Coming DVDs

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Re: Coming DVDs

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:00 am

From USA Today:

Hollywood has a blockbuster lineup of films coming this fall, not just to theaters but department stores and retailers, local merchants and online retailers.

James Cameron's epic Titanic is among films slated for release on Blu-ray. A stream of box-office hits and classics, including the Indiana Jones films and Titanic, are queued up for release on Blu-ray Disc as part of a concerted campaign to cement the high-definition format's place in your living room.

The 6-year-old Blu-ray Disc is reaching a critical juncture in its growth process. Despite its video and sound superiority to DVD, the format is growing at a slower pace than expected. Meanwhile, the momentum of streaming video — the fastest-growing segment of the home video market — threatens to snuff out some consumers' love of movies on physical discs. Studios see streaming video's advance "and with every step it takes" it lessens the likelihood that "somebody goes and buys a Blu-ray movie or rents it," says Phil Swann, president of TVPredictions.com.

Studios "see their window closing — not real quick, but closing slowly," Swann says. … They want to "get these classic movies out there and sell them now, because we aren't exactly sure what the environment is going to look like a year from now."

About 42 million U.S. households have one or more Blu-ray Disc players, including a Sony PlayStation 3 game system, which plays Blu-ray games and movies. That means more than one-third of U.S. homes can watch Blu-ray movies. But at this point in DVD's lifespan, about half of U.S. households had a DVD player, including DVD-playing PlayStation 2 systems, according to market research firm IHS Screen Digest.

A look at some of the landmark films hitting Blu-ray for the first time in this fall's campaign to entice new Blu-ray adoptees and drive sales of discs to current Blu-ray consumers:

•September. Box-office leviathan Titanic — written, directed and co-produced by James Cameron— makes its maiden Blu-ray voyage Sept. 10. In addition to a standard Blu-ray edition, the No. 2 all-time box office film comes in a 3-D release, too ($54.99 for Blu-ray 3D; $44.99 for standard Blu-ray; prices are suggested and can usually be found discounted by 40% or more). The documentary Ghosts of the Abyss 3D, which chronicles Cameron's real-life return visit to the shipwreck, hits Blu-ray ($44.99) on Sept. 11.

Hollywood is also leaning heavily on the legacy of another filmmaker during the upcoming Blu-ray blitz: Steven Spielberg. Raiders of the Lost Ark and the other Indiana Jones films arrive Sept. 18 in Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures ($99.98). Released earlier this month: Jaws ($29.98), which Universal restored for the Blu-ray release. It looks better — and scarier — than when it set box-office records in 1975. "It's the movie that people remember. It's just really crystal clear and vivid," Spielberg says in a video segment on the new disc, about the restoration of the film. "The sight and sound is something I didn't even get when I made the movie."

•Sept. 25. a 15-film Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection from Universal ($299.98) that includes 13 new-to-Blu-ray films including Rear Window and The Birds.

And Bond 50, a $299.99 box set honoring the super-spy franchise's 50th anniversary collects all 22 films including nine new-to-Blu-ray.

•October. The month begins with beauty and the beasts. On Oct. 2, Disney releases the CinderellaDiamond Edition ($39.99), while Universal offers up the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection ($159.98), which has eight horror films including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Wolf Man.

Then, another Spielberg blockbuster, E.T. The Extraterrestrial ($34.98), invades stores Oct. 9. Also out that day, the Hitchcock film Dial M for Murder 3D ($35.99).

The following week, Cameron aims to cement his title as king of the Blu-ray world with the release of the Avatar Blu-ray 3D Collector's Edition ($39.99, Oct. 16). Avatar is the top-selling Blu-ray release, based on units and revenue. But the 3-D disc version has been available only to buyers of Panasonic 3-D HDTVs and 3-D glasses.

"The films that we made before Blu-ray were never seen in the homes the way we would want them to as filmmakers," says Avatar and Titanic co-producer Jon Landau. "Blu-ray allows us to deliver the films at a quality level that we're proud of. With these two titles coming out back-to-back, we're very excited about what people will be able to experience in their own homes."

•November. The month kicks off with several 1950s classics, such as Guys and Dolls ($34.99) and Sunset Boulevard ($26.98), and Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon ($39.95), all released on Nov. 6. The following week is highlighted by a 50th anniversary Blu-ray edition from Sony of Lawrence of Arabia ($95.99 for four-disc limited edition collector's set; $26.99 for two-disc version) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding: 10th Anniversary Special ($19.98).

•December.Finding Nemo 3D ($49.99 for 3-D version; $39.99 for standard Blu-ray) comes to Blu-ray Dec. 4 following the film's 3-D theatrical re-release beginning Sept. 14.

