Kino Lorber Sets Dec. 7 Release Date for Blu-ray Disc of ’21 Hours at Munich’

Kino Lorber has set a Dec. 7 Blu-ray Disc release date for 21 Hours at Munich, a 1976 TV movie about the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.

Directed by William A. Graham, the film — originally broadcast by ABC in November 1976 — stars William Holden, Shirley Knight and Franco Nero. It is based on the book The Blood of Israel by Serge Groussard and was released theatrically in several foreign countries. In the United States, the film was nominated for two prime-time Emmy Awards.

21 Hours at Munich will be released under the Kino Lorber Studio Classics line.

On Sept. 5, 1972, some 900 million sports fans tuned in to watch the Olympics on TV. Instead, they saw the most shocking scenes unfold as a group of Arab terrorists, dressed in track suits, stormed the Olympic village before dawn and took the Israeli team hostage. Eleven Israeli athletes ended up losing their lives.

Bonus features on the Blu-ray Disc release include new a new audio commentary by film historian and screenwriter Gary Gerani. The Kino Lorber release includes the film in both the  1.33:1 TV ratio and the 1.78:1 Theatrical ratio.

Other Kino Lorber Studio Classics releases set for Dec. 7 include:

    • Get Crazy (DVD, Blu-ray Disc), a 1983 musical comedy from director Allan Arkush, best known for  Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (DVD, Blu-ray Disc);
    • Number 17 (DVD, Blu-ray Disc), from 1932, a comedy-thriller from legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s early years in the British film industry;
    • Broken Lullaby (Blu-ray Disc), also from 1932, a Lionel Barrymore-starring drama from Ernst Lubitsch, the iconic director of Trouble in Paradise, The Merry Widow, Angel, Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife and Ninotchka;
    • The Long Goodbye (Blu-ray Disc), director Robert Altman’s 1973 take on the classic Raymond Chandler detective story, starring Elliott Gould, Sterling Hayden, Nin Van Pallandt, Henry Gibson, and a young Arnold Schwarzenegger;
    • The 1974 crime drama Mr. Majestyk (Blu-ray Disc), with Charles Bronson as an ex-con and Vietnam vet whose efforts to run a farm are thwarted by narrow-minded locals and corrupt cops; and
    • Busting (Blu-ray Disc), another 1974 crime drama with Elliott Gould and Robert Blake.

Kino Lorber Sets Dec. 14 Release Date for Trilogy of Film Noir Classics

Kino Lorber on Dec. 14 will release a set of three rare film noirs on Blu-ray Disc.

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema includes Because of You, Outside the Law and The Midnight Story.

The set carries a suggested retail price (SRP) of $49.95, with retailer orders due Nov. 16.

Because of You (1952) stars Loretta Young and Jeff Chandler in a classic noir romance.  Blonde bombshell Christine Carroll (Young) finds out too late that her fiancé Mike Monroe (Alex Nicol) is a gangster — and she’s his unwitting accessory. Emerging from prison with dark hair and an interest in nursing, she becomes a nurse’s aide in a war hospital and soon marries a battle-fatigued patient, Steve Kimberly (Chandler). The happy couple have a daughter, Kim, but Christine’s secret past threatens to tear her family apart when Mike reappears, forcing Christine to help him escape across the Mexican border. Joseph Pevney, the director of Six Bridges to Cross and Female on the Beach, directed the film, shot by the great cinematographer Russell Metty (Touch of Evil). The title song was Tony Bennett’s first No. 1 hit and became one of his many signature songs.

Outside the Law (1956) is centered around ex-con Johnny Salvo (Ray Danton), who is given the chance to redeem himself, and revenge the murder of an old Army buddy, by going undercover and helping the authorities break up a ring of international counterfeiters. But first, Johnny must earn the respect of his Treasury-man father (Onslow Stevens) and the trust of his buddy’s widow (Leigh Snowden). Prolific filmmaker Jack Arnold, the director of It Came from Outer Space, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Man in the Shadow, directed the film, which features the cinematography of noir specialist Irving Glassberg (Larceny, The Price of Fear).

