Western ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD May 17

The Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance will arrive May 17 for the first time ever on 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range (HDR) as part of the Paramount Presents line from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Four-time Academy Award-winning director John Ford brought together an all-star cast for what is considered by many critics to be a quintessential — and yet pioneering — Western late in his storied career. Starring James Stewart and John Wayne (together for the first time), alongside Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, John Carradine and Lee Van Cleef, the film tells the story of a senator (Stewart), his old friend (Wayne), and a despicable outlaw called Liberty Valance (Marvin). 

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was selected in 2007 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Adapted from a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson, the screenplay by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck gave us the often-quoted line “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

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Remastered in 4K Ultra HD for its 60th anniversary this year, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is presented in collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s original theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments. The release also includes access to a digital copy of the film and a Blu-ray Disc with a new Filmmaker Focus featuring film historian Leonard Maltin discussing John Ford, the film and its legacy.  The Blu-ray also includes legacy bonus content including feature commentary by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, along with his archival recordings with John Ford and James Stewart; selected scene commentary with introduction by Dan Ford, along with his archival recordings with John Ford, James Stewart and Lee Marvin; “The Size Of Legends, The Soul Of Myth”; and the original theatrical trailer.

Classic ‘Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm’ to Be Released on Blu-ray March 29 From Warner Archive

The classic 1962 film The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm will debut as a two-disc special edition Blu-ray on March 29 from the Warner Archive Collection.

The film is restored in 4K (3840 x 2160) master files from 6K files of original Cinerama Camera Negatives, with the most advanced technology available used by Cinerama Restorationists David Strohmaier and Tom H. March, to eliminate the “join lines” that plagued traditional release prints, and early video format releases. The Cinerama 7-channel sound has also been restored for a new 5.1 mix.
 
The release will include an eight-page booklet that is a partial replica of the original souvenir program sold in theaters during the film’s original theatrical roadshow engagements and will be available at $24.98 at the Warner Archive store on Amazon.com or at online retailers where Blu-ray discs are sold. 

The film tells the story behind the brothers who created the beloved fairy tales that bear their name, with reenactments of three of their fairy tale stories. It follows the brothers’ long struggle for recognition and the sacrifices they and their families made to achieve their goals. Between dreamer Wilhelm (Laurence Harvey) and practical Jacob (Karl Boehm), some marvelous fairy tales develop. In “The Dancing Princess,” a princess (Yvette Mimieux) falls in love with a charming woodsman (Russ Tamblyn). In “The Cobbler and the Elves,” a Christmas miracle of dedicated labor helps the cobbler out when he most needs it. And in the last story, a fire-breathing dragon threatens the kingdom until a lowly servant (Buddy Hackett) saves the day.

Shot on location in West Germany, the production features Puppetoons, a technique developed by Oscar-winning special effects expert George Pal.

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Viewers can watch the film either in a traditional letterbox format, or in the Smilebox format, which attempts to re-create the immersive Cinerama experience with a simulated curve to the screen. Both versions bring together the three original Cinerama panels with virtually no trace of the lines that joined them together when originally projected in theaters back in 1962.

Cinerama restorationists David Strohmaier and Tom March and Decurion Corp. (parent company of Cinerama Inc.) partnered with Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.to bring the project to fruition.

Special features include “Rescuing a Fantasy Classic-Documentary,” “The Epic Art of The Brothers Grimm,” “The Wonderful Career of George Pal” and trailers.

1936 Musical ‘Dancing Pirate’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 22 From Film Detective

The 1936 musical Dancing Pirate will be released on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 22 from Cinedigm and The Film Detective.

Billed as the first ever 100% Technicolor dancing musical, Dancing Pirate stars Charles Collins as a dance teacher from Boston who is tricked into joining a band of pirates, leading him to be fitted for a noose in California. He catches a break when the mayor’s daughter demands the hanging be postponed until he teaches her to waltz.

Dancing Pirate earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Dance Direction. The film features many familiar faces from Hollywood’s Golden Age, including Frank Morgan (The Wizard of Oz) as the mayor, Steffi Duna (Waterloo Bridge) as his dancing daughter and Rita Hayworth (Gilda) in an early performance as a specialty dancer.

The special-edition release features a new restoration from original 35mm archival material with a new 4K scan.

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“We are delighted to release our first Blu-ray from the recent acquisition of the late Alexander Kogan’s Film’s Around the World Library,” Phil Hopkins, president of The Film Detective, said in a statement. “This particular title was his prized possession, obtained from the famous film collector Wade Williams more than a decade ago. This important piece of film history is finally getting the proper attention it deserves.”

