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The Adventures of Prince Achmed on dual format in August

19 July 2013

On 19th August, the BFI will release Lotte Reiniger’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed) on Blu-ray for the first time in a Dual Format Edition (includes a DVD disc) with a newly recorded narration and the original orchestral score by Wolfgang Zeller, along with a selection of short films and an illustrated booklet with contributors including Marina Warner.

Three years in the making, this beautiful 1926 silhouette animation brings to life magical tales from the Arabian Nights. The earliest surviving animated feature film – preserved in the BFI National Archive – it has been hailed as one of the world’s most innovative and influential animations.

Handsome young Prince Achmed is brave and eager for adventure, so when the most powerful sorcerer in the world challenges him to fly a magic horse, Achmed plunges headlong into a series of exciting escapades which take him from Baghdad to China via the enchanted spirit lands of Wak-Wak.

Made in card, cut entirely by hand, and then manipulated using sheets of lead joined by wires, Reiniger’s exquisite shadow characters move intricately through colourful worlds of demons, witches, beautiful princesses and flying castles.

The talent and creativity shown here has influenced the animation in other films including Snow White, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Sword in the Stone.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed will be released in the UK as a dual format edition (DVD and Blu-ray) on the 19th August 2013 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.

The following extra features have been confirmed:

  • Newly recorded alternative narration based on Lotte Reiniger's own translation of her German text Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed, spoken by actress Penelope McGhie

  • The Adventures  of Dr. Dolittle (Lotte Reiniger, 1928, 30 mins): a series of three short films based on the classic stories by Hugh Lofting

  • The Flying Coffer (Lotte Reiniger, 1921, 8 mins): a poor young fisherman tries to rescue the Emperor of China's daughter who is imprisoned in a sky high pagoda

  • The Secret of the Marquise (Lotte Reiniger, 1922, 2 mins): an early advert for Nivea skin care products

  • The Lost Son (Lotte Reiniger, 1974, 14 mins): the New Testament parable animated in Lotte Reiniger's inimitable style

  • The Star of Bethlehem (Lotte Reiniger, 1956, 18 mins): the nativity story with music by Peter Gellhorn, performed by the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus

  • Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays by ]ez Stewart and Philip Kemp and a contribution by Marina Warner