The third film in the set, 1957’s The Midnight Story, features a powerful performance by screen great Tony Curtis.  When beloved priest Father Tomasino is murdered in a San Francisco alleyway, traffic cop Joe Martini (Curtis) vows to catch the killer. Ordered off the case by homicide detective Kilrain (Ted de Corsia), Martini turns in his badge and investigates alone. He follows a hunch that Italian restaurant owner Sylvio (Gilbert Roland) could be involved and decides to hide his previous life as a cop in order to become friendly with his suspect’s family. But as Martini starts to unravel the truth behind Father Tomasino’s murder, he falls in love with the suspect’s cousin (Marisa Pavan), and his world is torn apart by old and new loyalties. Joseph Pevney, the director of The Strange Door and Foxfire, helmed this psychological crime drama that features CinemaScope cinematography by Russell Metty (Spartacus).

All three films come with new audio commentary tracks and the original trailers.

Van Damme Starrer ‘Hard Target’ Gets 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Edition from Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber is giving the 1993 Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner Hard Target the royal treatment, with a two-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition arriving at retail on Dec. 7.

Retailer orders for the film, part of the Kino Lorber Studio Classics line, are due Nov. 9. The set will carry a suggested retail price (SRP) of $39.95.

Directed by John Woo and executive produced by Sam Raimi, the film also stars Lance Henriksen, Yancy Butler, Arnold Vosloo, Wilford Brimley, and Kasi Lemmons.

Van Damme portrays Chance Boudreaux, the target of an evil mercenary (Henriksen) who recruits combat veterans for the “amusement” of his clients — bored tycoons who will pay half a million dollars to stalk and kill them. When beautiful Natasha Binder (Butler) hires Chance to search for her missing father, she gets more than she bargained for.

The new Kino Lorber Studio Classics edition of Hard Target features a new 4K restoration of the unrated international cut, from a 4K scan of the original camera negative.

Bonus content includes new interviews with director Woo, actors Henriksen and Butler, and stunt coordinator  Billy Burton. The package also comes with a new audio commentary from action film historians  Brandon Bentley and Mike Leeder, a newly restored HD trailer, 5.1 Surround Sound and 2.0 Lossless Stereo, and English subtitles.

Season 2 of Italian Gangster Series ‘Gomorrah’ to Bow on DVD, Blu-ray Disc Dec. 7

Kino Lorber has announced it will release season two of the Italian crime drama series “Gomorrah” — which has been called Italy’s answer to “Breaking Bad” — on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on Dec. 7.

Retail orders are due Nov. 9.

The series debuted in January 2016 on Sky Atlantic and has since been sold in early 200 countries, including the United States, where it is currently being streamed on HBO Max.

The gangster show from Stefano Sollima (Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, Romanzo Criminale) is based on Roberto Saviano’s best-selling book and the subsequent award-winning film of the same name.

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“Gomorrah” is set in Naples in the 2010s. The series follows Ciro Di Marzio, a member of the Savastano Camorra clan of Secondigliano, headed by Pietro Savastano. When Pietro is arrested, an internal power struggle breaks out with his rivals as well as between the “old guard” of the clan and the “young guard” headed by his son, Gennaro Savastano.

At the start of season two it appears that the era of the Savastano clan, which once reigned supreme over Naples, has ended, leading to a power vacuum.

Earlier, Kino Lorber announced the Oct. 26 release of season one sets of “Gomorrah” on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Four Vintage Horror Films From 1930s, ’40s Due on Blu-ray Nov. 2 From Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber on Nov. 2 is releasing four vintage horror classics, two from the 1930s and two from the 1940s, available with a brand-new 2K master on Blu-ray Disc.

The two oldest films are 1933’s The Secret of the Blue Room and, from 1935, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

The Secret of the Blue Room features a young woman whose 21st birthday celebration is eclipsed when her father reveals the dark details of his estate’s guest room. Hoping to prove their bravery and win Irene’s love, each of her three suitors agrees to spend a night in the room, which sets a new string of mysteries in motion.

A haunting film adaptation of the unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood follows an opium-addicted choirmaster, John Jasper, as he becomes obsessed with a young student named Rosa. His nephew, Edwin Drood, develops a crush on the girl and asks her to marry him. Things grow even more complex when Drood disappears.

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Also available on Blu-ray Disc Nov. 2 are The Mad Doctor (1941) and The Spider Woman Strikes Back (1946).

The Mad Doctor follows the story of a smooth and sinister physician who woos, weds, and murders several of his wealthy women patients for their fortunes. Kino Lorber also is releasing this film on standard DVD.