Sony has spent several years restoring the image from the 65mm negatives of Lawrence of Arabia, which premiered in theaters in December 1962. After the negatives were cleaned and put through an 8K scanning process, which captures detail beyond that seen in current high-definition, repair technicians fixed tens of thousands of scratches and other decay using high-tech restoration software.

During the iconic scene where Lawrence blows out the match and then the camera turns toward the desert, "You can actually see the detail in the riders and practically feel the sand as it blows across the desert floor," says Grover Crisp, an executive vice president in Sony Pictures Entertainment's film restoration and digital mastering division.

Households with Blu-ray

Studios have many reasons for filling the Blu-ray pipeline. Sales of older, so-called catalog films on Blu-ray rose 26% in the first half of 2012, according to the Digital Entertainment Group, which estimates that as many as one-third of homes can view Blu-ray movies. Overall Blu-ray disc sales rose 13.3% over the first six months of 2012.

Household penetration of Blu-ray "has not occurred as quickly as the industry had predicted, but it still continues to have double-digit increases," says Matthew Lieberman of PricewaterhouseCoopers. The consulting firm expects Blu-ray movie disc sales will surpass DVDs by 2015.

But the overall home video market is expected to decline from $19.1 billion in 2011 to $18 billion in 2016, as projected by PwC. Digital rentals and sales are trending up, but not enough to offset overall declines in disc sales and rentals. "The physical market is having a materially negative impact and continues to face a lot of challenges, and will never be able to get back to the glory times," when it hit a high of $19.6 billion in 2006, Lieberman says.

Video-streaming revenue, which accounted for about $2.8 billion in 2011, will reach $6.7 billion by 2016, PwC estimates. That will surpass disc sales, which are expected to decline from about $9 billion in 2011 to about $5.5 billion in 2016.

"Streaming and connected video services like Netflix and Vudu have eaten into Blu-ray Disc sales as consumers have experimented and shifted their purchase behavior. Streaming services and cloud-based content are the future when it comes to video," says Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). "Over time, the drive to own a library of physical media content will give way to the convenience of on-demand content from the cloud."

Studios are not prepared to publicly write off physical media; the wave of titles and lower prices could encourage some consumers to move off the sidelines. Blu-ray player prices have fallen faster than DVD player prices did — the average price is $84, according to CEA — as have price tags on movie discs, with discs costing less than $10 commonly found at discount stores.

And for the digitally inclined, many new releases come in combo packs that include Blu-ray, DVD and digital copies that can be viewed on laptops and portable devices. Some also have UltraViolet copies that can be stored in cloud-based digital lockers and streamed to mobile devices.

What's so great about Blu-ray?

Some consumers still aren't sure why they should want Blu-ray. So Hollywood is again stressing Blu-ray's superior video quality — up to six times the resolution of a DVD — and its improved surround sound, which is richer than can be achieved with current streaming services.

Not only can Blu-ray players handle DVDs and CDs, but most also have built-in streaming capabilities, so consumers have the choice of multiple viewing methods. Streaming and physical media "do not cancel each other out," says Andy Parsons, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association's promotions committee. "They all have different roles to play."

Considering the slow economy, the industry's 1.43% increase in total home entertainment spending in the first half of 2012 suggests "We are doing quite well," says Jeff Baker, Warner Home Video's executive vice president and general manager of theatrical catalog.

With the coming wave of old favorites on Blu-ray along with new blockbusters such as The Hunger Games and The Avengers, due Sept. 26, IHS Screen Digest principal U.S. media analyst Tom Adams is optimistic that the overall home entertainment industry might see an uptick in 2012 — its first positive growth since the DVD hit its peak. Netflix and improved pay TV services have cut into disc sales, he says. Consumers "have cut back to a more picky approach of limiting purchases to all-time favorites," Adams says. "Every one of these upcoming releases have millions who think of it as their favorite title of all time."

And, in a way, Hollywood is hedging its bets. Each time a studio spends millions to restore a classic film such as Jaws or Lawrence of Arabia, it adds a new high-definition master that can be licensed for TV broadcast or streaming.

Whatever streaming's effect on Blu-ray, Hollywood is backing the discs for the foreseeable future. But many believe that Blu-ray could be the last physical format.

"We really don't know what the future is going to be," Baker says. "It's illogical to think that in the next four to five years there is going to be a new format — like DVD was new when VHS was around, or Blu-ray is new when DVD is around."

Blu-ray could evolve to handle even higher-def, 4K video that delivers four times the resolution found on current discs. Sony already markets a $25,000 4K projector and a $250 Blu-ray player that converts current discs to 4K resolution.

More 4K HDTVs are due later this year. A new 4K ecosystem with higher-resolution discs and TVs could "give optical media another four to five years," says Tom Campbell of Video Audio Center, a Los Angeles-area electronics retailer.

