DVD reviews 4

KIDNAPPING: LA SFIDA     ODYSSEY OD596

KidnappingCharismatic Italian star Luca Zingaretti forsakes his familiar crime-fighting role as TV’s Inspector Montalbano to play Tonino Sanna, a character most definitely on the wrong side of the law in Kidnapping: La Sfida (The Challenge). This emotionally charged thriller is a poignant tale about kidnapping, guilt, redemption and the power of family ties. The film also stars Matteo Urzia as Tommy and cult icon Dalila Di Lazzaro as Lawyer Iorio, with Heinz Hoenig as Max Klausner, a wealthy workaholic German industrialist whose young son Tommy is kidnapped while on holiday in Sardinia. The kidnapping is just one of the torments besetting Max; he begins to suspect the kidnappers identities and also faces blackmail from his shady business partner. As realisation sets in Max faces the toughest test of a father’s love; he must save his son. Refusing to pay the ransom, the police are shocked as Max returns to Berlin but he has his own agenda. He hires former secret service agent Werner Shröder (Michael Degen), who discovers that Tommy’s kidnapper, the Sardinian Tonino Sanna (Zingaretti), and his henchman are holding the boy in a remote Tuscan hideout. Max’s ruthless business instincts pinpoint the leverage required to put intolerable pressure on Tonino and secure Tommy’s release. This audacious move, however, will have an outcome that impacts on Max’s emotional life in a way he never expected. Director Cinzia Th. Torrini captures the flamboyant charm of Tuscany, including Castiglione della Pescaia and the beautiful city of Grosseto, and Luca Zingaretti is excellent as always. He also stars in Adriano Olivetti: La Forza Di Un Sogno.

STILL THE ENEMY WITHIN      LACE DVD LACE457

STILL THE ENEMY WITHINIn 1984, conservative government Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declared war on the unions, taking on the strongest in the country, the National Union of Mineworkers. Following a secret plan, the government began announcing the closure of coal mines, threatening not just an industry but whole communities and a way of life. Directed by Owen Gower, Still the Enemy Within is an extraordinary film that gives a unique insight into one of history’s most dramatic events. Thirty years on, this is the raw first-hand experience of those who lived through the UK’s longest strike. Against all the forces the government could throw at them, 160,000 coal miners took up the fight and became part of a battle that would change the course of history. Still the Enemy Within is a terrific film that tells the story of a group of miners and supporters who were on the front line of the strike for an entire year. Using interviews and a wealth of rare and never before seen archive, the film draws together personal experiences – whether they’re tragic, funny or terrifying – to take us on an emotionally powerful journey through the dramatic events of that year. This is a frank, emotional and ultimately inspiring account of ordinary yet resilient people at the centre of extraordinary events, including the infamous Battle of Orgreave, where miners found themselves in a brutal confrontation with over five thousand police. Still the Enemy Within challenges us to look again at our past so that in the words of one miner, ‘we can still seek to do something about the future’. ‘The mainstream media didn’t tell the truth about the miners’ strike when it happened. And the same lies are still being told. It’s therefore important that we tell this story.’ - Ken Loach. This thought-provoking and stirring film is now released on DVD with extras that include a commentary by the filmmakers and four documentaries. Heartfelt and beautifully made, this is an inspiring and often moving film that unmistakably tells the truth. ‘A documentary as gripping as any thriller.’ - The Guardian.

BIG EYES        ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO EBR5254

Big EyesDirector Tim Burton’s intriguing biographical drama focuses on the life of shy, self-effacing San Francisco artist Margaret Keane. Her paintings were fraudulently claimed as his own in the 1950s and 1960s by her then-husband, Walter Keane, resulting in a heated divorce trial. The artist earned staggering notoriety by revolutionizing the commercialization and accessibility of popular art with his enigmatic paintings of waifs with big eyes. The truth would eventually be discovered that Walter Keane’s art was actually created by his wife and they had, it seemed, been living a lie that had grown to gigantic proportions. Big Eyes centres on Margaret’s awakening as an artist, the phenomenal success of her paintings, and her tumultuous relationship with her gregarious husband, who was catapulted to international fame while taking credit for her work. Tim Burton’s entertaining film culminates in a wonderfully surreal courtroom scene in which Walter gets increasingly out of his depth. Amy Adams is brilliant in the role of Margaret Adams and Christoph Waltz subtly portrays Walter as a complicated man who appears to want what’s best but is so desperate to succeed that he will do almost anything to keep the lie going. His charm and charisma hide a sly and and manipulative dark side. The great Terence Stamp appears as a splendidly scathing art critic. The film had its world premiere in New York in 2014 and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, with Adams winning Best Actress. She was also nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film. Extras with this Blu-ray release include a ‘Making Of’ documentary featuring the real story that inspired the film, and Q & A sessions with Tim Burton, an assured Margaret Keane and members of the cast, including Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. Highly recommended.

ROAD TO PALOMA       ANCHOR BAY ABD1174

Road To PalomaJason Momoa, star of Conan The Barbarian, Game Of Thrones and soon to star as DC Comics superhero Aquaman, directs his first film with the strikingly personal Road To Paloma, which he also wrote and produced. Momoa, who is himself part Native Hawaiian and with Native American ancestry, plays Wolf, a Native American who flees from the authorities after exacting revenge on the gang who brutally attacked and killed his mother. While on the run across the US on his motorbike, he meets Cash, a hard-drinking itinerant musician, and the pair become unlikely companions. As they head off across the stunningly beautiful Wild West, deep secrets are revealed as Wolf searches for redemption. The wide open plains and gorgeous but desolate scenery are elegiacally photographed by Brian Mendoza and there are plenty of surprises along the way on this engrossing journey. Robert Mollohan plays wild drifter Cash with gusto and there are excellent performances too by Jason Momoa’s wife Lisa Bonet, Chris Browning (as ruthless lawman Schaeffer) and Michael Raymond-James (Irish). Atmospheric, free-spirited and poignant, Road To Paloma shows the influence of Easy Rider and early Clint Eastwood films and marks an impressive directorial debut by Jason Momoa.

THE OFFENCE      EUREKA EKA70151

The OffenceAfter 20 years, what Detective-Sergeant Johnson has seen and done is destroying him. Two decades into a career marked by fraught investigations into murders and sex crimes, he loses all composure whilst conducting an interrogation with a suspected rapist, assaulting him and, subsequently beating him to death. The lead-up to this moment is charted across the course of revered director Sidney Lumet’s 1972 film, based on Z Cars scriptwriter John Hopkins acclaimed stage play This Story of Yours. Related in a subtle flashback structure, the lines between guilt and innocence, protector and sadist, become ineradicably blurred. Released a year before the director’s Serpico and almost a decade before Prince of the City, The Offence is an early Lumetian investigation into the psyche of a policeman under duress, showing the potential for corruption within a high-stakes profession. The iconic Sean Connery gives one of his finest performances as the hard-boiled yet deeply affected detective. The excellent cast also includes the always brilliant Ian Bannen as the suspected child molester, with Trevor Howard as the Superintendent in charge of the enquiry and Vivien Merchant as Johnson’s frightened wife. The Offence is a chilling and disturbing film that explores the depths of that most psychologically complex creation: a member of the British Police Force who has witnessed one horror too many. This Masters of Cinema Series release from Eureka features the film for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK in a Dual Format edition that includes revealing bonus interviews with many of those involved in its production. The 32 page booklet has a new essay by Mike Sutton and an archival interview with Sidney Lumet. ‘It’s outstanding quality remains undeniable.’ - Time Out (100 Best British Films).

MANAKAMANA           DOGWOOF DOG316

ManakamanaLauded by critics as film of the year, Manakamana is a stunningly original and breathtaking cinematic experience. The Manakamana Temple, located among the hills of the Gorkha region in Nepal, is almost a mile above sea level. To travel to Manakamana, which literally means desire of the heart, used to involve a journey of three days by foot to reach the temple which is believed to fulfill the desire of every pilgrim. Worshippers now are able to take a 10-minute cable car trip into the mountains to pray at this sacred place and make offerings to the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati. The film focuses on various groups as they travel to and from the temple, providing insight into their reasons for making the journey. The scenery is mesmerising, as are the characters - a diverse mix of commuters - from a group of formidable old women discussing how much things have changed, a group of cool young men taking selfies, an elderly man and his delightful grandson, a mother and daughter eating ice-creams, a married couple and their chicken, and a herd of characterful goats. Every shot follows a different set of passengers as we learn about them and their lives. Using a 16mm camera, co-directors Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez have created a beautiful, hypnotic and rewarding film that is exquisitely beautiful, profound and uplifting. ‘You could hardly ask for a more beautiful vision of souls in transit.’ - Time Out.

METROPOLIS      EUREKA EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA EKA70166

Metropolis-001Austrian-German-American filmmaker Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Lang was one of the best known émigrés from Germany’s school of Expressionism. Dubbed the ‘Master of Darkness’ by the British Film Institute, his most famous films are the groundbreaking Metropolis, made in 1927, and M, the film that launched German cinema into the sound era three years later, before Lang moved to the United States to escape from the Nazis. With its dizzying depiction of a futuristic cityscape and alluring female robot, Metropolis is among the most famous of all German films and the mother of sci-fi cinema, influencing Blade Runner, Star Wars and countless other films. The jaw-dropping production values, iconic imagery and modernist grandeur - it was described by Luis Buñuel as ‘a captivating symphony of movement’ - remain as powerful as ever. Drawing on - and defining - classic sci-fi themes, Metropolis depicts a dystopian future in which society is completely divided in two: while anonymous workers conduct their endless drudgery below ground their rulers enjoy a decadent life of leisure and luxury. When Freder (Gustav Frölich) ventures into the depths in search of the beautiful Maria (the stunning Brigitte Helm in her debut role), plans of rebellion are revealed and a Maria-replica robot is programmed by mad inventor Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) and master of Metropolis Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) to incite the workers into a self-destructive riot. Metropolis has now been re-released in this Ultimate Collector’s Edition - a 2-disc Blu-ray set in SteelBook packaging that features Giorgio Moroder presents: Metropolis and a 45-min documentary exploring the film’s rediscovery. Limited to 4000 units worldwide, every SteelBook comes with an opportunity to win a unique bespoke Metropolis engraved solid gold bar. Other special features include Metropolis Refound (a documentary by Evangelina Loguerico exploring the rediscovery of the most complete print of the Fritz Lang masterpiece in an Argentinean film museum), The Fading Image (which goes behind the scenes of Giorgio Moroder’s restoration and scoring), full-length audio commentary by David Kalat and Jonathan Rosenbaum, Die Reise nach Metropolis (a 53-minute documentary about the film) and a 56-page booklet featuring archival interviews with Fritz Lang, a 1927 review by Luis Buñuel, articles by Jonathan Rosenbaum and Karen Naundorf, and restoration notes by Martin Koerber. With its haunting imagery, meticulously crafted designs and profoundly ambiguous themes, this hallucinatory exploration of the struggle between good and evil continues to be essential viewing. ‘A treat - it’s simply one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.’ - BBC2 Newsnight.

I’M ALL RIGHT JACK       STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2804R0

I'm All Right JackThe highest grossing film at the UK box office in 1959, I’m Alright Jack was a rip-roaring and thought provoking satire, poking fun at the then-burning issue of industrial relations. Set in a missile factory, the film focuses on Stanley Windrush, an upper-class graduate who innocently accepts a job at his devious uncle Bettram Purcel’s (Dennis Price) factory. Unbeknownst to Stanley, his uncle has an agenda where he plans for his nephew to become the catalyst of a labour dispute, which his uncle hopes to profit from. Unfortunately for Bettram his plan backfires when his socialist employee Fred Kite (Peter Sellers) takes advantage of the opportunity for his own ends. Peter Sellers steals the show with his comedic brilliance on full display in the dual role of Sir John Kennaway (briefly) and the tragic-comic trade union leader Kite (‘Ah, Russia. All them corn fields and ballet in the evening.’). This was his break out role as an actor - the Guardian called it his ‘career best performance’ - and the superb cast also includes Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas (‘They’re an absolute shower!’), Richard Attenborough, Liz Fraser as Kite’s fun-loving daughter and spindle-polisher Cynthia (‘Are them your own teeth?’), John Le Mesurier as a twitchy time and motion man, the great Irene Handl as Mrs Kite, Margaret Rutherford, Miles Malleson, Malcolm Muggeridge (playing himself) and, of course, Sam Kydd (‘You c-c-c-clot!’). This classic comedy by John and Roy Boulting, who hated trades unions, is the brothers’ most celebrated social satire, winning BAFTAs for Best British Screenplay and Best British Actor (Peter Sellers). Extras with this immaculately restored blu-ray release (also available on DVD) include a new Interview with Liz Fraser; The Running, Jumping & Standing Still Film; and Cinefile: Seller’s Best. ‘The best of the Boulting’s warm, vulgar, affectionate satires.’ - Time Out.

DIARY OF A LOST GIRL   EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70150

DIARY OF A LOST GIRLBorn in Bohemia in 1885 to Viennese parents, the great director Georg Wilhelm Pabst made only one American but was acclaimed by US film critics and historians for his brilliant silent works. Some of his most famous films concerned the plight of women in German society, including Joyless Street (1925) with Greta Garbo and Asta Nielsen, The Loves of Jeanne Ney (1927) with Brigitte Helm, Pandora’s Box (1928), and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), the last two starring the American actress Louise Brooks, who he helped become a cinematic icon. A masterwork of the German silent cinema, Diary of a Lost Girl (Tagebuch einer Verlorenen) traces the journey of a young woman from the pit of despair to the moment of personal awakening. Directed with virtuoso flair by Pabst, this was his second pairing with Louise Brooks, made just months after their collaboration in the legendary Pandora’s Box (Die Büchse der Pandora). Brooks plays Thymiane Henning, an innocent and naive young woman seduced by an unscrupulous and mercenary character employed at her father’s pharmacy (played with villainous relish by Fritz Rasp). After Thymiane gives birth to the child and then rejects her family’s expectations for marriage, the baby is taken from her care and Thymiane is relegated to a strict reform school for wayward girls, which functions less as an educational institution and more like a conduit for fulfilling the headmistress’s sadistic libidinal fantasies. Rebelling against the school’s rigid discipline, Thymiane and her friend Erika (Edith Meinhard) escape, but Thymiane’s relief is short-lived as she discovers that her baby is dead. After despondently wandering the streets, she re-unites with Erika, who is working in a brothel, and Thymiane also becomes a prostitute until her father’s death, when her life changes. Diary of A Lost Girl is a story about loss, redemption, forgiveness, sacrifice and hope, explored by a great director with superb black and white cinematography and the luminous presence of Louise Brooks, who is even better here than the more famous Pandora’s Box. This new dual format (Blu-ray and DVD) release in Eureka’s award-winning Masters of Cinema Series features a glorious restoration of this iconic German film for the first time anywhere on Blu-ray. Extras with the new high-definition 1080p transfer include the original German intertitles with optional English subtitles, a piano score by Javier Pérez de Aspeitia, an exclusive video essay by filmmaker and critic David Cairns, and a 40-page booklet with including writing by Louise Brooks, Lotte Eisner, Louelle Interim, Craig Keller, and R. Dixon Smith. Highly recommended.

