Showing posts with label classic cinema. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classic cinema. Show all posts

22 May 2013

Kaneto Shindô's The Naked Island To Be Released On Blu-Ray Part Of Masters Of Cinema Series

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The Naked Island, the breakthrough film by Kaneto Shindô, director of such classics as Onibaba and Kuroneko, will be released as part of Eureka Entertainment’s MASTERS OF CINEMA Series on Blu-ray on 17 June 2013.

Eureka Entertainment have announced that they will be releasing an updated 1080p edition of The Naked Island, the breakthrough film by Kaneto Shindô, director of such classics as Onibaba and Kuroneko. The brand new blu-ray edition of this classic of '60s Japanese cinema, and Moscow International Film Festival winner of the Grand Prix will include copious special features including a full-length audio commentary by the director Shindô and composer Hikaru Hayashi, an exclusive video introduction by Alex Cox, and a 24-PAGE BOOKLET with an essay by Acquarello and Joan Mellen's interview with the director. The Naked Island will be released on blu-ray as part of the Masters of Cinema Series on 17 June 2013.

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". Kaneto Shindô (Onibaba, Kuroneko) 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, Shindô 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.

Shindô, who had worked with both Kenji Mizoguchi and Kon Ichikawa, shot to international fame in 1952 with the astounding Children of Hiroshima. Eight years later, the BAFTA-nominated The Naked Island won the Grand Prix at the Moscow International Film Festival (where Luchino Visconti was a jury member). It is now considered to be one of Shindô’s major works, and its success saved his film company from bankruptcy. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to release The Naked Island for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK.


- Newly restored 1080p transfer, in its 2.35:1 original aspect ratio

- Full-length audio commentary by director Kaneto Shindô and composer Hikaru Hayashi

- Video introduction by Alex Cox

- Optional English subtitles

- 24-page booklet with an essay by Acquarello, and a reprint of Joan Mellen’s interview with Shindô from Voices from the Japanese Cinema

Pre-order/BuyNAKED ISLAND, The (Masters of Cinema) (BLU-RAY)

16 December 2012

Get Ready For Django Unchained With Home Re-Release of The Original Django

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Coinciding with the theatrical release of Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”, the original and greatest Spaghetti Western of them all comes to Blu-ray, the original Django.

It was originally banned in several countries (and denied a certificate by the BBFC in the UK until 1993), but still managed to make an international star of Franco Nero and, worldwide, spawned over 50 unauthorised sequels. One of the greatest Spaghetti Westerns ever made, and without a doubt the most influential, Sergio Corbucci’s iconic masterpiece is a landmark piece of cinema revered by film critics and Western genre fans alike.

On foot and dragging a coffin behind him, a mysterious lone drifter calling himself Django (Franco Nero) arrives on the outskirts of a bleak, mud-drenched town located near the Mexico-US border. He saves the life of a prostitute, Maria (Loredana Nusciak) who is being abused, first by a group of Mexican bandits and then by a gang of racist, Ku Klux Klan-like radicals under the command of corrupt former Confederate soldier Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo). Accompanying Maria back to the town, Django discovers it consists of nothing more than a brothel serving the warring factions of Mexican outlaws and Jackson’s followers. Loyal to none, Django soon finds himself caught in the middle of the violent dispute and, armed with a devastating weapon, he is forced to defend himself against both sides. But when a chance encounter with a former acquaintance presents him with an opportunity to make some money and settle an old score, Django decides to team up with his adversaries, risking everything in a deadly plot that could end his life.

Director Sergio Corbucci (The Great Silence; Navajo Joe; Minnesota Clay), star Franco Nero (Die Hard 2; The Virgin And The Gypsy; Camelot), cinematographer Enzo Barboni (They Call Me Trinity) and Oscar-winning composer Luis Enríquez Bacalov (Il Postino).

Argent Films will be releasing Django on Blu-Ray in UK&Ireland 21st January 2013, Pre-OrderDjango [Blu-ray]

Special Features:
  • Exclusive in-depth presentation by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid And Nancy) in the style of his epoch-making Moviedrome BBC series.
  • Exclusive interview with star Franco Nero.
  • Theatrical trailers.
  • Argent Trailer Park.
  • Alternative Opening Sequence.
  • Reversible Sleeve with original Poster Artwork.

