In Wolf Hound, on a recon mission over Nazi-occupied France, pilot David Holden (Maslow) is shot down along with a B-17 bomber. He lands near an airfield, where he learns the Germans are loading the U.S.-marked aircraft with a city-destroying superbomb that could help the Axis win the war. Holden must evade search patrols and a vengeful Nazi soldier to rescue the captured crew and stop the doomsday plot.
The war film Iron Cross: The Road to Normandy will be released on digital and DVD June 14 from 123 GO Films and Distribution Solutions.
In the film, Captain Klaus Muller struggles to survive during World War II on the Eastern front fighting back-to-back with his brother and friends. As D-day unfolds, more than one score is settled, and a running battle now puts American soldiers and our German Captain on the same path.
The 1945 World War II film A Walk in the Sun will be released on Blu-ray Disc Feb. 8 from Kit Parker Films and MVD Entertainment Group.
The film is also available on DVD.
The release features a 4K Master from the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s 35mm photochemical restoration.
Lewis Milestone, Academy Award Best Director winner for All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), directs the drama of American soldiers in combat during the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943. Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, John Ireland, Lloyd Bridges and Norman Lloyd head an ensemble cast comprising the lead platoon of the Texas Division of the U.S. Fifth Army. The eclectic group of citizen-soldiers are thrust into a life-or-death mission to blow up an enemy bridge while attempting to capture a strategic farmhouse heavily garrisoned by German troops. The dilemma of the common soldier trudging to an unknown fate under a blazing Italian sun is captured by the different thoughts and personalities of a disparate group of men under stress. Robert Rossen’s script dramatizes the narrative from the perspective of the infantryman whose mundane routine of service-related ennui is interspersed with heart-pulsing action amid the ever-present specter of sudden death.
Camerawork by six-time Academy Award nominee Russell Harlan is supported by the title ballad written by Millard Lampell and Earl Robinson and performed by renowned African-American operatic singer Kenneth Spencer.
A Walk in the Sun was named as one of the year’s top films by the National Board of Review, was nominated for Best Film by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and was added to the National Film Registry in 2016 for its cultural, historical and aesthetic significance.
Special features include commentary by Alan K. Rode; “Zanuck Goes to War: The WWII Films of Fox”; “Living History: Norman Lloyd on Saboteur and A Walk in the Sun” (2014); “The Battle of San Pietro,” an uncut version from the Academy Film Archive preservation negative; WWII Fox Movietone newsreels; and the theatrical trailer.
The 1961 Oscar-lauded war film The Guns of Navarone will come out on 4K Ultra HD Nov. 2 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for its 60th anniversary.
In the film, Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn star as a team of Allied military specialists recruited for a dangerous but imperative mission: to infiltrate a Nazi-occupied fortress and disable two long-range field guns so that 2,000 trapped British soldiers may be rescued. Faced with an unforgiving sea voyage, hazardous terrain and the possibility of a traitor among them, the team must overcome the impossible without losing their own lives.
IFC Films will release the British drama Summerland on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Nov. 17.
The film stars Gemma Arterton as a reclusive writer living on the seaside cliffs of Southern England during World War II, who is forced to take in a young boy (Lucas Bond) evacuated from the London Blitz. While resistant at first, she soon learns the two have more in common than she realized.
The cast also includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Courtenay.
The film earned $58,498 domestically and $409,240 internationally for a total box office of $467,738 during a limited theatrical run.
Lionsgate will release The Terror: Infamy, the second season of the critically acclaimed AMC anthology series, on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.
Executive produced by Alexander Woo, Ridley Scott, Guymon Casady, Alexandra Milchan, David W. Zucker and Jordan Sheehan, and written by Max Borenstein, The Terror: Infamy deals with World War II-era Japanese-Americans on Southern California’s Terminal Island who are menaced by a “bakemono,” or folkloric specter.
Suffering forced evictions and imprisonment after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Terminal Islanders are hounded by prejudice and injustice, as well as bad omens and bizarre deaths. One of them, Chester Nakayama (Derek Mio), decides to take on the malevolent entity, journeying to realms of evil in both the present and the distant past.
