Showing posts with label eureka video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eureka video. Show all posts

19 October 2013

Nosferatu (1922) Masters Of Cinema Review

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Rating:
PG
Release Date:
25th October 2013 (UK Cinema)
Distributor:
Eureka! Video, BFI
Director:
F.W. Murnau
Cast:
Max Schreck, Greta Schröder, Ruth Landshoff


It's easy to call yourself a film fan or even a cinephile but when you dig a little deeper to find out why they call themselves fans its then you truly find out how much of a fan you really are. Film is one of the most culturally diverse art forms ever created, true cinephiles will appreciate it in all it's forms including Silent Film. With Halloween creeping up on us what better time to (re-)release of the most iconic horror  films in cinematic history getting a rare appearance on the big screen, F.W Murnau's Nosferatu (1922).

Whilst Bela Lugosi then Hammer Films romanticized that many of us perceive Dracula to be, the reclusive black cloaked fanged count  who has women falling at his feet ,under his hypnotic spell, Murnau's masterpiece is film's earliest adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel seen on the big screen.

Set in post world war one Germany, Nosferatu sees Knock (Alexander Grauach) a estate agent and his assistant Hutter (Gustav Von Nagenheim) go on assignment deep into the mysterious Carpathian Hills in heart of Transylvania. They arrive at Count Orlock's castle (Max Schreck)to broker the sale of Orlock home back in Germany but as the days fly past Hutter starts to notice unusual things start to happen he reverts back to the book he is reading Orlock might actually be a vampire. As the horror of realization sinks into Hutter he discover Orlock has escaped his castle back to Germany amongst a shipment of coffins leaving a trail of death in his wake forcing Hutter to Hunt the parasitic killer before a veil of death destroys his hometown.

To be screened part of BFI's Gothic The Dark Heart Of Film,Nosferatu deserves its rightful place next to modern horror, frankly because of its superior quality. The film might be 9 years short of been 100 years old some may call it outdated, cliched but in reality this film's craftmanship, technical ability are second to none. This film is essential viewing for any wanna be horror filmmaker though scare factor maybe non-existent but the visual power and atmosphere stands up against any modern horror film making one of the best with the genre (possibly best within Vampire sub genre). The shadowy silhouettes, male leads exact doubles of each other, broody Gothic horror in its prime but most of all make up the symbolic German Expressionism.

If there's any case for the importance of music within a feature film, the silent film era will act as your best case to support your argument. Nowdays it seem many bands fight to get a hip points however like when you talk about football matches the crowd been the '12th Man' the score is that '12th Man' providing the heartbeat of the audience delivering an extra dimension of fear, tension. Even with a modern score Nosferatu never loses it's power still delivers the platform for Max Schreck to deliver the ultimate legendary performance as Count Orlock.

Schreck's portrayal of Orlock was delivered with such conviction, terrifying passion by an actor who actually believed he was a  vampire. There is no comparisons from any other  actor coming close to matching Schreck,but the closest comparsions could possibly be seen in two  more recent films, the highly underrated Shadow Of The Vampire (2000) and Werner Herzog's Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979) with Klaus Kinski.

So why has Stoker's legendary creature of the night always been romantized rather been a predatory monester, one a argument comes from film historians with the possibe connections with Nazism. Whilst the film was created well before the rise of the Nazis Nosferatu is believed by some to be an account based around the Weimar Republic. A state within Post World War One Germany born out off corruption, anti antisemitism delivering the National Socialist Party  but it's the visual attributes of Orlock that could be seen as the most terrifying. The Nazis looked to have hijacked Murnau's vision for how they symbolized the Jewish people as rat like creatures for their propaganda films. If anything the main argument could all be down to Bram Stoer's widow taking the German auteur to court for breach of copyright despite the change to the novel

Whatever your think about Nosferatu, it may not feel part of modern romantic vision of the vampire but it has it's rightful place in horror folklore. When you look back at the story of how Murnau's masterpiece was created it makes you wonder did  he know something we didn't know when he kept that single copy despite the court order to destroy all copies. Though sometimes if he had a time machine he may have thought twice about destroying the remaining if he knew that Twilight Saga lay ahead?! Whatever you think or how many versions of the film you may have on DVD or Blu-Ray  F.W Murnau's Nosferatu was made for one thing, that's the big screen, don't miss a piece of cinematic gold getting a rare run on the big screen.

