Thursday, March 24, 2011

Arrow Video titles for April and May announced with specs

The UK film distributor Arrow Video have a stunning string of releases on tap for April and May beginning with three titles from their essential cinema imprint Arrow Academy which will be releasing seminal films with presentaton  rivaling that of Criterion and Kino releases with each receiving a dual format Blu-ray and DVD package enabling the flexibility to play the film and extras in either format. Up first from Arrow Academy is  BICYCLE THIEVES (1948), the Euro-stunner LES DIABOLIQUES (1955) and RIFIFI (1955).  Then there are four single title editions from the FANTASTIC FACTORY PRESENTS COLLECTION and two prime Argento titles THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1970) and perhaps my favorite Argento title TENEBRAE (1982) both arriving on Region 0 Blu-ray. Need more Argento? Look no further than the DARIO ARGENTO: THE NEO GIALLO COLLECTION which collects four of the Italian masters late-era titles: TERROR AT THE OPERA (1987), THE STENDHAL SYNDROME (1996), what I would consider Argento's last essential film SLEEPLESS (2001) with Max Von Sydow and THE CARD PLAYER (2004).  We also have Brian De Palma's OBSESSION (1976) set for it's own Blu-ray and DVD release in August.

Release Date: April 25th  2011

FORMAT/REGION CODE: Region B [Blu-ray], Region 2 [DVD]
RATED: Unrated
DURATION: 89 mins [Blu-ray], 85 mins [DVD]

DIRECTOR: Vittorio De Sica
CAST: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell

SYNOPSIS: Heralded as the greatest film ever made on release, winning an Oscar in 1949 and topping the Sight and Sound film poll in 1952, De Sica’s seminal work of Italian neorealism has had an impact on cinema worldwide from release to the present day, with filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray and Ken Loach claiming the film as a direct influence on their own.

Bicycle Thieves tells the story of Antonio, a long unemployed man who finally finds employment putting up cinema posters for which he needs a bicycle. His wife pawns all the family linen to redeem the already pawned bicycle and for Antonio salvation has come, until the bicycle is stolen. Antonio and his son take to the streets in a desperate search to find the bicycle. Bicycle Thieves is as much about the position of Italians in post-War, post-Fascist Italy as the relationship between father and son, told through the labyrinth of the cinematic city with De Sica’s arresting visual poetry. Defining neorealism, a small period of filmmaking that focused on simple, humanist stories, Bicycle Thieves was one of the most captivating and moving. Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK.

- Brand new restored, high definition transfer on Blu-ray (1080p) and DVD
- Newly translated and more complete optional English subtitles
- Feature length audio commentary by Italian Cinema expert Robert Gordon, author of BFI Modern Classics 'Bicycle Thieves'
- ‘Cesare Zavattini’ a feature length documentary by director Carlo Lizzani on the great screenwriter, novelist, critic, long time De Sica collaborator and founder of Italian neorealism [Blu-ray only]
- ‘Timeless Cinema’, a documentary portrait of director, actor and screenwriter Vittorio De Sica
- Trailer
- Comprehensive booklet featuring a brand new essay on the film by writer and film historian Michael Brooke as well as screenwriter Cesare Zavattini’s essay 'Some Ideas on the Cinema', illustrated with original stills and Lobby Cards
- Artwork presentation packaging including three original posters and a newly commissioned artwork cover
- LPCM mono audio on the Blu-ray and the DVD

Release Date: April 25th 2011

FORMAT/REGION CODE: Region ABC [Blu-ray], Region 0 PAL [DVD]
RATING: 12 Certificate
DURATION 117 mins
DIRECTOR: Henri-George Clouzot
CAST: Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse, Véra Clouzot

Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD package includes the feature film on a DVD disc and Blu-ray disc enabling the flexibility to play the film and extras in either format.

SYNOPSIS: After the success of The Wages of Fear (Le salaire de la peur) Henri-Georges Clouzot cemented his reputation with his masterpiece, Les diaboliques.

