The late John Schlesinger's Billy Liar
benefits from a wonderful 50th birthday present here, as it makes its Blu-ray debut. The movie, which stars Tom Courtenay in the lead role, is based on the novel by Keith Waterhouse. Waterhouse also wrote the screenplay to the film, which follows the title character as his imagination helps build him an escape from his otherwise drab day to day life. The marriage of fantasy and reality proves a tricky one too, and it's to the credit of Schlesinger that the film blends together as well as it does. Not for nothing is Billy Liar
regarded as one of the best British films of all time.
This new Blu-ray edition now only benefits from a quality restoration of the film, but it's also boasting some impressive extra features. For instance, Tom Courtenay and Helen Fraser are brought together to look back at the movie in one added feature, whilst huge fan of the movie, Richard Ayoada, is interviewed about it too. There's some compelling archive material that's also been brought together for the release, and it's easy to lose yourself in it. It's a substantive collection, for a genuine 1960s British classic. And the film, crucially, holds up a treat. --Jon Foster
United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region B DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Dolby Linear PCM ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Black & White, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Tom Courtenay delivers a star-making turn as William Terrence Fisher ('Billy Liar') in one of the most memorable and universally acclaimed films of the 60s. Running from an unsympathetic working-class family, a pair of demanding fiancées and an insecure job at an undertakers, Billy escapes, Walter Mitty-like, into a world of fantasy where he can realize his dream ambitions. As work and family pressures build to new intolerable levels, Liz (an early, charismatic turn from Julie Christie), enters his drab life and offers Billy the one real chance he'll ever get to leave the past behind. Scripted by Keith Waterhouse from his own novel, and sensitively directed by John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy), Billy Liar is one of the few comedies of the British 'New Wave', marrying visual and verbal wit with a rather poignant rumination on the futility of dreams. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Venice Film Festival, ...Billy Liar (1963) (Blu-Ray)