Boutique Blu-ray label Imprint Films is unleashing its biggest slate to date on October 28, including classics from directors Mario Bava, Sam Peckinpah and Paul Thomas Anderson.
Although revered for his ultra-stylish forays into gothic horror, Italian filmmaker Mario Bava’s work spans numerous genres, and his 1968 action-comedy Danger: Diabolik is a psychedelic romp with a Barbarella meets James Bond vibe. Master criminal Diabolik (John Philip Law) and his girlfriend (Marissa Mell) pull off seemingly impossible heists and attempt to keep one step ahead of the law in this beloved cult classic. Based on an Italian comic book series and featuring a score by the late, great Ennio Morricone, Danger: Diabolik is tremendous fun and pure eye candy – if you’ve ever seen a Bava film, you’ll know that the primary colours really pop, even moreso in HD! Blu-ray extras include new 2020 audio commentaries by Bava biographer Tim Lucas and John Phillip Law, a new video essay by Kat Ellinger, 2005 featurette, trailer, and Beastie Boys’ music video Body Movin’ with optional commentary by BB’s Adam Yauch.
Charlton Heston and Richard Harris lead the cast of Sam Peckinpah’s western epic Major Dundee (1965), in which a Union officer leads a motley crew of prisoners into Mexico to hunt down a band of murderous Apaches. The volatile working relationship between the director and his stars is the stuff of legend, as is the studio’s editing of the film without Peckinpah’s consent. This Limited 2-Disc Hardbox Edition includes both the original theatrical cut and the 2005 extended cut that restores the missing footage, along with a 2019 feature-length making-of documentary and new audio commentary by film historians Glenn Erickson and Alan Rode. Additional extras include extended/deleted scenes and outtakes, vintage featurette, Peckinpah Anecdotes, isolated scores for both versions, original trailers and more.
Making its worldwide Blu-ray premiere is Boogie Nights’ director Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film, Hard Eight (1996). Boasting the kind of quality cast that would become Anderson’s forte – Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Gwyneth Paltrow – this is an absorbing crime-drama involving a professional gambler (Hall) who teaches a down on his luck loser (Reilly) the tricks of the trade. Look out for SLJ in a memorable bad guy role! Anderson contributes two audio commentaries to this forgotten gem that’s ready to be rediscovered.
Richard Bach’s bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull is as synonymous with the seventies as string art, and the ambitious 1973 live-action film adaptation captures the spiritual themes of the book. James Franciscus voices the rebellious gull that embraces his need for speed after being banished from the flock, while Neil Diamond provides the soundtrack (which was more successful than the film). Oscar-nominated for Cinematography and Editing, this existential oddity makes its global debut on Blu-ray featuring a 2020 audio commentary by filmmaker Adam Zanzie.
Directed by John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy), The Day of the Locust (1975) is a dark exploration of 1930s Hollywood featuring a knockout performance from Karen Black as an aspiring, albeit untalented, actress who wants to be a star. Joining her on the boulevard of broken dreams are Burgess Meredith as her father, a former vaudevillian turned salesman, and Donald Sutherland as an awkward accountant (named Homer Simpson!) who becomes obsessed with Black. The film received two Oscar nominations – Best Supporting Actor (Meredith) and Cinematography (Conrad L. Hall) – and makes its global premiere on Blu-ray with a new 2020 commentary track by Kat Ellinger and new interviews with actor William Atherton and film critic Kim Newman.
Another world first for Blu-ray is the classy 1999 British period drama The Winslow Boy. Directed by David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross), it’s the story of a young naval cadet who is accused of the theft and forgery of a postal order, prompting his banker father to bring out the big guns in legal representation. Extras include an audio commentary by Mamet and cast members Jeremy Northam, Nigel Hawthorne and Rebecca Pidgeon, making-of featurette and theatrical trailer.
The Bob Hope Collection bundles two of the legendary funnyman’s comedy thrillers in a Limited 2-Disc Hardbox Edition. The Cat and the Canary (1939) reimagines the 1927 silent film adaptation of John Willard’s stage play (that was remade again in 1978), set in an old dark house where murder and madness reigns during the reading of a will. Hope adds some comic relief to the role of cowardly Hollywood actor Wally Campbell and would reunite with co-star Paulette Goddard for the other film in this collection, The Ghost Breakers (1940) – another effective mix of horror and humour, with Hope playing a radio broadcaster stuck in a haunted castle. Kim Newman and Stephen Jones provide new 2020 audio commentaries for both films, and Ghost Breakers features a new 2K scan from the original negative.
Get your fix of tough guys, mobsters and femme fatales with the Essential Film Noir Collection, featuring icons of the genre like Glen Ford, Ray Milland, Eleanor Parker, Audrey Totter and William Bendix, and complemented by new 2020 audio commentaries from noir historians Alan Rode and Eddie Muller. The four films included in this Limited 4-Disc Hardbox Edition are Framed (1947), starring Ford as a truck driver embroiled in a criminal plot; Alias Nick Beal (1949), which sees an honest district attorney (Thomas Mitchell) succumb to the malign influence of the mysterious title character (Milland); director William Wyler’s acclaimed Detective Story (1951), involving a righteous New York cop (Kirk Douglas) whose investigation leads too close to home; and The Garment Jungle (1957), where a union-busting syndicate threatens a New York sweat shop.
INTRODUCING IMPRINT TELEVISION
October sees the first release under the new Imprint Television banner, which will run concurrently with the Imprint Films label. The brand will deliver an ongoing line of TV series in stunning HD with carefully curated bonus material, and all first pressings of each release will be available in strictly limited-edition deluxe packaging, while stocks last.
Imprint Television kicks off with Hammer House of Horror: The Complete Series, the 1980 anthology show that captures the strong production values and creepy atmosphere of the famous British studio behind the Dracula and Frankenstein flicks starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Indeed, the series features several Hammer Films alumni including Cushing and Denholm Elliott in the episodes The Silent Scream and Rude Awakening, respectively. All 13 episodes are presented in HD and in their full screen aspect ratios, with Guardian of the Abyss also available as a widescreen option. Bonus features include exclusive 2020 audio commentaries on selected episodes, and featurettes. A must-have for every horror fan!
The new, Limited Edition range from Imprint Films is available to own from October 28, while stocks last.