Barbarella - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Arrow Video Limited Edition [Store Exclusive]Overview -
“An angel does not make love, an angel *is* love.” Slip into your spacesuit and join Barbarella on a colorful space adventure courtesy of Arrow’s new two-disc, limited-edition 4K Blu-ray release. The role that catapulted Jane Fonda to the stars, and then made her briefly quit acting altogether, can now be seen in stunning 4K Ultra HD with a truly remarkable 2160p transfer sourced from the original camera negative. This edition shoots for the moon and sticks the landing with a massive selection of newly produced and archival featurettes as well, all adding up to a Must-Own release that will have you floating into the stratosphere.
Slip out of your spacesuit and into something more comfortable! It's time to join Barbarella on a series of cosmic adventures in this Dino De Laurentiis production directed by Roger Vadim (And God Created Woman) and starring Jane Fonda as the intergalactic glamour puss created by comic book artist Jean-Claude Forest.
It is the year 40,000ad. When evil scientist Durand Durand (Milo O'Shea) creates a deadly weapon with the potential to cause mass devastation, the President of Earth dispatches Barbarella (Fonda) to hunt him down. Crash-landing in an icy wilderness somewhere within the Tau Ceti planetary system, Barbarella is rescued by Mark Hand (Ugo Tognazzi, La Cage Aux Folles) and guided by the blind angel Pygar (John Phillip Law, Danger: Diabolik) to Durand's lair in Sogo, a city of corruption and debauchery, where an encounter with the Great Tyrant Black Queen (Anita Pallenberg, Performance) and her minions throws her mission into jeopardy.
With an all-star cast including David Hemmings and Marcel Marceau, and glorious retro-futuristic costumes and art design dripping with 60s psychedelia, Barbarella defined an era and has never looked better than this brand new 4K restoration, with an HDR/Dolby Vision color grade so rich it can be seen from space, loaded with never-before-seen bonus features!
Special Features and Technical Specs:
DISC ONE - 4K BLU-RAY
- NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM BY ARROW FILMS
- DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
- NEW DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK, plus original lossless English audio and lossless French mono (featuring the voice of Jane Fonda)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary by film critic Tim Lucas
- Alternative opening and closing credits (in 4K with Dolby Vision)
- Isolated score
DISC TWO - BLU-RAY
- Another Girl, Another Planet, an appreciation of Barbarella by film critic Glenn Kenny
- Paul Joyce's behind the scenes featurette, Barbarella Forever!
- Love, a two-hour in-depth discussion between film and cultural historians Tim Lucas & Steve Bissette on the impact and legacy of Barbarella
- Dress to Kill, a 30-minute interview with film fashion scholar Elizabeth Castaldo Lundén on Jacques Fonteray's world-changing costume designs
- Framing for Claude, an interview with camera operator Roberto Girometti
- Tognazzi on Tognazzi, actor/director Ricky Tognazzi discusses the life and work of his father and Barbarella star Ugo Tognazzi
- An Angel's Body Double, actor Fabio Testi discusses his early career as a stuntman and body double for John Phillip Law on Barbarella
- Dino and Barbarella, a video essay by Eugenio Ercolani on producer Dino De Laurentiis
- US TV and radio spots
- Image gallery
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tula Lotay
- Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tula Lotay
- Six double-sided collector's postcards
- Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anne Billson, Paul Gravett, Véronique Bergen and Elizabeth Castaldo Lundén, and select archival material
U.S. AND CANADA STREET DATE: NOVEMBER 28.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Ah, the swinging sixties, home of many art deco-inspired, candy-colored sci-fi films that filled theaters with free love, cheap sets and plenty of threats to the universe. In Barbarella’s case, the original French comic strips served as a basis for the film, as director Roger Vadim was obsessed with the possibilities of depicting such a forward-thinking work of fiction. To Vadim, Barbarella was free of the body guilt and shaming so common in real life, and of course the swinging sixties was already giving way to the free love movement. As it turned out, the film came at exactly the right time, taking the piss out of straight-faced sci-fi epics of that age and injecting silly hijinks with refined production values.
Barbarella (Jane Fonda) follows the titular female space explorer in the 41st century as she’s assigned by the President of Earth (Claude Dauphin) to rescue renowned scientist Durand Durand (Mile O’Shea), who vanished in the Tau Ceti region. As Barbarella adventures across the galaxy, she discovers a plot to overthrow the Black Queen of Sogo (Anita Pallenberg), so now she has to contend with Durand Durand’s dangerous weapon that kills people through sexual pleasure.
Roger Vadim mounted Barbarella as a space exploration epic filled with plenty of eroticism. The art deco style gives way to some incredible practical sets, plus the cheesy dialogue and action is bolstered by a sense of humor that has its tongue firmly planted in cheek. Although Fonda’s performance is about as straight as they come, it’s kind of required for the rest of the silly film to work. If Barbarella isn’t this innocent, fragile force of femininity, then everything else kind of falls apart. Think of Flash Gordon and how it’s pure camp through and through. Barbarella is different in that our heroine is virginal and naïve, traveling across the galaxy to learn more about the universe and its many inhabitants. Space exploration is her interest, and it turns out to be Roger Vadim’s interest as well.
