CUL-DE-SAC SONY CC2031BDUK
Polish director Roman Polanski’s second film in English, Cul-de-sac, was made on location on Lindisfarne island in Northumberland in 1966 This unique psychological comic thriller is one of Polanski’s favourites among his own films. It opens intriguingly with burly American gangster Dickey (gruff-voiced Lionel Stander) pushing his broken-down Morris Minor along a causeway through rising seawater while his eccentric companion Albie (Jack MacGowran), bleeding from a gunshot wound after a bungled robbery, attempts to steer. Cut off by the rising tide, they are on the road to bleak and remote Lindisfarne, where, in a dark, isolated castle on a hilltop, a neurotic middle-aged Englishman named George lives with his beautiful and promiscuous young French wife Teresa. Dickey proceeds to hold the unlikely couple hostage while awaiting further instructions from his underworld boss, the mysterious Katelbach. George is briefly forced to entertain some of his obnoxious friends who arrive at the castle unannounced, after which things rapidly get out of hand. Roman Polanski brilliantly orchestrates the mental ménage à trois in this slyly absurd tale of paranoia and fear as three engage in role-playing games of sexual and emotional humiliation. George’s increasing loss of control is expertly played by Donald Pleasence (‘Get out of my fortress’) and the luscious Françoise Dorléac is a delight as Teresa. The three engage in role-playing games of sexual and emotional humiliation. Cul-de-sac is an evocative, claustrophobic, and morbidly funny tale of the modern world in chaos. Also involved are suave William Franklyn, Geoffrey Sumner, Robert Dorning, Iain Quarrier and Renée Houston, with Jacqueline Bisset (credited as Jackie Bisset) in her second film appearance. The superb black and white cinematography is by Gil Taylor and the music by Krzysztof Komeda. This Criterion Collection release from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment features a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by Roman Polanski, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition; Two Gangsters and an Island (a 2003 documentary about the making of Cul-de-sac, including interviews with Polanski, Gilbert Taylor and producer Gene Gutowski; a revealing television interview with Polanski from 1967; Two theatrical trailers; A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic David Thompson.
MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT MR BONGO FILMS MRBBLU010
Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias Del Subdesarollo) follows intellectual Sergio (Sergio Corrieri), through his somewhat indolent life in Cuba, following the departure of his wife, parents and friends in the wake of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Alone in a brave new world, he observes the constant threat of foreign invasion, before meeting the innocently provocative Elena (an engaging performance by Daisy Granados). Sergio seeks to mould the young woman into the image of his ex-wife, but at what cost to himself? Even though visionary director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea was a staunch supporter of the revolution, Memories of Underdevelopment offers a raw and uncompromising analysis of the newly formed system of government. Through a moving blend of narrative fiction, still photography and rare documentary footage, Alea’s syle is clearly influenced by French New Wave directors, especially Jean Luc Godard. He imaginatively portrays the intricacies of the early days of the Castro regime, producing a stirring and enigmatic work that feeds off the culture of a country in transition and under threat: Cuba. Hailed as one of the most sophisticated films ever to come out of Cuba, Memories of Underdevelopment is Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s tour de force. This new release from Mr Bongo Films features his complex, ominous masterpiece on UK Blu-ray for the first time. ‘Every day, to build our society, we have to confront the type of people we despise ... I hope with my film, to annoy, provoke, and upset all of them.’ Made in 1968 and listed among Derek Malcolm’s 100 Greatest Movies, the film has been fully restored using the original camera and sound negative by Cineteca di Bologna with a vintage duplicate provided by the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematograficos. This international initiative to save the film from decay was funded by The George Lucas Family Foundation and the Martin Scorsese-chaired World Cinema Project, founded to provide a resource for those countries lacking archival and technical facilities. ‘Dazzling and highly accomplished.’ - Time Out.
COVER GIRL EUREKA EKA70239
One of the most lavish and successful Hollywood musicals of the 1940s, Cover Girl is an energetic spectacle that established its stars, Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly, as the two most popular actors of their time. Sweet-natured nightclub dancer Rusty Parker (Hayworth) has a happy life performing at her boyfriend Danny McGuire’s (Kelly) club in Brooklyn, but her world changes after she wins a prestigious Cover Girl contest arranged by a wealthy magazine publisher John Coudair (Otto Kruger). Rusty soon becomes a Broadway sensation, but is fame and fortune a substitute for true love? Kelly is excellent as hard-headed Irishman McGuire but graciously allows Rita Hayworth to take centre stage. She is at her loveliest, shows a fine gift for comedy and dances sublimely, seeming to defy gravity. Phil Silvers (of Sergeant Bilko fame) is in great form as larger-than-life Genius, proving himself no mean dancer as well as an ebullient comedian. Lee Bowman plays suave theatrical producer Noel Wheaton, Otto Kruger is wealthy publisher John Coudair, with Eve Arden brilliant as his sophisticated wise-cracking assistant Cornelia ‘Stonewall’ Jackson. Look out too for Edward Brophy as Joe the cafe owner (‘how can an erster give birth to a poyle?’) and Shelley Winters as a chorus girl (both uncredited). This dazzling 1944 Technicolor musical received five Academy Award nominations (winning for Best Musical Scoring) and Charles Vidor would again direct Rita Hayworth as the irresistible Gilda two years later. The excellent choreography is reminiscent of Singin’ In The Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly are among the chorographers here). The witty screenplay is by Virginia Van Upp and songs are by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin, including the wonderful ‘Long Ago And Far Away’. Cover Girl has now been released in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema series in a stunning High-definition Dual-format edition (Blu-ray and DVD). Extras include an appreciation by Baz Luhrmann, a Masters of Cinema trailer, and a booklet featuring new writing on the film. Watch trailer
OSAMU TEZUKA’S METROPOLIS EUREKA EKA70251
In the industrial, tri-level world of Metropolis, Duke Red is a powerful leader with plans to unveil a highly advanced robot named Tima. But Duke Red’s violent son Rock distrusts robots and intends to find and destroy Tima. Lost in the confusing labyrinth beneath Metropolis, Tima is beginning a friendship with the young nephew of a Japanese detective. But when Duke Red separates the two innocents, Tima’s life - and the fate of the universe - is dangerously at stake. Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis is a spectacular anime based on the 1949 Metropolis manga, itself inspired by the classic 1927 German silent film of the same name, directed by Fritz Lang. Created by revered manga artist and animator Tezuka (‘the Godfather of Manga’), written by anime legend Katsuhiro Otomo and directed by Rintaro, Metropolis is a spectacular film featuring stunning imagery and unforgettable characters. It was one of the first anime films to be submitted to the Academy Awards in the Best Animated Film category and was winner of the Tokyo Anime Award in 2002. Amazingly prescient of today’s world, the film features robots, shady politics, Fascism, ruthless leaders, unethical science, press manipulation and a revolutionary underclass. Imaginative, ambitious and often stunningly beautiful, this is one of the finest animated films of all time. Metropolis has now been released by Eureka for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK in this limited edition Dual-Format SteelBook. Extras with the High-definition presentation include Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the Blu-ray, optional English subtitles, The Making of Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis (a documentary on the film’s production), interviews with the films creators, multi-angle animation comparisons and the original trailer. A standard Dual-Format edition (EKA70245) will be released on 13 March 2017. ‘One of the most beautiful animated films ever produced.’ - Empire.
ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 SECOND SIGHT 2NDVD3304
Assault On Precinct 13, a reworking of the Howard Hawks film Rio Bravo written and directed by John Carpenter in 1976, is the definitive cult film. From low budget roots, it has become one of the most successful independent releases ever, as well as one of the most groundbreaking. A Los Angeles gang’s revenge-fuelled killing spree leads them to attack a half-abandoned police station in the process of closing down. Under siege with power and phone lines cut, lone cop Ethan Bishop (the engaging Austin Stoker), and his skeleton staff, including two secretaries (coolly sensual Laurie Zimmer and agitated Nancy Loomis), recruit condemned killers being held in transit (including charismatic Darwin Joston as the laconic Napoleon Wilson - ‘Chains is all I’ve got to look forward to’) from the cells in a desperate battle to survive the night. As the gang grows and menacingly closes in on the precinct the tension escalates to boiling point in this brutal, unrelenting and gripping classic. The film helped catapult John Carpenter into the mainstream and launched a million and one atmospheric synth-heavy scores and soundtracks. Its influence is still felt as keenly today as it was on its release. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Assault On Precinct 13, Second Sight has released a newly restored high definition version from a 1080p transfer on DVD and Blu-ray (2NDBR4057). The wide range of special features includes interviews with John Carpenter, Austin Stoker, executive producer Joseph Kaufman, and art director Tommy Lee Wallace; The Sassy One with the charming Nancy Loomis, now a sculptor; Audio commentaries with Carpenter and Tommy Lee Wallace; and the trailer. Blu-ray exclusive extras also include ‘Captain Voyeur’ (a John Carpenter student short) and ‘Do You Remember Laurie Zimmer’, a documentary that finds the former actress in San Francisco.
BLACK ORPHEUS CRITERION
French director Marcel Camus’ colurful Black Orpheus, based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in the modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. Made in Brazil in 1959, the film is ravishingly photographed and has a groundbreaking soundtrack that marked the breakthrough for bossa nova music craze on the world scene. Black Orpheus was an international cultural event, and it kicked off the bossa nova craze that set hi-fis across America spinning. Innocent Eurydice (the beautiful African-American Marpessa Dawn) arrives in Rio de Janeiro and takes a trolley driven by Orfeu (handsome Breno Mello). They are immediately drawn to each other an soon caught up in the riot that is Rio Carnaval, featuring fabulous costumes, effervescent dancing and vibrant samba drumming. This is a powerful, idealised version of carnaval, with themes of love and death often touching on the darker side of Rio de Janeiro life in the favelas. The film won both an Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or. This Blu-ray release features a superbly restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. A generous range of extras includes archival interviews with director Marcel Camus and the delightful Marpessa Dawn as well as new video interviews with Brazilian cinema scholar Robert Stam, jazz historian Gary Giddins, and Brazilian author Ruy Castro. Looking for Black Orpheus is a French documentary about the film’s cultural and musical roots, highlighting its resonance in Brazil today. The accompanying booklet has an excellent essay by film critic Michael Atkinson.
INDOCHINE STUDIOCANAL OPTBD3035R0
Featuring an Oscar-nominated performance by Catherine Deneuve alongside Vincent Perez, Jean Yanne and Linh Dan Pham, Indochine is set in 1930 at the end of French colonial rule in Indochina. Alongside her father Emile, widowed French woman Eliane Devries determinedly runs a rubber plantation. The only emotional attachment she has is to her adopted Vietnamese daughter Camille, an orphaned Annamite princess. Their existence is turned upside down with the arrival of Jean-Baptiste, a young French naval officer with whom both Eliane and then Camille fall in love. Protected by her friend Guy Asselin, head of the French security services, Eliane is able to face another worrying element: the rise of native nationalism and the first attacks mounted against the French. Although Eliane becomes detached from Jean-Baptiste, Camille still loves him despite her arranged marriage to her cousin Tanh. She flees the colonists and crosses the whole country, heading north, witnessing the misfortunes of her people under colonial oppression, and finally reaches Dragon Islet in Hạ Long Bay where Jean-Baptiste has been transferred. What will be the lovers’ fate? On its original release in 1992, Indochine won five César Awards, an Oscar® and a Golden Globe (both for Best Foreign Film). Directed by Régis Wargnier, the original negative, under Studiocanal’s supervision, has been digitised and restored to 4K quality by L’Immagine Ritrovata for this Blu-ray relese (also available on DVD). Extras include Indochine: A French epic - a new 52 minute documentary about the film and its historical context, as well as interviews with Deneuve, Wargnier, Erik Orsenna, Louis Gardel, Vincent Pérez, Michel Bodin, Alain Ruscio, François Catonné, producers Alain Belmondo and Gérard Crosnier, and production designer Jacques Bufnoir.
THE MAN FROM LARAMIE EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT EKA70234
Director Anthony Mann’s rugged, sharply scripted 1950s western, The Man From Laramie, stars James Stewart as a resolute vigilante Will Lockhart, obsessed with finding the man responsible for his brother’s death. Among the suspects are autocratic cattle baron Alec Waggoman (Donald Crisp), his weak, sadistic son Dave (Alex Nicol) and his ranch foreman Vic Hansbro (the always excellent Arthur Kennedy). There are memorable performances too by Cathy O’Donnell as Dave’s sweet storekeeper cousin Barbara, Aline MacMahon as ‘ugly’ Kate Canaday, Wallace Ford as Will’s whiskery sidekick, and the ubiquitous Jack Elam as Chris Boldt, ‘a man not to be trusted’. Held by some to be the pinnacle of the five Westerns they were teamed on (starting with Winchester 73 in 1950), The Man from Laramie marked the final collaboration between Anthony Mann and James Stewart. The film is an exciting psychological revenge saga, masterfully filmed in Cinemascope and Technicolor that captures the arid beauty of the New Mexico landscapes. This story about people cheated out of what they espected from life is of Shakespearean proportions suggesting the Western version of King Lear which Mann wanted to make but never did. Eureka Entertainment has released The Man from Laramie on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK in this Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition. Special features with the newly restored 4K film transfer include restored 2.0 and 5.1 soundtracks, presented in uncompressed PCM and DTS-HD MA respectively on the Blu-ray, an audio commentary by film critic Adrian Martin, a video interview with critic, novelist and Western enthusiast Kim Newman, the original 1955 theatrical trailer, plus a booklet featuring an essay by Philip Kemp, an interview with Anthony Mann, and rare archival imagery. ‘Visually impressive, psychologically complex and sometimes brutally violent… it’s 24 carat stuff.’ - Time Out Film Guide.