★★★★★

Paul Devine



24 September 2013

John Wayne's Red River To Premier on Blu-Ray Via Masters of Cinema

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Eureka! Entertainment have announced first UK Blu-ray appearance of the iconic classic Red River (1948). Voted the fifth greatest western of all time by the American Film Institute in June 2008, Red River was directed by the legendary Howard Hawks, one of the most influential American directors of all time, and stars John Wayne and Montgomery Clift in his debut film. Red River will be released in a Blu-ray edition on 28 October 2013 as part of Eureka! Entertainment’s award winning The Masters of Cinema Series.

“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." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out

One of Hollywood's most iconic westerns, Howard Hawks' Red River launches cinema's grandest cattle drive, and one of the screen's most powerful father-son dramas. One of John Wayne's most intense roles inspired one of his finest performances, and in his debut leading role, Montgomery Clift instantly leapt to the forefront of Hollywood's young actors.

After the Civil War, ranch owner Thomas Dunson (Wayne) leads a drive of ten thousand cattle out of an impoverished Texas to the richer markets of Missouri, 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.

Filmed among glorious expanses with no expense spared, and a roster of brilliant turns from greats including Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, Harry Carey, John Ireland and Hank Worden, Red River is an all-American epic, a grand adventure yarn, and a profound psychological journey. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present its first UK release on Blu-ray.



SPECIAL FEATURES
- New high-definition 1080p presentation
- Original theatrical trailer
- Exclusive lengthy video conversation about Red River and Howard Hawks by filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt, conducted by Jaime Christley, and shot by Dustin Guy Defa and James P. Gannon
- And more to be announced
- A booklet featuring the words of Howard Hawks, rare imagery, and more!

Buy Red River Starring JOHN WAYNE (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)

22 February 2013

Masters Of Cinema To Release Claude Chabrol's Le Beau Serge And Les Cousins

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Eureka Entertainment have announced that they will be releasing two films starring Jean-Claude Brialy and Gérard Blain by the master director of the French thriller, Claude Chabrol - his debut feature, LE BEAU SERGE [HANDSOME SERGE], the first feature film of the French New Wave starring & the breakthrough feature and first massive commercial success, LES COUSINS [THE COUSINS], winner of the Golden Bear (Best Film) at the 1959 Berlin Film Festival. Both titles have been painstakingly restored by Gaumont for these new HD restorations and will be released on DVD & Blu-ray on the 25 March 2013. These editions will include documentary extras, shorts, and lengthy booklets packed with writing about the film and interviews with Chabrol.

Le Beau Serge (Handsome Serge)
Synopsis:Gérard Blain and Jean-Claude Brialy star in the first of their collaborations with the great Claude Chabrol. The director's masterful feature debut — ironic, funny, unsparing — is a revelation: another of that rare breed of film where the dusty formula might be used in full sincerity: Le Beau Serge marks the beginning of "the Chabrol touch."

In this first feature film of the French New Wave, one year before Truffaut's The Four Hundred Blows, the dandyish François (Brialy, of Godard's A Woman Is a Woman, Rohmer's Claire's Knee, and countless other cornerstones of 20th-century French cinema) takes a holiday from the city to his home village of Sardent, where he reconnects with his old chum Serge (Blain), now a besotted and hopeless alcoholic, and sly duplicitous carnal Marie (Bernadette Lafont). A grave triangle forms, and a tragic slide ensues.

From Le Beau Serge onward up to his final film Bellamy in 2009, the revered Chabrol would come to leave a significant and lasting impression upon the French cinema — frequently with great commercial success. It is with great pride that we present Le Beau Serge, the kickstart of the Nouvelle Vague and of Chabrol's enormous body of work, on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK for the first time.



SPECIAL BLU-RAY AND DVD EDITIONS

• Gorgeous new Gaumont restoration of the film in its original aspect ratio, presented in 1080p HD on the Blu-ray

• New and improved English subtitles

• Original theatrical trailer

• A 56-minute documentary about the making of the film

• L'Avarice [Avarice], Chabrol's 1962 short film

• A lengthy booklet with a new and exclusive essay by critic Emmanuel Burdeau; excerpts of interviews and writing by Chabrol; and more

Les Cousins (The Cousins)
Made barely a year after Claude Chabrol's debut Le Beau Serge, Les Cousins featured the earlier film's same starring pair of Jean-Claude Brialy and Gérard Blain, here reversing the good-guy/bad-guy roles of the previous picture. The result is a simmering, venomous study in human temperament that not only won the Golden Bear at the 1959 Berlin Film Festival, but also drew audiences in droves, and effectively launched Chabrol's incredible fifty-year-long career.

