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The Stanley Kubrick Collection (2001)

The Stanley Kubrick Collection (2001)

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Barry Lyndon
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Dr. Strangelove: Special Edition
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Lolita
  • The Shining
  • Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures
  • Just months after Stanley Kubrick's untimely death in 1999, Warner Home Video released their first "Stanley Kubrick Collection" on DVD, a seven-disc set that was plagued with problems. Foremost of these was that the prints for the majority of the films were the ones most recently approved by Kubrick in 1989, and at their age the old Laserdisc transfers simply did not hold up to the high-quality, high-definition expectations of many DVD consumers. Adding to the problem were some digital artifacts (especially on Barry Lyndon), while the majority had monaural audio and The Shining and Full Metal Jacket were open-matte, full-frame (1.33:1) transfers. In response to quite a bit of disappointment from DVD fans (and DVD websites), Warner's nine-disc "The Stanley Kubrick Collection," released in June 2001, has gone a long way to make amends. Seven Warner titles are here: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, Lolita, and The Shining, and all but the 1999 Eyes Wide Shut are transferred from Warner's new "2000 digital master" restorations (most with new Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks). As such, the DVDs look splendid, most with improved color and definition, and far less wear-and-tear damage. Columbia TriStar, who revisited their Dr. Strangelove as a special edition in 2001, have that item in the box as well (under license), and to cap it off is a ninth disc — the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, a look back at the director's monumental film career. For nitpickers, there may still be a few problems — Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut (a new addition) are still open-matte full-frame, but this is entirely in accordance with Kubrick's wishes, as he was never a fan of widescreen and thought these films looked best on TV in this manner (indeed, Spartacus and 2001 were Kubrick's only widescreen films, and it seems the director, a photojournalist in his youth, never lost his fondness for 4:3 composition). 2001 does not have the Arthur C. Clarke supplement on the original MGM/Warner disc. Also, very little has been added in the way of extras (just a commentary from Vivian Kubrick on her "Making of The Shining" documentary on the Shining disc). Beyond that, the whole package isn't cheap, but after Warner decided to re-release these in relatively short order, it's highly unlikely the studio will revisit their Kubrick properties anytime soon. And every one of these discs does look great, making it a worthwhile purchase for students of everything Kubrick. Nine snap-cases in a paperboard slip-case. (Individual reviews can be accessed using the links above.)

    (Editor's Note: All titles in the June 2001 "Stanley Kubrick Collection," with the exception of Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, are available for individual purchase. The previous discs are now out of print, including the original 2001 and its Arthur C. Clarke supplement. Eyes Wide Shut is identical to its first release and is not the NC-17 cut available outside of Region 1.)

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