The best Blu-ray & 4K reissues coming in March 2020
Classics from Otto Preminger, Carl Reiner and Alejandro Jodorowsky are amongst the films getting the reissue treatment in March...
Anatomy of a Murder
Considered by many to be one of the finest courtroom dramas ever made, Otto Preminger's 1959 film stars James Stewart as a small-town lawyer hired to defend a man accused of murdering an innkeeper, a crime the defendant says was motivated by the rape of his wife. Also starring Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara and George C. Scott, the film also boasts a score written by Duke Ellington, who makes an uncredited cameo appearance, and received seven nominations at the Oscars, including Best Picture.
The film is one of this month's new additions to the Criterion Collection and a newly-restored version is set to be released on Blu-ray on March 16th, which includes a new 5.1 soundtrack and a range of extras including on-set newsreel footage and photographs, a new interview with Preminger biographer Forster Hirsch and excerpts from an episode of firing line featuring a discussion between the director and William F. Buckley Jr.
The Man With Two Brains
One of two brand new additions to our exclusive Premium Collection range this month, The Man With Two Brains made its cinematic debut in 1983 and features Steve Martin in his third starring role under the direction of Carl Reiner, who had previously directed Martin in 1979 comedy The Jerk and 1982's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. This time Martin plays a widowed neurosurgeon who remarries to a woman named Dolores, only to discover that his new wife a gold-digging femme fatale. After meeting a scientist who has learned how to preserve the minds of the recently deceased by pickling their brains in a jar, Martin's surgeon finds he is able to communicate with one of the brains telepathically, that of a murdered woman named Anne, and soon finds himself falling in love with her, before hatching a plan to transfer Anne's mind into Dolores' body.
Reiner's film is set to arrive on Blu-ray as part of the Premium Collection on March 9th and comes with the requisite set of four art cards, lobby-style poster and collectible slipcase.
In a long and varied career that produced films as disparate as Popeye and Gosford Park, Robert Altman earned a reputation as one of Hollywood's most iconoclastic filmmakers, not least because of The Player, his biting satire on the movie industry. Kansas City followed four years later and saw Altman using his hometown in Missouri as the setting for this noirish crime thriller featuring and impressive ensemble cast which includes Harry Belafonte, Miranda Richardson, Steve Buscemi and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
The film is reissued this month by Arrow Video, whose new blu-ray edition features both the original soundtrack and a new 5.1 DTS HD mix, as well as a range of extras that includes director commentary by Altman himself, two 1996 promotional featurettes, an image gallery and a series of press kit interviews with Altman, Leigh, Belafonte and more. The new Blu-ray edition of Kansas City is available in stores now.
Richard Attenborough's directorial career is probably best remembered by most for his epic biopics on Mahatma Gandhi and Charlie Chaplin, but a look through his filmography reveals some underrated gems and a couple of real oddities, perhaps none more so than his disturbing love-story-turned-horror starring Anthony Hopkins. Magic sees Hopkins tackling the role of Corky, an awkward and troubled young ventriloquist whose plans to elope with high school sweetheart Peggy soon hit the rocks when it emerges that his relationship with his foul-mouthed ventriloquist's dummy, Fats, is becoming as unhealthy as his fragile state of mind.
Based on a novel of the same name by William Goldman, who also provides the film's screenplay, Magic gets the reissue treatment this month from cult specialists Second Sight Films, who are set to release a new Blu-ray edition of the film on March 23rd. Included amongst the bonus features are an interview with Goldman, archive interviews with Hopkins and a featurette charting the history of ventriloquism.
The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter
For any serious fan of martial arts movies, the name Shaw Brothers Studios will need no introduction. From the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the company founded by Run Run Shaw and his brothers was by far and away the dominant force in Hong Kong's movie industry, producing a string of revered cult classic such as Fist of the White Lotus, Five Deadly Venoms and The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Towards the tail-end of that incredible run came this little gem from director Lau Kar-leung, starring none other than Kill Bill's Chia-Hui Liu.
The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter is set to be released on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time this month by the folks at 88 films, whose reissued version made its arrival in stores this week (March 2nd). The blu-ray edition includes both the English dub and the original Cantonese soundtrack with newly translated English subtitles, as well as newly created artwork and a limited edition poster designed by Bob O'Brien.
Cinematographer and filmmaker Michael Wadleigh is probably best-known for his documentaries covering the Woodstock festival and the life and career of Janis Joplin, but Wadleigh did make one brief foray into directing feature films with this 1981 crime horror. Adapted from Whitley Strieber's 1978 novel The Wolfen, the story revolves around a race of highly evolved werewolves casing a series of grisly deaths in the city.
The film is the second of two new March additions to hmv's exclusive Premium Collection and is due to arrive in stores on March 9th, along with the usual selection of extras which includes a collectable slipcase, four limited edition art cards and a lobby-style poster.
Arguably one of Richard Burton's most underrated performances, this crime caper from director Michael Tuchner is based on James Barlow's novel The Burden of Proof and sees Burton starring alongside Ian McShane as a criminal plotting a lucrative heist while also wrestling with his sexuality.
The film is set to be reissued this month as part of StudioCanal's Vintage Classics series, marking the first time that Villain has been available on Blu-ray in the UK. Extras include new interviews with McShane and cultural historian Matthew Sweet, as well as a gallery of behind-the-scenes photographs. The new reissue lands in stores on March 30th.
Marlon T. Riggs
Filmmaker, poet and gay rights activist Marlon Riggs made a series of powerful documentaries exploring racism and homophobia in America, and it might be said that his experimental 1989 doc Tongues Untied was the moment those two subjects intersected, exploring as it does attitudes to homosexuality in the black community.
Riggs' though-provoking documentary is set to be reissued this month as a dual-format DVD/Blu-ray edition by the folks at the BFI, whose newly-restored version of the film arrives in stores on March 16th. Extras include a short film featuring the poetry of Essex Hemphill, a 1992 documentary on the impact of AIDS and a booklet with a new essay on the impact of Riggs' film.
Alejandro Jodorowsky Collection
Last but by no means least on our list of March recommendations is a box set containing some of the finest works from Alejandro Jodorowsky, the Chilean-French director regarded by many as one of the 20th century's most important directors.
The new limited edition box set is set to be released on March 30th and includes newly-restored versions of three Jodorowsky classics – Fando Y Lis, El Topo and The Holy Mountain – as well as his newest film Psychomagic: A Healing Art. The restorations have been overseen by the director himself and involved new 4K scans from the original film negatives, presenting three of Jodorowsky's most visually-arresting films in the most stunning quality yet. A must-have for any Jodorowsky fan.