New high-end products are needed because even though lower Blu-ray prices attract consumers, they result in lower margins for retailers — and studios. "Hollywood is looking at this, and we as retailers are concerned about it," Campbell says.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: Coming DVDs

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:53 am

Finally.......

Ken Russell's The Devils (BFI) in March

The BFI have announced the UK DVD release of Ken Russell's The Devils on 19th March 2012. Forty years ago, The Devils caused outrage amongst audiences and critics after one of the longest-running battles with the BBFC was resolved and the film finally opened in cinemas. Now recognised as a landmark in British film history, The Devils will be released by the BFI in the original UK X certificate version, accompanied by a wealth of new extra features and a 44-page illustrated booklet.

The Devils is based on John Whiting’s stage play and Aldous Huxley’s novel. In 17th century France, a promiscuous and divisive local priest, Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), uses his powers to protect the city of Loudun from destruction by the establishment. Soon, he stands accused of the demonic possession of Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave), whose erotic obsession with him fuels the hysterical fervour that sweeps through the convent.

Features on this 2-Disc Special Edition include:
Region 2
2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
English Mono (320kbps) | English HOH subtitles
DVD premiere presentation of the original UK X certificate version
Newly filmed introduction with broadcaster and critic Mark Kermode (2012, 2 mins)
Audio commentary with Ken Russell, Mark Kermode, editor Michael Bradsell and Paul Joyce
Hell on Earth (Paul Joyce, 2002, 48 mins): documentary exploring the film's production and the controversy surrounding its original release
Director of Devils (1971, 22 mins): documentary featuring candid Ken Russell interviews and unique footage of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies recording his celebrated film score
Original on-set footage with commentary by editor Michael Bradsell (2012, 8 mins)
On-stage Q&A with Ken Russell (2012, 13 mins): an excerpt from a conversation with Mark Kermode filmed at the National Film Theatre in 2004
Amelia and the Angel (1958, 26 mins): Ken Russell's second short, made by the BFI’s Experimental Film Fund; a delightful mix of religious allegory and magical fantasy
Original UK trailer
Original US trailer
44-page illustrated booklet featuring new essays from Mark Kermode, Craig Lapper (BBFC), Michael Bradsell and Sam Ashby, plus film notes, biographies and credits

RRP is £19.99.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: Coming DVDs

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:52 am

BFI Ozu: The Student Comedies in February

On 20 February 2012, the BFI adds four rare silent comedies by Yasujiro Ozu to its ongoing collection of the Japanese master’s work, which will eventually include all 32 of the surviving films he made for the Shochiku Studio.

The Student Comedies, a handsome 2-disc box set, brings Ozu’s student-themed silent comedies to DVD for the first time, with newly commissioned scores by Ed Hughes, as well as the rare surviving fragments of his 1929 film I Graduated, But …

Disc One:
Days of Youth (Wakaki Hi) (1929)
Ozu’s earliest surviving film follows students Watanabe and Yamamoto as they unknowingly compete for the affections of the same girl.

I Flunked, But … (Rakudai Wa Shita Keredo) (1930)
With exams looming, Takahashi finds a creative way to avoid doing his revision in this roguish comedy reminiscent of Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman.

Disc Two:
The Lady and the Beard (Shukujo To Hige) (1931)
Graduate Okajima finds that his impressive beard, worn in traditional style, makes it impossible to find a decent job or make a good impression. Ozu’s cheerful comedy focuses on the tension between tradition and modernity, a theme he revisited in some of his most profound post-war work.

Where Now are the Dreams of Youth? (Seishun No Yume Ima Izuko) (1932)
Hirano and his friends are happily enjoying a carefree college life, but when tragedy strikes everything changes. Scripted by Ozu’s long-term collaborator Kogo Noda, this film subtly moves from light to dark and questions the durability of friendship.

Features include:
1.33:1 | Silent, Japanese intertitles with English subtitles
I Graduated, But … (Yasujiro Ozu, 1929, 11 mins): surviving fragment of Ozu’s early student comedy about a recent graduate struggling to find a job
Exclusive, newly-commissioned scores for all films by Ed Hughes, featuring the Camilleri Trio and Richard Casey (Dolby Digital stereo 320kbps)
Ozu: Emotion and Poetry (2011, 20 mins): Tony Rayns discusses Ozu’s early work and
influences
38-page illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays from Asian cinema
experts Tony Rayns and Alexander Jacoby
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: Coming DVDs

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:31 am

With the number of older films coming out on DVD or Blu Ray dwindling (I'm not counting DVD-Rs) it's nice to report that the wonderful Ruggles of Red Gap with Charles Laughton is to be released in the UK in a dual DVD/Blu Ray package, fully restored by Masters of Cinema in May.

