BUSTER KEATON - 3 FILMS (VOL. 2) EUREKA EKA70374
Joseph Frank Keaton Jr. (1895-1966), more usually known by his professional name, Buster Keaton, was arguably America’s greatest silent-film comic actor and filmmaker. With his trademark physical comedy and deadpan expression, earning him the nickname ‘The Great Stone Face’, he performed and directed some of the most sophisticated, innovative and influential work in the history of cinema. Based on the success of his short films of the early 1920s, he graduated to full-length features and became one of the most famous comedians in the world and ‘arguably the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies’. This 3-disc Blu-ray collection includes three of Keaton’s finest feature films; The Navigator, Seven Chances and Battling Butler. All benefit from stunning 4K restorations in their UK debuts in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series, with witty, sympathetic musical scores composed by Robert Israel. In The Navigator (1924), Buster Keaton is wealthy Rollo Treadway (‘every family tree must have its sap’), who suddenly decides to propose to his neighbour across the street, Betsy O’Brien (Kathryn McGuire), and sends his servant to book passage for a honeymoon sea cruise to Honolulu. When Betsy rejects his offer however, he decides to go on the trip anyway, boarding without delay that night. Because the pier number is partially covered, he ends up on the wrong ship, the Navigator, which Betsy’s rich father has just sold to a small country at war. Keaton was unhappy with the audience response to Sherlock Jr., and tried to make a follow-up that was both exciting and successful, resulting in the biggest hit of his career. He is wonderfully inventive and funny as young Treadway and is ably matched by the excellent Kathryn McGuire as daffy Betsy. ‘A dazzlingly balletic comedy’ - Time Out. In Seven Chances (1925) Keaton plays Jimmy Shannon, who learns he is to inherit seven million dollars, with a catch. He will only get the money if he is married by 7pm on his 27th birthday, which happens to be that same day! What follows is an incredible series of escalating set-pieces that end in one of cinema’s most memorable climaxes. Battling Butler (1926) stars Keaton as a rich, spoiled dandy pretending to be a champion boxer, ‘Battling Butler’, to impress the family of the girl he loves. When the real Butler shows up, he decided to humiliate the impostor by having him fight the ‘Alabama Murderer’! This wonderful new release celebrates one of the immortals of cinema operating at the height of his powers and the impeccably restored films come with a wide array of extras including audio commentaries by film historians for The Navigator (Robert Arkus and Yair Solan) and Seven Chances (Bruce Lawton); A video essay by David Cairns covering all three films; The Navigator - a documentary on the making of the film and Buster Keaton’s fascination with boats; Five long audio interviews with Keaton, including one from 1960 with Studs Terkel; What! No Spinach? - a rarely seen comedy short from 1926 by actor/director Harry Sweet that riffs on a number of elements from Seven Chances and has a star turn by Gale Henry as a tyrannical landlady. This Limited Edition release comes in a hardbound slipcase with a 60-page perfect bound collector’s book featuring new writing by Imogen Sara Smith and Philip Kemp, as well as a selection of archival writing and imagery. Watch the trailer
LAST HOLIDAY STUDIOCANAL OPTBD4295
‘How do you keep smiling with a stiff upper lip?’ George Bird is a mild-mannered seller of farm machinery who has been told by his doctor that he has a rare disease and only a short time left to live. Determined not to waste his final days, he resigns his position and decides to spend all his modest savings living life to the full at a posh hotel by the British seaside. Once there, he breaks away from his lonely, anonymous existence and embarks on a winning streak at croquet, poker and the horses that attracts the attention of his fellow guests, curious about the wealthy mystery man in their midst. George, however, feels more at home with the maids and clerks, including the no-nonsense housekeeper Mrs. Poole. Written and produced by the great novelist, playwright and left-wing broadcaster J.B. Priestley, Last Holiday is a deceptively sharp class commentary full of ironic and witty observations on the nature of life, love and luck. Poignant and bitter-sweet, this underrated comedy is a timeless parable on the notion that life is not just how long you live, but how well. Coming a year after his showy turn in full disguise as eight different characters in Kind Hearts and Coronets, Alec Guinness’s engaging performance showcases instead his skill for subtlety and nuance as an ordinary, unassuming everyman. Supporting him are an exemplary cast of the era that includes the beautiful Beatrice Campbell, Kay Walsh (as Mrs. Poole), Bernard Lee as dogged Inspector Wilton, the ubiquitous Sid James, Wilfred Hyde-White, loveable Esma Cannon as the put-upon Miss Fox, Jean Colin as Daisy, Heather Wilde as Maggie the whispering maid, and veteran Ernest Thesiger as Sir Trevor Lampington, discoverer of of ‘Lampington’s disease’. Look out too for the uncredited Peter Jones as a travel agent. Originally released in 1950 and directed by Henry Cass, this overlooked gem is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital, fully restored and looking better than ever - a welcome addition to Studiocanal’s Vintage Classics collection.
MANON ARROW FCD1980
French director Henri-George Clouzot is best known for his thrillers, such as The Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques, but all of his films reveal his mastery of the cinema. This loose adaptation of L’Abbé Prévost’s 1731 novel, ‘l’histoire de Manon Lescault et du chevalier des Grieux’ (operatic versions have included Auber, Massenet & Puccini), marks a departure for Clouzot as he transposes this classical tragic romance to a World War II setting. The film follows the travails of Manon (Cécile Aubry), a free-spirited village girl accused of collaborating with the Nazis who is rescued from imminent execution by a former French Resistance fighter Robert Desgrieux (Michel Auclair). The couple move to Paris, but their relationship turns stormy as they struggle to survive, resorting to profiteering, prostitution and even murder. Eventually escaping by ship to Palestine, the pair attempt a treacherous desert crossing in search of the happiness which seems to forever elude them. There are fine performances by Michel Auclair as the besotted and tormented lover Desgrieux, charming Cécile Aubry as the sexy, heedless Manon (‘There is nothing dirty when we love each other’) and Serge Reggiani as her unscrupulous brother Léon, with the wonderfully named German actress Dora Doll as Juliette and Henri Vilbert as a friendly ship’s captain. Clouzot’s astute portrayal of doomed young lovers caught in the disarray of post-war France won the Golden Lion award at the 1949 Venice Film Festival and now returns here in this glorious High Definition Blu-ray release. Extras include Bibliothèque de poche: H.G. Clouzot, an archival documentary from 1970 in which Clouzot smokes copiously while talking of his love of literature and the relationship between the page and the screen; Woman in the Dunes, a newly filmed video appreciation by film critic Geoff Andrew, discussing Clouzot’s jaundiced view of the world; An impressive image gallery; and a reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options. ‘A pointed and powerful metaphor for the futility of war and the damage it does to the human spirit - and one of Clouzot’s finest films.’ - Film 4.
THE SON OF THE SHEIK EUREKA EKA70372
Italian-born actor Rudolph Valentino was an early pop icon, and a sex symbol of the 1920s who starred in a series of wildly-succesful silent films, including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, and The Son of the Sheik. Known in Hollywood as the Latin Lover (a title invented for him by film studio moguls), the erstwhile ‘tango pirate’ single-handedly changed the way generations of men and women thought about sex and seduction, and was swooned over by a huge following of besotted fans. When he died suddenly at the age of 31, shortly after the premiere The Son of the Sheik, more than 100,000 people gathered on the streets in chaotic scenes and several grieving fans are said to have committed suicide. The Son of the Sheik, directed with panache by George Fitzmaurice, turned out to be one of the most popular films of its time and Rudolph Valentino gives perhaps his finest performance as Ahmed, a cultured yet untamed young man who is lured into a thieves’ trap by a beautiful dancer, Yasmin (the excellent Vilma Banky, who also appeared with Valentino in The Eagle). After escaping, he kidnaps the damsel and holds her captive in his desert lair, dressing her in Arabian finery and threatening to unleash his violent passion upon her. Exotic romance saturates every frame of this Orientalist epic - its sadomasochistic fantasies acted out against the lavish set design of William Cameron Menzies and lushly photographed by George Barnes. This visually intoxicating sequel to Valentino’s career-defining film, The Sheik, made five years earlier, shows the silent screen’s greatest lover is still a powerful screen presence. Handsome, dashing and and exotic, it’s easy to see how a generation of (mostly) women could fall for him and his celebration of the dominant male (‘Lie still you little fool’). Valentino also plays his father, the original Sheik, and there is fine support from Montagu Love as the villainous Gahbah, Karl Dane as Ramadan, Ahmed’s likeable companion, and diminutive Binunsky Hyman as the comical Pincher. From a new restoration available for the first time on home video, with a splendid score by Carl Davis, Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series release presents The Son of the Sheik on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK in a Special Dual Format edition. Extras include Loitering Within Tent - a new video essay by David Cairns; An introduction to the film by the great Orson Welles; A collector’s booklet featuring an essay by critic and film historian Pamela Hutchinson. ‘For silent escapist fare, Son of the Sheik cannot be surpassed.’ - Movies Silently. Watch the new & exclusive HD trailer
UNDER THE SHADOW SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4110
In 1988 Tehran, Shideh (an outstanding performance by Narges Rashidi) is rejected by her medical school as a consequence of her leftist political history, and her doctor husband is sent off to serve in the escalating Iran-Iraq War. Air raids are drawing perilously close to their apartment and when a rocket hits the building, neighbours and friends flee from the dangerous city. Despite her husband’s pleading Shideh decides to stay, so she her young daughter Dorsa (the delightful Avin Manshadi) are left on their own. But Dorsa starts to become increasingly ill fever and disturbed by the loss of her beloved doll, Kimia. Her tantrums are initially dismissed, but as they worsen Shideh becomes terrified that they’ve been targeted by a djinn - a malevolent spirit that steals from those it seeks to possess. Praised by Mark Kermode as a ‘brilliantly intelligent thriller’ and one of his top 10 films of the decade, Iranian director Babak Anvari’s Sundance 2016 hit was the UK’s Foreign Language submission to the Academy Awards. Part ghost story, part social thriller with cutting political commentary, Under the Shadow is powerful, thought-provoking and genuinely unnerving as it brings together threats both supernatural and all too real. Already a genre classic, the film makes its UK Blu-ray debut in this feature packed Limited Edition box set. Take a look Under the Shadow ... if you dare. The many special features include Two & Two - Babak Anvari’s BAFTA Award nominated short film; Interviews with Anvari, Narges Rashidi, producers Lucan Toh and Oliver Roskil, and cinematographer Kit Fraser; An audio commentary with Anvari and Jamie Graham. ‘This chilling story has something of Polanski and Lynch ... elegantly shot and very well acted.’ - The Guardian. Watch the trailer
HOTEL DU NORD ARROW FCD1977
Directed by Marcel Carné, the master of poetic realism, Hôtel du Nord is a haunting, fatalistic melodrama which sits alongside Le Quai des brumes and Le Jour se lève as one of the auteur’s greatest pre-war works. Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Eugène Dabit, the son to the proprietors of the real Hôtel du Nord (situated on the meandering banks of the Canal St. Martin in Paris), Carné’s film tells of Renée (Annabella, a famous actress of the time, who was married to Tyrone Power) and Pierre (Jean-Pierre Aumont), doomed and dejected lovers who plan to end their lives at the cheap and humble guesthouse. When Pierre shoots Renée but can’t pull the trigger on himself, he flees with the help of a seedy criminal, Edmond (charismatic Louis Jouvet) and his sparky prostitute mistress Raymonde (Arletty – the soul of the film). Renée makes a surprise recovery and returns to the hotel to work as a maid, but when Edmond falls in love with her and Pierre returns from prison, the stage is set for tragedy. Hôtel du Nord is noteworthy for its assured ensemble performances, remarkably authentic studio sets and compelling Bastille Day street-celebration finale (shot on an elaborate studio set). Beautifully directed and photographed, this classic film is a wonderfully nostalgic slice of pre-war Parisian working class life that oozes romance and atmosphere. ‘Atmosphère? Atmosphère? Est-ce que j’ai une gueule d’atmosphère?’ (‘Have I got an atmosphere face?’). There are fine performances by Annabella, who took her stage name from the Edgar Allan Poe poem ‘Annabel Lee’, handsome Jean-Pierre Aumont, the unique Louis Jouvet, and Arletty, who went on to appear in Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis in 1945. One of Carné’s most underrated films from the golden age of French cinema, Hôtel du Nord is a humane, uncensorious, yet ultimately hopeful tale, lovingly photographed and with memorable music by Maurice Jaubert. The film makes a welcome High Definition debut, looking and sounding better than ever, in this Special Edition Blu-ray release. Extras include Au cinéma ce soir: Marcel Carné on Hôtel du Nord (an in-depth interview with the legendary director from 1972, in which he talks at length about the film); Introduction to Hôtel du Nord by film historian Paul Ryan; An image gallery; and the entertaining original trailer. The reversible sleeve features original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain.
JUDY PATHE U095434BSP01
‘I just want what everybody wants. I seem to have a harder time getting it.’ Winter 1968, and showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in London to perform in a sell-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in The Wizard Of Oz, but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians, and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of romance seem undimmed, as she embarks on a courtship with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. And yet Judy is fragile. After working for 45 of her 47 years, she is exhausted; an insomniac haunted by memories of a childhood lost to Hollywood; gripped by a desire to be back home with her kids. Will she have the strength to go on? Featuring some of her best-known songs, this brilliant film celebrates the voice, the capacity for love, and the sheer pizzazz of ‘the world’s greatest entertainer’. Renée Zellweger gives a funny and touching performance as the troubled, difficult and extravagantly talented singing legend. The excellent cast also includes Darci Shaw as young Judy, Rufus Sewell as her ex Sid Luft, Richard Cordery as the monstrous Louis B Mayer, Jessie Buckley as sympathetic minder Rosalyn, Michael Gambon as Bernard Delfont, and Finn Wittrock as the glib chancer who takes advantage of Judy’s loneliness and vulnerability to become her last husband. ‘Every time I cut a cake I find I’ve married some jerk.’ Directed by Rupert Goold, the film has already won 2 BIFAs and been nominated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award, as well as three London Critics’ Circle Film Awards including ‘Actress Of The Year’. Renée Zellweger was named Best Actress at the 2020 BAFTAs for her stunning portrayal, which has been acclaimed by critics as ‘spine-tingling’ (Daily Mail) and ‘the performance of a lifetime’ (The Independent). Judy is now available on digital download as well as on Blu-ray & DVD. Extras include two featurettes (‘Behind The Scenes’ & ‘Transformation: Becoming Judy’) as well as three deleted scenes with footage of the underrated Johnnie Ray, played by John Mackay.
THE WINSLOW BOY STUDIOCANAL OPTBD4333
Adapted in 1948 from stage play by Terence Rattigan, The Winslow Boy is a classic tale of standing up to bureaucracy and one family’s testing fight for justice. Based on the real-life 1908 case of George Archer-Shee, the film follows the tribulations of an Edwardian naval cadet Ronnie Winslow (Neil North), who is accused of the theft of a 5-shilling postal order, then expelled from his academy without any chance to defend himself. On returning home, his stubborn father Arthur (Cedric Hardwicke) becomes determined to prove his innocence after what he considers an unsatisfactory internal inquiry, and engages the services of a famous barrister, Sir Robert Morton (the charismatic Robert Donat), to help him clear his son’s name. During his quest for justice, the case eventually reaches The House Of Commons, causing public outcry and a political furore. Also featuring touching performances by Margaret Leighton and the very English Basil Radford, The Winslow Boy is a thoroughly British drama about the quest for truth and the sacrifices that come with it. The excellent cast also includes wonderful Kathleen Harrison as a long-serving maid, Jack Watling as Ronnie’s foppish brother, Francis L. Sullivan as the overbearing Attorney General, and young Dandy Nicholls - with welcome music hall turns by Cyril Ritchard and Stanley Holloway. Superbly scripted by Rattigan and elegantly directed by Asquith, The Winslow Boy is a poignant, engrossing and still relevant story about the establishment versus a principled desire to get the right thing done. Fully restored for the first time, the film is released here on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. Special features include an interview with cultural historian Matthew Sweet, who explores the film’s cultural impact and how it differs from the real case. Also included is an interview with author and critic Geoffrey Wansell (Terence Rattigan’s biographer), who discusses the film versus the play as well as Rattigan’s connection to the story. He also explores the reasons why the case attracted so much attention from both the media and the public. Another special feature sees head archivist Gareth McGuffie delve into the vaults of the Post Office Museum, uncovering original documentation from the 1908 case and the stolen postal order. This classic drama is the latest addition to Studiocanal’s excellent Vintage Classics Collection.
VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS SECOND RUN BD 027
‘It’s just a dream…I’m dreaming it all.’ Delicate and decadent, Czech director Jaromil Jireš’ Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Valerie a týden divů) was made in 1970 towards the end of the Czechoslovak New Wave period. Based on a novel of the same name by poet Vítězslav Nezval, the film is co-written and designed by the brilliant and influential Ester Krumbachová. It mixes horror, fairytale, surrealism and Freudian symbolism to depict the phantasmagorical world inhabited by a pretty young girl on the threshold of adulthood. Haunting and dreamlike, this is a unique work of pure imagination that has become a cult classic. Filmed in the Czech town of Slavonice and surrounding areas, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders stars 13-year-old Jaroslava Schallerová in a remarkably assured performance as Valerie, with a supporting cast that includes Helena Anýžová in multiple roles, Jan Klusák as the dubious priest Father Gracián and Petr Kopriva as mischievous, unhappy Orlík. With its stunning cinematography by Jan Curík and a gorgeous score by the great Luboš Fišer, the film casts a powerful spell and is one of the most enduring and influential fantasies ever made, as well as Jaromil Jireš’ own favourite among his films. Vibrant, funny and enigmatic, this lyrical kaleidoscope of folklore, vampirism, Alice in Wonderland, Fellini grotesques, bucolic innocence and sexual awakening is a subversive and ultimately joyous masterpiece. Second Run’s Blu-ray Special Edition features a new HD transfer by the Czech National Film Archive and the many extras include two audio commentaries, a highly informative booklet, a filmed introduction by Michael Brooke, an interview with Jaroslava Schallerová today, and three early short films by Jireš: the humorous ‘Uncle’ (in which an intruder meets his match in the person of a small boy); the beautifully filmed ‘Footprints’; and the devastating ‘The Hall of Lost Footsteps’. Not to be missed. ‘A collection of dream adventures, spurred by guiltless and poly-sexual eroticism. Virtually every shot is a knockout.’ - Jonathan Rosenbaum. Watch the trailer
DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME SECOND RUN SRBD 019
‘Film was born of an explosive and it is estimated that 75% of all silent films have been lost.’ Named as one of the best films of 2017 by more than 100 critics worldwide, Dawson City: Frozen Time tells the bizarre true story of a long-lost collection of over 500 nitrate film prints dating from the early 1900s, miraculously surviving after being found buried in the permafrost at a remote Yukon mining town. Director Bill Morrison’s haunting documentary links that gold rush town to the simultaneous dawn of cinema. Using the amazing unearthed newsreels, silent movies (in some cases, the only copies in existence of films by D W Griffith and Tod Browning, among others) and documentary images of the town, Morrison conjures the birth of the modern age and creates a unique kaleidoscope of cinema and history. This Blu-ray release (also available on DVD - Second Sight 125) features a director-approved High Definition 4K transfer of this acclaimed film together with a brand-new filmed interview with Bill Morrison, his exceptional short film The Letter (2018) created from fragments of films from the Dawson City Film Find to present a unique new work, a filmed postscript to the story, 24-page booklet and (exclusive to the Blu-ray edition) eight selected, original film reels from the Dawson City Film Find, including the touching and beautifully acted ‘Brutality’ by D W Griffith, the dramatic ‘Girl of the North Woods’produced by the Thanhouser Company, and ‘The Exquisite Thief’ with its ‘naughty burlars’, directed by Tod Browning. As Gareth Evans writes in his excellent essay in the booklet, ‘For a maker passionate about - and reliant upon - found footage, the Dawson City Film Find is a temporal and topographic trove of ‘reality’ one could only dream about before its discovery. It is the embodiment of the idea that compels: the reels (with all their attendant faces, bodies, gestures, actions and worlds) as preserved in their ice as anonymous ages-old Alpine pedestrians have been.’ This lovingly made film is superbly edited and has wonderfully sympathetic music and soundscapes created by Alex and John Somers, resulting in a dreamlike elegy to a city as well as a magical window into a time that’s gone. ‘In addition to being filled with as many twists and turns as a first-rate suspense thriller, Dawson City is packed with near-metaphysical intimations, both awe-inspiring and humbling... an instantaneously recognizable masterpiece.’ - New York Times. Watch the trailer
THE AMAZING MR BLUNDEN SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4104
The mysterious but kindly solicitor Mr Blunden (Laurence Naismith) visits Mrs Allen and her young children, struggling to make ends meet, and offers her the position of caretaker at a derelict country mansion. More surprises are in store when the children encounter the ghosts of two former young residents and find themselves transported back in time to help their new friends right a 100-year-old wrong. Adapted from Antonia Barber’s novel ‘The Ghosts’, this mesmerising classic is a nostalgic treat for the whole family and makes perfect Christmas time viewing. Directed by Lionel Jeffries, it has an enchanted stillness as well as the same charm and warmth as his most famous and best-loved film, The Railway Children. The Amazing Mr Blunden also stars Lynne Frederick, Garry Miller, Rosalyn Landor, Marc Granger, Madeline Smith and Stuart Lock, with an outrageous performance by Diana Dors as the Hogarthian Mrs Wiggins. Praised by Mark Kermode as one of his Top 20 Children’s Films in The Observer, The Amazing Mr Blunden has now been released in this Limited Blu-ray by Second Sight Films. A stunning collector’s edition, it features a brand-new scan and restoration with extras that include an affectionate audio commentary with Madeline Smith, Rosalyn Landor and Stuart Lock moderated by film critic and author Kim Newman; Interviews with the delightful Madeline Smith and Rosalyn Landor; Mark Gatiss reflections on the importance of the film; A 2014 archive BFI Q&A with Madeline Smith, Rosalyn Landor and Stuart Lock. The rigid slipcase with artwork by Rich Davies also includes Barber’s original out-of-print source novel exclusively reproduced for this release, a soft cover book with informative essays by Kevin Lyons and Kim Newman, plus a reversible poster with new and original artwork. ‘Writer-director Lionel Jeffries works pure screen wonder ... his true masterpiece.’ - Mark Kermode.
THE AFRICAN QUEEN EUREKA EKA70364
‘I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!’ Director John Huston’s heartfelt and thrilling romantic adventure film, first released in 1951, stars Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn as an incongruous couple thrown together during the First World War. Rose Sayer is the maiden-lady sister of a prim British missionary in Africa when invading Germans kill her brother (a brief, touching performance by Robert Morley) and level the village. Charlie Allnut, the slovenly, gin-swilling captain of a tramp steamer called the African Queen, offers to take Rose back to civilisation. She can’t tolerate his drinking or bad manners; he isn’t crazy about her imperious, judgmental attitude. However, it does not take long before their passionate dislike turns to love. Together the disparate duo work to ensure their survival on the treacherous waters and devise an ingenious way to destroy a German gunboat (‘What an absurd idea!’). The African Queen is one of the best loved films in the history of cinema, with a roller-coaster storyline complemented by the chemistry between its stars, and masterful direction from John Huston. Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar for his superb performance as Charlie Allnut and Katharine Hepburn is perfect as the brave and passionate Rose. Adapted from a novel by C S Forester, this classic film is warm, funny and exciting, with an unlikely yet immensely satisfying ending created by Huston. This Masters of Cinema Series release features The African Queen on Blu-ray in a special Limited Edition. Extras include a collector’s book featuring new and archival writing on the film; an isolated music & effects track; Audio Commentary by the great cinematographer Jack Cardiff; New interviews with film critic and writer Kim Newmanand and with film historian Neil Sinyard; Long audio interviews with John Huston and Angelica Huston; Embracing Chaos – a comprehensive documentary about the making of the film. ‘One of the most charming and entertaining movies ever made.’ – The New Yorker. Watch the trailer.
THE INVITATION SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4102
‘It’ll be a night to remember until the day you die…’ Reluctantly accepting a dinner party invitation from beautiful his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) at the house they once shared, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his ‘eyes wide open’ new partner Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) gather with old friends to toast new beginnings. But Will and Eden share a tragic past. As paranoia mounts and terror kurks among the Hollywood hills, he begins to wonder what is real and what is imagined. The gathering is also attended by Michiel Huisman as Eden’s handsome new man, Michelle Krusiec as party girl Gina, Lindsay Burge as outsider Sadie and John Carroll Lynch as the unnerving Pruitt. The claustrophobic evening grows increasingly sinister and Will starts to realise that the lives of everyone he loves might be in danger…will they make it through the night? The Invitation is an intense psychological thriller, directed by Karyn Kusama, explores the cost of grief and the even greater cost of not dealing with it. The taut script by Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi builds the tension convincingly to a satisfyingly brutal climax. This suspenseful and creepy film premiered to great acclaim at the London Film Festival and now gets a Blu-ray release from Second Sight. Extras include commentary with the director and writers; A ‘Making of’ feature; Going Back Home – a new interview with Karyn Kusama; There Is Nothing to Be Afraid Of – an interview with producer Nick Spicer; Tonight’s the Night – an interview with Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi; Playing Sadie – an interview with actor Lindsay Burge. ‘Tense and elegant…treats its audience like adults.’ - The Guardian.
JOURNEY TO THE BEGINNING OF TIME SECOND RUN BD 025
Journey to the Beginning of Time (Cesta do praveku) is an enchanting science fiction adventure film that tells the story of four young boys who visit a dinosaur exhibit at a Museum of Natural History. Inspired by finding a trilobyte and by Jules Verne adventure stories, the teenage friends decide to take a rowboat along a ‘river of time’ that flows into a mysterious cave and emerges on the other side onto a strange, primeval landscape. As they make their way upstream through wondrous worlds, encountering endearing woolly mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers, traces of cavemen, monstrous creatures and dinosaurs along the way, they realise that they are travelling progressively further back in time. They face various perils and have thrilling encounters along the way, learning much about prehistoric life in the process. This award-winning 1955 Czechoslovak film was directed by visionary Czech animator Karel Zeman and produced using a combination of 2-D and 3-D models, featuring actors in conjunction with stop-motion and special effects. Using live action and a variety of impressive innovative techniques (cel animation, stop-motion, puppetry and animatronics) Zeman creates magical, dreamlike worlds of wonder and discovery to produce his most beguiling work. The four inexperienced actors give engaging performances as the resourceful, inquisitive boys, especially Vladimír Bejval as the youngest, Jirka. Second Run’s region-free Blu-ray special edition release (also available on DVD) features a glorious new 4K restoration as well as a filmed appreciation by filmmaker and animator John Stevenson. Other extras include a reconstruction of the English dubbed US release version of the fim with alternate opening and closing scenes, a ‘Making of’ documentary, a Restoring the World of Fantasy featurette, image gallery, trailers and a booklet featuring new writing by film historian Michael Brooke. ‘An opportunity to succumb to the unique enchantment of Zeman’s purity of spirit, his boundless imagination and artistic vision. ‘ - Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Watch the trailer
THE WIZARD OF OZ WARNER BROS
‘Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.’ Author L. Frank Baum’s children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was first published in America in 1900 and became a popular Broadway musical before being adapted as an iconic MGM musical fantasy film in 1939. This was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning Best Original Song for ‘Over the Rainbow’, and went on to become one of the best-loved movies of all time. The film still entrances new generations with its story of a young farm girl, Dorothy, whisked off by a tornado from Kansas to Munchkin City, squashing the Wicked Witch of the East upon landing. The Wicked Witch of the West vows revenge, while Dorothy sets off with her dog Toto on the yellow brick road to see the Wizard of Oz, hoping he can tell her how to get home. On the way she has many adventures and makes friends with a brainless scarecrow, a heartless tin man and a cowardly lion - all of whom have their own reasons for wanting to meet the magical Wizard. With the Wicked Witch out to get her, will Dorothy ever get home again? This classic film stars wonderful Judy Garland as Dorothy and a perfect cast that also includes Ray Bolger as the scarecrow, Bert Lahr as the loveable cowardly lion and Jack Haley as the tin man. Equally memorable are Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West, Billie Burke as Glinda the good witch and Frank Morgan as the great Oz himself. This two-disc Blu-ray release also has over 2 hours of extras, including a new feature length documentary, ‘The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, showing how this unprecedented production overcame the odds to become a movie classic and form an integral part of American culture. Plus commentary by Historian John Frike with the film’s cast and crew, Sing-along feature and the code for a free digital download. This release is part of the Iconic Moments Collection from Warner Bros. - a selection of outstanding films celebrating the history and breadth of its catalogue. Warner is also releasing a Limited Edition 80th Anniversary Collection featuring The Wizard of Oz for the first time ever remastered in 4K Ultra HD. There will be four discs (4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray feature, Blu-ray special features, and CD soundtrack) together with a set of premium art cards, a reproduction of the original film poster and a map of Oz. ‘The greatest American movie fantasy.’ - Michael Sragow.
SUPPORT THE GIRLS BULLDOG FILMS BFD051
‘I started this day off crying, so if you ask me, laughing is progress.’ Lisa Conroy is the last person you would expect to find in a highway-side ‘sports bar with curves’, but as general manager at Double Whammies, she has come to love the place and its customers. She takes her job seriously and is an incurable den mother, nurturing and protecting her girls fiercely, but over the course of one challenging day her optimism is battered from every direction. Her lazy and incompetent boss, Cubby, threatens to fire her when he discovers she has let her girls host an off-the-books car wash to raise money for an employee who hit her abusive boyfriend with her car. She has potential new employees to try out and an attempted robbery results in a man stuck in a ventilation duct. One of Lisa’s most trusted girls, Maci, is secretly dating a much older ‘professor’, Danyelle is a single mother struggling with child care for her son, and another gets a large tattoo of Steph Curry when tattoos are forbidden. The bar is struggling to get its cable fixed in time for a big fight that night, business is being threatened by another chain reastaurant developing in the area, and Lisa is in the middle of a separation with her depressed husband, Cameron. After Cubby forces Lisa out, Maci and Danyelle sabotage the cable in protest and join their former boss for a wonderfully cathartic rooftop climax. Writer Andrew Bujalski directs with great verve and Regina Hall is magnificent as Lisa, earning nominations for many awards and becoming the first African-American ever to receive the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress. Excellent support is provided by a cast that includes the delightful Haley Lu Richardson as effervescent Maci, Shayna McHayle as truculent Danyelle, and James LeGros as the obnoxious Cubby. At the top of many critics Best Films of the Year lists, Support The Girls was also named by former President Barack Obama as one of his favourite films of 2018. ‘A joyous celebration of female solidarity.’ - The Upcoming. Watch the trailer
THE DARK HALF EUREKA EKA70360
George A. Romero’s dark and gripping film is neatly adapted from a bestselling, part autobiographical Stephen King novel. This is a Jekyll and Hyde story about a horror fiction writer, Thad Beaumont (Oscar® winner Timothy Hutton), who hopes to be better appreciated for his serious books by distancing himself from his murder novels written under the pseudonym ‘ George Stark’. Stephen King wrote the novel as a nod to his own literary pseudonym, Richard Bachman. To achieve aim, Beaumont cooks up a murder of his own: a publicity stunt that should lay Stark to rest forever in a fictitious grave. But when the people around him are found gruesomely slain – and his own fingerprints are found on the crime scenes – Beaumont is dumbfounded, until he learns that Stark has taken on a life of his own and begun a gruesome quest for vengeance. Timothy Hutton is excellent as the increasingly alarmed author as well as his horribly rampant creation Stark (‘not a very nice guy’). There are good performances too by Amy Madigan as his devoted wife, Michael Rooker as a bewildered sheriff, the excellent Julie Harris as Thad’s sympathetic, pipe-smoking colleague, Robert Joy as a repellent blackmailer, Glenn Colerider as a pushy photographer, and Royal Dano as the memorable guardian of the cemetery where Stark is ‘buried’. Not to mention Elvis Presley on the soundtrack and the most frightening birds since ‘The Birds’. With a sharp screenplay by director Romero, The Dark Half is a creepy, frightening film that thoroughly works us over (‘it’s a cutthroat business’). Special feature with this dual format release (including Blu-ray and a progressive encode on the DVD) are an audio commentary by George A. Romero; Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show (a documentary on the director originally aired on UK television in 1989); The Sparrows Are Flying Again! The Making of ‘The Dark Half’ (retrospective with George A. Romero, special make-up effects creators Everett Burrell and John Vulich, visual effects supervisor Kevin Kutchaver, actor Robert Joy and editor Pasquale Buba); A selection of Behind-the-scenes and archival video material; the original theatrical trailer; A Limited Edition Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Simon Ward. ‘King and Romero are at their twisted best!’ - Rolling Stone.
WOMAN AT WAR PICTURE HOUSE HOME ENTERTAINMENT SELPH013B
To her friends, Halla leads a quiet and routine existence in ruggedly beautiful rural Iceland. But her happy and upbeat exterior hides a secret double life as a determined environmental activist, firing an arrow over a power line to cause electricity cuts and stop government plans to build a new aluminium smelter. Known to others only by her alias ‘The Woman of the Mountain’, she secretly wages her one-woman-war to protect the stunning highland landscape that is under threat from global multinationals. Just as she begins planning her biggest and boldest operation yet, involving stolen explosives and a cool turquoise car, she receives an unexpected letter that will change everything, forcing her to choose between her environmental crusade and the chance of fulfilling her dream of becoming a mother. Funny, moving and utterly unique, Woman At War follows Halla as she juggles the adoption of Nika, a beautiful little girl from Ukraine, whilst planning her final act of industrial sabotage. This smart and touching film is boldly directed by Benedikt Erlingsson, with superb cinematography by Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson. Woman at War is by turns heartwarming and hilarious featuring an outstanding performance by Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir in the roles of gutsy environmental guerrilla Halla and her sister Ása (‘We look a lot like each other’). Juan Camillo Roman Estrada plays an unlucky tourist who constantly finds himself wrongly arrested for being in the wrong place. A quirky three-piece band crops up regularly to comment on events and a Ukrainian choir poignantly reflects the plight of little Nika. Celebrated by audiences and critics globally, this unmissable comedy drama captures the zeitgeist of today’s environmental issues and modern motherhood. Eccentric, playful and serious, this imaginative film is perfectly in tune with a time when climate emergency and Greta Thunberg constantly make headlines a round the world. Now available on DVD, Blu-ray & digital, with special features that include a revealing interview with Benedikt Erlingsson and Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir. ‘A truly universal treat.’ - The Observer. Watch the trailer
THE GO-BETWEEN STUDIOCANAL OPTBD4297
‘The past is a foreign country...they do things differently there.’ Directed by Joseph Losey, this superb adaptation of L.P. Hartley’s novel by celebrated playwright and screenwriter Harold Pinter was an instant hit on its original release in 1971, winning many critical awards. Set over the course of the sweltering Norfolk summer of 1900, Marian (Julie Christie at her loveliest) is set to be engaged to Hugh (a subtle performance by Edward Fox), a well-bred viscount and her perfect match. Marian’s young brother, Marcus (Richard Gibson), invites his classmate Leo (newcomer Dominic Guard) to stay at the grand House for the holiday. Quickly, Leo becomes besotted with the charming Marian and, innocent of romantic and sexual matters, unwittingly becomes a pawn in the forbidden romance between her and eminently unsuitable local farmer Ted Burgess (Alan Bates). As the oppressive heat intensifies so too does Leo’s burgeoning adolescent questioning of love, attraction and the rules of the upper class that he doesn’t really belong to. Both a beautifully subtle critique of the English class system and a visual masterpiece that perfectly captures the timeless beauty of an English Edwardian summer, The Go-Between is a visceral story of an Edwardian romance that continues to endure with a contemporary audience. Studiocanal’s DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Download release features a new 4k restoration of this British classic in which Gerry Fisher’s cinematography of the Norfolk countryside is sumptuouslys beautiful. A host of extras with the Special Edition DVD and Blu-Ray packages include an exclusive booklet and set of art cards.
