Collectors are well served this May with the launch of a new boutique Blu-ray label offering a range of classic catalogue titles in deluxe limited editions.
The new Imprint Films label from Via Vision Entertainment has something for every film buff. There’s the film noir gem Sorry, Wrong Number (1948); historical epic Waterloo (1970); Ridley Scott’s feature debut The Duellists (1977); the camp cult classic I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958); and perhaps most exciting of all, a new 4K restoration from the original camera negative of the 1953 sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds.
“Our vision was to create an ongoing collector’s series of quality films, released in HD with premium packaging and carefully curated exclusive bonus material,” says Josh Hibberd, Head of Acquisitions & Commercial Development at Via Vision Entertainment. “We really wanted to tap into the film collectors market that supports the physical medium, and who want to collect every numbered release. Since our initial announcement, the feedback and buzz surrounding the label has been exciting and proves that there is a sustainable physical market out there for this type of model.
“We have a crack team of film and TV enthusiasts working behind the scenes on the label engaging with studio archives, film historians, directors and producers around the world to bring the best exclusive supplementary materials to complement each film.”
H.G. Wells’s seminal alien invasion tale from 1898, The War of the Worlds, has since been adapted for the big and small screen multiple times, as well as inspiring a musical concept album. But the precursor to producer George Pal’s 1953 version was the 1938 radio drama narrated by Orson Welles, which became famous for convincing listeners that a Martian invasion was actually underway. The archive broadcast is included as an extra on the Blu-ray disc, along with a making-of documentary, audio commentary by stars Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, and exclusive commentary from film critics Kim Newman and Barry Forsham. At last, one of the quintessential sci-fi films of the ‘50s has been given a definitive release.
At the more schlocky end of the ‘50s sci-fi spectrum is I Married a Monster from Outer Space, from the director of the equally irresistibly titled I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Gene Fowler Jr. Gloria Talbot stars as the bride who suspects her new hubby (Tom Tyron) may not be human, and extras include exclusive commentary from Kim Newman and Barry Forsham, along with the theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.
In Ridley Scott’s debut feature The Duellists (1977), rivalry between two French officers during the Napoleonic era results in an ongoing duel that spans decades. Starring Harvey Keitel, Albert Finney and Keith Carradine, this stylish historical drama is based on a story by Joseph Conrad (Hearts of Darkness) and can be considered a companion piece of sorts to Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975). Bonus features include audio commentary by Ridley Scott, an interview with Keith Carradine, and commentary by composer Howard Blake, whose Wagnerian score is also available as an isolated option.
Still with Napoleonic times, Waterloo (1970) is a spare-no-expense epic from prolific producer Dino De Laurentiis, and was indeed one of the most expensive motion pictures made at the time. Rod Steiger stars as Napoleon, leading the French army into battle – and ultimately defeat – against the Duke of Wellington (Christopher Plummer). Rich in period detail and boasting impressively shot and edited battle scenes, this overlooked production makes a welcome return on Blu-ray. Bonus content includes a new interview with film historian Sheldon Hall and the theatrical trailer.
One of the forgotten classics of ‘40s film noir, Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) finds a bedridden Barbara Stanwyck overhearing a murder plot on a crossed phone line, and the tension is subsequently ramped up as the film speeds towards a cracker of a climax. A nail-biting and excellent example of the film noir movement, Sorry, Wrong Number is now ready for rediscovery in glorious HD and features an exclusive audio commentary by Film Noir Foundation board member Alan K. Rode and a making-of documentary, Hold the Phone.
“It is important to note that each initial release will be a strictly limited edition with exclusive slipcase art,” Josh advises, “and although selected titles may get a second standard release Blu-ray pressing, I would advise collectors to pre-order now, as some titles will definitely not.”
The inaugural Imprint Films range is available to own from May 27, while stocks last. PRE-ORDER your copies today!