Based on a novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (who also wrote the novel on which Hitchcock’s Vertigo is based), Les diaboliques tells the story of a sadistic headmaster (Paul Meurisse) who brutalises his wife and mistress (Véra Clouzot and Simone Signoret) and their plot to murder him. Superbly edited with nail-biting suspense, the two women murder the headmaster and dump the body in the swimming pool, but when the pool is drained no corpse is found. An unsettling and beautifully-paced study of betrayal, mistrust and guilt, Les diaboliques is atmospherically shot in black and white, its murky tones hauntingly echo the moral ambiguity of its principals.

An acknowledged influence on Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick among others, Les diaboliques is presented on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK.

- Brand new High Definition transfer of the film from a new restoration of the original negative on Blu-ray (1080p) and DVD
- Audio commentary by Susan Hayward, author of Les diaboliques (Cine-file French Film Guides)
- Filmed interview with Ginette Vincendeau, French cinema scholar, critic and author
- Original Trailer
- Brand new writing on the film by author and critic Brad Stevens and a re-printed interview with Clouzot by Paul Schrader illustrated with stills and rare original set drawings by LéonBarsacq.
- Artwork presentation packaging including original posters and a newly commissioned artwork cover

Release Date: April 25th 2011

RATING: 18 Certificate
DURATION: 92 mins
DIRECTOR: Brian Yunza

CAST: Jeffrey Combs, Elsa Pataky, Tommy Dean Musset
TAGLINE: Welcome to Death Row. The Doctor will see you now…

SYNOPSIS: Trash cinema’s greatest ghoul is back! Horror legend Jeffery Combs returns as Dr. Herbert West in Beyond Re-Animator, the gory sequel to the original 80s splatter classic.

Incarcerated for the death of an innocent teenage girl at the hands of one of his resurrected corpes, Dr. West continues his insane research into the creation of life from behind bars. West makes a breakthrough with his discovery of Nano-Plasmic Energy, a substance that prevents the living dead from degenerating, but in doing so he unleashes bloody chaos in the prison as no one knows difference between the humans and the zombies.

- Reversible Sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
- Audio commentary with director Brian Yuzna
- ‘All in the Head’ Brian Yuzna on the Re-Animator Chronicles (50 mins)
- Original Trailer
- Double-sided fold-out poster featuring new artwork
- Collector’s booklet featuring ‘World of Lovecraft’ and an Interview with star Jeffrey Combs by author and critic Calum Waddell as well as an extract from H.P. Lovecraft’s original story ‘Herbert West: Renimator’
- Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Anamorphic
- Audio- English Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Release Date: May 2nd 2011

FORMAT/REGION CODE: Region 0 [Blu-ray], Region 0 PAL [DVD]
RATING:  18 Certificate
DURATION: 96 mins

DIRECTOR: Dario Argento
CAST: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno
TAGLINE: A stunning portrait in psycho-terror!

SYNOPSIS: Dario Argento nails the Giallo blueprint in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, a brutal thriller that packs a gory brace of terrifying murders alongside it’s genre defining mix of red herrings, leather gloved slashers and stylish decor.

When Sam, an American writer in Rome, witnesses an attempted slaying in an art gallery, he unwittingly sets the killers sights on himself and his beautiful model girlfriend. But soon, things start to unravel as it becomes clear that the identity of the unknown slayer is very much open to question. Somebody’s killing everyone, who is the evil fiend? Could it be Sam himself?

Argento’s groundbreaking shocker combines eye-popping visuals with a seamy vein of sadomasochism and a lust for violence to create a genre defining movie classic.

