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Simply Media have confirmed a further four UK DVD releases from MGM's Hollywood Classics collection, with films from directors Sidney Lumet, Basil Dearden, Francis D. Lyon and Joseph M. Newman.
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Roberto Rossellini: The War Trilogy on Blu-ray and DVD in March

2 March 2015

The War Trilogy, a Limited Numbered Edition box set to be released by the BFI on 30th March 2015, brings together for the first time on Blu-ray Roberto Rossellini’s celebrated trilogy of films made during and immediately after the World War II. Rome, Open City, Paisà and Germany Year Zero will also be released individually on DVD on the same date.

These three films provide heart-rending depictions of a Europe savaged by war, the struggles faced by ordinary people and the hope that endures. They established Rossellini as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of all time.

The Blu-ray box set will have an RRP of £49.99. The DVDs will be priced individually at £19.99 apiece.

Special features on the Blu-ray set:

Newly remastered presentations

  • L’amore (Roberto Rossellini, 1948, 80 mins): Rossellini’s controversial two-part anthology film showcasing the manifold talents of Anna Magnani. The first part, A Human Voice, is written by Jean Cocteau, and the second, The Miracle, is written by Federico Fellini, who also puts in an acting appearance.

  • Children of Open City (Laura Muscardin, 2005, 53 mins): documentary featuring Vito Annicchiarico visiting key locations from Rome, Open City and sharing memories of the shoot

  • Into the Future (Tag Gallagher, 2009, 32 mins): visual essay on the War Trilogy by film scholar Tag Gallagher

  • Illustrated booklet featuring new essays by Tag Gallagher, Geoffrey Nowell-Smith and Jonathan Rosenbaum, and full film credits

Rome, Open City

A landmark of Italian neorealism often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Roberto Rossellini’s portrait of life under the Nazi Occupation remains remarkable for its sheer immediacy, tension and power.

Made in extraordinarily straitened circumstances immediately after the liberation of Rome, the film follows Manfredi (Marcello Pagliero), a partisan leader, as he attempts to evade the Gestapo by enlisting the help of Pina (Anna Magnani) fiancée of a fellow member of the underground resistance, and Don Pietro (Aldo Fabrizi), the priest due to oversee her marriage. Both Fabrizi and Magnani were well known comedic actors and perform magnificently against type.

Shot both on the ravaged streets of the city and in the studio, Rome, Open City seamlessly blends sequences reminiscent of documentary with more conventional dramatic scenes notable for their pace, precise staging and affectingly naturalistic performances. The power of this extraordinary film remains undiminished.

Special features on DVD:

  • Newly remastered presentation

  • Children of Open City (Laura Muscardin, 2005, 51 mins): documentary made for the 60th anniversary of Rome, Open City, featuring Vito Annicchiarico visiting key locations and sharing memories of the shoot

  • Illustrated booklet featuring new writing by Jonathan Rosenbaum and film credits

Paisà

Available for the first time on DVD, Roberto Rossellini’s ambitious and enormously moving follow-up to his breakthrough Rome, Open City is presented here in a new restoration.

Made in the aftermath of the Second World War, Paisà is constructed as a series of six encounters which take place during the liberation of Italy as Allied troops advance through the country from Sicily to the northern Po Valley, via Rome and Florence.

Shot on location using a non-professional cast alongside actors, the semi-documentary aesthetic and epic sweep of Paisà is both charming and devastating in its portrayal of the final days of war and the confusion that follows in its wake.

This classic of neo-realist cinema forms the centrepiece of Rossellini’s acclaimed War Trilogy and was followed, in 1948, with the celebrated Germany Year Zero.

Special features on DVD:

  • Newly remastered presentation

  • Into the Future (2009, 30 mins): a visual essay on the War Trilogy by film scholar Tag Gallagher

  • Illustrated booklet featuring new writing by Tag Gallagher and film credits

Germany Year Zero

The concluding part of Roberto Rossellini’s celebrated War Trilogy, Germany Year Zero is presented here in a new restoration.

Amidst the war-torn ruins of Berlin in the period immediately after the Second World War, a 12-year-old boy, Edmund, struggles to support his family – his ailing father and unregistered brother unable to provide for them. Left to his own devices, Edmund wanders around the devastated city, getting caught up in black market schemes and falling prey to the pernicious influence of a Nazi-sympathising former teacher with tragic consequences.

This heart-rending portrait of a decimated post-war European city is a damning indictment of war and fascism and remains one of the most affecting films in the history of cinema.

Special features on DVD:

  • Newly remastered presentations

  • L’amore (Roberto Rossellini, 1948, 77 mins): Rossellini’s controversial two-part anthology film showcasing the manifold talents of Anna Magnani. The first part, A Human Voice, is written by Jean Cocteau, and the second, The Miracle, is written by Federico Fellini, who also puts in an acting appearance

  • Illustrated booklet featuring new writing by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith and Jonathan Rosenbaum, and film credits