1 December 2012

Marlene Dietrich's The Blue Angel To Get Masters Of Cinema Treatment

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THE BLUE ANGEL [DER BLAUE ENGEL] will be released as part of Eureka Entertainment’s MASTERS OF CINEMA Series in a DUAL FORMAT (Blu-ray & DVD) edition on 28 January 2013

Eureka Entertainment have announced that they will be releasing THE BLUE ANGEL [DER BLAUE ENGEL] as part of Eureka Entertainment’s MASTERS OF CINEMA Series on 28 January 2013.  The film launched the career of the legendary Marlene Dietrich and her multi-film collaboration with Josef von Sternberg, and stars Emil Jannings, the famous German actor of such classics as Faust, The Last Laugh, and The Last Command.  The Blue Angel showcases Dietrich in performance singing many of the songs that would take on the status of trademarks throughout her long career.

“A remarkable performance from Emil Jannings.” – Kim Newman, EMPIRE Magazine

“Not only is Mr. Jannings's and Miss Dietrich's acting excellent, but they are supported by an unusually competent cast.”– New York Times

“Exceptionally high drama for its day, this tragic, tragic tale is one of the best examples of well-realized filmmaking from the first half of the 20th century.” –

Synopsis:The Blue Angel is one of the first German language sound films (filmed simultaneously in an English-language version), and the picture that represents the initial collaboration between Josef von Sternberg and his immortal muse, Marlene Dietrich. 

Following up his role in Sternberg's great silent The Last Command, Emil Jannings portrays a schoolteacher named Immanuel Rath, whose fateful expedition to catch his students frequenting the cabaret known as "The Blue Angel" leads to his own rapture with the establishment's main attraction Lola (Dietrich) — and, as a result, triggers the downward spiral of his life and fortune.

Directed by Sternberg while on loan from America to the pioneering German producer Erich Pommer, The Blue Angel is at once captivating, devastating, and powerfully erotic, laced-through with Sternberg's masterful cinematography. From here, the director and Dietrich would go on to make six more films together in the span of five years, and leave a legacy of some of the most indelible iconography in the cinema of glamour and obsession. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present The Blue Angel in a new Dual Format presentation that incorporates both versions of the film in 1080p HD for the first time in the UK.


• New 1080p HD presentation of both the German-language and English-language versions of the film, with progressive encodes on the DVD.
• Newly translated optional subtitles on the German-language version, and SDH on the English-language version.
• New and exclusive video essay on the films by critic and scholar Tag Gallagher.
• New and exclusive feature-length audio commentary by critic and scholar Tony Rayns on the German-language version.
• Original screen test with Marlene Dietrich.
• Archival interview clips with Dietrich.
• Substantial booklet containing writing on the film, vintage excerpts, and rare archival imagery.
• More features to be announced closer to release date!

19 September 2012

The Ingenious Fritz Lang's DIE NIBELUNGEN To Get Masters Of Cinema Release

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Renowned for its ingenious special visual effects and breathtaking set design, DIE NIBELUNGEN [THE NIBELUNGEN] is to be released in the UK on Blu-ray & DVD as part of Eureka Entertainment’s MASTERS OF CINEMA Series on 29 October 2012

Perhaps the most stately of Fritz Lang's two-part epics, the five-hour Die Nibelungen is a courageous and hallucinatory work. Its extraordinary set-pieces, archetypal themes, and unrestrained ambition have proved an inspiration for nearly every fantasy cycle that has emerged on-screen since – from Star Wars to The Lord of the Rings.

In Part One, Siegfried, the film's eponymous hero acquires the power of invincibility after slaying a dragon and bathing in the creature's blood. Later, an alliance through marriage between the hero and the royal clan of the Nibelungen turns treacherous, with Siegfried's sole weakness exploited. In Part Two, Kriemhilds Rache [Kriemhild's Revenge], Siegfried's widow travels to the remote land of the Huns to wed the monstrous Attila, and thereby enlist his forces in an act of vengeance that culminates in massacre, conflagration, and, under the auspices of Lang, one of the most exhilarating and terrifying end-sequences in all of cinema.

Adapted from the myth that was also the basis for Wagner's Ring cycle of operas, Lang's epic offers its own startling expressionistic power – a summit of the director's artistry. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Die Nibelungen in a spectacular new HD restoration, released as a 2 x DVD set & a 2 x Blu-ray set in the UK on 29 October 2012. 