THE CRIMINAL STUDIOCANAL OPTBD4298
‘All my sorrow, all my joy, came from loving a thieving boy.’ Joseph Losey’s gritty crime drama about the British penal system, The Criminal, tells the story of an edgy ex-con, Johnny Bannion (charismatic Stanley Baker), who used his time in prison to plan the biggest robbery of his career. The robbery at a racetrack goes smoothly and Johnny buries the money in a field until the heat is off, as agreed with friend and smooth racketeer Mike Carter (Sam Wanamaker) and the rest of the gang. In a moment of weakness, Johnny pockets a few hundred pounds from the haul. Coupled with a tip-off from his vengeful ex-girlfriend (the excellent Jill Bennett) this proves to be his undoing and Johnny soon finds himself back in prison. The others in the gang try in vain to get the location of the money out of him without success until Mike hits upon the idea of a break-out using Johnny’s new love Suzanne (sexy Margit Saad) as bait. The film was deemed shocking on its original release for its unashamedly graphic violence but was highly acclaimed for the beautiful stark black and white cinematography by Oscar winner Robert Krasker and cool score by the great John Dankworth, a regular collaborator with jazz fan Losey. The Criminal is an intelligent and naturalistic precursor to the British gangster film genre that continues to enjoy success to this day. It is here released in a newly restored edition on DVD, Digital Download and, for the first time, on Blu-Ray, looking better than ever as part of the Vintage Classics collection. Extras include an interesting new audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger.
HIGH NOON EUREKA EKA70343
One of the most treasured Hollywood classics, and one of the most influential and iconic Westerns ever made, High Noon remains a powerful study of heroism, and the tension between the individual and the society around him. One of the best films by director Fred Zinnemann and produced by Stanley Kramer, High Noon is riveting entertainment and an acknowledged American masterpiece, yet one with surprisingly tumultuous roots. In his Oscar-winning performance, Gary Cooper stars as a small New Mexico town Marshal, Will Kane, preparing to retire and leave town with his young bride Amy (Grace Kelly). However, plans are derailed with the impending arrival of outlaw Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) and his brutal gang. Unfolding in real time, High Noon follows Will as he futilely tries to assemble a posse of deputies from among the reluctant townspeople. They all have their excuses and just want Will to forget about a conflict and leave town - as does Amy, a Quaker pacifist who just wants to avoid violence. But as high noon approaches, Will realises he must do the moral - and practical - thing...with or without help. While the film has become a favourite of US presidents from Eisenhower and Reagan to Clinton, its release was controversial. John Wayne called it ‘the most un-American fim ever made’ and Howard Hawks hated it because as a thinly veiled allegory for the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings investigating communism at the time. Its politics make it even more intriguing now, and High Noon remains one of the most important and gripping films of the 1950s. Gary Cooper is unforgettable as the tormented Kane, driven by duty, fear and courage on his lonely quest. The magnificent Katy Jurado plays Kane’s former lover Helen Ramírez (‘One year without seeing you’) - another lonely outsider trying to survive in a hostile town. Lee Van Cleef, Robert Wilke and Sheb Wooley are wonderfully menacing as they haunt the train depot waiting for Miller to arrive, Lloyd Bridges is the Deputy Marshal forced to face his own cowardice (‘It takes more than big, broad shoulders to make a man’), and Jack Elam has a brief cameo as the town drunk. The taut screenplay is by Carl Foreman, Dimitri Tiomkin wrote the music and Oscar-winning theme song, and the gritty black and white cinematography is by Floyd Crosby, edited by Elmo Williams. Eureka Entertainment has now released this immortal film for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK as part of its Masters of Cinema Series. Extras with the 4K restoration, presented with a Limited Edition 100-page Collector’s Book and Hardbound Slipcase (3000 copies only), include an exclusive audio commentary by historian Glenn Frankel, author of High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic; a new audio commentary by western authority Stephen Prince; a video interview with film historian Neil Sinyard, author of Fred Zinnemann: Films of Character and Conscience; a 1969 audio interview with writer Carl Foreman from the National Film Theatre in London; The Making of ‘High Noon’ (22 mins) - a documentary on the making of the film; Inside ‘High Noon’ (47 mins) and Behind ‘High Noon’ (10 mins) - two video pieces on the making and context of the film; plus the theatrical trailer. ‘Nearly perfect.’ - Washington Post. Watch the new trailer
DARK CITY ARROW FCD1926
‘Playing cards with you two is like washing your feet with your socks on.’ Once a decorated war hero, Danny Haley (an intense performance by Charlton Heston, impressively young and broad-shouldered and making his major film in a role originally intended for Burt Lancaster) now leads a group of small-time card sharks who know a sucker when they see one. They cheat their latest mark, Arthur Winant (likeable Don DeFore) out of $5000 that isn’t his at the poker table; but when Arthur hangs himself in despair, his unstable, psychopathic older brother (craggy Mike Mazurki, best known as Moose Malloy the noir classic Murder, My Sweet) seeks violent revenge on the grifters responsible. As the bodies pile up, Danny and his lovesick lover, lovesick nightclub singer Fran (sad-eyed Lizabeth Scott), flee to Las Vegas… but Danny is about to learn he can’t hide from the consequences of his actions. Effectively directed by William Dieterle, this 1950 film features a terrific supporting cast alongside Heston (aged 26 at the time), who is great as the strong, stubborn Danny. Jack Webb is convincingly nasty as cowardly Augie and his future Dragnet co-star, Harry Morgan is excellent as the charismatic ‘Soldier’. Veteran Ed Begley Sr. plays Barney, one of the card sharks, reliable Dean Jagger is an honest police officer and Swedish actress Viveca Lindfors is touchiung as Arthur’s beautiful, grieving widow. Dark City heralded a future screen icon and is a nail-biting suspense classic with snappy dialogue, luminous black and white photography by Victor Milner and an ominous score by Franz Waxman. There are fascnating shots of 1950s Las Vegas and LA’s Union Station. Special edition extras with this High Definition Blu-ray release include an audio commentary by writer, historian and film programmer Alan K. Rode; a filmed appreciation by critic Philip Kemp; the theatrical trailer; and an extensive image gallery. The first pressing also includes a booklet featuring new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw.
POND LIFE VERVE PICTURES VER7903R0
Pond Life is a comedy drama about a community coming of age, about young hearts broken and mended, and about a very big fish. It’s summertime, 1994, a quiet ex-mining village just outside Doncaster. A rumour stirs about the legend of a giant carp in the nearby decoy ponds. Trevor takes watch one night at the water’s edge. The following night, he decides to lead a brigade of young friends and neighbours on a fishing expedition. In a world of broken families, cassette tapes and rumbling political fever, these friends, each with their own struggles to bear, share a night they will never forget. Filmed in and around the ex-mining villages of Edlington and Maltby in South Yorkshire, Pond Life is based on the 1992 play of the same name by Richard Cameron. Director Bill Buckhurst elicits wonderful performances from a cast of talented young actors, including the brilliant Esme Creed Miles in a moving performance as the troubled Pgo and Tom Varey as the kind-hearted Trevor who loves her. Angus Imrie is funny as the lovelorn romantic Malcolm, Abraham Lewis is bad boy Maurice and Daisy Edgar-Jones as the pretty, self-centred Cassie who comes good in the end. They are ably supported by established names such as Siobhan Finneran, Sally Lindsay, Sian Brooke, Shaun Dooley and Julie Hesmondhalgh. The cracking music score is by Richard Hawley, and Nick Cooke’s superb cinematography captures both the idyllic countryside around the fishing pond as well as the vibrant life inside the town’s miners’ club. This warm-hearted, compassionate film is a highly recommended addition to the genre of British films made by the likes of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. ‘A wistful, sun-kissed mood, gorgeous tunes from Richard Hawley and a standout turn from Esme Creed-Miles… utterly true.’ - The Times.
A BLONDE IN LOVE SECOND RUN DVD 054 / SRBD 023
Part of the Czech New Wave cinema of the 1960s, this bittersweet romance directed by Miloš Forman is a sweetly seductive film that also provides a wry critique of life under totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia. A Blonde in Love (Lásky jedné plavovlásky) tells the story of a young working-class woman, Andula, who has a routine job in a shoe factory in a fading provincial town where, due to an oversight in central state planning, women outnumber men 16–1. The factory supervisor, realising that the gender disparity is damaging morale and productivity, arranges for an army officer to organise military manoeuvres near the town and sponsors a dance at which the workers can find male companionship among the soldiery. Unfortunately, the soldiers turn out to be reservists - mostly married middle-aged men. Rebellious Andula spurns those bold enough to try to win her and instead prefers the pianist in the band, Milda, who efficiently seduces her, telling her that ‘most women are round, like guitars but you are a guitar by Picasso’. A week later she follows him to his home city of Prague, where she gets a frosty reception from his grumpy parents. Forman based his story on a real incident from his past and the filmmakers created a real-life look and feel by filming on location in a small Czech town with a shoe factory of its own. The largely non-professional cast (many drawn from the local population) often rely on improvised dialogue and the director uses documentary-style cinematographic techniques. A Blonde in Love was a popular success on its release in 1965 and was a hit with critics abroad, received nominations and awards at major festivals, including a 1966 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Aided by Miroslav Ondrícek’s sublime camerawork and naturalistic performances, this charming and very funny film distills universal truths from the simplest of situations, presenting them with a sharp yet compassionate eye. Nineteen-year old Hana Brejchová is delightful in her film debut as the sexy Andula and went on to have a an acting career in other films, including Amadeus. Vladimír Pucholt, a former child actor in the 1950s, gives a subtly nuanced performance as crafty Milda and Milada Ježková is a hilarious nightmare as his mother. This world premiere Blu-ray special edition release from Second Run features a stunning new 4K restoration which premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It also includes part two of an archival film-by-film interview with Miloš Forman, newly edited with never-before-seen footage; a specially recorded Projection Booth commentary with Mike White, Samm Deighan and Kevin Heffernan; a 24-page booklet featuring writing by film historian Michael Brooke - and a surprise Easter Egg extra!. ‘If I had to pick just one film, it would be A Blonde in Love.’ - Ken Loach.
THE INCIDENT EUREKA EKA70351
This tense urban thriller is a fantastic snapshot of 1967 New York City in all its seedy, black-and-white glory, and has an iconic 60s cast. Martin Sheen makes his feature film debut as one of two small-time hoods – the other is Tony Musante in one of his earliest roles – terrorising a subway car full of trapped passengers, portrayed by an ensemble cast that also includes brave Thelma Ritter, the underrated Beau Bridges, Ed McMahon, sweet Donna Mills, Jack Gilford, Jan Sterling with her impressive legs, and a host of other recognisable faces from NYC films and television of the era. After mugging an old man for a few dollars, thugs Artie (Sheen) and Joe (Musante) hop a subway deep in the Bronx, and proceed to threaten and intimidate the Sunday night commuters all the way to Times Square. The terrified riders are a mixed group – an elderly Jewish couple, a family trying to protect their five-year-old daughter, a passed-out alcoholic, two teens on a date, two military Privates, a bigoted African-American man and his wife (great performances by Brock Peters and Ruby Dee). They are united by their fear and sense of helplessness as switchblade-wielding Joe and Artie block the subway doors at stops, preventing riders from leaving or entering. Will any of them have the courage to confront the two maniacs? A high-velocity ‘home invasion’-styled hostage drama on rails, The Incident is a NYC transit suspense film that precedes the better-known The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by seven years. When director Larry Peerce and ace cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld were denied permission to shoot in the NYC subways, they did it anyway, using concealed cameras for some footage and providing a gritty time capsule of the 1960s Big Apple as it begins to rot. If J B Priestley had written a film noir it might have turned out very like this one, where characters are forced to face the truth about themselves and their lives. This Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition is part of the Eureka Classics range. Special features with the 1080p high-definition digital transfer include an uncompressed monaural soundtrack on Blu-ray; a new audio commentary by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas; A post-screening Q&A with director Larry Peerce, filmed at the 2017 Wisconsin Film Festival; the original theatrical trailer; and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by film writer Samm Deighan, and critic and journalist Barry Forshaw. Welcome to Fear City: A Survival Guide for Visitors to the City of New York is a reprint of the notorious pamphlet distributed at the height of New York’s crime epidemic.
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN EUREKA EKA70342
Director Elia Kazan’s first film, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn shows that his great empathy for his characters was already evident from the start. Based on Betty Smith’s bestselling novel, Kazan’s debut is a sensitive, masterful adaptation and one of the most moving Hollywood dramas of the 1940s. Set among Brooklyn tenements circa 1912, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a portrait of the Nolans, an Irish-American family living in financially challenging circumstances, often made worse by father Johnny’s drinking and employment problems as a singing waiter (aka ‘The Brooklyn Thrush’). But matriarch Katie keeps the family together during all of the obstacles, caring for son Neeley and daughter Francie, as well as Katie’s outspoken, oft-married sister Sissy. But just as Francie’s gift for writing opens up new avenues, more tragic developments test the family’s resolve. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a heartfelt testament to the strength of family, and shows Kazan’s unrivalled proficiency with actors. Gene Kelly’s favourite film, it won Academy Awards for actors James Dunn (as the gentle, dreamy optimist Johnny) and 13-year-old Peggy Ann Garner, very touching as the imaginative Francie, with Dorothy McGuire in fine form as a hardworking mother trying to hold things together and wonderful Joan Blondell as the irrepressible Sissy. Excellent performances too by Lloyd Nolan as a sympathetic police officer, Ted Donaldson as the always hungry Neeley, John Alexander as Sissy’s latest husband called Bill (‘my name’s Steve’), and an uncredited Ferike Boros as Grandma. Extras with this Blu-ray release from a 2K restoration completed from a 4K scan of the original film elements include a feature-length commentary by Richard Schickel with Elia Kazan, Ted Donaldson and Normal Lloyd; The Making of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; An Appreciation of Dorothy McGuire; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Hollywood Star Time: Original radio broadcast version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from 1946, starring Peggy Ann Garner, James Dunn and Joseph Kearns; plus a collector’s booklet featuring new essays by Kat Ellinger, Phil Hoad and Philip Kemp, alongside rare archival imagery.
PEOPLE ON SUNDAY BFI B1348
In this vivid snapshot of Weimar life, a group of young Berliners enjoy a typical lazy Sunday, including a trip to the city’s suburban lakes. Flirtations, rivalries and petty jealousies ensue as they all try to wring the last from their weekend even while Monday and the weekly routine loom. Taxi driver Erwin leaves his girlfriend Annie at home in bed to meet up at the Nikolassee beach with Wolfgang (wine salesman and occasional gigolo), who brings along his new girlfriend, film extra Christl, and her best friend Brigitte, manager of a record shop. Wolf goes off with the delightful Brigitte and seduces her, while Erwin and Christl relax with a record player on the beach. It turns out that the bond between the two men is the one that counts, and after promising the girls they would meet again next Sunday they make plans instead to watch football. The minimal plot is incidental to the natural charms of the all amateur cast and glimpses of an almost idyllic Berlin, made extra poignant by the knowledge that Hitler would come to power just three years later. Influenced by Eisenstein, and a precursor to Italian neo-realist cinema, People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag) launched the careers of a group of influential young filmmakers who would achieve international success, including future Academy Award-winners Billy Wilder, Eugen Schüfftan (The Hustler) and Fred Zinnemann, the future noir masters Robert Siodmak (The Killers) and Edgar G Ulmer (Detour), as well as prolific fantasy screenwriter and novelist Curt Siodmak. BFI has now released People on Sunday on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK, presented with two vibrant scores by Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin and the experimental Icelandic group múm, a documentary, three short films and a new audio commentary by Adrian Martin. The original negative of the film is lost so this restored version was reconstructed by The Eye Institute in the Netherlands and the 2K scan was digitally restored by Deutsche Kinemathek. Its release coincided with BFI Southbank’s major season to mark the centenary of the Weimar Republic, celebrating one of the most innovative and ground-breaking chapters in the history of cinema. Special features with this High Definition release also include Weekend am Wannsee (Gerald Koll’s documentary about People on Sunday, featuring interviews with star Brigitte Borchert – still a delight in her Eighties - and writer Curt Siodmak), A Trip Through Berlin (a six minute ride through the streets of Berlin in 1910), Beside the Seaside (Marion Grierson’s beguiling picture of the British seaside, with a commentary written by W H Auden), This Year (documentary by John Krish following the adventures of Leicester factory workers on their staff outing to London).
