19 March 2017
29 August 2016
26 January 2015
8 January 2015
Oscar-winning screen siren Sophia Loren's classic Sunflower finally gets the release it deserves as it arrives on DVD and VOD in a stunningly re-mastered version, presented in its original widescreen format courtesy of Argent Films.
Loren (Two Women, A Special Day) and award-winning leading man Marcello Mastroianni (Dolce Vita, 8 1/2) are newlywed lovers torn apart by war, despite almost impossible odds they never give up on one another. Originally released in 1970, the film comes to DVD in a newly restored version, taken from HD elements, befitting its sumptuous photography (by Giuseppe Rotunno, who lit most Italian headliners including The Leopard, he was Fellini's cinematographer and received an Oscar nomination for All That Jazz), and production values. Sunflower is presented for the first time in its entirety featuring eight minutes of previously unseen scenes and comes complete with an exclusive documentary Sophia, Yesterday Today Tomorrow, woven around an intimate interview with Loren. The DVD comes with alternative language options: the English language version and optional Italian audio with new improved, switchable, English subtitles.
Twelve days before WW II breaks out, Giovanna (Loren) marries Antonio (Mastroianni), with no desire to fight in the conflict he fakes insanity in an attempt to avoid the draft. Officials see through
As the war ends, Antonio is left to die in the snow on the Russian front, but is found by a beautiful Russian girl who hides him and helps him recover. Giovanna refuses to believe that her missing in action husband is dead and travels to the sunflower plains of Ukraine - seemingly to the end of the earth, in by-then post-war Russia - to search for the man she vowed she would never abandon.
Produced by Loren's husband, Carlo Ponti of Doctor Zhivago fame, Sunflower recalls Zhivago with its rich, wide-vista production of this heartfelt drama of war-torn lovers. Underpinned by Henry Mancini's Oscar-nominated rousing score and magnificently directed by one of Italy's greatest filmmakers, Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves, Two Women), who taps into his Neo-realist roots to depict the human tragedy of war-displaced persons as seen through the heroic determination of Loren's character.
SUNFLOWER will also launch on iTunes on 26 January followed by other selected VOD platforms exclusively for rental & download to own
23 October 2014
16 September 2014
After it's Film 4 Frightfest Halloween last year the UK Blu-ray and DVD release of Mark of the Devil, once proclaimed as “positively the most horrifying film ever made”, Mark of the Devil finally arrives uncut in the UK on 29th September 2014 with both English and German audio tracks.
With Mark of the Devil, writer-director Michael Armstrong created a bloody and brutal critique of state-funded brutality and religious corruption with a doomed romance at its centre. The use of real torture implements, which Armstrong had found in the Mauterndorf Museum, added to the realism of the picture and made it all the more shocking and the violence unpalatable. In America Mark of the Devil was distributed with the marketing gimmick of a free sick bag provided for every patron.
In the UK the BBFC were obliged to sit through the entire uncut film and deemed it “vicious and disgusting.” They recommended that a certificate be refused entirely and provided a list of required cuts to make the film acceptable for an X certificate.
Altogether the required cuts amounted to 2,100 feet of film; approximately twenty-four minutes running time. However, despite being awarded an X certificate, Mark of the Devil never received a theatrical release in the UK. In 1993 Redemption Films resubmitted the uncut film with cuts still demanded which amounted to more than four minutes. Described by the BBFC as a film whose “primary urge is with the dynamics of inquisitorial torture”
Another ten years later a DVD was released by Anchor Bay Entertainment which was also cut, although by only 38 seconds. Three cuts were made to the scene in which the blonde woman is tortured on the rack. The cuts removed her naked breasts as it was an unacceptable combination of sexually titillating and violent images under the BBFC guidelines at that time.
Other special features included on the disc include, Hallmark of the Devil, which sees author and critic Michael Gingold looks back at Hallmark Releasing, the controversial and confrontational distributor that introduced Mark of the Devil to American cinemas and Mark of the Devil: Now and Then which looks at the film’s locations and how they appear today.