THE SHOP ON THE HIGH STREET SECOND RUN BD 003
In a small town in Nazi-occupied Slovakia during the Second World War, decent but timid carpenter Antonin ‘Tono’ Brtko is named ‘Aryan comptroller’ of a button store owned by an old Jewish widow, Rozalie. Since the post comes with a salary and standing in the town’s corrupt hierarchy, Tono wrestles with greed and guilt as he and Rozalie gradually befriend each other. When the authorities order all Jews in town to be rounded up, Tono faces a moral dilemma unlike any he has known before. The Shop on the High Street is a classic Czechoslovak film written by Ladislav Grosman and directed by Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos. Polish actress Ida Kamińska was nominated in 1966 for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as the bemused Rozalie. Jozef Kroner brilliantly plays poor, lackadaisical Tono, Frantisek Zvarík his mercenary fascist brother-in-law and Hana Slivková his greedy, shrewish wife. Photography and music are superb throughout. Kadár said in an interview that the wider historical perspective is revealed in ‘one drop of water’, and Kenneth Tynan wrote that this was ‘The most moving film about anti-Semitism ever made. The grand theme - as of all good modern drama - can be simply stated: How much of a man belongs to authority and how much to himself? At what point must the individual say “No”?’ Extras with this world premiere Blu-ray release from Second Run include an excellent filmed appreciation by writer, editor and film historian Michael Brooke. The High Definition transfer was prepared by the Czech National Film Archive. A 20-page booklet features an essay by author and film programmer Peter Hames. The Shop on the High Street is both profoundly serious and comic, and won the 1965 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
PEOPLE OF THE MOUNTAINS SECOND RUN DVD 110
Arguably the most gifted Hungarian filmmaker of his generation, István Szőts has been compared by critics to Ford, Vigo and Renoir. His forgotten masterpiece, People of the Mountains (Hungarian: Emberek a havason) is the story of a woodcutter and his family who live high in the spectacular mountains of Transylvania. Forced out of their home, they are enticed into working for the company that ejected them, only for their lives to begin to unravel with one tragic misfortune after another. Shot almost entirely on location (in the harshest conditions imaginable), using mostly non-professional actors, who are wonderfully convincing as poor but proud mountain people. With a devotion to realism and the details of daily life, this moving indictment of the prevailing conditions was a groundbreaking film. Szőts auspicious debut was, however, refused a distribution licence in 1942 by Nazi minister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels and condemned as ‘Communist propaganda’ and ‘too Catholic’. In spite of this, the film went onto to win a major prize at the 1942 Venice Film Festival and was later cited as an early model for the post-war Italian Neorealism movement, praised by Vittorio De Sica and Cesare Zavattini among others. A powerful, elemental vision suffused with poetic lyricism and a romantic anti-capitalist zeal, People of the Mountains is the jewel of Hungarian cinema of the period. The film stars beautiful Alice Szellay as Anna, János Görbe as her devoted husband Gergö, and Péterke Ferency as the adorable Little Gergö. The plot was based on a series of short stories by József Nyírő. People of the Mountains was nearly destroyed after the Second World War by the ruling Communist Party which claimed it as ‘reaction propaganda’, objecting that it won the Venice Biennale Award in Mussolini’s fascist Italy. This Blu-ray release features a new 2K digital restoration of the film from original nitrate image and sound negatives, supervised by the Hungarian National Digital Archive. The accompanying booklet has a revealing essay by author and Hungarian cinema expert John Cunningham. ‘Beautiful, unique and inimitable.’ - Il Messaggero.
THE SMALL WORLD OF SAMMY LEE STUDIOCANAL OPTBD3066R0
Petty crook and chancer Sammy Lee (Anthony Newley) has five hours to try to raise the cash to pay off a gangster bookie and so avoid a heavy beating. A gripping race against the clock follows through the seedy streets of 1960s Soho, inhabited by a lively assortment of pimps, punters, brasses and bookies. Newley gives a restless, vital performance as the desperate Sammy - jaundiced compere for a sleazy backstreet strip joint, gambler and inveterate horse player. His grimly hilarious schemes to raise the money leaves him little time for the loyal, loving Patsy (a tender performance by Julia Foster). Recently arrived from the North, she naively takes Sammy’s flash offer of a job seriously. Written and expertly directed by Ken Hughes, this evocative portrait of the darker side of 1960s Soho nightlife was shot in vivid black and white by acclaimed cinematographer Wolf Suschitzky, with music composed by jazzman Kenny Graham. A lost gem of 1960s British cinema, this deliciously witty London noir features classic London locations and a top cast that includes Wilfred Brambell, Derek Nimmo, Miriam Karlin, Kenneth J. Warren, Toni Palmer, Roy Kinnear and Warren Mitchell, with a powerful cameo by Alfred Burke as the menacing Big Eddie. This new 2k restoration of The Small World of Sammy Lee is released as part of Studiocanal’s Vintage Classics Collection showcasing iconic British films, available on DVD, Blu-ray and EST. Special features include interviews with the charming Julia Foster and Mike Hodges as well as a fascinating locations featurette with Richard Dacre.
LA GRANDE VADROUILLE STUDIOCANAL OPTBD3062R0
Written by director Gérard Oury with his daughter Danièle Thompson, La Grande Vadrouille is one of the most successful comic achievements of French cinema. Since its release in 1966 it was seen by 17 million people in France, a box-office record which it held until the release of Titanic. This engaging entertainment is set during the Second World War and centres on three English airmen: Sir Reginald (British comedy legend Terry-Thomas), Cunningham (Claudio Brook), and Mackintosh (Mike Marshall, looking good in pigtails). They are forced to parachute into occupied France when the Germans shoot down their aircraft. One of airmen lands on the precarious scaffold of amiable painter Augustin (Bourvil). Another lands on top of a concert hall and is rescued by snobbish orchestra conductor Stanislas Lefort (irascible Louis De Funès). The third ends up in the seal enclosure of the Paris Zoo. When they try to help the airmen make a rendez-vous, Augustin and Stanislas find themselves a target for the Germans, who seem to be everywhere. Assisted by a fearless anti-German nun (Andréa Parisy) and a puppeteer’s daughter (ravishing blonde Marie Dubois), the two unlikely heroes accompany the airmen on a dangerous trek across France towards the neutral zone and a daring attempt at escape. The three central actors revel in the madcap scenes they are thrown into, and the sparkling one-liners are matched with a fast-paced plot and exciting action scenes. Still massively popular in France, La Grande Vadrouille is a hugely enjoyable action-comedy as well as a lavish recreation of the wartime era. This newly restored version of Gérard Oury’s masterpiece has now been released on DVD, Blu-ray and EST to mark the the film’s 50th anniversary.
THE LION IN WINTER STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2819
England, in the 12th Century. After the death of his son and heir, King Henry II (Peter O’Toole) is obsessed with finding a new successor, so summons his three remaining sons. Also summoned is his wife, the formidable, scheming Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katherine Hepburn), who he has kept imprisoned for the last ten years, his mistress, Princess Alais (Jane Merrow), and her crafty brother, King Philip of France (Timothy Dalton). As the Royal couple scheme and cajole with their sons, their passions turn from tenderness to fury as they try to determine who should be the future King of England. The Lion in Winter received critical and audience acclaim on its release in 1968 and earned Oscar wins for Katherine Hepburn (Best Actress), James Goldman (Best Adapted Screenplay) and John Barry (for the film’s score). Director Anthony Harvey was also nominated and the film features debut screen roles for Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton. Cinematography is by the great Douglas Slocombe, whose challenge was keeping a cohesive look for the film, which uses a combination of classic period sets, location and studio settings, to create an authentic 12th Century atmosphere. The use of darkness, light, shadows and colour all work together to heighten the drama. This release on DVD, Blu-ray and EST from Studiocanal features a newly restored version of the film as part of the Vintage Classics collection. Extras include interviews with John Castle (who plays Henry’s son Geoffrey) and the film’s editor John Bloom, as well as an Anthony Harvey audio commentary, O’Toole on Hepburn (an excerpt from an interview in 2012), the trailer, and a restoration comparison.
THE EMIGRANTS / THE NEW LAND CRITERION COLLECTION
This monumental mid-nineteenth-century epic directed by Jan Troell charts, over the course of two films, a Swedish farming family’s voyage of emigration from Småland, Sweden to Minnesota, United States in the 19th century. The Emigrants (Utvandrarna) follows the hardship of the group and their efforts to put down roots in this beautiful but forbidding new world. The film is based on the first two novels of The Emigrants suite by Vilhelm Moberg: The Emigrants and Unto a Good Land, adapted for the screen by producer Bengt Forslund and Jan Troell. Movie legend Max von Sydow and luminous Liv Ullmann give remarkably authentic performances as the stoical Karl Oskar and his faithful wife Kristina, a couple who meet with one physical and emotional trial after another as they struggle to find an existence in a harsh rural environment and then on their arduous journey to America. The precise, minute detail with which Troell depicts the couple’s story - which is also that of countless other people who sought better lives across the Atlantic – is thoroughly convincing and engrossing. We come to understand and care deeply about this band of ordinary people with their extraordinary lives. The Emigrants was critically hailed all over the world when originally released and was nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1971. After being screened properly the following year, it was nominated for four more Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director for Troell, Best Actress for Ullmann, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The Emigrants was followed by a 1972 sequel, The New Land (Nybyggarna), with the same cast. The immigrants are rewarded for their hard work and now live a better life than they did in Sweden, though they have to cope with the start of the Civil War and a bloody Sioux Indian uprising against the settlers. The Emigrants and The New Land makes for perhaps the greatest ever screen drama about the settling of America. Extras with this two-disc Special Edition Blu-ray release include an introduction by film critic John Simon; conversation between film scholar Peter Cowie and Jan Troell; a new interview with Liv Ullmann; To Paint with Pictures (an hour-long documentary on the making of the films, featuring archival footage as well as interviews with Troell, Ullmann, Forslund, actor Eddie Axberg, and composer Georg Oddner); trailers; and an essay by critic Terrence Rafferty.
EARLY MURNAU: FIVE FILMS, 1921-1925 EUREKA EKA70222
F. W. Murnau, was one of the greatest film directors of the silent film era and part of the influential German expressionist movement of the 1920s. Unfortunately, much of his output has been lost but those films that survive are widely regarded as masterpieces. Born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe, Murnau took his directorial name from a town in Germany. After making Phantom, The Grand Duke’s Finances, Nosferatu, Der Letze Mann (also known as The Last Laugh and Faust (his last German film), Murnau emigrated to Hollywood in 1926 to direct the wonderful Sunrise. Eureka Entertainment has now released this definitive three-disc box set of five masterpieces created by one of the greatest directors of all time: Schloß Vogelöd, Phantom, Die Finanzen des Großherzogs (The Grand Duke’s Finances), Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) and Tartuffe. In the sinister mystery Schloß Vogelöd, terrible secrets from the past threaten a group of aristocrats’ gathering at a country manor. In the delirious Phantom, an aspiring poet’s chance encounter with a beautiful woman leads into obsession and deception. The delightful Die Finanzen des Großherzogs sees a rakish-but-impoverished duke setting out to rebuild his fortune via blissfully comic high adventure on the Mediterranean coast. In Der Letzte Mann, an undisputed masterpiece of the silent era, Emil Jannings gives an overwhelming performance as a hotel porter with dreams of a higher station in life. The film was a stylistic breakthrough for both Murnau and cinema in general. Finally, the slyly satiric Tartuffe features Jannings as Molière’s iconic creation in a morality tale film-within-a-film as only Murnau could conceive. Extras with these new high-definition transfers of the films, created by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, include The Language of the Shadows: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and His Films - a 31-minute video piece by Luciano Berriatúa on the early works of Murnau; Audio commentary by film scholar David Kalat on The Grand Duke’s Finances; The Making of The Last Laugh - a 41-minute documentary by Murnau expert Luciano Berriatúa; and Tartuffe: The Lost Film - a 37-minute documentary by Berriatúa. The 100-page accompanying book features writing by Charles Jameux, Lotte H. Eisner, Janet Bergstrom, Tony Rayns, and archival imagery. ‘The greatest poet the screen has ever known.’ - French film theorist and director Alexandre Astruc.
THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX EUREKA EKA70224
A rickety cargo plane carrying a motley assortment of oilmen and military personnel crashes in the Sahara Desert during a sandstorm. Realising they are too far off course to be found and rescued before food and water runs out, their only hope is to attempt to rebuild the aircraft amidst the unforgiving environment. One of Hollywood’s toughest and most idiosyncratic directors, Robert Aldrich, had a great popular success with The Dirty Dozen, and The Flight of the Phoenix is another a thrilling adventure thriller with a starry all-male cast. James Stewart gives a tough, sensitive performance as the plane’s pilot and Richard Attenborough plays his alcoholic navigator. Others involved include Peter Finch as a brave army officer, Hollywood veterans Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy and Dan Duryea, British stalwarts Ronald Fraser and Ian Bannen, and German-born Hardy Krüger as an emotionless aircraft designer. Tensions mount and everyone goes a little crazy in this engrossing mix of intensely physical filmmaking and marvellous character turns, vividly portraying men under pressure, with unsettling questions about the nature of leadership. ‘Insurance companies move in mysterious ways. Much like God... only far less generous.’ Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series has now released this Blu-ray special edition of the film in a new high-definition 1080p presentation, with extras that include a video interview with film historian Sheldon Hall and the original theatrical trailer. The accompanying booklet has an essay by film scholar Neil Sinyard, as well as archival imagery.
CONVERSATION PIECE EUREKA EKA70221
Eleven years after they worked together on The Leopard, the revered Italian maestro Luchino Visconti and iconic American actor Burt Lancaster teamed up again in 1974 for the director’s penultimate film, the lavish Conversation Piece (Gruppo di famiglia in un interno). A retired American professor (a superb performance by Lancaster) lives a solitary and luxurious life in a house in Rome. His secluded world takes an unexpected and dangerous turn when he is forced to rent part of his house to an imperious marchesa (Visconti muse Silvana Mangano) and her ‘ruthless, crude’ companions: an unconventional young lover (handsome Helmut Berger), a wayward 16-year-old daughter (former Miss Teenage Italy Claudia Marsani) and the daughter’s boyfriend (Stefano Patrizi). Forced into interaction with this unruly young group, the professor’s growing fascination begins to stir the possibilities of a life he had previously kept at arm’s length. Conversation Piece is a poignant, sumptuous, grandly enjoyable chamber drama with a wry sense of humour and erotic undertones, exploring the essential loneliness of existence with a light, satirical touch. ‘Grief is as precarious as anything else.’ The outstanding international ensemble cast is augmented with uncredited cameos by Claudia Cardinale as the professor’s wife and Dominique Sanda as his mother. Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series has now released this Visconti classic in a new dual-format edition from a brand new 2K restoration. Special features include both the original English language soundtrack and the Italian dub track that was produced at the same time, an interview with critic and screenwriter Alessandro Bencivenni, and an excellent feature – Luchino Visconti: The Quest for the Impossible.
A DOZEN SUMMERS BALLPARK FILMS
Have you ever been 12 years old - or planning to be 12 in the future? If so, then enter the world of Maisie and Daisy McCormack, twin sisters who have hijacked a children`s film in order to tell their own story - or possibly one about a girl ghost who eats teachers! In the process they address issues faced by all 12-year-olds such as family, friends, bullying and school life. Shot in Leicester and narrated by Colin Baker (former Dr Who) A Dozen Summers has an engaging and sparky young cast with guest appearances by assorted grown-ups. Garnering critical acclaim on its theatrical release, this independent film is a charming coming-of-age comedy drama that shows what it’s really like to grow up in the 21st Century. Get ready to enter the world of Maisie and Daisy McCormack, twin sisters who have just hijacked a children’s film in order to tell their own story. The film was directed by Canadian actor, writer and musician Kenton Hall, who also plays the father of Maisie and Daisy (his real-life daughters Scarlet and Hero). ‘Dad times ten’ is a fountain of advice, wisdom and help, whether Maisie and Daisy like it or not. A Dozen Summers is a quirky, life-affirming delight.