The cast also includes Kiki Sukezane, Naoko Mori, Miki Ishikawa, and George Takei.
Director-producer Roland Emmerich is known for epic science-fiction battles between humans, aliens and monsters, but it was the film of an actual battle in World War II that he waited two decades to make.
While collaborating with Emmerich on another project, screenwriter Wes Tooke asked the director, “What’s the one that got away?”
Emmerich told him it was the story of the battle of Midway, the 1942 clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy that marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater. He’d tried to make it while at Sony 20 years earlier, but the budget and subject weren’t right for the studio. Thus, with Tooke as screenwriter, Emmerich got together a production team to film Midway, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, telling the story of the leaders and sailors in the battle.
Midway is available on digital, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate.
“I wanted to make this movie for 20 years, and I’m glad I finally made it,” said Emmerich in the disc commentary.
“Roland insisted that we make every effort to make all aspects of the film as accurate as possible,” Tooke said. “Everything that happens onscreen, in terms of historical events, is factual and in chronological order. It begins in December 1941 with Pearl Harbor and ends in June with the Battle of Midway. It is the most dramatic six months in the history of warfare.”
The cast includes Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Darren Criss, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson.
Quaid plays Admiral William “Bull” Halsey.
“Midway is an amazing story, and it has never been told right,” he noted in the extras.
Harrelson is legendary Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who is given the position of Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, famously termed “the most difficult job in the world,” after the attack at Pearl Harbor.
“Everybody was very conscientious about trying to make it real, and I think they got it right,” said Harrelson in the extras.
One hard-to-believe fact about the Midway battle is the harrowing way the dive-bombers attacked the Japanese ships. It was one of the aspects of the battle that got Emmerich interested in telling the story. In the film, viewers travel along with the pilots as they plummet precipitously toward the target, drop the bomb and pull up at the last minute.
“I wanted to show how incredibly dangerous these dives were,” Emmerich said in the extras. “What these people did — they were pretty much missiles, what we do today with missiles. They were manned missiles, these planes. The later you deployed a bomb, the more chance you had to hit a target.”
The authenticity didn’t stop there. Filmmakers were scrupulous in recreating the era and the weapons of World War II, building replicas of both the torpedo- and bomb-dropping planes, as well as other equipment right down to the screws, nuts and bolts that aren’t used anymore. They were also able to shoot at historic locations.
“When you’re looking at a building that has bullet holes on the side of it from the attack in 1941, you know, ‘OK, we’re going to tell this story as truthfully as we can,”’ said Wilson, in the extras.
Wilson plays Edwin Layton, a U.S. Navy intelligence officer, just one of the actual participants in the battle who are memorialized in the film. Nick Jonas, who was offered many parts, chose to play radioman Bruno Gaido, known for heroically shooting down a Japanese plane before it hit his carrier. He was later lost in the battle. “I wanted to do justice to Bruno because he was a real American hero,” he said. Skrein is Dick Best, the unsung hero pilot of Midway who destroys Japanese ships, but never flies again due to injury.
Emmerich was also careful to acknowledge the bravery of the Japanese, casting several renowned Japanese actors.
“When you make a war movie and you show one side as the bad guys and the other side as the good guys, I think you don’t do war justice because I think you have to understand what was the Japanese side,” he said in the extras. “It enlightens people. It shows that they are also human. They’re also brave.”
The director hopes the film is able to stand as a testament to the Greatest Generation.
“I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity to tell this story because young people today don’t always know the stories about those who fought for their freedom,” Emmerich said. “I think that without the generation who fought in WWII, our world would be very different.”
4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
“Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
“The Men of Midway” Featurette
“Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission” Featurette
“Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway” Featurette
“Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code” Featurette
“We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember” Featurette
DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES
Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
“Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
Sony Pictures; Drama; $24.99 Blu-ray; Not rated. Stars Kirk Douglas, Richard Harris, Ulla Jacobsson, Michael Redgrave.
