“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)