THE IN-LAWS CRITERION
Peter Falk and Alan Arkin make for a hilarious dream team in this American directed in 1979 by Arthur Hiller from an ingenious script by Andrew Bergman (who helped write Blazing Saddles). The In-Laws may at first seem like a generic meet-the-parents comedy, as Arkin’s mild-mannered dentist Sheldon Kornpett suspiciously eyes Falk’s manic mystery man, Vince Ricardo, whose son is engaged to his daughter. Vince claims to be a government agent and soon, through a series of events too serpentine and surprising to spoil, the two men are brought together by a dangerous mission that takes them from suburban New Jersey to Honduras. ‘There’s no reason to shoot at me, I’m a dentist.’ Fueled by elaborate stunt work and the laconic, naturalistic charms of its two stars, who bounce off each other gleefully. There is fine support from Richard Libertini as crazy General Garcia, Ed Begley Jr. as a CIA man, and James Hong as Bing Wong. The In-Laws is a madcap extravaganza that retains its screwball charm and freshness, and is much superior to the 2003 remake. ‘Serpentine!’ This Blu-ray release features a new 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras include an audio commentary from 2003 with Arthur Hiller, Alan Arkin, Peter Falk and Andrew Bergman; A new interview with Arkin; In Support of “The In-Laws,” a new interview programme featuring actors Ed Begley Jr, Nancy Dussault, James Hong and David Paymer; the trailer; and a booklet featuring an essay by comedy writer Stephen Winer and a 2011 recollection of the making of the film by Hiller.
THE GINGERBREAD MAN ODYSSEY
Based on a gripping original story by bestselling thriller writer John Grisham, The Gingerbread Man is complex tale of murder, madness, revenge and sexual infatuation set in America’s Deep South, stylishly directed in 1997 by Oscar-winning Robert Altman. Kenneth Branagh adopts a convincing Georgian accent to star as cocky Savannah lawyer Rick Magruder, who falls for sultry waitress Mallory Doss (Embeth Davidtz) who is being stalked by her cult leader father, Dixon (Robert Duvall). With help from private eye Clyde Pell (a scene-stealing performance by Robert Downey Jr.), his smart PA Lois (the elegant Daryl Hannah) and Mallory’s reluctant ex-husband Pete (Tom Berenger), Rick succeeds in getting Dixon institutionalised. But when Dixon escapes, Rick is forced to go on the run as he fights to clear his name and save his life and his family. But who can he trust? And has the legal hotshot been played for a fool? The Gingerbread Man is an intelligent, absorbing modern film noir set in a rarely seen Savannah, where an impending hurricane adds to the threatening atmosphere. With fine performances all round and suitably moody photography, this underrated film is directed with his usual offbeat flair by Altman.
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Shot and set in Manchester, A Kind of Loving was adapted from a Stan Barstow novel of the same name and directed by John Schlesinger from a screenplay by Willis Hall and Keith Waterhouse. The film tells the story of a young draughtsman, Vic Brown, whose search for love leads him to Ingrid Rothwell, an employee in the company where he works. Ingrid quickly falls in love with Vic and when she find herself pregnant Vic reluctantly agrees to marry her. Forced into a life he never wanted, resentful of Ingrid and the position he finds himself in, and spurred on by the acid tongue remarks of his sour mother in law (a brilliant performance by Thora Hird), Vic struggles to come to terms with the reality of love. Alan Bates and June Ritchie (making her screen debut) are perfect as Vic and Ingrid, and Schlesinger directs with an uncanny understanding of 1960s working class life in the north of England. The excellent cast also includes Bert Palmer and Gwen Nelson as Vic’s parents, Pat Keen as his wise sister Christine, and Jack Smethurst as the troublemaking Conroy, as well as Patsy Rowlands, James Bolam, Leonard Rossiter, and an uncredited Helen Fraser as Ingrid’s annoying friend. This superb example of ‘Kitchen Sink’ drama was a box office hit and received widespread critical acclaim when first released in 1962, winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival that year and scoring four BAFTA nominations. A Kind of Loving has now been digitally restored by STUDIOCANAL in collaboration with the BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage programme and is released on DVD and Blu-ray. Special features include an interview with writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie; A Kind of Loving & The British New Wave featurette, including interviews with John Hill and Melanie Williams; An NFT interview with John Schlesinger from 1988; Terminus - an Oscar-winning short film directed by Schlesinger in 1962; and the trailer for A Kind of Loving. Highly recommended.
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Following on from his hard-hitting work in television, including Cathy Come Home and Up the Junction, Poor Cow brought Ken Loach’s unique, uncompromising style to a big screen audience and helped kick start a new movement in social realist cinema. In a gritty 1960s London, Joy is a young mother forced to fend for herself when her brutish and uncaring husband, Tom (John Bindon), is put in jail. The film follows Joy as she searches for a glimpse of happiness, when she comes into contact with Tom’s seemingly caring associate Dave (a tender performance by charming Terence Stamp) whilst raising her son alone in squalid circumstances. Carol White is touching as the vulnerable, sensuous Joy as struggles to survive on the edge of legality. Men come and go but her true love is Dave. Ken Loach is the master of naturalistic filmmaking and this new, fully restored version reveals the ravishing beauty of Chris Manges’ photography. Funded by Studiocanal in collaboration with the BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage programme, Poor Cow has been released in UK cinemas and will be be available on DVD and Blu-ray from July 25. Extras include interviews with Ken Loach, Terence Stamp, writer Nell Dunn, an archive interview with Carol White, and a Poor Cow & The British New Wave featurette.
THE WICKED LADY SECOND SIGHT 2NDVD3293
After seducing and marrying the already betrothed Sir Ralph Skelton (insouciantly played by Denholm Elliott), scheming Lady Barbara Skelton finds life dull, despite her wealth and good fortune. Desperate for excitement and danger she is thrown into the arms of infamous highwayman Jerry Jackson (dashing Alan Bates). Every evening she slips away from home to join him in his criminal exploits, but how long will it be before her perilous nighttime escapades are discovered? Screen legend Faye Dunaway is mischievous in the title role and the cast also includes John Gielgud in an unlikely wig, Prunella Scales and Glynis Barber. Michael Winner’s ridiculously luridly entertaining remake of the classic 1945 film starring Margaret Lockwood. Winner’s version caused a censorship storm on its original release in 1983 because of the controversial whipping scene between Dunaway and Marina Sirtis. The British Board of Film Classification wanted to cut this notorious sequence but Winner refused and was supported by fellow directors such as Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz and John Schlesinger. The scene stayed, but the film’s release was delayed. This lush and bawdy romp has now been released on DVD for the first time in its uncensored glory ‘Enjoyable high camp.’ - Radio Times.
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Famously described by the late Ingmar Bergman as ‘a work of genius’, Peter Watkins’ film, first shown on BBC-TV in 1976, is more than just a biopic of the iconic Norwegian Expressionist painter, it is one of the best films ever made about the artistic process. Focusing initially on melancholy Munch’s formative years in late 19th century Kristiania (now Oslo), Watkins uses his trademark style to create a vivid picture of the emotional, political, and social upheavals that would have such an effect on his art. The shy young artist has an affair with the beautiful ‘Mrs. Heiberg’ (Gro Fraas), a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life. His work is viciously attacked by critics and public alike and he is forced to leave his home country for Berlin, where, along with the notorious Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe. There have been countless film biographies of famous artists, but only a handful can be considered major works in their own right. Geir Westby is excellent as the intense, misunderstood Munch, haunted by the pain and illness of his early life, and the repressive atmosphere of 19th century Norway is perfectly captured in the photography of Odd-Geir Sæther. This Masters of Cinema Series Blu-ray release from Eureka features an extended 221-minute version of Watkins’ engrossing, multi-faceted masterwork. The high-definition restoration has been approved by the director and the accompanying 80-page book has a Peter Watkins self-interview, writing by Joseph Gomez, a Munch timeline, and numerous artworks. ‘Riveting from first moment to last.’ - New York Times.
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The Assassin is the first venture into the ‘Wuxia’ Martial Arts genre by acclaimed director Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Enthralling and stunningly photographed, this dazzling film transports the viewer into a lavish spectacle of courtly intrigue, love, honour and power in 9th century Tang dynasty China. The magnetic Shu Qi continues her regular collaboration with Hou to play Nie Yinniang, the eponymous ‘Assassin’ of the story, adapted from a traditional Chinese folk tale of a young girl raised as a killer. Abducted by a sisterhood of nuns as a young girl, she is initiated into the warrior arts and transformed into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed to complete a mission due to her empathy for the young child of the victim, her mistress the princess-nun Jiaxin, later revealed to be her maternal aunt, punishes her for the ‘weakness’ she perceives in her sentiment by sending Yinniang back to the land of her birth with orders to kill the man to whom she was once promised. This critically acclaimed masterpiece was awarded the Best Director prize at Cannes Film Festival, followed by a BAFTA nomination for Best Film Not In The English Language. Now available on DVD and Blu-ray, with extras that include Behind the scenes with Nie Yinniang, The Actors: No rehearsals, The Fights Between Masters, and A Time Machine to the Tang Dynasty. ‘Magical…utterly mesmerising.’ - Mark Kermode, Observer.
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This brilliant send-up of the Hollywood machine stars Emil Jannings, who won the first ever Academy Award for best Actor in 1928 for his passionate performance in this early film directed by Josef von Sternberg (his second major Hollywood picture), who would later make The Blue Angel with Jannings and Marlene Dietrich. The Last Command is one of the finest and most significant films of its era. Jannings is immensely touching as an exiled Russian general turned Hollywood extra who is chosen by a former adversary (William Powell, impeccably suave as always) to play a role that resembles his former self and gradually loses his grip on reality. This sharp witted satire is also a heartbreaking drama about one man’s emotional and physical downfall, featuring great cinematography, beautifully designed sets and rousing Revolution sequences. Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series has now released the world premiere Blu-ray debut of this wonderfully composed masterpiece in a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition. Special features with the High definition Blu-ray transfer include the original organ (uncompressed) score by Gaylord Carter, a video interview with critic Tony Rayns, Sternberg Till ’29 (a video essay by scholar Tag Gallagher) and a 32-page booklet featuring an excerpt from Von Sternberg’s autobiography - Fun in a Chinese Laundry - as well as a profile of Jannings and archival images. ‘The sheer sophistication of Sternberg’s visuals makes nearly all current releases look old-fashioned. - Time Out.
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Room tells the extraordinary story of Jack, a spirited 5-year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted mother. Like any good mother, she dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical – they are trapped, confined to a 10-by-10-foot space that Ma has euphemistically named Room. She has created a whole universe for Jack and will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, he is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. Directed by Academy Award nominated Lenny Abrahamson with a screenplay by Emma Donoghue that she adapted from her best-selling novel, Room stars Brie Larson as the resourceful Ma and Jacob Tremblay in a remarkable performance as Jack, with Joan Allen, William H. Macy and Sean Bridgers. This highly acclaimed film will be released in the UK on EST digital on 9th May and Blu-ray and DVD on 16th May by Studiocanal. Special features include an audio commentary with Larry Abrahamson and three featurettes: ‘Making of’, ‘Eleven by Eleven’ and ‘Cast & Crew’.
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This experimental 1929 silent film by Soviet director Dziga Vertov was voted one of the ten best films ever made in a Sight & Sound 2012 poll, and the best documentary ever in a subsequent poll in 2014. Man With A Movie Camera (Chelovek s kinoapparatom) stands as one of cinema’s most essential documents - a dazzling exploration of the possibilities of image-making as related to the everyday world around us. The culmination of a decade of experiments to render ‘the chaos of visual phenomena filling the universe’, Vertov’s masterwork uses a staggering array of cinematic devices to capture the city at work and at play, as well as the machines that power it. This limited-edition 4-Disc Dual-Format (DVD and Blu-ray) edition in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series features a definitive new restoration from EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam and Lobster Films. Other works by Vertov included here date from before and after his masterpiece - Kino-Eye (1924), Kino-Pravda #21 (1925), Enthusiasm: Symphony of the Donbass (1931) and Three Songs About Lenin (1934). Special features with new high-definition restored transfers of all five films include scores by The Alloy Orchestra for Man With A Movie Camera and Robert Israel for Kino-Eye, audio commentary on Man With A Movie Camera by film scholar Adrian Martin, and The Life and Times of Dziga Vertov - an exclusive, lengthy video interview with film scholar Ian Christie on Vertov’s career and the films in this set. A 100-page book features the words of Dziga Vertov and archival imagery. ‘Cinema in its purest form; movement, sensation, action and visual trickery.’ - Time Out.
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Director Sydney Pollack’s critically acclaimed suspense-thriller stars Robert Redford in his prime as Joe Turner, a junior analyst in the C.I.A., scrutinising published texts from around the world for coded messages. But once he discovers an unusual anomaly, his own existence comes crashing down, with every error carrying danger and often fatal consequences. Taut and engrossing, this sinuous tale of deceit and corruption has uncanny modern-day political relevance. Faye Dunaway gives a touching, sensitive performance as a vulnerable woman learning how to trust. The exceptional supporting cast features Cliff Robertson, veteran John Houseman and the great Max von Sydow as a clinical hitman. Three Days of The Condor is released in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series for the first time in the UK as a dual-format (DVD and Blu-ray) special edition. Extras with the high-definition presentation include a revealing interview with film historian Sheldon Hall and the original theatrical trailer. The 32-page booklet has an essay by critic Michael Brooke, a long interview with Pollack and archival images. This fine example of the conspiracy thriller genre is one of craftsman Sydney Pollack’s best and most popular films, with its New York locations vividly photographed by Owen Roizman and the evocative 1970s music provided by Dave Grusin. ‘The action rarely falters, and at its best the film offers an intriguing slice of neo-Hitchcock.’ - Time Out.