The Spider Woman Strikes Back features Gale Sondergaard as the diabolical Zenobia Dollard, a wealthy blind woman shrouded in mystery. When all the preceding caretakers vanish without a trace, Jean (Brenda Joyce) is hired to fill the role — but it is soon discovered that Zenobia has used the blood of her predecessors to create a death serum, and that her own blood is being harvested at night to continue the experiment.

Two Genesis Documentaries Coming to DVD in Early November From Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber on Nov. 12 will release, on DVD only, two documentaries on the famed progressive rock group Genesis.

Genesis: The Last Domino? ($19.95) is a new hour-long documentary that follows band members Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford and their crew as they build and rehearse their Last Domino tour. Despite the complications and uncertainties of the global COVID pandemic, and without confirmed dates, the band made the decision to spend the time and money so they would be prepared once the world returned to normal. The tour began Sept. 20 in Birmingham, England, and runs through mid-December, with a total of 37 scheduled shows. The documentary debuted on various PBS stations in early September, just before the tour began.

Genesis: When in Rome (also $19.95) is a 90-minute documentary on the group’s 2007 reunion tour. The band members had gone their separate ways in March 1996. The documentary features concert footage from the tour, including live performances of hits such as “Invisible Touch,” “Mama” and “No Son of Mine.”

Indie Suppliers Going Straight to DVD

On the eve of its 25th anniversary, the DVD is staging a comeback, at least among independent suppliers.

The five-inch digital disc was launched in March 1997 by Warner Bros. and MGM, but didn’t really impact the market until two years later, when Walmart began selling DVDs. Several years of explosive growth followed, giving the home entertainment business new respectability and a seat at the table in greenlighting movies.

Joe Amodei

But beyond the actual product, the DVD ushered in a digital revolution that would later bring us the Blu-ray Disc, digital distribution over cable and the Internet, and streaming.

With disc sales steadily declining, year after year, a number of independent suppliers are abandoning Blu-ray Disc and going back to DVD as the sole physical media distribution vehicle for their films. Their reasons range from cost to retail preference and consumer choice.

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“About 75% of our films get released on DVD along with the digital release,” said Joe Amodei, president and CEO of Virgil Films & Entertainment. “The other 25% are digital only. I’d say only about 20% of our releases get a Blu-ray. I am primarily docs, and they just don’t sell like they used to.”

At Shout! Factory, the push toward DVD is largely due to what’s happening at retail, says John Rotella, the company’s SVP of Sales.

John Rotella

“Our primary reason is due to Walmart being committed to DVD first and backing away from Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD, which sets the table for most releases that have mass-placement potential,” Rotella said.  “I can see us making more and more decisions to not release a Blu-ray on some Walmart-placed DVDs.

“Best Buy, on the other hand, is not interested in DVD and only takes Blu-ray and 4K, so on these Walmart DVD-placed titles if Best Buy decides to support a Blu-ray we will accommodate. If Best Buy passes on the Blu-ray then that, at times, is the death rattle.”

Target, Rotella notes, “leans toward the Blu-ray if the content is elevated by box office or cast or when the Blu-ray elevates a release by making it look more important. If they want to make the buying decision easier for the customer by offering a film at a lower price, the DVD will be the choice and possibly hurt the future of the Blu-ray. It all depends on content.”

Cost also is a factor, Rotella said. “Deciding not to release a Blu-ray can be a workload decision or if we have concerns with production costs,” he said. “Pricing is a barrier for Blu-ray on these types of films that simply meet consumer demand on DVD at a lower price. The DVD picture quality on modern Blu-ray players is good, so the quality difference isn’t enough to pay the extra dollars.”

Rotella said genres also factor in. “Black films, WWII films, Westerns, action films, and horror films have a stronger DVD base, so at times a Blu-ray Disc may not be necessary,” he says. “Big box office, big cast, pedigree, dramas, film noir, foreign, sci-fi, anime — these films do require a Blu-ray release, and the DVD is in jeopardy. We do make decisions to release a Blu-ray/DVD combo to allow us to have one SKU that caters to both sides of the aisle. The higher cost is an issue, but it does help strike a compromise.”

Not all indies are DVD-centric.

Alan Fergurson

“We are actually releasing more Blu-ray Discs than DVDs now,” said Alan Fergurson, SVP of home entertainment and business development at Kino Lorber. “That is driven by the number of major studio releases that we have licensed and release via our Kino Lorber Studio Classics label. In most cases, the studio has already exploited the DVD version, and we focus on the Blu-ray Disc as a collectible edition featuring a new HD or 4K master, new artwork and new extras such as interviews, etc.”