Bonus features include audio commentary and an original insert essay from author Jennifer Churchill; “Glorious Pioneers: The Birth of Technicolor,” an interview with author/historian David Pierce; and “Ambushed by Mediocrity: Remembering the Dancing Pirate,” an interview with film producer/historian Michael Schlesinger.

Preserving Film History and ‘The Sheik’: A Conversation With Paramount Archivist Andrea Kalas

SVP of archives Andrea Kalas leads asset management at Paramount Pictures and has a long career in preserving films. Prior to joining Paramount, she was head of preservation at the British Film Institute, digital studio director for Discovery Communications, archivist for DreamWorks SKG and preservationist and research data expert at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the Science and Technology Council where she chairs the committee on digital preservation.

Andrea Kalas

At Paramount, she has been cleaning up the classics for release in the home entertainment market. Most recently, her team restored 1921’s The Sheik, one of the seminal films of silent era starring the legendary Rudolph Valentino. The film is available Nov. 2 as part of the “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray Disc line for its 100th anniversary. Media Play News editor in chief Stephanie Prange asked Kalas about the difficulties and rewards of restoring such classics.

MPN: My grandfather, I recall, idolized Rudolph Valentino. Can you discuss his relevance and the position of The Sheik in the history of Hollywood and filmmaking?

Kalas: Rudolph Valentino is well worth idolizing. His importance to film history is monumental.  He was not only a brilliant performer, but he was a lightning rod for a cultural change that is hard to see from 100 years later. In today’s eyes, we might frown at a white guy passing for Middle Eastern but in the 1920s he was seen as “foreign” and “dark.” He was in many ways the first superstar, his style and legendary sensuality transcending the films he was in. Sometimes that meant controversy — many journalists of the time openly questioned his masculinity, maybe because so many women adored everything about him. He connected with the camera — he looks right at it as if it were the object of his affection. It’s hard to think of other performers since who had this incredible ability.

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MPN: Please describe the elements Paramount used to restore The Sheik and how they were obtained.

Kalas: Original camera negatives are rarely extant for silent films, unfortunately. We were grateful for a print loaned to us by Film Preservation Associates. We used that for the intertitles. We also had a fine-grain (a black and white intermediary element) that we used for the picture. We also had an original continuity script that told us timing and specific color information for the tinting.

MPN: Were there any particularly difficult scenes/sequences to restore?

Kalas: The fine-grain element had been “stretch printed” — a way to bring the silent frames-per-second speed to the standard one of 24. We needed to digitally unstretch it back to the original 22 frames per second to represent how the film was meant to be seen.

MPN: What is Paramount’s strategy in restoring classic films such as The Sheik?

Kalas: Paramount is dedicated to film preservation and restoration, and the most important priority is the condition of the films. Our top priority is making sure we preserve the films so films like The Sheik can be enjoyed when it’s 200 years old.

MPN: Can you describe a particularly hard film/scene that you and your team have restored in your career?

Kalas: Our restoration of the 1927 film Wings, the first Best Picture [Oscar] winner, had a very compromised picture element that had printed-in nitrate deterioration among other issues. The work to restore that took enormous amounts of frame-by-frame work, with tools usually used for special effects. We’re very proud of the result, which is paired with a completely re-recorded and re-mixed original silent score. [Paramount Home Entertainment March 23 released Wings as part of a “Best Picture Essentials 10-Movie Collection.”]

Distribution Solutions Inks Distribution Deal With Powerhouse Films Label

Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment, has inked a physical media partnership with Powerhouse Films’ U.K.-based label Indicator.

Distribution Solutions will handle sales and distribution of all Powerhouse Films sellthrough releases in the United States and Canada.

The first physical Powerhouse Films releases distributed by Distribution Solutions will be available for purchase in January 2022.

Powerhouse Films has an extensive collection of classic films that includes limited-edition boxed sets and single-title releases, as well as standard-edition reissues of limited-edition titles that have gone out of print, such as John Carpenter’s Christine, Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon and Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie.

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“We are very excited to be in business with Powerhouse Films,” Distribution Solutions president Ben Means said in a statement. “Partnering internationally with a film label like Indicator, which has such a driven passion for physical media, helps expand the quality and coverage of classic films we distribute to the U.S. and Canada.”