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First released in 1952, director David Lean’s powerful film is a dramatic exploration of British attempts to achieve supersonic flight. John Ridgefield (Ralph Richardson) is the self-made wealthy owner of the Ridgefield Aircraft factory and is driven toward a significant breakthrough, envisioning a plane that can fly faster than the speed of sound. His obsession with perfection mirrors Lean’s own, with the human cost of scientific progress sending the unyielding Ridgefield close to madness and throwing his family into turmoil. At the heart of the film is the fascination of the era in which it was made with the thrill of aviation, an industry that had boomed throughout the war and held the world’s attention. The film was acclaimed by critics on release for its ‘semi-documentary’ and attention to detail. Lean obsessively researched media reports of jet engines attempting to approach supersonic speed, even going so far as to interview British aeronautic designers and managing to fly with test pilots. Eventually he turned over 300 pages of notes to acclaimed playwright Terrance Rattigan to turn into a brilliant screenplay examining the relationship between obsession and sacrifice, technological mastery and the costs of pursuing it at the cost of all else. While the sound barrier was actually broken by USAF pilot Chuck Yeager, this fictional account honours British engineering and the determination of men like Frank Whittle, at the very forefront of jet engine development. It was partly inspired by the life and times of Geoffrey De Havilland; the designer and owner of De Havilland Aircraft Company, two of whose sons died testing their father’s own experimental jet plane. The film also stars the very English Ann Todd as Ridgefield’s daughter and Nigel Patrick as her intrepid test pilot husband. There is solid support from the charming Dinah Sheridan, Denholm Elliott, John Justin (who was a Spitfire production test pilot during the Second World War) and an uncredited Leslie Phillips, as well as lots of 1950s atmosphere, exciting aerial footage and a terrific score by Malcolm Arnold. The Sound Barrier was a great box office success on release, though today it has become one of Lean’s rarely seen films and well worth rediscovering. Thanks to a restoration by the BFI National Archive in partnership with Studiocanal, and to funding from the David Lean Foundation, this new Vintage Classics edition (on DVD and, for the first time, Blu-ray) features new extras to mark the 25th Anniversary of David Lean’s death. These include an interview with Terence Rattigan’s official biographer Geoffrey Wansell and an excerpt from a relaxed BFI interview with David Lean from 1959. ‘A wonderfully beautiful and thrilling comprehension of the power of jet airplanes and of the minds and emotions of the people who are involved with these miraculous machines.’ - New York Times.
ARABELLA SIMPLY MEDIA 164447
Adroitly directed by Mauro Bolognini and with a score by Ennio Morricone, Arabella is a frothy comic farce lushly set in Italy in the 1920s. This rarely seen film stars the beautiful Virna Lisi as a Becky Sharp character who uses her ample womanly wiles to seduce men in order to aid her wily, debt-ridden grandmother, played with relish by the wonderful Margaret Rutherford. The impressive cast also includes Giancarlo Giannini, a young James Fox as Arabella’s confused boyfriend, and Terry-Thomas, who reveals a Peter Sellers-like ability in several different roles. This is one of many new releases from Simply Media that rescue interesting films from obscurity. The Affairs of Susan stars Don Defore, Joan Fontaine and George Brent. Susan is about to be married, but the wedding may get called off after her fiancee summons three former beaus. Each reveals a different portrait of Susan: one describes her as a naive country girl who reluctantly becomes an actress, another paints a picture of a gay party girl and and the third describes a serious intellectual. Which one is the real Susan? In A Man Called Gannon, a seasoned cowboy takes a young tender-foot under his wing as they become embroiled in a range war and end up on opposite sides. A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon stars River Phoenix as a charming womaniser who has to find a way to get $80 to elope to Hawaii with his one true love, or else go to his father’s chosen business school. In Air Cadet, a group of cadets arrive at an US Air Force training camp and go through the usual ‘course of sprouts’ then on to jet training, where cadet Russ Coulter meets lovely Janet ... who just happens to be the estranged wife of Major Page. Will a potential romantic triangle prevent Russ from qualifying as a fighter pilot? A Kiss before Dying stars Matt Dillon and Sean Young. Realising his secret girl-friend Dorothy’s pregnancy will sour her relations with her ultra-rich father, career-minded Philadelphia student Jonathan Corliss coolly murders her, making it look like suicide. He then moves to New York to woo her twin sister Ellen. All seems to go well for him, although Ellen’s continued investigations into what she is convinced was no suicide forces him to kill again.
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The great Italian theatre and cinema director and writer Luchino Visconti di Modrone was born into a wealthy, aristocratic Milanese family in 1906. His privileged upbringing exposed him to art, music and theatre, meeting people such as composer Giacomo Puccini, conductor Arturo Toscanini and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. At the age of 30, he went to Paris and began his film-making career as third assistant director in Jean Renoir’s Une Partie de Campagne. Visconti briefly visited Hollywood before returning to Rome, where he became part of the group associated with the journal Cinema. He sold some of the family jewels in 1943 to fund his first film, Ossessione, which proved a big success. After being imprisoned briefly by the Gestapo for allowing his palazzo to be used by the Communist Resistance during the Second World War, Visconti resumed his film career with La terra trema and the delightful Bellissima before going on to make such classics as The Leopard and Death in Venice. The neo-realist Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli) was completed in 1960, when it won the FIPRESCI Prize and the Special Prize at the Venice Film Festival. This epic study of family, sex and betrayal follows the lives of a mother and her sons as they struggle to adjust to metropolitan life in Milan after moving from Italy’s rural south. The shock of the new is violent and immediate. The mother meddles, a whore beguiles, brother faces brother and blood-ties come undone. Claudia Cardinale has one of her earliest film roles and there are outstanding performances by Alain Delon as the saintly Rocco, Renato Salvatori as doomed Simone, and Annie Girardot, touching as the tragic Nadia. The fine Nino Rota score influenced Coppola’s Godfather films and the superbly shot boxing sequences foreshadow Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. This Blu-ray release in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series features Visconti’s masterpiece in a new 4K restoration of its original Italian-language form of almost three hours. The many extras include newsreels from 1960, interviews with cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, Annie Girardot and Claudia Cardinale, the original Italian trailer, two excellent documentaries and a 40-page booklet featuring an essay writen by the director. Rocco and His Brothers is a brilliant, complex and intensely moving film with some of the most powerful images ever seen, including the famously haunting final shot. Unmissable.
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One of the most outrageous and original 80s horror films, Re-Animator was loosely adapted from an H.P. Lovecraft story telling the story of a deranged medical student, Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). He arrives at Miskatonic Medical School and immediately sneers at his professor’s outdated views on death. West has his own outlandish theories and has concocted a serum that will bring the dead back to life. Roping in fellow student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) their shocking experiments work all too well with horrific and increasingly messy results, leading to a splendidly gory final scene. This horror classic also stars David Gale, relishing his performance as the sinister Dr Hill, Robert Sampson as stuffy Dean Halsey, and beautiful Barbara Crampton as the Dean’s sweet daughter. Reanimator has now been released in a new 4K restoration on this two-disc Blu-ray set, complete with a double-sided sleeve featuring the original poster and artwork by Graham Humphreys. As well as two versions of this celebrated gorefest (‘Unrated’ and ‘Integral’) there are many special features, including audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna and actors Jeffrey Combs, Robert Sampson, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott. As well as a Re-Animator Resurrectus documentary there are interviews with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, writer Dennis Paoli, composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone, plus extended scenes, deleted scenes, trailers and a gallery.
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One of the essential repeat rentals for any self-respecting horror fan in the early 1980s, Frank Henenlotter’s cult classic Basket Case and the gloriously psychotic sequels it spawned are one of the most twisted and enjoyable horror trilogies ever made. What’s in the basket? This is a question Duane Bradley gets asked a lot when he arrives in sinful New York and checks into the sleazy Hotel Broslin, a place filled with drunks, odd-bods and prostitutes. We soon discover the answer; inside is his grotesquely deformed brother Belial. Separated at birth in a brutal operation the Siamese twins have come looking for revenge on the doctors that left Belial for dead and now the basket-dweller is ready to wreak blood-soaked carnage. Expect copious gore, much screaming and enjoyable low-budget acting. Kevin Van Hentenryck is engaging as the naive Duane, Terri Susan Smith is charming as his love interest, Beverly Bonner is a memorable fun-loving hooker, and Robert Vogel is the increasingly maddened hotel manager. Where the original classic ends the sequels pick up and things start to get really deranged when the brothers meet their long lost aunt ‘Granny Ruth’ - played by the legendary Annie Ross - and her houseful of freaks. The Trilogy has now been released in this three-disc set, complete with a basket load of bonus features, including documentaries, interviews, audio commentary by director Frank Henenlotter, producer Edgar Ievins and actress Beverly Bonner, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, promotional material, trailer and stills. ‘Took a genre obsessed with masked killers, monsters et al completely by storm.’- Empire.
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Director Michael Almereyda’s critically acclaimed Experimenter is a biopic about social psychologist Stanley Milgram and his infamous ‘obedience’ experiments. Peter Sarsgaard drolly plays the enigmatic Milgram, who designs a psychology experiment in which people think they are delivering electric shocks to a stranger strapped into a chair in another room. Subjects are told it is about memory, but the experiment is really about conformity, conscience and free will. Milgram is trying to test people’s tendency to comply with authority and confirm ‘the banality of evil’. His controversial experiments and results hit a nerve and got him accused of being a deceptive, manipulative monster. This bold, stylish and intelligent film also stars the excellent Winona Ryder as Milgram’s patient wife Sasha. The strong supporting cast includes stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan as the affable ‘victim’, Taryn Manning, John Leguizamo, Kellan Lutz as a young William Shatner, Anton Yelchin and Anthony Edwards - with Minnie as the elephant in the room. Experimenter is rich in convincing detail and is a smart, engaging look at a fascinating period of American history, revealing a figure who shaped contemporary culture and whose work remains socially relevant today. ‘A highly stylized biopic worthy of its subject...Winona Ryder is superb.’- Variety.
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In the late 1970s, American art icon Peggy Guggenheim gave what was to become the last interview of her life for Jaqueline B. Weld’s authorised biography Peggy: The Wayward Guggenhein. The tapes were long thought to be lost but now the never heard before footage has been discovered and forms part of a fascinating documentary about the amazing life of one of the most vibrant figures in modern art. Peggy Guggenheim was a colourful character who was not only ahead of her time but helped to define it and left behind a collection of art worth billions. Heiress to a modest share of her family fortune, she became a central figure in the modern art movement and as she moved through the cultural upheaval of the 20th century, she collected not only art, but artists. Her colourful personal history included trysts, affairs and marriages with such figures as Samuel Beckett, the handsome opportunist Max Ernst, alcoholic Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, mischievous Marcel Duchamp as well as countless others. While fighting through personal tragedy (the love of her life died young, she was estranged from her son and her daughter committed suicide), she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art, now enshrined in her Venetian palazzo. Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, this consistently entertaining and sharply put together feature includes a mix of archive footage and interviews including Marina Abramović, Robert De Niro (Peggy Guggenheim exhibited his parents’ art), Michael Govan, Donald Kuspit, Hans Ulrich Obrist, John Richardson, Mercedes Ruehl, Philip Rylands and her granddaughter, Karole Vail. Artists featured include Beckett, Calder, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Vasily Kandinsky, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Yves Tanguy. This sympathetic, engrossing and often moving documentary is a compendium of the greatest 20th century art, mixed with the wild and iconoclastic life of one of the most powerful women in the history of the art world. Now available on VOD and this double DVD with over two hours of special features that include extended interviews and the Premiere Director’s Q&A. ‘An extraordinary story: I was on the edge of my seat.’ - The Guardian.
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These two films were created by one of the most revered and idiosyncratic directors of all time, Pier Paulo Pasolini. From its opening credits comically sung in Italian to a jaunty Ennio Morricone score, Hawks and Sparrows (Uccellacci e uccellini) is a wonderfully free-form picaresque fable that lampoons politics, religion, death, sex and the state of modern Italy, as the brilliant veteran comic actor Totò as Innocenti Totò, Pasolini regular Ninetto Davoli and a left-wing talking crow wander the landscape through a gauntlet of unexpected encounters. Hawks and Sparrows is beautifully photographed by Tonino Delli Colli and was the director’s own favourite film. The mostly amateur cast of eccentrics provides a rich background for this playful, surreal and profoundly relevant masterpiece. ‘An intriguing tragicomic fable that shows two delightful innocents caught, like many Italians at the time, between the Church and communism.’ - Film 4. Pigsty (Porcile) is one of Pasolini’s most controversial works, interspersing the mute wanderings of cannibalistic savages against a barren, volcanic earth with the tale of Julian (played by Nouvelle Vague icon Jean-Pierre Léaud), his radically politicised fiancée Ida (Anne Wiazemsky), and the financial machinations of his father Herr Klotz in contemporary industrialised Germany. Both films demonstrate a restless, pioneering artist’s exploration of the natural world contrasted with the societal structures that govern human life. ‘Not only an exquisitely revolting satire, it is also Pasolini’s most fascinating piece of cinema.’ - Time Out. Visually inspired and playing by no-one’s rules other than his own, these two brilliant works by Pasolini are presented on Blu-ray for the first time in this limited edition, with High-definition transfers of both films and uncompressed monaural soundtracks. Special features include optional English subtitles, theatrical trailers, and a booklet featuring essays on both films by Pasquale Iannone and an interview by Oswald Stack with the director about Hawks and Sparrows.
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Looking for excitement and purpose, four bored teenagers turn to crime in this gritty Mexican drama set to a lively hip-hop soundtrack. When one suggests that they plan a robbery of the local cinema, all four are up for the challenge, but in turn jeopardising the one sure thing they have in life, their friendship. An explosive dramatic comedy, The Cinema Hold Up (Alsalto Al Cine) is a lively, authentic, and excellently observed portrait of Mexico’s youth culture. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to glowing reviews and is the first feature from director and co-writer Iria Gomez Concheiro. The film, influenced by Italian neorealism and Brazilian Novo Cinema, was shot entirely in Mexico City’s colourful yet notorious Colonia Guerrero, with sharp performances by teenage amateurs in the main roles: group leader Negus (Gabino Rodriguez), baby-faced Chale (Juan Pablo de Santiago), dim but violent Sapo (Angel Sosa) and the sparky girl Chata (Paulina Avalos). Other new independent film DVD releases from Simply Media include the excellent Canadian World War Two drama Heyday! set in Newfoundland, The Ways of the Wine (El Camino Del Vino) set in the glamorous world of wine-tasting, Clash (Engwkentro), a taut melodrama about two teenage brothers attempting to escape an unnamed city controlled by an iron-fisted mayor, and From Other Worlds, a quirky sci-fi spoof written and directed by Barry Strugatz.