I understand that the DVD-R released in the U.S. about a year or so ago is from a well warn print well worth avoiding. I already have a French DVD of the film but the picture quality if 'soft' and it has burnt on French subtitles.

I'm looking forward to this upgrade. I wouldn't be surprised to see it come out in the U.S. via Criterion soon after.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: Coming DVDs

Postby Reza » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:29 am

Basil Dearden's London Underground


by Oliver Pattenden Cineaste Magazine June 2011 (Web Exclusive)

Sapphire
Produced by Michael Relph; directed by Basil
Dearden; written by Janet Green; cinematography
by Harry Waxman; edited by John D. Guthridge;
music by Philip Green; starring Nigel Patrick,
Michael Craig, and Paul Massie. DVD, Color, 92 min., 1959.

The League of Gentlemen
Produced by Michael Relph; directed by Basil
Dearden; written by Bryan Forbes; from the novel
by John Boland; cinematography by Arthur
Ibbetson; edited by John D. Guthridge; music by
Philip Green; starring Jack Hawkins, Roger
Livesey, Nigel Patrick, Richard Attenborough, and
Bryan Forbes. DVD, B&W, 116 min., 1960.

Victim
Produced by Michael Relph; directed by Basil
Dearden; written by Janet Green and John
McCormick; cinematography by Otto Heller; edited
by John D. Guthridge; music by Philip Green;
starring Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Sims, Dennis Price
and Nigel Stock. DVD, B&W, 100 min., 1961.

All Night Long
Produced by Michael Relph; directed by Basil
Dearden; written by Nel King and Peter Achilles;
cinematography by Ted Scaife; edited by John D.
Guthridge; music by Philip Green; starring Paul
Harris, Richard Attenborough, Patrick McGoohan
and Keith Mitchell, with appearances by Dave
Brubeck, Charles Mingus and Tubby Hayes. DVD, B&W, 91 min., 1962.

A Criterion Collection Eclipse four-disc box-set,
distributed by Image Entertainment, www.Image-Entertainment.com


The current fear amongst most liberals in Britain
is the extreme likelihood that British Prime
Minister David Cameron is dragging the nation
back to the days of Thatcherism at lightning
speed. While the specter of the dark days of the
Eighties indeed looms with every library closure
and cut to the NHS, there are also lessons to be
learned by turning back the pages of recent
history books to the equally difficult days of
austerity in the decade and a half following
World War II. The Fifties saw Britain facing new
social and political concerns, and found the
nation struggling to stake some identity both at
home and in a changing world, while coping with
financial difficulty and social unrest. There are
clear parallels to the Fifties in the asceticism
of the sober Britain of today and, furthermore,
in the social issues challenging a conflicted and exhausted society.

Out of these difficulties of the postwar years
stemmed one of the most productive and memorable
eras in British cinema, so clearly characterized
by the 'realist' directors of the British New
Wave. It is primarily owing to this movement that
to this day realism and social relevance remain
the pilot lights for most discourse surrounding
British cinema. Basil Dearden, an alumnus of
Ealing Studios with a penchant for politically
motivated cinema made with meticulous production
values, existed outside of the gritty and stoic
esthetic that was the fashion in the late Fifties
and early Sixties. Given their more overtly
political themes and stylistically grandiose
visuals, Dearden's films felt in contrast to the
principal esthetic of realism and are more
commonly identified as 'social problem' films.
While Dearden's films were often commercially and
critically successful in Britain, they don't have
quite the same legacy today as the 'kitchen-sink'
dramas of filmmakers such as Tony Richardson or
Lindsay Anderson, but they tackle much more
focused and relevant political issues that were
affecting the social landscape in Britain during that time.

This new box set by the Criterion Collection's
budget offshoot project Eclipse features four of
Dearden's collaborations with long-term producer
Michael Relph (also of Ealing heritage), which
coincide with the formation of their Allied Film
Makers production company: the racial murder
mystery, Sapphire; the atypically class-conscious
heist film, The League of Gentlemen; the
blackmail thriller, Victim; and a resetting of
Shakespeare in a Sixties jazz club, All Night
Long. It is easy to view this set of Dearden's
films in the context of other socially situated
works of the late Fifties and early Sixties, and
it seems clear that this was the frame in mind
when this new set was being curated. The term
'social-problem film' seems almost tailored to
Dearden's provocative expos's during this time.
While Dearden may be remembered for his role as a
social filmmaker, he should also be recognized as
an accomplished craftsman; a director of
accomplished artistry and astounding ability with
the narrative conventions of cinema.