“We’re thrilled to be bringing our unique blend of cult and classic cinema to audiences in the U.S. and Canada in partnership with the fantastic team at Distribution Solutions,” Powerhouse Films’ co-founder Sam Dunn said in a statement. “We’ve been working hard unearthing and restoring a raft of incredible titles in order to put together a schedule that will surprise and delight even the most adventurous viewer.”

“Indicator lovingly curates and enshrines obscure, precious gems for the obsessive collector and the genre connoisseur,” award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro said in a statement.

‘The Amazing Mr. X’ and ‘Frankenstein’s Daughter’ Coming on Disc in October From Film Detective

Special editions of the film noir classic The Amazing Mr. X (1948) and the 1950s cult classic Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958) will come out on Blu-ray and DVD in October from Cinedigm’s classic streaming network and film archive, The Film Detective.

Due Oct. 5 is The Amazing Mr. X, which stars Turhan Bey as Alexis, a mystery man who claims to communicate with spirits. Appearing on the beach one night, Alexis easily charms a depressed widow (Lynn Bari) and her sister (Cathy O’Donnell). The sly Alexis makes a living by separating gullible people from their money, but before this tale is over, he will learn that the living are far more dangerous than the dead.

The film has undergone a 4K restoration from original 35mm film elements.

Special features include audio commentary from professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney; a full-color booklet with the essay “The Amazing Mr. Bey” by Don Stradley; and “Mysteries Exposed: Inside the Cinematic World of Spiritualism,” an original documentary from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.

The Film Detective is also offering an exclusive opportunity to own the film with The Amazing Mr. X NFT (non-fungible token) auction, live on Rad. The winner of the auction will receive an exclusive physical framed lithograph of the movie poster, two Blu-ray copies of The Amazing Mr. X and NFT tokenized access to view the movie on Rad. The auction is currently available and will close on Oct. 4.

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Due Oct. 19 is Frankenstein’s Daughter, which finds Dr. Oliver Frank (Donald Murphy) carrying on the legacy of his late grandfather, the notorious Dr. Frankenstein, by building his own hulking beast with the transplanted brain of a beautiful, young woman. Bringing a fresh twist to Frankenstein films, Frankenstein’s Daughter takes place in ”modern” Los Angeles, where — despite news reports of a female monster menacing the neighborhood — nothing stops the local sun-soaked teenagers from partying poolside.

Directed by Richard E. Cunha, the film also stars John Ashley, Harold Lloyd Jr. and former Playboy Playmate of the Month Sally Todd.

This special-edition release marks the latest in a series of collaborations between The Film Detective and The Wade Williams Collection. Restorations of Flight to Mars (1951), Giant From the Unknown (1958) and The Other Side of Madness (1971) have also been released recently on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD.

Special features include an audio commentary track with author and historian Tom Weaver; a full color booklet with an original essay by Weaver; “Richard E. Cunha: Filmmaker of the Unknown,: a new retrospective from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, featuring an archival interview with the famed director; and “John Ashley: Man from the B’s,” a new career retrospective featuring film historian C. Courtney Joyner.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ 75th Anniversary Blu-ray Set Due Nov. 16

To celebrate the film’s 75th anniversary, Paramount Home Entertainment will release director Frank Capra’s timeless classic It’s a Wonderful Life Nov. 16 in a collectible, limited-edition two-disc Blu-ray.

Named the No. 1 most inspiring film of all time by the American Film Institute, the film stars James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Henry Travers. In the film, an angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

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The Blu-ray set includes a colorized version of the film in high definition as well as the original, digitally remastered black-and-white movie in high definition, and access to a digital copy of the film.  The set also includes 10 collectible recipe cards from Insight Editions’ “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Official Bailey Family Cookbook” with cuisine inspired by the film. Additionally, the set includes more than 45 minutes of previously released bonus content exploring the meticulous process of preserving and revitalizing this iconic masterpiece, a look at the movie’s extraordinary sound, music, cinematography and visual effects, and vintage footage from the film’s wrap party.

‘Guns of Navarone’ Shooting to 4K Ultra HD Nov. 2 for 60th Anniversary

The 1961 Oscar-lauded war film The Guns of Navarone will come out on 4K Ultra HD Nov. 2 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for its 60th anniversary.

In the film, Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn star as a team of Allied military specialists recruited for a dangerous but imperative mission: to infiltrate a Nazi-occupied fortress and disable two long-range field guns so that 2,000 trapped British soldiers may be rescued. Faced with an unforgiving sea voyage, hazardous terrain and the possibility of a traitor among them, the team must overcome the impossible without losing their own lives.