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This torrid tale of sex, passion and erotic taboos is set against the backdrop of the rich and powerful in the sultry splendor of Rio de Janeiro. Beautiful young attorney Emily Reed (supermodel Carre Otis) travels to Rio to work with international negotiator Claudia Lirones (a ballsy performance by Jacqueline Bisset) on a multimillion-dollar deal. But once exposed to the raw sensuality of her surroundings, Emily is increasingly drawn into a world of erotic fantasy. Eager to guide Emily through this underworld is Claudia’s old flame, the enigmatic and unscrupulous Wheeler (Mickey Rourke). Mysterious and seductive, he unleashes Emily’s most primitive desires, even as she threatens to unlock his world-weary heart. Exuberantly directed by Zalman King, Wild Orchid is colourful, sexy and shameless enough to give exploitation a good name. The film has now been released on Blu-ray in a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition for the first time in the UK. Both unrated and R rated versions are included, as well as the original theatrical trailer.
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Based on the influential 1933 novel by Walter Greenwood and set in 1930s Salford’s Hankey Park during the Great Depression, Love on the Dole tells the storiy of a brother and sister, Harry and Sally Hardcastle, who fall prey to poverty and mass unemployment, and are forced to make terrible sacrifices in order to survive. Its stark portrayal of social deprivation led the British Board of Film Censors to ban the film when it was made in 1941, describing it as a ‘very sordid story in very sordid surroundings’. Love on the Dole nonetheless retains an optimistic spirit, reinforcing the ideal that Britain’s working classes could face any hardship, and through its impassioned performances it shows faith in the values of liberal democracy which Britain upheld throughout the war, looking forward to a better future. The film was directed by John Baxter, who helped establish Group 3 with John Grierson, and the acting is excellent throughout. Headstrong lass Sally Hardcastle is sparkily played by the luminous Deborah Kerr, who was just 19 at the time and at the beginning of her long film career. Geoffrey Hibbert is her stoic brother Harry and Welsh actor Clifford Evans is her boyfriend Larry Meath, an eloquent Labour Party activist. George Carney and Mary Merrall are touching as hapless Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle, and a delightfully funny chorus is provided by Mrs. Dorbell, Mrs. Nattle, Mrs. Jike and Mrs. Bull (Maire O’Neill, Iris Vandeleur, Marie Ault and Marjorie Rhodes). BFI has now released Love on the Dole for the first time on Blu-ray in this Dual Format Edition, accompanied by three short films from the BFI National Archive. Our Film (Harold French, 1942) is an intriguing propaganda film contrasting the Russian and British home front (John Slater appears in a similar role to his character in Love on the Dole); A Call for Arms (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1940), with a cameo by the wonderful Kathleen Harrison, is a government sponsored film about life at a munitions factory; Produced by the British Council Realist Film Unit, Island People (Paul Rotha, 1940) surveys aspects of the British way of life, as seen through French eyes. An illustrated booklet is also included, with new writing by Chris Hopkins and Jo Botting and full film credits. Love on the Dole is an underrated gem that contributed to the election of a Labour government in 1945 and influenced the British realist film boom of the 1960s.
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In Aaron and Austin Keeling’s acclaimed psychological thriller havoc is wreaked on an expectant young couple as they move into an eerily ominous house. After an unexpected mental breakdown, seven month pregnant Jennifer Branagan (Emily Goss, winner of Best Actress at Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival and Fargo Film Festival) reluctantly returns to her hometown in Kansas from Chicago with her unsympathetic husband Luke for the arrival of their baby. Struggling to cope with fears of motherhood, a strained relationship with her husband and the presence of her awful overbearing mother Meredith (a memorable performance by Kansas-born Cathy Barnett), Jennifer is losing control of her life. But what begins with objects moving behind her back and unexplained knocking sounds, soon escalates into something far more sinister and threatening. Jennifer fears the house is haunted yet alone in her convictions, she is forced to question her own sanity. Is she losing her mind, or is there a dark entity within the house that is all too real? Winner of Best Feature Film at Kansas International Film Festival and New Orleans Horror Film Festival, The House On Pine Street also stars another Kansas actor, Jim Korinke, as the unhelpful Walter, Natalie Pellegrini as Jennifer’s friend Lauren, and Tisha Swart-Entwistle as her troubled neighbour, Marlene. This chilling, beautifully photographed tale of a disturbed dwelling with a ghostly lore now makes its DVD debut. ‘What all haunted house movies should strive to be.’ - Scream Magazine.
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This is the story of a fearless warrior and inspiring leader brought low by ambition and desire. Justin Kurzel’s visionary adaptation of Shakespeare’s most famous drama is a thrilling war-epic charting the deadly effects of one man’s ruthlessness and passion, demonstrating the same command of landscape and character that defined the director’s acclaimed debut Snowtown. Kurzel succeeds in making this most adapted and familiar of stories feel both strikingly modern and accessible. He skilfully brings out the undercurrents of the original play to create a thriller revealing the lasting effects of war on a heroic returning soldier, and the passionate story of a heartbroken couple first united but then ultimately separated by desire for power. Michael Fassbender creates a sympathetic portrayal of even Macbeth’s darkest hours and Marion Cotillard delivers a magnetic, nuanced performance as Lady Macbeth, one of the most chilling and complex female characters in British literature. The outstanding supporting cast includes David Thewlis as the tragic King Duncan, Irish star Jack Reynor as his son Malcolm, Paddy Considine as Macbeth’s friend Banquo, and Sean Harris in a blistering performance as Macduff, Macbeth’s nemesis. Cinematographer Adam Arkapaw brilliantly captures the stunning and atmospheric Scottish landscape, making this a vital, glowering presence in this critically praised film, recently nominated for six Moet British Independent Film Awards, including Best director, Best British Independent Film, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Macbeth has now been released by Studiocanal on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray as well as a Limited Edition Steelbook. Extras include an interview with Justin Kurzel, a Special Effects of ‘Macbeth’ feature, and three excellent featurettes: ‘Re-imagining of a classic’, ‘Macbeth, Casualty of War’, and ‘Lady Macbeth’. ‘One of the best films of the year…Fassbender was born for this.’ - Telegraph.
THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE EUREKA EKA70180
Based on the acclaimed novel by George V. Higgins, The Friends of Eddie Coyle follows an ageing gunrunner’s troubles at the peripheries of the local mob in Boston. It’s a grubby, violent, dangerous world, but it’s the only world they know and they are the only friends Eddie has. He finds his options split disastrously between the threat of a fresh prison sentence or police cooperation. One of the best, most unexpected gangster films of the 1970s, this is a gripping tale of low-lives and loyalties, presented with director Peter Yates’s trademark authenticity and naturalism (the entire film was shot on location). The great Robert Mitchum gives an extraordinary performance in the title role and there is fine support from Peter Boyle as a treacherous informer, Richard Jordan as a crooked FBI official, and Steven Keats as a man who sells machine guns out of the trunk of his sports car. Alex Rocco, who plays bank robber Scalise, was a former member of the notorious Winter Hill Gang that operated out of Boston. This gritty masterpiece is now available for the first time on video in the UK in this Dual-Format Blu-ray/DVD special edition from Eureka. The restored, high-definition digital transfer comes with extras that include an appreciation of the film by critic Glenn Kenny, a fascinating on-stage interview at the National Film Theatre with Peter Yates hosted by Derek Malcolm, and a 44-page booklet featuring an essay on the film by Mike Sutton, an extensive interview with Peter Yates, and archival images.
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The controversial director Jean-Luc Godard was born to Franco-Swiss parents in Paris in 1930 and educated at the Sorbonne, where he became involved with the young group of filmmakers and film theorists who would become to the French Nouvelle Vague, or New Wave. Known for stylistic implementations that challenged the conventions of Hollywood cinema, Godard soon became recognised as one of the most audacious and influential filmmakers in the world. His work is unambiguously political and reflects a profound knowledge of film history as well as existential and Marxist philosophy. His exhilarating and sexy 1959 debut feature, Breathless (A Bout De Souffle), was the film which epitomised the iconoclasm of the early Nouvelle Vague. A stylish tour de force, it stars the iconic Jean-Paul Belmondo as a heroically smoking small-time crook with a Bogart fixation, and fragile beauty Jean Seberg as a young American girl torn between a freewheeling life with him and continuing her studies at the Sorbonne. Extras include and introduction by Colin McCabe, two long documentaries (Godard, Made in USA and Room 12. Hotel de suede) plus a featurette on the life of Jean Seberg. This new release of the classic Breathless from Studiocanal is part of a splendid Essential Godard five Blu-ray disc box set of Godard films that also includes Le Mépris, Pierrot Le Fou, Alphaville and Une Femme est Une Femme, plus over six hours of extras. The wonderful PIERROT LE FOU (1965) also stars Belmondo (nominated for a BAFTA for his performance) and Anna Karina in a tragic tale of a romantic couple who cannot escape fate even as they flee from Paris to the South of France. Extras include a new interview with Anna Karina and Godard, Love and Poetry. (53 mins). UNE FEMME EST UNE FEMME (1961) again features Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Angela is a stripper living in Paris who tries to reignite her husband’s passion for her by involving Alfred (Belmondo). In the brilliant LE MÉPRIS (1963), based on a novel by Alberto Moravia and with a sumptuously romantic score by Georges Delerue, Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli) is hired by an American producer Prokosch (Jack Palance) to commercialize director Fritz Lang’s adaptation of The Odyssey, about to begin shooting in Rome. Whilst attempting the rewrite in Capri, Javal’s wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot in perhaps her finest performance) spends an unexplained hour in the company of Prokosch, possibly at the behest of her husband. Extras include Once Upon A Time There Was...Contempt (the film’s alternative title) and ‘The dinosaurs and the baby’, as well as a conversation with Fritz Lang. ALPHAVILLE (1965) is the strangely beautiful futuristic tale, part thriller, part sci-fi, in which American private eye Lemmy Caution is sent to a planet ruled by Von Braun, a malevolent scientist who has outlawed human emotions in favour of logic. In Alaphaville, all expression of emotion is forbidden and nobody knows the meaning of the word ‘conscience’. American actor Eddie Constantine is ruthless as the hard-boiled Caution and Anna Karina gives a fine performance as the beautiful girl who falls for him. The film deals with the fight between individualism in face of inhumanity and brutal totalitarian conformity, and won the Golden Bear award of the Berlin Film Festival in 1965. Jean-Luc Godard is one of the greatest cinema auteurs and this new collection celebrates some of his finest work. ‘The filmmaker of the Sixties.’ - Independent on Sunday. BFI Southbank will host a season dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard from January 1 – March 16 2016; the centrepiece of the season will be an extended run of the BFI re-release of Le Mépris, in selected cinemas across the UK.
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Thought-provoking, sombre and compassionate, this poignant documentary is commendably understated yet extraordinarily powerful. In researching his book about the origins of international law, Philippe Sands befriended two 70-something sons of very senior Nazis: Otto von Wächter, and Hans Frank, who had been Hitler’s personal lawyer and was tried and hanged at Nuremberg. An unlikely friendship evolved into this remarkable film. The three men travel together across Europe and for two of them the journey involves a confrontation with the acts of their fathers. For the third, Philippe Sands, it means visiting the place where much of his own Jewish family was destroyed by the fathers of the two men he has come to know. My Nazi Legacy is an emotional, psychological exploration of three people wrestling with their past as well as Europe of the present – and conflicting interpretations of the true facts as the film looks at evil from the inside. The documentary is both deeply personal and more universally resonant, a story of fathers and sons. Both men see their Nazi fathers very differently; their encounters and their own testimonies are fascinating, provocative and moving. With them we travel to their family homes in Austria and Germany, as well as Lviv in the Ukraine where their fathers governed, and where Philippe Sands learns that their fathers’ actions lead directly to his own family’s fate. Directed by David Evans and produced by Wildgaze Films in association with BBC Storyville & BFI, My Nazi Legacy has been released on DVD with extras that include numerous deleted scenes. The film is also available on Digital HD and will be screened at cinemas across the UK for Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2016.
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Alain Resnais’ influential first feature film, Hiroshima Mon Amour, is an honest, disturbing and erotic study of a troubled relationship set in post World War II Japan. Emmanuelle Riva gives an outstanding performance as a young French actress who is in Hiroshima for the shooting of a film about peace. She meets a Japanese architect, played by Eiji Okada, who reminds her of a former lover, a German soldier. The haunting affair is overshadowed by memories of the bomb that devastated the city and the aftermath of the Second World War in France. Scripted by acclaimed novelist Marguerite Duras and nominated for Best Screenplay at the 1961 Academy Awards, André Malraux acclaimed this as the most beautiful film he had ever seen. Celebrated for its originality, particularly through the use of flashbacks, Hiroshima Mon Amour is a poetic masterwork that delicately weaves past and present, personal pain and public anguish, as it explores the ephemeral nature of love. The film brought Resnais instant fame, consolidating his already established reputation for directing short films, including the controversial documentary Night and Fog set in two abandoned Nazi concentration camps. As well as pioneering the rise of New Wave cinema, Hiroshima Mon Amour paved the way for Renais’ award-winning career, including acclaimed films Last Year at Marienbad and Smoking / No Smoking, which stretched six decades until his death in 2014. A 4K restoration of this classic 1959 film was undertaken in 2013 by Argos Films, the Technicolor Foundation, the Groupama Gan Foundation and Cineteca di Bologna from the original camera negative, with the generous support of the CNC (or Centre National du Cinema). The work was carried out at L’Immagine Ritrovata, Cineteca di Bologna’s restoration lab, and overseen by DP Renato Berta. Digitally restored to its pristine original picture quality, the film is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Extras include Emmanuelle Riva remembering Hiroshima and a restoration featurette.
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Emotionally devastated by the death of his uncle, Boston carpenter Jack O’Toole writes a play inspired by the man’s wake in this heart-warming American family feature. When no one will produce the play, Jack takes matters into his own hands to do it himself, staging the play in the back of an old Irish pub. Gathering together a mismatched theatre company that experiences many problems and set-backs, Jack finally brings his tale to the stage, uniting his family and friends in a process of closure for their loss. Affectionately written and directed on a modest budget by Dave McLaughlin, On Broadway is a touching, inspiring film featuring enjoyable Irish sentimentality and fun brought to life by an excellent cast that includes Joey McIntyre as Jack, Jill Flint, Amy Poehler in a short cameo, Andrew Connolly as Uncle Pete, Eliza Dushku as the sexyLena, Will Arnett, Mike’O’Malley as the outrageous Father Rolie O’Toole, Sean Lawlor, and Vincent Dowling as scene-stealing story-teller Augie Burke. This is one of several excellent independent films released on DVD by Simply Media. Others include FATHER’S CHAIR (139279), a Brazilian film (A Busca, in Portuguese) directed by Luciano Moura. Theo (Wagner Moura) seems to have it all: a successful career as a doctor, a loving family and a generally happy life. That all changes when one day he comes home from work to find his 15-year-old son Pedro (Brás Antunes) missing. As Theo drops everything to search for his son, his journey leads him to discover what is truly important to him. THE PRECOCIOUS & BRIEF LIFE OF SABINA RIVAS (164431) is a Mexican drama directed by Luis Mandoki in which Honduran teenager Sabina Rivas (a brilliant performance by Venezuelan actress Greisy Mena) suffers abuse and trauma but has dreams bigger than her small town; she hopes to become a famous singer. As she prepares herself to travel to the United States to try to make her ambition a reality, she must navigate through Mexico’s seedy underworld of brothels, brutal gangs and drug trafficking. The cast also includes Joaquín Cosio as a corrupt policeman, Fernando Moreno as Sabina’s lover Jovany and veteran Angelina Peláez as the formidable Doña Lita. The Weather Station THE WEATHER STATION (164432) is a Russian thriller directed by Johnny O’Reilly. After losing contact with its inhabitants, detectives Andrey and Slava (Aleksey Guskov and Anton Shagin) are sent to a remote weather station in the Russian arctic to investigate the silence. When they arrive, however, they find the station abandoned and the meteorologists nowhere to be seen. Did they disappear? Were they murdered? Is there something more sinister going on? It’s up to Andrey and Slava to find out the truth.
