Fourth Boxed Set of Shaw Brothers Kung Fu Films Due on Blu-ray Disc Dec. 19

Shout! Studios on Dec. 19 will release on Blu-ray Disc its fourth installment of martial arts films from the Shaw Brothers, consisting of 12 films released between 1980 and 1984.

Shaw Brothers Classics Vol. 4 includes Rebel Intruders, Two Champions of Shaolin, Legend of the Fox, Black Lizard, House of Traps, Masked Avengers, Sword Stained with Royal Blood, Five Element Ninjas, Shaolin Prince, Shaolin Intruders, Holy Flame of the Martial World, and Opium & The Kung Fu Master​. Many of these films have never before been available on Blu-ray Disc.

The collection includes a variety of new bonus features, including new interviews with actors Chu Ke and Lung Tien-Hsiang, a new interview with author Leon Hunt, new audio commentaries with film historian Brian Bankston and author David West, and a new interview with Asian history academic Professor Lars Laamann. Advance orders may now be placed at ShoutStudios.com.

Shaw Brothers Studios was once the largest film production company in Hong Kong. The studio was founded in 1925 as the Tianyi Film Co. by brothers Runje, Runme, and Runde Shaw, and based in Shanghai. The three brothers also established a film distribution base in Singapore, known as the Shaw Organisation. By 1958, the companies had evolved into Shaw Brothers Studios, which a few years later set up what was once the largest privately owned studio in the world, Movietown.

The company went on to release more than 1,000 films and is credited with popularizing the kung fu genre. The Shaw Brothers’ most famous films include 1963’s The Love Eterne, The One-Armed Swordsman (1967) and Five Deadly Venoms (1978).

In 1987, the company suspended film production to focus on television through its subsidiary TVB. Film production resumed in 2009, but two years later the studio was reorganized into the Clear Water Bay Land Company Ltd. and its film production business was taken over by other Shaw conglomerate companies.

‘Shaw Brothers Classics Vol. 2’ Blu-ray Arrives Aug. 15 From Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory will release the Shaw Brothers Classics Vol. 2 Blu-ray Disc collection of kung-fu actioners Aug. 15.

The set includes 12 films released between 1970 and 1974 by the venerable Shaw Brothers Hong Kong Studio not previously available on Blu-ray in North America: Lady of Steel, Brothers Five, The Crimson Charm, The Bride From Hell, The Shadow Whip, The Delightful Forest, The Devil’s Mirror, Man of Iron, Water Margin, Heroes Two, The Flying Gulliotine and The Dragon Missile.

Stars featured in the set include Chen Kaun Tai, Cheng Pei-Pei, Sammo Hung and Ti Lung.

The set also contains an abundance of special features including interviews and new audio commentaries from authors, critics, and experts such as Brain Bankston, Chris Poggialia, David West, Ian Jane, James Mudge, Jim Marcovic, Joseph Ellison, Meredith Lewis and Tony Rayns, along with trailers, still galleries and more.

Fans who preorder the set at shoutfactory.com an receive an exclusive 18×24-inch rolled poster of the artwork while supplies last.

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Shaw Brothers Classics Vol. 2 Bonus Features:

 

Lady of Steel

  • New Audio Commentary by cult film critic Ian Jane
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation

 

Brothers Five

  • New Audio Commentary by James Mudge, Hong Kong Film Critic at easternKicks
  • New Audio Commentary by film historian Brain Bankston (Cool Ass Cinema blog)
  • Celestial Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation

 

The Crimson Charm

  • New Audio Commentary by film historian Brain Bankston (Cool Ass Cinema blog)
  • Celestial Trailer
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation

 

The Shadow Whip

  • New Audio Commentary with David West, Critic and Author of Chasing Dragons: An Introduction To The Martial Arts Film
  • Celestial Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation

 

The Delightful Forest

  • New Commentary with cult film critic Ian Jane
  • New Audio Commentary with film historian Brian Bankston (Cool Ass Cinema blog)
  • Celestial Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation
  • English Dub Mono DTS-HD Master Audio

 

The Devil’s Mirror

  • New Audio Commentary with film historian Brian Bankston (Cool Ass Cinema blog)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation

 

Man of Iron

  • New Audio Commentary with James Mudge, Veteran Hong Kong film critic at easternKicks
  • New Audio Commentary with Chris Poggiali, co-author of This Fists Break Bricks and Brain Bankston (Cool Ass Cinema blog)
  • An Iron Will, a 77-minute documentary on the genesis, rise, peak and fall of the Shaw Brothers movie empire with Meredith Lewis, author of Ask for the Moon: Innovation at Shaw Brothers Studios
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • German Trailer
  • Celestial Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation
  • English Dub Mono DTS-HD Master Audio

