Seven classic films from acclaimed director Luc Besson are available on Blu-ray for the first time, including: "Leon" (Director's Cut)and "Nikita". Released on September 14.
Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant and charismatic poet Dylan Thomas who loves them both. Released Nationwide on Friday 27th June.
British comedy at its best Please Sir is fondly remembered by an entire generation of TV viewers. Starring John Alderton as the idealistic teacher Bernard Hedges who is put in charge of the worst class ever come back to school and relive the hilarity with Please Sir!.
Based on the true story of the building of a bridge on the Burma railway by British prisoners-of-war held under a savage Japanese regime in World War II, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) is one of the greatest war films ever made. The film received seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Performance (Alex Guinness), for Sir Malcolm Arnold's superb music, and for the screenplay from the novel by Pierre Boulle (who also wrote Monkey Planet, the inspiration for Planet of the Apes). The story does take considerable liberties with history, including the addition of an American saboteur played by William Holden, and an entirely fictitious but superbly constructed and thrilling finale. Made on a vast scale, the film reinvented the war movie as something truly epic, establishing the cinematic beachhead for The Longest Day (1962), Patton (1970) and A Bridge Too Far (1977). It also proved a turning-point in director David Lean's career. Before he made such classic but conventionally scaled films as In Which We Serve (1942) and Hobson's Choice (1953). Afterwards there would only be four more films, but their names are Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Dr Zhivago (1965), Ryan's Daughter (1970) and A Passage to India (1984). On the DVD: Too often the best extras come attached to films that don't really warrant them. Not so here, where a truly great film has been given the attention it deserves. The first disc presents the film in the original extra-wide CinemaScope ratio of 2.55:1, in an anamorphically enhanced transfer which does maximum justice to the film's superb cinematography. The sound has been transferred from the original six-track magnetic elements into 5.1 Dolby Digital and far surpasses what many would expect from a 1950s' feature. The main bonus on the first disc is an isolated presentation of Malcolm Arnold's great Oscar-winning music score, in addition to which there is a trivia game, and maps and historical information linked to appropriate clips. The second disc contains a new, specially produced 53-minute "making of" documentary featuring many of those involved in the production of the movie. This gives a rich insight into the physical problems of making such a complex epic on location in Ceylon. Also included are the original trailer and two short promotional films from the time of release, one of which is narrated by star William Holden. Finally there is an "appreciation" by director John Milius, an extensive archive of movie posters and artwork, and a booklet that reproduces the text of the film's original 1957 brochure. --Gary S Dalkin
An angel in Berlin decides to become human after falling in love with a mortal. One of Wim Wenders' biggest commercial successes and arguably his most accessible film to date Wings of Desire (aka: Der Himmel uber Berlin) centres around two trench-coated angels Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander) wandering the streets of post-war pre-unification Berlin. Invisible to humans they listen to the tortured thoughts of the mortals occasionally dispensing heavenly solace to those in need. An encounter with a beautiful circus trapeze artist Marion (Solveig Dommartin) sees Damiel falling in love and longing to give up his immortal state in order to experience the simple joys of human experience. Damiel is assisted in his transformation by an American actor (Peter Falk) filming on location in the city himself a former angel who has traded in his wings for a mortal existence. Scripted by Wenders and respected German playwright and novelist Peter Handke the film is impeccably shot by legendary cinematographer Henri Alekan (Jean Cocteau's cameraman on La belle et la bete) blossoming from the monochrome perspective of the angels to colour following Damiel's eventual transmutation. As ever with Wenders music plays an important part and the film features rare on-screen performances by the bands Crime And The City Solution and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. Multi-award winning (including the Best Director prize at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival) and hugely acclaimed Wings Of Desire is a delightfully poetic celebration of the human condition. It famously inspired Brad Silberling's 1998 hit film City of Angels starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. In 1993 Wenders reunited with Ganz Sander Dommartin and Falk along with Nastassja Kinski and Willem Dafoe for a sequel Faraway So Close!.