THE NAKED ISLAND        EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70102

THE NAKED ISLAND-001The Japanese filmmaker Kaneto Shindô was born in Hiroshima and began his film career as an art director during the late 1930s. He then started writing screenplays and worked with directors such as Kenji Mizoguchi and Kon Ichikawa before making his own directorial debut in 1951 with The Story of a Beloved Wife. Filmed on the virtually deserted Setonaikai archipelago in south-west Japan, The Naked Island (Hadaka no shima) was made - in the words of its director - "as a ‘cinematic poem’ to try and capture the life of human beings struggling like ants against the forces of nature". Shindô made the film with his own production company, Kindaï Eiga Kyôkai, who were facing financial ruin at the time. Using one-tenth of the average budget, he took one last impassioned risk to make this film. With his small crew, they relocated to an inn on the island of Mihari where, for two months in early 1960, they would make what they considered to be their last film. The Naked Island tells the story of a small family unit and their subsistence as the only inhabitants of an arid, sun-baked island. Daily chores, captured as a series of cyclical events, result in a hypnotising, moving, and beautiful film harkening back to the silent era. With hardly any dialogue, Shindô combines the stark ‘Scope cinematography of Kiyoshi Kuroda with the memorable score of his constant collaborator Hikaru Hayashi, to make a unique cinematic document. The went on to win the Moscow International Film Festival Grand Prix. This new blu-ray release has copious special features including a full-length audio commentary by the director Kaneto Shindô and composer Hikaru Hayashi, a video introduction by the excellent Alex Cox, and a 24-page booklet with an essay by Acquarello and Joan Mellen’s interview with the director. Shindô’s mesmerising modern parable on consumerism and the destructiveness of sexual desire, Onibaba, and his haunting 1968 horror story, Kuroneko, are also available as part of the Masters of Cinema Series.

SPIRITED AWAY     STUDIOCANAL

Spirited AwayJapanese film director, animator, illustrator, producer and screenwriter Hayao Miyazaki is internationally acclaimed as a master storyteller and aker of anime feature films. Along with Isao Takahata, co-founder of the Studio Ghibli, his career has spanned six decades and includes such memorable films as The Wind Rises, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Grave of the Fireflies. Perhaps the best known and most loved of Miyazaki’s films is the enchanting Spirited Away, which regularly tops critic and fan polls as his most accomplished and well rounded work. A film of startling originality, imagination, intelligence and emotion, it tells the story of a stubborn, headstrong 10-year old girl, Chihiro, who comes upon the entrance to a strange ghost world. Once inside, her parents are turned into pigs for unwittingly eating the food of the spirits without permission. The endearing Chihiro finds herself frightened and alone until she meets a boy named Haku, who helps her to survive in this strange, dreamlike Land of the Spirits. She is forced to take a job in a magnificent bath house, whose proprietor is a wicked and easily angered sorceress named Yoruba, and whose patrons are gods, demons and nature spirits. With influences ranging from Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland and traditional fairy tales to Japanese folklore and legend, Spirited Away was a huge success on its release in 2001, becing Japan’s highest grossing film of all time and the first anime ever to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. This complex and beautiful masterpiece, winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, has now been released for the first time in the UK on blu-ray in high definition. Extras include alternative angle storyboards, a ‘making of’ featurette showing how much painstaking work was involved in creating the film, the original Japanese trailers, an introduction by John Lasseter, ‘Behind The Microphone’ - a voice talent featurette, and ‘Meet Hayao Miyazaki’. ‘A captivating fantasy that sets a new benchmark for animation.’ – Empire.

THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE: 40TH ANNIVERSARY RESTORATION SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4039

THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, 40TH ANNIVERSARY RESTORATIONIn this controversial cult horror movie, partly based on the true story of Ed Gein, five college students are heading through the back roads of Texas in a camper van en route to their grandfather’s grave. Among them are Sally Hardesty (the excellent Marilyn Burns) and her wheelchair-bound brother Franklin (Paul A Partain). They pick up an alarming hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) who slashes both himself and Franklin with a knife. They manage to eject him from the van but soon afterwards are forced to stop at a sinister clapboard house, not realising that this is the home of the ghoulish Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) and his demented family of cannibalistic psychopaths. One by one, the students are murdered for food until only Sally remains alive, held as a captive guest until she somehow escapes into the night pursued by Leatherface and his fiendish chainsaw. Her terror and screams are perhaps unequalled in cinema, even by the illustrious Fay Wray. First released in 1974, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre fully justifies its reputation as one of the scariest of American horror films. Brilliantly atmospheric and occasionally darkly funny, this classic horror film was the godfather of the ‘Slasher’ movie genre, influencing countless subsequent movies such as Halloween and Friday 13th. Its appeal lies in a gritty cinema veritè style rather than graphic depictions of blood. Despite its grisly subject matter, the film features a minimum of explicit gore (unlike its sequels and imitations) but generates mounting terror through suspense. Directed by Tobe Hooper on a meagre eighty-two thousand dollar budget, the production team saw only a small fraction of the profits even though the film was a huge success in America (it was banned in the UK until 1999). Gunnar Hansen and Marilyn Burns are particularly impressive and the final ten minutes are some of the most exciting ever filmed. This definitive two-disc Blu-ray edition features a new version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to mark its 40th Anniversary. Supervised by director Tobe Hooper, the film has received a stunning 4K restoration and 7.1 audio mix, so it looks and sounds better than ever before. The vast range of bonus features includes new audio commentaries with Tobe Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl, sound recordist Ted Nicolaou, editor J Larry Carroll, production designer Robert Burns, and actors Gunnars Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger and Paul A Partain and As well as many documentaries there are interviews with the director, cast and crew, as well as deleted scenes, outtakes, trailers, TV and radio spots.

ROMANCE   SECOND SIGHT 2NDVD3270

RomanceA teacher, Marie (Caroline Ducey) is happy living with her boyfriend, even though their loving relationship lacks intimacy. Desperate for physical affection, Marie sets off to find it elsewhere in a series of ever-more extreme encounters involving sex with strangers, rape and male domination. ‘Why do the men, who disgust us, understand us much better than those, who attract us and who we love?’ Directed by Catherine Breillart, Romance is one of the most divisive and notorious films of modern cinema. Originally released in 1999, it drew shocked gasps from critics as well as praise for its groundbreaking honesty. The film features a bona fide adult film star, Rocco Siffredi, and the more daring scenes troubled censors in the UK and around the world. Stylishly photographed, meditative, enigmatic and undeniably French, the ironically titled Romance blurs the lines between art and pornography with its frank depiction of a woman’s increasingly explicit and sometimes contradictory sexual encounters. ‘Controversial and extraordinary.’ - GQ.

DAY OF THE MUMMY   IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT

Day of the MummyEgypt: the land of the Pharaohs, a place steeped in history and legend. But those who come in search of riches beware, something lurks among those tombs, something that cracks bones and spills blood, something that will stop at nothing to guard what belongs to them. Randy archaeologist Jack Wells (William McNamara) arrives in Egypt in search of famed diamond, The Codex Stone. His journey leads him to a team of archeologists who are exploring the recently discovered tomb of the cursed King Neferu (‘the king who cannot be named’). With his centuries old slumber disturbed by timeless human greed, the fiendish King rises from the dead with a blood-lust that cannot be staunched and a raging fury that will shred flesh from bone, bringing terrible, tormented death to all who dare witness Day of the Mummy. Enter the claustrophobic tomb of the Mummy at your own peril. Pacily directed by Johnny Tabor, with a knowing script by Garry Charles, Day of The Mummy is enjoyable hokum that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film also stars Danny Glover as a reclusive treasure collector who gives a running commentary on the action as he communicates with smug, shady Jack throughout via the latest technology. Andrea Monier is the beautiful, feisty Kate.

LE JOUR SE LEVE     STUDIOCANAL

Le Jour Se LeveThe great French director Marcel Carné was born in Paris and began his film career as an assistant of Jacques Feyder. By age of 25 he had directed his first film (Jenny), which began his long-lasting collaboration with the surrealist poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert. Carné also worked regularly with composer Maurice Jaubert and actor Jean Gabin to create films such as Hôtel du Nord (1938) that defined the poetic realism style of pre-war French cinema. Under the German occupation of France during the Second World War, Carné continued working under the Vichy government but subverted the regime’s attempts at control by making his anti-Nazi masterpiece Les Enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise), recently voted ‘Best French Film of the Century’ in a poll of French critics. Le Jour se lève (1939) is a fine example of 1930s French film-making, in which the formidable Jean Gabin plays Francois, a manual labourer in a Parisian iron foundry, who kills the suave music-hall entertainer Valentin (Jules Berry) before locking himself in his attic room in a poor lodging house. As the film unfolds through a series of flashbacks, Francois’ motivations for murder are revealed as he contemplates his fate and his love for a fellow orphan, flower-seller Françoise (Jacqueline Laurent). Gabin brilliantly portrays the different aspects of his character’s complex personality and Jules Berry is unforgettable as the sadistic Valentin. The excellent Arletty also appears as Clara, who has left Valentin and immediately falls for François, who is too besotted with Françoise to appreciate her. The expressionist black and white photography is immaculate, the memorable sets are by Alexandre Trauner and Jacques Prévert’s taut script was based on a story by Jacques Viot. Soon after the start of the war, the French government banned Le Jour se lève and it remained banned throughout the German occupation. When the war ended, RKO produced a poor Hollywood remake starring Henry Fonda and withdrew the original version for a decade, attempting to destroy all copies, but luckily the film survived to become recognised as a true classic. To celebrate its 75th anniversary, Le Jour se lève was re-released in cinemas in a never-before-seen restored version by Studiocanal and ICO. This is now available on Blu-ray and DVD with extras that include a documentary, Last Assault on the Popular Front, and details of the restoration process.

DAS CABINET DES DR. CALIGARI     EUREKA EKA70144 

CaligariThe horror genre has always been a staple of the movies, creating fear and terror in viewers with often outrageous plots involving evil forces such as vampires, zombies, monsters, serial killers and creatures from outer space. Early films often drew their inspiration from stories in classic literature, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Many of the earliest feature length horror films, such as The Golem, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, were created by German film makers during the 1910s and 1920s. These films were a significant influence on later Hollywood filmmakers, both for their Expressionistic style and supernatural characters. Following the film’s recent re-release in UK cinemas, Eureka! Entertainment has now released this definitive 2014 restoration of the first true horror film. Originally released in 1920, Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari is one of the most iconic masterpieces in cinema history - a film that shook filmgoers worldwide and changed the direction of the art form. At a local carnival in a small German town, hypnotist Dr. Caligari presents the somnambulist Cesare, who can purportedly predict the future of curious fairgoers. But at night, the doctor wakes Cesare from his sleep to enact his evil bidding… Incalculably influential, the film’s nightmarishly jagged sets, sinister atmospheric and psychological emphasis left an immediate impact in its wake (horror, film noir, and gothic cinema would all be shaped directly by it). But this diabolical tale nevertheless stands alone - now more mesmerising than ever in this Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition in Eureka’s award-winning Masters of Cinema Series. Extras include an audio commentary by film historian David Kalat, a new video essay by film critic David Cairns and a 56-page booklet with new writing, reprints and rare archival imagery. ‘Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made.’ - Time Out Film Guide. Watch the Theatrical Trailer

THE WIND RISES       STUDIOCANAL 

The Wind RisesWriter and director Hayao Miyazaki pays tribute to engineer Jirô Horikoshi and author Tatsuo Hori in this epic tale of love, perseverance and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world. Young Jirô dreams of flying and designing beautiful aeroplanes, inspired by the famous Italian designer Caproni. Nearsighted from a young age and thus unable to become a pilot, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished aircraft designers. This enchanting animated film from Studio Ghibli chronicles much of his life and depicts key historical events, including The Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s plunge into war. Jiro meets and falls in love with beautiful Nahoko and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjô. In early 2013, 72 year old Hayao Miyazaki, co-creator of other Studio Ghibli delights such as Kiki’s Delivery Service, announced that he would retire after the release of The Wind Rises. If it really is the director’s swansong, this touching, brilliantly observed and visually stunningly film makes for a memorable and fitting farewell. The voice cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jirô, with John Krasinski as Honjô, Emily Blunt as Nahoko, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci as the life-affirming Caproni, Mandy Patinkin, William H. Macy and veteran director Werner Herzog as a mysterious German. Extras with this dual edition DVD and Blu-ray release from Studiocanal include feature storyboards, original trailers and TV spots, and a press conference for the announcement of completion of this Oscar-nominated film. ‘No one makes the spirit soar like Hayao Miyazaki.’ - Sight & Sound.

DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK   ODYSSEY OD573

Drums Along The MohawkDirty Mary, Crazy LarryIn upstate New York, newlyweds Gil Martin and his ‘city girl’ wife Lana (Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert) encounter the trials of trying to make a life in the beautiful and unspoiled Mohawk River Valley during the time of the Revolutionary War. The area is remote and a distance from the fort but they are happy living in their one room cabin. With the declaration independence, the settlers soon find themselves at war with the British and their Indian allies. The farm is burned out and the Martins take work with down-to-earth Sarah McKlennar (the scene-stealing Edna May Oliver) as the war continues. Director John Ford’s engrossing Western classic, based on Walter D Evans’ novel of the same name, was his first film in colour and became a box office hit when first released in 1939, a date that resonated with the film’s strong patriotic message. The action scenes are vividly directed and there are many trademark Ford touches, including spectacular Electra Glide In Bluephotography, courtesy of Bert Glennon and Ray Rennahan. Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert are both on good form, John Carradine makes a convincing villain, and Chief Big Tree gives a subtly impudent performance as Blue Back, the Native American turned Christian. This underrated Ford film is one of a series of classics being re-launched in the UK on DVD by the independent distributor Odyssey. The first six releases also include DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY (OD576), an entertaining 1974 car chase film starring Peter Fonda as a reckless NASCAR hopeful Larry and Susan George as his on off girlfriend, Mary. ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE (OD574) is a neglected masterpiece directed by rock musician/producer James William Guercio. This Golden Globe nominated cult film is a crime drama starring Billy Green Bush as Harley-Davidson patrolman ‘Zipper’ and Robert Blake as his partner, John Wintergreen, a brainy but diminutive motorcycle cop from Arizona who dreams of becoming a detective.