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Directed by Basil Dearden, The Captive Heart is a classic British WW2 drama starring Michael Redgrave and his wife Rachel Kempson Rachel Kempson. Produced by Ealing Studios in 1946, soon after the end of the war, this was one of the first films to be made about British POWs and was shot in a real British POW camp, Marlag and Milag in Germany, where co-screenwriter Guy Morgan had been held, and features actors who had been POWs themselves. In 1940, Czech soldier Capt. Hasek (Redgrave) is being pursued by the Nazi secret police. To conceal his true identity, he pretends to be a dead British soldier named Capt. Geoffrey Mitchell. But to keep the lie going, he must also write to Mitchell’s wife, Celia (Kempson), as her dead husband, from the POW camp where he is imprisoned. Meanwhile, Hasek’s fellow prisoners are beginning to suspect that he is not who he claims to be, and so he must convince them that he’s not a spy. The cast features many British acting stawarts including Mervyn Johns, the reliable Jack Warner, a touching performance by Gordon Jackson, Basil Radford as unflappable Major Ossy Dalrymple, Guy Middleton, Sam Kydd (of course) and Arthur Mullard (uncredited). The Captive Heart has now been fully restored in collaboration with the BFI and released as part of Studiocanal’s ‘Vintage Classics collection’ showcasing iconic British films. Available on DVD, Blu-Ray and EST, and comes with extras that include an introduction by author and Ealing expert Charles Barr.
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Tom & Viv tells the passionate true tragic love story of one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century, T.S. Eliot (Willem Dafoe, who captures Eliot’s dry delivery perfectly) and his first wife, Vivienne, a vivacious society beauty (an intense performance by Miranda Richardson). After a whirlwind courtship, resulting in a quick marriage, their relationship comes under great strain as Vivienne struggles to handle the extreme hormonal imbalances and the prescribed medicines that went on to cause erratic and eccentric behaviour. As Eliot’s career soared, Vivienne’s demeanor became increasingly difficult for him and her family to handle, and in a terrible act of convenience and betrayal, she is finally committed to an asylum. Nominated for BAFTA Best Film this 1994 film has Academy Award nominated performances from Miranda Richardson and Rosemary Harris (brilliant as Vivienne’s mother), with Nickolas Grace as Bertrand Russell. Tom & Viv sympathetically explores the pain and difficulties that inspired Eliot’s finest work, and ultimately celebrates Vivienne as one of English literature’s great forgotten muses. This acclaimed film is now available in High Definition on Blu-ray for the first time.
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Author, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde (Stephen Fry) returns from a successful 1882 lecture tour of America to wed Constance Lloyd (Jennifer Ehle). However, having accepted that he is in fact attracted to men, Wilde embarks on a long, passionate and tempestuous affair with the callous Lord Alfred Douglas (Jude Law), known as ‘Bosie’. Although winning great critical and public success with works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde’s homosexuality is at ends with his repressive Victorian society and sets him on the path to a very public, brutal fall from grace. Stephen Fry relishes a role he was born to play, with an outstanding British cast that also includes Vanessa Redgrave as his mother, the splendid Lady Speranza Wilde, the excellent Robert Lang as his lawyer, Michael Sheen, Judy Parfitt, Ioan Gruffudd, Zoe Wanamaker, Tom Wilkinson as obnoxious Marquess of Queensberry and Gemma Jones as Lady Queensberry. The film was directed in 1994 by Brian Gilbert, who also made Tom & Viv.
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As in George Stevens’ Shane, the place of action of director Andre De Toth’s demented Western Day of the Outlaw is once again the state of Wyoming and the contested land of the homesteaders. Day of the Outlaw was one of Westerns at the twilight of the studio era in which anything might go, and De Toth, creator of two infamous idiosyncratic films - the groundbreaking 3D House of Wax and the naturalistic noir Crime Wave - here firmly established his pedigree as one of the maverick directors such as Nicholas Ray for whom boundaries proved only elastic consequence. The magnificent Robert Ryan portrays Blaise Starrett (his surname itself an evocation of the family in the earlier Shane) who comes between a landowner (Alan Marshal) and his beautiful wife (Tina Louise). After a band of outlaws ride into town headed by notorious Jack Bruhn (Burl Ives), Starrett must rise to the occasion and defend the hostage townsfolk while redeeming his own advances towards the landowner’s wife. Filmed on a shoestring budget, Day of the Outlaw came to exemplify De Toth’s resourcefulness around budgetary limitations and the (here often snow-strewn) difficulties of the shoot. The excellent cast also includes the Nehemiah Persoff, Jack Lambert and Elisha Cook Jr. (also in Shane). The screenplay, partly written by the director and Robert Ryan, is based on a novel by Lee E. Wells. The atmospheric black and white photography is by Russell Harlan, a favourite cameraman of Howard Hawks. The Masters of Cinema Series has now released Day of the Outlaw in a Dual Format edition with special features that include a high-definition 1080p presentation on the Blu-ray, optional English subtitles, a video appreciation by filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier revealing the film’s importance for directors of the French New Wave, isolated music and effects track, and a 32-page booklet featuring an essay by critic Glenn Kenny, a 1994 interview with De Toth, and the film’s original press book, illustrated with archival imagery. Day of the Outlaw is a psychological thriller/film noir as well as a Western. Memorable scenes include a dance in which the women are sexually threatened and a treacherous trek on horseback into the bleak, snowy mountains.
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Champion is a lonely little boy whose grandmother, Madame Souza, who has raised him since his parents died, buys him his first bicycle. Years go by, and with Madame Souza relentlessly putting him through his paces, Champion becomes worthy of his name and enters the world’s most famous cycling competition, the Tour de France. But soon after the race has begun, two mysterious men in black kidnap him and it is up to Madame Souza and her beloved overweight dog, Bruno, to rescue him. They embark on a journey to track him down but in the boisterous metropolis of Belleville the trail goes cold. Then they meet the Triplets - three eccentric elderly sisters who have retired as a song-and-dance team from the vaudeville era (‘The Triplets of Belleville’) and live mostly on a diet of frogs. Together they begin their hunt afresh and eventually discover where Champion is being held before making a daring attempt to rescue him from the evil Mafia. A visual treat for all the family, Belleville Rendez Vous has captured the imagination of audiences the world over with its unique blend of classic animation and razor-sharp wit. As well as being a treat for older children and adults alike, this charming film is also an homage to the history of cinema that will entertain all hardened film buffs. ‘Moving, funny, totally cinematic and graced with moments of genius … unique.’ - Empire. Warmly funny and beautifully crafted, this acclaimed tour de force has now been released on DVD, VOD and Digital HD. Special features include the original theatrical trailer, a Making Of documentary, an interview with the director and production designer, animation lessons and three scenes with commentary.
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Shane (Alan Ladd) is a skilled, laconic gunslinger with a mysterious past, the archetypal ‘man alone’. He rides out of the desert and into an isolated valley in the sparsely settled state of Wyoming some time after enactment of the Homestead Act of 1862. Shane meets pioneer Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) and his wife Marian (Jean Arthur) and learns that a war of intimidation is being waged on the valley’s homesteaders by ruthless cattle baron Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer), who is trying to run them out and seize their land. As the conflict escalates, romance develops between Shane and Marian. A host of studio system character talent revolves through the production, including Jack Palance as notorious gunslinger Wilson, the worrried Elisha Cook, Jr. and Western regular Ben Johnson. Produced and directed by George Stevens in 1953, this beautifully crafted classic has a screenplay by A. B. Guthrie, Jr. based on a novella of the same name by Jack Schaefer. The superb Oscar-winning Technicolor cinematography was by Loyal Griggs and the film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (x2), and Screenplay. Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur (in the last feature, and only colour, film of her career) are perfect and there is a winning performance by Brandon de Wilde as Joey, the young son of the Starretts, whose enthusiasm and naive reactions highlight the drama. One of the landmark Westerns of the 1950s, Shane struck a chord with audiences at the time of its release and continues to influence admirers today, serving as a template for Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider and the spaghetti-westerns of Sergio Leone. Woody Allen called this George Stevens’ masterpiece and included it in his list of great American films. Eureka Entertainment has now released Shane for the first time on Blu-ray in this special edition as part of its exemplary Masters of Cinema Series. The Limited First Run Edition is a two Blu-ray set (2000 copies) that features a stunning high-definition restoration in three aspect ratios: The intended 1.37:1 presentation; the 1.66:1 original theatrical presentation; and an alternate 1.66:1 framing optimised for this ratio, supervised by George Stevens, Jr. The 36-page booklet has writing on the film by critic Penelope Huston, an unpublished interview with Stevens, a treatment for an unfilmed prologue to the film, an essay on the different ratios, and archival imagery. The Standard Edition One-Disc Set (available once stock of the Limited Edition First Run have been depleted) features the new high-definition restoration in 1.37:1 presentation. Other extras, also in the Limited Edition, include optional English subtitles, uncompressed mono and stereo soundtracks, audio commentary by George Stevens, Jr. and associate producer Ivan Moffat, an excellent video by film scholar Neil Sinyard, the complete Lux Radio Theater adaptation of Shane, original theatrical trailer, as well as a 28-page booklet.
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This award-winning 1948 adaptation of Graham Greene’s short story ‘The Basement Room’ is set in a grand foreign embassy in London. Philippe (Bobby Henrey) is the young son of a French diplomat and he idolises Baines (Ralph Richardson), his father’s butler. When Baines’ wife is found dead and Baines is implicated, Philippe tries everything to point the investigation away from the butler and in doing so he makes matters worse. He also discovers that his hero is not the man he thought he was. Director Carol Reed and Graham Greene collaborated, as they would do again the following year on The Third Man, to create a subtle, exquisitely crafted, intelligent thriller, which demonstrates the unique spark that these two mavericks brought to British cinema. With magnificent performances from Richardson and the child actor Henrey, as well a the beautiful Michele Morgan as Baines’ girlfriend, Jack Hawkins in an early role, and Sonia Dresdel as the tortured Mrs Baines. The Fallen Idol is reminiscent of Brief Encouter and Alfred Hitchcock and received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay. It won both the BAFTA for Best British Film and The International Award for Best Screenplay at The Venice Film Festival. Now digitally restored, Georges Perinal’s gorgeous black and white photography has never looked better than on this Blu-ray release as part of the ‘Vintage Classics collection’. The many special features include interviews with Robert Henrey (now 76), assistant director Guy Hamilton, film historian Charles Drazin, and Richard Ayoade, a locations featurette with Richard Dacre, and a restoration comparison.
THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON ICON 10278R0
BAFTA winning actor Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut is a sweary tour de force in which he also plays the lead role as the ill-fated barber Barney Thomson. Devoid of charm and ‘patter’ - as his fellow barbering brethren mockingly remind him - hapless Barney’s mundane is transformed following a typically incompetent fit of pique, when he inadvertently stumbles into serial murder, and with it headlong into the trail of a grotesque series of killings gripping Glasgow. As he makes ham-fisted attempts to cover his tracks, he finds himself on the run from the bearish Detective Inspector Holdall (Ray Winstone) and a testosterone-driven local Police task force at each other’s throats over the ongoing crimes. With his sanity threatening to unravel, Barney fatefully turns to his domineering, emasculating mother, the formidable Glaswegian ‘good-time girl’, bingo-loving Cemolina (a spectacular performance by Emma Thompson). There is no turning back and the path that lies ahead for Barney is littered with more bizarre murderous consequences than he could ever have anticipated. Adapting his debut from the popular crime novels by Scottish author Douglas Lindsay, Carlyle has crafted a timeless visual style for his story, filming at iconic locations in his hometown of Glasgow. The starry cast also includes a cameo by veteran Tom Courtenay as well as Scottish actors Ashley Jensen, Martin Compston, Kevin Guthrie, Stephen McCole and Samuel Robertson. Special features with this DVD include an audio commentary with Robert Carlyle, the trailer and deleted scenes. At the BAFTA Scotland Awards Ceremony in November 2015, The Legend of Barney Thomson won the much coveted ‘Feature Film’ Award, as well as ‘Film Actress’ for Emma Thompson. ‘Deliciously macabre comedy.’ - Telegraph.
NUTCRACKER: THE MOTION PICTURE SECOND SIGHT 2NDVD3283
The much-loved and timeless Christmas ballet Nutcracker is brought to the screen in this magical feature film adaptation based upon the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s original production. Designed by legendary chidren’s author and artist Maurice Sendak, this wonderful version has been in much demand for many years, and now it makes its long awaited arrival on DVD for the first time. It is Christmas Eve and guests are arriving at the Stahlbaum home. When Clara’s godfather arrives he brings her a gift - an intriguing toy soldier nutcracker that she instantly falls in love with. That night, while the rest of the household is sleeping, Clara creeps downstairs to take another look at her present and as the clock strikes midnight she suddenly finds herself transported to an enchanted world. Adapted from Tchaikovsky’s celebrated 1892 ballet, and derived from E.T.A Hoffman’s 1816 short story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, this faithful 1986 adaptation directed by Carroll Ballard is a lavish, exciting and heart-warming celebration of dance, music and life, for all the family to enjoy. Never has this colourful Christmas classic looked so magical.