In Les Cousins, Blain's character journeys from the country to Paris to crash at the luxurious flat of his worldly and decadent cousin, portrayed by Brialy, during the study period for an upcoming law exam which both have set out to undertake. It becomes clear soon enough that only one of the cousins is terribly committed to his work; as sexual promises and alcohol intervene, the set-up becomes untenable for the provincial, — and a tragic slide ensues.

A gripping and urbane examination of city and country, ambition and ease, Les Cousins continues to captivate and shock audiences with its brilliant scenario, the performances of Brialy and Blain, and the assuredness of Chabrol's precocious directorial hand. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Claude Chabrol's breakthrough film in a beautiful new Gaumont restoration on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in the UK.



SPECIAL BLU-RAY AND DVD EDITIONS:
• Gorgeous new Gaumont restoration of the film in its original aspect ratio, presented in 1080p HD on the Blu-ray

• New and improved English subtitles

• Original theatrical trailer

• A 47-minute documentary about the making of the film

• L'Homme qui vendit la Tour Eiffel [The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower], Chabrol's 1964 short film

• A lengthy booklet with a new and exclusive essay by critic Emmanuel Burdeau; a new and exclusive translation of a rare text about actress Françoise Vatel provided for this release by its author, the filmmaker and critic Luc Moullet; excerpts of interviews and writing by Chabrol; and more

22 December 2012

Stanley Kubrick’s FEAR AND DESIRE will be screened in cinemas across the country from 4th January 2013

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Eureka Entertainment have announced that in support of the release on home video of Stanley Kubrick’s FEAR AND DESIRE, the film will be screening across venues in the Picturehouse Chain from 4th January 2013.

Full Details are as follows:

Duke's at Komedia, Brighton - Jan 4-5 2013 (2 days)

Harbour Lights Picturehouse - Jan 6 2013, Jan 10 2013 (2 days)

Stratford Picturehouse, East London - Jan 10 2013 (1 day)

Greenwich Picturehouse - Jan 10 2013 (1 day)

Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton - Jan 14 2013 (1 day)

Phoenix Picturehouse, Oxford - Jan 14 2013 (1 day)

Hyde Park Picturehouse, Leeds – Jan 17 2013 (1 day)

Clapham Picturehouse - Jan 20 2013 (1 day)

Picturehouse at FACT, Liverpool - Jan 21 2013 (1 day)

Cameo Picturehouse, Edinburgh - Jan 24 2013 (1 day)

Exeter Picturehouse - Jan 28 2013 (1 day)

City Screen Picturehouse, York - Jan 28 2013 (1 day)

Cinema City, Norwich - Jan 28 2013 (1 day)

The Belmont Picturehouse, Aberdeen - Jan 30 2013 (1 day)

Hackney Picturehouse - Jan 31 2013 (1 day)

For further details of the screenings http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/

Eureka Entertainment will be releasing FEAR & DESIRE on Blu-ray & DVD on 28 January 2013 in a new restoration for the first time ever in the UK. It is the only Kubrick film besides A Clockwork Orange that was nearly impossible to see in the UK for several decades.

Kubrick's debut feature tells the story of a war waged (in the present? in the future?) between two forces. In the midst of the conflict, a plane carrying four soldiers crashes behind enemy lines. From here out, it is kill or be killed: a female hostage is taken on account of being a potential informer; an enemy general and his aide are discovered during a scouting mission... What lies in store for this ragtag group of killers, between their perilous landing in the forest, and the final raft-float downstream... all this constitutes the tale of Kubrick's precocious entry into feature filmmaking.

Bringing into focus for the first time the same thematic concerns that would obsess the director in such masterworks as Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and Full Metal Jacket, Fear and Desire marks the outset of the dazzling career and near-complete artistic freedom which to this day remains unparalleled in the annals of Hollywood history. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Stanley Kubrick's Fear and Desire in its gorgeous new restoration on both Blu-ray and DVD.