FAUST – MURNAU        EUREKA: MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70141

Faust blu-rayDirector F W Murnau and screenwriter Hans Kyser’s Faust draws on older traditions of the legendary tale as well as on Goethe’s version, and this innovative film contains many memorable images and amazing special effects. The stars are Gösta Ekman (who as Faust miraculously changes from a bearded old man to a handsome youth), Emil Jannings as the sinister Mephisto and the little-known actress Camilla Horn in a terrific performance as Gretchen. With superb photography and art direction, this classic tale of a man who sells his soul to the devil is a triumph of the silent film era. Murnau, ever the perfectionist, shot many takes of each scene with only the best making the final German domestic cut of the film. Only the prints made for export outside Germany were seen until recently and this version was thought to be the only one in existence. Using the nitrate duplicate negatives printed in 1926 (and an array of international sources) Murnau’s authentic German version of Faust has been meticulously reconstructed by Luciano Berriatúa for Filmoteca Española from which this newly restored transfer is sourced, now available on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series. This brilliantly restored film comes with an optional audio commentary by critics David Ehrenstein and Bill Krohn; original German intertitles and optional English subtitles; three alternative music scores; a documentary about the making of one of Murnau’s most ambitious films; Tony Rayns discussing the background to Faust; a detailed comparison of domestic and export versions; and a 40-page book with an essay by Peter Spooner, writing on the film by Eric Rohmer and a selection of rare production stills.

SWALLOWS & AMAZONS    STUDIOCANAL

Swallows & AmazonsArthur Ransome’s legendary children’s novel Swallows & Amazons was published in 1930 as the first part of what was to become a much-loved literary series. This beautifully filmed adaptation, directed by Claude Whatham and written by acclaimed children’s playwright David Wood, depicts the adventures of four children – John, Susan, Roger and Titty - and their sailing boat Swallow. Set in the Lake District in the 1920s, we follow the adventures of the children on a summer holiday with their mother (the elegant Virginia McKenna). The children are given permission (‘Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers won’t drown’) to sail to nearby Wild Cat island and set up camp. When theygat there they find that two rival girls and their boat, Amazon, have already claimed the island as their own. Boasting stunning period detail, this wholesome tale evokes an England of a bygone era. It’s an idyllic world where the sun always shines, even in the Lake District, and children have the freedom to let their imaginations create their own innocent fun. Claude Whatham brings out charmingly unaffected performances by the intrepid young cast - Simon West, Suzanna Hamilton, Stephen Grendon and, especially, Sophie Neville as Able Seaman Titty. Kit Seymour and Lesley Bennett make delightful Amazons. Stalwart support comes from Brenda Bruce, Jack Woolgar as Old Billy and Ronald Fraser as Uncle Jim/Captain Flint. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this heartwarming and enduring film’s original release, it has been beautifully restored and released for the first time in this Blu-ray Special Edition. Extras include interviews with Sophie Neville, Suzanna Hamilton and Virginia McKenna, a locations featurette, behind the scenes footage with commentary from Sophie Neville, a stills gallery, and a trailer. Swallows & Amazons finds new fans in every generation and will have a brand new BBC adaptation in 2014, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Arthur Ransome.

ABSENTIA    SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4034

Absentia-001Tricia’s husband Daniel has been missing for seven years. With the help of her troubled, wayward sister Callie, who comes to live with her in Los Angeles, Tricia reluctantly declares him legally dead ‘in absentia’. As heavily pregnant Tricia tries to move on with her life she becomes haunted by terrifying visions, while Callie is strangely drawn to an ominous tunnel near the house, with links to other unexplained disappearances. Does the key to Daniel’s fate lie in the cold darkness of the tunnel and could the truth be something far worse than death? Despite its ultra-low budget, Absentia is one of the most gripping, frightening and unsettling releases of recent years, with many heart-stopping moments and a spooky atmosphere from the start. Christianity, Buddhism, an ambiguous police force and the three billy goats gruff are also involved. With excellent performances by Courtney Bell and Katie Parker, this critically acclaimed, multi award-winning film, written, directed and edited by Mike Flanagan, is here released for the first time in the UK on Blu-ray. Special features that include audio commentary with director/producer Mike Flanagan and producers Morgan Peter Brown, Joe Wicker and Justin Gordon; audio commentary with director Mike Flanagan and cast members Katie Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine and Doug Jones; ‘Absentia: A Retrospective’ documentary; and deleted Scenes. ‘A dark disturbing nightmare.’ – Bizarre.

THE ESSENTIAL JACQUES TATI BLU-RAY COLLECTION     STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2685

TatiJacques Tati (born Jacques Tatischeff in 1907) is best known for his eccentric comic character Monsieur Hulot. One of France’s most beloved and influential filmmakers of the 20th century, he was the Gallic equivalent of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. Daring, colourful, whimsical, droll and fun, his films as director, writer and actor are classics that appeal to a broad and diverse audience as well as to critics. Entertainment Weekly voted him the 46th greatest director of all time, though with only six feature-length films to his credit he directed fewer films than any other film-maker in the top 50. This truly comprehensive package celebrates Tati’s extraordinary and influential career by bringing together all six of his feature films, as well as some rarely seen shorts. In Trafic (1971), Monsieur Hulot designs an experimental camper van and explores the motorways of France and Belgium en route to the Amsterdam motor show to exhibit his prototype. But, with numerous breakdowns and mechanical problems, not to mention a customs search and an accident, the road to Amsterdam is long and perilous. Will Hulot and his camper van ever make it to the show? Parade (1974) finds Tati at the Stockholm Cirkus, reviving his pantomimes in a wild, interactive circus show. Playing the compére, Monsieur Loyal, he links numbers by musicians, jugglers, magicians and acrobats. Although it was a commission from Swedish television mostly shot on video, Parade was conceived as a film to be shown theatrically. Tati uses it to transmit his experience to a younger generation of artists. As the spectacle unfolds, barriers break down between past Tati Mon Oncleand future, between artists, between technicians and spectators. Tati’s last film resonates as a joyful tribute to live spectacle, while evoking his own beginnings in the music hall. Playtime (1967) was Jacques Tati’s most ambitious, risky and expensive work, which left him bankrupt. Monsieur Hulot is set on meeting an American official in the hope of securing a job in a high tech version of Paris but on his way he encounters a group of female American tourists, resulting in all manner of chaos. Shot in 70mm, the film took six years to make and required the creation of a massive glass and concrete high-rise set costing $3 million. In the enchanting, wonderfully inventive Mon Oncle (1958), Mr and Mrs Arpel live in a pristine modern house in a bland, clean neighbourhood. In this excessively controlled universe there is no room for play, chance or humour, and their son Gérard is bored. However the calm is broken with the sudden eruption of his misfit uncle, Monsieur Hulot. Bourgois Mr Arpel Tati short filmsresent his whimsicality, especially as he becomes a role model for Gérard. The joyous Les Vacances de M. Hulot (1953) is a satire set in a seaside resort on the Atlantic coast, where city dwellers on vacation continue with their city ways. The childlike and ungainly Monsieur Hulot arrives in his backfiring old car, unintentionally destroying the tranquillity of his fellow patrons at the Hôtel de la Plage simply by trying to make the most of his holiday. M. Hulot’s talent for creating chaos culminates in a glorious climax of pyrotechnics. In Jacques Tati’s first feature, Jour de Fete (1949), we are at a festive day in Sainte-Sévère, where Tati had taken refuge during the occupation. Fairground entertainers have arrived, accompanied by their caravans, a merry-go-round and even a travelling cinema, showing the awe-struck villagers a documentary on the modern methods of the American postal service. With his old bicycle and single-minded resolve, François, the local postman, played by Tati, does his best to emulate his American Les Courts Metrages brings together seven short films made by Jacques Tati between 1934 (On Demande Une Brute) and 1978 (Forza Bastia). He was an ardent champion of the short film, which sadly disappeared from cinemas in favour of advertisements. This series of shorts reveals the individual style of Jacques Tati, mixing the ludicrous with the modern as he invites us on a visual adventure that will change the way we see the world. Extras with this superb, definitive box set include alternative versions of some films, detailed analysis by Stéphane Goudet, an interview with critic Jonathan Romney, commentaries and trailers. ‘Tati began where we finished.’ - Buster Keaton.

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT      SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4035

A Hard Day's NightThe year is 1964 and Beatlemania is in full swing. The biggest band on the planet are about to make their big screen debut in the A Hard Day’s Night, a groundbreaking film that presented a ‘typical’ day in the life of The Fab Four as they tried to outrun screaming fans, find Paul’s mischievous grandfather (played by the ‘very clean’ Wilfrid Brambell), deal with a stressed TV producer (Victor Spinetti), evade their long-suffering manager Norm (Norman Rossington) and still make it to the show on time. Directed with unrelenting verve by American Richard Lester, whose innovative techniques paved the way for generations of music videos, the film’s frenetic mix of comic escapades, sharp one-liners and great pop songs captured a moment in time that defined a generation. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this masterpiece starring the most iconic band in music history, the film has received a new 4k digital restoration approved by Richard Lester. Three audio options - a monoaural soundtrack in addition to newly created stereo and 5.1 surround mixes - were supervised by sound producer Giles Martin at Abbey Road Studios. A Hard Day’s Night was then re-released in cinemas in July 2014 and the restored version is now available in this definitive Blu-ray edition. The outstanding collection of fab new special features includes In Their Own Voices, combining 1964 interviews with The Beatles, behind-the-scenes footage and photos; You Can’t Do That: The Making of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ - a documentary by producer Walter Shenson including an outtake performance by The Beatles; Things They Said Today, a documentary about the film featuring Richard Lester, music producer George Martin, screenwriter Alun Owen and cinematographer Gilbert Taylor; Picturewise, a new piece about Richard Lester‘s early work, featuring an interview with the director; Anatomy of a Style - a new piece on Richard Lester‘s methods; An interview with author Mark Lewisohn; Audio commentary with cast and crew; and a 50th Anniversary trailer. ‘A fascinating picture of this country in 1964, with the Beatles as our cheerfully anarchic heroes, leading us out of austerity-era Britain with its stuffiness and complacency.’ - The Guardian.

THE DRIVER     STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2620

The DriverDirector Walter Hill’s seminal cult heist thriller from 1978 stars Ryan O’Neal as the ultimate getaway man - ‘a hero with no name’. The Driver is a powerful, stylish film that combines Walter Hill’s twin genre obsessions, the Western and the urban crime drama, to thrilling effect. Drawing on the pared back minimalism of French New Wave cinema and the visual motifs of artist Edward Hopper, Hill crafts what is arguably the ultimate car-chase movie, following the cat and mouse pursuit of a professional getaway driver and the obsessive cop determined at all costs to see him behind bars. Ryan O’Neal gives an assured performance in his archetypal depiction of an ultra-cool anti-hero, The Driver, who is the criminal underworld’s first choice when it comes to the best driver for risky bank jobs. He is doggedly pursued by The Detective (the excellent Bruce Dern), a tough, eccentric cop prepared to break the law in his obsessive desire to catch his nemesis. The Player is a young woman who becomes more entangled in their rivalry than she anticipated. Isabelle Adjani is beautiful enough in the role to make a bishop put his foot through a stained glass window, as Raymond Chandler might have said. Ronee Blakley is touching as The Connection, a vulnerable girl also caught up in the action. The exciting driving sequences have never bettered and the first rate photography by Philip Lathrop makes effective use of Los Angeles locations such as the city’s wonderful Spanish-style train station. This tense, visceral tale is an essential neo-noir film that influenced the work of Michael Mann and inspired a best-selling video-game series for Playstation. The Driver is now available for the first time on Blu-ray in this immaculate High Definition transfer. Extras include the UK premiere of an alternate opening scene and a compelling trailer. ‘A combination of brilliantly edited car chases and existential thriller.’ - Time Out.

THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT    SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4033

Thunderbolt and LightfootScreen legends Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges star in this entertaining caper that was written by Michael Cimino and was his directorial debut. Eastwood is Thunderbolt, a retired bank robber with a flair for explosives who, after masquerading as a preacher, has the perfect plan to recover his lost loot with the help of his old gang. The idea is to steal the money, hide it in an old schoolhouse, lay low and collect it when the heat is off. But things don’t go to plan and while trying to escape a gunman (a nasty piece of work, grittily played by the excellent George Kennedy) he has a chance encounter with a charming, oddball drifter named Lightfoot (Bridges). The pair become partners and the heat is on to recover the cash before someone else does. Jeff Bridges thoroughly deserved his Oscar nomination for an outstanding performance in this high-spirited, thrilling and funny cult classic. There is great screen chemistry between Eastwood and Bridges, who looks lovely in drag, and the many car chases are enjoyably outrageous. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot now makes its Blu-ray debut in this release by Second Sight Films. ‘Eastwood’s best non-western movie.’ - Film4.

THE ROCKET         EUREKA EKA70133

The Rocket blu-rayAustralia’s official selection for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 86th Academy Awards, The Rocket is writer/director Kim Mordaunt’s multi-award winning debut feature about a ‘cursed’ twin who guides his family to a new life in Laos. Ten year old Ahlo, who is believed to bring bad luck, is blamed for a string of disasters, including a shocking accident. When his family loses their home and are forced to move, Ahlo meets the spirited orphan Kia (the enchanting Loungnam Kaosainam) and her eccentric uncle Purple: an ex-soldier with a purple suit, a serious rice-wine habit and a fetish for James Brown. Struggling to hang on to his father’s trust, Ahlo leads his family, Purple and Kia through a land scarred by war in search of a new home. In a last plea to try and prove he’s not cursed, the clever and resourceful Ahlo builds a giant explosive rocket to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival. As the most bombed country in the world shoots back at the sky, a boy will reach to the heavens for forgiveness. Gripping, humane and heart-warming, The Rocket is a deeply personal story about the determination of a boy who has the odds stacked against him, set against the epic backdrop of a war-ravaged country on the brink of huge change. With remarkable access to real rituals and festivities in the stunning mountains of Laos, the film provides a unique view into a world never before seen on film. The Rocket is a moving celebration of the human spirit and features extraordinary performances from gutsy former street kid Sitthiphon Disamoe as Ahlo and veteran actor and comedian Thep Phongam as the damaged but humorous Purple, who becomes mentor to the young protagonist, Sumrit Warin as Ahlo’s father, the beautiful Alice Keohavong as his mother, and the wonderful Boonsri Yindee as a grandmother with a tough disposition and great legs. Extras with this blu-ray release include a commentary by Kim Mordaunt, a ‘making of’ documentary and the UK theatrical trailer. ‘A wonderfully executed film, with a gripping story driven by colourful, lovable characters.’ - Washington Square News.