 

The Water Margin

  • New Audio Commentary with film historian Brian Bankston (Cool Ass Cinema blog)
  • “The Master: Chang Cheh” featurette
  • “Elegant Trails: Ti Lung” featurette
  • Extended Love Scene
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Celestial Trailer
  • TV Spot for the U.S. release of Seven Blows of the Dragon
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation

 

The Bride From Hell

  • New Audio Commentary by James Mudge, Hong Kong Film Critic at easternKicks
  • A More Traditional Terror: Hong Kong film historian Tony Rayns talks Shaw Brothers horror films
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Celestial Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation

 

Heroes Two

  • New Audio Commentary with David West, Critic and Author of Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • German Trailer
  • Celestial Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation
  • English Dub Mono DTS-HD Master Audio

 

The Flying Guillotine

  • New Audio Commentary by James Mudge, Hong Kong Film Critic at easternKicks
  • New Audio Commentary with Chris Poggiali, co-author of This Fists Break Bricks and Brain Bankston (Cool Ass Cinema blog)
  • New Featurette “Flying Without Wings” — actor Kai Kang shares his memories of working with the studio in his first ever on-camera interview
  • New Featurette “Dubbing Delirium” — Joseph Ellison, dubbing artist on Flying Guillotine for its U.S. release, reflects on the early kung-fu film boom
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Celestial Trailer
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation
  • English Dub Mono DTS-HD Master Audio

 

The Dragon Missile

  • New Audio Commentary by James Mudge, Hong Kong Film Critic at easternKicks
  • New Featurette “Cutting Comments” — Jim Marcovic, editor of many martial arts trailers for U.S. cinemas during the ’70s and ’80s, speaks about the kung fu film boom
  • Trailers for some of the films in Shaw Brothers Classics Vol. 1 and The Brave Archer Collection (The Jade Raksha, Little Dragon Maiden, Killer Darts, The Flying Dagger, Dragon Swamp, The Brave Archer and His Mate, The Bells of Death, The Sword of Swords, The Invincible Fist and The Thundering Sword)
  • Audio: Mandarin Mono DTS-HD Master Audio with new subtitle translation
  • English Dub Mono DTS-HD Master Audio

 

‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,’ ‘Robocop’ on 4K Among Titles Due in April From Arrow and MVD

Six titles, including two new box sets and three 4K Ultra HD releases, are available in the April lineup from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, from legendary Shaw Brothers’ director Lau Kar-leung, makes its American Blu-ray debut April 5. In the film, General Yeung Yip and his sons are ambushed and brutally attacked, leaving Yip and all but two of his sons killed or captured. One son, Yeung Chiu (Alexander Fu Sheng), returns home to his mother and sisters. The other son, Yeung Dak (Gordon Liu), goes to live in a monastery where he develops the eight diagram pole fighting technique. After one of their sisters is captured, Dak is driven with anger to return home and exact his revenge. The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter was one of the last great martial arts epics to be released by the famous Shaw Brothers studio. However, the film is also remembered for the great tragedy that struck during filming. Star Fu Sheng tragically died in a car accident midway through production. As a result, Kar-leung reworked the final half of the script, turning it into the ultimate action spectacular as a tribute to his young star. This Arrow release features a brand-new 2K restoration from the original camera negative and comes loaded with bonus content.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is available on 4K Ultra HD April 12. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars alongside an all-star cast that includes Robert De Niro, Helena Bonham Carter and Ian Holm in this cinematic telling of the influential gothic tale. At the turn of the 19th century, scientist Victor Frankenstein (Branagh) is determined to conquer human morality. His attempt at playing God results in the creation of a hideous monster (De Niro). The film earned an Oscar nod for Best Makeup and seven nominations at the Saturn Awards. Arrow brings the film to 4K for the first time with a brand new restoration from the original camera negatives. The release includes a slate of new special features, including a documentary on the origins and evolution of the Frankenstein story. 

April 12 also marks the release of Robocop in a limited edition 4K Ultra HD steelbook. This sci-fi classic, about a terminally injured cop (Peter Weller) that returns to the line of duty as a cyborg advertised as the future of law enforcement, introduced Hollywood to the wild world of director Paul Verhoeven. The film is making its global debut in 4K, with a restoration approved by Verhoeven. Included in this limited edition release are both the theatrical and director’s cuts of the film.