24 November 2012

The Passion of Joan Arc Blu-Ray Review

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Made in 1928 by the legendary Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer, The Passion of Joan of Arc has recently been remastered by Eureka Entertainment for its Masters of Cinema Range. It had previously only been available to English-speaking viewers as a Criterion release. The film charts the final days of Joan of Arc: her trial, the suffering she went through physically and mentally, and obviously ends with her execution by being burned at the stake for being a witch.

The film is truly relentless throughout. The Masters of Cinema DVD includes 97- and a 84-minute versions; the difference between the two is the frame rate (speed), not the footage. The release also includes the Lo Duca version, which was the cut most widely distributed and was famously used in Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre sa Vie (1962), probably the first introduction most people have had to this film. This was the version most people will have seen until the complete cut was found in, fittingly enough, in a Danish mental hospital in 1981.

The actress who plays Joan of Arc, Maria Falconetti, is seen here in her second and last film role. She was mostly known as a stage actress and her presence is stagey: she speaks little, but there are extraordinary close-ups of her eyes throughout the film. However, it is probably one of the five greatest performances ever committed to film. Unlike Florence Delay in Robert Bresson’s later attempt to film the Joan of Arc story, Falconetti has a shaven head (this is one of the biggest flaws of Bresson’s film as it is historically inaccurate.) The also includes Antonin Artaud as the monk Massiou. Artaud later stated the film was meant to reveal Joan as a victim of one of the most terrible perversions of justice committed by state or church.

When the film came out it was very controversial in France, partly because Dreyer was Danish and not Catholic, and partly because of the rumoured casting of Lillian Gish as Joan. Gish was then most well known for her role in Birth of a Nation (she later in life starred in Night of the Hunter) It was edited by the Archbishop of Paris and government censors against Dreyer’s will, leaving the director very angry.

The Passion of Joan of Arc clearly owes some debt to German expressionism, which was even more obvious in Dreyer’s next film, Vampyr (1932). Visually it is certainly the greatest silent film ever made due to the lead performance and the incredible set designs. It was shot by Rudolph Maté, who later became very well known for his work as a film noir director, most notably D.O.A. (1950), and also shot for Hitchcock, Welles and Lubitsch. Paul Schrader has praised “the architecture of Joan's world, which literally conspires against her; like the faces of her inquisitors, the halls, doorways, furniture are on the offensive, striking, swooping at her with oblique angles, attacking her with hard-edged chunks of black and white."

This is a film that should be watched continuously, so it is gratifying that it is now available on home video again. It was voted into the top 10 in the Sight and Sound critics’ greatest films poll in 2012, and has recently been shown at the Leeds Film Festival and elsewhere with a live score. If you are a major fan like me, you may also want to have the Criterion version, which has the superior “Voices of Light” score (one of many scores that have been composed for it over the years.) Dreyer never selected a definitive score for The Passion of Joan of Arc, so unlike some other films of that era (such as Nosferatu and Metropolis) it was left open to interpretation by classical and pop composers – there have been many scores made, even one by Nick Cave.

Ian Schultz

★★★★★

Rating:PG
Re-Release BD/DVD Date: 26th November 2012 (UK&Ireland)
Directed ByCarl Theodor Dreyer
Cast Maria FalconettiEugene Silvain , André Berley
Buy The Passion of Joan Arc: Blu-ray / DVD / Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD) - Steelbook


23 November 2012

Stanley Kubrick's Fear And Desire To Get Masters Of Cinema Release

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Stanley Kubrick’s FEAR AND DESIRE will be released as part of Eureka Entertainment’s MASTERS OF CINEMA Series on Blu-ray & DVD on 28 January 2013

Eureka Entertainment have announced that they will be releasing on Blu-ray and DVD a new restoration in a proper release for the first time ever in the UK of the legendary Stanley Kubrick's debut feature, FEAR AND DESIRE, available from 28 January 2013.  It is the only Kubrick film besides A Clockwork Orange that was nearly impossible to see in the UK for several decades. 