There’s been plenty said about Barbarella’s story, which is more of a vibe than carefully connected scenes adding up to a full narrative. Terry Southern was hired to do a punch-up on the script, and luckily lent it with the sense of humor it so desperately needed. Southern even commented that he thought Vadim and Fonda’s approach to the film was terrific, but it was clear to him that producer Dino De Laurentiis wanted to make something on the cheap and get it in front of audiences as fast as possible. The result is a bit of a compromised product, but not severely so, and the many ways in which Vadim works around the production limitations make it even more unique.
As for Fonda herself, she embraces the role and personally, I think she’s terrific. Fonda’s own personal life as this public figure speaking out against social injustices was the perfect fit for a character that’s dead-set on using her feminine wiles to open up the hearts and minds of people across the galaxy. If anything, I’d even argue that Fonda after her acting break following Barbarella would be a worse fit for the role, as she had become a voracious public personality wanting to act through art. By that point, she was much more beleaguered, so it’s fun to read Barbarella as being the right match at that point in her career.
All in all, Barbarella is nowhere near the biting satire that Vadim set out to make, though you’ll be hard-pressed to find another sci-fi film of that era quite like it. Come for the space hijinks, stay for the hilariously horny situations Barbarella finds herself in.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-rays
Let’s rocket off to space with Barbarella, presented here by Arrow with a two-disc (4K and Blu-ray) set that comes housed in a chipboard box with the 4K case, booklet and fold-out poster within. The 4K disc is a UHD100 with just the main feature and a couple supplements, while the standard Blu-ray is a BD50 and houses nothing but Arrow’s massive supplements package for this release. Both discs boot up to standard menu screens.
“I better adjust my tongue box.”
Arrow Video brings Barbarella to 4K Ultra HD with an HEVC-encoded 2160p presentation aided by Dolby Vision HDR. This new transfer is sourced from a new 4K restoration of the original 35mm camera negative, with select sections being sourced from a 4K scan of the original 35mm interpositive. Short story short: this Technicolor production has never looked better. The gorgeous, organic presentation is immediately pleasing and the Dolby Vision HDR treatment brings the absolute most of the candy-colored primaries on display. Film grain is appreciable with no DNR to note throughout the presentation, plus flesh tones are tuned in just right, as well as the deep and inky black levels. The grain field changes when optical effects are offered, however the terrific encode handles everything remarkably well. You’ll find some wonderful highlights in the production design boosted by HDR. It’s true that HDR is a match made in heaven for Technicolor productions, and this is no exception. This transfer shoots right to the moon and sticks the landing. As someone who has seen this projected on 35mm, I can say with certainty that this is a very accurate presentation of the source.
Arrow provides this release with a few audio options to choose from: English and French LPCM Mono tracks or a newly-minted Dolby Atmos track that’s based upon the original mono soundtrack. The French mono is worth noting since it has Jane Fonda’s natural-speaking voice in it, although it’s certainly not necessary given the English option here. The Atmos track opens up the mono base wonderfully, distributing sound effects gracefully across all channels and boosting the mid-range and bass for certain effects. The source is in great condition, with nary any damage to note, although the French track does have some sibilance that the other tracks do not have.
For fans of Barbarella, I have some very good news. This release comes absolutely stacked with supplements, adding up to what may be Arrow’s best release of 2023 in terms of special features. We have a new commentary by Tim Lucas, alternate opening and closing credits restored in 4K and presented with HDR, plus an isolated score track for people who enjoy those. When you pop in the special features disc for Barbarella, you’ll be treated to a laundry list of insightful interviews, appreciations filmed by critics and much more original promotional material to dig through. This is an incredible supplements package and provides hours of entertainment for fans of the film.
4K UHD Disc
- Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas
- Isolated score track
- Alternative opening credits (4K with Dolby Vision 2:21)
- Alternative closing credits (4K with Dolby Vision 1:16)
- Another Girl, Another Planet – Appreciation by film critic Glenn Kenny (HD 23:03)
- Barbarella Forever! – Behind-the-scenes featurette with footage shots by Paul Joyce in 1967 (HD 14:54)
- Love: Time Lucas and Steve Bissette on Barbarella (HD 113:20)
- Dress to Kill – Fashion expert Elizabeth Castaldo Lunden discussing costume designer Jacques Fontenay's work on the film (HD 31:30)
- Framing for Claude – Interview with camera operator Roberto Girometti (HD 17:12)
- Tognazzi on Tognazzi – Interview with Ricky Tognazzi, son of actor Ugo Tognazzi (HD 21:56)
- An Angel’s Body Double – Interview with Fabio Testi (HD 24:26)
- Dino and Barbarella – Video essay by Eugenio Ercolani (HD 14:27)
- Trailer (HD 3:21)
- US TV spot (HD 0:55)
- US radio spots (HD 2:55)
- Image Gallery
Travel across the universe and free its denizens from space despots in Barbarella, now available in stunning 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Arrow Video. This new two-disc 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray release comes stacked with supplements, offers a truly remarkable new transfer of the film aided by Dolby Vision HDR and is now ready to be added to your collection. Pick up this Must-Own release today!
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