Still, Fergurson said, “On our Kino Lorber arthouse and documentary releases, we are releasing more DVDs. Our decision process is that our foreign-language arthouse and documentaries don’t have the wide, collectible appeal on disc, and the buyers are primarily direct-mail-order consumers who are still primarily DVD, libraries and consumers with a passionate interest in the individual films. We also look at the cinematic elements of a film before deciding not to do a Blu-ray, like is it a lush nature doc or a well-known international director with an avid cineaste following?”

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ to Get 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Release From Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber Studio Classics is giving a 1970s sci-fi classic the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray treatment.

The independent supplier has announced the Nov. 23 release of director Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers in a special two-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc set.

The first disc contains a 4KUHD newly restored HDR Dolby Vision master and the second disc features a newly restored UHD SDR master, both from a 4K scan of the original camera negative and approved and color graded by Kaufman.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers was released theatrically in December 1978.

An adaptation of Jack Finney’s classic novel The Body Snatchers, the film begins with filmy spores that fall from space over San Francisco, causing the city to blossom with a new flora. When people take the flowers home, it is discovered that the plants can devour humans and steal their identities and emotions, uniqueness, and even their souls.

Featuring a screenplay by W.D. Richter (Big Trouble in Little China) and camerawork by Michael Chapman (Raging Bull), the film stars Donald Sutherland (The Puppet Masters), Brooke Adams (The Dead Zone), Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), Jeff Goldblum (The Fly) and Veronica Cartwright (Alien).


Kino Lorber, Giant Pictures Launch Free Ad-Supported Streaming Service Kino Cult

Kino Lorber has partnered with Giant Pictures to launch Kino Cult, a free ad-supported streaming destination for genre lovers of horror and cult films.

Featuring hundreds of hours of curated, theatrically released films all in high-definition, with new titles added monthly, Kino Cult launches widely in the United States and Canada on Oct. 1 across Web, mobile devices and connected TVs, with VOD apps on major devices, such as Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Google TV, iOS, Android and more.

Giant Pictures is the technology partner for Kino Cult, responsible for the device apps, channel distribution and ad-tech in the new venture.

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“From the arthouse to the haunted house, the channel will dive deep into unapologetically weird genre cinema, blending recent art house discoveries fresh from cinemas with high quality restorations of notorious grindhouse gems,” according to a press release.

Kino Lorber brings 40 years of experience as a theatrical and home entertainment distributor of international and American indie films to Kino Cult, where the focus will be on “the wild and the weird of genre cinema,” according to the release. Kino Cult plans to serve its audience with a deep catalog of hundreds of relevant titles, many of which are streamable for the very first time, all in HD, the press release noted.

The channel will offer cult cinema across action, horror, comedy and sci-fi, both new and rare vintage hits of genre cinema, giving movie fans “access to films that have not been easy to find in the streaming age,” the press release stated.

Kino Lorber Sets Oct. 19 DVD Release Date for ‘On Broadway’ Documentary

Kino Lorber has announced the Oct. 19 DVD-only release of On Broadway, a newly produced documentary on the legendary Great White Way.

As audiences prepare for the return of live theater after the extended COVID-19 shutdown,  an all-star cast tells the inside story of the last time Broadway came back from the brink, through the early 1980s “Save the Theaters” campaign. This came after New York’s storied live-theater scene had been struck by economic downturns, cultural shifts and the AIDS crisis — as well as the threatened destruction of historic theater buildings by big-money Manhattan developers. On Broadway shows how this revival helped save New York City, thanks to innovative work, a new attention to inclusion, and the sometimes uneasy balance between art and commerce.

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The documentary includes interviews with such stage and screen icons as Hugh Jackman, Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, James Corden, Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Viola Davis and Ian McKellen. They take viewers behind the scenes of Broadway’s most groundbreaking and beloved shows, from A Chorus Line to Hamilton.

Also included are archival clips of iconic performances by Lin Manuel Miranda, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones and Mandy Patinkin.

On Broadway was directed by Academy Award-nominated director Oren Jacoby.

Broadway has been slowly reopening, with some changes, according to CNN. Audience members need to show proof of vaccination and are required to wear masks. There are no longer intermissions or autograph opportunities at stage doors, and some show times are being condensed to about 90 minutes.