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Arrow Video announces its October Blu-ray and DVD releases

13 July 2016

Yesterday afternoon Arrow Video caught a few of us out by announcing its October Blu-ray and DVD slate, and as ever it's an absolute belter, with a mixture of much-requested titles, forgotten gems and revered classics. Oh where do we start? Here's all the details we have so far in the order that the titles were announced on Twitter.

52 Pick-Up dual format

52 Pick-Up (1986) | Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) | 17th October 2016 | £19.99

In 1986, John Frankenheimer – the director of The Manchurian Candidate, Seconds and French Connection II – made the unlikely career move of working with schlockmeisters Cannon Films. Adapting Elmore Leonard’s novel of the same name, 52 Pick-Up’s union brought about the perfect blend of high calibre thrills and Cannon-grade trash.

Roy Scheider (Jaws, Cohen and Tate) plays a successful businessman whose life quickly falls apart when a compromising videotape of him and his mistress (Kelly Preston) becomes a tool for blackmail. Unable to go to the police without compromising the political career of his wife (Ann-Margret), he must take things into his own hands – and delve into a world of drugs, sleaze, pornography and snuff.

Co-starring Prince protégé Vanity and John Glover (who was described as “the best, most reprehensible villain of the year” by Roger Ebert), and featuring a host of cameos from the stars of the ‘Silver Age of Porn’, 52 Pick-Up has been described by Leonard as his favourite big-screen adaptation of his works.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements by MGM

  • Original Stereo 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  • Audio commentary by critics Glenn Kenny and Doug Brod recorded exclusively for this release

  • Hardcore Cameos, a guide to the many cameo appearances by pornographic actors in 52 Pick-Up

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist

  • First pressing only: Collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film by the Badlands Collective

 

Burnt Offerings dual format

Burnt Offerings (1976) | Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) | 17th October 2016 | £19.99

When college lecturer Ben Rolf (Oliver Reed, The Brood, The Devils) and his family rent a remote country mansion at a bargain price, they believe they’re in for an uneventful summer. Little do they realise that they’ve just moved into a veritable house of horrors! As the malevolent force that dwells within its walls exerts its dark influence on the minds of its new inhabitants, and the sinister occurrences begin to mount up, it grows increasingly clear that this is a holiday they’ll never forget... provided any of them live to tell of it.

Also starring Karen Black (The Day of the Locust) and Bette Davis (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), Burnt Offerings provides a unique and chilling portrait of a modern family in meltdown. Presented in high definition for the first time in the UK, there has never been a better time to revisit – or discover for the first time – this unforgettable slice of American Gothic.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements by MGM

  • Original uncompressed PCM mono audio

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  • Audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith

  • Acting His Face, an interview with actor Anthony James

  • Blood Ties, an interview with actor Lee Montgomery

  • From the Ashes, an interview with screenwriter William F. Nolan

  • Portraits of Fear, an animated gallery of promotional materials and behind-the-scenes stills

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love

  • First pressing only: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Kat Ellinger

 

The Burning steelbook

The Burning (1981) | Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) Steelbook | 10th October 2016 | £24.99

GATHER AROUND THE CAMPFIRE TO DIE!

Of all the many slice-and-dice films that emerged in the early ’80s, few remain as gruesomely effective as The Burning – the notorious “video nasty” now finally unleashed on Blu-ray!

When an ill-advised prank misfires, summer camp caretaker Cropsy is committed to hospital with severe burns. Released after five years, hospital officials warn him not to blame the young campers who caused his hideous disfigurement. But no sooner is Cropsy back on the streets than he’s headed back to camp with a rusty pair of shears in hand, determined to exact his bloody revenge…

With standout gore effects courtesy of FX legend Tom Savini, The Burning proved too shocking for UK censors upon its original video release. Now, fully uncut and in High Definition, The Burning is ready to reclaim its place as the ultimate summer camp nightmare.

Limited Edition contents:

  • Limited Edition SteelBook packaging (4000 copies)

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations

  • Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  • Audio commentary with director Tony Maylam and critic Alan Jones

  • Audio commentary with stars Shelley Bruce and Bonnie Deroski

  • Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues

  • Blood ‘n’ Fire Memories – a detailed look at the creation of the film's make-up effects with special effects artist Tom Savini

  • Slash & Cut – an interview with editor Jack Sholder

  • Cropsy Speaks – an interview with actor Lou David

  • Summer Camp Nightmare – an interview with actress Leah Ayres

  • Brand new interview with composer Rick Wakeman

  • Behind-the-scenes footage

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Make-up effects stills gallery

  • Poster & stills gallery

  • First pressing only: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Justin Kerswell

 

Cosmos Blu-ray

Cosmos (2015) | Blu-ray & DVD | 10th October 2016 | £19.99 (Blu-ray), £17.99 (DVD)

When two young men arrive at a family-run guesthouse in rural France, their anticipation of a few days’ peace and quiet is undermined by a variety of sinister occurrences. A small bird is found murdered, its neck in a tiny noose, a strangely sexualized stain appears on a wall, and a slug crawls across the breakfast tray.