HER       ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO EBR5239

HerSet in Los Angeles, in the near future, this thought-provoking film tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet ‘Samantha’, a bright, female voice (Scarlett Johansson) who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. Written and directed by Spike Jonze, this is a highly original romantic drama that explores the evolving nature - and the risks - of intimacy in the modern world. Written and directed by Jonze, Her received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and also stars Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde. Extras with this Blu-Ray release (also available on DVD - EDV9755) include behind the scenes footage, a documentary (‘Her: Love In The Modern Age’), and a Rick Howard project featurette.

IF....      EURAKA! MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70138

If....Legendary director Lindsay Anderson expanded on the social outrage and intense character focus of his debut feature, This Sporting Life, with this combustible tale of teenage insurrection. Winner of the 1969 Palme d Or at Cannes, If.... was a popular triumph and instantly recognised as a classic. A caustic portrait of a traditional boys boarding school, where social hierarchy reigns supreme and power remains in the hands of distanced and ineffectual teachers and callously vicious prefects. But three junior pupils, led by Mick Travis (charismatically played by Malcolm McDowell in the role that would make him one of Britain’s most iconic actors), decide on a shocking course of action to redress the balance of privilege once and for all. Packed with its director’s customary passion and experimentation, If.... remains one of cinema s quintessential tales of rebellion, a radical snapshot of late 60s change, and one of the towering achievements of British film in any era. Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series has now released If…. (note the four dot ellipsis) in a new Blu-ray edition with special features that include commentary with film critic and historian David Robinson and Malcolm McDowell, three of Lindsay Anderson’s short films (Three Installations, Henry, and Thursday s Children), over two hours of new and exclusive interviews with producer Michael Medwin, writers David Sherwin and John Howlett, editor David Gladwell, production manager Gavrik Losey, cameraman Brian Harris, and actors David Wood, Hugh Thomas, Geoffrey Chater, Philip Bagenal and Sean Bury, two trailers for the film, and a 56-page booklet containing new writing by David Cairns, an interview with actor Brian Pettifer, a self-conducted interview with Lindsay Anderson, notes on the three short films, and rare and archival imagery. This is the definitive edition of a masterpiece that remains a totally relevant critique of Britain’s public-school dominated system today. ‘Amongst the greatest British films of the post-war years.’ - Film 4.

LOOKING FOR LIGHT: JANE BOWN      SODA 240

Looking For Light - Jane BrownIn the almost six decades that Jane Bown worked for the Observer she became renowned for her insightful, highly individualistic portraits of the famous. Many are now regarded as classics of the genre – Samuel Beckett, Queen Elizabeth, the Beatles, Bertrand Russell, Mick Jagger and Margaret Thatcher. They are powerful, astonishingly beautiful images that magically capture the humanity behind people’s eyes and reflect the intimate exchange between photographer and subject. This feature documentary, directed by Luke Dodd and Michael Whyte, is an appreciative portrait of Jane Bown, her quiet determination to succeed in an almost exclusively male world and her legendary no-nonsense working method. It includes interviews with Rankin, Nobby Clark, Edna O’Brien and Don McCullin, as well as her many iconic photographs of the great and the good (and a few bad) of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This is a revealing portrait of a diminutive and self-effacing yet tenacious photographer who emerges through conversation, anecdote and candid reflection. The DVD has bespoke cover artwork and contains an exclusive signed photograph by Jane Bown herself. Special features include extended interviews with Edna O’Brien, Rankin and Sean O’Hagan, and a booklet with exclusive images and an essay on the making of the film. ‘Beautiful, simple, and sincere’ - The Upcoming.

NASHVILLE       EUREKA EKA70134

NashvilleA milestone in American cinema and one of the key films of the 1970s, Nashville is one of the most influential and dazzling films ever made. Director Robert Altman weaves together the stories and interactions of twenty-four major characters with astonishing fluidity to create an audacious, epic vision of America circa 1975. Taking place over five days in the nation’s music capital Nashville, Tennessee, the film shows people struggling for fulfilment, both personal and professional, amongst a backdrop of country and gospel musicians, outsider political campaigning, and the peripheries of life in between, building from one encounter at a time to create a wide-ranging tapestry of rich drama and human comedy. Featuring an exhilarating central vein of musical performances (written in character by many of the actors themselves), Henry Gibson is a master of cynical sincerity as an archetypal old-style country music star with extraordinary hair, and the phenomenal cast also includes the delightful Barbara harris, Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin (‘Good Lord love a duck!’), Shelley Duvall, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Murphy and Lily Tomlin, with Elliott Gould and Julie Christie in brief cameos as themselves. This dual format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition in Eureka! Entertainment’s award-winning The Masters of Cinema Series is the first time Altman’s iconic satire has been released on home video in the UK. Special features with the new 1080p high-definition restoration include interviews with Robert Altman, Michael urphy and screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury, film commentary with Altman, a booklet containing a new essay and vintage stills. ‘A masterpiece.’ - Time Out.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY        ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO EBR5236

August Osage CountyAugust: Osage County tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. The title refers time to an unusually hot August in a rural area outside Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard), an alcoholic, once-noted poet, interviews and hires a young native American woman Johnna (Misty Upham) as a live-in cook and carer for his foul-mouthed, strong-willed and adversarial wife Violet (Meryl Streep), who is suffering from cancer and addiction to narcotics. Shortly after this, he disappears from the house, and the monstrous Violet calls her sister and daughters for support. Her sister Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale) arrives with husband Charles (Chris Cooper). Violet’s youngest daughter Ivy (a brilliant, subtle performance by Julianne Nicholson) is single and the only one living locally; Barbara (Julia Roberts), her oldest, who has inherited her mother’s mean streak, arrives from Colorado with her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and 14-year-old daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin). The family sits down to an awkward dinner where, fuelled by Violet’s brutal ‘truth telling’, many family tensions, secrets and resentments are revealed. Written by Tracy Letts and based on his Pulitzer Prize–winning play of the same name, the film was directed by John Wells and produced by, among others, George Clooney. Oklahoma’s sparsely beautiful landscape is photographed by Adriano Goldman. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were both nominated for Academy Awards for the film and the outstanding ensemble cast also includes Juliette Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch and Dermot Mulroney. Special features with this Blu-ray release (also available on DVD - EDV9752) include a ‘making of’ documentary and a featurette with Tracy Letts, as well as feature and deleted scenes commentary with John Wells and cinematographer Adriano Goldman.

VIOLENT SATURDAY      EUREKA! ENTERTAINMENT EKA70135

Violent SaturdayDirector Richard Fleischer’s riveting crime saga tells a brutal tale against blazing, sun-drenched Arizona landscapes. Three criminals arrive in the small mining town of Bradenville, planning on robbing its only bank. But as they start scouting the area and gathering the information they need, the lives of others in the town threaten to get mixed up in their scheme, in a tangle that could lead to disastrous consequences. Featuring the iconic Victor Mature and ice-cool Stephen McNally, with the brilliant Lee Marvin as a loose cannon and Ernest Borgnine as an Amish farmer, Violent Saturday is a gem, complete with memorably vicious and idiosyncratic details. Fleischer is a master of visual storytelling who frames stunning Cinemascope images and elicits subtle performances from Hollywood stalwarts such as Richard Egan, sultry Virginia Leith, J. Carrol Naish, Sylvia Sidney and Brad Dexter. Margaret Hayes plays a beautiful, wayward wife and Tommy Noonan is the town’s bespectacled bank manager/peeping Tom. Part film noir, part melodrama, this classic film has now been released by Eureka in a dual format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition. The gorgeous high-definition master has both 4.0 and 2.0 soundtracks and extras include a fascinating video examination of the film by Nicolas Saada as well as an appreciation by director William Friedkin.

AN INSPECTOR CALLS     STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2699     

An Inspector CallsThe Birling family are rich, pampered and complacent. set in the year 1912, the shadow of the impending war has yet to fall across their lives. As they sit down to dinner one night, celebrating the engagement of the eldest child, Sheila, to prosperous business man Gerald, a knock at the door announces the arrival of a mysterious visitor who will change their lives forever. Based on an ingeniously constructed stage play by J.B. Priestley, this definitive film version of An Inspector Calls was directed by Guy Hamilton and stars the great Alastair Sim as the unnerving Inspector Poole, who says he is investigating the case of a sensitive young girl called Eva Smith (a sweet performance by Jane Wenham, making her screen debut) who has committed suicide. The inscrutable inspector’s persistent questioning causes all the family to reflect on their casual unkindness and consider the consequences of their actions, at least for a while. The ensemble cast of British actors also includes a young Bryan Forbes (excellent as the mostly squiffy son), Arthur Young as bombastic Arthur Birling and Eileen Moore as snooty Sheila Birling. This Blu-Ray 60th anniversary edition, also available on DVD (Studiocanal OPTD2699), features a fully restored version of An Inspector Calls as well as an interview with Jane Wenham, now in her eighties, about her rich experience working on the film.

HOBSON’S CHOICE    STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2700

Hobsons ChoiceTyrranical Henry Horatio Hobson (Charles Laughton) is the owner of a well-established and successful bootmaker’s shop in nineteenth century Salford, Lancashire. The eldest of his three daughters, Maggie, shoulders both home and business responsibilities while hard drinking Hobson whiles the time away at the local pub. The younger sisters are both being courted by neighbours, but Hobson refuses to give the couples settlements. Maggie becomes tired of his oafish behaviour and decides to take matters into her own hands by seeking a husband and, much to the hilarity and consternation of her father, sets her sights on shy Willie Mossop, Hobson’s master boot-maker (John Mills). Together they set up a rival boot shop, with Maggie soon turning her mind to helping her attractive but spoiled younger sisters (played by Daphne Anderson and Prunella Scales) marry their chosen partners. Brenda de Banzie and Laughton are both magnificent and John Mills said that Willie Mossop was his favourite role. Director David Lean turned Harold Brighouse’s popular 1915 stage play into a timeless masterpiece that went on to win multiple awards. Digitally restored, the film is now released in this 60th anniversary edition on Blu-Ray and DVD (Studiocanal OPTD2700) with extras that include interviews with Prunella Scales and associate producer and co-writer Norman Spencer.

THE BELLES OF ST TRINIAN’S      STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2698

Belles of St TriniansInspired by the drawings of Ronald Searle, this classic British comedy film set in the fictional St Trinian’s School was released in 1954, directed by Frank Launder and co-written by him with Sidney Gilliat. The unruly schoolgirls of St. Trinian’s are more interested in men and mischief than homework and hockey. But greater trouble beckons at the school when the arrival of Princess Fatima of Makyad coincides with the return of recently expelled Arabella Fritton (Vivienne Martin), who has kidnap on her mind. The film stars the incomparable Alastair Sim in the dual roles of head-mistress Miss Millicent Fritton and her equally disreputable twin brother Clarence. Joyce Grenfell is undercover policewoman Ruby posing as a jolly-hockey-sticks games mistress and George Cole is very funny as arch-spiv Flash Harry. The excellent cast also includes Beryl Reid, Betty Ann Davies as the Morticia-like Miss Waters (‘scripture and needlework’), Hermione Baddeley, Renee Houston, the great Irene Handl, Joan Sims, Richard Wattis, Arthur Howard and Sidney James. Look out too for early uncredited performances as schoolgirls by Shirley Eaton, Carol White and Barbara Windsor. This 60th anniversary Blu-Ray edition (also available on DVD: Studiocanal OPTD2698) has been fully restored, plus features brand new extra content that includes The Girls of St Trinian’s, featuring fond reminiscences of some of the girls involved, as well as interviews with Alistair Sim’s daughter Merlith McKendrick, film historian Geoff Brown, Steve Chibnall (Professor of British Cinema, De Montfort University) and Melanie Williams, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at UEA.

SPARKS        IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT IMAGE0006

sparksWhen his parents are killed in a car crash fireball, Ian Sparks makes it his mission to fight crime. As a masked vigilante he burns with the desire for vengeance and soon discovers the dark side of heroism, where havoc is wreaked for profit and life is cheap. Sparks joins forces with a band of mysterious super heroes who operate in the shadows, but what they have in common is more than he can imagine. The city is under attack from a master villain who goes by many names and who has many faces, and the cost of uncovering the truth may be more than Sparks can afford. This exciting action-packed thriller is based on the graphic novel series of the same name, adapted for the big screen by series creator Christopher Folino (who co-directs with Todd Burrows) and starring Chase Williams as Sparks and the excellent Ashley Bell as beautiful, agile Lady Heavenly. The supporting cast includes Clancy Brown, Clint Howard and Jake Busey, with William Katt as the evil Matanza. Stylish photography by Josh Fritts and Jackson Myers evokes the atmospheric late 1940s Film Noir setting. Shot on a low-budget in less than two weeks, Sparks features stunts and special effects, great cars, guiltless smoking and the smooth voice of Nat King Cole. Special features with this Blu-ray release (also available on DVD: IMAGE4006) include a ‘Making of Sparks’ documentary and optional audio commentary.

