My Two Cents

Our first post of 2019 with new BD reviews, thoughts on the Filmworker doc & our 2001 interview with Leon Vitali

January 3, 2019 - 3:05 pm   |   by
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First day back from the holidays for us here at The Bits and I hope you all had a terrific break.

I actually caught up on a few films and plan to get back to reviewing myself, especially 4K Ultra HD. A great number of good ones have come in recently and I pledge to review as many as I can over the coming weeks.

Speaking of reviews, Tim and the crew have turned in a bunch of good ones lately, including the Dragnet: Collector’s Edition from Shout! Factory, The House with the Clock in Its Walls and Operation Finale from Universal, the Maniac: Limited Edition from Blue Underground, the Waterworld: Limited Edition from Arrow Video, The Adventures of Hajji Baba from Twilight Time, and the Mantovani: The King of Strings – Special Edition from Filmrise. Enjoy!

We’ll get back to new release news tomorrow, but last night I had the chance to watch Tony Zierra’s tremendous new documentary Filmworker. It actually came out in 2017, but I only caught it last night on Netflix (you can also see it on DVD from Kino Lorber). It tells the life story of Leon Vitali, a young up and coming actor in the UK in the 1970s, who was cast by Stanley Kubrick in the role of Lord Bullingdon in Barry Lyndon (1975). [Read on here...]

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During production on the film, the two struck up a friendship that led to Vitali becoming Kubrick’s lifelong personal assistant. Vitali worked on all of Kubrick’s subsequent films, has been one of the keepers of his legacy, and is the person charged with ensuring that all of Kubrick’s films are not only properly preserved for all time, but that they’re seen on all new video formats in a way that Kubrick would wish. Vitali supervises all Kubrick transfers, remasters, and color grading and most recently slaved over Warner’s new 4K Ultra HD release of 2001: A Space Odyssey (reviewed here). Watching the documentary, it’s clear that all Kubrick fans owe Vitali an incalculable debt. What’s more, there’s a fascinating sequence in the film that talks about the original and much-maligned DVD release of the Kubrick films (in 1999) and also the properly restored releases in 2001. It even features interview clips with Ned Price, Vice President of Restoration at Warner Bros, and Warren Lieberfarb, who was then the President of Warner Home Video and who is widely regarded as “The Godfather of DVD” (and an old friend of The Bits). I highly recommend you all check out the film if you haven’t yet.

And in honor of this, I’ve actually re-shared today an interview that Todd Doogan and I did with Leon Vitali here at The Bits back in 2001, when the properly remastered Stanley Kubrick DVD Collection was released. It was fun for me to go back and revisit the interview after watching the film, so I thought you might enjoy it as well.

And that’s all for now. Back tomorrow to catch you up on the latest news. Cheers!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)


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