- 4 Sleeve art options with original and newly commissioned artwork
- Two-sided fold-out poster
- Exclusive collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Alan Jones, author of ‘Profondo Argento’
- Brand new High Definition restoration of the film from the original negative presented in Director of Photography, Vittorio Storaro’s original 2:1 Univisium aspect ratio (1080p)
- A Crystal Classic: Luigi Cozzi Remembers Dario’s Bloody Bird (1080p)
- Sergio Martino: The Genesis of the Giallo (1080p)
- The Italian Hitchcock: Dario Argento Remembers The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1080p)
- Optional Original Italian and English LPCM mono audio
- Original art by Rick Melton

Release Date May 2nd 2011

FORMAT/REGION CODE: PAL DVD. Region Code unknow at this time.
RATING: 18 Certificate
DURATION: 432 mins
DIRECTOR:  Dario Argento

CAST: Urbano Barberini, Asia Argento, Max Von Sydow, Liam Cunningham

Sit back, relax and prepare to be thrilled, frightened and horrified by the four latter day Dario Argento classics contained within The Neo-Giallo Collection.

Baroque excess and eyelid piercing horror spill from the screen in Opera, Argento’s gory love song to the classical stage, when a young singer is stalked by a homicidal maniac, hell bent of murdering her associates so he can claim her for himself!

A police woman on the trial of depraved and sadistic rapist is plunged into a nightmare in The Stendhal Syndrome. She’s afflicted with a mental condition that causes her to hallucinate and pass out in the presence of art. When her prey leads her to a museum packed with antiquities, she becomes trapped in a psychedelic nightmare by her psychopathic nemesis.

Argento recaptures the magic of classic Giallo once more in Sleepless, a blood splattered tale of an aging detective and a young amateur sleuth on the trail of a serial killer whose has started to slay again after laying dormant for 17 years. Can the rookie cop and his elderly mentor catch the predator and put an end to his reign of terror?

When a sick-minded murderer uses the internet to display his brutality and goad the Rome police, it’s up to a British Interpol agent and a young policewoman to capture a deranged madman who’s dubbed himself The Card Player. Soon, he’s taunting the police and challenging them to a game of video poker. The stakes? Only the life of his next victim...

- 4 of Dario Argento’s late Giallo works collected in this exclusive boxset
- 9 option reversible sleeves of original and newly commissioned artworks!
- 4 double-sided fold-out posters with newly commissioned artwork for each film
- A host of extras for every film including Making ofs, trailers, booklets by Alan Jones (author of ‘Profondo Argento’) and more!

- Reversible sleeve
- Exclusive two-sided poster
- Exclusive collector’s booklet
- Dario Argento’s Filmography and Biography
- Terror’s Photo Album
- Opera by ‘Demonia’ music video
- The complete Dario Argento trailer gallery (18 films)
- International version with choice of original Italian 5.1/Stereo soundtrack and English audio
- US Edit Feature with choice of original track or Cannes Dub audio
- US Trailer
- International Trailer
- Top 6 Gore scenes menu

- Reversible sleeve
- Exclusive two-sided poster
- Exclusive collector's booklet
- The complete Dario Argento Trailer Gallery (18 films)
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Choice of original Italian and English Audio

- Brand New Oil-painting Artwork with flipside original theatrical poster
- Murder, Madness and Mutilation: Sleepless and the Modern Italian Giallo
- The Making Of ‘Sleepless’
- Trailer
- Photo Gallery, Press Kit (Rom Content)
- Brand new artwork poster

- Reversible Sleeve
- Exclusive Two Sided Poster
- Exclusive collector's booklet
- The complete Dario Argento Trailer Reel (18 films)
- Original Trailer
- Making of 'The Card Player'
- 'The Card Player Promo
- Original Italian and English audio

Terror at the Opera 102 mins 5.1/Stereo Audio Language: Italian and English Subtitles: English Aspect Ratio 16x9
The Stendhal Syndrome 118 mins 5.1/Stereo Audio Language: English and Italian Subtitles: English Aspect Ratio 16x9
Sleepless 113 mins 5.1/Stereo Audio Language: English Aspect Ratio 16x9
The Card Player 99 mins Stereo Audio Language: English and Italian Subtitles: English Aspect Ratio 16x9

Release Date: May 9th 2011

RATING: 18 Certificate
DURATION: 97 mins
DIRECTOR: Brian Yuzna
CAST: Mark Frost, Isabel Brook, Jeffrey Combs
TAGLINE: There are some contracts you shouldn’t sign...

