York City once or twice a year in the 1950s and 1960s. Once I discovered airplane travel, I started preferring 90 minutes to get to NYC rather than a day or two there and back!

    And to get the conversation back on topic, I never got to see The Lion in Winter on Broadway. Ironically, as big a hit as the film was, the play flopped on Broadway only managing a three month run.

  68. Mike Boone

    Thanks for your response and information, Matt.

    BTW, it's off the subject, but since I see that you live in Charlotte, I must mention that my late father grew up in Charlotte, and every summer, when I was a kid, my family would drive from our home on Long Island, down to North Carolina, to spend my dad's vacation at my grandmother's house.

    My grandmother lived on a little street called Mimosa Avenue, and her home was about 5 houses from a boulevard which was called The Plaza. Then, after my grandmother's death, we used to stay at my aunt's house which was on Lexington Ave, and was much closer to downtown Charlotte, in what was known as the Dilworth neighborhood.

    Hope that my brief digression down memory lane isn't too out of line here, but since I'm the only one of my family who's left, sometimes an occasional need to think about things that once were, and briefly acknowledge those who are now silent memories, is a compulsion that gets a hold of me.

    I love interesting digressions, and Charlotte.

    As a bit of a numismatist, I think of Charlotte for its US Mint, which opened c. 1839, after the county’s first major gold discovery, which was naturally, in North Carolina.

    Beautiful gold coins produced in Charlotte, until 1861.

  69. Just finished watching Kino's LION IN WINTER. I was very pleased with this transfer. I don't remember so much as a scratch on the print. Colors were pitch perfect. Black level were fine. I saw no sync issues with the dialogue. Sound had good depth. I am glad Best Buy sent the disc to me even after I had canceled. Thanks Kino.

  70. Having suffered through the region B blu ray of LION IN WINTER with its awful sound, I was happily surprised with the new Kino Blu Ray. The sound on the Kino disc is great. I can now hear and enjoy the Oscar winning score and screenplay!! There were no sync issues with my disc and the PQ has not looked this good since its release . Thank you Kino for taking the time to fix the sound

  71. Mike Boone

    Hope that my brief digression down memory lane isn't too out of line here, but since I'm the only one of my family who's left, sometimes an occasional need to think about things that once were, and briefly acknowledge those who are now silent memories, is a compulsion that gets a hold of me.

    I empathize, Mike.

  72. Matt Hough

    If I'm not mistaken, Cliff had already portrayed Charlie in a television program (The U.S. Steel Hour) and won an Emmy for it, so I suspect folks were very familiar with him in this role (in addition to his being a really good guy and a fine actor).

    No doubts to Cliff Robertson being a nice guy.
    As luck would have it, I once rode on a motor boat with him to cross a body of water and – yes – a nice guy he is.
    On the other hand, though, I am even nicer; as I politely withheld my biases and thoughts concerning his win.
    After all, how could he personally be held accountable for the win? Yup, a nice guy, indeed.
    Anyway, I am of the theory that Peter O' Toole and Ron Moody had split the votes; thus leaving a default opening for Mr. Robertson.
    Sorry, Charlie.

  73. PMF

    No doubts to Cliff Robertson being a nice guy.
    As luck would have it, I once rode on a motor boat with him to cross a body of water and – yes – a nice guy he is.
    On the other hand, though, I am even nicer; as I politely withheld my biases and thoughts concerning his win.
    After all, how could he personally be held accountable for the win? Yup, a nice guy, indeed.
    Anyway, I am of the theory that Peter O' Toole and Ron Moody had split the votes; thus leaving a default opening for Mr. Robertson.
    Sorry, Charly.

    I guess I am not a subscriber of the "two other actors split the vote" concept. I mean, I don't see why it wouldn't be that THREE actors split the vote THREE ways and, sure enough, one of them had more than either of the other two…and his name was Cliff Robertson. btw, I do believe O'Toole gave the best performance of that year and he certainly would have gotten my vote. But even if "almost" twice as many Academy voters split their votes between Moody and O'Toole while Robertson still got as many votes as each of them plus, say, "1", that still means Cliff Robertson's performance was chosen more times by the voters than either of the other two. How would we know Robertson wasn't the second choice of enough Moody and/or O'Toole voters to still have won even if there were some defectors from their first choice?

    Even if the popular Moody/O'Toole/Roberston scenario were shown to be factually, mathematically true, that Roberston did not get far and away more votes than any two other nominees, that he didn't win in a landslide, couldn't we argue just as factually that O'Toole lost because Moody and Roberston essentially "split the vote" except that Robertson got at least one more vote than Moody? Or that Moody lost because O'Toole and Roberston essentially "split the vote" except, again, Robertson got at least one more vote than O'Toole?