One of the cinema's great disappearing acts came to a close with the release of The Thin Red Line in late 1998. Terrence Malick, the cryptic recluse who withdrew from Hollywood visibility after the release of his visually enthralling masterpiece Days of Heaven (1978), returned to the director's chair after a 20-year coffee break. Malick's comeback vehicle is a fascinating choice: a wide-ranging adaptation of a World War II novel (filmed once before, in 1964) by James Jones. The battle for Guadalcanal Island gives Malick an opportunity to explore nothing less than the nature of life, death, God, and courage. Let that be a warning to anyone expecting a conventional war flick; Malick proves himself quite capable of mounting an exciting action sequence, but he's just as likely to meander into pure philosophical noodling--or simply let the camera contemplate the first steps of a newly born tropical bird or the sinister skulk of a crocodile. This is not especially an actors' movie--some faces go by so quickly they barely register--but the standouts are bold: Nick Nolte as a career-minded colonel, Elias Koteas as a deeply spiritual captain who tries to protect his men, Ben Chaplin as a G.I. haunted by lyrical memories of his wife. The backbone of the film is the ongoing discussion between a wry sergeant (Sean Penn) and an ethereal, almost holy private newcomer (Jim Caviezel). The picture's sprawl may be a result of Malick's method of "finding" a film during shooting and editing, and in some ways The Thin Red Line seems vaguely, intriguingly incomplete. Yet it casts a spell like almost nothing else of its time, and Malick's visionary images are a challenge and a signpost to the rest of his filmmaking generation. --Robert Horton
The Timeless Epic from Francis Ford Coppola In a pristine new transfer supervised by Francis Ford Coppola Presented in the original (2.35:1) theatrical aspect ratioOne of the most iconic films ever made and one of the most disturbing dramatisations of the Vietnam War ever seen, Francis Ford Coppolas Apocalypse Now is cinema at its most epic and unforgettable. Traumatised soldier Captain Benjamin L. Willard has been chosen for a highly classified mission. He must journey along the notorious Nung river and into the savage depths of war torn Cambodia in search of the mysterious Colonel Kurtz. Deemed insane and a danger to the war effort, Kurtz must be terminated with extreme prejudice. But the closer he gets to Kurtz the closer he gets to his own heart of darkness.
A girl from a rich family in Chelsea is bored and decides to go slumming in depressed Battersea. She gets a flat and starts working in a factory and makes some friends there. One of her friends is pregnant but abortion is illegal...
In early 1939, with the Second World War looming, aristocrat Sir Robert Hunter (Peter O'Toole) attempts to avert the impending catastrophe by assassinating Adolf Hitler. But his mission fails. Captured by the Gestapo and left for dead, Sir Robert survives his torture but is hunted by both the British and German authorities on his return to England and must use his wits and guile to survive . Based on Geoffrey Household's cult thriller, Rogue Male is a suspenseful action adventure featuring an exceptional lead performance by O'Toole and a superb supporting cast, including Alastair Sim, Harold Pinter and John Standing. Special Features: Newly remastered in HD from the original 16mm A/B negatives Extras TBC Fully illustrated booklet with new writing by Paul Fairclough and full film credits
This rousing, explosive 1961 World War II adventure, based on Alistair MacLean's thrilling novel, turns the war thriller into a deadly caper film. Gregory Peck heads a star-studded cast charged with a near impossible mission: destroy a pair of German guns nestled in a protective cave on the strategic Mediterranean island of Navarone, from where they can control a vital sea passage. As world-famous mountain climber turned British army Captain, Mallory (Peck) leads a guerrilla force composed of the humanitarian explosives expert, Miller (David Niven), the ruthless Greek patriot with a grudge, Stavros (Anthony Quinn), veteran special forces soldier Brown (Stanley Baker) and the cool, quiet young marksman Pappadimos (James Darren). This disparate collection of classic types must overcome internal conflicts, enemy attacks, betrayal and capture to complete their mission. Director J. Lee Thompson sets a driving pace for this exciting (if familiar) military operation, a succession of close calls, pitched battles and last-minute escapes as our heroes infiltrate the garrisoned town with the help of resistance leader Maria (Irene Papas) and plot their entry into the heavily guarded mountain fort. Carl Foreman's screenplay embraces MacLean's role call of clichés and delivers them with style, creating one of the liveliest mixes of espionage, combat and good old-fashioned military derring-do put on film, while Dimitri Tiomkin's score is as sturdy as the rock of Navarone itself. --Sean AxmakerOn the DVD: This special-edition DVD gives the modern-day viewer a taste of what movies were like in 1961. Four curious featurettes are included, produced as publicity for the film. James Darren narrates a little ditty at his honeymoon in Malta during filming; Irene Papas narrates a giddy, old-fashioned look at "Two Girls on the Town". There is even a filmed bit with producer-writer Carl Foreman that was shown once at the premiere. The 30-minute retrospective, "Memories of Navarone", made in 1999 has the expected reminiscences from Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn. Director J. Lee Thompson's audio commentary is a bit frustrating; he's now in his 80s, and most of his recollections are slow in coming. A historian could have brought out the film's history (it was the most expensive movie ever made at time of release) and produced a more vital viewing. --Doug Thomas
