William Friedkin’s The Birthday Party is now out on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber and this is the type of release that illustrates why I love Kino Lorber so very much. The Birthday Party represents the top of title I don’t think any other label would release. Here is a film, on the brink of turning 50 and from what of our most legendary directors, that has sort of slipped under the radar all these years. I feel like Kino Lorber exists specifically to make sure these films continued to be enjoyed by cinema lovers for many, many years.
The Birthday Party has seemingly been enjoyed by everyone that has seen it, but not a lot of people have seen it. The film wasn’t profitable, ending up for a loss of about $750k, but fifty years later and none of that matters. This was a passion project for Friedkin and it shows. Friedkin was able to take the world of the play created by Harold Pinter and transform it to film in a way only he could. Robert Shaw gives a stunning performance and the final product is nothing short of a masterpiece.
To celebrate the film’s brand new Blu-ray, enjoy this scene from the film where the characters play a game of “Blind Man’s Bluff.” Shaw is brilliant. After you watch this, why not pick up a copy of the film?
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