SONG OF THE SEA STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2773R0
The Academy Award nominated Song of the Sea is a magical Studio Ghibli style animated film by Tomm Moore, continuing in the vein of his acclaimed debut feature, The Secret Life of Kells. Song of the Sea is another spellbinding tale inspired by the myths and legends of Moore’s native Ireland and he again delivers with his beautiful and highly original brand of hand drawn animation. This dazzling hand-drawn film brings to life a tale of the mysterious, fabled Selkies, who inhabit the land as humans but transform into seals at sea, blending their ancient story seamlessly into a modern day backdrop. Opening with young Ben’s most powerful memories of his mother, her love of Irish legends and her beautiful music, it quickly becomes clear her songs have power, and that power is somehow linked to a conch shell flute she left Ben after giving birth to Saoirse. Five years later Ben and Saoirse - who has been mute all this time - embark on an epic voyage through a hidden world of magic, fairies, giants and witches. Along the way Saoirse’s own powers as a selkie awaken and she develops the ability to bring her mothers stories to life and save the spirit world from disappearing forever. She just needs to find her voice. Released on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD, Song of the Sea features the voices of Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle and singer Lisa Hannigan. Extras include an audio commentary with Tom Moore, Behind The Scenes and Animation Tests (with optional Tomm Moore commentaries), The Art of Song of The Sea featurette, and a trailer. The Blu-ray release also contains limited-edition art cards. ‘Beautiful and entrancing animation.’ - Guardian.
THE IMMORTAL STORY MR BONGO DVD: MRB
Director Orson Welles second-to-last feature, The Immortal Story, was adaptated from a book by Danish author Isak Dinesen and stars the wonderful Jeanne Moreau, who played Doll Tearsheet in Welles’ earlier masterpiece, Chimes at Midnight. The year is 1860 in the Portuguese colony of Macao, where Mr Clay (Welles) is an aging, rich merchant, who is the subject of town gossip. He likes his clerk Levinsky (Roger Coggio), to read to him to help him relax in the evenings and one night he recounts a tale about a rich man who paid a poor sailor five guineas to father a child with his beautiful young wife. Mr Clay has no wife and no heir to his fortune and resolves to make the story true. Levinsky approaches Virginie Ducrot (Moreau), another clerk’s mistress, and strikes a bargain for 300 guineas. Now to find the sailor... Quietly beguiling and luminously photographed (this was Welles’ only feature film in colour), The Immortal Story is dream-like and languorously beautiful. The film, originally made for French television, looks even better as it makes its remastered high definition debut here in this Blu-ray release from Mr Bongo Films. ‘The ending is amongst the most beautiful and self-contained in all of Welles’ cinema.’ - Senses of Cinema.
THE LADYKILLERS STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2694R1
This brilliant black comedy directed by the great Alexander ‘Sandy’ Mackendrick follows the hilarious capers of a group of small-time crooks, taking on more than they can handle in the form of their sweet elderly landlady, Mrs Wilberforce (a delightul BAFTA Award winning performance by 79-years-old Katie Johnson). The criminal gang pose as a string quartet and are unprepared for their Mrs Wilberforce’s meddling when one of the ‘musicians’ cases gets caught in a door, revealing the group’s true identity. The fine cast of this beloved Ealing classic includes Alec Guinness as the gang’s creepy mastermind ‘Professor Marcus’, Cecil Parker as bumbling Claude otherwise known as ‘Major Courtney’, a chubby Peter Sellers as Harry aka ‘Mr Robinson’ (he also voices the parrots), handsome Herbert Lom as Louis aka ‘Mr Harvey’ and Danny Green as One Round - a big lug also known as ‘Mr Lawson’. There are cameos too by Jack Warner as a kindly police superintendent, Frankie Howerd as an unlikely barrow boy, Kenneth Connor, Stratford Johns, Arthur Mullard and, of course, Sam Kydd. ‘It’s a brown horse, eleven years old, and answers to the name of Dennis.’ Set in London’s King’s Cross, The Ladykillers was filmed mostly in the area, with key scenes shot either directly in or within the backdrop of locations such as Copenhagen Tunnel, King’s Cross Railway Station, Battle Bridge Road and Cheney Road. Since the film’s release in 1955 it has been imitated in various formats, including stage and radio adaptations and the Coen Brothers 2004 version starring Tom Hanks. None has been better than the original, which has now been released on DVD and Blu-ray in this 60th Anniversary Collector’s Edition. The many extras include a new locations featurette, interviews with producer Tom Pevsner, cinematographer David Peers, screenwriter / producer Allan Scott, Terence Davies and Ronald Harwood, a glorious stills gallery, an excellent audio commentary with film historian Philip Kemp, an affectionate introduction by Terry Gilliam, Forever Ealing documentary (with contributions from, among others, Colin Firth, John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola), and a featurette on Cleaning up The Ladykillers (original versus restored split screen shots). An unmissable treat.
THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2817R1
This delightful comedy from acclaimed director Frank Launder is a precursor to the anarchic, hugely successful St. Trinian’s films of the 1950s. A military mistake billets a girls’ school to share Nutbourn College, the most established and respectable of boy’s schools, to the outrage of their horrified headmaster and headmistress, kindly Wetherby Pond and dotty Muriel Whitchurch. Played with comic mastery by Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford, the two principals are initially hostile to one another but with a staff of dazed, eccentric teachers and a student body of knowing and troublesome children, they are forced to pull together as the situation stumbles from the sublime to the ridiculous. Joyce Grenfell gives one of her most endearing performances as gawky Miss Gossage (‘Call me Sausage’). The film was very successful on its release, being the fifth most popular release at the British box office for 1950, and led to an unofficial sequel, The Belles of St Trinian’s, in 1954. This was also produced by Launder and Gilliat and several members of the cast of The Happiest Days of Your Life re-appeared, including Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell, George Cole, Richard Wattis and Guy Middleton, with Ronald Searle again providing the cartoons for the film titles. Full of memorable visual gags and wonderfully dotty dialogue (‘Gaming? Nicotine? Fisticuffs? We’re moving in a descending spiral of iniquity!’), The Happiest Days of Your Life has now been released on Blu-ray and DVD in this digitally restored version as part of Studiocanal’s Vintage Classics collection. Extras include interviews with Andy Merrimen (Margaret Rutherford’s biographer), Ronald Searle expert and cartoonist Martin Rowson, and author Michael Brooke. Studiocanal has also released another enduring British comedy classic, SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS (OPTBD2816R0). Based on the Stephen Potter ‘One Upmanship and ‘Lifemanship’ books, the film was directed in 1959 by Robert Hamer and features a stellar cast of much-loved comedy actors of the era, including Ian Carmichael, Terry Thomas, Janette Scott, Alastair Sim and Dennis Price. We follow the hapless Henry Palfrey (Carmichael) as he attempts to turn his luck around by enrolling at the wacky College of Lifemanship, where Potter (Alastair Sim) teaches a completely uproarious course on how to come out tops in any social situation. Study and learn his valuable hints on the art of comic OneIupmanship, follow his expert advice to victimised Ian Carmichael about romance, and you will be a top class pupil fully equipped to cope with life’s humiliations. Extras with this remastered Blu-ray/DVD release include interviews with Peter Bradshaw, Chris Potter (Stephen Potter’s son) and author Graham McCann, as well as a stills gallery and trailer.
THE NAKED PREY EUREKA EKA70198
Cornel Wilde directed, produced and starred in this absorbing, violent adventure film made in 1965. Known mostly as an actor of the studio era, Cornel Wilde also produced and directed a series of films that explored man in the midst of extreme dramatic situations - The Naked Prey being perhaps his most personal and violent creation (‘Stripped, weapon-less, alone and only ten desperate seconds ahead of the killers’). Set in the South African veldt during nineteenth-century colonial times, this wilderness survival story is loosely based on the experiences of explorer John Colter, who was pursued by Blackfoot warriors through frontier Wyoming in 1809. The screenplay earned Clint Johnson and Don Peters an Academy Award nomination. Cornel Wilde’s unnamed character is a professional safari guide leading two white men (Gert van den Bergh and Patrick Mynhardt) and their troupe on an elephant hunt. The group encounters a local tribe and one of the hunters insults them by truculently refusing to offer a customary gift. Following the torture and execution of the other party members, Wilde alone is spared. He is given a head start, naked and weaponless, to elude his pursuers as game to be hunted for their retributive satisfaction, unless he can reach safety. The Naked Prey is exhilarating and often brutal, with distressing scenes of elephants being killed, but accurately reflects a dangerous time when slavery was rife and survival often a desperate struggle. This cult classic is now available in beautifully restored Eastmancolor for the first time in the UK as a Dual Format (DVD and Blu-ray) special edition release in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series. Extras include the original theatrical trailer, an informative talk by Sheldon Hall about the film and its production, and a 24-page boklet featuring an essay on the film as well as rare archival imagery. ‘Naked Prey gathers fierce momentum as a classic epic of survival.’ - Time Magazine.
MISSISSIPPI BURNING SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4043
When three civil rights activists go missing deep in Ku Klux Klan territory, the FBI are called in to investigate. Agents Ward (Willem Dafoe) and Anderson (Gene Hackman) are poles apart in their approach, one methodical and by-the-book, the other more cynical with age and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Facing an uncooperative local police force and a community too afraid to talk, their investigation sparks repercussions as they edge closer to the truth. Based on one of the most notorious race-related murder cases in US history, director Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning also stars Frances McDormand and amongst its many accolades are an Oscar (the film was nominated for a further six Academy Awards), three BAFTA wins and best actor award for Gene Hackman at the Berlin International Film Festival. Now newly restored, this powerful film gets its first ever UK Blu-ray release with a host of special features that include an audio commentary with the director, ‘Through the Storm’ (an interview with Alan Parker), ‘Remembering Mississippi Burning’ (with Willem Dafoe), ‘Under Siege’ (with writer Chris Gerolma). ‘More than any other film I’ve seen, this one gets inside the passion of race relations in America.’ - **** Roger Ebert.
MEDIUM COOL EUREKA EKA70173
Haskell Wexler became one of Hollywood’s premiere cinematographers in the post-studio-system-era with such films as Elia Kazan’s America, America and Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. In 1968, he confirmed himself as part of ‘the New Hollywood’ with his groundbreaking directorial fiction feature debut, Medium Cool, a carefully crafted, open-to-everything mixture of live-wire reality and controlled narrative. John (Robert Forster, who would later find fame in Jackie Brown, Mulholland Drive and Breaking Bad) plays a television news reporter and cameraman who has become disenchanted as a creative subservient to the mainstream. Eileen (a sweet performance by Verna Bloom) is a newly relocated war-widow swept up in the maelstrom of the conflicts of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago - the actual events of which serve as the spontaneous backdrop for the film. Cinema verite scenes combine brilliantly with the narrative and Wexler’s audacious cinematographic style would influence many future filmmakers. Music is by Mike Bloomfield and ‘our man in Chicago’ is Studs Terkel. Medium Cool is a masterpiece that captures the revolutionary upheaval and chaos of the time in a way that is rivalled only Peter Watkins’ Punishment Park as a powerful statement on the politics, media, and cinema of the late-’60s - and the present. The film is a penetrating look at America’s continuing fascination with racism, sensationalism and violence, and it is released here on Blu-ray in a Dual Format edition as part of Eureka’s award-winning Masters of Cinema Series. Among the special features are the original trailer and a a booklet featuring new and archival writings and imagery. There are also several excellent documentaries including interviews with Haskell Wexler, Verna Bloom and, disconcertingly, the adult Harold Blankenship, who plays Eileen’s charmingly wayward son. The optional audio commentary is by Wexler, editorial consultant Paul Golding and actor Marianna Hill. ‘An exciting piece of work that must be seen by anyone who cares about the development of modern movies.’ - Newsweek.
FELLINI’S CASANOVA MR BONGO FILMS MRBBLU009
Fellini’s Casanova (Il Casanova di Federico Fellini) was directed by Federico Fellini in 1976 and shot entirely at the Cinecittà studios in Rome. Adapted from the autobiography of the 18th century adventurer and writer Giacomo Casanova, this daring and stylish film begins with a carnival in Venice as the prelude to a series of erotic encounters that follow Casanova through Europe as his life becomes a phantasmagoric journey into sexual abandonment. Any meaningful emotion or sensuality is eclipsed by increasingly strange situations. In Venice, he ‘defiles’ a fake nun for the pleasure of a rich voyeur. In Paris, he attempts to convert a mature woman’s soul into a man’s using sex. The narrative presents Casanova’s many adventures in a detached, methodical fashion, as the respect he yearns for is constantly undermined by more basic urges. The script also highlights other incidents from Casanova’s life, including his escape from a Venetian prison and his unhappy visit to a London frost fair. Fellini thought this was his best film, and was heartbroken when it was not well received by critics in America. Donald Sutherland inhabits the lead role superbly, even when wearing a flaming headdress, and Tina Aumont is irresistible as the mysterious Henriette, cello player extraordinaire. Adele Angela Lojodice is remarkable as Rosalba the mechanical doll in a fine Felliniesque finale. There are many other moments of visual daring and imagination in this version of Casanova’s world seen as an outrageous fairground ride. With lush cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno, a haunting score by long-standing collaborator Nino Rota, and Academy Award winning costume design by Danilo Donati, this is the director’s nostalgic paean to a bygone era of classic Italian cinema - a melancholy, hauntingly beautiful and poetic experience. Special features with this Blu-ray release include the trailer and a stills gallery. ‘Sutherland’s performance is the most astonishing piece of screen acting since Brando’s Last Tango In Paris’ - Time Out.
STATE OF GRACE SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4042
Sean Penn gives a star turn as a cop, Terry Noonan, who infiltrates a local crime gang in his hometown, in this underrated New York gangster film made in 1990. After a mysterious decade’s absence, Noonan is welcomed back into the fold in his New York Irish-American neighbourhood, Hell’s Kitchen. A one-time street tough, he is now an undercover officer tasked with getting entrenched with crime boss Frankie Flannery (Ed Harris), who happens to be the brother of both his best friend childhood Jackie Flannery (a wired performance by Gary Oldman) and old flame Kathleen Flannery (Robin Wright). As he rekindles old friendships and his romance with Kathleen, Noonan starts to question his loyalties as the violence begins to escalate. State of Grace is neo-noir crime drama based on a real-life New York gang, The Westies, who ruled ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ during the 1970s. The impressive cast also includes John Turturro, Burgess Meredith in one of his last roles, and R.D. Call as Frankie's loyal lieutenant. The haunting music is by Ennio Morricone and the cinematographer is Jordan Cronenweth, of Blade Runner fame. Bonus features with this Blu-ray release include a ‘making of’ documentary featuring director Phil Joanu and an interview with Ed Harris about the film. ‘Mr. Oldman gives an electrifying performance.’ - New York Times.