SYNOPSIS: Witness the terrible fate of man who sells his soul the devil for a shot at revenge in Faust, another twisted slice of raw imagination from Brian Yuzna (Society, Beyond Re-Animator).

John Jaspers was an artist and a happy man until some thugs snuffed out his girlfriend... Now he’s been driven near insane with the need for vengeance. Aid comes in form of “M”, a mysterious figure who offers him the help he needs for a price... His mortal soul. Jaspers is transformed into a horned demon whose only emotions are the need to slay and the drive to murder.  Out of control and out of his mind, the demonic Jaspers cannot be stopped until his lust for the kill is satisfied and those who wronged him have been ripped to bloody pieces...

- Reversible sleeve featuring brand new and original artwork
- Audio Commentary with director Brian Yuzna - Director of the Damned: Brian Yuzna, Faust and the Fantastic Factory
- The Pain in Spain A History of Horror in Hot Weather with Angel Sala, director of the Sitges Film Festival
- Original Trailer
- Double-sided fold-out poster featuring new artwork
- Collector’s booklet ‘Brian Yuzna: Maestro of Mayhem’ by author and critic Calum Waddell
- 1.78:1 (16x9) Anamorphic
 - English and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 with optional English subtitles

Release Date: May 16th 2011

RATING: 15 Certificate
DURATION: 94 mins
DIRECTOR: Paco Plaza
CAST:  Julian Sands, Elsa Pataky, John Sharian

SYNOPSIS: In 19th Century Spain, a travelling seller with a woman in every town is the keeper of an ancient secret. This handsome, charming ladykiller may also be leaving a trail of bloody murder in his wake that the locals attribute to “the Werewolf of Allariz”. Barbara lives with her sister, isolated in the deep forest. Her happiness comes when the mysterious seller comes to call, but why has he no fear of the wolves that lurk under the darkening trees and what does he keep hidden from view inside his wagon?

Based on the true facts of a real murder case, starring Horror veteran Julian Sands (Warlock, Rose Red) and directed by Paco Plaza (REC 1&2), Romasanta is a sensual, horrifying and boldly original take on the Werewolf genre.

- Reversible sleeve featuring brand new and original artwork
- Romasanta: Lycanthropes, Lunacy and the Last Days of The Fantastic Factory
- Making Romasanta: Interviews with director Paco Plaza, stars Julian Sands, Elsa Pataky and John Sharian.
- A featurette on the S/FX design in Romasanta
- Interview with composer Mikel Salas
- Deleted Scenes with introduction and commentary by director Paco Plaza
- Original Trailer
- Double-sided fold-out poster featuring new artwork
- Collector’s booklet ‘Sex, Sun and Sinful Celluloid’ by author and critic Calum Waddell
 - 2.35:1 (16x9) Anamorphic
- English Stereo/Spanish 5.1 with optional English subtitles

RIFIFI (1955)
Release Date: May 9th 2011

FORMAT/REGION CODE: [Blu-ray] Region B, [DVD] Region 2
RATING: 12 Certificate
DURATION: 118 mins [Blu-ray], 113 mins [DVD]
DIRECTOR: Jules Dassin
CAST: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel

SYNOPSIS: A seminal work of crime filmmaking that lead the young critic Francois Truffaut to declare “the best Film Noir I have ever seen”, Jules Dassin’s Rififi [Du rififi chez les hommes] has influenced films as diverse as Reservoir Dogs and Ocean’s Eleven since its release.