This release completes the fact that now every single one of Stanley Kubrick's films will be available on Blu-ray/DVD.  Full details of the special features have just been released.  The Masters of Cinema edition will contain Stanley Kubrick's complete early shorts (Day of the FightFlying Padre & The Seafarers) made in the run-up to FEAR AND DESIRE, presented completely for the first time on an official release.  In addition to the shorts, there will also be a new and exclusive video introduction to the films by Kubrick scholar, film-critic, and Cahiers du cinéma American correspondent Bill Krohn shot in LA in November 2012 & a packed booklet featuring new and exclusive essays on FEAR AND DESIRE and the early shorts by Kubrick scholar, professor, and film critic James Naremore. 
“[A] highly promising first effort by one of America's premiere filmmakers.” - TV Guide's Movie Guide  
From the director of such classic masterworks as Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey , A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket. 
Independently financed with contributions from Stanley Kubrick's family and friends in an era when an "independent cinema" was still far from the norm, Fear and Desire first saw release in 1953 at the Guild Theater in New York, thanks to the enterprising distributor Joseph Burstyn. Now, with this new restoration carried out in 2012 by The Library of Congress, a film that for decades has remained nearly impossible to see will at last appear in a proper release in the United Kingdom.
Kubrick's debut feature tells the story of a war waged (in the present? in the future?) between two forces. In the midst of the conflict, a plane carrying four soldiers crashes behind enemy lines. From here out, it is kill or be killed: a female hostage is taken on account of being a potential informer; an enemy general and his aide are discovered during a scouting mission... What lies in store for this ragtag group of killers, between their perilous landing in the forest, and the final raft-float downstream... all this constitutes the tale of Kubrick's precocious entry into feature filmmaking. 
Bringing into focus for the first time the same thematic concerns that would obsess the director in such masterworks as Paths of GloryDr. Strangelove, and Full Metal JacketFear and Desire marks the outset of the dazzling career and near-complete artistic freedom which to this day remains unparalleled in the annals of Hollywood history. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Stanley Kubrick's Fear and Desire in its gorgeous new restoration on both Blu-ray and DVD.


SPECIAL BLU-RAY AND DVD EDITIONS:
• New HD restoration of the film by The Library of Congress, presented in 1080p on the Blu-ray. 
• Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. 
• Stanley Kubrick's complete early shorts, made in the run-up to FEAR AND DESIRE, presented completely for the first time on an official release: Day of the FightFlying Padre & The Seafarers 
• A new and exclusive video introduction to the films by Kubrick scholar, film-critic, and Cahiers du cinéma American correspondent Bill Krohn shot in LA in November 2012 
• A packed booklet featuring new and exclusive essays on FEAR AND DESIRE and the early shorts by Kubrick scholar, professor, and film critic James Naremore 
Pre-Order/Buy Fear And DesireDVD / Blu-ray

24 September 2012

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Masters Of Cinema) Blu-Ray Review

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★★★★1/2

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse was Fritz Lang’s last film in his native Germany. Soon after his completion of the film he fled Germany because of his Jewish ancestry and the fact the Nazi head of propaganda banned his film and also because he went Lang to make films for them. It is a sequel to his previous film in the Dr. Mabuse series but having not seen the earlier film will not diminish the effect of the sequel.

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse opens with disgraced Detective Hofmeister who escapes from his criminal attackers. He phones his former superior inspector Karl Lohmann and frantically tells him he has discovered a huge criminal conspiracy. Before he can discloses the identity of the responsible criminal, shots and fired and he goes mad and institutionalized at Prof. Baum’s mental institute.

Baum introduces the case of Dr. Mabuse who went bad and crazy 10 year previously. Mabuse writes detailed plans for crimes and is the head of the crime syndicate. A colleague of Baum’s is shot and killed by Mabuse’s execution squad. There is clue scratched on a window. Lohmann suspects Mabuse but it’s revealed Mabuse died that morning. The rest of the film is Lohmann’s investigate in the crime syndicate.

The film is a complex endlessly fascination crime sage with a strange supernatural twist to it. Fritz Lang later regretted the supernatural element but it’s ads this wonderful off kilter aspect to the crime film. The film is one of the last grasps of German expressionism but is shot in a much realistic style than most German expressionism. It’s not quite up to the beauty of Lang’s Metropolis or M. It’s a near masterpiece with some slight pacing issues but saying that the previous Mabuse film was over 4 hours long (I haven’t seen it yet).

The Nazis banned the film because according to Joseph Goebbels “showed that a extremely dedicated group of people are perfectly capable of overthrowing any state with violence”. It is a very cynical look at the government/officials who are rather useless in the film and can’t do anything about the syndicate.