UNDER FIRE EUREKA EKA70310
‘In twenty years we shall know who’s right.’ During the civil war between President Somoza’s Nicaraguan government and the Sandinista rebels, gutsy photo-journalist Russell Price (Nick Nolte) gets caught between his love for reporter Claire Stryder (Joanna Cassidy) and his friendship with her husband, Alex Grazier (Gene Hackman). Facing the cruel fighting - people versus army - it’s often hard for Price to stay neutral as he loses sight of his objectivity and becomes deeply involved in the skirmish. When the Guerillas have him take a picture of the leader Rafael, who’s believed to be dead, he gets drawn into the happenings. Together with his reporter friends Claire and Alex he has to hide from the army. This exhilarating Oscar-nominated political thriller with shades of Casablanca has now been released by Eureka Classics for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK. Under Fire is stylishly directed by Roger Spottiswoode, with outstanding cinematography by John Alcott (2001: A Space Odyssey) and music by Jerry Goldsmith. Extras with this 1080p presentation include Audio Commentary with director Roger Spottiswoode, Assistant Editor Paul Seydor and Photo-Journalist Matthew Naythons, and Film Historian Nick Redman; Audio Commentary with Music Mixer-Producer Bruce Botnick, Music Editor Kenny Hal and Film Historians Jeff Bond, Julie Kirgo, and Nick Redman; Joanna Cassidy Remembers Under Fire’ the original theatrical trailer; A limited edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing by author Scott Harrison (first 2000 copies only). ‘A thrilling film, with a head, a heart, and muscle.’ - Time Out.
NIGHTFALL ARROW FCD1890
‘Things that really happen are always difficult to explain.’ Adapted from a novel by prolific crime fiction author David Goodis, Nightfall is the story of Jim Vanning (Aldo Ray), an innocent man wrongly accused of murder. On the same night he has a chance encounter in a bar with glamorous model Marie (Anne Bancroft), the hoods he has spent the past year running from catch up with him, determined to recover the money they believe he stole from them. Pursued by both the thugs and law enforcement, Vanning and Marie go on the lam, leading to a desperate chase that takes them from the streets of Los Angeles to the snowy peaks of Wyoming. Ray and Bancroft give wonderful, nuanced performances as two lonely people making a connection in a world of alienation, and there is great support from James Gregory as a dogged insurance investigator, Jocelyn Brando as his wife, Brian Keith as the chief crook and Rudy Bond as deranged psychopath Red. During his long and varied career, director Jacques Tourneur tackled a breadth of genres on both sides of the Atlantic. With 1956’s Nightfall, tautly scripted by Stirling Silliphant, he returned to the noir trappings he previously mastered with Out of the Past for a tale of deception, intrigue and paranoia. Featuring striking monochromatic photography by Oscar-winner Burnett Guffey, the film is a gripping and inventive late-period noir which shows that, even in its twilight years, the genre still had room for innovation. Extras with this High Definition Blu-ray presentation, restored from original film elements, include an audio commentary by author and critic Bryan Reesman; White and Black - a new video appreciation of Nightfall by film historian Philip Kemp’ Do I Look Like a Married Man? - a new video essay on the themes of Nightfall by author and critic Kat Ellinger; the theatrical trailer; an Image gallery; reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio.
THE BEST OF BRITISH TRANSPORT FILMS BFI BFIB1335
British Transport Films, headed by Edgar Anstey, was established in 1949 to focus a spotlight on transport as a nationalised undertaking. Over a period of more than 35 years, BTF produced an unrivalled documentary film legacy for generations of film and transport enthusiasts. In celebration of the organisation’s 70th anniversary this year, the BFI has released this splendid 2-disc Blu-ray set that brings together 21 films representing the cream of the fabulous BTF collection. Classics, including John Schlesinger’s Terminus (1961), have been newly digitally remastered by the BFI to 2K from original film materials, while Geoffrey Jones’s legendary homage to progress, Rail (1967), has been restored in 4K. The BFI’s previous DVD collections of BTF films are amongst the label’s all-time best sellers, and this is the first time that a collection has been released on Blu-ray. The films reveal fascinating details of transport, especially from the 1950s and 60s, giving insights into the proud, hard working people who ran the railways at a time when customers were still cossetted passengers and station masters wore top hats to welcome the most prestigious trains (‘topper for the non-stopper’). There are many shots and sounds of beautifully photographed steam trains, mostly in gorgeously crisp black and white. Among the lesser known gems are Farmer Moving South, Train Time (‘broccoli to London’), the dramatic Snowdrift at Bleath Gill (with engaging commentary by Deryck Guyler), the lyrical Any Man’s Kingdom (in colour), and Every Valley (with its Under Milk Wood style commentary). Special features include Expo 67: An Introduction by revered producer Edgar Anstey. Unable to attend the Montreal World’s Fair, the head of BTF recorded this introduction to a selection of films, including Rail, that were screened at the event. 25th Anniversary Introductions (1974, audio only): On successive days a series of short film programmes were screened at the NFT to mark the 25th anniversary of the BTF - each one introduced by modest, generous and gently humorous Edgar Anstey. The discs also come with a 32-page illustrated booklet containing notes on each film and an introductory essay.
I WAS MONTY’S DOUBLE STUDIOCANAL OPTBD4281
With D-Day fast approaching, British officers Major Harvey (John Mills) and Colonel E.F. Logan (the excellent Cecil Parker) plot to give the Germans misinformation about their military strategy. When Harvey spots an actor (M. E. Clifton-James, endearingly playing himself in a stroke of casting genius) who bears a remarkable likeness to British military leader General Montgomery, he comes up with a plan to use him to impersonate the general in North Africa. Although ‘Jimmy’, as Harvey calls him, is initially doubtful he can carry off an impersonation of Montgomery convincingly, he nonetheless agrees and successfully draws German troops away from Normandy, becoming both a hero and a major military target. But, with a team of German commandos being sent to kidnap ‘Monty’, has the plan worked a little too well? Filmed in 1958, this incredible yet true story was written by Bryan Forbes, who also appears in the cast, and directed by John Guillermin. The story is told with humour and touches of dramatic licence, and one of the incidental pleasures is spotting famous British actors of the 1950s such as Patrick Allen, Leslie Phillips, Michael Hordern (as Governor of Gibraltar), Marius Goring, Sidney James, Harry Fowler, Alfie Bass (The Small Man on a train), John Le Mesurier, voluptuous Vera Day and, of course, Sam Kydd. This new, digitally restored version of the film is here released on Blu-ray for the first time to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6. Looking better than ever as part of Studiocanal’s Vintage Classics collection, I Was Monty’s Double is also available on DVD and as a digital download. Extras include an interview with historian Terry Crowdy, author of Deceiving Hitler; John Mills home movie footage; Monty’s Double (1947); and a Behind the Scenes stills gallery.
LA RONDE BLUEBELL FILMS BLB035
‘The sun is out. It’s Spring. You can tell from the scent in the air that love is just around the corner.’ This sophisticated, award-winning film was made in 1950 by French director Max Ophüls, based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1897 play La Ronde. Set in Vienna in 1900, La Ronde shows ten amorous encounters across the social spectrum, from street prostitute Léocadie (a luminous performance by Simone Signoret) to a nobleman, with each scene involving one character from the previous episode on this merry-go-round of life and love. Suave Anton Walbrook guides us through the chain of interconnected romantic entanglements as the enigmatic, omnipotent master of ceremonies. One fleeting moment links to the next, partners change and the dance goes on, turning with the elegance of a Viennese waltz, until the story is brought full circle in the final vignette. With its breathtaking use of long takes and beautiful fluid camera moves Max Ophüls directs with elegant style and élan to create an astounding cinematic masterwork. The outstanding cast also includes Simone Simon as cute maid Marie, Danielle Darrieux as unhappily married Emma reading Stendhal (‘very instructive’) to her pompous husband Charles (a funny performance by Fernand Gravey), Odette Joyeux as sweet coquette Anna, and Jean-Louis Barrault as a ridiculous poet, with Isa Miranda as the sexually voracious actress Charlotte and Gérard Philipe as Le Comte. Oscar Straus wrote the delightful musical score. Praised by directors, critics and cinephiles alike, La Ronde has been newly restored release in high-definition for this Blu-ray release (also available on DVD). The scene-setting opening has been described as ‘one of the marvels of cinema’ by The Observer. ‘Great camera moves…a beautifully choreographed ballet.’ - Stanley Kubrick.
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW EUREKA EKA70339
One of legendary director Fritz Lang’s first noir films, The Woman in the Window is rightly considered one of the most important examples of the genre, a landmark movie that became one of the initial representations of noir first singled out by French critics after WWII. A triumph for Lang, legendary writer/producer Nunnally Johnson, and leading man Edward G. Robinson (shedding his earlier gangster roles to portray a love-struck obsessive), the film remains a classic American nail-biter. Robinson is Richard Wanley, a successful psychiatrist biding his time while his wife and children are on vacation when he encounters beautiful Alice (a radiant Joan Bennett), who bears an uncanny resemblance to the subject of a portrait he had just admired. When Richard and Alice retire to her home, her wealthy, jealous boyfriend intrudes, and is killed after a struggle. Alice convinces Richard to cover up the crime, but as his district attorney friend (Raymond Massey) investigates and the boyfriend’s bodyguard (a terrific performance by Dan Duryea - ‘the heel with sex-appeal’) begins to apply pressure to Richard, the walls begin to close in... With a surprising and satisfying climax years ahead of its time, The Woman in the Window is suspenseful film noir at its most seductive, while also serving as an excellent companion piece to the following year’s Scarlet Street, which reunited Lang with Robinson, Bennett, and Duryea in strikingly similar roles. For anyone even remotely interested in film noir, The Woman in the Window is mandatory viewing, and it makes its UK debut here on Blu-ray in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series. Special features include a new, exclusive video essay by critic David Cairns, a highly informative feature length audio commentary by film historian Imogen Sara Smith, the original theatrical trailer and a collector’s booklet featuring new essays by film journalist and writer Amy Simmons; and film writer Samm Deighan; alongside rare archival imagery. ‘The Woman in the Window is a humdinger of a mystery melodrama.’ - New York Times. Watch the trailer
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT SPARKY PICTURES
Decades after serving in WWII and assassinating Adolf Hitler, Calvin Barr (Oscar nominee Sam Elliott / Aidan Turner) is enlisted as the only man for the job: to hunt down the fabled Bigfoot. Living a peaceful life in New England reflecting on his lost love Maxine (Caitlin FitzGerald), the war veteran is contacted by the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead the charge to capture the elusive beast that is carrying a deadly plague. Can he find the dangerous creature deep inside the Canadian wilderness before it’s too late? Written and directed by Robert D. Krzykowski, this is a warm, humane film laced with magic realism. Jumping cleverly backwards and forward in time, it shows Calvin Barr to be a true, if flawed, hero, as well as a lonely man with an inability to connect. Sam Elliott is superb as Calvin and comedian Larry Miller gives a sweetly touching performance as his brother, Ed. For monster movie fans, war film fans and everyone in between, this is a mind bending journey to discover the legend of The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot. ‘Malevolent, hopeful and incredibly moving - a fantasy for the ponderous imagination’ - Starburst Magazine. The film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray as well as on digital release. Special features include behind the scenes, deleted scenes a commentary by the director, an Elsie Hooper short film, and an interview with Joel Kramer. Watch the trailer
BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY NETWORK
Steve Sullivan’s funny and moving BIFA nominated documentary explores the extraordinary secret life of Chris Sievey, better known as his alter ego Frank Sidebottom, the maverick comedian in a fake papier mache head. Frank is remembered fondly as the the court jester of the Manchester music and comedy scene for over 25 years but only a privileged few knew the man inside. Being Frank tells a twisted tale of split personalities – a suburban creative superhero with a fanatical desire to preserve the myth he created, and eventually having to battle against being consumed by his alter ego. The film includes extensive archive from Chris’s personal collection of hundreds of boxes of notebooks, home movies, art and music. Insights into his life come from his family, friends, and colleagues, including Johnny Vegas, Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Ross Noble and Mark Radcliffe, finally revealing the unknown story of Chris Sievey – a songwriter, artist, comedian, husband, dad and wayward genius. A life-size bronze statue commemorating him now stands in the village of Timperley (‘As long as I gaze on Timperley sunset I am in paradise.’) Director and producer Steve Sullivan spent over seven years digging through Chris’s archive in order to bring him to the big screen. Both the DVD and Blu Ray of Being Frank are crammed with additional archive and definitely not bobbins bonus scenes. As well as previously unseen home movies from the Sievey family, there are tales of Chris Sievey’s remarkable creativity from the people that knew him best. Frank’s mum is likely to go up the wall and across the ceiling when she sees what he’s been up to in some of the extra bonus footage and there are scenes from Being Frank that didn’t make the film. The Blu Ray disc contains an additional half hour of ultra rare nonsense not available elsewhere. Being Frank is a fitting tribute to a unique, inspired and much loved performer who died much too young in 2010, aged only 54. An official soundtrack album is also available, released on Iain Lee’s 7A Records and packed with the best of the newly discovered Chris Sievey and Frank Sidebottom rarities featured the film. The soundtrack will be available as a very limited (500 copies) picture disc vinyl album as well as on CD. ‘Absorbing and tender...Can we posthumously confer on Chris Sievey the title of national treasure?’ - Hollywood Reporter. Watch the trailer
THE WHITE REINDEER EUREKA KA70334
This beautiful and haunting folk tale based on Lapland mythology is the directorial debut of Finnish cinematographer Erik Blomberg. One of world cinema’s criminally under-seen masterpieces. The White Reindeer is a vampiric fairy-tale shot on location amongst the starkly beautiful fells of Finnish Lapland, as Blomberg combines an almost documentary filming style with avant-garde experimentation to produce a dreamy art-house horror film that ends with a quietly devastating scene. A newly-married young woman, Pirita (Mirjami Kuosmanen – also the film’s creator with her partner Blomberg), becomes frustrated and lonely as her husband, a reindeer herder for a small Arctic village, spends much of his time away from home in devotion to his work. Desperate for affection, she visits a shaman who offers a potion that makes her an irresistible object of desire, but there is a terrible cost. Pirita becomes a bloodthirsty shapeshifter who lures men out into the barren wilderness where she consumes them. With its portrayals of gender inequality, societal pressures and sexual anxiety (represented through animal transformation, echoes of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People…), The White Reindeer is a timeless classic that deserves to be rediscovered and recognised as a defining film in the horror and fantasy genres. Winner of the 1957 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Foreign Film as well as winner of Best Actress, Best Cinematography & Best Music at the 1952 Jussi Awards. Eureka has now released the film in its Masters of Cinema series from a new 4K restoration for the first time ever in the UK, and available with a Limited Edition slipcase (2000 copies only). Extras include LPCM audio (original mono presentation); optional English subtitles; audio commentary by critic and film historian Kat Ellinger; Religion, Pleasure, and Punishment: The Portrayal of Witches in Nordic Cinema – an erudite essay by film journalist and writer Amy Simmons; With The Reindeer – Erik Blomberg’s 1947 documentary short; colour Test Footage; a 1952 Jussi Awards Ceremony featurette; a collector’s booklet with new writing by film critic Alexandra Heller Nichols and journalist Philip Kemp. Watch trailer
THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH NETWORK 7958178
‘Grand reopening - seats at all prices.’ Overjoyed to learn that they’ve inherited a cinema in the north of England from a long-lost uncle, struggling married couple Matt and Jean Spenser (Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna) are subsequently shattered to find that the Bijou is less of a grand picture palace and more of a fleapit, complete with three equally decrepit employees. Old Tom the doorman and janitor (Bernard Miles) pines for a new uniform and Peter Sellers is superb as alcoholic projectionist Percy Quill. Margaret Rutherford is wonderful as always as Mrs. Fazackalee, the cinema’s eccentric cashier and pianist. Circumstances force Matt and Jean into cleaning up the old fleapit to make it a going concern in the hope that the owner of the Grand cinema (a splendidly bluff performance by Francis de Wolff) will buy the old place and turn it into a car park. Can the couple make a go of it or will they be forced to sell up at any price? This warm, charming and very funny film, directed by Basil Dearden and photographed by the great Douglas Slocombe, is an affectionate tribute to those happy days of movie-going before the advent of soulless Multiplexes. There are terrific performances all round and as well as the gifted principals the cast also includes Leslie Phillips as a local solictor, June Cunningham as voluptuous icecream girl Marlene and Sidney James as her father, with uncredited appearances by Peter Copley, Mario Fabrizi, Liz Fraser, Frazer Hines, Frank Launder (one of the film’s producers) and Jack May. In one touching scene, the silent film ‘Coming Thro the Rye’ is shown, with Margaret Rutherford accompanying on the piano. The 1923 film’s star, Alma Taylor, also appears in the audience. This heartwarming comedy is a small masterpiece and Network’s new Blu-ray release features a High Definition remaster from the original film elements in its original theatrical aspect ratio. Highly recommended. Watch video
NEXT OF KIN SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4096
Australian creep-fest Next of Kin is a 1982 Ozploitation classic directed by Tony Williams. Linda Stevens has just inherited Montclare, a retirement home left to her by her late mother. When she finds a diary belonging to her mother, she discovers tales of strange goings in within the old mansion - taps turning themselves on and off, candles lighting and mysterious voices in the night. When history begins to repeat itself Linda’s nightmares are just the beginning. Montclare hides a dark secret and Linda is in mortal danger, but can she unlock the mystery before it’s too late? Jackie Kerin is excellent as the increasingly alarmed Linda and there are fine performances too by John Jarratt as her amiable boyfriend, with Alex Scott and Gerda Nicolson acting suspiciously. Making effective us of its striking locations, Next of Kin starts starts realistically then gradually adds to the tension until the body count explodes in s cathartic and bloody climax. This entertaining and stylish film has its first UK Blu-ray release here in high-definition and is also available to download and on-demand. Special features include an audio commentary with Tony Williams and producer Tim White; Audio commentary with cast members John Jarratt, Jackie Kerin, Robert Ratti and Not Quite Hollywood Director, Mark Hartley; Return to Montclare (Next of Kin Shooting locations revisited); Extended interviews from the documentary Not Quite Hollywood; Tony Williams shorts from 1971 (Getting Together + The Day We Landed on the Most Perfect Planet in the Universe); Deleted scenes; Three trailers; Before the Night is Out (Complete ballroom dancing footage from 1978); Image gallery; Reversible sleeve art. ‘A horror movie unlike any other...it has a very, very unique tone and the closest equivalent to this tone is The Shining.’ - Quentin Tarantino.