More than anything, Dearden was a consummate
genre director, working with ease through myriad
filmic styles and structures (probably best
exemplified by the epic Khartoum [1966]). By
utilizing his skills with genre films to examine
society's darkest flaws, Dearden managed to do
something more than just address a social issue;
he exploited the ability of cinema to entertain,
placing 'social problems' in a generic context
that would gain more attention. For example,
Sapphire and Victim (both authored by Janet
Green) tackle suppressed social issues couched in
forceful suspense narratives, successfully
shaping the viewer's emotional response to such
topics. Similarly, League of Gentlemen conveys
overlooked aspects of class and gender in the
postwar era through humor and adventure, thus
investing the audience with the expectations (and
disappointments) of the protagonists. Because of
his daringness to marry style and controversial
topics, Dearden was able to remove any judgment
or focused message from his films, allowing for a larger impact.

Dearden's first cinematic work of note occurs in
Ealing's classic horror compendium Dead of Night
(1945), in a vignette about an injured race-car
driver confronted by a premonition of his own
death. This short, anecdotal piece insouciantly
recounts the story of a man who one night sees a
hearse driver appear with 'room for just one
inside,' before later that week seeing the same
man collecting tickets on a bus that soon crashes
off a bridge. Like much of the film, Dearden's
sequence balances the joint pleasures of humor
and terror with giddying delight. Despite being
so early in his career, it's clear from his apt
handling of this succinct, mysterious narrative
that Dearden's key attribute is his deft
manipulation of tone based on a firm
understanding of genre conventions. The hearse
driver's immortal line is at once eerie and
hilarious, and the episode is formed with a
masterful approach to suspense that would later
prove key to the success of his social problem films.

Sapphire

Dearden's involvement in films focused on social
issues had been established throughout the
Fifties by films such as The Blue Lamp (1950) and
Violent Playground (1958), though these films
were far more pedantic in nature, and by the turn
of the Sixties, he was demonstrating an important
stylistic makeover. The plots of both The Blue
Lamp and Violent Playground are centered on
juvenile delinquency, and subsequently focus
heavily on the social institutions involved in
correction. While frequently exciting, the
mystery-cum-police-propaganda film The Blue Lamp
often feels stodgy, weighed down with a
doctrinaire tone that feels as restrictive on the
narrative as the film pleads the police to be on
a delinquent society. Similarly, Violent
Playground, a film about a Liverpudlian gang,
becomes a paean for social workers, whose
influence is deemed necessary to better the situation of frustrated teens.

By Sapphire, the focus is no longer on promoting
the positive structures that are in place to
protect society, rather the films are driven by
exposing issues overlooked by the system. In
earlier films, Dearden never shied away from
plainly speaking about solutions to social issues
(often in the case of voice-over prologues). In
contrast, the films in this set leave open any
questions of societal obligation or morality,
instead offering the viewer the opportunity to
experience the problems firsthand through a
visceral sense of tension. While there is
undoubtedly a sense of guilt at feeling narrative
or cinematic pleasure by indulging in the
pressure in these films, it forces us to feel the
significance of the social issues at play within
the stories. Dearden rarely relied on subtext or
allegory, preferring to construct his films to
deliver the necessary punch to spur debate on the
politics behind the personal experiences he depicted.

Dearden's heist film, League of Gentlemen

The League of Gentlemen finds Dearden returning
in spirit to his roots at Ealing, building on
Ealing's successful coupling of satire and
adventure by constructing a crime plot that
balances cynicism and escapade. The film depicts
a recently decommissioned colonel who, feeling
frustrated at his dismissal following a committed
career in the army, gathers a group of skilled
but shamed and mainly destitute former officers
to collaborate on a large-scale bank robbery.
Where League differs from other films in the
heist genre is how clearly it foregrounds the
social circumstances for the protagonists turn
to crime. While each of the characters
transgressions has in one way or another led to
their discharge, the film makes a subtle case for
the military abandoning its servants in the
decade after the war. The film's lasting image is
of the plotters donning wartime gas masks to
cover their identities for the bank robbery,
squarely tying each of these now committed
criminals to their past in service protecting the nation.

In addition to being a unique take on the heist
film, League works as a great ensemble piece. So
many of the key Ealing comedies, such as Hue and
Cry (1947) and Passport to Pimlico (1949), were
ensemble films without a key character (or, more
importantly, a major star). League features
several star actors (including the film's
screenwriter, Bryan Forbes), many of whom put in
superb turns, particularly an understated,
anxious Richard Attenborough and a sly Nigel
Patrick. Where Ealing often thrived on a sense of
community, the high number of standout
individuals in League adds to the tension and
disquiet amongst this desperate group as they
attempt to put their training to use one more
time. Dearden truly gets the most out of a
talented cast, often revealing their individual
pasts through carefully worked interactions
between different members of the group.