WHITE DOG     EUREKA EKA70128

White DogWhen a young actress (Kristy McNichol) adopts a stray white Alsatian she has accidentally hit with her car, she soon discovers that the dog has been conditioned to attack any black person on sight. Its only chance of a cure is animal trainer Keys (an excellent performance by Paul Winfield), who focuses on breaking the dog’s behaviour and finding a way to eradicate its vicious instincts. Veteran actor Burl Ives, in one of the last screen roles, plays the wily Carruthers, owner of an animal compound. One of the most controversial American films of the 1980s, White Dog is a daring late-career highlight for its iconoclastic director, Samuel Fuller, in his final Hollywood movie. Adapted from the story Chien Blanc by prolific French writer Romain Gary, the film is a typically head-on examination by Fuller of racism and remains a riveting, startlingly powerful experience. The brilliant music score is by the great Ennio Morricone, hired at the suggestion of Fuller’s wife, Christa Lang. The film amply demonstrates Fuller’s clear-eyed intelligence, impassioned humanity and filmmaking dynamism, much admired by French New Wave cinema directors. ‘There is certainly no finer film on its subject. - Time Out. White Dog was originally withheld from release in the USA and has been rarely seen since, especially in the UK, so this release in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series releases is particularly welcome. This premiere Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition features a new high-definition 1080p uncut presentation, supervised by producer Jon Davison. The accompanying booklet includes the words of Samuel Fuller and rare imagery. ‘If you don’t like Sam Fuller, you just don’t like cinema.’ - Martin Scorsese.

THE EALING STUDIOS COLLECTION, VOL. 1     STUDIOCANAL

Ealing CollectionSir Alec Guinness was a member of a distinguished generation of British actors that included Olivier, Redgrave, Gielgud and Richardson. Guinness was the most versatile of them all and able effortlessly to portray eight different members of the doomed family D’Ascoyne in the best of the Ealing Studio black comedies, the delightfully wicked KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (1949). This exquisite film also stars Dennis Price in his finest performance as a suave serial killer who politely murders his way into the peerage. Joan Greenwood is the sexy and dangerous Sibella. Extras with this release include an introduction by John Landis, a feature on Dennis Price and optional audio commentary with film critic Peter Bradshaw, director Terence Davies and Matthew Guinness (son of Alec Guinness). In THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT (1951), Alec Guinness plays Sidney Stratton, a single-minded genius inventor who develops a revolutionary fabric that never gets dirty or wears out. Thinking that his invention will be welcomed with open arms by the garment industry, he is shocked when both manufacturers and unions alike try to suppress it. This brilliantly structured satire, directed by Alexander Mackendrick, also stars the seductively husky Joan Greenwood as a rich girl who takes a shine to Sidney, Cecil Parker as her mill-owner father, Michael Gough as a distinctly unsympathetic rival, redoubtable veteran Ernest Thesiger, and Vida Hope as a feisty trade unionist. In THE LAVENDER HILL MOB (1951), a put-upon bank clerk schemes to rob his employers by exporting stolen gold disguised as Eiffel Tower paperweights. The fine cast of British stalwarts includes Stanley Holloway, Sidney James, Alfie Bass, John Gregson and Sydney Tafler, and Audrey Hepburn makes her debut screen as Chiquita. Extras include an introduction by Martin Scorsese and interviews with director Charles Crichton and screenwriter T E B Clark. These three great Ealing comedies, all immaculately photographed by Douglas Slocombe, captured the essence of post-war Britain, both in their evocation of a land once blighted by war but now rising doggedly and optimistically again from the ashes, and in their mordant yet graceful humour. They portray a country with an antiquated class system whose crumbling conventions are being undermined by a new spirit of individual opportunism. This excellent box set brings these three classics together for the first time on Blu-Ray. A perfect introduction for newcomers to the Ealing Classics collection, this trilogy is essential viewing for all Alec Guinness fans. ‘The best-known and loved English Actor of the 20th Century.’ - The Guardian.

LE MANI SULLA CITTÀ    EUREKA EKA70127

Hands Over The CityWinner of the Golden Lion at the 1963 Venice Film Festival, Francesco Rosi’s Le mani sulla città (‘Hands Over the City’) is one of the finest political dramas ever made - a passionate exploration of civic corruption in post-war Naples with the intensity of the best Hollywood thrillers and an exciting, edgy score by Piero Piccioni. Beginning with the alarming collapse of an apartment building in a working-class district, the film zeroes in on the subsequent investigation of responsibility surrounding the disaster. At the centre is Edoardo Nottola (a coolly menacing performance by Rod Steiger), a wealthy, scheming land developer and council member of the government’s ruling party, who is determined to keep his personal and professional interests in the building of new government housing as intertwined as possible. With sterling performances and visual prowess, director Rosi meticulously unpicks the tangled threads of interconnected favours and unscrupulous culture of self-reward within the halls of governmental power. This brilliant exposé (a major influence on countless filmmakers, including Coppola’s Godfather films) remains blazingly topical in its examination of corruption and cynical political deal-making. Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series releases the film here for the first time in the UK in a Dual-Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition. Special features with the new high-definition 1080p presentation include an interview in which French critic Michel Ciment questions Francesco Rosi and his fellow-Neapolitan screenwriter Raffaele La Capria about this highly personal film.

BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE   STUDIOCANAL

Bill & Ted's Excellent AdventureThis joyous 1989 American science fiction comedy was the first film in the Bill & Ted franchise, which includes Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, released two years later as well as a bodacious cartoon and comic book series. Starring Keanu Reeves as Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan, Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and George Carlin as Rufus, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was directed with a fine sense of the ridiculous by Stephen Herek. The film received mostly favourable reviews when initially released and quickly became a cult classic. It tells the story of two likable slackers who are in danger of flunking History class and are rescued by Rufus, a resident of San Dimas 700 years in the future - a future in which their band Wyld Stallyns has brought about world peace and the best water slides in the universe. Entrusted with a phone booth time machine, they pick up various historical characters to give a colourful stage show for their final exam. These esteemed personages include Napoleon Bonaparte, Billy The Kid (‘Mr The Kid’), Joan of Arc (not Noah’s wife) and the philosopher Socrates – a mischievous performance by English character actor Tony Steedman. This inspired silliness and hip 80s rock sensibility paved the way for many comedies that followed Wayne’s World, with air guitar and phrases such as ‘bogus’ and ‘dude’ becoming part of popular culture. The version on this Blu-ray has been digitally restored and comes with extras that include a fascinating discussion of Bill & Ted’s origins by writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon; an air guitar tutorial with Bjorn Turoque; an Episode from Bill & Ted’s animated series; Radio spots; Most triumphant Making Of Doc; From Scribble to Script; Linguistic Stylings of Bill & Ted; and Hysterical personages of Bill & Ted. Excellent indeed!

POIROT - BLU-RAY BOX SET            STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2480

PoirotThis collection brings to life three of Agatha Christie’s best-known novels in acclaimed film adaptations. Her famous Belgian detective’s cinematic journey began in 1974 with MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, 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 (1978) 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 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. Together for the first time on blu-ray, this box set is sure to please all Poirot fans.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING     ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO EBR5244

Much Ado About NothingWilliam Shakespeare’s legacy is a body of work that will probably never be equalled. His words have lasted for well over 400 years and still move us as powerfully as ever, fascinating us with his genius and sometimes mysterious life. 2014 marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and to celebrate the life and legacy of the world’s greatest playwright, Entertainment in Video has released for the first time on Blu-Ray director Kenneth Branagh’s excellent screen adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing. Made in 1993, this is a picturesque, high-spirited and exhilarating version of Shakespeare’s brilliant comedy about romantic misunderstandings and undeclared passion. Set in Messina, Sicily, it was filmed in the luscious countryside of Chianti, central Italy. Two lords, Claudio and Benedick, find themselves stung by Cupid’s arrow. Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard) is smitten by the young Hero (Kate Beckinsale), but his heart breaks when he is deceived into thinking that she has been unfaithful. Benedick has an ongoing sparring relationship with the feisty Beatrice (Emma Thompson), as their friends and family conspire to bring them together. Meanwhile, intrigue is brewing, as the villainous Don John (Keanu Reeves) schemes to overthrow his brother, the heroic Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon (Denzel Washington). Filming on location in Tuscany, Branagh has Romeo and Juliet1simplified the story to concentrate on character and atmosphere. Other members of the starry cast include Richard Briers, Imelda Staunton, Brian Blessed, Ben Elton and Michael Keaton, brilliant as the incompetent night constable Dogberry. Entertainment in Video has also released ROMEO AND JULIET (Blu-Ray EBR5217, DVD EDV9738). This version of Shakespeare’s passionate tale was adapted by Julian Fellowes, of Downton Abbey fame, and directed by Carlo Carlei. Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld play the doomed lovers in a tragic story of two families, Montague and Capulet, who use any excuse to publicly fight in the streets of Verona. Romeo and Juliet are dismayed to learn that their new loves belong to rival families. Romeo tries to conspire a way to pursue Juliet without incurring the wrath of his family, while Juliet relies on her nurse to discreetly deliver messages to her love. But the bad blood between the two families is too strong. As the lovers grow more desperate, Friar Laurence (Paul Giamatti) attempts to hatch a plan that will allow them to be together forever. The cast also includes Damian Lewis as Lord Capulet, Natascha McElhone as Lady Capulet, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Christian Cooke and Lesley Manville as Nurse.

WINGS        EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70124

WingsDirector William Wellman’s masterpiece won the first Academy Award for Best Picture in 1927 and is the only silent film ever to do so. Wings tells the story of an enduring friendship against a background of thrilling action that only practical effects can convincingly create. Hometown best friends Jack (a sensitive performance by Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers) and David (Richard Arlen, who served as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I) compete for the affection of gorgeous and sophisticated Sylvia (Jobyna Ralston, Arlen’s wife in real life). Jack doesn’t realise that girl next door Mary Preston (the delightful Clara Bow) has eyes for him as well. When the boys go off to France to fight against the Germans in World War I, Mary follows Jack into enemy lines as a nurse, eventually catching up with him in a delirious encounter at the Folies Bergere. Wellman’s stirring epic shows the horror and insanity of war as well as the courage and chivalry of those involved, combining spectacular stunts with classical melodrama. It features one of Clara Bow’s finest performances and the screen debut of Gary Cooper - the rangiest pilot of them all. Comic relief is provided by former vaudevillian El Brendel as Herman Schwimpf. The exciting action sequences are all the more impressive given that these were achieved long before CGI. Some of the actors even learned to fly and film themselves to ensure authenticity. Eureka! Entertainment’s Masters of Cinema series has released this American classic in a beautiful new restoration on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK as part of a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition. Special features include three documentaries (Wings: Grandeur in the Sky; Restoring the Power and Beauty of Wings; Dogfight!) and a 40-page booklet with an essay on the film by critic Gina Telaroli, excerpts from a vintage interview with William Wellman, a 1930 profile of stuntmen from the film, a vintage piece on the production, personal anecdotes from Wellman and rare archival imagery.

IL BIDONE      EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70109

Il BidoneFrederico Fellini followed up his iconic breakthrough La Strada with this brilliant drama in 1955. An unsparing look at the dog-eat-dog values of postwar Italian society, Il bidone (The Swindle) manages to navigate expertly between the lightly comic and the emotionally stark to become one of his richest, most moving works. Three small-time conmen - the ageing Augusto (Broderick Crawford), artist ‘Picasso’ (Richard Basehart) and womanising, would-be crooner Roberto (Franco Fabrizi) - prey upon the poor and gullible for modest gains. However, once Augusto is unexpectedly reunited with his daughter, now struggling with her studies, the moral and emotional demands of his lifestyle begin to take their toll sooner than he had anticipated. With its masterful set pieces and host of superb performances (including the director’s wife and muse Giuletta Masina as Picasso’s wife), this forms the centrepiece of what has been termed Fellini’s ‘Trilogy of Loneliness’ (with La strada and Le notti di Cabiria), and may be the darkest examination of human nature he ever attempted. With this film he moves more towards his later surrealist style, skilfully blending neo-realism with louche 1950s atmosphere, and performances by non-professionals with the lead actors. American Richard Basehart is excellent as weak but charming Picasso and Broderick Crawford wonderful as the tragic Augusto, especially in the film’s moving final scenes. Fellini’s undervalued and largely forgotten classic has now been released on Blu-ray in this new high-definition restoration as part of Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series. Extras include optional English subtitles, the original theatrical trailer, a 36-page booklet, and an interview with one of Fellini’s assistants on the film, Dominique Delouche, who gives revealing insights into the director’s unique and sometimes extravagant film-making methods.

THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN       STUDIOCANAL

The Broken Circle BreakdownDirector Felix Van Groeningen’s heartfelt drama charts the love story between a Belgian couple who soon find their love tested to the limits. Based on the stage play by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels, the film tells the story of the highs and lows in the life of Elise (Veerle Baetens), who owns her own tattoo shop, and Didier (Heldenbergh), who plays the banjo in a Flemish bluegrass band. He talks, she listens. He’s a romantic atheist, she’s a religious realist. In spite of major differences, the pair fall in love at first sight, going on to enjoy an idyllic lifestyle singing together in the band, and leading a life of rustic simplicity in the Flemish countryside. Not long after, their happiness appears to be complete with the birth of their daughter, Maybelle (the delightful Nell Cattrysse). But when Maybelle later becomes gravely ill, Elise and Didier’s differing responses to the crisis throws their relationship into turmoil and places a question mark on their future together. Can love conquer fate? Veerle Baetens gives an intense, moving performance as Elise, struggling to cope with her grief. The music is poignant and excellently played by members of the cast. The Broken Circle Breakdown enjoyed a ten-minute standing ovation and Audience Award when shown at the Berlin Film Festival, and went on to screen at Tribeca and Cannes.

BETTY BLUE           SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4024 

Betty BlueDirected by Jean-Jacques Beineix, Betty Blue was originally titled 37.2° le matin (37.2°C being the normal morning temperature of a pregnant woman). The film received both a BAFTA and Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1986, as well as winning a César Award for Best Poster. A landmark in French cinema, this erotically charged and visually intoxicating film with superb cinematography by Jean-François Robin introduced the world to a new screen icon, Béatrice Dalle. Laid-back handyman Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) spends his time making chilli and aspiring to become a writer, paying the bills by doing odd jobs on beach-front bungalows. His life is turned upside down with the arrival of the beautiful but volatile Betty, who he describes as ‘like a flower with translucent antennae and a mauve plastic heart’. The film opens with a graphic sex scene as they begin their romance fuelled by intense passion. Betty is earthy, impulsive and decidedly troublesome, often causing havoc with little thought of the consequences. As she turns increasingly violent and self-destructive, Zorg shows his love by trying desperately to help Betty and halt her slide into insanity. Excellent support is provided by Gérard Darmon as Eddy, an extrovert pizza restaurant owner, and Consuelo De Haviland as his self-deprecating girlfriend Lisa. This 2 Disc Blu-ray Edition release includes the original Theatrical version of the film as well as the Director’s Cut, which has about an hour of extra footage. Extras include Béatrice Dalle’s screen tests and ‘Blue Notes & Bungalows - The Making of Betty Blue’, featuring interviews with Jean-Jacques Beineix, Béatrice Dalle, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Claudie Ossard, Gabriel Yared and Jean-François Robin.