IRMA LA DOUCE EUREKA EKA70318
Director Billy Wilder’s crowd-pleasing romantic comedy starS Shirley MacLaine as Irma, a popular Parisian prostitute whose new pimp is an unlikely procurer. Nestor (Jack Lemmon) is a former honest cop who was just fired and framed by his boss after Nestor inadvertently had him arrested in a raid. However, Nestor’s love for Irma is making his newfound vocation impossible, so he poses as a phoney British lord who insists on being Irma’s one and only ‘client’. But when ‘Lord X’ appears to have become the victim of foul play...further comedic complications ensue! One of Billy Wilder’s biggest box office hits following his landmark comedies Some Like It Hot and The Apartment, the spectacular Irma La Douce, adapted from the 1956 musical for the French theatre, reunites the director with his Apartment stars - Lemmon (having a ball as the English aristo) and MacLaine, providing the latter with one of her most fondly remembered (and Oscar®-nominated) early roles. There are enjoyable performances too by Lou Jacobi as worldly cafe owner Moustache (‘It's a hard way to earn an easy living’), Hope Holiday as pugnacious Lolita, and uncredited young James Caan in his debut film. The radiant sets were designed by Alexandre Trauner, music sby André Previn, the girls are spectacular and the twist at the end is memorable (‘But that's another story...’). Irma La Douce offers many of the same sardonic observations on human nature as Wilder’s earlier comedies - in addition to the same riotous humour and touching romance - but on an even broader, more colourful canvas. Collaborating again with his regular screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond, Wilder delivers one of his most purely entertaining crowd-pleasers of the 1960s. The film is now available in this 4K restoration on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK as a part of Eureka’s Masters of Cinemas Series. Extras include a new interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard, Feature length audio commentary by critic and film historian Kat Ellinger, a feature Length audio commentary by film historian Joseph McBride, and a collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Richard Combs, alongside a wide selection of rare archival imagery. ‘Scintillating performances by Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.’ - Variety.
HUMAN DESIRE EUREKA EKA70329
This startlingly dark, late film noir masterwork by legendary filmmaker Fritz Lang reunites him with his hero Glenn Ford and femme fatale Gloria Grahame from the previous year’s The Big Heat, and the screenwriter of Lang’s 1952 noir Clash by Night, Alfred Hayes. Like those two classics, Human Desire finds director Lang casting a pitiless eye on all of the human weaknesses that define film noir: deception, infidelity, passion, and murder. Loosely adapted from the same Émile Zola novel previously filmed by the great Jean Renoir in La Bête humaine (1938), Lang’s gripping thriller has the dependable Ford as train engineer Jeff, just back in his home town from the Korean War. He is instantly attracted to passenger Vicki (Grahame in a role originally intended for Rita Hayworth) rather than sweet local girl Ellen (wholesome Kathleen Case) who loves him. Jeff doesn’t yet realise that Vicki is the abused wife of his brutish, alcoholic railroad yard superior Carl (Broderick Crawford). She has just become entangled in a jealousy-fuelled murder committed by Carl, and as Jeff and Vicki embark on a steamy affair, she tells him her version of the truth about the crime and Carl’s blackmail hold on her. If only Carl could be taken out of the picture and ‘something would happen to him in the yards’. The only thing that’s not pitch black in this chilling noir are the ethical shades of grey inhabited by all its characters. Yet its placid small town setting also offers a unique perspective on the genre, with Lang uncovering sinister secrets on these quiet streets that could rival any big city immorality. Gloria Grahame is superb as the sultry, devious wife of much older Carl (Crawford, always convincing as a drunk) and Glenn Ford is in solid form as the essentially decent everyman Jeff, subtly suggesting damage he might have experienced at war. Peggy Maley is also great in her brief yet telling appearance as the gold-digging Jean (‘All women are alike. They just got different faces so that the men can tell them apart.’) Cinematographer Burnett Guffey captures the railroad scenes brilliantly - a treat for train buffs. This dual-format Masters of Cinema release from Eureka Entertainment is the first time Lang’s underrated film has been available on Blu-ray. Extras with the 1080p presentation include a new and exclusive interview with film historian Tony Rayns (particularly good on the interesting Alfred Hayes, who also worked on Bicycle Thieves and much else) as well as a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film alongside rare archival imagery. Watch the trailer
HUSH…HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE EUREKA EKA70326
Don’t Tell Anyone What Happened In The Summer House! Originally conceived as an informal follow-up to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Robert Aldrich’s dark and twisted psychological thriller Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was yet another hit for the legendary director, receiving seven Academy Award nominations. Wealthy Charlotte Hollis (the magnificent Bette Davis) has been living as a recluse in her crumbling mansion since the grisly, unsolved murder of her married lover many years earlier. When the county wants to tear down the house to build a highway, the spinster’s relatives and friends appear to rally behind her, but each slowly preys on her mind until the gruesome rumours of the last 40 years appear to be coming true. On hand are cousin Miriam (Olivia de Havilland in great form), friend and physician Dr Drew Bayliss (Joseph Cotten), Jewel Mayhew (Mary Astor in her final film role), and the scariest inhabitant of all, loyal housekeeper Velma (Oscar nominee Agnes Moorehead, enjoying herself hugely). Great performances all round from the outstanding cast, which also includes Bruce Dern, Cecil Kellaway and Victor Buono. Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte is released here the first time on Blu-ray in the UK in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series. Extras with the1080p presentation include a new feature length audio commentary by critic Kat Ellinger; Audio commentary by film historian Glenn Erickson; Hush…Hush, Sweet Joan: The Making of Charlotte; Bruce Dern Remembers; Wizard Work (an archival behind-the-scenes look at the film, narrated by Joseph Cotton); Trailer & TV spots; Plus a collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Lee Gambin, illustrated with archival imagery. ‘A heady brew for fans of Hollywood’s golden age gone bananas.’ - Radio Times. Watch the new and exclusive trailer
LAURA EUREKA EKA70327
Stylish and witty, Laura tells a tangled story of obsessive love - with a remarkable twist (‘Dames are always pulling a switch’). The excellent Dana Andrews is police detective Mark McPherson (‘I suspect nobody and everybody’), drawn into Manhattan high society as he investigates the death of advertising executive Laura Hunt (the exquisitely beautiful Gene Tierney), apparently shotgunned in her own apartment. The slithery suspects are numerous, led by Clifton Webb’s effete, snobbish columnist Waldo Lydecker (‘I’m not kind, I’m vicious. It’s the secret of my charm’), and Laura’s philandering fiancé Shelby (young Vincent Price as a ‘male beauty in distress’), who is also cavorting with Laura’s wealthy aunt (a brilliantly subtle performance by Judith Anderson). McPherson begins to fall in love with Laura through a portrait in her home and the memories relayed by those who knew her - just as it becomes apparent that even the basic facts of the case might not be what they seemed. Peppered with wonderfully quotable dialogue and featuring sumptuous, Oscar-winning cinematography by Joseph LaShelle, this well-crafted murder mystery stands with The Big Sleep and Double Indemnity as one of the classic noir titles - an undeniable American masterpiece. Director Otto Preminger’s 1944 classic has grown in stature over the years, with its hypnotic mixture of doomed romantic obsession, dizzying intrigue, and fatalistic cynicism marking it as essential noir. This 1080p presentation on Blu-ray includes both the extended and original theatrical versions of the film. Special features include audio commentary by composer David Raksin and film professor Jeanine Basinger; Audio commentary by film historian Rudy Behlmer; Laura: The Lux Radio Theater broadcasts (two radio adaptations of Laura from 1945 and 1954, also starring Gene Tierney); Laura: The Ford Theater broadcast (a further radio adaptation of Laura from 1948, starring Virginia Gilmore and John Larkin); A Tune for Laura: David Raksin Remembers (an archival interview with the renowned composer); The Obsession – an archival featurette on Laura; A deleted scene; and a collector’s booklet featuring an essay by Phil Hoad alongside a selection of rare archival imagery. ‘Situations neatly dovetail and are always credible. Developments, surprising as they come, are logical. The dialog is honest, real and adult.’ - Variety.
YANKS EUREKA EKA70320
John Schlesinger’s Yanks is a moving and romantic World War Two tale - a sweeping yet intimate epic about three very different women who find themselves attracted to American G.I.s at a new military base in town in Northern England in 1944,just before the Normandy landings. Richard Gere stars as the charming Sgt Matt Dyson, initiating a tentative courtship with Jean (Lisa Eichhorn) a lonely young woman pining for her fiancée overseas. Vanessa Redgrave is wealthy and sophisticated socialite Helen, engaged in an affair with a captain (William Devane), while both of them long for their respective spouses far from home. Meanwhile Sergeant Ruffelo (Chick Viennera) has fling with fun-loving Mollie (an excellent performance by Wendy Morgan). Interactions between the Yanks and their British hosts come under strain with the tension of the war and uncertainty about what happens to their new romances. Yanks is a showcase for its splendid ensemble cast, which also features Rachel Roberts and Tony Melody as Jean’s parents as well as the formidable Joan Hickson, Annie Ross, Antony Sher in a brief early role, and music hall veteran Nat Jackley. Solidly scripted by Colin Welland, this is a war film without battle scenes and a personal passion project for John Schlesinger, who was given free creative reign after the success of Marathon Man a few years earlier. Yanks was not given the attention it deserved on its initial release in 1979 so this warmest of the director’s films is ripe for rediscovery. This Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) release is part of the Eureka Classics range and comes with extras that include a new high-definition transfer; the original LPCM mono audio (on Blu-ray); optional English subtitles; an archival interview with John Schlesinger; the original theatrical trailer; and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film, alongside rare archival imagery. Watch the new & exclusive HD trailer
LUCKY EUREKA EKA70323
Lucky follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self-exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment. Acclaimed character actor John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut film is at once a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton (Cool Hand Luke; Paris, Texas) as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality, and human connection. The cast also features director David Lynch (Twin Peaks; Mulholland Drive; Blue Velvet), Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr. and Tom Skerritt (Alien; Top Gun). Lucky received rave reviews following its US release just days after Harry Dean Stanton’s death at age 91, including Variety’s Joe Leydon who described the film as ‘an unassumingly wonderful little film about nothing in particular and everything that’s important.’ Eureka Entertainment recently released this charming and moving comedic drama in cinemas nationwide and it is now available on DVD & Blu-ray. Special features with the 1080p presentation include optional 5.1 and Stereo audio as well as ‘Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction’. This acclaimed 2012 documentary by Sophie Huber is an impressionistic portrait of the iconic actor and includes candid scenes with Stanton, David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Kris Kristofferson and Debbie Harry. Other extra featires include interviews with John Carroll Lynch and writers / producers Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, plus a collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Jason Wood, exclusive behind-the-scenes stills, ‘Headin’ North at 110 per’ (a personal memory of Harry Dean Stanton by co-writer Logan Sparks), and the transcript of a Q&A with John Carroll Lynch. ‘Utterly unmissable.’ - Total Film. Watch trailer
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM OPUS ARTE OA 1183 D
‘Lord, what fools these mortals be!’ William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of his most popular, beguiling and frequently performed plays. This immortal comedy masterpiece is set on a Midsummer’s night and portrays events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. Others involved in the adventures include four young Athenian lovers who find themselves wrapped in the dream-like arms of an enchanted forest where sprites lurk and fairies rule. Meanwhile, a feuding Fairy King and Queen are at war and a group of six amateur actors (the mechanicals) are controlled and manipulated by the fairies. Bottom, Quince and their friends present a play within a play as chief mischief-maker Puck ensures that the course of true love is anything but smooth. Armed only with a wicked sense of humour and a love potion capable of making anyone fall for the first person they set eyes upon, he relishes the games of fantasy, love and dreams that ensue. What could possibly go wrong? Fusing imaginative music (including David Bowie and George Formby), exuberant dance and some serious comedy, Emma Rice’s triumphant first production in 2016 as Artistic Director at Shakespeare’s Globe in London brings the Dream crashing into the theatre’s magical setting. Naughty, tender, transgressive and surprising, this is truly a festival of theatre. Internationally acclaimed actor, singer and Performance Diva Meow Meow plays Hippolyta as well as fairy queen Titania, and the excellent cast also includes Zubin Varla (Theseus/Oberon), Ewan Wardrop (Bottom), Lucy Thackeray (Quince), Ncuti Gatwa (Demetrius), Edmund Derrington (Lysander), Tibu Fortes (Fairy), Edith Tankus (Snug), Alex Tregear (Snout), Anjana Vasan (a delightful Hermia) and Ankur Bahl (as Helenus, not Helena). Special features with this DVD release include a cast gallery and an interview with Emma Rice. ‘The Globe certainly rocks with laughter in an irreverent evening in which the jokes come fast and furious ... an entertaining and rowdy night out.’ - The Guardian.
JULIET OF THE SPIRITS CULT FILMS CULT308
Winner of the 1966 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, Juliet of the Spirits (Giulietta degli Spiriti) was director Frederico Fellini’s first feature length film in colour. It was written as a tribute to his real life partner Giulietta Masina, who plays her namesake Giulietta, the bored, timid and unfulfilled wife of Giorgio (Mario Pisu), a suave man who organises public relations events for a living. He treats her coolly, insensitively inviting annoying acquaintances to disrupt the romantic anniversary she has planned. Suspecting her husband’s infidelity when she hears him call another woman’s name in his sleep, Giulietta enters on a surreal journey of self-discovery filled with wild dreams and enchanting fantasies. These often involve her sexually liberated neighbour Suzy (played with gusto by Sandra Milo, who was Fellini’s mistress and starred in his previous film, 8 ½). Others in the massive cast include Valentina Cortese as a sexually voracious artist, the beautiful Sylva Koscina, and Anne Francine as a ‘psychodramatist’. With intoxicatingly vibrant photography by Gianni Di Venanzo and a whimsical score from Nino Rota, Fellini moves on from neo-realism in this freewheeling, breathtakingly beautiful carnival ride. It’s a dazzling, psychedelic experience that mixes reality, visions and flashbacks with talking flowers, ridiculous hats, decadent parties, and of course nuns, in a way that somehow makes sense in what is perhaps the director’s most definitively ‘Felliniesque’ film. This exceptional HD restoration has been released in a dual edition that includes its first ever UK Blu-ray version alongside the DVD, as well as being available digitally on UK platforms such as Amazon. Special features include an enlightening audio commentary by Kat Ellinger and an exclusive video essay from author, critic and Oxford Professor Guido Bonsaver: Dazzling Spirit. ‘A great and enduring masterpiece’ - Derek Malcolm.
I VITELLONI CULT FILMS CULT309
Federico Fellini’s highly influential and personal film, I Vitelloni (loosely translated as ‘The Young Calves’) tells the story of a group of five long-time male friends who are still coming of age in their 30s. Mostly unemployed and too old to be kids, drifting aimlessly and dreaming of escape as they struggle with their uncertainties about settling down in their Italian provincial seaside town. ‘We all talked about leaving, but only one of us, one morning, without a word to a soul, actually left.’ This acclaimed masterpiece stars Alberto Sordi, Franco Fabrizi, Franco Interlenghi, Leopoldo Trieste and Riccardo Fellini as the restless young bloods, and the film has a wonderfuly evocative score by Oscar-winner Nino Rota, the musical embodiment of the Felliniesque having scored most of Fellini’s films. Rooted in Italian neo-realism and boisterously funny, I Vitelloni holds true to Fellini’s signature style with its delectable and dreamy cinema of weirdness. Fellini’s second solo directorial effort is a compassionate, semi-autobiographical film that won of the prestigious Silver Lion Award at the 1953 Venice Film Festival. I Vitelloni was the Godfather of iconic films such as Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets, American Graffiti and Diner. The film is released here for the first time on Blu-ray in this dual edition, including a DVD version. Special features for Fellini aficionados and academics include an exclusive video essay by author, critic and Oxford Professor Guido Bonsaver (‘Becoming Fellini’); a striking new HD restoration and re-grading with additional further restoration uniquely for CultFilms; and new improved English subtitles. ‘One of the top dozen films of all time... Fellini’s most beautiful film’ - New York Magazine.