On April 19, Arrow will release Rogue Cops & Racketeers: Two Crime Thrillers by Enzo G. Castellari on Blu-ray. One of the most influential Italian genre directors of all time, Castellari made a name for himself helming titles such as Keoma and The Inglorious Bastards. Arrow presents two of Castellari’s action-packed titles in one set. First up, is 1976’s The Big Racket, in which a gang of goons attempts to bring an Italian city to its knees by extorting money from local shops and bar owners. Unfortunately for them, Inspector Palmieri (Fabio Testi) is on the scene. The film is notable for a death-defying stunt that sees Testi trapped in a car that goes tumbling down a ditch. Rounding out the set is Castellar’s The Heroin Busters. Testi returns, this time as an Italian police officer that goes undercover to bring down an international heroin smuggling ring. While on the job, he and a hot-tempered Interpol agent (David Hemmings) working the same case, butt heads. The limited-edition two-disc set includes brand-new 2K restorations for both films, new audio commentary tracks and new interviews.

Arrow will release their second set of Claude Chabrol films on April 26 with Twisting The Knife: Four Films by Claude Chabrol. This four-disc set brings together four films from the later part of Chabrol’s career starting with 1997’s The Swindle. In that film, Victor (Michel Serrault) and Betty (Isabelle Huppert) are a pair of small-time scam artists that travel in their camper van from business convention to business convention robbing unsuspecting businessmen. Betty sets her sights on something more ambitious and convinces Victor to take on a mark with a potential payday of 5 million Swiss francs. The pair soon realize they’re in over-their-head and must fight for their lives. In The Color of Lies, a 10-year-old girl is found murdered in a small town. René (Jacques Gamblin), her art teacher, is the last one to see her alive and instantly becomes a prime suspect. Chabrol partnered with Huppert once more for the 2000 psychological thriller Nightcap. Huppert stars as Mika, owner of a Swiss chocolate company and the first wife of renowned pianist André Polonski (Jacques Dutronc). After André’s second wife dies, he remarries Mika. Soon an unsuspecting visitor arrives, bringing with her revelations of foul play and long-hidden family secrets. The final film on the set is 2003’s The Flower of Evil, in which a wealthy family living in Bordeaux sees their perfect life come crashing down when the wife of the family, Anne (Nathalie Baye), decides to run for mayor. A political smear campaign reveals secrets of an old murder scandal that threatens to bring the family down. The Flower of Evil was nominated for Best European Film at the 18th annual Goya Awards. Bonus content on the set includes new 4K restorations; new audio commentary tracks; new interviews; and an 80-page collector’s booklet of new writing by Sean Hogan, Brad Stevens, Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Pamela Hutchinson.

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The month comes to a close on April 26 with the 4K Ultra HD upgrade of Terry Gilliam’s sci-fi thriller 12 Monkeys. Set in a future world that is ravaged by disease and death, the film stars Bruce Willis as a convict sent back in time to find the original virus and help develop a cure. Brad Pitt earned an Oscar nomination for his turn as Jeffrey Goines, a mental patient with environmentalist and anti-corporatist views. This new release comes with archival bonus content and a limited-edition illustrated collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Nathan Rabin and Ian Christie.

‘An American Werewolf in London’ on 4K Among Titles Due in March From Arrow and MVD

The horror classic An American Werewolf in London, the kung fu classic Come Drink With Me and the Japanese film noir To Sleep So as to Dream are being released on disc from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group in March.

Director John Landis (The Blues Brothers, Trading Places) combines macabre horror with dark humor in An American Werewolf in London (1981), newly restored and due on 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision March 15. In the film, American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are savaged by an unidentified vicious animal whilst hiking on the Yorkshire Moors. David awakes in a London hospital to find his friend dead and his life in disarray. Retiring to the home of a beautiful nurse (Jenny Agutter, Walkabout) to recuperate, he soon experiences disturbing changes to his mind and body, undergoing a full-moon transformation that will unleash terror on the streets of the capital. The film features Rick Baker’s ground-breaking, Oscar-winning special makeup effects.