HEAVEN’S GATE     SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4025

Heaven's GateMichael Cimino’s epic anti-western is based on events in the Johnson County War that took place in 1890s Wyoming. James Averill (Kris Kristofferson) is a Harvard graduate who has returned to Wyoming as a Marshall to protect immigrant farmers trying to build new lives on the American frontier from powerful, government-backed cattle barons. He also clashes with a hired gun, Nathan Champion (Christopher Walken), over the woman they both love, Ella Watson (Isabel Huppert). Both men find themselves questioning their roles as hostilities mount and the inevitability of a full-scale and bloody war edges closer. The film also stars Christopher Walken. John Hurt, Joseph Cotten and the excellent Jeff Bridges. This two-disc Blu-ray release features a stunning restored transfer of the director’s cut and soundtrack supervised by Michael Cimino. Extras include ‘True Gate’ (an interview with Jeff Bridges), ‘Painting Jackson County’ (an interview with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond) and extracts from ‘Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven’s Gate’ (Michael Epstein’s acclaimed documentary based on Steven Bach’s book). Heaven’s Gate was a commercial and critical disaster when first released in a truncated version in 1980 (the original ran to nearly five and a half hours!). The film destroyed Cimino’s career as a director and nearly bankrupted United Artists but is now considered by many to be a masterpiece, with its grand scope, exhilarating battle scenes and breathtaking photography by Vilmos Zsigmond. ‘One of the most beautiful, immersive films ever made’ - Time Out.

NOSFERATU - F W MURNAU    EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70115

NosferatuThe word ‘nosferatu’ comes from an old Slavonic word nosufur-atu, derived from the Greek for ‘plague carrier’ (vampires were long regarded as the carriers of diseases). In Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s groundbreaking 1922 masterpiece, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (‘A Symphony of Horrors’) a city clerk named Hutter (Gustav Von Wangenheim) leaves his bride (Greta Schroeder) to conduct business in the distant Carpathian mountains with an eccentric client, Graf Orlok (the amazing Max Schreck). The closer Hutter gets to his destination during a long and hazardous journey, the more terrified are the people he meets. What he finds when he reaches Orlok’s castle is enough to make the flesh of the most devoted horror fan creep. On Nosferatu’s first release, critics were divided and the public bewildered by the director’s clever use of time and space distortion. It was the first film to be based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula character and the first from the production company Prana-Film. It was also the last one the company made before going bankrupt after Stoker’s estate sued for copyright infringement. An English judge ordered that all copies of the film be destroyed and the negative burned. Fortunately, the order was not enforceable in Germany, so a print survived and Nosferatu has subsequently gained a reputation as one of the greatest movie adaptations of the vampire legend. One of the most iconic and of all horror films – and silent films – in the history of cinema, Nosferatu was ranked #21 in Empire magazine’s 2010 poll of the 100 greatest films in world cinema and included in the recent Critic’s Poll by Sight & Sound magazine as one of the 250 greatest films ever made. This Masters of Cinema Series Blu-ray release features a Nosferatu in its definitive restoration by Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, complete with original intertitles and accompanied by the score that played with the film at the time of its initial release. Extras include two audio commentaries (one newly recorded by film historian David Kalat; the second by historian R. Dixon Smith and critic Brad Stevens), The Language of Shadows (a 53-minute documentary on Murnau’s early years and the filming of Nosferatu), an interview with BFI Film Classics Nosferatu author Kevin Jackson, and a 56-page booklet featuring writings and rare images.

LOVE, MARILYN             STUDIOCANAL OPTD2538

Love, Marilyn DVDMarilyn Monroe invented her public persona at the expense of concealing a private side know only to her close confidants. Fifty years after her death, her creation still blazes brightly in our cultural imagination, while the creator continues to lurk in the shadows. Drawing on never-before-seen personal papers, diaries and letters, Academy-award nominated director Liz Garbus worked with acclaimed actresses to evoke the multiple aspects of the real Marilyn - passion, ambition, soul-searching, power and fear - in an absorbing and astonishing portrait. These documents, brought to life in this film by some of our contemporary icons and stars, give us a new and revelatory understanding of Monroe, revealing her carefully guarded inner life. The film has fascinating archive footage, including an interview with Ben Lyon, and features Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Lindsay Lohan, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood. Adrien Brody, Hope Davis, Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti, Janet McTeer, Oliver Platt and David Strathairn bring to life the writings of Billy Wilder, Natasha Lytess, Truman Capote, Gloria Steinem and Norman Mailer, completing the image of this very flesh-and-blood young woman in thrall to ambition, imagination, demons, and fear who, over time, came to embrace life, friendship, and the possibility of her future. More than a thousand books have been written about Marilyn Monroe yet there always seems more to discover. This film sympathetically evokes a confused, intelligent woman with a love of poetry, serious artistic ambitions and a fragile sense of self-worth. Extras include an interview with director Liz Garbus.

RED RIVER       EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70114     

Red River - Blu-rayOne of Hollywood’s most iconic westerns, Red River is an all-American epic, a grand adventure yarn, and a profound psychological journey. The film thrillingly creates cinema’s grandest cattle drive and provides one of the screen’s most powerful father-son dramas. John Wayne’s role as the tyrannical ranch owner Thomas Dunson inspired one of his best performances, and in his debut leading role, Montgomery Clift instantly leapt to the forefront of Hollywood’s young actors. After the Civil War, Dunson leads a drive of ten thousand cattle out of an impoverished Texas to the richer markets of the Missouri railhead, alongside his adopted son Matthew Garth (Clift) and a team of ranch hands. As the conditions worsen, and Dunson’s control over his cattlemen gets ever more merciless, a rebellion begins to grow within the travelling party. Spectacularly filmed among glorious expanses with no expense spared, the film features brilliant performances from greats such as Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, John Ireland, Hank Worden and Harry Carey (his last film and the only one in which he appeared with his son, Harry Carey, Jr.). An uncredited Shelley Winters plays a dance hall girl in the wagon train. Voted fifth greatest western of all time by the American Film Institute in 2008, Red River was directed by the legendary Howard Hawks, one of the most influential American directors of all time. This new release - the first Blu-ray edition - is part of Eureka Entertainment’s award-winning Masters of Cinema Series. Special features with the high-definition 1080p transfer include a lengthy video conversation about the film and Howard Hawks by filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt, conducted by Jaime Christley. There is also the 1949 Lux Radio Theater version of Red River starring Wayne, Brennan and Dru but not Montgomery Clift, who is superb in the film but didn’t get on with the director and some of the cast. ‘Immaculately shot by Russell Harlan, perfectly performed by a host of Hawks regulars, and shot through with dark comedy, it’s probably the finest Western of the ‘40s.’ - Time Out.

DR MABUSE, DER SPIELER       EUREKA MASTERS OF CINEMA EKA70119

Dr MabuseFrom the early stages of his career across five decades to his final film, Fritz Lang directed a trilogy of paranoiac thrillers focused on an entity who began as a criminal mastermind whose nefarious machinations provide the cover the economic upheaval and social bacchanalia at the heart of Weimar-era Berlin. The character progressed into something more amorphous: fear itself, embodied only by a name - Dr. Mabuse. Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler) was made in 1922 and is a two-part, nearly 5-hour silent epic detailing the rise and fall of Dr. Mabuse in Weimar-era Berlin. It would be followed by Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (The Testament of Dr. Mabuse), a 1933 tour-de-force thriller rife with supernatural elements, and Lang’s final film Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse (The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, set in the Cold War era. Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler is a masterpiece of conspiracy in which Rudolf Klein-Rogge plays Dr. Mabuse. Initiated with the arch-villain’s diabolical manipulation of the stock-market, and passing through a series of dramatic events based around hypnotism, charlatanism, hallucinations, Chinese incantations, cold-blooded murder, opiate narcosis and cocaine anxiety, Lang’s film maintains an unrelenting power all the way to the final act... which culminates in the terrifying question: ‘WHERE IS MABUSE?!’ Lang’s two-part classic set the template for the director’s greatest works: social commentary as superpsychology, poised at the brink of combustion. Special features with this new fully-restored transfer from restored HD materials, available for the first time on Blu-ray, include an exclusive feature-length audio commentary by film-scholar and Lang expert David Kalat, three video pieces (an interview with the composer of the restoration score, a discussion of Norbert Jacques, creator of Dr. Mabuse, and an examination of the film’s motifs in the context of German silent cinema), and a booklet with vintage reprints of writing by Lang. This new release of One of Fritz Lang’s earliest classics is a welcome reminder of the work of one of cinema’s greatest and most influential filmmakers.

THE NIGHT WE GOT THE BIRD     NETWORK 7953954

THE NIGHT WE GOT THE BIRDA host of British comedy luminaries – including veteran farceur Brian Rix and, in his last film role, actor and stand-up comedian Ronald Shiner – star in this good-natured comic caper charting the misadventures of a hapless bunch of Brighton-based petty crooks dogged by disaster at every turn. It’s a set-up of craft and graft as ‘Chippendale Charlie’, played by Reginald Beckwith, forges the antiques and Cecil Gibson (Shiner) flogs ‘em. There’s only one flaw in the fiddle: they’ve no-one to shoulder the blame if things go wrong. No-one, that is, until gormless Bertie (Rix), the perfect idiot, joins the firm… Directed by D’Arcy Conyers in 1961 and partly scripted by legendary farce specialist Ray Cooney, the film has many fascinating outdoor location shots of Brighton. Also starring are such regular British stalwarts as Dora Bryan, Leo Franklyn, Liz Fraser, John Slater, John Le Mesurier and the great Robertson Hare (uncredited). Kynaston Reeves is hilarious as a wonderfully confused magistrate and Irene Handl is a delight as always with her inspired malapropisms. Part of Network’s ‘British Film’ collection, The Night We Got The Bird is released here in a new transfer from the original film elements in its cinema aspect ratio. Special features include an image gallery and the original press book.

THE WICKER MAN      STUDIOCANAL

Wicker ManPart mystery story, part horror, The Wicker Man takes several genres and combines them into one fascinating film. When a young girl unaccountably disappears on a remote Scottish island, devout Christian Police Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) travels there to investigate. He finds a close-knit and secretive pastoral community living on an island paradise, ruled over by eccentric Lord Summerisle (a brilliant performance by Christopher Lee), with beliefs very much at odds with his puritanism. The islanders mock Howie’s attempts to question them about the girl’s disappearance, and put the very foundations of his faith to the test. He begins to fear that the fate of the girl could be linked to the islanders’ failing crops and their belief that only a sacrifice of the highest order will change their luck. As May Day festivities intensify and the islanders’ behaviour becomes more frenzied, Howie’s quest to save the girl becomes a race against time… Scripted by Anthony Shaffer, the film is directed y Robin Hardy and uses atmospheric locations, unsettling imagery and a haunting soundtrack to build to one of the most terrifying and iconic climaxes in modern cinema. Woodward is excellent as the pompous police officer and the cast also includes Diane Cilento as the teacher, Britt Ekland as the landlord’s sexy daughter Willow, and Hammer regular Ingrid Pitt as the librarian. This superb disc Blu-ray edition has a host of extras that includes the UK theatrical cut, the director’s cut, audio commentary, interviews with Robin Hardy and Christopher Lee, several featurettes, and a restoration comparison. ‘The best British horror film ever made.’ - Empire.

THE WITCHES        STUDIOCANAL

The WitchesGwen Mayfield (Joan Fontaine in her last major film role) is an English schoolteacher working as a missionary in Africa. Suddenly she finds herself being victimised by a tribe of local witch doctors and is exposed to the deadly powers of the occult, leaving her deeply traumatised. In an effort to recover from her breakdown she takes up a a post of headmistress in a rural school back in the seemingly safer environs of the British countryside. But the idyllic village surroundings become increasingly sinister as Gwen begins to uncover a nightmarish web of dark and satanic secrets. An unnerving atmosphere builds, with strangely behaving children and villagers, a mysterious black cat and an insouciantly brutal butcher. Other members of the impressive cast include Alec McCowen, Ann Bell, Gwen Ffrangcon Davies and Kay Walsh, relishing her role as the formidable Stephanie Bax. The Witches has a literate script by Nigel Kneale, creator of Quatermass, music by Richard Rodney Bennett and luminous colour photography by Arthur Grant. The film was directed by Cyril Frankel and released by Hammer in 1966 on a double bill with Death Is a Woman. Extras with this DVD release include a revealing new documentary - ‘Hammer Glamour’. Valerie Leon, Caroline Munro, Martine Beswick, Vera Day, Madeleine Smith and Jenny Hanley reminisce frankly and sometimes ruefully about being beautiful Hammer Film actresses, who also included Diana Dors, Hazel Court, Barbara Shelley, Ursula Andress, Raquel Welch and Ingrid Pitt.

POPULAIRE        ENTERTAINMENT ONE 

PopulaireIn the Spring of 1958. 21-year-old Rose Pamphyle (the delightful Déborah François) is living in a sleepy French village with her domineering shopkeeper father. Engaged to the son of the local mechanic, it seems her destiny is to spend the rest of her days as a bored rural housewife but Rose wants more from life than a humdrum existence. Travelling to Normandy, she meets charismatic bachelor Louis Echard (saturnine Romain Duris), the dashing boss of an insurance agency who is hiring a secretary. Her interview is a disaster but Rose reveals a special gift - she can type at an extraordinary speed! Unwittingly, she awakes the dormant sports fan in Louis, who enters her into national speed typing competition. As he coaches her, they both discover that the road to success can sometimes take romantic turns. With an eye-popping visual style, dazzling costumes and a fine eye for period atmosphere, Populaire is a chic and sumptuous romantic comedy that recalls the glamorous 1950s heyday of Hollywood. Written and stylishly directed by Régis Roinsard (his first full-length feature), Populaire also stars Bérénice Bejo, who became internationally famous in The Artist. Populaire is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, with extras that include no less than five featurettes.