Dearden's ability to evoke brilliant performances
is also quite evident in Victim, a courageous and
edgy film that confronted the consequences of
institutionalized homophobia. Victim is built on
a remarkable study in paranoia and repression
from Dirk Bogarde, who ushered in the second,
more sinister phase of his career with this film.
Bogarde's portrayal of a closeted homosexual
lawyer trapped in the middle of a blackmail
scandal is made the focal point of this
concentrated, claustrophobic thriller. Dearden
emphasized Bogarde's haunting and oppressive
loneliness with stark and imposing camera work,
making a stylistic masterpiece out of a notoriously divisive subject.

Victim, produced only a few years after the
Wolfenden Report lobbied for the
decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain,
feels like a protest embedded in a taught and
tense drama. Victim, in fact the first film in
the English language to use the word
'homosexual,' is credited with bringing the
trials of those persecuted under arcane laws to
the mainstream and thus influencing the revision
of these laws later in the Sixties. Victim's
success in bringing attention to such a deeply
marginalized social issue lies in its attention to its suspense plot.

Dirk Bogarde in Victim, the first English
language film to use the word "homosexual"

As with Sapphire, the film for the most part
eschews any punctiliousness when it comes to the
moral and legal debates engendered by its subject
matter. Curiously, both films allow for any
moralistic arguments to be posited by police
officers working on the case. In Victim it occurs
in one of the film's most enjoyable moments, as
the chief inspector reminds his snidely
moralistic assistant that Puritanism was once as
outlawed as homosexuality. The film instead
imbues the viewer with a sense of fear and
discomfort that travels straight from Bogarde's
immense performance, forcing all but the most
close-minded of viewers to ally with the outlawed barrister.

The earliest and latest films in this set deal
(to varying degrees) with issues of immigration
and race in London around the turn of the
Sixties. In addition to introducing fresh
cultural ideas to a changing nation, the emerging
influx of immigrants from the West Indies during
the mid-to-late Fifties had a significant affect
on certain communities and cultures within
Britain, often a disturbing reaction from the
working classes (signified by the birth of such
groups as the Teddy Boys). There are very few
texts, however, from the era itself that deal
with the tensions and the humanist problems that
arose from the resistance within Britain.
Sapphire skirts any specific references to racial
tension in London, but is clearly an allegorical
response to the Notting Hill riots of the previous year.

The film follows the investigation into the
murder of a young girl, a popular student in
London who is revealed to have been 'passing for
white'.The film doesn't foreground any notions
of racial harmony being a lost ideal; rather the
topic of race is only brought in slowly, as the
investigation deepens. What makes it particularly
unusual, is the plot development that so few of
the people who knew Sapphire knew she was of
mixed race. It makes the issues of race that much
more arbitrary and muddled, conveying to the
viewer a genuine frustration that her race may
have caused her death. While race becomes a clear
possibility as a motive, Green's screenplay
cleverly skews what Sapphire's race means to
different parties, offering a range of different
potential prejudices along the way. As the
tension builds within the investigation and the
reality that this is a hate crime is established,
bigotry becomes increasingly threatening,
sinister, and despicable to the viewer.

All Night Long might be the most difficult film
here to classify as a landmark in its own right.
The film reimagines Othello set at an exclusive
all-night jazz party in a fashionably
reconstituted warehouse space on the southeast
bank of the Thames (hosted by a charmingly
effervescent Richard Attenborough). The film is
propelled by a constant stream of energetic live
jazz, which features such luminaries as Charles
Mingus and Dave Brubeck performing on screen, but
it is ultimately less immediate than the first
three in this set. Despite the creative premise
for the film, the screenplay somewhat lacks the
spark of the other films here, though Dearden
makes up for this with compellingly stylistic
footage of the live performances.

The main value in including All Night Long
alongside these other Dearden films is in how
eloquently and subtly he handles any mention of
race in the film. By seamlessly transitioning a
canonized English text into a contemporary
setting influenced by new immigrant cultures,
Dearden makes a de facto case for celebrating and
incorporating new cultural imports to Britain.
Where Sapphire made clear the conflicts and
tensions surrounding black culture in London, All
Night Long depicts a more open-minded, inclusive version of London.

All Night Long is a reimagining of Othello in a London jazz club

With the exception of All Night Long, each of
these films openly depicts a 'problem' within
British society, and each film addresses the
flaws within the systems in place. By the
Sixties, Dearden had matured from the director
who felt compelled to foreground and pontificate
on society's needs in his films, opting to coerce
his audience into feeling the tensions caused by
prejudice and neglect. In retrospect, these films
failed to have the same legacy that the
class-based dramas of the British New Wave would
have on the landscape of 'social realism' over
the decades, but there is room here to explore
Dearden's model as a productive and relevant one.
While most of the issues in these films are dated
now, both their stylistic success and positive
response to social struggles could prove a
significant influence on contemporary filmmakers
looking for a rejoinder to the Britain of The
Big Society. As Cameron sets about dismantling
social institutions in Britain, from the
community centers to the police and the military,
there is the slight consolation of the thought
that Britain tends to respond to difficult times
with a fruitful spell of cinematic eminence
(though this may be optimistic when considering
funding, given that Mr. Cameron has already abolished the UK Film Council).

