Kino Lorber Sets June 21 DVD Release Date for ‘Kaddish’ Documentary

Kino Lorber has set a June 21 release date for Kaddish, a documentary by Steve Brand about a young Jew coming to terms with his father’s traumatic history.

The 1984 documentary will be released on DVD only under the Kino Classics banner.

Kaddish is the story of the stormy yet loving relationship between writer and Jewish activist Yossi Klein and his father Zoltan, who had survived the Holocaust’s devastation of Hungarian Jewry by hiding in a hole in the ground for six months while his parents — Yossi’s grandparents — died at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Once Yossi and his sister, Karen, were born, Zoltan was determined that they be emotionally prepared to survive another holocaust. His story of hiding in the forest and the murder of his parents became his children’s bedtime stories. Their mother, Breindy, compensated by reading Dr. Seuss books.

Kaddish culminates at the first International Gathering of Holocaust Survivors in Jerusalem, which Yossi attends “wearing two yarmulkes” — as a writer and as the child of a survivor. But he attends alone, and, he soon realizes, bereft. 

Bonus features on the two-disc set include trailers, the original pilot, deleted scenes, reviews, awards, screening history highlights, bios, and new interviews with both Brand and Klein.

Kino Lorber Sets June 7 Release Date for Next Film Noir Package

Kino Lorber on June 7 will release its seventh and latest collection of vintage black-and-white film noir movies as Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema VII.

The Blu-ray Disc set includes The Boss, Chicago Confidential and The Fearmakers, and carries a suggested retail price of $49.95.

In 1956’s The Boss, ruthless World War I veteran Matt Brady (John Payne) inherits the clout of his political kingpin brother and climbs the ladder of corruption all the way to the top of the state. His amoral practices and sheer arrogance lead to broken friendships (William Bishop) and romances (model-turned-actress Doe Avedon and Gloria McGehee) along the way. Based on the real-life scandal of Kansas City politico Tom Pendergast, The Boss was directed by Byron Haskin and written by  Dalton Trumbo, although it was originally uncredited due to Hollywood’s blacklisting.

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Chicago Confidential, from 1957, finds Brian Keith battling corruption as hard-nosed State’s Attorney Jim Fremont. When union crooks in collaboration with a gambling syndicate try to pin a murder rap on uncooperative union leader Blane (Dick Foran), Fremont smells a set-up. Together with his co-worker fiancée Laura (Beverly Garland), he launches an investigation to prove Blane’s innocence and to punish the true villains. Chicago Confidential was directed by Sidney Salkow from the bestselling pulp novel by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer.

The Fearmakers, a 1958 film directed by Jacques Tourneur, is a potent parable about the power of people who control our ideas. Dana Andrews stars as Alan Eaton, a Korean War veteran who returns home after being tortured and brainwashed as a P.O.W. and resumes work at a public relations firm in Washington, D.C. He finds that things aren’t quite as he left them, as he uncovers a hotbed of political manipulation that ensnares him in a web of suspicion. The film also stars Dick Foran, Marilee Earle and Mel Tormé.

All three films are from brand-new 2K masters. The Blu-ray Disc boxed set from Kino Lorber includes new audio commentaries for The Boss (from author and film historian Alan K. Rode) and The Fearmakers (from film scholar Jason A. Ney). 

Breakout

BLU-RAY DISC REVIEW:

Kino Lorber;
Action;
$29.95 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13.’
Stars Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall, Jill Ireland, Randy Quaid, John Huston, Sheree North, Emilio Fernán.

A year after Death Wish made him the king of the vigilantes, Charles Bronson stars as Nick Colton, a private bush pilot hired by a woman (Jill Ireland) to free her husband (Robert Duvall) from a Mexican prison.  Bronson and his crew, Hawk (Randy Quaid) and Myrna (Sheree North), perform said task with the quasi-comic aplomb typical of action films from the polyester decade. Breakout is certainly not Bronson at his best, but it’s a popcorn pleaser, one of those Friday-night-at-the-drive-in movies that probably worked best when viewed by a car full of teenagers sipping Coke and doing whatever.

And for fans of 1970s kitsch, like me, buying this movie is a no-brainer. Is it really something I’m going to watch once, twice, then again a few years later? The answer is an emphatic yes.

The film has been cleaned up nicely for its high-definition debut, arriving on Blu-ray Disc exactly 20 years after it was issued on DVD by what was then Columbia TriStar Home Video. (A 2019 Blu-ray, from Powerhouse Films, was only available in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia/New Zealand). 