THE CHANGELING SECOND SIGHT
Following the tragic death of his wife and daughter in a car crash, composer John Russell leaves the city and retires to an old mansion in the hope of rebuilding his life. The peace and quiet he craves is soon disturbed however, and unexplained noises are just the beginning. Convinced there is a supernatural presence in the house he enlists the help a local historian. What they uncover is more shocking than he could ever have imagined. ‘That house is not fit to live in. No one’s been able to live in it. It doesn’t want people.’ This atmospheric 1980 Canadian psychological horror film, outstandingly directed by Peter Medak, stars George C Scott and his wife Trish Van Devere, with Barry Morse as a parapsychologist and the great Oscar winning actor Melvyn Douglas in one of his last roles. The plot and screenplay are based on events that co-writer Russell Hunter claimed he experienced while he was living in a mansion in the Cheesman Park neighbourhood of Denver, Colorado in the late 1960s. A huge influence on film-makers such as Martin Scorsese and Alejandro Amenabar, The Changeling is one of the most chilling and saddest horrors of all time. This classic film has now been released by Second Sight in a new 4K restored version for the first time on Blu-ray. The limited edition collector’s set includes stunning packaging, a poster, a 40-page booklet and a many special features: Audio commentary with Peter Medak and producer Joel B Michaels, moderated by Severin Films’ David Gregory; ‘The House on Cheesman Park’: The Haunting True Story of The Changeling; ‘The Music of The Changeling’: Interview with Music Arranger Kenneth Wannberg; ‘Building The House of Horror’: Interview with Art Director Reuben Freed; ‘The Psychotronic Tourist’: The Changeling; ‘Master of Horror Mick Garris on The Changeling’; The trailer and a TV spot; Original Soundtrack CD. ‘A child’s ball bouncing down a flight of stairs was enough to scare the daylights out of me.’ - Stephen King.
THE DEFIANT ONES EUREKA EKA70300
Nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, director Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones broke new ground by delivering its message of racial tolerance through a fast-moving blend of action and suspense. John ‘Joker’ Jackson (Tony Curtis) and Noah Cullen (Sidney Poitier) are two convicts on the run after escaping from a Southern work gang. Bound together by an unbreakable iron chain and separated by an unbridled hatred towards each other, the two men are relentlessly pursued by a bloodthirsty posse and must put aside their differences if they are going to survive. The symbolism of two people, ‘chained to each other like animals’, both damaged by their own lives, is obvious but remains powerful. The Defiant Ones was highly acclaimed on release in 1958 for its directing, writing, cinematography and acting. Sidney Poitier is cool, sexy and athletic, winning numerous awards for his role, including the coveted Silver Bear for Best Actor. He was the first time a male black actor to receive a nomination for a competitive Oscar. Tony Curtis takes his chance to move away from previous ‘pretty boy’ roles into more serious films and the solid cast also includes Theodore Bikel as the humane Sheriff Max Muller, Charles McGraw as Captain Frank Gibbons, the excellent Lon Chaney Jr. as Big Sam, Claude Akins as the racist Mack, and Cara Williams in a touching performance as a lonesome woman who ‘likes pretty things’. The Defiant Ones remains one of the most influential films of its era - exciting, humanitarian, moving, real and literate. Eureka Classics has now released it on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK in this Dual Format (DVD and Blu-ray) edition. Extras with the 1080p presentation of this sparkling black & white film include uncompressed LPCM audio, optional English subtitles, a video interview with critic & author Kim Newman, and the original theatrical trailer. ‘The performances by Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier are virtually flawless.’ - Variety. Watch a new and exclusive trailer Eureka has alo released another pivotal early film in the wave of racially progressive dramas of the 1950s and 60s, Joseph L Mankiewicz’s No Way Out.
NO WAY OUT EUREKA EKA70298
This intense drama is an electrifying film-noir about a doctor whose ethics are put to the test when he comes into conflict with a racist criminal. Dr Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier) is assigned to treat two prisoners, the Biddle brothers, who were shot during an attempted robbery. Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark) is a nasty piece of work who refuses to be treated by the black doctor, and when his brother John dies under Luther’s care, Ray becomes consumed with vengeance. His anger and hatred ignites racial tensions within the community, and events quickly spiral out of control. Released during the early days of the civil rights movement, No Way Out received critical acclaim but faced censorship for many years due to its incendiary nature. It has since been recognised as one of writer.director Joseph L Mankiewicz’s greatest filmmaking achievements. As well as brilliant film debuts by Poitier, Ossie Davis and his wife Ruby Dee, the film also stars Stephen McNally as a supportive senior doctor and Linda Darnell as the dead man’s damaged wife. It has now been released in this Eureka Masters of Cinema Dual Format edition for the first time ever on Blu-ray (and its debut on UK home video). Extras include optional English subtitles, audio commentary by film noir historian Eddie Muller, All About Mankiewicz (a 103 minute two part documentary on the legendary director, originally broadcast on French television in 1983), archival Fox Movietone newsreels, the original theatrical trailer, and a collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Glenn Kenny. Highly recommended. Watch the trailer
THE OLD DARK HOUSE EUREKA EKA70292
In director James Whale’s strange and elusive 1932 film, a group of weary travellers are caught in a storm whilst journeying through a remote region of Wales. They are forced to take refuge in a sinister mansion inhabited by the bizarre Femm family – obstreperous religious zealot Rebbecca (sharply played by Eva Moore), her atheist brother Horace (a powerhouse performance from Ernest Thesiger), ancient father Roderick (a quaking John - actually Elspeth - Dudgeon), and the pathetic yet terrifying pyromaniac Saul (Brember Wills) - as well as their savage mute butler (played by the iconic Boris Karloff, who was also in Whale’s Frankenstein). The visitors are a bickering married couple played by Raymond Massey in an early role and the glamorous Gloria Stuart, and their cynical, war-damaged friend (the excellent Melvyn Douglas). They are joined later by a Northern industrialist (Charles Laughton, making his Hollywood debut) and his chorus girl companion Gladys (the delightful Lillian Bond). Trying to make the best of a bad situation, they settle in for the night, but the Femm family have a few skeletons in their closet, and one of them is on the loose... Based on a J B Priestley novel, The Old Dark House is one of the best and most entertaining horror films of the 1930s, beautifully directed and edited, frightening and funny (‘have a potato’). Dripping with atmosphere and packed with thrills, chills and gallows humour, it was considered lost for many years, but has now been released in a dual format edition as part of Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series. The stunning new 4K restoration comes with a generous array of extras, including a video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns, Daughter of Frankenstein (a conversation with Boris Karloff’s sparky daughter, Sara Karloff, three separate feature length audio commentaries (with critic & author Kim Newman and Stephen Jones, actress Gloria Stuart, and James Whale biographer James Curtis), Curtis Harrington Saves The Old Dark House (an archival interview with director Curtis Harrington about his efforts to save The Old Dark House at a time when it was considered lost), a trailer for the 2018 theatrical release of The Old Dark House, and a collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by critic Philip Kemp, as well as archival imagery and ephemera. ‘The greatest of all horror films. Nothing better in this vein has ever been done, before or since.’ - Classics of the Horror Film. Watch trailer
CURE EUREKA EKA7027
Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s mesmerising and thought-provoking psychological thriller was his breakthrough film, released to critical acclaim in both the East and the West in 1997. Cure tells the story of a hunt for a serial killer in a bleak and decaying Tokyo, where a series of murders have been committed by ordinary people who claim to have had no control over their horrifying actions. Following the only link - a mysterious stranger who had brief contact with each perpetrator and their victim - detective Kenichi Takabe (Kôji Yakusho) places his own sanity on the line as he tries to end the wave of inexplicable terror. Stylish, complex and original, Cure is an enigmatic masterpiece that is much more than a straight-forward serial killer story. This dual format release as part of The Masters of Cinema Series includes a 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD, with original Japanese stereo audio (uncompressed LPCM on the Blu-ray). Extras include optional English subtitles, a new video interview with critic & author Kim Newman, an archival interview with director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, the original theatrical trailer, and a collector’s booklet featuring an essay by Tom Mes. ‘There are startling images and moments in this picture that will haunt you for a long time to come... it’s not for the faint of heart. But be brave, because it’s worth it. Kurosawa is a major filmmaker’ - Martin Scorsese. Watch the trailer
EARLY HOU HSIAO-HSIEN: 1980-1983 EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70293
One of world cinema’s most dynamic and highly regarded auteurs, Hou Hsiao-hsien has influenced entire generations of filmmakers and was once dubbed ‘one of the three directors most crucial to the future of cinema’. The director, screenwriter, producer and actor Hou Hsiao-hsien is a leading figure in Taiwan’s New Wave cinema movement and won the Golden Lion at 1989’s Venice Film Festival for his masterpiece, A City of Sadness. He has subsequently become a truly international filmmaker with acclaimed films such as Flight of the Red Balloon and The Assassin. Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series as now released three of his earliest films on this two-disc set: Cute Girl, The Green, Green Grass of Home and The Boys from Fengkuei, all making their worldwide debut on Blu-ray. In Cute Girl (1980), otherwise known as Lovable You, a young bride-to-be (engagingly played by Fong Fei-fei) falls for a laid-back land surveyor whilst visiting her family in the countryside. Conceived as a commercial vehicle for popular Hong Kong singer Kenny Bee, this romantic comedy was Hou Hsiao-hsien’s debut feature. The Green, Green Grass of Home (1982) is notable for its inventive camerawork and charming portrayal of high-spirited children (Pin-chin Chou won a Best Child Star award at the 1982 Golden Horse Film Festival for his performance). A substitute teacher (again played by Kenny Bee) moves to a remote village, where he falls in love with another teacher at the local school. In The Boys from Fengkuei (1983), three young men leave their fishing village for the city to look for work, where they face some harsh realities about growing up. This stylish and poetic film confirmed Hou Hsiao-hsien’s reputation and showed the influence of French and Italian New Wave films such as Rocco and His Brothers and I Vitelloni. Beautifully photographed (Kun Hao Chen) and edited (Ching-Song Liao), The Boys from Fengkuei shows teenagers fighting and drinking and falling in love as they face the realities of urban life and come of age.’The film retains a real freshness and charm’ - Time Out. Extras include video essays on all three films by Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López.
BREATHLESS SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4085
Franco-Swiss Nouvelle Vague director Jean-Luc Godard challenged the conventions of Hollywood cinema with his audacious and influential 1959 debut feature film, the exhilarating and sexy Breathless (A Bout De Souffle). This stylish tour de force epitomised the iconoclasm of the era and stared the iconic Jean-Paul Belmondo as a heroically smoking small-time crook with a Bogart fixation, paired with fragile beauty Jean Seberg as a young American girl torn between a freewheeling life with him and continuing her studies at the Sorbonne. It’s always risky to remake a classic, but in 1983 Hollywood legend Richard Gere and French actress Valerie Kaprisky make a power couple in director Jim McBride’s intoxicating version of Breathless, with added nudity, swearing and Jerry Lee Lewis. Savagely attacked by critics at the time, this exhilarating film has since gained a legion of fans, including acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino. The action now takes place in America, where sexy. freewheeling small-time crook Jesse Lujack (Gere, clearly enjoying himself) becomes a fugitive after killing a cop in Las Vegas. Fleeing to Mexico he meets again a beautiful French student Monica (a steamy performance by Kaprisky) and seduces her into coming along for the ride - ‘I feel free with you’. But it isn’t long before his crimes catch up with the pair and Monica must choose her fate. This postmodern remake of À bout de souffle was years ahead of its time, so this new Blu-ray release from Second Sight gives us an opportunity to reassess a film that has been unfairly neglected. Brand new special features with this high-def edition include an interview with Valerie Kaprisky. ‘A wanton, playful film.’ - Time Out.
SHIRLEY: VISIONS OF REALITY EUREKA MONTAGE MON7027
Artist Edward Hopper’s evocative paintings of urban and rural scenes, strikingly lit and coloured, reflected his personal vision of contemporary America from the 1930s to the 1950s. Individuals are isolated in claustrophobic cityscapes and his work offers a bleak though attractive commentary on Amercan life. Always open to interpretation, his often mysterious work has had a huge influence on artists such as Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko as well as popular culture, includ filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) and Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven). Hopper’s work invites speculation and thirteen of his memorable oil paintings have been brought to life in this experimental tour-de-force directed by Austrian filmmaker, architect and artist Gustav Deutsch. Shirley: Visions of Reality connects the paintings through the fictitious story of a red-haired New York actress through the years 1931-63. Shirley’s reflective and contemplative inner monologues cover her involvement in three decades of political, social and cultural upheaval that changed a country and its people forever. Pearl Harbour and WWII, the atomic bomb and the ‘conquest of space’, McCarthyism and the Cold War, the assassination of JFK and the start of the Vietnam War, Billie Holiday and the Southern blues, Elvis Presley and rock n’ roll, and finally Martin Luther King and the March on Washington. Presented as a series of nearly static tableaux’s, this dream-like recreation perfectly reflects the spirit of this fascinating artist who brilliantly portrayed the both loneliness and existential lure of American life. Stephanie Cumming is mesmerising, intimate and erotic as Shirley, and this stylish film won for Best Cinematography (Jerzy Palacz), Best Production Design and Best Costume Design at the 2014 Austrian Film Awards. ‘An impressive cinematic recreation of images and moods.’ - Hollywood Reporter. This is a dual-format release by Montage Pictures, a new world cinema sub-label from Eureka Entertainment which will focus on ground-breaking and thought-provoking world cinema from new and upcoming directors.
THE SAGA OF ANATAHAN EUREKA EKA70265
Set during the dying stages of World War II, The Saga of Anatahan tells the story of twelve Japanese seaman stranded on a forgotten island for seven years. Accompanied only by a beautiful young Japanese woman, Keiko (a knowing performance by newcomer Akemi Negishi), all rationality and discipline are soon overcome by the struggle for power and control for the affections of Queen Bee Keiko. Josef von Sternberg, an innovative director with an unmatched eye for detail, brings to memorable life this unique tale of human trauma, survival and redemption. Sternberg photographed, wrote the screenplay and also narrates the film, positioning himself as the story’s unconscious viewpoint amidst his other trademark qualities: lush mise-en-scene, theatrical lighting and bleak yet poignant storytelling. Josef von Sternberg’s haunting tale of survival, inspired by true events, is an intense exploration of humanity told with documentary reality and often a brutal poetry. The Saga of Anatahan is released by Eureka on Blu-Ray for the first time in the UK as part of this Dual Format (DVD and Blu-Ray) edition. The 1080p presentation from a new 2K restoration of the uncensored 1958 version of the film comes with an uncompressed PCM soundtrack and extras that include optional English subtitles; the complete 1953 version of the film; an interview with Asian film expert Tony Rayns; a visual essay by critic Tag Gallagher; an interview with Nicolas von Sternberg; U.S. Navy footage of the actual survivors of Anatahan, immediately after their surrender; unused footage originally filmed specially for the 1958 version of the film; the original theatrical trailer; plus a booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp, alongside rare archival imagery. ‘The film works subversively by implicating its audience in the patterns of desire and violence, discipline and surrender. It’s brilliant. When was the last time you felt stark naked after a movie?’ – Time Out.
TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY BBC 2ENTERTAIN
Nina (Juliet Stevenson) is professional translator, grieving after the death of her boyfriend, Jamie, a cellist. She is on the verge of despair when Jamie (superbly played by the great Alan Rickman) reappears as a ‘ghost’ and the couple are reconciled. Nina is initially ecstatic but Jamie’s behaviour – turning up the central heating to stifling levels, moving furniture around and inviting his ‘ghost friends’ in to watch videos – starts to infuriate her, and their relationship deteriorates. She meets psychologist Mark (Michael Maloney, to whom she is attracted, but is unwilling to become involved with him because of Jamie’s continued presence. Anthony Minghella is at his meticulous best directing his first full-length feature film (he would go on to make other hits such as The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley) and elicits sensitive performances from Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman, whose appearance is now all the more poignant following the actor’s own untimely death. The cast also includes the excellent Bill Paterson and this intelligent, moving and often funny film perfectly captures suburban London life in the early 1990s. Truly Madly Deeply has now been rereleased on DVD and released on Blu-ray for the first time ever, with extras that include an interview and introduction with writer and director Anthony Minghella as well as the original film trailer and an accompanying audio commentary. ‘Be careful what you wish for... it just might come true’.
