Shout! Factory and IFC Films have set a June 16 release date for Three Christs, an American drama directed, co-produced, and co-written by Jon Avnet and starring Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins, and Bradley Whitford.
The film will be issued on both Blu-ray Disc and DVD, and can be pre-ordered now on ShoutFactory.com.
The 2017 film, based on Milton Rokeach’s nonfiction book The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, is set in 1959 and follows the story of Dr. Alan Stone (Gere), a psychiatrist who arrives at a mental hospital in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with the belief that schizophrenic patients should be treated with empathy and understanding rather than confinement and electroshock therapy.
As his first study, he takes on a particularly challenging case of three men — Joseph (Dinklage), Leon (Goggins), and Clyde (Whitford) — each of whom believes they are Jesus Christ. Hoping to get them all in the same room to confront their dillusions, Dr. Stone begins a risky yet unprecedented experiment that will push the boundaries of psychiatric medicine and leave everyone involved profoundly changed.
It’s the tale of a true-blue American hero, one who didn’t have superpowers, but was exceptional nonetheless.
The Last Full Measure, its title echoing the words of Abraham Lincoln about the ultimate sacrifice, is based on the true story of the three-decade effort to have William H. Pitsenbarger recognized for an act of selflessness in the Vietnam War that cost him his life on April 11, 1966.
The film is available now on Digital, and arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD and On Demand April 21 from Lionsgate.
The story follows Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan), who investigates a Congressional Medal of Honor request made by Pitsenbarger’s mission partner and parents to posthumously recognize the U.S. Air Force medic (played in flashback by Jeremy Irvine) who saved more than 60 men before making the ultimate sacrifice in the bloody Vietnam battle Operation Abilene. Huffman interviews Army vets to learn more about Pitsenbarger’s courageous acts — and uncovers a high-level conspiracy behind the medal’s denial.
“We never know in life when we show a random act of kindness or a random act of sacrifice what the effect might be 20, 30 years down the line,” says writer-director Todd Robinson in the extras.
“There’s a lot of remarkable courage out there, but Bill’s story is one at the top,” adds historian William Chivalette.
In addition to Stan, the star-studded ensemble cast includes Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Peter Fonda (in his last big screen performance), Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, Bradley Whitford, Ed Harris and Samuel L. Jackson. Plummer and Ladd portray Pitsenbarger’s long-suffering parents, who wait patiently for their son to be properly recognized. Jackson, Hurt, Fonda and Harris play former servicemen who witnessed Pitsenbarger’s heroism and are still haunted by their war experiences.
“This is the struggle that all of our veterans face every day, is finding purpose and reason, and that’s really what the movie is all about,” says writer-director Todd Robinson in the extras. “I wanted to tell a story that transcends the Vietnam War — and frankly transcends war. They had a search for purpose that took 32 years, and in that purpose, came their healing.”
A featurette among the extras explores the film’s original score by composer Philip Klein, who felt the music had to match the heroism of its subject.
“The story deserved an orchestral score. It deserved something big and powerful,” he says in the featurette. “There was this enormous amount of responsibility that we all felt to make this worthy of this man.”
Other extras include interviews with the servicemen who actually witnessed Pitsenbarger’s actions in 1966, awed by his selflessness. Even three decades later, his choice to stay and help the wounded mystifies.
“There’s not a one of us that wouldn’t have left there if we could, and the only guy that could leave was Pitsenbarger, and he didn’t,” comments serviceman Ron Haley in the extras.
Also included in the extras is footage of a screening for veterans of Operation Abilene and Pitsenbarger’s family at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
“Our wish for you is simply that, when you leave here tonight, this picture has cracked the door open just a little wider for communication, that if you are a veteran, you either tell your part of this story or one like it, or that the rest of us might do our part to be good, patient witnesses and listen,” Robinson tells them.