The film is wonderfully photographed and has enough twist and turns to keep you guessing. It’s not as good as some of Lang’s previous masterpiece but what are? Not many films. It’s a wonderfully offbeat mix of cop drama, mystery and horror and it’s a wonderful piece of proto-noir. It has been lovingly restored by Eureka for Masters of Cinema on blu-ray.

Ian Schultz


Rating:12
UK DVD Release Date: 24th September 2012
Directed By:Fritz Lang
Cast: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Otto Wernicke , Gustav Diessl  
Buy Testament Of Dr. Mabuse: Blu-ray [1933]

21 September 2012

Own A Piece Of Cinematic History With Masters Of Cinema Release Of Passion Of Joan Of Arc

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One of the most acclaimed films by Danish legend Carl Theodor Dreyer,  The Passion Of Joan Of Arc [LA PASSION DE JEANNE D'ARC / JEANNE D'ARC'S LIDELSE OG DØD] is to be released in the UK on Blu-ray, DVD & Limited Edition Dual Format (DVD & Blu-ray) SteelBook as part of Eureka Entertainment’s MASTERS OF CINEMA Series on 19 November 2012

One of the most emotional film experiences of any era, Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 The Passion of Joan of Arc is a miracle of the cinema, an enigmatic and profoundly moving work that merges the worlds of the viewer and of saintly Joan herself into one shared experience of hushed delirium.

Dreyer's film charts the final days of Joan of Arc as she undergoes the degradation that accompanies her trial for charges of heresy – through her imprisonment and execution at the stake.

The portrayal of Joan by Renée Maria Falconetti is frequently heralded as the all-time finest performance in the history of film, and Dreyer's unusual and virtuosic method, in seeming to render the very soul of his actress, vaulted the director decisively into the ranks of the art form's supreme geniuses.

Recently voted one of the Top 10 Greatest Films of All-Time by Sight & Sound magazine, the Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present The Passion of Joan of Arc in its worldwide Blu-ray première, in an exclusive new restoration, presented in both 20fps and 24fps playback speeds, and featuring Dreyer's own original Danish-language intertitles, available in THREE formats—Blu-ray, DVD, and Ltd Edition Dual Format (DVD & Blu-ray) SteelBook editions, released in the UK on 19 November 2012.



SPECIAL FEATURES:

• Exclusively restored high-definition master presented in the film's original aspect ratio, in 1080p on the Blu-ray
• Presented in both 20fps and 24fps playback speeds
• Optional audio tracks: a piano score performed by Japanese silent film composer Mie Yanashita (for the 20fps option), and a radical accompaniment by esteemed American avant-garde musician Loren Connors (for the 24fps option)
• Newly translated optional English subtitles for Dreyer's original Danish intertitles
• The complete "Lo Duca" version of the film – the version (featuring an alternate edit and soundtrack) that circulated in France and around the world for decades before the rediscovery of Dreyer's "director's cut"
• Extended illustrated booklet featuring the words of Dreyer, rare archival imagery, and more
• Further details to be announced nearer the release date!

Pre-Order/Buy:PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, THE [LA PASSION DE JEANNE D'ARC] Blu-ray [1928]/ DVD / Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD) - Steelbook

18 September 2012

Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra (Masters Of Cinema) DVD Review

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★★★★


Cleopatra was a film made by legendary maverick film director Cecil B. DeMille in 1934. It also was later done again in 1963 infamously with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the roles of Cleopatra and Mark Antony respectively. In the 1934 version it stars Claudette Colbert (who was one of the biggest stars of the 1930s) and Henry Wilcoxon.

The film tells the story of the man hungry Cleopatra and her affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony partly out of love and partly for their power. She firsts meet Caesar because her brother Pothinos throws her in the desert to die because he gonna sign off Egypt over to Caesar. She sneaks back in a carpet and wins Caesar over with her body and they fall in love. She later kills Pothinos after she spots him trying to assassinate her.

Caesar and Cleo go back to Rome. The other Romans officials start distrust both of them and eventually assassinate Caesar. Marc Antony and Octavian are later named the co-rulers of Rome. Antony is “disdainful of women” but Cleopatra eventually wins him over much to disgust of Rome.

The film is considerably shorter than the more famous Liz/Burton version, over half the length shorter of that’s 4 HOURS!!! running time at a relatively brisk 101 minutes. It’s not a super fast paced film but very few from the 1930s were. It does however play along nicely.