Following, Tony le Stephanois (Jean Servais), a master thief fresh out of jail, wearing a harried look and suffering ill health he refuses to be involved with crime, until he finds his girlfriend shacked up with a rival gangster. With little reason to keep living he plans a final job. Tony sets about finding his crew and meticulously planning the job; a robbery of the jewellery store Mappin & Webb. Rififi revolves around the central heist, famed for its finite detail and incredible tension, but the drama does not end at the heist like so many other crime films. Dassin’s film is a humanist tale that hinges on the loyalty among thieves and draws on the fatalistic, doom laden lives common to crooks and thieves in pulp literature.
An instant commercial success in Paris and worldwide, the film was also very well received by the critics with Jules Dassin being awarded the best director prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Arrow Academy is proud to present Jules Dassin’s legendary film in 1080p high definition for the first time in the UK.

- High Definition transfer of the film from a brand new restoration on Blu-ray (1080p) and DVD
- Filmed introduction by Ginette Vincendeau, French cinema critic, scholar and author
- Interview with Jules Dassin
- Q+A with Jules Dassin at the BFI Southbank, London
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- A comprehensive booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by writer and filmmaker David Cairns, author Alastair Phillips (Rififi: French Film Guide), Francois Truffaut and John Trevelyan.
- Artwork presentation packaging including three original posters and a newly commissioned artwork cover
- Aspect ratio 1.33:1

Release Date: May 23rd 2011

FORMAT/REGION: Blu-ray Region 0
RATING: 18 Certificate
CAST: Anthony Franciosa, Daria Nicolodi, John Saxon
DIRECTOR: Dario Argento

SYNOPSIS: A notorious horror classic returns in all its depraved glory. This infamous video nasty updated the classic Giallo blueprint for the gorified 80s, courting controversy and drenching the viewer in crimson arterial spray.

A razor-wielding psycho is stalking the horror writer Peter Neal, in Rome to promote his latest work, Tenebre. But the author isn’t the obsessive killer’s only target, the beautiful women who surround him are doomed as one by one, they fall victim to the murderer’s slashing blade…

Will fiction and reality blur as fear and madness take hold? Watch in terror as by turns the cast fall victim to the sadistic imagination of Dario Argento, Italy’s master of horror.

- 4 Sleeve art options with original and newly commissioned art work
- Double-sided fold-out poster
- Exclusive collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on Tenebrae by Alan Jones, author of Profondo Argento
- Brand new HD restoration of the film
- Audio Commentary with Argento experts, journalists and writers Kim Newman and Alan Jones
- Audio Commentary with Argento expert Thomas Rostock
- Introduction by Daria Nicolodi
- Screaming Queen! Daria Nicolodi remembers Tenebrae
- The Unsane World of Tenebrae: An interview with Dario Argento
- A Composition for Carnage: Claudio Simonetti on Tenebrae
- Goblin: Tenebrae and Phenomena Live from the Glasgow Arches
- Original Trailer
- Original art by Rick Melton
- In original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with LPCM mono English, Italian audio with optional English subtitles for English and Italian audio

Release Date: August 30th 2011

FORMAT/REGION CODE: Region 0 [Blu], Region o PAL [DVD]
RATING: 15 Certificate
RUNTIME: 98 mins
DIRECTOR: Brian De Palma
CAST: George Litto, Cliff Roberston, John Lithgow, Sylvia Kuumba Williams 
TAGLINE: The Love Story That Will Scare The Life Out Of You

SYNOPSIS: In one of director Brian DePalma's many cinematic tributes to Hitchcock (this one borrows from VERTIGO), Cliff Robertson portrays an American businessman whose wife and child are killed in a botched kidnap rescue effort. Years later, while in Italy, the still-distraught widower begins an affair with a woman (Genevieve Bujold) whose resemblance to his late wife is rather uncanny. The script was co-written by Paul Schrader.

SPECIAL FEATURES: [the special features here are speculative and not confirmed]
- Paul Scharder's full original script with unfilmed sequences.
- Brian De Palma early short films
- Booklet by author and critic Brad Stevens