Lionsgate held a screening for Apocalypse Now Final Cut to mark the 40th anniversary of the war film at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome in Hollywood Aug. 12. Apocalypse Now Final Cut will be released in select Imax theaters Aug. 15 and 18, followed by regional theaters Aug. 23 from NAGRA myCinema, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (two 4K discs, four Blu-ray discs and a digital copy) and digital 4K Ultra HD (for the first time ever) Aug. 27 featuring new special features from Lionsgate.
(L-R): Glenn Morten, VP of strategy and solutions at Nagra myCinema; actor Martin Sheen; director Francis Ford Coppola; and Lionsgate president of worldwide home entertainment Ron Schwartz. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
The acclaimed Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now has been a saga in more ways than one, plagued by a change of lead actors from Harvey Keitel to Martin Sheen, a typhoon in the Philippines and Sheen’s heart attack during filming, critical and skeptical press, and multiple edits.
But this month for its 40th anniversary director Francis Ford Coppola releases what he considers his “final cut.”
Apocalypse Now Final Cut will be released in select Imax theaters Aug. 15 and 18, followed by regional theaters Aug. 23 from NAGRA myCinema, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (two 4K discs, four Blu-ray discs and a digital copy) and digital 4K Ultra HD (for the first time ever) Aug. 27 featuring new special features from Lionsgate. The release includes Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. In addition, the film has been enhanced with Meyer Sound Laboratories’ newly developed Sensual Sound, a technology engineered to output audio below the limits of human hearing. It’s all to realize the best version of the film. “A lot of the things that we did to truncate the movie I put back in this version,” said Coppola in a Q&A shot at the Tribeca Film Festival in April with director Steven Soderbergh that is part of the extras.
As for the problems that beset the production, documented in the award-winning Hearts of Darkness (also included in the extras with footage shot during filming by Coppola’s wife, Eleanor), Coppola told Soderbergh, “In filmmaking and in life, extraordinary things happen to you, and it’s up to you to make them be positive.”
Restored from the original negative for the first time ever, Apocalypse Now Final Cut is Coppola’s most realized version of the film, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, won three Golden Globes and is one of AFI’s top 100 films. Starring Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne and Harrison Ford, the war epic, inspired by Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness, follows Army Capt. Willard (Sheen), a troubled man sent on a dangerous odyssey into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade American colonel named Kurtz (Brando), who has succumbed to the horrors of war and barricaded himself in a remote outpost.
“I had this idea to do it like The Guns of Navarone, some extraordinary, big World War II movie,” Coppola told Soderbergh. “The irony is that the movie took on its own life, became stranger and more surreal, and in a sense, I think it went in a direction correct for that issue — because the Vietnam War was very strange.”
The very innovative nature of the film made Coppola cautious and worried. He decided to release a “work in progress” of the film at the Cannes Film Festival to allay critics who were calling it a disaster. It ended up winning the Palme d’Or triumph at the festival in 1979 (shared with The Tin Drum).
His caution resulted in a truncated cut of the film that he later expanded in the 2001 release Apocalypse Now Redux. But this is his ultimate cut.
“I realized that I wanted to make a version that I like,” Coppola said in the introduction to Final Cut included in the extras. “It was longer than the 1979 version but shorter than Apocalypse Now Redux, and it’s the one that I recommend to you and it’s the one that is my favorite.”
The 40th anniversary release features multiple archival and new special features, including the film’s theatrical cut and extended cut (Redux), as well as the acclaimed Hearts of Darkness documentary:
4K UHD SPECIAL FEATURES
NEW: Introduction to Final Cut by Francis Ford Coppola
Audio Commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now Redux)
An Interview with screenwriter John Milius
A Conversation with Martin Sheen and Francis Ford Coppola
“Fred Roos: Casting Apocalypse” Featurette
The Mercury Theatre on the Air: Heart of Darkness – November 6, 1938
“The Hollow Men” Featurette
Monkey Sampan “Lost Scene”
“Destruction of the Kurtz Compound” End Credits (with Non-Optional Audio Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola)
Anne of Green Gables — Fire and Dew, the third installment in the series based on the classic book, and the miniseries Hillary, about the famous explorer, are coming on disc and digital from PBS Distribution.
The continuing Lucy Maud Montgomery story of a free-spirited teenager on Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gables — Fire and Dew, will be available on DVD and digital Sept. 18. The first two installments will also be available in a two-set DVD collection. The third in the series, which airs Sept. 23, follows Anne Shirley (Ella Ballentine) as she moves to Charlottetown and is overwhelmed by her new surroundings, difficult classes at the teacher’s college and a deepening romance with Gilbert. At the same time, Matthew (Martin Sheen) and Marilla deal with health and financial difficulties that jeopardize their lives at Green Gables. After Anne graduates, she must make an important decision, whether to move back home or continue on to university.
The six-part miniseries Hillary (available now for digital download) debuts on DVD Aug. 21. The program, from New Zealand, is based on the life of mountaineer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary. Based on thousands of hours of exclusive interviews, it tells the story of the first man to conquer Mt. Everest. The program recounts his beekeeping days in South Auckland, to his ascent of the world’s highest mountain with climbing partner Tenzing Norgay, to the plane crash that killed his wife and daughter. When he summited Everest in May 1953, Hillary put his small home country, New Zealand, on the map. He was so beloved in there that his likeness is featured on the five-dollar note, and he was given a state funeral after his 2008 death. Andrew Munro (The Kick) stars as Hillary, while Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit) plays George Lowe, his longtime friend and climbing partner, and Amy Usherwood (“Shortland Street”) plays his wife, Lady Louise Hillary.
A movie adaption of the popular children’s book of the same name, The Boxcar Children — Surprise Island follows the adventures of the orphaned Boxcar Children as they spend a summer living on their grandfather’s small, nearly uninhabited island. There they meet the mysterious Joe, who is inexplicably living on their island. The film features the voices of Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”) as James Alden, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) as Dr. Moore, Dane DeHaan (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) as Joe, Joey King (Independence Day: Resurgence) as Jesse Alden, Carter Sand (Frozen) as Benny Alden, Gil Birmingham (Twilight) as Lonan Browning, Griffin Gluck (Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life) as Henry Alden, Stephen Stanton (Star Wars Rebels) as Capt. Daniel and Talitha Bateman (Love, Simon) as Violet.
The title is available for pre-order at Amazon.com or shoutfactory.com and is Dove approved for all ages.
The Boxcar Children — Surprise Island is the first of three new animated features to be adapted from the “The Boxcar Children” book series as part of a partnership between Shout! Kids and Legacy Classics.
“The Boxcar Children” series from author Gertrude Chandler Warner is one of the best-selling children’s book series of all time, which having just marked its 75th anniversary, has sold more than 70 million books worldwide.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Legacy Classics has animation and visual effects studios in Seoul, Jakarta and Bali. Founded by Dan Chuba and Mark Dippé, the company is dedicated to creating family entertainment and educational tools based on classic and award-winning children’s literature.