It was made soon after the production code was introduced. It was the 80th film approved and because this it got away with a lot more than some films not a long afterwards got away with. It has very overt sexual undertones that in some cases DeMille just covers the act in progress. Which is very effective and a good and inventive way to get away with very risqué matter.

The film has lavish sets and design, which is expected from DeMille production. The sets are beautifully detailed with wonderful backdrops, dozens upon dozens of extras and beautifully choreographed. Some of the battle scenes however suffer from bad super imposed images but hell it’s the 1930s, technology has come a long way. The costume design by is also stunning and amazingly revealing for a film from 1934.

The performance from Claudette Colbert oozes sensuality, dominance, heroism and power. The male roles are all very mundane and weak compared to Cleopatra’s strength and dominance over them. Colbert did a best actress Academy award that but not for Cleopatra but for the proto-screwball comedy It Happened Here. It did however win a much-deserved award for cinematography and was nominated for Film, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR!!! (a category they no longer have), sound and editing.

Overall the film is a gloriously over the top film from one true pioneers of cinema Mr. DeMille who would later go on to make such films as The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Show On Earth.

Ian Schultz

Rating:PG
UK Re-release Date:24th September 2012
Directed By:Cecil B. DeMille
Cast:Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Henry Wilcoxon, Joseph Schildkraut

7 September 2012

'Greatest Love in Film' Park Row To Get October Masters

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One of the best ever cinematic depictions of the world of journalism, PARK ROW (A film by Samuel Fuller) is to be released in the UK on DVD as part of Eureka Entertainment’s MASTERS OF CINEMA Series on 22 October 2012.

"Park Row is one of the greatest love letters in the history of film, and it's a love letter to journalism." – Quentin Tarantino

"Brimming with passion and conviction – just like its hero, and its creator." – Leonard Maltin

"Park Row continues to stun through its outrageousness, which at inspired moments becomes a worship of pure energy." – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Film Comment

conic American filmmaker Samuel Fuller began his career as a tabloid reporter, and thrillingly drew on those skills and experiences in his extraordinary labour-of-love Park Row. An exhilarating tribute to the ideals of the free press and noble popular journalism, this two-fisted tale of battles on and off the printed page in 1880s New York is a major American rediscovery.

When Phineas Mitchell (Gene Evans), a visionary newspaperman, launches his own title The Globe, his eye-catching headlines and approach quickly catch fire with the New York readership. But less impressed is Charity Hackett (Mary Welch), proprietor of long-established rival The Star, and attempts to undercut The Globe soon escalate into all-out war.

Packing more dynamite into eight reels than most directors unleash over a career, Fuller's self-financed Park Row is a passionate, idiosyncratic work of gritty myth-making. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Park Row for the first time for home viewing in the UK, released in the UK on DVD on 22 October 2012.



SPECIAL FEATURES:

• New digital progressive transfer in the film's original aspect ratio
• Isolated music and effects track
• Original theatrical trailer
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing-impaired
• Illustrated booklet featuring the words of Fuller, rare archival imagery, and more
• Further details to be announced nearer the release date!

Pre-Order: PARK ROW (Masters of Cinema) (DVD) [1952]

26 August 2012

Rumble Fish Blu-Ray Review

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★★★★★


Rumble Fish was one of many films Francis Ford Coppola did post-One from the Heart to try to recoup the costs of that film. It was made right after Coppola’s previous adaptation of S.E. Hilton novel The Outsiders. It is easily his most artistically satisfying and best since his magnum opus Apocalypse Now. It is also a one of Coppola’s personal 5 favourites of his own work.

It tells the story of Rusty James (played by a very young Matt Dillon, who has starred in 3 of 4 S.E. Hilton adaptations) who is a young but not book-smart but very street-smart teenager who is a member of a rag-tag gang of youths. The film starts with him taking up an offer for a fight with a rival gang leader Biff Wilcox. Matt Dillon’s older brother the legendary Motorcycle Boy (played by a pre-plastic surgery Mickey Rourke) had made a truce between the gangs to stop the rumbles before he left for California. Rusty decides to go ahead with the fight despite this. The Motorcycle Boy mysterious comes back the end of the fight and wins it for his young brother. The Motorcycle Boy like his alcoholic father (Dennis Hopper) is intellectual and has no time for gang fights despite he can knock anyone out easily. The rest of the film plays out like a Greek tragedy and is also about time running out for Motorcycle Boy.

