Now this is a bit more like it. Some of the older films plucked off the shelves for a high definition upgrade haven’t been the most deserving of candidates. But a sweeping epic such as Dr Zhivago
? That’s absolutely ripe for a quality Blu-ray release, and it’s got one right here.
Directed by the late, great David Lean, and starring Omar Sharif in his most famous role, Dr Zhivago is, of course, the story of the title character. Set across five decades, he finds himself married to one woman and in love with another, while the war and revolution around him continues to take its toll. That’s a simplified version of the narrative, granted. But even though it’s now 45 years old, this is a film rich in storytelling, and rightly regarded as one of the all-time greats.
It’s also a sumptuous film to look at, boasting genuinely startling cinematography, and that’s where the pleasure of a 1080p picture transfer comes into its own. It’s perhaps easy to note that Dr Zhivago has never looked better in the home than it does here, but this is nonetheless a very good upgrade. Rich and evocative, the transfer does the film proud, as does the packaging together of such a diverse collection of interesting extra features.
Given the treatment that some back catalogue releases have suffered on the Blu-ray format to date, it’s terrific to report that Dr Zhivago proves to be a worthy upgrade for an excellent piece of cinema. --Jon Foster
United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region A/B/C DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio ), French ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), German ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Italian ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Portuguese ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), Danish ( Subtitles ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), Finnish ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Norwegian ( Subtitles ), Portuguese ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), Swedish ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.78:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Commentary, Documentary, Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Omar Sharif stars in the title role of Doctor Zhivago, portraying the surgeon-poet over a half-century period. Zhivago, who is married to Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin), an aristocratic girl with whom he raises a family, is also in love with Lara (Julie Christie), a nurse whose life has been destroyed by tragedy. Repeatedly brought together and separated from each woman by war and revolution, Zhivago is torn apart by conflict. He loves Tonya deeply but his poetic soul belongs to Lara. Much like his beloved country, Zhivago's spirit becomes battered by the devastation of war as he struggles to maintain his individualism in the face of overwhelming odds. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Cannes Film Festival, David Donatello Awards, Golden Globes, Oscar Academy Awards, ...Doctor Zhivago (UK) ( David Lean's Film of Doctor Zhivago ) ( Il dottor Zivago ) (Blu-Ray)