• Long-awaited expert HD restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Germany
• Immaculately presented in the film's original frame rates and aspect ratio, in 1080p on the Blu-ray
• Newly translated optional English subtitles for the original German intertitles
• An hour-long documentary: The Heritage of Die Nibelungen
• Illustrated booklet featuring the words of Lang, rare archival imagery, and more
• Further details to be announced nearer the release date! Pre-Order/Buy: DIE NIBELUNGEN (Masters of Cinema) BLU-RAY [1924]

24 July 2012

Pigsty (Porcile) DVD Review (Masters Of Cinema Release)

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Pigsty is a relatively obscure film made by Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1969. It has been very hard to find until Eureka has released a part of their “Masters of Cinema” range. It was previously released in Tartan Pasolini’s films.

It consists of 2 concurrent stories. One features a man who is runs around in a timeless barren wasteland and becomes a cannibal. The man joins forces with a thug and ravages the landscape. The other story is about a fascistic tycoon Herr Klotz (who has a Hitler tash) and his son Julian’s interest in developing relationships with pigs more than his left leaning fiancé, the young couple are played by French actors Jean-Pierre Léaud (most famously portrayed Antoine Doinel in Truffaut’s films) and Anne Wiazemsky (starred in some Godard films and was married Jean-Luc as well).

The film is almost Bunùelian satire about capitalism, fascism, suggested bestiality and cannibalism. Léaud and Wiazemsky previously starred in Godard’s La Chinoise and the leftist banter between them defiantly has echoes of that film which Pasolini would have certainly been aware of. The completely silent until the last scene story of the man in the timeless wasteland is arguably the more effective story. That segment is all about the extremes humanity can get to which of course Pasolini went back to in his most famous/infamous film Salò. The more conventional story about the young couple and the man’s father is a amusing and ultimately is quite as dark or funny as it could be. However it still works with a nice twist at the very end.

Pigsty is a very interesting film in Pasolini’s cannon. It’s a film that is very much a early attempt to deal with the themes he would later in do in “Salò like fascism, the abuse of power etc. It works quite well as a surrealist black comedy and an important film in the development of Pasolini.

Ian Schultz

UK Rating: 15
(Re-)Release Date: July 2012
Directed By: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: Pierre Clémenti, , Jean-Pierre Léaud, Anne Wiazemsky
Buy:Pigsty [Porcile] [Masters of Cinema] (DVD) [1969]

20 July 2012

Metropolis Giorgio Moroder Presents Review

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The Giorgio Moroder cut of Metropolis was made in 1984 and for a long time was the most complete version of Metropolis known. It features pop music by the likes of Freddie Mercury and Adam Ant and a synthesizer score by Moroder. I’m somebody who considers the recently unearthed 2 and half hour cut one of the 5 or 10 greatest films ever made so I have a lot of problems with this much-abridged version.

This version is missing over an hour of footage and that footage makes the film’s plot make a lot more sense and it includes entire subplots and characters not included in this version. This version could be compared to the “Love Conquers All” version of Brazil, which the studio made, but unlike that film, the very basic message of the film is in tune with the original version. It’s the rather native message of workers and the elite must work together and a mediator is necessary for communication between the classes.

I respect Moroder for trying to find the most complete version of Metropolis; he started his work in the late 70s. However the soundtrack dates the film to the mid 80s whilst the film itself is utterly timeless. It also does the grave sin of colourizing some scenes and adding cheesy special effects to some scenes as well. It also uses subtitles instead of the standard inter titles which makes the film make a lot less sense. The subtitles are inserted so randomly and really ruin the flow of the scenes. It also includes some mechanical sound effects, which are effective, which works ok with synthesizer score and the se are only additions to the film that is not truly awful. I wouldn’t mind if somebody did a full electronic score for the complete version, which could work quite well.

It’s an interesting cult curiosity and was a stepping-stone for the eventually full restoration of Metropolis even though that took a further 20 + years. However it is sorta turned into an 84 minute 80s music video and really taints the film’s reputation. Despite all these flaws you can tell Moroder clearly loves the film and was trying to reedit the film for a more modern audience, which in reality was needed. So if your gonna see Metropolis which you of course should go get the stunning restoration that is a part of Eureka’s (who also released this version) “Masters of Cinema” range.

Ian Schultz

Rating: PG
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Cast: Brigitte Helm, Heinrich George, Rudolf Klein-Rogge
Metropolis (1927 / 1984) - Trailer [HD] Published via