The best Blu-ray & 4K reissues coming in June 2021
Dario Argento's debut feature gets a 4K restoration and Michael Caine's motley team of POWs join our exclusive Premium Collection...
The Bird With the Crystal Plumage - Limited Collector's Edition
Now regarded by many as a master of horror films and a pioneer of the Italian giallo genre that emerged during the 1970s, Dario Argento is perhaps best known for films such as Tenebrae and Suspiria, but was also a screenwriter on Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and worked with George A. Romero on the script for his pioneering zombie classic Dawn of the Dead.
It all started here, though, with his 1970 debut feature The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, which stars Tony Musante as an American writer taking a break from his work in Rome, only to find himself pulled into a grisly series of murders involving young women across the city.
The film is one of the new additions to Arrow’s collector’s edition range, with a newly-restored version of Argento’s film set to arrive in stores on June 28th. Bundled with the new edition are a collector’s booklet, double-sided poster and six art cards, while bonus features include an interview with Argento about the film, a visual essay on Argento’s work and an archival interview with actor Eva Renzi, with much more besides.
Escape to Victory
A film that combines England’s twin obsessions – football and the second world war - and features a cast list that includes Sylvester Stallone, Max von Sydow, Michael Caine and Pelé, there’s plenty to love about the enjoyable camp Escape to Victory, which sees our plucky POW heroes stick it to ‘ze Germans’ via a wingless 4-4-2 formation and some very dodgy goalkeeping. But any football-loving kid who grew up in the 1980s will probably remember John Huston’s soccer-meets-war adventure for one thing, and one thing only: former Argentinian international Osvaldo Ardiles performing that overhead ’rainbow flick’ in previously unseen levels of showboating.
Huston’s film, first released in 1981, is one of the new additions to our exclusive Premium Collections this month, arriving in stores on June 7 and bundled with usual range of goodies including a lobby-style film poster and a collection of four exclusive art cards.
The Babadook - Limited Collector's Edition
Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut was one of the standouts among a wave of excellent low-budget horror movies to emerge in recent years, but thanks in part to Kent’s dogged pursuit of Lars von Trier and his subsequent influence on her approach to making the film, The Babadook uses low-budget effects to great effect and mines a deep vein of psychological terror through its story about a widowed mother (played brilliantly by Essie Davis) who begins to suspect something evil has taken possession of her young son, Samuel.
First released in 2014, this month sees Kent’s excellent film make a return to stores in the form of a new 4K collector’s, which is set to land on the shelves on June 21. Included in the new 4K edition are a selection of exclusive art cards and 150-page hardback book which features essays, interviews, production photos and original artwork concepts. There’s also a huge amount of bonus content on the discs from cast interviews to a making-of documentary and Kent’s original short film, Monster, on which The Babadook was based.
Often referred to as the ‘father of African film’, Senagalise director Ousmane Sembène was already a published author and an established literary voice on the continent before he turned his attention to filmmaking in the early 1960s. His 1968 film Mandabi - based on one of his own novels, The Money Order – was handed the Special Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival and stands as a landmark in African cinema.
Mandabi is one of the new additions to StudioCanal’s Vintage Classics range this month and a new 4K restoration of Sembène’s film is set to make its arrival in stores on June 28. Among the bundled bonus materials on offer are an interview with the director’s son Alain Sembène, a mini-documentary on the birth of West African cinema, and a 20-page booklet on Sembène’s work by writer David Murphy.
Basic Instinct- Limited Collector's Edition
Paul Verhoeven’s neo-noir erotic thriller stars Sharon Stone as a crime novelist in the frame for a grisly murder - one very similar to an incident featured in one of her novels – and locked into a sexually-charged game of cat and mouse with Michael Douglas’ slightly unhinged detective Nick Curran. A magnetic performance from Stone and the film’s suspenseful, twisting storyline saw it become a huge hit with audiences, and Verhoven’s film returns to stores once again this month with a new limited collector’s edition.
Arriving in stores on June 14, the new 4K UHD reissue comes bundled with a selection of artcards, poster and booklet, with there discs apacked with bonus materials including audio commentaries from Verhoeven and Camille Paglia, cast & crew interviews, a making-of documentary and a detailed look into the film’s score, composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
George Seaton’s tense 1964 wartime thriller is, perhaps a little surprisingly, based on a short story by Roald Dahl named Beware of the Dog, but if you’re thinking this is a children’s story then think again. James Garner stars as a WWII soldier who awakes in a hospital to be informed by doctors that it is now 1950 and that he has been suffering from amnesia – possibly as a result of his involvement in the events of D-Day. However, not all is as it seems and he soon discovers that he is the subject of an elaborate ruse by the Nazis to trick him into revealing Allied plans.
Seaton’s film has long been out of print but makes a triumphant return to stores this month as one of the newest additions to our exclusive Premium Collection. Set to arrive on June 7, the newly reissued 36 House also comes bundled with all the usual goodies including a fold-out lobby poster and a selection of four exclusive art cards.
Night of the Hunter
Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters star in Charles Laughton’s 1955 thriller, based on the Davis Grubb novel of the same name and following the exploits of a corrupt minister-turned-serial killer and his attempts to charm an unsuspecting widow of of the $10,000 left behind by her executed husband.
Drawing on the true story of murderer Harry Powers, the film has been cited as an influence by the likes of Robert Altman and this month Night of the Hunter is given the restoration and reissue treatment by the folks at Criterion (the film is also set to be screened at BFI Southbank in London on June 8). The new reissue arrives in stores on June 28 and comes loaded with extras including hours of outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, a new documentary about the film and a new interview with Laughton biographer Simon Callow.
Flowers of Shanghai
A new edition to the Criterion Collection this month, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s 1998 film is set in and around the ‘flower houses’ of 1800s Shanghai, weaving a gripping tale of intrigue and envy that earned the film a Palme d’Or nomination at Cannes that year.
Set to be reissued this month, the new Criterion edition benefits from both a new 4K restoration of the film and a new DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack, as well as a range of bonus materials including a new documentary on the making of the film, an essay by film scholar Jean Ma and an interview with Hou conducted by film historian Michael Berry.