PLEIN SOLEIL     STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2377

Plein Soleil blu-rayTom Ripley is hired by a rich American to bring his errant son Philippe (Maurice Ronet) back home to the US. Tom travels to Italy, where Philippe is on an extended holiday with his fiancée Marge (Marie Laforêt), and slowly begins to ingratiate himself into their glamorous, carefree lives. An ambiguous relationship develops between the two men, with Philippe never missing an opportunity to remind Ripley of the yawning chasm between their social standing. But when Ripley realizes that Philippe is tiring of his company, he hatches a plan to kill his friend whilst the two are at sea together on a voyage, dumping his body overboard. When he arrives back on dry land, Ripley begins the process of assuming Philippe’s identity, slowly taking over the life that he always envied and that is now finally within his grasp. This striking study of a glamorous and complex psychopath was directed by Oscar-winning French director René Clément and has a wonderfully unsettling score by the great Nino Rota. Plein Soleil was the first film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s best-selling novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and features a career-defining performance by the young, beautiful and ultra-cool Alain Delon. Dennis Hopper and Matt Damon have also both also appeared as Ripley on screen but neither matches the ice-cold portrayal by a then 24 year-old Delon. Henri Decaë was responsible for the glorious sun-drenched cinematography and Highsmith herself called the film ‘very beautiful to the eye and interesting for the intellect’. This new restored version reveals the film in all its former glory in a Blu-ray release with extras that include a featurette on René Clément and the New Wave, an entertaining interview with Alain Delon and a restoration comparison.

DEATH AT BROADCASTING HOUSE     NETWORK 7953996

Death at Broadcasting HouseWhen an actor is murdered during the recording of a radio play, dogged Detective Inspector Gregory quickly discovers that the victim had many enemies amongst his fellow players. Gregory’s deductions lead him into a blind alley when he decides to reconstruct the crime, hoping that this tried and tested device will lead him to the killer. All the technical and human resources of Broadcasting House are brought to his aid but will he discover the killer? Part of Network’s British Film Collection, this DVD debut features a brand new transfer from film elements of a thirties whodunit that includes early roles for Ian Hunter, a young Jack Hawkins and Donald Wolfit, whose character is surprisingly criticised by a director for underplaying his role! The film provides a fascinating glimpse into the pioneering days of radio and television, with many scenes filmed at the BBC’s then newly constructed London headquarters There are performances by Broadway star Elisabeth Welch, British singer/actress Eve Becke and the splendidly named Gershom Parkington Quintette, as well as tap dancing and brief appearances by half-remembered names from the period such as Hannen Swaffer and Gillie Potter.

THE TARNISHED ANGELS       EUREKA EKA70111

Tarnished AngelsOne of legendary director Douglas Sirk’s most cherished projects, this spectacular adaptation of William Faulkner’s Pylon has risen in stature to become one of his most acclaimed films. Reuniting with his core creative team from oil tycoon saga Written on the Wind, Sirk this time examined the marginal lives and lost souls living one rung from the bottom with surpassing delicacy and artistry. Rock Hudson stars as New Orleans reporter Burke Devlin, fascinated by the sordid lives of a trio eking out a living in carnival circuit daredevil airshows - Roger Shumann (Robert Stack), former WWI fighter pilot, forced into races and parachute routines with the help of his sexy wife, the strange and beautiful LaVerne (Dorothy Malone), their young son, and faithful mechanic Jiggs (Jack Carson). Evoking Depression-era New Orleans with glorious black-and-white CinemaScope photography, Sirk’s spellbinding chronicle of personal obsession, romantic longing and irreconcilable desires now appears as one of the most extraordinary films to come out of 1950s Hollywood. Passionate, tender and erotic, it features thrilling action sequences and excellent acting throughout, including a sensitive performance by Rock Hudson that proves he was more than just a handsome hunk. Danish-German Sirk’s films are now seen as masterpieces of irony and he is a favourite director of Pedro Almódovar, Quentin Tarantino, John Waters, Todd Haynes, Kathryn Bigelow and Jean-Luc Godard, among others. Eureka’s exemplary Masters of Cinema Series here presents The Tarnished Angels on Blu-ray for the first time, with a host of special features never before released in the UK, including audio commentary by film critic Adrian Martin, rare interviews with the filmmakers and cast members such as the amiable William Schallert, an isolated music & effects track, the Original theatrical trailer, and a 40-page booklet featuring the words of Douglas Sirk, vintage reportage from the film set and rare images. ‘This is bravura filmmaking in the service of a haunting vision.’ - New York Times.

LE PONT DU NORD        EUREKA EKA70106

Le Pont du NordFrench New Wave master Jacques Rivette’s 1982 film Le Pont du Nord envisions Paris as a sprawling game-board marked off with tucked-away conspiracies, where imagination and paranoia intermingle; where the hinted-at stakes are sanity, life and death. Regular Rivette actress Bulle Ogier stars as Marie, a claustrophobic ex-con who, shortly after wandering into Paris, encounters the wild and potentially troubled young woman Baptiste (Pascale Ogier, Bulle’s actual 22-year-old daughter). Baptiste, a knife-wielding, self-proclaimed kung-fu expert with a drive to slash the eyes from faces in adverts, accompanies Marie on her quest to solve the mystery behind the contents of her former lover’s (Pierre Clémenti’s) suitcase: an amalgam of clippings, patterns, and maps of Paris that points to a vastly unsettling labyrinth replete with signs and intimations whose menacing endgame remains all too unclear. Gorgeously shot by master cinematographer William Lubtchansky, Le Pont du Nord is a freewheeling, powerful experience whose hypnotic rhythm and ominous undercurrents resolve into a frightening and exhilarating portrait of post-revolutionary, early-80s Paris - and in turn form a prime example of Rivette’s uncanny, occult cinema. This rare and essential feature is here released for the first time on Blu-ray and DVD (EKA40374) in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio. This gorgeous new 1080p Blu-ray presentation comes with a 56 page booklet containing new writing by critics Francisco Valente and Sabrina Marques; a director’s statement by Jacques Rivette, and six questions for the director by Jean Narboni, from the film’s original press book; a parallel-text translation of the traditional French children’s song ‘Sur le Pont du Nord’; vintage writing on the film by Serge Daney; excerpts from a long interview with Rivette conducted by Serge Daney and Jean Narboni; the complete script for a short-film homage to Rivette by actress and filmmaker Kate Lyn Sheil; and rare archival imagery. Rivette’s laconic directing style perfectly suggests the mystery and menace lurking in the city through which Marie and Baptiste wander existentially until the film reaches its unsettling, apocalyptic climax. Pascale Ogier in particular gives a remarkable performance as the odd, disturbed and streetwise Baptiste.

BLANCANIEVES       STUDIOCANAL OPTD2618

BlancanievesOnce upon a time there was a little girl named Carmen (the delightful Sofía Oria) who had never known her mother. She grows up separated from her father Antonio Villalta (Daniel Giménez Cacho), a once dashing bullfighter who is now an invalid. When Carmen, along with pet rooster Pepe, eventually go to live with her father and her evil stepmother Encarna (Maribel Verdú), she is despised and put to menial tasks. After Encarna’s murder plan fails, Carmen is left for dead then discovered in the woods by a travelling band of bullfighting dwarves. She is rechristened Snow White and recruited to the troupe, bringing their number up to seven. Carmen’s remarkable talent for bullfighting, learned from her father, results in exciting if controversial scenes in the bullring. The engaging Macarena García plays the more mature Carmen and Maribel Verdú is mesmerising as the cruel Encarta. Multi-award winning Blancanieves is a stark and beautiful visualisation of the classic Grimm Brothers fairy-tale, written and directed in virtuoso style by Pablo Berger under the influence of Bunuel, Hitchcock and German Expressionism. The film is Spain’s answer to The Artist, though Blancanieves was conceived earlier. The story, set southern Spain in 1920s, brings a surreal twist to this much loved tale. Shot on colour stock, the film was desaturated to black & white in post-production in a tribute to the silent film era. Extras with this DVD release include the trailer and a ‘making of’ documentary. ‘A movie’s like a paella, you put all of your obsessions in there.’ - Pablo Berger.

BROKEN     STUDIOCANAL OPTBD2539

Broken1With a brilliant script based on Daniel Clay’s acclaimed novel, director Rufus Norris’s multi-award-winning film is a story that gets to the very heart of modern social dysfunction. It’s a powerful, captivating and heartbreaking exploration of love in all its many forms; idealised, unrequited, and, ultimately, unconditional. With some light comic touches and a terrific central performance from newcomer Eloise Laurence as eleven year old Skunk - funny, touching and astonishingly natural. This coming of age story deals with the tumultuousness of growing up in a world where the unhappy certainties of childhood give way to a fear-filled doubt, and where a complex, broken world fills the future. The impressive cast includes Rory Kinnear as a troubled man unable to restrain his anger and violent nature, Tim Roth in a subtle performance as Skunk’s loving father and Cillian Murphy as a teacher on whom Skunk has a friendly crush. The excellent cast also includes Denis Lawson as a mild neighbour and Robert Emms as his disturbed son, who Skunk can relate to. Eloise Laurence is outstanding as the young girl forced to grow up before her time, trying to make sense of the broken lives around her. The affecting soundtrack is by Electric Wave Bureau, an artists’ collective founded by musical director Mike Smith, artist Suzi Winstanley, Nelson De Freitas and musician Damon Albarn. The music also features an original song by Blur. Extras include the trailer and a generous selection of interviews with the director and cast. ‘Eloise Laurence is sublime. A future star is born.’ - Daily Mail.

THE MISSING MILLION    NETWORK 7953938

The Missing MillionSilent-era star John Stuart, Linden Travers and Patricia Hilliard feature in this atmospheric British wartime thriller from 1942, directed by Philip Brandon and adapted from a story by Edgar Wallace – one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated and prolific crime writers. The story fizzes along with typical Wallace pace right from the start when a millionaire man-about-town mysteriously disappears on the eve of his wedding and a chain of violent and incomprehensible events is set into action. The complicated plot involves suspicion, blackmail, menaces, sudden death and thunderstorms in the night. The extraordinary Valentine Dyall glides elegantly through his scenes and Charles Victor plays cockney safe-cracker Nobb Knowles, a self professed misogynist always susceptible to a pretty face. This is understandable in the case of lovely Linden Travers, who positively glows in the sensuous black and white photography. The plot may be preposterous and the performances sometimes stiff but the film is an enjoyable delve into a glamorous world of butlers, chauffeurs and clipped accents. The Missing Million is released here in an excellent new transfer from the original film elements as part of Network’s British Film Collection.

GIPSY BLOOD       NETWORK 7953912

Gipsy BloodThis vintage adaptation of Prosper Mérimée’s classic novel of passion and fatal jealousy, Carmen, stars American actress and lyric soprano Marguerite Namara. A close friend of Isadora Duncan and a pupil of Nellie Melba, Namara’s circle of interesting early twentieth century friends also included Enrico Caruso, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Debussy, Auguste Rodin, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Noël Coward, George Gershwin and P. G. Wodehouse. During her years in Paris in the 1920s she studied painting with Claude Monet. In 1932, she made a rare screen appearance in this first musical film version of Carmen, a British Film Company picture given the unfortunate name of Gipsy Blood (sometimes billed as Gypsy Blood but usually referred to by Namara as ‘The Bloody Gypsy’). Exteriors were filmed in Spain and the post-synched music by Bizet recorded in London, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent, then a rising young conductor. Vogueing her way through 19th century Seville like some duplicitous Madonna-esque boot girl, with a hint of Mae West as well, Marguerite Namara’s Carmen steals every scene. Her fearless performance is full of vivacious charm as she weaves her spell, showing a callous disregard for the feelings of any man she consumes. A combination of both the subject matter and the film medium’s then-recent emergence from the Silent era ensures that the men are Valentinoed with make-up and extensively prettified, though it doesn’t always work - especially in the case of the marvellous Dennis Wyndham, who chews his scenes with gusto. The crisp black and white photography is striking and features impressive landscapes as well as an exciting climax in the bull ring. Gipsy Blood was directed by Cecil Lewis and edited by Leslie Norman, father of critic Barry Norman. The film is presented here as part of ‘The British Film’ collection in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements. Special features include ten minutes of deleted scenes and an image gallery.

THE COMPLETE (EXISTING) FILMS OF SADAO YAMANAKA      EUREKA EKA40367

YamanakaJapanese film director and screenwriter Sadao Yamanaka was a contemporary of Yasujirō Ozu, Mikio Naruse and Kenji Mizoguchi during the 1930s. He was a pioneer in the development of the jidaigeki, or ‘period piece’ historical film, which he sometimes used to prevent his critical comments about contemporary Japanese society being censored by an increasingly militaristic government. Yamanaka’s brief but prodigious career resulted in a catalogue of work characterised by an elegant and unforced visual style, fluid editing, and a beautiful attention to naturalistic performances. Although he made 22 films over a six-year period (before dying of dysentery in a Japanese Imperial Army outpost in Manchuria at the age of 28), only three of them survive, collected here for the first time in the West. Tange Sazen: The Million Ryō Pot is a gloriously comic adventure yarn as the titular one-eyed, one-armed swordsman (a brilliant performance by Denjirô Ôkôchi) becomes embroiled in the hunt for a missing pot that points the way to hidden treasure. In Kōchiyama Sōshun, a subversively humanistic adaptation of a classic kabuki play, a small but invaluable knife stolen from a samurai leads to a chain of an increasingly complex and troublesome set of circumstances. His last film, Humanity and Paper Balloons, is an unsparing ensemble drama set among the lowest rungs of Japanese society in the 18th century. These treasures of world cinema here in new digital transfers as a two-disc DVD set in Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Series. Sadao Yamanaka was a brilliant, witty and economical storyteller with a commendable lightness of touch, and these remaining films show how great a talent was lost with his early death. Extras with this two-disc set include rarely seen fragments of two other lost Yamanaka films, an excellent review of the 1930s Japanese film era by Tony Rayns, and a lengthy booklet containing Yamanaka’s will, excerpts from his diaries, and essays by Tony Rayns, Shinji Aoyama and Kimitoshi Satō.

KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE & GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES    STUDIOCANAL

Kiki's Delivery ServiceGrave of FirefliesIn Kiki’s Delivery Service, teenage witch Kiki decides to move away from home to live on her own in a new town, using her magical powers to get by. But Kiki is poor with potions, second-rate at spells and not even too sure of her flying ability. Instead, she sets up a courier service, using her broomstick to deliver everything from pies to pets as she copes with boys and battles angry crows. At first with only her best friend the sarcastic cat Jiji for company, she soon discovers that she has more friends than she ever thought possible. Adapted by Hayao Miyazaki from the children’s book by Eiko Kadono, the charming Kiki’s Delivery Service is a sharply observed and often exquisitely beautiful fairytale - one of the best-loved animated features in Japan. This version features the voices of Kirsten Dunst, Janeane Garofalo and Debbie Reynolds, and extras with the double play Blu-ray edition include feature length storyboards, several fascinating documentaries from Ghibli about how the film was made, and the original Japanese trailers. GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES is set in Japan during World War II and focuses on Seita and his little sister Setsuko. After their mother is killed in an air raid and with their father serving in the navy, they are forced to fight for survival in the devastated Japanese countryside. Food and shelter are scarce, and even their own relatives are too concerned with their own survival. All they have is each other and their belief that life must carry on. Director Isao Takahata and his team, including character animator Yoshifumi Kondo (who has subsequently worked on other acclaimed Ghibli films from director Hayao Miyazaki) have created a visually stunning and emotionally powerful film that has rightly earned a reputation as an anime classic. This double play edition features the voices of J Robert Spencer, Rhoda Chrosite, Veronica Taylor and Amy Jones. Extras include an interview with Director Takahata, a release promo featuring Takahata and Writer Akiyuki Nosaka, deleted scenes storyboards, and interview with film critic Roger Ebert, and a historical perspective documentary.

MY NEIGHBOURS THE YAMADAS  OPTIMUM OPTBD0322

This charming animation film from the inventive Studio Ghibli shows a series of events an little victories in the lives of the ordinary Japanese Yamada family. Hard-working father Takashi Yamada and his wacky wife Matsuko navigate their way through the ups and downs of work, marriage and family life with a sharp-tongued grandmother who lives with them, a teenage son who wishes he had cooler parents, and a pesky daughter whose loud voice is unusual for someone so small. Even the family dog has issues! Directed by Isao Takahata and featuring the voices of American comedy stars Jim Belushi and Molly Shannon, this charming film is wise, funny, touching and beautifully drawn – a winning combination of reality and fantasy. Available here for the first time on Blu-ray, the film comes with a generous range of extras that include storyboards, an NTV Special: Secrets of My Neighbours the Yamadas, a Behind the Microphone feature with the voice artists, and the original Japanese trailers.

FLYING BLIND                     SODA PICTURES

flying blindFrankie is part of the war-machine, a successful 40-something aerospace engineer designing drones for the military. Then she meets Kahil, a handsome French-Algerian student, and they embark on a passionate affair. The tough yet vulnerable Frankie falls for Kahil’s charm and good looks and for the first time in her life she thrillingly, loses control. One morning at work, she is detained by the security services and told that Kahil may not be quite what he seems. She finds that she has crossed a line into a nightmare world of suspicion and accusation. Realising how little she knows of this man, Frankie determines to find out the truth, only to discover to her cost that betrayal can come from those closest to us, sometimes when they are acting with the best of intentions. Flying Blind is the first feature by young Polish director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, whose short film, Hanoi-Warsaw, won the 2010 European Film Award for Best Short. Helen McCrory is excellent as sexy, independent Frankie, and the multinational cast also includes Najib Oudghir, Kenneth Cranham and Tristan Gemmell. Bristol-based writer Caroline Harrington’s screenplay admirably taut and Andrzej Wojciechowski’s photography makes striking use of the city’s locations to create a stylish, erotic and thought-provoking drama.

THE MASTER      ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO EDV9743

The MasterThis American drama, written, directed and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson, tells the story of sex-obsessed alcoholic Freddie Quell (an intense performance by Joaquin Phoenix), a World War Two veteran struggling to adjust to a post-war society. He meets Lancaster Dodd (the outstanding Philip Seymour Hoffman), the charismatic leader of a religious movement known as ‘The Cause’ who sees something in Quell and accepts him into the movement. Freddie takes a liking to The Cause and begins travelling with Dodd along the East Coast to spread the teachings. Fascinating, profound and powerful, The Master is an engrossing subtle, disorienting study of a Scientology-like philosophy. The film received three Academy Award nominations: Best Actor for Phoenix, Best Supporting Actor for Hoffman, and Best Supporting Actress for Amy Adams, who plays Dodd’s demanding wife brilliantly. The excellent cast also includes Laura Dern as Helen Sullivan, a key member of The Cause. The film meticulously recreates the look of post-war America and Mihai Malaimare’s cinematography is dazzling. Bonus features with this DVD release include Back Beyond, a famous documentary by John Huston, behind the scenes footage and trailers.

STATIC       SECOND SIGHT 2NDVD3250

StaticThis critically acclaimed creepy horror stars Milo Ventimiglia as a young writer and Sarah Shahi as his wife. Both are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their child but just as they are trying to get their lives back on track a hysterical young woman (Sara Paxton), turns up at their secluded house in the middle of the night, claiming she is being chased by mysterious masked men. Letting her stay the night the couple are soon drawn into the horror when the unknown force starts to stalk them, a terrifying game of cat and mouse ensues, resulting in a shocking conclusion to this chilling film. Writer and director Todd Levin, making his feature film debut, transcends his modest resources to create an ominous chiller that ratchets up the suspense effectively and grips the viewer right through to its surprise denouement. ‘One of the best horrors we’ve seen in years, truly frightening’ - Scream Magazine.

THE BROOD     SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4020

The BroodFrank Carveth (Art Hindle) is becoming increasingly concerned about his ex-wife Nola’s (Samantha Eggar) secretive treatment at the sinister ‘Somafree Institute of Psychoplasmics’ headed by cult figure Dr Raglan (Oliver Reed). Raglan’s innovative and theatrical methods seek to unleash his patients rage, which takes on physical form as strangely deformed children. Nola’s increasingly psychotic anger is vented during her sessions and brutal murders befall those at whom it is directed. When Frank’s daughter Candice is abducted he is led to Institute and a terrifying, repellent final confrontation. Made in 1979, The Brood is one of Canadian David Cronenberg’s earliest films and among his most chilling. Reed is suitably saturnine as the mad psychotherapist and young Cindy Hinds gives a remarkable performance as stone-faced Candice. The famously shocking climax to this unsettling piece of Grand Guignol is even more disturbing as it involves the fragrant Samantha Eggar. Extras with this long-awaited Blu-ray release include interviews with actors Art Hindle, Cindy Hinds, Robert A.Silverman, cinematographer Mark Irwin and producer Pierre David. Cronenberg: The Early Years discusses how the controversial director broke into filmmaking. Also available on DVD (2NDVD3249).

THE GREAT ESCAPE: 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION   MGM & TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT

The Great EscapeBased on a true story, The Great Escape is ‘a motion picture that entertains, captivates, thrills and stirs’ - Variety. In 1943, the Germans opened a maximum security prison-of-war camp, designed to hold even the craftiest escape artists. By doing so, they unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military history who worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted. The brilliant cast includes charismatic Steve McQueen as the ‘Cooler King’, charming James Garner, disciplinarian Richard Attenborough, demon tunneller Charles Bronson, Donald ‘I can see perfectly’ Pleasence as an expert forger and birdwatcher, British stalwarts Nigel Stock, Gordon Jackson, John Leyton and David McCallum, and James Coburn with a curious Australian accent. Elmer Bernstein’s jaunty theme music and Daniel L. Fapp’s excellent photography also contribute to an exciting, inspirational and thoroughly entertaining film that remains a perennial favourite. This Blu-ray release comes with over three hours of special features including commentary with director John Sturges, cast and crew, multiple ‘making of’ featurettes and interviews, and the original theatrical trailer.

I COULD GO ON SINGING       ACORN AV3077

I Could Go On SingingOscar-winning actress Judy Garland gives a dramatic and show-stopping performance of a lifetime in her final film, made in 1963. In I Could Go On Singing, Garland plays talented superstar Jenny Bowman, performing in a series of sell-out concerts in a London that is on the verge of swinging. A strong-headed, absent mother, Jenny turns up in the lives of her ex-lover David (Dirk Bogarde) and their young son, rocking the boat in these otherwise still waters. Who can resist a showbiz mum who arrives at a boarding school and charms everyone she meets; who sings her way into the heart of a nation. Featuring the powerful title song by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg (who wrote Over The Rainbow), as well as memorable performances of By Myself, It Never Was You, and Hello, Bluebird, this is a vibrant film starring a true screen legend. Bogarde is fine as stuffy David but this is all about Judy Garland - a brave, funny, touching and sometimes harrowing performance as the lonely Jenny. Look out for the brief dance tribute to Wizard of Oz. Extras with this DVD release include three theatrical trailers, two picture galleries and an original essay ‘Judy Garland: Conquering the Lonely Stage’ by Gary Horrocks of the International Judy Garland Club. ‘A remarkable achievement...[that] captures the extraordinary excitement and magnetism of Judy Garland.’ - The Hollywood Reporter.

THE LONG RIDERS     SECOND SIGHT 2NDBR4019

The Long RidersLegendary director Walter Hill’s classic take on the Western, The Long Riders follows the exploits of the infamous Jesse James/Cole Younger gang. The film is made all the more authentic by Hill’s casting of real life brothers David, Keith and Robert Carradine, James and Stacy Keach, Dennis and Randy Quaid, and Christopher and Nicholas Guest. In post-Civil War America the legendary band of outlaws blaze a trail across the west, culminating in the infamous Northfield, Minnesota bank raid and one of the most acclaimed and explosive climaxes ever committed to film. The stunning cinematography is by Ric Waite and the film has an evocative Ry Cooder soundtrack as well as some great dancing. Inspired by filmmakers from John Ford to Sam Peckinpah, The Long Riders is an authentic, elegiac portrait of a bygone era. The acting by the male leads is wonderfully convincing and Pamela Reed gives a fine performance as Belle Starr. One of the last great Westerns of the 20th Century is now available on Blu-ray for the first time, with extensive special features that include Outlaw Brothers: The Making of The Long Riders (with Walter Hill, James Keach and Robert Carradine), The Norhfield Minnesota Raid: Anatomy of a Scene (with Walter Hill, James Keach and Robert Carradine) and Slow Motion (Walter Hill on Sam Pekinpah). ‘A beautiful, laconic and unsentimental film.’ - Time Out.

DR WHO AND THE DALEKS / DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D.   STUDIOCANAL

Dr Who and the DaleksDr Who and the Daleks Invasion of Earth2013 marks the centenary of celluloid legend of film and TV great Peter Cushing, as well as the 50th Anniversary of the first appearance on television of the legendary Timelord. To honour this, Studiocanal has released on DVD and Blu-ray both the cinematic incarnations of the Doctor’s adventures. Dr Who And The Daleks (OPTBD2529) was the first big screen film adaptation of British TV’s most iconic sci-fi hero, and was the first time (1965) The Doctor appeared in colour. Directed by Gordon Flemyng and now fully restored, the film stars Peter Cushing as everyone’s favourite Timelord as an endearing, elderly inventor. Having invented the TARDIS, a strange machine capable of travelling into other dimensions, Doctor Who and his three young accomplices, including Roy Castle, set forth on a quest through time and space. Their journey takes them into the dark, undiscovered depths of the universe and to the planet of Skaro. A primitive world devastated by nuclear war and populated by two warring species, a peaceful tribe known as Thals and a life form heavily mutated by radiation, encased in protective machines - a merciless force known as The Daleks, intent on exploding a neutron bomb to destroy their enemies. Extras include an audio commentary with Roberta Tovey and Jenny Linden, an interview with Gareth Owen and several documentaries on the making of the Dalek films. In Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (OPTBD2530) the earth is a desolate and hostile ruin of a planet, crumbling at the edge of civilisation, slowly disappearing into the darkness of space. Its future now belongs to The Daleks, a destructive army of alien invaders who have turned the human race into cowering slaves. Meanwhile deep within the London Underground a group of resistance freedom fighters are planning an attack. But there’s only one man who could possibly help them succeed in destroying their extra terrestrial enemies and take back control of planet earth. A man of mystery, a man of time and space, a man known only as… The Doctor. Extras include a documentary about the film’s restoration as well as interviews with Bernard Cribbins and Gareth Owen.

THE MURDERER LIVES AT 21       EUREKA EKA70094

Murderer Lives at 21One of the most revered names in world cinema, Henri-Georges Clouzot, made a remarkably self-assured debut in 1942 with this deliciously droll comedy thriller. With a screenplay by the director and Belgian writer Stanislas-André Steeman, The Murderer Lives at 21 (L’Assassin habite au 21) follows Inspector Wenceslas Vorobechik (Wens’ for short) as he investigates the case of a ubiquitous Parisian serial killer who leaves a calling card with the name Monsieur Durand on his victims. Wens’ ditzy mistress Mila Malou (Suzy Delair) is an ambitious but struggling singer who tries to help him find the criminal. Wens discovers that Durand is a tenant at a boarding house at No. 21 Avenue Junot and takes a room there in disguise as a Protestant minister. The suspect is arrested but when another Durand murder occurs, Mila and Wens discover that things are more complicated than they thought as they attempt to find the killer among the assorted residents. Featuring audacious directorial touches, brilliant performances and a daring tone that runs the gamut from light comedy to sinister noir, as well as a subtle portrait of tensions under Nazi occupation, this overlooked gem from the golden age of French cinema is released here on Blu-ray in a beautiful new high-definition restoration by Gaumont. Extras include a sharp analysis of the film by Ginette Vincendau, Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London. This Eureka Masters of Cinema release is also available on DVD (EKA40363).

A PASSAGE TO INDIA       ACORN AV3076

A Passage to IndiaA young Englishwoman, Adela Quested (Judy Davis), travels to India in the late 1920s to visit her fiancé, a British magistrate posted in a small town. Her travelling companion is his widowed mother, kindly Mrs Moore (an Oscar-winning performance by Peggy Ashcroft). They are introduced to a friendly Muslim doctor, Aziz Ahmed, who Mrs Moore had seen briefly on her visit to a mosque and he offers to take them on a sight-seeing to the mysterious Marabar caves (a local attraction). What happens there, when Adela accuses him of assault, threatens to destroy lives and contributes to a breakdown of the already fragile relations between British and Indian societies. Sir David Lean’s last feature film, based on E M Forster’s novel, is superbly shot and has a strong cast that includes James Fox as a sympathetic schoolteacher, a young Nigel Havers and Richard Wilson as a prejudiced administrator. Sir Alec Guinness is distracting as the mystic Professor Godbole, but there are fine performances by Ashcroft, the excellent Davis, Art Malik, Saeed Jaffrey and, especially, Victor Banerjee as the excitable Dr Aziz, forced to suffer for his affability. ‘A wonderfully provocative tale, full of vivid characters, all played to near perfection’ - The New York Times

 

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