DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Schindler’s List, Blu-ray (1993/2013)

Businessman Oskar Schindler saved the lives of over 1100 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.

Published on February 23, 2013

Schindler’s List, Blu-ray (1993/2013)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
Studio: Universal 61124820, 3-disc set [3/5/13]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 B&W & color 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or DD 5.1, also French & Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
All regions
Extras: “Voices from The List” – feature-length documentary with testimonies and archival footage, USC Shoah Foundation Story with Spielberg, More…
Length: 392 minutes
Rating: *****

This is the lavish 20th Anniversary Limited Edition of the touching classic, in a meticulously-restored version supervised by Spielberg himself. It’s a most powerful story, perfectly told. The black & white for most of the film is most appropriate; again, it just wouldn’t be the same were it all in color. The original film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

It is the incredible story of the Czech businessman Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of over 1100 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. I hadn’t remembered from 20 years ago about how at the start Schindler was just trying to make a lot of money from the war, and his schmoozing with the Nazi leaders. But later the horrors of what was happening began to sink in and he spent all the money he had been planning to return home with in efforts to save more Jews from the Holocaust. Some of the scenes are of course very difficult to take, and but are accurate and well done.

I hadn’t known about the Shoah Foundation which Spielberg started, with its thousands of videos of actual Holocaust survivors talking about their experiences. It’s most interesting that Spielberg insisted on this reissue having no region encoding, so the one version could be easily viewed worldwide; that doesn’t usually happen with dramatic feature films.  The restoration from the original 35 negative is gorgeous—just as high quality as the Criterion Collection reissues.

—John Sunier

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