It's rare to get the chance to watch classic world cinema of years past on the big screen these days unless you live in a major city (and even then...), so it's always great when labels like Masters of Cinema, the BFI or Criterion make such titles available at the best available quality on DVD and Blu-ray for viewing in our own private repertory home cinemas. Joining these exalted ranks is Arrow with their new Arrow Academy label, which will feature discs with optimal picture and audio presentation, brand new special features to contextualize and comment upon the film for that essential post screening discussion as well as a celebration of the art of the film poster with alternate poster designs, viewable through the front package 'poster frame'.
Arrow Academy lovingly takes its name from one of the most famous repertory cinemas; the Academy 1-2-3 where many critics, writers, filmmakers and cineastes first discovered a new kind of cinema, which celebrated the cinema poster with new artwork designs by the famed Peter Strausfeld. The label kicks off off with the Blu-ray release of Vittorio De Sica's 1948 classic Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) and following in April Henri-Georges Clouzot's masterful thriller (1955) Les diaboliques.
Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)
One of the key films of Italian neo-realist cinema that follows the fortunes of an unemployed young father in post-war Rome who lands a job putting up posters, only to have the bicycle the job requires and his family have sacrificed almost everything to buy stolen. The film stars Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola and Lianella Carell.
This new Blu-ray only edition will be released on 28th March 2011 by Arrow Academy at the RRP of £24.99 with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary by Robert Gordon, Italian cinema expert and author of Bicycle Thieves (BFI Film Classics);
- Cesare Zavattini a feature length documentary by director Carlo Lizzani on the great screenwriter, novelist, critic, long time De Sica collaborator and founder of Italian neorealism
- Timeless Cinema, a documentary portrait of director, actor and screenwriter Vittorio De Sica;
- Original Trailer;
- Booklet including brand new writing on the film and a reprint of Cesare Zavattini's Some Ideas on the Cinema, illustrated with original Lobby Cards and stills.
Les Diaboliques (Clouzot, 1955)
The wife of a bullying school headmaster conspires with the man's mistress to kill him, but following the murder his body disappears and the women are haunted by a series of inexplicable events in Henri-Georges Clouzot's brilliant, terrifying, hugely influential and much immitated thriller starring Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot and Paul Meurisse.
This new Blu-ray only edition will be released on 18th April 2011 by Arrow Academy at the RRP of £24.99 with the following special features:
- Audio commentary with Susan Hayward, author of Les diaboliques(Cine-file French Film Guides);
- Filmed interview with Ginette Vincendeau (28 mins), French cinema scholar, critic and author;
- Original Trailer;
- Booklet including brand new writing on the film by author and critic Brad Stevens and an interview with Clouzot by Paul Schrader illustrated with stills and rare original set drawings by Léon Barsacq.