Released under Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics banner, Breakout comes with an audio commentary by film historian Paul Talbot, author of two books on Bronson: Bronson’s Loose: The Making of the ‘Death Wish’ Films and Bronson’s Loose Again! On the Set with Charles Bronson. The Blu-ray Disc also comes with assorted trailers, TV spots and radio spots.

Kino Lorber Sets May 17 Disc Date for Revenge Thriller ‘Violent City’

Kino Lorber on May 17 will release the 1970 revenge thriller Violent City, starring Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas and Jill Ireland.

The film, which predates his iconic “Death Wish” franchise, finds Bronson playing a former hitman framed by his ex-boss and left for dead. He tracks the shooter and his beautiful mistress (Ireland) to New Orleans. But when he takes both revenge and the woman, he finds himself blackmailed by a powerful crime boss (Savalas) who wants the fiercely independent gunman to join his organization. He refuses, and finds himself the target of another hit. 

Violent City is an Italian-French co-production filmed in New Orleans, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Cinecittà Studios in Rome.

The DVD carries a suggested list price of $14.95, while the Blu-ray Disc retails for $29.95.

Directed by Sergio Sollima, the film also stars Umberto Orsini, Michel Constantine and Ray Saunders.

The two-disc set includes both the original Violent City — in a 2K restoration in English and Italian with optional English subtitles — and the 1973 U.S. cut, The Family.

Special features include an audio commentary by film historian Paul Talbot, the author of the Bronson’s Loose books; an interview with Sollima; and various trailers and TV spots. 

In the Heat of the Night

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 4/19/22;
Kino Lorber;
Mystery Drama;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99, Blu-ray, $45.99 UH BD;
Rated ‘PG-13.’
Stars Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant, Larry Gates, James Patterson, William Schallert, Beah Richards.

What’s that they say about one man’s meat? With most of the big studios focused on their corporate parents’ streaming ventures, classic movies polished up for disc release have become something of an afterthought (Paramount is a notable exception here).

Enter independents like Shout! Factory, Criterion and Kino Lorber, who are more than happy to pick up some of Hollywood’s timeless, ageless gems and give them the VIP treatment they deserve.

Kino Lorber’s stunning 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of director Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night, starring the late Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, comes just about three years after Criterion released a regular Blu-ray of the film after doing its own 4K scan. But if timing is everything, score one for Kino Lorber, which is releasing its 4K edition just three months after Poitier’s death and at a time when the social justice movement, triggered by the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, continues to flourish.

Film buffs will be all too familiar with the 1967 mystery thriller in which racial relations are a central theme. Steiger is cast as a small-town Mississippi sheriff who finds himself working closely with a Black homicide detective from a big Northern city, Philadelphia, portrayed by Poitier. Both men are strong-willed and a product of their environment, but as they work to solve a brutal crime together, they are forced to reconcile their inherent prejudice for each other. They ultimately achieve justice, but, perhaps more importantly, they also develop mutual respect and even admiration.

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The film features a brilliant score by Quincy Jones and vivid cinematography by Haskell Wexler.

In the Heat of the Night received seven Oscar nominations and won five awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (for Steiger). The film appears on  AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies list, and in 2002 was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry for its cultural and historical significance. A year later, the film In 2003, was hailed by The New York Times as one of the 1000 Best Movies Ever Made.

In the Heat of the Night was initially released on Blu-ray Disc in 2014 by MGM, through 20th Century Fox, which has since been swallowed up by Disney. Criterion’s Blu-ray edition came in 2019.

The clarity of Kino’s 4K presentation is one of those “you need to see it” moments, and bonus features include a new audio commentary by film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson with Robert Mirisch, the nephew of producer Walter Mirisch.

Cannes Jury Prize Winner ‘Ahed’s Knee’ Headed to DVD, Blu-ray Disc

Kino Lorber on June 14 will release acclaimed Israeli film Ahed’s Knee, a Jury Prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival, on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

The drama, directed by Nadav Lapid, stars Avshalom Pollak and Nur Fibak and is being released on disc in Hebrew with English subtitles. 

The film centers on a celebrated Israeli filmmaker, named Y, who arrives in a remote desert village to present one of his films at a local library. Struggling to cope with the recent news of his mother’s terminal illness, he flies into a rage when the host of the screening, a government employee, asks him to sign a form placing restrictions on what he can say at the film’s Q&A. Told over the course of one day, the film depicts Y as he battles against the loss of freedom in his country and the fear of losing his mother.