The film’s influences are from Greek Mythology with references to the story of Cassandra but also it’s a film that is very referential to film. The film is very of referential stylistic decisions inspired by German expressionism, surrealism and film noir. The film is almost dreamlike in tone, it’s set in Tulsa, Oklahoma like all of Hilton’s stories but unlike his previous The Outsiders, which is much more like a old fashioned style almost Douglas Sirk esq. in it’s use of colour and obviously constructed sets, not that different from One From the Heart.

It’s shot in high contrast black & white cinematography, which is not that different from the better works of Orson Welles, some shots are reminiscent of his version of The Trial. The film also has very crooked angles, smoke and fog which reminiscent of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It also has very extreme close-ups at time that are really innovative. The film also has early usage of time-lapse photography inspired by Koyaanisqatsi which Coppola’s Zoetrope distributed. The film also is completely in black and white except 2 scenes near the end which obviously a reference to the Motorcycle Boy’s colour blindness.

The film has a wonderful cast with a wonderful performance by Mickey Rourke at the height of his power in the 80s. Matt Dillon is great as Rusty James and also great supporting roles from Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne (who Coppola discovered in Apocalypse Now), Coppola’s nephew Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn and the always wonderful Tom Waits. Mickey Rourke approached his performance as "an actor who no longer finds his work interesting" which perfectly sums it up. Coppola also gave him books by French absurdist/existentialist writer Albert Camus and based his look partly on a famous photo of him.

The film includes a wonderful score by Stewart Copeland of The Police. It uses streets sounds, strange rhythms, sounds of clocks so in short a very interesting and innovative like the film it’s in. It also features a wonderful commissioned song for the film by Stan Ridgway of Wall of Voodoo, which is probably my favourite song written specifically for a film.

Rumble Fish is hands down Coppola’s most underrated and misunderstood film, which has a lot more depth than it was given credit during it’s first run. It has been luckily re-evaluated over the subsequent years. I consider it his 2nd best film behind Apocalypse Now and yes that includes Godfather 1 and 2. It’s a strange stylistic film that is unlike any other film with some great performances. It has been recently added to Masters of Cinema range by Eureka Entertainment and rightly so.

Ian Schultz

Rating:18
UK BD (Re) Release: 27th August 2012
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage

31 July 2012

Hawks And Sparrows (Uccellacci e uccellini) - Masters Of Cinema Review

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★★★★


Hawks and Sparrows is another in Masters of Cinema’s continuing series of Pasolini re-issues with more to come later in the year. The film stars Toto who not know to most people outside of Italy know who he is but he was the huge star in Italy and was sort of the Italian Chaplin. The fim co-stars Pasolini’s collaborator and lover Ninetto Davoli.

The film’s story is a rather strange crossbred of a fairy tale and mid 60s leftist filmmaking. It’s about these 2 characters who meet a talking Marxist crow. The crow tells them the story of these 2 old Franciscan Monks (naturally played by Ninetto and Toto) and they preach to the Hawks and Sparrows and try to convert them to Christianity. They rest of the film consist of them wandering having episodic adventures includes meeting beautiful girls, they get chased away by angry farmers and dancing teenagers.

The film touches on Life, Religion, Birth, Sex, Aging and Death. It’s all done with humour and a touch of almost Monty Python silliness. The talking crow talks almost like thrift store Godard revolutionary speak but The Crow symbolize death eventually. The film features a wonderful Ennio Morricone score, which features Domenico Modugno singing the opening credits in an ironic fashion. The score itself is almost a Leone score which is unsurprising cause it was done around the same time as his scores for Leone.

The film is an extremely enjoyable if very strange piece of Bunuelian esq comedy even though the humour at time is very broad. The film seems to be considered a lesser work of Pasolini’s even though he considered it the only film of his that he wasn’t disappointed with. A knowledge of mid 60s Italian politics may help for some but for a person like me who has no knowledge it stills works as a very enjoyable film.

Ian Schultz

Rating: PG
UK Re-release Date: July 2012
Directed By: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast: Totò, Ninetto Davoli , Femi Benussi
Buy:Hawks and Sparrows [Masters of Cinema] On DVD [1966]