Japanese Classic ‘Big Time Gambling Boss,’ Italian Classic ‘The Iron Prefect’ Due on Blu-ray July 18 From Radiance and MVD

The Japanese classic Big Time Gambling Boss and the Italian classic The Iron Prefect will be released on Blu-ray Disc July 18 from Radiance Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

Originally released in 1968, Big Time Gambling Boss is set in Tokyo in the 1930s, where gang boss Arakawa is ill and a successor must be named. The choice falls on Nakai, but being an outsider he refuses and suggests senior clansman Matsuda instead. But Matsuda is in jail and the elders won’t wait for his release, so they appoint the younger and more malleable Ishido to take the reins. Clan honor and loyalties are severely tested when Matsuda is released, resulting in an increasingly violent internal strife. An atmospheric tale of gangland intrigue written by Kazuo Kasahara (Battles Without Honor and Humanity) and starring Tomisaburo Wakayama (Lone Wolf and Cub, “The Bounty Hunter Trilogy”) and genre legend Koji Tsuruta, Big Time Gambling Boss is a classic of the Yakuza genre. Special features include a visual essay by genre expert Chris D., author of Gun and Sword: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980, on Big Time Gambling Boss‘s origins in the Toei studio’s serialized yakuza movie production and what sets the film apart; “Ninkyo 101,” a video essay with Mark Schilling, author of The Yakuza Movie Book; a gallery of promotional stills; and the trailer.

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The Iron Prefect (1977) is based on the true story of Cesare Mori, the Iron Prefect who was sent to Sicily for an Eliot Ness-in-The Untouchables style clean up of the mafia. Mori approaches organized crime on the island with uncompromising force even in the face of mass murders designed to scare him off. Pasquale Squitieri (The Climber) directs the period piece which won the David di Donatello award for best film and features spaghetti western icon Giuliano Gemma playing against type as the titular hero, winning him an award for his performance at the prestigious Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Alongside Gemma are co-stars Claudia Cardinale (The Day of the Owl) and Francisco Rabal (Sorcerer), screenwriter Ugo Pirro (The Working Class Goes to Heaven) and composer Ennio Morricone (Once Upon a Time in America). The released includes a 2K restoration of the film from the original negative presented with Italian and English audio options; new and improved English subtitles for Italian audio and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for English audio; and uncompressed mono PCM audio. Special features include an archival interview with director Pasquale Squitieri and star Giuliano Gemma (2009); a new interview with Squitieri biographer Domenico Monetti (2023); a new appreciation of Giuliano Gemma and the film by filmmaker Alex Cox (2023); the original trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring designs based on the original posters; and a limited edition booklet featuring new writing by Italian cinema expert Guido Bonsaver and an original article on the real-life Cesare Mori and his Mafia raid as depicted within the film.

French Murder Mystery ‘A Woman Kills’ To Make Blu-ray Disc Debut Feb. 7

Radiance Films, an independent film distributor specializing in rare cinema, has announced the Blu-ray Disc debut of Jean-Denis Bonan’s A Woman Kills.

The French murder mystery will be released Feb. 7 as a limited-edition Blu-ray Disc at a suggested retail price (SRP) of $34.95.

Filmed during the French civil unrest of May 1968, A Woman Kills never found distribution due to controversy around the director’s first film.  Producer Anatole Dauman was unable to find distribution for the film for 45 years until Luna Park Films brought it back to life in a new restoration.

The new wave-influenced serial killer film presents its narrative in an almost true crime approach yet focuses more on the psychological aspect with echoes of German Expressionism and Franju, set to a discordant, jazzy score.

The Blu-ray of A Woman Kills will feature a brand-new HD restoration of the feature, along with newly produced and archival bonus features.

Japanese Classic ‘Big Time Gambling Boss’ Due on Blu-ray Jan. 17 From MVD

The Japanese classic Big Time Gambling Boss will be released on Blu-ray Disc for the first time Jan. 17 as a limited edition from Radiance Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

Originally released in 1968, the film is set in Tokyo in the 1930s, where gang boss Arakawa is ill and a successor must be named. The choice falls on Nakai, but being an outsider he refuses and suggests senior clansman Matsuda instead. But Matsuda is in jail and the elders won’t wait for his release, so they appoint the younger and more malleable Ishido to take the reins. Clan honor and loyalties are severely tested when Matsuda is released, resulting in an increasingly violent internal strife.

An atmospheric tale of gangland intrigue written by Kazuo Kasahara (Battles Without Honor and Humanity) and starring Tomisaburo Wakayama (Lone Wolf and Cub, “The Bounty Hunter Trilogy”) and genre legend Koji Tsuruta, Big Time Gambling Boss is a classic of the Yakuza genre.

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Special features include a visual essay by genre expert Chris D on the film and its place within the period and genre; “Ninkyo 101,” a masterclass with Mark Schilling, author of The Yakuza Movie Book; a gallery of promotional imagery; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm; and a limited-edition booklet featuring new writing by author Stuart Galbraith IV and critic Hayley Scanlon. The limited-edition release includes 2,000 copies, presented in full-height Scanavo packaging with removable OBI strip.

New Film Company Signs Distribution Pact With MVD Entertainment, Elevation Sales

Newly formed Radiance Films has signed a North American distribution agreement with MVD Entertainment Group, the companies announced July 19.

The company, formed by industry veteran Francesco Simeoni, also inked a distribution agreement for the United Kingdom and Ireland with Elevation Sales.

The new label will focus on library titles for collector’s edition releases, both on Blu-ray Disc and digital. The label will aim to release 30 titles per year including new restorations and theatrical reissues for select titles. 
 
Radiance is in discussion with multiple licensors about launch titles. 

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Simeoni, who recently left Arrow Films after 12 years, assumes the title of managing director. At Arrow, he was director of content, a role in which he oversaw the company’s large slate of releases — including such classics as Robocop and Bicycle Thieves — in multiple territories.