Showing posts with label Richard Burton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Burton. Show all posts

21 May 2013

Cinematic Masterpiece Cleopatra To Get Limited Cinema Release

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The 50th Anniversary of the 1963 masterpiece CLEOPATRA will be celebrated with a limited engagement theatrical release; it was announced today by Twentieth Century Fox. Screenings will be held from the 12th July at Curzon May Fair, London and select cinemas nationwide. The 243-minute original theatrical version of CLEOPATRA has been meticulously restored to commemorate its golden anniversary. This new digitally restored transfer received a world theatrical premiere as an official selection of Cannes Classics at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 21.

Directed by Academy Award® winner Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the historical epic shot on 70mm film took home four Academy Awards and was the highest grossing films of 1963 earning more than $57 million in its initial release. CLEOPATRA infamously cost an unprecedented $42 million to make (equivalent to over $300 million today) and was racked with scandal as the onscreen love affair between Cleopatra (Taylor) and Mark Antony (Burton) spilled over into real life during the three-year production in Rome. Burton celebrated his great love for Ms. Taylor with exquisite gifts from Bulgari.

In 51 BC, Cleopatra became queen of the Egyptian Empire: the wealthiest and most revered kingdom the world has ever known. More than 2,000 years later Twentieth Century Fox Studios set out to tell her epic story in what would become, at the time, the most ambitious and lavish moviemaking endeavor in Hollywood history. Elizabeth Taylor signed a one million dollar contract to play the title role of Cleopatra, becoming the first female star to command such a sum for one picture. Elaborate sets and costumes, production delays and the relocation of principal filming from London to Rome added to the skyrocketing budget.

CLEOPATRA will be available for the first time ever on Digital HD beginning 28th May 2013. In addition to the film, this HD premiere on iTunes features the 80-minute documentary “Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood,” made up of film clips, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews that explore the fascinating stories behind this 5-year production.

The CLEOPATRA 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray is currently available to own. The 2-disc set is packed with dazzling bonus materials featuring never-before-seen exclusive content including Cleopatra’s lost footage, commentary from Chris Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more. Additionally, fans can watch footage from the film’s original theatrical premieres in both New York and Los Angeles.

6 October 2012

Blu-Ray Review: The Wild Geese (1978)

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Monday sees the Blu-Ray release of perhaps the last great British action film, The Wild Geese. Starring Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris and countless familiar faces from film and television, The Wild Geese can only be described as a complete classic.

A wealthy British industrialist hires a crack group of mercenaries to travel to the wilderness of Africa and rescue a deposed political leader from a heavily guarded prison. However, the group leader Col. Allen Faulkner (Richard Burton) soon discovers that the threats do not simply lie in the war torn African nation but in the corridors of power back home.

From the onset of The Wild Geese we are immediately struck by the Britishness of it all - from Faulkner's Harry Palmer esque meetings with shady industrialists to Moore's Lt. Shawn Flynn's drug busts on swinging London clubs. The Wild Geese is a film chock full of atmosphere - whether it be from the gloomy darkened urban streets in the UK to the untamed wilderness of Africa, this is a visually rich tale - and what better way to compliment the classic home-grown feel of The Wild Geese than to cast some stellar British (and German) acting giants?

It is this round up the mercenaries in the first act that proves to one of the key highlights of The Wild Geese. Held together by the fearless Col. Faulkner (Burton), old pals Capt. Janders (Harris) and Lt. Flynn (Moore) are soon rounded up. This is followed by appearances of classic thesps Kenneth Griffith (as scene stealing medic, Queenie), Hardy Kruger and Ronald Fraser. Seeing the group of mercenaries "team up" builds the integral sense of camaraderie that runs through the heart of The Wild Geese, whilst also providing the viewer with a chance to see these acting icons have some fun.

The Wild Geese feels like a classic boys own adventure, taking on classic romanticised notions of the British empire. Andrew V. McLaglen (The Sea Wolves) directs this like a classic war film, but with some refreshing modern twists - most notably giving the film a gritty realism with more violence and bad language. After all being a mercenary isn't going to be all smiles is it? This gritty modern take also fuses with the classic British feel of The Wild Geese for some unforgettable results. Most notably the introduction to Moore's character where we see him take on a drug dealers, stating: "You boys are pushing bad stuff!" then forces one to eat a bag full of coke - this is action done British style.

The African based action sequences prove equally as gripping as the portrayal of the British crime scene. Starting with a tense air drop sequence and a raid on a renegade camp it becomes clear that McLaglen and editor John Glen (director of several James Bond features) have a keen eye for the action film. A personal favourite sequence sees Hardy Kruger's Lt. Coetze take out a barrage of guards with a crossbow - this gives Kruger a very welcome chance to shine.

To further improve this seminal classic, Arrow Video have remastered The Wild Geese to perfection for the Blu-Ray release, which truly looks magnificent.  As a further bonus, there is also a copy of Code Name: Wild Geese (an Italian near-remake of the film) starring Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine and Klaus Kinski included on the disc.

The Wild Geese is one of the all time great British war movies and somewhat of last hurrah for the genre. Burton, Moore and Harris prove themselves to be unparalleled cinematic icons and it is a joy to watch them do what they do best in this unforgettable classic.

Andrew McArthur 

★★★★★

Stars: Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris , Hardy Kruger
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Release: 8th October 2012
Certificate: 15 (UK)