The Barefoot Contessa (1954) Blu-ray Review

I’m a massive fan of Humphrey Bogart so when any of his films make it on to Blu-ray I will always find time to take a look.  Well Eureka Entertainment has just released The Barefoot Contessa (1954) that also stars Ava Gardner.  The Blu-ray only claims to be a 1080p presentation so that instantly set off the alarm bells that no restoration work had taken place.  Let’s hope that’s not the case, so without further ado here’s my The Barefoot Contessa Blu-ray Review.

  • The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Running Time: 130 Mins
  • UK Rating PG
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-ray & DVD)
  • Released By Eureka Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Released: 12 March 2018
Plot

Struggling movie director / writer Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart) is forced to work for business tycoon Kirk Edwards, a man who always gets what he wants no matter the cost.  In order to shoot his latest film they set out to look for new talent to star in the film, this search takes them to Madrid, Spain.  They identify a dancer named Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner) as their new star and try to convince her to sign up for the picture.

This is the story of the late Maria Vargas told by the various people that became involved with her in one way or another.

Style / DirectionThe Barefoot Contessa (1954)

The film is directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz with the cinematography handled by Jack Cardiff.  In order to tell the story the film shows Maria Vargas’s life through the people around her in the build up to her death.  This works very well and actually makes the story a whole lot more intriguing.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is provided by Mario Nascimbene and he does an decent enough job to convey the films setting and tone.

Acting / Characters

The Barefoot Contessa is all about Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner and their on screen chemistry. The film tells the story of the life of Maria Vargas from each of the main characters that knew her before her untimely demise and is told in flashbacks. This mechanic works very well as we are able to see all the different sides to her character.

Cast
  • Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes
  • Ava Gardner as Maria Vargas
  • Warren Stevens as Kirk Edwards
  • Edmond O’Brien as Oscar Muldoon
  • Marius Goring as Alberto Bravano
  • Elizabeth Sellars as Jerry Dawes
Conclusion – The Barefoot Contessa Film Review

I love watching Humphrey Bogart films and whilst The Barefoot Contessa is not one of my absolute favourites it’s still an enjoyable enough experience.  At first I found the initial story to be of little interest but as the film develops Bogart and Gardener become compelling viewing.  The clever way in which the end of Maria Vargas’s life is told through the different eyes of those that knew her is a very well executed mechanic.

If you like my The Barefoot Contessa Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:
The Barefoot Contessa Blu-ray Review

I’ll get straight to the point I didn’t have high hopes for the picture quality on this release so I’m not as disappointed as I probably should be.  There are plenty of tiny speckles and the image is far from sharp at times.  There’s little doubt The Barefoot Contessa is in need of some restoration, unfortunately this is merely high definition transfer and not a great one.

Maybe the original print is in poor shape but then that’s even more reason to give it a quick restoration, after all pretty much all film companies are doing so now, especially with films with movie stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner.

There really are some shocking drops in picture quality such as blurry faces and plenty of film noise all of which spoil the experience.  I not entirely sure that the film is presented in the correct aspect ratio with Eureka Entertainment reporting it as 1:85.1 but other sources saying it should be 1:75.1.  It’s not a massive difference if it is incorrect but if it is indeed wrong it’s slightly annoying but doesn’t really affect the viewing.

Compared to the previous DVD release from MGM the colours are stronger and more vibrant yet still not particularly well done.

On the extras front there’s not much to get excited about with an Audio Commentary from a couple of film historians, a trailer and booklet.

So should you buy it?  Well for £14.99 I expect at least a basic restoration, so personally I’d wait until it’s on sale.  You do get both Blu-ray and DVD included so that may sway you into picking this up now at full price.

Extras
  • Audio Commentary with film historians Julie Kirgo and David Del Valle
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • A collector s booklet

On to my movie rating for The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

  • Movie Rating: WELL WORTH WATCHING
  • Blu-ray Picture: POOR
  • Extras: BASIC

The Barefoot Contessa (1954) is available now on Blu-ray.

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version

So that’s my The Barefoot Contessa Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:

 

Note: The Amazon links on this page are affiliate / associate links. By buying through the links we may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price you pay.

The Barefoot Contessa (1954) Blu-ray Review

Director(s): Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Actor(s): Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Warren Stevens, Edmond O'Brien, Marius Goring, Elizabeth Sellars

Genre: Drama

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Picture Rating
  • Extras
2.7

Summary

Bogart and Gardener make for compelling viewing, this new blu-ray release less so.

Leave a Reply