The disc will also feature interviews with composer Michael Holm and actors Udo Kier, Herbert Fux, Gaby Fuchs, Ingeborg Schöner and Herbert Lom. Alongside this, the Blu-ray will also feature outtakes, the original theatrical trailer, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and a sizable collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Smith and Anthony Nield, plus an interview with Reggie Nalder by David Del Valle, all illustrated with original stills and artwork.
A bloody and brutal critique of religious corruption, Mark of the Devil sees horror icon Udo Kier (Flesh for Frankenstein, Suspiria) play a witchfinder’s apprentice whose faith in his master (Herbert Lom) becomes severely tested when they settle in an Austrian village. Presided over by the sadistic albino (a memorably nasty turn from Reggie Nalder), the film presents its morality not so much in shades of grey as shades of black.
Written and directed by Michael Armstrong, who would later pen Eskimo Nell, The Black Panther and House of the Long Shadows, this classic shocker has lost none of its power over the years – especially now that British audiences can finally see it in one piece.
· High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements – available uncut in the UK for the first time!
· Optional English and German audio
· Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
· Newly translated English subtitles for the German audio
· Audio commentary by Michael Armstrong, moderated by Calum Waddell
· Mark of the Times – exclusive feature-length documentary from High Rising Productions on the emergence of the ‘new wave’ of British horror directors that surfaced during the sixties and seventies, featuring contributions from Michael Armstrong, Norman J. Warren (Terror), David McGillivray (Frightmare), Professor Peter Hutchings (author of Hammer and Beyond) and famed film critic Kim Newman
· Hallmark of the Devil – author and critic Michael Gingold looks back at Hallmark Releasing, the controversial and confrontational distributor that introduced Mark of the Devil to American cinemas
· Interviews with composer Michael Holm and actors Udo Kier, Herbert Fux, Gaby Fuchs, Ingeborg Schöner and Herbert Lom
· Mark of the Devil: Now and Then – a look at the film’s locations and how they appear today
· Reversible Sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
· Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Smith and Anthony Nield, plus an interview with Reggie Nalder by David Del Valle, all illustrated with original stills and artwork
22 August 2014
Eureka! Entertainment have announced the release of I CLOWNS [The Clowns], the first ever UK Blu-ray release of Fellini's masterpiece which has been out of circulation for years. The film has long been regarded by Fellini enthusiasts and cinephiles as one of the director's greatest films. The release includes a lengthy essay-film by the greatest Italian critic, Adriano Aprà, and will be released in a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition as part of Eureka’s award-winning The Masters of Cinema Series on 20 October 2014.
I clowns plays out in dazzling colour and in episodic cascade, just as in all of Fellini's late-60s-and-beyond films. As the circus rolls into town, and the big-tent gets erected, the clowns execute their acts with feverish can-you-believe-it bravado. It's all true — and yet not a "documentary" per se; rather, something in-between a dramatic-comedic portrayal of gags-at-play and the memoria of all that makes the spark for childhood inspiration to ignite into creative virtuosity... and/or into something like Federico Fellini.
A great and under acknowledged treasure of the cinema, I clowns takes its place alongside such films as Bergman's Carnies' Twilight, Ophuls's Lola Montès, Étaix's Yoyo, Jerry Lewis's The Day the Clown Cried, and Tati's Parade as one of the grand portraits of the clowning circus, of a bygone era of the wandering entertainer. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Federico Fellini's I clowns in a special Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) edition for the first time in the UK.
Watch this rare clip of I Clowns
SPECIAL FEATURES including:
• New high-definition 1080p presentation of feature on the Blu-ray, and in a progressive encode on the DVD
• New and improved English subtitles
• Fellini's Circus — an essay-film about the picture by the great Italian critic and scholar Adriano Aprà
• A 36-PAGE BOOKLET featuring new writing about the film, rare archival imagery, and more!
Hopefully nearer the release we will hope to review I Clowns and the date of Fellini's masterpiece will be 20th October 2014 released on Dual format. You can pre-order/Order your copy of I Clowns (The Clowns) [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) (1970)