ONCE WERE WARRIORS SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4081
New Zealand has a great image as a country. A little old-fashioned perhaps but tolerant, prosperous and peaceful, with beautiful landscapes, good weather and excellent sports teams. But this powerful film shows another aspect of New Zealand life of which most outsiders will be unaware. Maori city suburbs can be dangerous, with poverty, unemployment, misogyny, violence and despair, though also love, passion, fun and an underlying pride. Lee Tamahori’s highly acclaimed film is a chilling, powerful and unflinching exploration of New Zealand’s urban Maori community. Maori couple Jake (Temiera Morrison) and Beth (an unforgettable performance by Rena Owen) have been married for 18 years, but although charming, Jake has a brutal temper and a rampant drink problem. Living in the Auckland slums with their children, unemployed Jake spends most of his time in the pub, drinking and getting into fights to prove his masculinity, and when he returns home Beth and the children are on the receiving end of his extreme violence. With the ongoing abuse and instability affecting their children differently, Beth struggles to keep her family together and soon devastating events unfold that change all their lives forever, culminating in a truly shocking tragedy. Look out especially for Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell as the gentle daughter Grace. This film helped Lee Tamahori become a big-name Hollywood director, with blockbusters including Die Another Day and The Devil’s Double among his successes, and put New Zealand film into the global spotlight, earning rave reviews worldwide. Now, 20 years after it was first released, When Were Warriors has been released in stunning high definition on this Blu-ray disc from Second Sight. Special features include Once Were Warriors – Where Are They Now (an intriguing documentary looking back at the film’s production and its impact as well as re-uniting the cast) and a new interview with Lee Tamahori. ‘A gritty human drama evoking the residual vibrancy of a threatened culture.’ - Time Out.
EARTH - ONE AMAZING DAY BBCBD0426
This feature-length documentary looks at the events that occur in the natural world on one day on planet Earth. Modern technology has made wildlife filming astonishingly accomplished and intimately personal, providing insights into nature that would have been impossible a few years ago. The film begins with sunrise and ends with the sunset, following a host of quirky characters as they go about their day, often meeting with threats to their very existence. We meet a baby zebra having difficulty crossing a river, bears having a good scratch, solitary servals on the hunt, a charming sloth searching for love, marine iguanas attempting to escape relentless packs of racer snakes, giraffes fighting each other, a family of sperm whales who like to snooze vertically, and a penguin who faces a terrifying journey every day just to feed his family. The film tracks the sun from the highest mountains to the remotest islands, from exotic jungles to urban sprawls. Extras with this family-friendly release include behind-the-scenes footage and the conventional narration is by Robert Redford, with an alternative Mandarin language version by Jackie Chan. ‘A cinematic triumph.’ - Associated Press.
MELVILLE - THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION STUDIOCANAL OPTBD4091
Often regarded as the godfather of the Nouvelle Vague, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville is primarily remembered for his intense, spare 1960s gangster films, though his varied output included wartime dramas, psychosexual character studies and a collaboration with Jean Cocteau. Jean-Pierre Grumbach (he changed his name to Melville to honour the author of Moby Dick), though a lover of classical studio directors such as William Wyler and John Huston, worked mostly independently, even building his own studio. It was this fierce do-it-yourself attitude, and such startling, uncompromising films as Les Enfants Terribles and Bob le Flambeur, that appealed to the filmmakers of the French New Wave (especially Godard, who gave him a cameo in Breathless). During the New Wave, however, Melville went his own way, making highly idiosyncratic crime films - classically mounted if daringly existential - that were beholden to no trend, including Le Doulos, Le Deuxième Soufflé, and Le Samouraï. His most personal movie was L’Armée des Ombres, which, though misunderstood when initially released in 1969, is now widely considered a masterpiece. Melville died of a heart attack in 1973 at the age of fifty-five. This splendid 7-disc Blu-ray boxset from Studiocanal features six key films from this celebrated and original filmmaker in celebration of his centenary this year. As well as several 4k restorations there are many exclusive new extras. Some of the titles will also be available individually on a later date. Suffused with wry humour, Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (Bob The Gambler, 1956), starring Roger Duchesne, melds the toughness of American gangster films with Gallic sophistication to lay the road map for the French New Wave. The new 4K Restoration comes with a retrospective documentary by film critic Dominique Maillet. Jean-Paul Belmondo delivers a subtly sensual performance as the title character in Léon Morin, Priest (1961). In a French town during the Occupation, Barny (Emmanuelle Riva) is a wayward, sexually frustrated widow living with her young daughter. One day she enters a church and confesses to Léon Morin, a handsome, smart and altruistic priest who makes it his mission to steer her onto the right path. Extras include an hour long master class with Philippe Labro (friend and apprentice of Melville) and Rémy Grumbach (Melville’s nephew). The backstabbing criminals in the shadowy underworld of Le Doulos (The Finger Man, 1963) have only one guiding principle: ‘Lie or die’. Having recently been released from prison, Maurice (Serge Reggiani) prepares for a burglary and his friend Silien (Jean-Paul Belmondo) brings him the necessary equipment. What Maurice doesn’t know is that Silien is a police informant. Shot and edited with Melville’s trademark cool and featuring masterfully stylized dialogue and performances, Le Doulos is one of Melville’s most gripping crime dramas. Extras include an interview with first assistant director Volker Schlondorff. L’armée des ombres (Army of Shadows, 1969), about the French Resistance, was unreleased in the United States for thirty-seven years, until its triumphant theatrical debut in 2006. Atmospheric and gripping, it features Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the incomparable Simone Signoret as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their conception of honour in their battle against Hitler’s regime. Extras include a an extensive documentary, ‘Army of Shadows: the hidden side of the story’. In Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle, 1970), English criminal Corey (Alain Delon) gets released from prison. Crossing paths with a notorious prison escapee (Gian Maria Volonté) and an alcoholic ex-cop (Yves Montand), he agrees to undertake an intricate heist but a relentless inspector (Bourvil) and the gang’s own pasts contrive to seal their fates. Le Cercle Rouge combines honourable antiheroes, coolly atmospheric cinematography and breathtaking set pieces to create a masterpiece of crime cinema. Blu-ray extras include Code Name Melville; interviews with first assistant director Bernard Stora and novelist José Giovani; Présentation by Ginette Vincendeau. Un Flic (Dirty Money, 1972) was Melville’s final feature film. Parisian police chief Edouard Coleman’s (Alain Delon) life investigating violent crimes has left him feeling despondent. After beginning an affair with the beautiful but cold Cathy (Catherine Deneuve), he befriends her boyfriend (Richard Crenna), a local nightclub owner. Unbeknownst to Edouard, he is also a ruthless bank robber and drug smuggler who is planning one final heist. Edouard is forced to pursue Simon after learning his true identity. The film comes with a documentary featuring interviews with Un Flic’s script supervisor Florence Moncorgé-Gabin and first assistant director Jean-François Delon. A bonus DVD a documentary, ‘In the mood for Melville’, and a Melville short, ‘24 Heures de la vie d’un clown’.
THE ORIGINAL AND BEST AGATHA CHRISTIE FILM CLASSICS STUDIOCANAL
Four newly restored, star-studded classic film adaptations of the work of the world’s all-time best-selling author, Agatha Christie, have now been released in new digital restorations (taken from 4k transfers) on DVD and Blu-ray as part of Studio Canal’s Vintage Classics collection. From Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud to Elizabeth Taylor and Lauren Bacall, the list of acting luminaries to have graced these films is testament to the high quality of these archetypal British mysteries that continue to intrigue and engage audiences today. Film adaptations of stories about her famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot began in 1974 with MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (OPTBD4069), an elegant, all star production that introduced Albert Finney in a brilliant performance as the first screen screen version of the fastidious Hercule Poirot. No-good retired American businessman Ratchett (Richard Widmark) is found dead with twelve dagger wounds, but which of the passengers is the guilty party? The distinguished cast of this classic whodunnit includes Lauren Bacall, Sir John Gielgud, Sean Connery, Wendy Hiller (channelling Lady Bracknell), Rachel Roberts, Anthony Perkins, the unfeasibly beautiful Jaqueline Bissett and Vanessa Redgrave, and an intense, Oscar-winning performance by Ingrid Bergman. The film was smoothly directed by Sidney Lumet and superbly photographed by Geoffrey Unsworth. DEATH ON THE NILE (OPTBD4070) saw Peter Ustinov step into Poirot’s impeccable patent leather shoes. A visually sumptuous and quintessentially British production, the story takes place board a luxury Nile steamer on which an assassin takes the life of an heiress. The film also stars Bette Davis, Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury and David Niven, and won an Academy Award for Anthony Powell’s costume design. Four years later, Ustinov reprised the role alongside some of Britain’s best-loved actresses - Jane Birkin, Dame Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg. Agatha Christie’s EVIL UNDER THE SUN (OPTBD4071) tells the story of one man’s efforts to fathom a mysterious death at a resort hotel on an island in the Mediterranean. Beautiful socialite Arlena Marshall (Diana Rigg) is found strangled and, as usual, there is no shortage of suspects for Poirot to eliminate from his enquiries. THE MIRROR CRACK’D (OPTBD4072) features another favourite Christie super sleuth, Miss Marple, who sets about solving a mysterious death in the archetypal English village of St. Mary Mead. Directed by Guy Hamilton and starring the excellent Angela Lansbury in the role of the iconic Miss Marple, the film’s amazing cast also includes Geraldine Chaplin, Tony Curtis’ Edward Fox, Rock Hudson, Kim Novak and Elizabeth Taylor. Each film comes with a host of special features, including new interviews, behind the scenes photo galleries and documentaries. A treat for all Agatha Christie fans.
BUÑUEL - THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION STUDIOCANAL OPTBD3015
Spanish born filmmaker Luis Buñuel was the twentieth century’s leading figure in Surrealism, which suffused both his life and his work. An unregenerate atheist and communist sympathizer, he was preoccupied with themes of gratuitous cruelty, eroticism and religious mania, winning early fame with avant-garde experiments (such as Un Chien Andalou and L’Age d’Or) in France. He then pursued an obscure career in Mexican commercial cinema before earning international acclaim with his late films made in Spain and France. To accompany its reissue Belle de Jour, and to celebrate work of a great director loved by critics and cineastes alike, Studiocanal has released this splendid boxset (DVD or Blu-ray) of seven of Buñuel ‘s most significant films. Complete with new extras for each film, the boxset will include Belle de Jour, Tristana, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Phantom of Liberty, The Milky Way and That Obscure Object of Desire. Diary of a Chambermaid stars the wonderful Jeanne Moreau as Céléstine, a beautiful Parisian chambermaid who, upon arrival at her new job at an estate in rural 1930s France, ingrains herself in a scandal with her philandering employer (Michel Piccoli). It’s a raw-edged tangle of fetishism and murder, and a scathing look at the burgeoning French fascism of the era. Extras include the documentary An Angel in the Marshes. The Milky Way (La Voie Lactee, 1969) was the first of what Buñuel later declared a trilogy, along with The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and The Phantom of Liberty (1974), about ‘the search for truth. The Milky Way follows the journey of two vagabond travellers on a pilgrimage, less for religious reasons than as a means of escape. Along the way, the pair witness a series of bizarre incidents and encounter both Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Extras include a new critical analysis by professor Peter W. Evans. Tristana (Catherine Deneuve) is an orphan adopted by nobleman don Lope Garrido (Fernando Rey). He falls in love with her and treats her as wife as well as daughter from the age of 19. But, by age 21 Tristana starts finding her voice and demands to study music, art and other subjects with which she wishes to become independent. She meets a young artist (Franco Nero), falls in love, and eventually leaves to live with him, until misfortune befalls her and she has to return to don Lope in changed circumstances. Extras include an interview with Franco Nero. Phantom of Liberty Le Fantôme de la liberté) is a surrealist comedy featuring an elegant soiree with guests seated at toilet bowls, poker-playing monks using religious medals as chips, and police officers looking for a missing girl who is right under their noses. This perverse, playfully absurd comedy stars Adriana Asti, Julien Bertheau and Jean-Claude Brialy in a series of increasingly outlandish and far-fetched incidents intended to challenge the viewer’s pre-conceived notions about the stability of social mores and reality. Extras include Buñuel, la transgression des rêves, a new documentary by Pierre-Henri Gibert.
BELLE DE JOUR STUDIOCANAL OPTBD405
One of Luis Buñuel’s most accessible, successful and popular films in this later period was the groundbreaking Belle de Jour, made in 1967 and winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival that year. Starring the luminous Catherine Deneuve as Séverine, with Jean Sorel and Michel Piccoli, it was based on a 1928 novel by Joseph Kessel and tells the story of an attractive, respectable young wife who spends her afternoons working as a high-class prostitute while her husband is at work. Studiocanal’s release of a sparkling, restored 4k version of Luis Buñuel’s elegant exploration of female desire has now been released on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this subversive masterpiece. Extras include interviews with Jean-Claude Carriere and Dr Sylvain Mimoun (Story of Perversion or Emancipation?), commentary by Professor Peter W. Evans, a new Masterclass with Diego Bunuel and Jean-Claude Carriere, and 6 exclusive Art cards.
MINDHORN STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2936
Washed-up actor Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) peaked briefly with his hit 1980s detective show ‘Mindhorn’, playing the titular Isle of Man sleuth with a robotic eye that allowed him to literally ‘see the truth’. Unfortunately, he became pompous and arrogant with success, resulting in a disatous appearance on the Wogan chat-show in which he insulted both the Isle of Man and most of his fellow cast members. He decides to leave to try and to make it big in Hollywood, but 25 years later and he is balding and living in a flat in North London, having recently been replaced for an orthopaedic sock advert by John Nettles. Richard is offered an unexpected opportunity to reignite his career though when a deranged Manx criminal demands Mindhorn as his nemesis. Thorncroft returns to the scene of his greatest triumphs for one last chance to ressurrect his glory days and professional credibility, even reviving his romance with former co-star/paramour Patricia Deville (the lovely Essie Davis), who continues to find success as a news reporter and is now happily married to former stunt double Clive Parnevik (a wickedly sly performance by Simon Farnaby). Directed by Sean Foley and co-written by Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby, this is contemporary British comedy at its best. Richard Thorncroft makes the ridiculous Thorncroft sympathetic and endearing and the talented cast also includes Russell Tovey, Andrea Riseborough, Jessica Barden, the great Harriet Walter and Steve Coogan (of Alan Partridge fame) as untrustworthy co-star Peter Easterman. Look out too for Simon Callow and Kenneth Brannagh in cameos as themselves. Fast moving, lighthearted and enjoyably daft, Mindhorn is a cult in the making - now available from Studiocanal on DVD, Blu-ray and to download. The Benedict Cumberbatch Backlash has begun. Special features include optional commentary by Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby, a Mindhorn featurette with behind the action scenes featuring the cast and crew, The Mind of Mindhorn, and interviw with Richard Thorncroft, a stunt masterclass by Clive Parnevik and a hilarious music video: ‘You Can’t Handcuff The Wind’ by Richard Thorncroft (Acting is my wife, but music is my hot mistress), ‘Wildly silly and raucous… Mindhorn is a creation to savour.’ - The Guardian.
CASQUE D’OR STUDIOCANAL OPTBD4044
A director of flair, passion, artistry and invention, Jacques Becker made only thirteen films in a relatively short period but among them are some of the acknowledged masterpieces of French cinema in the post-war years. Born in Paris in 1906, he began his career as assistant to his mentor the great Jean Renoir during the 1930s. After surviving a year in a German POW camp, he started to direct his own films during the Occupation. Renoir’s fondness for realism and an unwavering sense of human decency greatly imbued Becker’s work. His films were eclectic and he tackled many different genres, putting his own unique spin on comedy, film noir and social drama. Following on from the Jacques Becker season at the BFI in March, Studiocanal celebrates one of the great unsung heroes of French cinema with the Blu-ray releases of four beautufully restored classic titles, including Casque D’Or. This Renoir-like masterpiece (also known as ‘Golden Marie’) is dazzling film set in Paris at the turn of the 19th Century. It stars the radiantly beautiful Simone Signoret in her luminous prime as a gangster’s moll and tells the story of her passionate affair with carpenter and reformed criminal Georges Manda (an intense performance by Serge Reggiani). When devious mob boss, Felix Leca (Claude Dauphin), takes an active interest in their affair, an underworld rivalry ensues that leads to a tragic climax. Casque D’Or is a poetic tale of doomed romance based on a true-life scandal. Evoking the Belle Epoque period perfectly and with an unforgettable femme fatale performance from Signoret (this was one of her favourite films) as well as a devastatingly powerful ending, Casque D’Or has been voted among the top ten best French films of all time. Extras include interviews with Ginette Vincendau, Professor in Film Studies at King’s College London; ‘Casque d’Or: Au Coeur des sentiments’ featurette; Simone Signoret on Le Dernier Des Cinq (1973). Becker’s offbeat 1950 comedy about a failing marriage EDWARD AND CAROLINE (OPTBD4046), stars Daniel Gélin as Edward, a poor pianist married to Caroline (Anne Vernon), a beautiful girl from a middle-class family. Caroline’s uncle Claude (Jean Galland), a snob who looks down on Edward like the rest of his family, invites the couple to a party at which he is expected to play for his supper in front of Claude’s important friends. Add the fact that Claude’s son Alain (Jacques Francois) is in love with Caroline and this evening is destined for disaster. Extras include Edouard Et Caroline on Au Cinema Ce Soir and Jacques Becker on Le Jazz Et La Jeunesse. TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (OPTBD4043) is a haunting, witty film about honour and ageing, starring Jean Gabin as Max and René Dary as Riton, two gangsters who manage to pull off their final heist - a spectacular gold bullion robbery at Orly airport. All is well until Max’s former girlfriend Josy (Jeanne Moreau) tips off a rival gangster, Angelo (Lino Ventura). Helping to birth the French policier, Touchez Pas au Grisbi exerted a huge influence on subsequent directors such as Jean-Pierre Melville, not least in its spectacularly staged robbery and conniving female protagonist. Extras include interviews with Ginette Vincendau, Jean Becker and Jeanne Moreau on Gros Plan. Becker’s masterful parting gift to cinema in 1960 was LE TROU (OPTBD4045), the gripping tale of a prison escape, based on the novel by former convict Jose Giovanni. Le Trou tells the true story of a group of inmates escaping from La Santé prison in Paris and features several non-actors including Jean Gerady, who actually took part in a similar escape attempt in real life. Becker made this film whilst he was dying - the inmates’ quiet determinism perhaps reflecting the filmmaker’s stoicism in finishing the film. Minimal use of dialogue and music together with stunning black and white photography make this taut, lean drama an intensely emotional filmic experience. Extras include L’Envers du décors, a behind-the-scenes featurette. Creator of unmatchable, intense atmospheres, Becker practiced impressionism and realism equally, paying as much attention to the historical periods of his tales as he did to the psychology of his characters. Full appreciation of his work came only after his death, when his technical and artistic mastery earned him the ‘auteur’ accolade as he bridged the gap between mainstream French cinema and the Nouvelle Vague. Jacques Becker’s films are currently enjoying an overdue renaissance with screenings at the Bologna and San Sebastian Film Festivals followed by a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française.