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Adapted by screenwriter Carl Foreman from Alistair MacLean’s best-selling novel, The Guns of Navarone was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, and won for Best Special Effects (1961).

Update (9/10/21): Date changed from Oct. 12 to Nov. 2.

Restored ‘The Sheik’ Joining ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray Line Nov. 2 for Its 100th Anniversary

The epic 1921 silent film The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, will join the “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray line Nov. 2 for its 100th anniversary from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Originally released at the height of the nation’s appetite for motion pictures, the romantic drama The Sheik became a massive sensation, breaking box office records and earning more than $1 million during its first year of release.

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, the film was directed by George Melford and stars the legendary Valentino as the title character. The role helped propel Valentino into stardom and sealed his status as a Hollywood heartthrob — and the original “Latin Lover” — at the age of 26. Valentino is Ahmed Ben Hassan, a charming Arabian sheik who becomes infatuated with the adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman Lady Diana Mayo (Agnes Ayres). When the sheik abducts Lady Diana, the two clash, but ultimately profess their love for one another.

Since original negatives for silent films rarely exist, Paramount searched the world for the best elements for the restoration and used a print and an intermediate element called a fine grain. One source of the film yielded better results for image quality, another for intertitles. One of the elements was “stretch-printed” and had to be adjusted digitally during the restoration process. In the silent era there was no standard frame rate, so stretch printing was done to show silent films at 24 frames per second. In addition, tints and tones were digitally applied, guided by an original continuity script from the Paramount archive.

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While The Sheik was wildly successful, it did provoke controversy, much as the source material had upon its original publication in 1919. Many of the themes and controversial elements of the film are still being grappled with and are explored in a new featurette on the Blu-ray with film historian and professor Leslie Midkiff DeBauche, “Desert Heat: 100 Years with The Sheik.”  The disc also includes a music score by Roger Bellon and access to a digital copy of the film.

As with all films released in the “Paramount Presents” line, The Sheik is presented with collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments.

Update (10/12/21): Release date changed from Oct. 19 to Nov. 2.

Audrey Hepburn Seven-Film Collection Coming to Blu-ray Oct. 5

The Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection will come out on Blu-ray Disc Oct. 5 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which was originally released on Oct. 5, 1961, this collection includes Hepburn in My Fair Lady, Funny Face, Sabrina, Roman Holiday, Paris When It Sizzles, War and Peace and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The collection also includes access to digital copies of each film and legacy bonus content.

Based on Truman Capote’s best-selling novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s made an indelible impact on movies, fashion and society. In director Blake Edwards’ timeless classic, Hepburn’s New York party girl Holly Golightly embarks on an entertaining, comedic adventure to find love in the big city.

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Winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, My Fair Lady also won the Best Picture — Musical/Comedy Golden Globe and was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. Adapted from the Broadway stage hit, the film stars Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins, a role that earned him the Oscar for Best Actor, and Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle.

Set against the backdrop of the timeless City of Lights, Funny Face stars Hepburn as a bookstore clerk turned modeling sensation and Fred Astaire as the photographer who discovers her. Funny Face was the only pairing of the two stars and remains a love letter to Paris in the 1950s.

Humphrey Bogart and William Holden are the mega-rich Larrabee brothers of Long Island, New York in Sabrina. They have little in common, except that they’ve both taken notice of a beautiful, sophisticated young woman, possessing a delightful zest for living, suddenly in their midst — Sabrina Fairchild (Hepburn).

Hepburn lights up the screen in her first starring role opposite the charismatic Gregory Peck in the romantic comedy Roman Holiday. Ranked as the No. 4 greatest love story of all time by the American Film Institute, it earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won the Best Actress award for Hepburn, Best Costume Design for legendary designer Edith Head and Best Writing for Dalton Trumbo (whose family accepted the trophy decades later as he was blacklisted at the time and couldn’t take credit for writing the movie).

Hepburn reunites with William Holden in the romantic comedy Paris When It Sizzles, making its Blu-ray debut. Hepburn is Gabrielle Simpson, the captivating young assistant to screenwriter Richard Benson (Holden), who has three days to finish his movie. Together, they write and revise a romance/mystery as they envision themselves in the lead roles.

Tolstoy’s literary masterpiece War and Peace comes to life in this epic of international conflict, spectacular adventure, gripping intrigue and tragic romance set against the sweeping backdrop of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Directed by King Vidor, the film stars Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Mel Ferrer.