The newish Blu-Ray company Indicator/Powerhouse is issuing a remarkably eclectic selection of films in an ambitious new programme, and its initial batch includes a very collectable Hammer Films box set (which is temptingly described as volume 1), containing neglected Hammer films such as Maniac and The Gorgon. The set is to be reviewed in the next DVD Choice.
Second Run’s next release – on both Blu-ray and DVD formats – will be Otakar Vávra’s WITCHHAMMER on October 30. A powerful and often shocking allegory of life under totalitarian rule, Witchhammer, co-written by Ester Krumbachová (Daisies, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders), chronicles a series of notorious 17th Century Czech witch trials, using genuine court transcripts from the forced confessions of those accused of sorcery and collusion with the Devil. With echoes of Bergman, Dreyer and František Vláčil, and with literary antecedents in Arthur’s Miller’s The Crucible and Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon, it is a disturbing political fable; and like Ken Russell’s controversial, expressionistic adaptation of Huxley’s text, The Devils (1971) and other films of the period such as Michael Reeves’ Witchfinder General (1968) and Michael Armstrong’s Mark of the Devil (1970), it serves as both grim genre film and compelling historical drama.
OUR LAST TANGO (Un tango más) executive produced by Wim Wenders (Pina, Buena Vista Social Club, Wings of Desire) and directed by German Kral, will be released in the UK on 22nd September by Celluloid Circus in partnership with the Argentine Film Festival, London. Continue reading
In 1957, Hammer’s first ever horror film in colour was released: The Curse of Frankenstein. Its huge success spawned many more Hammer Horror films and the studio’s domination of the horror genre, which was to last for a decade and a half. So 60 years on, to commemorate this anniversary, Studiocanal and Park Circus, in conjunction with FrightFest, Scalarama and more tbc, are releasing brand new restorations of eight classic Hammer Horror titles at cinemas and on DVD/Blu-ray doubleplay. From the gothic horrors Scars of Dracula, Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb, Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde,Horror Of Frankenstein and psychological chillers Fear In The Night, Straight On Till Morning and Demons Of The Mind to Hammer’s last horror film of the 20th century To The Devil A Daughter, the eight films are selected from the glory years of the iconic house of horror. On Sunday 27th August 2017, FrightFest will host the restoration premieres of Demons Of The Mind and Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb at the Prince Charles Cinema, London. On 19th September 2017 Scalarama’s annual month-long celebration of movies presents ‘Hammer Day’, with screenings across the UK of all eight restored Hammer films, in conjunction with Park Circus. 19th September would have been the birthday of Hammer producer/screenwriter Anthony Hinds. Studiocanal will release the newly restored films as Doubleplay editions on 23rd October 2017 [Blood From The Mommy’s Tomb, Demons Of The Mind, Fear In The Night, Scars of Dracula] and on 13th November 2017 [Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Straight On ‘Til Morning, To The Devil A Daughter, Horror Of Frankenstein]. Extra features are to be confirmed.
Network’s upcoming Blu-ray releases inlcude Silver Dream Racer and The Belstone Fox. Silver Dream Racer – starring pop legend David Essex, Beau Bridges and Clarke Peters – is a thrilling ride though the cut-throat world of motorcycle racing as hot-headed racer Nick Freeman (Essex) is determined to prove himself on the track with his prototype Silver Dream Machine. The Belstone Fox is a captivating film for the whole family with exquisite backdrops of landscapes and country wildlife. From Born Free director James Hill, it tells the story of the unlikely friendship formed between an orphaned fox, Tag, and the foxhound Merlin. The film boasts an impressive British cast including Eric Porter, Jeremy Kemp, Dennis Waterman, Rachel Roberts and Bill Travers. Now both available for the first time on Blu-ray and join Network’s extensive The British Film collection.
BFI Flipside is to issue The Orchard End Murder, a film by Christian Marnham in a Dual Format Edition (DVD/Blu-ray) release on 24 July 2017. Set in an idyllic Kent village one balmy summer during the 1960s, The Orchard End Murder, an obscure British oddity from 1981, is a macabre tale of murder and mischief. This is the 35th title on the BFI Flipside label, which rescues weird and wonderful British films from obscurity and presents them in new high quality editions on DVD and Blu-ray. A young woman from the suburbs (Tracy Hyde, Melody), bored by a countryside tryst, wanders off to explore her surroundings. When she meets a gnome-like stationmaster and his towering, half-witted railway-worker friend (played by Casualty’s Clive Mantle), an initially strange encounter turns sinister among the trees of a nearby orchard.Written and directed by Christian Marnham and shot by Pete Walker’s regular cameraman Peter Jessop, The Orchard End Murder is a violent, darkly humorous thriller, unseen since it originally shocked UK cinemas audiences.
Eureka Entertainment have announced today that it is set to launch a new world cinema sub-label under the brand name Montage Pictures, which will focus on delivering ground-breaking and thought-provoking world cinema from new and upcoming directors. The initial line up will include recent theatrical release Suntan (2016, Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Greece), an unpredictable psychological drama, full of suspense and humour, set on a hedonistic Greek Island; Rescue Under Fire [Zona Hostil] (2017, Adolfo Martínez Pérez, Spain), a directorial debut based on events that happened in 2012 in the north of Bala Murghab in Afghanistan. Continue reading
On 28th April, Silva Screen Records will digitally release The Witness For The Prosecution, Paul Englishby’s Ivor Novello nominated score in this year’s Award in the Best Television Soundtrack Category.