This Eclipse collection does what it promises in
delivering the films in the simplest of fashions,
augmented only by some insightful notes from
Michael Koresky. Given the high value of these
films, it's slightly disappointing that they
aren't being presented with slightly more
context, particularly given how specific their
issues are to their time. The quality of the
DVDs, however, is exceptionally good, and
packaged together the set certainly whets the
appetite for further Dearden releases in the
future. The existence of this set on our shelves
now is a great service to those interested in the
power of cinema to convey an effective and
meaningful political message. Beyond this,
beneath the bold and frequently jarring social
issues on display, these four diverse and
pleasurable films give forth a strong case for
Dearden's work being made more available purely
for its filmic mastery and visual pleasure.

Oliver Pattenden is a free-lance writer with an
MA in Film Studies from the University of East Anglia.

To buy Basil Dearden's London Underground, click
<http://www.amazon.com/Eclipse-Underground-Gentlemen-Criterion-Collection/dp/B0047P5FTK/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1304490286&sr=1-1>here.

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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:10 am

Reza wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:SAVAGE MESSIAH (1972) REMASTERED Russell trains his outrageous vision upon the life of famed French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (Scott Anthony.) An inveterate habitué of the Bohemian districts of Paris, Gaudier-Brzeska produced a prodigious body of work before the first World War brought his career, and life, to an end at 23 years-old. This film pivots on Gaudier-Brzeska's passionate five year relationship with a Polish noblewoman (played by Dame Dorothy Tutin) twenty years his senior. Presented uncut in all its explicit, controversial glory,

Yet another gem from Russell. I'm glad BAFTA recognised Dorothy Tutin's great performance with a nomination.

Tutin's other BAFTA nomination was for her Anne Bolyen in the TV mini-series, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which kind of makes her Glenda Jackson's screen mother as Jackson starred as Elizabeth I in Elizabeth R and Mary, Queen of Scots teh year after Henry VIII aired.
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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:05 am

Reza wrote:
Damien wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Yes, it's good to finally have The Romantic Englishwoman available in Region 1, but it's been avialble as an import (Region 2) for years.

Even more exciting, today marks the Warner Archive release of one of Glenda Jackson's best films, Ken Russell's The Boy Friend in which she plays the star who breaks her leg so that Twiggy can go out and become one.

The Archive is also releasing Russell's Savage Messiah.

Delighted about The Boy Friend. But people should know that Glenda Jackson's role is a cameo and that she's not a major part of the picture.

Was Glenda Jackson considered for the supporting award as a possible nominee in 1971 for The Boy Friend or Mary, Queen of Scots?

If memory serves, she was considered for The Boy Friend by the New York Film Critics, probably as a consolation prize for losing Best Actress in Sunday Bloody Sunday to Jane Fonda in Klute, but Mary, Queen of Scots wasn't released in New York until 1972.

Oscar voters probably wouldn't have considered her walk-on in The Boy Friend as worthy of a nod and if I rememebr correctly, in 1971 the studios were still making the decisions as to who would be consdiered for lead and who would be considered for support. I imagine that Universal would have listed Jackson as lead in Mary, Queen of Scots along with Vanessa Redgrave.
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Postby Reza » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:53 pm

Big Magilla wrote:SAVAGE MESSIAH (1972) REMASTERED Russell trains his outrageous vision upon the life of famed French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (Scott Anthony.) An inveterate habitué of the Bohemian districts of Paris, Gaudier-Brzeska produced a prodigious body of work before the first World War brought his career, and life, to an end at 23 years-old. This film pivots on Gaudier-Brzeska's passionate five year relationship with a Polish noblewoman (played by Dame Dorothy Tutin) twenty years his senior. Presented uncut in all its explicit, controversial glory,

Yet another gem from Russell. I'm glad BAFTA recognised Dorothy Tutin's great performance with a nomination.




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Postby Reza » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:49 pm

Damien wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Yes, it's good to finally have The Romantic Englishwoman available in Region 1, but it's been avialble as an import (Region 2) for years.

Even more exciting, today marks the Warner Archive release of one of Glenda Jackson's best films, Ken Russell's The Boy Friend in which she plays the star who breaks her leg so that Twiggy can go out and become one.

The Archive is also releasing Russell's Savage Messiah.