LOLA STUDIOCANAL OPD4055R0
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film is set in a small, unnamed West German town in 1957, when a booming economy is generating a new sense of optimism. Lola (Barbara Sukowa), a young high-class prostitute with a zest for life and star of the show at the town bordello, ‘Villa Fink’. Her favourite client is the influential developer Schuckert (Mario Adorf), who enjoys spending time at Villa Fink with city officials important to his construction business. When von Bohm (Armin Mueller-Stahl), an upright, energetic building commissioner, arrives in the town, he falls in love with Lola without being aware of her profession. Although shocked when he learns of her true identity, he nevertheless marries her - so Lola gains a husband and Schuckert is awarded a new contract. Nneither Lola, von Bohm or Schuckert are really concerned with what has happened in the past or the morality of their decisions - the main thing is that they get what they want. First released in 1981, Lola is part of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s BRD Trilogy alongside 1979’s The Marriage of Maria Braun and Veronika Voss released in 1982. The film is loosely based on Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel and its source novel, ‘Professor Unrat’ by Heinrich Mann. The acronym ‘BRD’ stands for Bundesrepublik Deutschland, the official name of West Germany and of the united contemporary Germany, and represents the director’s attempt to create an overall picture of West Germany at the time. This newly restored 4K version of Fassbinder’s Lola will be released on DVD, BD and EST on July 3. Extras include interviews with Barbara Sukowa and editor Juliane Lorenz. Rainer Werner Fassbinder was the notorious ‘enfant terrible’ of the German New Wave, a radical and innovative writer-director before his untimely death at 37. Arguably, post-war Germany’s greatest filmmaker, he was as prolific as he was controversial (his first 10 features were made in less than two years), and is enjoying an overdue revival and reappraisal thanks to a recent retrospective from the BFI.
DER MÜDE TOD EUREKA EKA70262
Rich in Expressionist imagery and featuring innovative special effects, Der müde Tod has often been overlooked amongst Fritz Lang’s early work, though it has been hugely influential, with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel. Before directing genre defining masterpieces such as Metropolis and M, Fritz Lang was already defying cinematic conventions with Der müde Tod (literally, The Weary Death, and also known as Destiny) in 1921. A young woman (Lil Dagover, who earlier appeared in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) confronts the self-loathing personification of Death (Bernhard Goetzke), in an effort to save the life of her fiancé (Walter Janssen). Death weaves three romantic tragedies and offers to unite the girl with her lover, if she can prevent the death of the lovers in at least one of the episodes. Thus begin three exotic scenarios of ill-fated love, in which the woman must somehow reverse the course of destiny: Persia, Quattrocento Venice, and a fancifully rendered ancient toytown China. Fritz Lang’s ambitious, dizzying blend of German Romanticism, Orientalism, and Expressionism has now been released in this superb 2K restoration in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series. It’s a wonderfully inventive, fantastical anthology of folk tale, nightmare, allegory and dream in which lovers are parted and reunited - ‘somewhere, someday’. This definitive Dual-Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition comes with the original German intertitles as well as optional English subtitles; a persuasive score by Cornelius Schwehr, performed by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Frank Strobel; an erudite feature length audio commentary by film critic Tim Lucas; an excellent video essay by David Cairns discussing aspects of Der müde Tod and Lang’s remarkable career; and a 44-page booklet featuring an essay by Philip Kemp and a 1921 review of the film. ‘When I saw Destiny, I suddenly knew that I wanted to make movies. Something about this film spoke to something deep in me; it clarified my life and my vision of the world.’ - Luis Buñuel. watch trailer
BOCCACCIO ’70 CULTFILMS CULT005
This exuberant 1962 film was directed by Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Mario Monicelli and Vittorio De Sica, from an idea by Cesare Zavattini. The anthology of four episodes, each by one of the directors, are about different aspects of morality and love in modern times, in the style of Giovanni Boccaccio, revered Italian author of The Decameron. In the inimitable Fellini’s first colour work, Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio (The Temptation of Dr Antonio), a respectable model citizen is concerned that there is too much immorality in society. He is outraged when a provocative billboard of Anita Ekberg, ‘with all her motherly attributes open to the sun’, is put up in a park near his home. Little does he know how that his obsession with this huge image advertising ‘Drink more milk’ will change his life as it begins to haunt him with hallucinations in which the stunning Ekberg appears as a giant temptress. Antonio imagines himself as St George, spearing the dragon of immorality only to be pursued and captured by the voluptuous Swedish star in a deserted Rome. Visconti’s Il lavoro (The Job) tells the story of an aristocratic couple whose marriage is threatened when the spoilt, feckless husband is caught by the press visiting call-girls. Beautiful Romy Schneider shows her gift for sophisticated comedy as the wife coming to terms with changed circumstances and planning a new future. She also performs what Time Magazine described as ‘surely one of the most provocative stripteases to be recorded on film’. In Vittorio de Sica’s La riffa (The Raffle), a timid lottery winner is entitled to one night with the stunning Zoe (Sophia Loren - very funny and very Italian). However, fiercely independent Zoe has other plans. Monicelli’s Renzo e Luciana (Renzo and Luciana) has a young couple trying to hide their marriage, and the wife’s supposed pregnancy, from the draconian book-keeper of their employer. The boss has banned female employees from getting married and having children but does not mind a few cheap thrills at their expense himself. Marisa Solinas is charming as sweet young Luciana. Boccaccio ‘70 has now been released on Blu-ray for the first time in both English and original Italian. with improved subtitles and distinctive collector’s packaging by CultFilms. Includes an exclusive documentary celebrating Sophia Loren - Sophia: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. ‘It has glamour, sophistication, colour, wit and sensuality.’ - New York Times. Sophia Loren also stars on the excellent MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE (CULT FILMS CULT306), again directed by the great neorealist Vittorio De Sica. Marcello Mastroianni plays Domenico, a businessman who is used to being in control until he meets former prostitute Filumena (Loren). Sparks fly and she becomes both his mistress and the manager of his pastry shop. All is well until Domenico begins courting another, younger woman, and flaunts his new relationship in front of her. Mastroianni is excellent as the selfish Don Domenico and Sphia Loren gives one of her most affecting and profound performances as the resourceful Filumena. Adapted from a stage play by Eduardo de Filippo, this Italian melodrama was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress at the 1964 Oscars, and won the Golden Globe the same year for Best Foreign Film. This Blu-ray release also features Vittorio D, a tribute to the multi award winning maestro filmmaker De Sica, with contributions from Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. It also includes the documentary Sophia, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, celebrating Sophia Loren’s career and especially her relationship with de Sica. Marriage Italian Style is the coming together of De Sica’s neorealism and cinematographic elegance with Italy’s iconic film superstars. ‘Loren and Mastroianni are superb.’ - The New Yorker.
HARMONIUM EUREKA EKA70257
From the director of Au Revoir L’Ete and Hospitalité, Kôji Fukada’s Harmonium is an off-kilter take on that most venerable of Japanese genres - the family drama, which screened to great acclaim at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Un Certain Regard Jury prize. In this slow-burn Japanese thriller the self-contained Toshio (Kanji Furitachi) invites an old acquaintance, Yasaka (recently released after being imprisoned for killing a man) to come and live with him and his family. Toshio lives above the small workshop that he owns with his charming wife, Akie (sensitively played by Mariko Tsutsui), and their young daughter, Hotaru. It is not clear why Toshio offers Yasaka a job; it doesn’t seem to be out of friendship or goodwill. Akie and Hotaru are wary of the new lodger, but with his persistent charm and goodwill, Yasaka befriends Akié until one day the family’s fragile domestic bliss is shattered. Director Kôji Fukada is a master of incremental development, drawing the audience into the unfolding outcome. ‘Expertly calibrated to reflect emotional realities … the film’s insights into the isolation evident in the relationships most take for granted – marriages, parent-child connections and long-term friendships - don’t merely hit their targets; they smash them with a sledgehammer.’ - Screen Daily. Harmonium received its UK premiere at the first London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF) and has now been released in this dual format edition (DVD and Blu-ray) in Eureka’s Award-winning Masters of Cinema Series. Extras include lengthy interviews with Kôji Fukada and Kanji Furitachi. Watch the theatrical trailer here
MELODY STUDIOCANAL OPTD4015R0
BAFTA Award-winning director Alan Parker’s debut screenplay - and his first film collaboration with producer David Puttnam - was this wonderfully nostalgic, funny and touching story of childhood. Eleven-year-olds Daniel Latimer and Melody Perkins, despite their age and the objections of their families and Daniel’s best friend Ornshaw, are determined to get married. Mark Lester plays the quiet, well-behaved Daniel and Jack Wild is cheeky troublemaker Ornshaw, with Tracy Hyde making her assured film debut as the charming Melody. The boys’ friendship is jeopardized as Ornshaw grows jealous when his friend seems more interested in a hanging out with a girl. Initially embarrassed by the attention, Melody comes to return Daniel’s feelings, and the couple announce to their parents, teachers and friends that they intend to marry. The adults – incredulous parents and moronic teachers - attempt to dissuade them, but Daniel and Melody’s determination leads Ornshaw to have a change of heart. Alan Parker sets his fledgling Romeo and Juliet romance against the backdrop of a 1970s London comprehensive school (drawing on his own experience) and tells this innocent story of growing-up, first-love and youthful rebellion entirely from the children’s point of view in a now lost world of horse troughs, ragmen and corporal punishment. Directed by Warris Hussein and evocatively photographed by Peter Suschitzky, the film’s soundtrack features songs by the Bee Gees and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (Teach Your Children). Funny, serious and charmingly acted by the three leads, Melody (aka S.W.A.L.K) has been seen all over the world since its original release in 1971, and this cult favourite is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and EST as part of Studiocanal’s Vintage Classics. Extras include interviews with David Puttnam, Alan Parker, Waris Hussein and Mark Lester, as well as a stills gallery. ‘A forgotten, inspiring gem.’ - Wes Anderson.
HARD TIMES EUREKA EKA70242
The American action auteur Walter Hill made his excellent directorial debut with this pulp triumph set in 1933 New Orleans, featuring fine performances by Charles Bronson and James Coburn. Bronson plays Chaney, a laconic drifter suddenly caught up in the fight game during the Great Depression. A down-on-his-luck loner who speaks soft and hits hard, he hops a freight train to New Orleans where, on the seedier side of town, he tries to make some quick money the only way he knows how - with his fists. He approaches a roguish hustler named Speed (James Coburn) and convinces him that he can win big money for them both. Bronson and Coburn are both terrific and there is memorable performance too by Strother Martin as Chaney’s dope-addicted minder, Poe, who claims connection with the great writer but channels Tennessee Williams. Gritty, vivid and engrossing, this tightly scripted 1970s gem explores the seedy world of bare-fisted pick-up fights and features evocative Big Easy atmosphere superbly photographed by Philip Lathrop. It has now been released in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series, available on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK and presented from a new 4K restoration in a Dual-Format edition. Extras include interviews with producer Lawrence Gordon and composer Barry DeVorzon, an NFT audio interview with the astute Walter Hill (‘films should be 90-100 minutes long’), the original theatrical trailer, and a booklet featuring new and archival writing and imagery, including Pauline Kael’s 1975 New Yorker review of the film. Watch trailer
L’INNOCENTE CULT FILMS CULT303
Luchino Visconti is one of World Cinema’s greatest directors. He created Italian ‘Neo-Realism’ with Obsession - his adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice - and made such other classics as Rocco and His Brothers, Death in Venice and The Leopard, a stunningly lavish winner at the 1963 Cannes Festival. In 1976 he directed his last film, the brooding L’Innocente (aka The Innocent), based on a novella by Gabrielle d’Annunzio. This tale of aristocratic chauvinism, psychological torment and sexual double standards in turn of the century Italy stars Giancarlo Giannini as a self-assured, psychotic husband whose lust cannot be satisfied. He leaves his sensitive wife (exquisitely beautiful Laura Antonelli) for a cunning, possessive mistress (sharply played by American Jennifer O’Neill) but his morbid need for domination makes him want his wife back when she becomes pregnant by another man. This overlooked masterpiece carries on where The Leopard left off as we follow the disintegration of the aristocracy into moral decadence and sexual taboos. Giannini gives an intense performance as the tormented husband, stultifyingly rich and morally bankrupt, who commits a heinous act leading to a shocking clima. The final haunting shot is one ot the most beautiful and haunting in cinema. Presented here from remastered HD materials, this Blu-ray release for the first time does justice to the film’s acclaimed cinematography (Pasqualino De Santis) rich sets and intriguing story. Extras include a revealing documentary, The Innocent at work featuring conversations with Renata Franceschi & Giorgio Treves, who both worked closely with Luchino Visconti during the making of ‘The Innocent’ and were close friends of the director.
UMBERTO D CULT FILMS CULT304
Vittorio De Sica’s 1952 Italian neorealist film tells the story of Umberto Domenico Ferrari, an impoverished retired civil servant in postwar Rome who is desperately trying to keep his rented room. His landlady (a formidable performance by Lina Gennari) is evicting him, and his only true friends, the teenage housemaid (charming Maria-Pia Casilio) and his beloved dog Flike are of no help. Faced with eviction when he can’t keep up with his rent, the old man struggles to make ends meet and maintain his dignity, but his growing despair leads him to contemplate suicide. Written by De Sica’s great long-standing collaborator Cesare Zavattini (who features in the in-depth documentary extra on this release), Umberto D’s depiction of poverty, old age and loneliness, far from being a recipe for bleakness, is bursting with life and utimately hope. Said to be the director’s favourite of all his films, it has been hailed by Martin Scorsese as ‘De Sica’s greatest achievement and many other critics think it surpasses even even the classic Bicycle Thieves. Despite international acclaim with Cannes and Oscar nominations, it was castigated by the Italian government for airing the country’s ‘dirty laundry’ in public. Today, though, Umberto D is universally considered not only as the apex of Italian Neorealism but as one of cinema’s masterpieces with a profound influence on generations of film-makers. This Blu-ray release presents the life-affirming film in a newly restored version with extras that include an excellent comprehensive tribute to De Sica with fascinating footage of him directing Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D. It also features contributions from his family as well as effusive praise from many other filmmakers, including Clint Eastwood, Ken Loach, Woody Allen and Mike Leigh.
TWO RODE TOGETHER EUREKA EKA70246
This compelling story of love and war was the first collaboration between its leading actor James Stewart (The Man From Laramie) and the film’s director John Ford. Also starring Shirley Jones and Richard Widmark, Two Rode Together is a thrilling and darkly complex Western that ranks among Ford’s best work, yet remains one of his most overlooked. Stewart plays against type as hard-drinking Marshal Guthrie McCabe, a cynical, racist and amoral U.S. Marshal assigned to trade guns with the fearsome Comanche in exchange for hostages, with the promise of a large reward if he is successful. McCabe and old friend Lieutenant Jim Gary (Richard Widmark) set out to track down the Comanche and their captives, with tragic consequences for all involved. Stewart and Widmark enjoy a convincing rapport as they trade laconic dialogue and test each others morality. The supporting cast includes Linda Cristal as a Mexican señorita and an uncredited Mae Marsh (heroine of D.W. Griffith’s classics ‘Intolerance’ and ‘Birth of a Nation’). John Ford regulars include the comfortably built Andy Devine, Harry Carey Jr, gritty John McIntire, and black actor Woody Strode as a Commanche brave. The film was based on the novel Comanche Captives by Will Cook, with a screenplay by Frank Nugent (who also wrote The Searchers for Ford). The Eastman Color cinematography by Charles Lawton Jr contrasts lyrically beautiful landscapes with the darkness at the Comanche settlement. This uncompromising film was one of the first Westerns to recognize the dignity and value of the Native American way of life as well as the complexity of their relationship with white settlers. Eureka has now released Two Rode Together in its Masters of Cinema Series on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK as part of a special Dual Format edition. Special features include Rebirth, a new video essay on the film by Ford expert and scholar Tag Gallagher that emphasises the story’s real historic context.
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.
A KIND OF LOVING STUDIOCANAL OPTBD3033
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.
POOR COW STUDIOCANAL OPTBD3034
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.