Kino Lorber to Give ‘The Great Escape’ the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Treatment

Kino Lorber Jan. 11 will release the action classic The Great Escape on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, under the indie’s Kino Lorber Studio Classics line.

The 1963 film, with Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and Richard Attenborough, follows a group of Allied POWs who attempt one of the largest and most daring breakouts in history. The acclaimed collaboration between director John Sturges, screenwriters James Clavell and W.R. Burnett, and composer Elmer Bernstein, The Great Escape received a 1964 Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing and a Best Motion Picture — Drama Golden Globe nomination.

The film is set during World War II in Germany’s Stalag Luft III, a maximum-security prisoner-of-war camp designed to hold even the craftiest escape artists. The Nazis unwittingly assemble the finest escape team in military history. Together, under the guidance of the brilliant Bartlett (Attenborough), the resourceful Hendley (Garner) and the steely, determined Hilts (McQueen), the men plot, scheme and dig their way to freedom.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc comes with hours of bonus content, including a new audio commentary by filmmaker and historian Steve Mitchell and Combat Films: American Realism author Steven Jay Rubin.

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Also included is an audio commentary with director Sturges and actors Garner, Coburn, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum and Jud Taylor, along with various crew members; a making-of documentary; three other documentaries narrated by Burt Reynolds; a look at the real Virgil Hilts; a documentary by Steven Clarke; additional interviews; and the original theatrical trailer.  

Cohen Media Group Sets January 2022 Blu-ray Disc Release Slate

The Cohen Media Group and Cohen Film Collection have announced their January 2022 Blu-ray Disc release slate.

The three releases are Only the Animals, Expresso Bongo and Dancing With Crime/The Green Cockatoo.

First up is 2019’s Only the Animals, arriving Jan. 4. The thriller, from director Dominik Moll (With A Friend Like Harry), tells the story of two depressed farmers, an unfaithful wife, a lovelorn waitress and an African con artist who are drawn together in a mystery surrounding the disappearance of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s glamorous Evelyne Ducat. The action switches between international locations as the links between the characters are gradually revealed. The film is in French, with English subtitles. Cast members include Denis Menochet, Laure Calamy and Damien Bonnard. 

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Expresso Bondo, coming to Blu-ray Disc on Jan. 18, is a 1959 British rock ‘n’ roll classic about an opportunistic Soho talent agent (Laurence Harvey) who always looks for the quick buck. When he picks up amateur singer and bongo player (Cliff Richard) in a  Soho espresso bar, he uses a little bit of luck and tons of chutzpah to transform the kid into a highly-regarded international singing sensation. This 2K restoration from the original negative was done in collaboration with the British Film Institute and its Unlocking Film Heritage program. The Blu-ray Disc feature the original theatrical release, which includes a number of songs that were cut out of the later and more commonly available 1962 version that was released at the time to capitalize on the popularity of Cliff Richard.

The third release, due on Blu-ray Disc on Jan. 25, contains a double feature, Dancing With Crime and The Green Cockatoo, two early Brit Noirs from the Cohen Film Collection.

In 1947’s Dancing With Crime, Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim, who at the time were married in real life, put themselves in harms way when they go undercover to investigate the murder of a friend with ties to black market racketeers.

William Cameron Menzies’ The Green Cockatoo was completed in 1937, but not released until 1940. It is often cited as one of the earliest of the British Noirs and helped set the stage for the classical period of Brit Noir which flourished in the years following World War II. The film is based on a Graham Greene story. After witnessing the murder of a racketeer, a young woman is pursued by both gangsters and the police. She is aided by a Soho entertainer, who is the brother of the victim.

‘The Great Escape’ Tribute Documentary ‘The Coolest Guy Movie Ever’ Available Now From Virgil Films

The Coolest Guy Movie Ever, a tribute to the John Sturges classic The Great Escape, is available now on DVD ($14.99), EST and VOD from Virgil Films.

The documentary follows hardcore fans that return to the locations where the film was made, revealing little known facts about The Great Escape, which starred Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson and James Coburn.

Narrated by an actor in the film, Lawrence Montaigne, The Coolest Guy Movie Ever celebrates the 55th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Great Escape.