Director Lapid wrote Ahed’s Knee soon after the death of his own mother, who worked as an editor on many of his works. According to Kino Lorber, “It offers a sharp critique of the censorship, hypocrisy, and violence instigated by Israel and repressive governments everywhere. The fact that it was produced, largely funded, and highly acclaimed in its home country highlights the complexities of a national cinema that refuses to be muzzled, born of the divisions of society itself.”

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc, which carry suggested retail prices of $19.95 and $29.95, both come with a conversation with Lapid, courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center.

Documentary on Jazz Great Who Pioneered Solos Alongside Louis Armstrong Due on DVD June 7

Kino Lorber has set a June 7 DVD-only release date of Bix: Ain’t None of Them Play Like Him Yet, a 1981 documentary on Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke, considered to be the greatest jazz cornet player ever.

Bix, along with Louis Armstrong, pioneered the playing of jazz solos. He was born in 1903 in Davenport, Iowa, into an upper middle-class family. After a bout with alcoholism, Bix died in Sunnyside, Queens on Aug. 6, 1931. The cause of death was lobar pneumonia. He was 28.

The 1981 documentary uses archival photographs and rare footage (including the three sole momentary fragments capturing Bix on film) as well as interviews with friends and colleagues, including jazz greats Hoagy Carmichael, Doc Cheatham, and Artie Shaw.

The film, from Oscar winner Brigitte Berman, won the Bronze Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival. It paints a vivid portrait of a vanished era and brings to life the only cornetist Armstrong regarded as an equal (the quotation in the film’s title was once spoken by Armstrong). The film has been restored by Oren Edenson with a fully remastered soundtrack by Daniel Pellerin. 

 

Kino Lorber Sets June 7 Blu-ray Disc Date for ‘Passion in the Desert’

Kino Lorber has announced the June 7 home release of Passion in the Desert, a 1997 film from director Lavinia Currier that is based on the 1830 short story of the same name by Honoré de Balzac.

The film will be available on Blu-ray Disc at a suggested retail price of $29.95.

Passion in the Desert is set in 1798, shortly after Napoleon I invaded Egypt. The film follows the story of a young army officer, Augustin Robert (Ben Daniels, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), sent to protect an elderly artist who had been commissioned by Napoleon to draw some of the famous sights in Egypt. The officer ultimately finds himself stranded, alone, in the Sahara desert.  Left to his own devices, he is likely to die, but after stumbling upon mysterious ruins housing a wild leopard, the man and beast form an inextricable bond.

The movie was filmed in Jordan and the ruins in Petra. Director Currier reportedly invested $5 million of her own money on top of writing and producing the film.

Kino Lorber to Issue 1971’s ‘Sacco & Vanzetti’ on DVD, Blu-ray Disc May 3

Kino Lorber on May 3 will release the 1971 Italian crime drama Sacco & Vanzetti, from director Giuliano Montaldo, on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Issued under the indie film distributor’s Studio Classics label, the Sacco & Vanzetti DVD carries a suggested retail price of $19.95, while the Blu-ray Disc retails for $29.95.

The film stars Gian Maria Volontè, Riccardo Cucciolla, Milo O’Shea, Cyril Cusack and William Prince.

The new DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases include both the English and the Italian audio tracks as well as optional English subtitles.

Cucciolla and Volontè are Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. In 1920 Boston, the two — known for their anarchist beliefs — stand accused of robbery and murder. Their political leanings are used as evidence against them, but defense attorney Fred Moore (O’Shea) is convinced of their innocence. As anti-immigrant and anti-radical sentiments run high, one of the most polarizing trials in U.S. history unfolds.

The musical score was composed and conducted by Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) featuring folk music legend Joan Baez. 

Bonus features include a new audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox and the original theatrical trailer. 

Kino Lorber Sets May 31 DVD Release Date for ‘The Wobblies’ Doc on Radical Labor Union

Kino Lorber has announced the May 31 release of The Wobblies, a documentary that chronicles how the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), or “The Wobblies,” took to organizing unskilled labor throughout the early 1900s and boosted the fledgling movement among workers to form unions.

The Wobblies will be available on DVD at a suggested retail price of $19.95.

The 1979 documentary tells the story of workers in factories, sawmills, wheat fields, forests, mines, and on the docks as they organize and demand better wages, healthcare, overtime pay, and safer working conditions. Directors Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer weave history, archival film footage, interviews with former workers that are now in their 80s and 90s, cartoons, original art, and classic Wobbly songs.

This documentary was recently inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The 16mm film restoration was made possible by a grant from the Women’s Film Preservation Fund, and is presented in a 4K restoration at the Museum of Modern Art.

Bonus features include interviews with the filmmakers, interview with historian and author Paul Buhle, original recordings of IWW songs, and the trailer.