  74. Cineman

    I guess I am not a subscriber of the "two other actors split the vote" concept. I mean, I don't see why it wouldn't be that THREE actors split the vote THREE ways and, sure enough, one of them had more than either of the other two…and his name was Cliff Robertson. btw, I do believe O'Toole gave the best performance of that year and he certainly would have gotten my vote. But even if "almost" twice as many Academy voters split their votes between Moody and O'Toole while Robertson still got as many votes as each of them plus, say, "1", that still means Cliff Robertson's performance was chosen more times by the voters than either of the other two. How would we know Robertson wasn't the second choice of enough Moody and/or O'Toole voters to still have won even if there were some defectors from their first choice?

    Even if the popular Moody/O'Toole/Roberston scenario were shown to be factually, mathematically true, that Roberston did not get far and away more votes than any two other nominees, that he didn't win in a landslide, couldn't we argue just as factually that O'Toole lost because Moody and Roberston essentially "split the vote" except that Robertson got at least one more vote than Moody? Or that Moody lost because O'Toole and Roberston essentially "split the vote" except, again, Robertson got at least one more vote than O'Toole?

    Phew-w-w. You must be some kind of an accountant or odds maker.
    As it is, I now have a splitting headache.:roll:

  75. I haven't anywhere near the cinema eyes and ears of Mr. Harris, but for me, this is a 4.5 rating based on his scale. LION IN WINTER is one of my absolute favorite films, and I've been frustrated (downright pissed-off, actually) by previous imported Blu-rays, of which I bought two. Kino's transfer is quite lovely to my eyes (no cataracts yet) and ears. There are few or no visual artifacts and no aliasing that I could see. The color is simply ten times better (check out the reds). Black levels and contrast look fine. Audio-wise this is exponentially better than the copies I bought from Europe. It still seems a bit lacking in low-end, but it isn't shrill or strident on the high end, either. Totally happy, which is good, as we're unlikely to ever see better on disc.

  76. I watched The Lion in Winter the other night and was very pleased with the presentation. I'd only seen the film once, on TCM probably about ten years ago, so it was like watching it again for the first time. A truly wonderful film.

  77. Someone, way back in the thread, or maybe somewhere else, mentioned the main title sequence looking a bit rough in some way. I was interested to check that out because I had a memory of something that had always struck me about it on the movie's first run. Sure enough, I absolutely recognized the little instances of jumpiness there, and it's one of those times I'm confident in saying it was there on day one. For what that's worth.

    At any rate, in my spot check the BD is no disappointment on the plasma, and I look forward to watching it straight through on Reed Grele's 128" (or whatever it is, I always forget!) scope screen on Wednesday night.

  78. Charles Smith

    Someone, way back in the thread, or maybe somewhere else, mentioned the main title sequence looking a bit rough in some way. I was interested to check that out because I had a memory of something that had always struck me about it on the movie's first run. Sure enough, I absolutely recognized the little instances of jumpiness there, and it's one of those times I'm confident in saying it was there on day one. For what that's worth.

    At any rate, in my spot check the BD is no disappointment on the plasma, and I look forward to watching it straight through on Reed Grele's 128" (or whatever it is, I always forget!) scope screen on Wednesday night.

    Any MT (original, nor remade) sequence from the analogue era, will have movement. Multiple dupes, combined with holdback mattes.

    Since there is movement at different levels, one could potentially digitally stablize a single level – bg, type – but not all.

    For the record, if one were to attempt to stable, the result would be the loss of the sides of the frame.

    As you correctly note, been there from day one, and not a problem.

  79. Last night we watched this projected, and I found it tremendously satisfying. I deliberately had NOT gone back beforehand to review RAH's comments at the top of the thread, so that I could let the movie wash over me without preconceived notions of things to look out for. We thought the colors were absolutely gorgeous, especially notable in the first part of the film, and the audio was most satisfying.

    And now that I've gone back and re-read RAH's review ….. I did wonder whether the image was slightly softer than it might have been, especially in a few scenes where I couldn't zero in on what the main focus point was intended to be. (One of them was in the dungeon when all the characters are so beautifully arranged and seen from slightly above.) Sync issues would normally drive me nuts, so the ones here must lie just below my threshold. Audio seemed satisfyingly full and strong, but in my enjoyment of it I was picking up something I'd never noticed in any of my past lives — two things, actually — the telltale edits or takes from one line to another (with no ambient theater/audience noise to disguise that), and the decibel limiting or capping on some of Mr. O'Toole's most roaring declamations.