There’s no accounting for what memory can preserve from a movie not seen in decades, and with 1966’s The Heroes Telemark (aside from its convincing portrayal of incessantly frigid temperatures), it’s always been the nifty sweaters Kirk Douglas and Ella Jacobson wear inside a cozy Norwegian home just made for lovin’. Or it would be, were the place not transformed by circumstances into a kind of mission central for fighting Nazis in early 1942.
In this case, memory has not played tricks. The sweaters really are nifty, though with perhaps just enough white in them that I’d be a lock to spill a glass of red wine in the wrong place were somebody to gift me with one. Still, you have to think that this isn’t the likely takeaway that director Anthony Mann had in mind for what turned out to be his final credit for a movie he lived to complete — though this fairly handsome production for its day did pretty fair business in Europe. Yet, in my Midwestern city, it failed to rate a downtown booking, and I caught its local opening engagement at a normally second-run campus movie house in a year when studio execs and marketers had less than a firm idea of what people wanted to see. Probably not Resistance fighting, or at least not in college towns when Blow-Up wasn’t that far away on the horizon.
Still, I’m guessing the picture worked well enough in drive-ins because it had a reliable veteran superstar (Douglas) teamed with an on-the-rise arthouse hunk (Richard Harris) — and this would be way before years of Demon Sauce gave Harris that Keith Richards look he sported in Randa Haines’s underrated Wrestling Ernest Hemingway. Before long, Harris would eschew the likes of Antonioni and Red Desert to find himself playing Cain in John Huston’s The Bible and King Arthur in Joshua Logan’s stillborn stab at Camelot — an entire career right there for a lot of actors. Here, though, he’s playing a character based on Knut Haukelid, who wrote a 1954 remembrance that served as one of two sources for the film — a book called Skiis Against the Atom, which pretty well sums up the 134 minutes we spend here.
Harris (name modified to called Knut Strand) is a resistance fighter in Telemark, Norway, where the Nazis are trying to produce the heavy water that’s needed to construct an atomic bomb amid Germany’s race against the Allies to do just that. Douglas, too, is Norwegian and a physics professor to boot, though from appearances, he also seems to have had time to work in some weight training. Then again, this is a country where all the men and probably lots of women automatically exercise by half-living on skis; even Michael Redgrave (as “Uncle” — who shares the house with Jacobsson) doesn’t look out of sorts, looking more spry than he did in The Browning Version a decade-plus earlier.
Nothing risible is meant by all this because Heroes’ skiing sequences are as memorable as the sweaters. Thus, I’m once again reminded of the remark someone once made to the effect that of you could find someone who shot exteriors like Mann and interiors like Nicholas Ray, you would have the perfect filmmaker. Or at least you would if the exteriors, as here, were shot by Robert Krasker, who was also behind the camera for Olivier’s Henry V, Carol Reed’s The Third Man, Visconti’s Senso, and (for Mann) El Cid.
Jacobbson is not only a honey here but Douglas’s ex-wife — a plot point I’ll just bet you wasn’t in Haulkelid’s book. For most of the going, “Selfless” isn’t exactly the middle name of Kirk’s character here (Rolf’s the name), which makes her less than willing to welcome him back into the sack when he and Harris end up using her place as headquarters in which to plot blowing up the nearby factory where the heavy water is being manufactured. This was during the Swedish actress’s lamentably short run as a Hollywood hopeful, well after she’d appeared partially nude in the internationally popular One Summer of Happiness (1951, though not till ’55 in the States). Even with its delayed release, its ‘PG’-level sexuality agitated a lot of wheezing political hacks into their daily round of agitation over life as it’s lived. Here, however, she mostly keeps the sweater on.
The major heavy here is bad old Anton Diffring (a kind of meaner-looking Peter Van Eyck), an actor immediately recognizable to any movie lover with a memory and a pulse; he probably played more Nazis on screen than Roy Rogers played characters in billion-decibel shirts who were named “Roy.” Diffring and the rest of the film play out in ways that one pretty well expects, and the result is a respectable (but that’s all) finale to Mann’s career that’s ultimately less distinguished than its great skiing scenes. Mann would begin one more picture — 1968’s A Dandy in Aspic — before succumbing to a heart attack in the middle of filming. Lead Laurence Harvey took over, though Columbia Pictures gave Mann full on-screen credit; I’ve never seen it, but Britain’s classy Indicator series has a release coming March ’18 that’ll probably be all-region.