The crowning triumph of a career cut tragically short, the final film from LARISA SHEPITKO (Wings) won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and went on to be hailed as one of the finest works of late-Soviet cinema. In the darkest days of World War II, two partisans set out for supplies to sustain their beleaguered outfit, braving the blizzard-swept landscape of Nazi-occupied Belarus. When they fall into the hands of German forces and come face-to-face with death, each must choose between martyrdom and betrayal, in a spiritual ordeal that lifts the film's earthy drama to the plane of religious allegory. With stark, visceral cinematography that pits blinding white snow against pitch-black despair, The Ascent finds poetry and transcendence in the harrowing trials of war. Special Features: New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack New selected-scene commentary featuring film scholar Daniel Bird New video introduction by Anton Klimov, son of director Larisa Shepitko and filmmaker Elem Klimov New interview with actor Lyudmila Polyakova The Homeland of Electricity, a 1967 short film by Shepitko Larisa, a 1980 short film tribute to his late wife by Klimov Two documentaries from 2012 about Shepitko's life, work, and relationship with Klimov Program from 1999 featuring an interview with Shepitko New English subtitle translation PLUS: An essay by poet Fanny Howe
During the Second World War, Britain's women were asked to help out the farming industry by joining The Women's Land Army (The Land Girls). Three city gals make their way to the Lawrence farm in Dorset, and find themselves taking to the work easily enough. The only problem between them is each want young Joe (Steven Mackintosh) for their own reasons. Ag (Anna Friel) is the fiery sort who'll take pleasure where she finds it; Prue (Rachel Wiesz) just wants a lesson in the ways of the world; while Stella (Catherine McCormack) is looking for a way out of the private trap she's set in motion back home, but her feelings are the most sincere of the bunch. The film is Stella's story really (as adapted from the novel by Angela Huth), and has her affecting the on-off decision by Joe to join the RAF, the fight with the government to keep the East Meadow as it is and the paths the two other girls end up taking. Everything is very sweet-natured, especially when played out against a backdrop of rolling green hills, chuffing steam engines and knee-high socks tucked into Wellington boots. There's no comment on the effects of war as such, instead this film is more about the reasons why we make choices in life. --Paul Tonks
Hard hitting and controversial classic BBC drama series, based on real life experiences. Tenko is the powerful story of a disparate group of women whose lives are changed forever when they are taken by the Japanese as prisoners of war after the fall of Singapore in 1941.This twelve disc set contains all thirty episodes from Series One to Three plus the feature length Reunion Special.
A critically acclaimed film that won a total of eight 1970 Academy Awards (including Best Picture) Patton is a riveting portrait of one of the 20th century's greatest military geniuses. One of its Oscars went to George C. Scott for this triumphant portrayal of George Patton the only Allied general truly feared by the Nazis. Charismatic and flamboyant Patton designed his own uniforms sported ivory-handled six-shooters and believed he was a warrior in past lives. He outmaneuv
Physics Professor Dr Pederson (Kirk Douglas) and underground leader Straud (Richard Harris) must convince British Intelligence that the Nazis are planning to build the A-bomb. The Norse Hydro Plant at Telemark is central to enemy strategy and the Allies decide to send in a task force to destroy it. Legendary director Anthony Mann (Winchester 73 El Cid The Fall of the Roman Empire) tells the story of nine courageous and indomitable Norwegians without whom the Second World War may ha
Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 classic tale of the Viet Nam war, re-released with almost an hour of additional footage. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is given the task of sailing upriver to find and execute renegade military officer Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Br
A tense engrossing adventure set in the 1942 Libyan war zone in the hot Western Desert. A British ambulance officer (John Mills) escapes the siege in Tobruk and tries desperately to get his passengers to safety in Alexandria where he dreams he will have the luxury of an 'ice cold' glass of beer. His passengers include a stranded hospital nurse a Sergeant-Major and a stray South African Officer trying to return to his unit. Despite saving the group from the Germans something is not quite right about the last passenger. As he begins to undermine the group's stamina using psychological tactics the British officer begins to suspect he might be a German spy...
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