    Overall, it confirms for me my long held impression of how great everything about the film is, from the script writing, casting, directing, pacing and editing, to the decisions on when music should be present and when it shouldn't. What a masterpiece. Now all we need is the ultimate transfer. 🙂

  80. My winter lion is arriving on Tuesday with Wings (1927),The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), Dark Victory (1939), Ninotchka (1939), Dodge City (1939) and Joan of Arc (1948). Hepburn and O'Toole leads the pack for what I want to see first; despite my initial reservations of a transfer that finally melted away, thanks to RAH and davidmatychuk.

  81. I am planning on sharing this one for one of my monthly neighborhood shares, and hope I can convince a bunch of people to check it out. Attention spans are not what they used to be, and this is nothing if not a talky historical drama with almost no action. I just love the film so much and want to give others a chance to appreciate it.

  82. PMF

    My winter lion is arriving on Tuesday with Wings (1927),The Hunchback of Notre Dame…

    Off topic: It's not perfect, but THE HUNCHBACK (1939) has always been a favorite of mine (since I watched it on Million Dollar Movie in NY about a dozen times in one week) and it makes quite a wonderful Blu-ray from Warner Bros. It is sharp, and has good contrast and black levels, and sufficient grain. I am so glad to have this, as it is most likely the last edition of it we will see on video, at least while I'm still alive 'n' kickin'. This is the kind of stuff I wish the Archives were releasing more of, although THE SEA WOLF was stellar.

  83. Dick

    Off topic: It's not perfect, but THE HUNCHBACK (1939) has always been a favorite of mine (since I watched it on Million Dollar Movie in NY about a dozen times in one week) and it makes quite a wonderful Blu-ray from Warner Bros. It is sharp, and has good contrast and black levels, and sufficient grain. I am so glad to have this, as it is most likely the last edition of it we will see on video, at least while I'm still alive 'n' kickin'. This is the kind of stuff I wish the Archives were releasing more of, although THE SEA WOLF was stellar.

    For those interested, the four titles that I mentioned are contained within a boxed-set entitled "The Golden Year: 1939"; which the other day went for 40 bucks on Amazon. Always on my list and long overdue; but, damn, there are so many films to see and buy. With that said, what's that tell us all about "The Lion in Winter"? Bought within the month of release, while so many others have been over a year in the loop and still not yet purchased. Hepburn and O'Toole commands the front burner, each and every time.

  84. Well, I am happy to report that the 50th Anniversary of "The Lion in Winter" revealed far greater attributes than expected.
    No doubt, this transfer (or restoration) will leave one wanting for more.
    And why not? We know it exists.
    Nonetheless, I found this disc to be well worth the price of admission.
    BTW, Kudos to Kino for their extended efforts with John Barry's score;
    which now sounds better than ever before.

  85. Joe Caps

    I got mine yesterday. the colors were surprising – this was actually filmed uner blue skies, not gray ones.
    The sound was certainly true stereo for the music.
    All in all a real treat.

    True stereo for the music? I thought it was a mix from pure mono elements

  86. Lord Dalek

    So what's the deal with this anyway? Kino says its a new 4K scan, RAH says its an old 2k from a dupe. People are saying the music tracks are in stereo, RAH says its faked up mono.

    I'm confused.

    Well put; thus double-edge sword in all our responses.

  87. What? No over-the-weekend posts from other potential viewers?
    After various hair-splitting questions about scans, sound and all, I hope that others will no longer refrain from purchasing.
    I support Kino and their offering of "The Lion in Winter";
    so let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
    In fact, I plan to watch it again this week.
    Again, it's the best transfer to date; which, of course, is always a very good thing.:thumbs-up-smiley:

  88. Finally watched this 'new blu ray. And unlike most of the folks on this forum…I was disappointed. I wanted it to be great and it was alright I guess..Sound is not stereo. That is quite clear. The 2.0 sounds as good or better than the 5.1. Though my system read 5.1 I heard only sound from the front 3 speakers placing my head agains the speakers. So much for 5.1 . Did not notice any sync issues. Colors were fine and at times vibrant. Picture certainly was not stable in a few instances..especially at the end when Kate Hepburn is leaving the dock and the camera views the castle. Wow..instant headache. I can't be alone in seeing this? Glad this was at the end of the film.

Leave a Reply