As one who knew and even hung a couple of times with Leon Vitali, the former actor and devoted Stanley Kubrick associate throughout the ’70s, 80s and’ 90s, and as one who badgered him a few times during the Barry Lyndon aspect-ratio brouhaha of 2011, I’m very sorry to hear that he’s passed.

I loved Filmworker, Tony Zierra‘s 2017 documentary about Leon and his historic life. I’ll probably watch it again tonight.

Leon was a fine fellow and a true believer. He understood hardcore devotion as well as anyone I’ve ever known in this racket has.

Longtime HE readers will recall the Barry Lyndon aspect ratio contretemps, which ranged between 5.23.11 and 6.21.11. Retained by Warner Home Video as a technical consultant on a spate of Kubrick Blurays, Vitali insisted that the WHV Lyndon Bluray be issued at 1.77:1 rather than 1.66:1, an a.r. previously adopted when WHV released the 1975 classic on laser disc.

I hit the roof when I read about this. I argued, howled, seethed.

Then Glenn Kenny posted a 12.8.75smoking gunletter, leaked by Jay Cocks and written by Kubrick and sent to U.S. exhibitors. It stated that Barry Lyndon had been shot in 1.66 and should ideally be projected this way.

The Lyndon debate was of the most bitterly fought and not incidentally triumphant a.r. battles in Hollywood Elsewhere history, the other being the Shane a.r. battle of 2013.