Extras include audio commentary by Beware the Moon filmmaker Paul Davis; audio commentary by actors Naughton and Dunne; “Mark of the Beast: The Legacy of the Universal Werewolf,” a feature-length documentary by filmmaker Daniel Griffith, featuring interviews with Landis, Naughton, Joe Dante and more; “An American Filmmaker in London,” an interview with Landis in which he reflects on British cinema and his time working in Britain; “I Think He’s a Jew: The Werewolf’s Secret,” a video essay by filmmaker Jon Spira (Elstree 1976) about how Landis’ film explores Jewish identity; “The Werewolf’s Call,” in which Corin Hardy, director of The Hallow and The Nun, chats with writer Simon Ward about their formative experiences with the film; “Wares of the Wolf,” a featurette in which SFX artist Dan Martin and Tim Lawes of Prop Store look at some of the original costumes and special effects artifacts from the film; “Beware the Moon,” Paul Davis’ feature-length exploration of Landis’ film which boasts extensive cast and crew interviews; “An American Werewolf in Bob’s Basement” and “Causing a Disturbance: Piccadilly Revisited,” two 2008 featurettes filmed by Paul Davis; “Making An American Werewolf in London,” a short archival featurette on the film’s production; “An Interview with John Landis,” a lengthy archival interview with the director about the film; make-up Artist Rick Baker on An American Werewolf in London; “I Walked with a Werewolf,” an archival interview with Rick Baker about Universal horror and its legacy of Wolfman films; “Casting of the Hand,” archival footage from Rick Baker’s workshop showing the casting of Naughton’s hand; outtakes; a storyboards featurette; the original trailer and teaser plus TV and radio spots; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original poster art and artwork by Graham Humphreys; a double-sided fold-out poster; six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions; and a limited edition 60-page, perfect-bound book featuring new writing by Craig Ian Mann and Simon Ward, archival articles and original reviews.

Years before the Shaw Brothers’ kung fu films made them the biggest film studio in Hong Kong, local audiences flocked to their wuxia pian films — mythic tales of swordfighting (and often gravity-defying) heroes fighting for honor. In his final film for the studio, Come Drink With Me (1966), due on Blu-ray March 22, director King Hu (A Touch of Zen) broke fresh new ground in martial arts storytelling, and catapulted lead actress Cheng Pei-pei to stardom. In the film, when the Governor’s son is taken hostage by bandits, a mysterious swordsman named Golden Swallow (Cheng) is hot on their trail to ensure the son’s release. What the bandits don’t realize, however, is that Golden Swallow is actually a woman, and that the hostage is her brother. Determined to set him free, no matter how many goons she has to fight her way through in doing so, she is aided in her quest by a drunken beggar (Yueh Hua), who may have a closer connection to the bandits’ leader than he initially lets on. Decades before Ang Lee brought the wuxia genre to international attention with the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (in which Cheng played the villainous Jade Fox), King Hu set the original template in what is still considered one of Shaw Brothers’ greatest and most influential action masterpieces.

The Japanese To Sleep So as to Dream (1986) follows two private detectives who hunt for an actress trapped within the reel of a silent ninja film. The dreamlike debut of Kaizo Hayashi (Circus Boys, Zipang), an homage to the movie worlds of the 1910s and 1950s, is due on Blu-ray March 22. In the film, when private eye Uotsuka (Shiro Sano, Violent Cop, Shin Godzilla) and his sidekick Kobayashi are approached by an aged former actress, Madame Cherryblossom, to go in search of her kidnapped daughter Bellflower, their investigation leads them to the studios of the mysterious M. Pathe company. Here Uotsuka has a strange vision in which he comes face to face with the beautiful star of a 1915 chanbara film that appears to have no ending. From then on, things begin to get a little strange. To Sleep So as to Dream makes its home video debut outside of Japan in a brand new restoration supervised by the director himself. Drifting between illusion and allusion, it is chockfull of references to Japan’s rich cinematic heritage and features cameos from a host of veteran talent and baroque sets created by Takeo Kimura, the Nikkatsu art designer remembered for his flamboyant work with Seijun Suzuki in the 1960s.

Extras include new audio commentary by Japanese film experts Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp; audio commentary with director Kaizo Hayashi and lead actor Shiro Sano recorded in 2000; “How Many Eggs?, Actor Shiro Sano Talks,” a new interview with the film’s lead actor; “Talking Silents: Benshi Midori Sawato Talks,” a new interview on early Japanese film culture and the art of the benshi silent film commentator; “Midori Sawato Performs ‘The Eternal Mystery,’” an exclusive benshi performance to the film within the film; the “The Restoration of To Sleep So as to Dream” featurette; “Fragments from Japan’s Lost Silent Heyday,” a selection of scenes from silent jidai-geki films from the Kyoto Toy Museum archives; the original theatrical trailer and English-language restored re-release trailers; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by David Downton; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Aaron Gerow.