DANCING WITH CRIME SIMPLY MEDIA 139263
Returning home from World War Two, childhood friends and army comrades Dave Robinson (Bill Rowbotham, who later changed his name to Bill Owen and played ‘Compo’ in the Last of the Summer Wine) and Ted Peters (fresh-faced Richard Attenborough) make very different choices. Ted gets an honest job as a taxi driver, and saves for his wedding to his childhood sweetheart. Dave, however, wants easy cash and soon becomes involved with a gang. When he runs into money troubles with the mob boss, a henchman is sent to finish him off and he is found dead in the back of Ted’s taxi, suspicions fly as Scotland Yard investigate the murder. The police suspect Dave’s underworld connections, the mob suspects that Ted knows their guilt, and Ted himself suspects who the real killer might be… Set in London, this riveting crime drama has its roots firmly in the American gangster films of the 1930s and is a must watch for lovers of classic film noir. Pacily directed by John Paddy Carstairs, Dancing With Crime also stars Barry Jones, Cyril Chamberlain, Garry Marsh, John Warwick and Sheila Sim (Mrs Richard Attenborough). Look out too for uncredited early appearances by Dirk Bogarde as a policeman and Diana Dors as a dance hostess. The film is available here fully restored black and white on DVD for the first time since its theatrical release in 1947. To celebrate the life and career of renowned and multi-award winning Richard Attenborough on the first anniversary of his death, Simply Media has also released another of his classic films, the tense airplane thriller JET STORM (SIMPLY MEDIA 139262). When Ernest Tilley’s (Attenborough) daughter is killed in a hit-and-run, he vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her death. Armed with a homemade bomb, he tracks down the killer to an airport and boards the same flight. Once in the air, he threatens to blow up the place. Emotions run high among the passengers as they confront the reality of the situation and soon, drama and secrets spill as they are forced to take stock of their lives. A husband confesses to cheating on his wife. Romance blossoms between two flight attendants. A divorced couple realise that they are still very much in love and a widow admits that she never loved her wealthy husband. Up in the air their fate now lies in their hands but can Ernest, a man who has nothing to lose, be stopped in time? Directed by Cy Endfield (of Zulu fame) in 1959, Jet Storm also stars David Kossoff, Elizabeth Sellars, Hermione Baddeley, Paul Eddington, Diane Cilento Virginia Maskell, Mai Zetterling, Patrick Allen, and the great Stanley Baker as the plane’s brave captain. The impressive cast also includes Bernard Braden bantering with Barbara Kelly, Harry Secombe flirting with the splendid Dame Sybil Thorndike, and Marty Wilde, who sings the title song and makes a passable stab at playing a pop star en route to his honeymoon with Jackie Lane (‘the British Bardot’). ‘A star turn for Attenborough’ - Radio Times.
WOMAN IN GOLD ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO EBR5256
This film tells the remarkable true story of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Gustav Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Hanging in the museum in Austria, the painting and has become engrained in the Austrian culture but it was taken from Maria’s family by the Nazis in World War II. She engages a struggling, inexperienced but plucky lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) who happens to be the grandson of Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. Randy and Maria make an unlikely couple as they embark on a major battle which takes them to the heart of the obstructive Austrian establishment as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, forcing her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way. Helen Mirren is brilliant as always as the determined Maria and Reynolds convinces as the young lawyer with a family to support. Directed by Simon Curtis and written by Alexi Kaye Campbell, Woman In Gold is based on the life stories of E. Randol Schoenberg and Maria Altmann The cast also includes charismatic Charles Dance, Elizabeth McGovern and Jonathan Pryce. Tatiana Maslany is particularly affecting as the young Maria who appears in a series of touching flashback secenes from the Nazi era. Special features with this Blu-ray release include a commentary by the director and a documentary on the making of the film.
OUT OF THE CLOUDS STUDIOCANAL OPTD2824R0
Directed by Basil Dearden, Out Of The Clouds is a dazzling ensemble piece that encapsulates the early days of touristic aviation in the 1950s. The film was first released 1955 and stars matinée idol hunky Anthony Steel, Canadian Robert Beatty and ‘larger than life’ James Robertson Justice. The cast also includes such British acting stalwarts of the 1950s as Isabel Dean, Gordon Harker as a mischievous cab driver, Bernard Lee, Esma Cannon as a rich woman’s put-upon companion, Sidney James, Terence Alexander, William Franklyn and the beautiful Melissa Stribling, who was Basil Dearden’s wife. The ingeniously structured story is loosely based on John Fores’ novel The Springboard and the script is the work of Dearden’s long time associate, Michael Relph. Set in Heathrow Airport, Out of The Clouds follows the complicated lives of several passengers and members of an airline crew during a typical bustling day at the terminal. A pilot deals with his gambling addiction, a chief duty officer dreams of becoming a pilot, and we meet a love struck American engineer as well as a very popular air hostess and a pair of stateless parakeets among the memorable characters within this rich tapestry of tales. The film evokes a time when every flight was an event, London had fog and thriving docks, and even flight control staff had a cigarette on the go. This entertaining film required one of Ealing Studios’ largest ever sets to create the replica of the terminal building. Out Of The Clouds has now been released on DVD, digitally restored to its pristine original picture quality by Studiocanal in collaboration with the BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage programme. Everyone has an engagement with the places that help to tell their own story: where they were born; where they went to school; where they worked; where their parents and grandparents lived; where they went on holiday; where they live now. Britain on Film enables people throughout the UK to find films that enable them to explore the places that relate to their own personal histories. Films selected for the project all contain a strong sense of place and are about defining the landscape of the UK. Out Of The Clouds was set and largely shot in and around London, at the Ealing Studios and at London Heathrow Airport. Extras include an introduction by film historian Charles Barr and a charmingly informal stills gallery.
STALAG 17 EUREKA EKA70185
The great Billy Wilder followed up his brilliant Ace in the Hole with this darkly comic World War II drama of spies, sabotage, honour and bravery. Adapted from Donald Bevan’s and Edmund Trzcinski’s stage play about an assortment of American airmen getting through the days in a dreary German POW camp at the twilight of theSecond World War, this absorbing film stars William Holden in an Oscar winning performance as the laconic J.J. Sefton. Burly American character actor Robert Strauss and director Billy Wilder also received Academy Award nominations for the film along with Holden, who had worked with Wilder three years earlier in the classic Sunset Boulevard. Black marketeer Sefton is a prisoner whose cynical and mercenary disposition leads his fellow captives to wonder whether he as an informant after two men are shot in an attempt to escape the compound. But who exactly is the real spy shuttling inside knowledge to the ever-watchful Oberst von Scherbach (director Otto Preminger in what would become an iconic screen-role)? Only after the film builds towards an explosive climax is the answer finally revealed.. A commercial success whwn first released in 1953, Stalag 17 retains its reputation as one of the finest World War II films of all-time. Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series has now released this underrated masterpiece for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK. Special features include optional English subtitles, a new video interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard , wo featurettes (Stalag 17: From reality to screen & The realheroes of Stalag 17), feature length commentary by actors Richard Erdman and Gil Stratton and playwright Donald Bevan, plus a 36-page booklet containing an essay, interview material, and rare archival imagery.
ADRIFT: PEOPLE OF A LESSER GOD SIMPLY MEDIA 163501
Written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-nominated undercover reporter Dominique C. Mollard and produced by Ziad H. Hamzeh, Adrift: People of A Lesser God charts the perilous journey to Europe of 38 desperate West African immigrants, among them a five-month-old baby. This powerful film shows their incredible odyssey in search of the golden shores of Europe. All aboard are packed together like sardines in a leaky fishing canoe as they set off under full moon on their harrowing journey, braving the cold Atlantic and risking their lives in hope for a better future. 2015 has seen unprecedented numbers of African migrants making such voyages to seek refuge in Europe and their plights, as well as the tragedies that so often accompanied them, make headlines across the globe. Dominique Mollard’s gripping and sensitive film shows a group of people who soon realise that the sea is far larger and scarier than they ever imagined. His remarkable documentary captures the struggles of a harrowing journey as the voyagers set out under a full moon, defended from the elements only by their yellow raincoats and determination. Adrift: People of a Lesser God is an enormously important film that tells us about ordinary people and challenges our own sense of history and humanity. No one seems to have a solution to this growing problem but the film goes beyond the headlines and numbers to reveal people whose dreams are very similar to our own. ‘A bold, provocative and insightful film that puts a human face to the stories behind the headlines’ - MovieMail.
THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2883
This latest feature from acclaimed Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata, following his acclaimed masterpieces Grave of The Fireflies and My Neighbours The Yamadas, is the fruit of a decades long love for Japanese Fairytale. A baby is born from a bamboo plant, grows quickly into a beautiful young woman, turns away suitor after suitor, and on the night of the full moon returns there with the celestial beings who have come for her. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is familiar to everyone in Japan and to many around the world as well. We never learn, however, why the mysterious Princess Kaguya leaves her heart here on Earth, and why she grieves so at having to return to the moon. What and who did she love here? What was her crime? What was her punishment? The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is a work long in gestation that looks into the heart of its central character, and proposes a complex and believable reality for the heroine of this ancient Japanese fairy tale. Isao Takahata, then a protégé of one the great directors of the day Tomu Uchida, contributed to plans 55 years ago for a grand project by Uchida to make an animated feature of the classic Tale of The Bamboo Cutter. Though never realised at that time, the scenarios he created for his heroine, the Princess, never left Takahata. Later when he created, with Hayao Miyazaki, the animated TV series ‘Heidi, A Girl of The Alps’ they noted the similarities to The Princess Kaguya. Both heroines growing up in a beautiful mountain environment, from which the adults in their lives remove them in favour of life in the city, and there they both long for the lost mountain home. ‘Someday we should make a Japanese Heidi’ Takahata and Miyazaki agreed and now, 40 years later their long cherished ambition has come to the screen. Joining with Princess Mononoke Art Director Kazuo Oga, Takahata moved production of the film outside Studio Ghibli to experiment with wholly new animation processes. In traditional hand drawn animation, backgrounds are separate from character cells, but for The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Takahata wanted to unite backgrounds and characters to provide the dream of all animators, the impression of an entire picture in motion. The sketch-like compositions of the film go far beyond conventional animation in bringing the characters vividly to life. Takahata’s triumph has been to pair an age-old story with a new style of cutting age animated expression. As well as the original Japanese soundtrack there is an English language version with an impressive voice cast that includes Chloë Grace Moretz as Princess Kaguya, with James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu and Beau Bridges. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is a delicately crafted, ravishingly beautiful and magical film that is sure to delight all Studio Ghibli fans. Extras with this DVD and Blu-ray Double Play release include Japanese trailers and TV spots as well as Studio Ghibli Collection trailers. ‘Soul-soaringly beautiful and unique’ - Empire.
FALSTAFF: CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT MR BONGO FILMS MRBBLU006
On the brink of Civil War, King Henry IV (John Gielgud) attempts to consolidate his reign while fretting with unease over his son’s seeming neglect of his royal duties. Hal (Keith Baxter), the young Prince, openly consorts with Sir John Falstaff (Orson Welles) and his company of “Diana’s foresters, Gentlemen of the shade, Minions of the moon”. Hal’s friendship with the fat knight substitutes for his estrangement from his father. Both Falstaff and the King are old and tired; both rely on Hal for comfort in their final years, while the young Prince, the future Henry V, nurtures his own ambitions. Perhaps the most radical and groundbreaking of all Shakespeare adaptations, the film condenses the Bard’s Henriad cycle into a single focused narrative. As well as Welles’ brilliant Falstaff there are outstanding performances by John Gielgud as Henry IV, Keith Baxter as Hal, Norman Rodway as Hotspur, Alan Webb as Shallow, Jeanne Moreau as Doll Tearsheet and Margaret Rutherford as Mistress Quickly. Ralph Richardson is the narrator. The film is visually stunning and its harrowing war scenes have been especially influential, cited in Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V as well as Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. ‘A magnificent film, clearly among Welles’ greatest work.’ - Roger Ebert. Welles considered Chimes at Midnight his best film, and for its 50th anniversary it has been restored with great respect for the drirector’s original vision by the Filmoteca and Luciano Berriatúa for this new Blu-ray edition. The work of the historian is not based on providing a quality of picture and sound according to the standard of current technologies (attempting to better what Welles filmed in the sixties), but to recover the film so that the viewer can watch it the same way they could at the time. The result is a marvelously atmospheric experience in which age has added another layer of authenticity to Welles’ masterpiece. Mr Bongo has also released another Welles film, TOO MUCH JOHNSON (MR BONGO MRBDVD064 / MRBBLU007), which was Orson Welles’ first feature, made in 1938. The film helped him hone his craft and led him to create to the masterpiece that is Citizen Kane but the footage was presumed destroyed in a fire in Welles’ home in 1971. Recently it was rediscovered in Italy and the restored 66 mins version makes its UK DVD debut here. Too Much Johnson is an elaborate 1890s farce of mistaken identity based on a stage play by William Gillette in which angry cuckolded husband Leon Dathis (Edgar Barrier) is strenuously pursuing a man named Augustus Billings (Joseph Cotten, making his screen debut), who has been having an affair with Dathis’s wife (Arlene Francis). Billings flees by ship to Cuba, where now also hiding from his own wife (Ruth Ford) and mother-in-law (Mary), he adopts the identity of a plantation owner named Johnson, who is expecting a mail-order bride. This delightful silent-era pastiche is visually inventive, mischievous and often surreal, giving real insight into the Wellesian imagination. Joseph Cotten hurls himself into a series of dangerous-looking, Harold Lloyd-style stunts with gusto, and like the rest of the cast seems to be having terrific fun. The unmistakable Welles plays a Keystone Kop and there are minor roles for producer John Houseman as well as an uncredited Judy Holliday. ‘The film is far more than a curiosity; its a major rediscovery, one that deeply traces the roots of Welles’s art, both stylistically and thematically.’ - The New Yorker.
THE ELSTREE STORY NETWORK 7953887
This rarely seen documentary from 1952 profiles the legendary Elstree film studio, the pictures made there and the stars and technicians who helped make this one of the greatest film production centres outside Hollywood. Oscar-nominee Richard Todd introduces this fascinating look at the studio’s remarkable output, starting in 1927 when the first film, The White Sheik, was made there. The Elstree Story has excerpts from over 40 productions, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail - the first feature-length British talkie ever shown – as well as early appearances by some of cinema’s greatest stars such as Ray Milland, Ralph Richardson, Joan Greenwood, John Mills, Charles Laughton, Lawrence Olivier and James Mason. An unintentionally hilarious early version of the Titanic story and a winning outing for Richmal Crompton’s William Brown are among the many treasures to be found in a documentary that captures the excitement, fun and adventure of life at one of the world’s most creative and durable studios. This new release features a brand-new transfer from original film elements and showcases The Elstree Story in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio. The many fascinating excerpts leave you wanting to see more of sometimes neglected gems that make up this studio’s magnificent legacy. Extras include Revisiting the Elstree Story, with studio historian Paul Welsh, and an evocative image gallery.