Heroes on Blu-ray appears to be the product of a master with some mold on it, one that really gets (going from 1966 memory) all there is to be gotten out of Krasker’s visuals — a rap that has nothing to do with this Blu-ray’s status as an on-demand selection. Though the word “Choice” doesn’t appear (per usual) on the disc jacket, this release appears to be another of Sony’s manufactured-to-order high-def releases of predominantly Columbia Pictures product. The problem for on-demand naysayers (and Sony issues BD-Rs) is the large number (out of relatively few issued titles) of movies that I, at least, like, love or treasure as oddball curios: The Bitter Tea of General Yen, The Triplets of Belleville, Gideon of Scotland Yard, Real Genius, Spanglish, the Sofia Coppola Marie Antoinette and the Gillian Anderson Little Women.
The last, at least, is one you’d think might be worth a full-scale marketing job, what with a brand new sibling go-around scheduled for Christmas under the eye of director Greta Gerwig. But this is just an observational aside and nothing more because I’m adverse to plopping Anton Diffring and Louisa May Alcott into the same piece of writing.
Cinedigm is partnering with Mark Yellen Productions and Rosenbloom Entertainment to produce a multi-season, episodic series about feminist and adventurer Emily Hahn, the literary author who introduced Shanghai and greater China to U.S. audiences through her articles published in The New Yorker magazine in the 1930s.
The indie home entertainment distributor, which is majority owned by Hong Kong-based Bison Capital, is using its Chinese connections to begin shooting in 2019 on location in Shanghai and Hong Kong, taking advantage of Shanghai’s Bund waterfront, which has one the richest collections of Art Deco architecture in the world.
The series will be released in the U.S. and China through both physical and digital media.
“Emily Hahn was a charismatic, unconventional free spirit who wrote about her experiences with courage and compassion,” Chris McGurk, CEO, Cinedigm, said in a statement. “Now is the perfect time to re-introduce audiences to the vibrant, complex, and intriguing world of 1930s Shanghai from a uniquely female perspective.”
A feminist trailblazer before the word existed, Hahn wrote hundreds of articles and short stories for The New Yorkerfrom 1925 to 1995, as well as fifty-two books in many genres, most notably China to Me and The Soong Sisters.
Hahn, who died in 1997 at the age of 92, led a most unconventional life – especially for a woman in the 1930s and 40s.
She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in mining engineering – choosing the field after a professor reportedly told her, “The female mind is incapable of grasping mechanics or higher mathematics or any of the fundamentals of mining taught” in engineering.
Prior to graduating, Hahn drove across the country in a Model T Ford dressed as a man, chronicling the trip in letters to her brother-in-law – who, recognizing her literary talent, then forwarded them to The New Yorker.
That was the beginning of a life that would include stints in the Belgian Congo, living with a pygmy tribe for two years and crossing central Africa solo on foot.
Hahn’s time in Shanghai from 1935 through 1941, included the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in 1941. Captured by the Japanese during World War II, Hahn taught Japanese officials English in exchange for food. She was repatriated in 1943.
Like chapters out of Casablanca, Hahn was romantically involved with numerous high-profile men, including Victor Sassoon, Chinese poet and publisher Shao Xunmei, and Charles Boxer, head of British intelligence in Hong Kong, with whom she had two children after the war.
Ever the nonconformist, Hahn would later write that Shao got her addicted to opium. “Though I had always wanted to be an opium addict, I can’t claim that as the reason I went to China,” she wrote.
“Emily was able to champion female empowerment and embrace cultural diversity at a time when those concepts were completely alien to most, making it very relevant in today’s climate of change,” said Chip Rosenbloom, president of Rosenbloom Entertainment.