Delighted about The Boy Friend. But people should know that Glenda Jackson's role is a cameo and that she's not a major part of the picture.

Was Glenda Jackson considered for the supporting award as a possible nominee in 1971 for The Boy Friend or Mary, Queen of Scots?

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Postby Reza » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:46 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Yes, it's good to finally have The Romantic Englishwoman available in Region 1, but it's been avialble as an import (Region 2) for years.

I just watched this Region 2 version of the film and I agree with Damien both Caine and Jackson are superb. This is the film for which Glenda Jackson should have been nominated in 1975 instead of for Hedda.

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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:51 pm

True. Jackson doesn't even receive billing, but her role is curcial to the plot. Twiggy and Christopher Gable are the stars, although the press release suggests that Tommy Tune, who has a supporting role, was Twiggy's co-star:

CINEMA PROVOCATEUR KEN RUSSELL
Pioneering English director Ken Russell's films are as noted for their arresting visual style as their excesses. No stranger to controversy, Russell often confronts the viewer with lurid imagery that violates the mores of the time, only to then follow these "shocks" up with moments of sublime beauty and grace, leaving the viewer to question his own understanding of the function of art, beauty and morality. A Ken Russell film is never, ever boring.

THE BOY FRIEND (1971) REMASTERED Working at the height of his formidable powers, Ken Russell braids a whole new layer of story onto the hit stage musical that made Julie Andrews a star and opens it up to some astonishing flights of fancy. Wrapping a narrative frame around the original - a seaside theatrical company mounts a production of the '20s musical spoof The Boy Friend - allows Russell, in turn, to explore and parody the conventions of '30s musicals with elaborate fantasy sequences, slapstick, and sentiment. RESTORED DIRECTOR'S CUT/ROADSHOW presentation with Intermission and Entr'acte, as Ken Russell intended the film to be seen. Starring Twiggy and Tommy Tune, with an uncredited supporting performance by Glenda Jackson.
SPECIAL FEATURES: vintage "behind the scenes" making-of featurette about the film.

SAVAGE MESSIAH (1972) REMASTERED Russell trains his outrageous vision upon the life of famed French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (Scott Anthony.) An inveterate habitué of the Bohemian districts of Paris, Gaudier-Brzeska produced a prodigious body of work before the first World War brought his career, and life, to an end at 23 years-old. This film pivots on Gaudier-Brzeska's passionate five year relationship with a Polish noblewoman (played by Dame Dorothy Tutin) twenty years his senior. Presented uncut in all its explicit, controversial glory,




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Postby Damien » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:51 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Yes, it's good to finally have The Romantic Englishwoman available in Region 1, but it's been avialble as an import (Region 2) for years.

Even more exciting, today marks the Warner Archive release of one of Glenda Jackson's best films, Ken Russell's The Boy Friend in which she plays the star who breaks her leg so that Twiggy can go out and become one.

The Archive is also releasing Russell's Savage Messiah.

Delighted about The Boy Friend. But people should know that Glenda Jackson's role is a cameo and that she's not a major part of the picture.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:36 am

Yes, it's good to finally have The Romantic Englishwoman available in Region 1, but it's been avialble as an import (Region 2) for years.

Even more exciting, today marks the Warner Archive release of one of Glenda Jackson's best films, Ken Russell's The Boy Friend in which she plays the star who breaks her leg so that Twiggy can go out and become one.

The Archive is also releasing Russell's Savage Messiah.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Damien » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:03 am

This is for me the most exciting DVD news in years. It's one of the great (although forgotten) films of the 1970s, with Joseph Losey's precise direction matching Tom Stoppard's brilliant screenplay. And Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson have never been better.
=======================
Kino Lorber will release the 1975 British romantic comedy-drama film The Romantic Englishwoman starring Michael Caine (The Man Who Would Be King) and Glenda Jackson (Women in Love) on DVD and Blu-ray on June 21.
Glenda Jackson and Michael Caine get the low-down in The Romantic Englishwoman.

Adapted for the screen by Tom Stoppard (Brazil) from the 1975 novel by Thomas Weisman and directed by Joseph Losey (Time Without Pity), the movie focuses on ups and downs of the marriage between novelist/screenwriter Lewis (Caine) and his wife Elizabeth (Jackson).

While Elizabeth is away on holiday in the German resort town of Baden Badem, jealous Lewis imagines she’s having an affair with a mysterious German poet (Helmut Berger) she’s met on the elevator. Soon Berger inexplicably shows up at their house in England, and Caine’s heated feelings begin to grow…prompting him to take on a script assignment and patter.

Additional good news: Otto Preminger's Such Good Friends on DVD soon.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby Okri » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:53 am

Likely an April Fool's Joke.


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