BLU-RAY/DVD/DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
“The Women of The Last Full Measure” Featurette
“Medal of Honor Ceremony Shoot” Featurette
“That Others May Live: Remembering Operation Abilene” Featurette
“USAF Museum Screening with Veterans & Pitsenbarger Family” Featurette
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season Three will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 19 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The third season of the Award-winning Hulu series is driven by June’s (Elisabeth Moss) resistance to the dystopian regime of Gilead, in which she finds herself once again after opting not to flee to Canada with her baby at the end of the second season. Now, she will struggle to strike back against the regime despite overwhelming odds.
The season three cast includes Cherry Jones and Bradley Whitford, who each recently won Emmys for guest acting in the second season. The cast also includes Christopher Meloni, Elizabeth Reaser, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Ann Dowd, O-T Fagbenle, Max Minghella and Samira Wiley.
The disc includes the featurette “Power Play: Gilead’s Women Fight Back.”
Lionsgate will release A Happening of Monumental Proportions, the directorial debut from actress Judy Greer, on DVD, digital and on demand Oct. 23.
The comedy takes place over the course of one day and follows a group of school administrators as they find themselves caught up in a sex scandal that leads to the discovery of the dead body of the school’s groundskeeper. The cast includes Common, Jennifer Garner, Katie Holmes, John Cho, Rob Riggle, Bradley Whitford, Anders Holm and Allison Janney.
Fox; Drama; Box Office $81.88 million; $29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD; Rated ‘PG-13’ for language and brief war violence. Stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Carrie Coon, Bruce Greenwood, Jesse Plemons, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, David Cross, Zach Woods.
Even before seeing the movie, the obvious question surrounding The Post is why the filmmakers would decide to focus a story about the publication of the Pentagon Papers on the efforts of TheWashington Post newspaper when the bulk of the material was broken by The New York Times.
After watching it, though, it’s a lot easier to understand some of the reasons director Steven Spielberg guided the film along the approach it took.
For one, there just seems to be much more storytelling to mine from the Washington Post perspective, whereas a Times POV would likely have been a more straightforward legal drama about the relationship between the press and government.
At the time, the Post was still seen as primarily a local D.C. publication without the broad national following it has now. Financially strapped, the paper issued an IPO that could have been threatened by any legal troubles encountered as a result of publishing the leaked documents copied from a classified report that exposed government deception in the conduct of the Vietnam War.
And that’s on top of the expected discussions of the role of journalism in a democracy and defending the First Amendment against government pushback, with the Times included in all those story points anyway.
There’s also an argument to be made that the primary interest of the film isn’t even about the Pentagon Papers to begin with.
Certainly, looking at the film from the prism of the Pentagon Papers as the subject matter makes it seem like it’s the story of a minor newspaper jumping on the bandwagon of a bigger newspaper to gain stature.
But keeping a bigger picture in mind, the film is much more about how the Post rose in prominence under the leadership of publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), and that the Pentagon Papers just happened to be the catalyst.
From Spielberg’s perspective, it probably didn’t hurt that this approach also allowed him to devote significant screen time to Graham in depicting the ascension of a female publisher in a man’s world.
Spielberg also seems interested in positioning the film as a prequel of sorts to All the President’s Men, showing how the Post became the paper that drove coverage of the Watergate break-in.
As such, The Post is more fascinating for its procedural aspects and character dynamics for any actual history it’s trying to explore. The film also sees itself as an allegorical commentary on criticism of President Trump’s relationship to the media, and his tendency to label detractors as “fake news,” but these aspects of the film are really only going to appeal to choirs expecting to be preached to. One could be completely oblivious to such perceived messaging and still find the film immensely entertaining. The performances are terrific and the nitty-gritty details of classic print journalism are just fun to see, particularly contrasted with the digital simplicity of today.
The Blu-ray includes a number of good behind-the-scenes featurettes that detail the making of the film and explore the real-life circumstances being explored. This being a Spielberg movie, there’s also a featurette about the music composed by longtime collaborator John Williams, this being their 28th film together.