Are these all signs comprising a portent of truly cosmic significance, or merely bizarre coincidences? And is it any wonder that one of the visitors, Witold (piercing-eyed Jonathan Genet) has such difficulty writing his novel, or that his companion Fuchs (Johan Libéreau) prefers to find solace in earthier pleasures?

The final film by the late Andrzej Żuławski, director of the legendary Possession (the only Cannes-winning arthouse film to be officially classified as a video nasty), Cosmos adapts Witold Gombrowicz’s legendarily challenging novel into a beguilingly witty combination of (deceptively) lighthearted French farce and a complex, knowing reflection on the absurdities both of humanity itself and the way that we define our notion of the universe according to our individual hang-ups.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition digital transfer of the film supervised by Andrzej Żuławski

  • New subtitle translation approved by Żuławski

  • Hanging Sparrows – A retrospective making of interview featurette including cast (Jonathan Genet, Victoria Guerra, Jean-Francois Balmer, Clementine Pons), crew (cinematographer Andre Szankowski and others) and archive footage of director Andrzej Zulawski

  • A Brief History of Gombrowicz – An interview with Rita Gombrowicz and on the life and work of Witold Gombrowicz

  • Bleurgh – Daniel Bird on the films of Andrzej Zulawski and adapting Cosmos into English

  • Trailers

  • Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options

  • First pressing only: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film

 

Sleeper

Sleeper (1976) | Blu-ray | 3rd October 2016 | £17.99

In Sleeper Woody Allen satirises seventies dystopianism whilst resurrecting the slapstick comedy of the silent era, if Interiors was Allen’s Bergman film, and Stardust Memories his Fellini film, then Sleeper could be thought of as his Buster Keaton film.

After a hospital mishap puts health-food shop owner Miles Monroe (Woody Allen) in a coma, he wakes up 200 years later to find himself in a very different and not exactly brave new world. All women are frigid, all men are impotent, and everyone lives in a police state run by a mysterious leader who hasn’t been seen in months. But why?

However, this is no dystopian sci-fi thriller, but one of Woody Allen’s funniest films as his mid-1970s New York values and mores keep colliding with the new 22nd-century reality. He disguises himself as a robot butler, encounters a drastically genetically modified chicken, investigates the mysteries of the Orgasmotron and is reprogrammed to make himself believe that he is really Miss America. Meanwhile rebel activist and terrible poet Luna Schlosser (Diane Keaton) tries to keep him focused, knowing that he is uniquely valuable to the cause thanks to his lack of a normally compulsory biometric identity.

 

Love and Death Blu-ray

Love and Death (1975) | Blu-ray | 3rd October 2016 | £17.99

Having tackled the future in Sleeper, Woody Allen now moves almost as far back in time to Russia during the Napoleonic Wars.

Cowardly scholar Boris Grushenko (Allen) is more interested in the beautiful Sonja (Diane Keaton) than he is in fighting for his country, but when she ditches him for a prosperous herring merchant he decides to enlist in the army for a life of epic battles and all too personal duels.

Allen’s wonderfully funny spoof was inspired by his deep love of Russian literature, film and music, and Ingmar Bergman pops up too in the form of a visiting Angel of Death. It’s a significant advance on his other “early, funny films” in that it’s no longer just an excuse for a series of gags – there are plenty of those here, but they’re much more integrated into the film as a whole, a sign of his growing maturity as a writer-director.

Dekalog dual format box set

 

Dekalog and Other TV Works | Dual format (Blu-ray & DVD) | 17th October 2016 | £64.99

When Krzysztof Kieślowski began production on a ten-part Polish television series whose budget was so low that he could only afford two takes maximum, nobody foresaw that the end result would be acclaimed as one of the greatest cinema achievements of the late twentieth century.

But that’s what Dekalog is: as much an intricate work of moral philosophy as it is a collection of psychologically riveting narratives. Each standalone story revolves around the consequences arising from a breach of one of the Ten Commandments, but this is no finger-wagging religious tract: Kieślowski was one of film history’s keenest observers of human nature, and his troubled, vainglorious, self-deceiving, deeply flawed characters (many played by some of Poland’s finest character actors) are all too universally recognisable.

But Dekalog is merely the highlight of a box set that compiles virtually all of Kieślowski’s television work, starting with his first professional short fiction film and continuing with four feature-length pieces that are in every way as probing and incisive as his better-known cinema films.

Special Edition contents:

  • 4K restoration of all ten episodes, presented in their original broadcast aspect ratios

  • Original Polish mono soundtrack (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays), with optional English subtitles

  • Pedestrian Subway (1973, 29 mins), Kieślowski’s professional fiction debut, about a man trying to repair a failed marriage

  • First Love (1974, 52 mins), a docudrama about a teenage couple coping with an unwanted pregnancy

  • Personnel (1975, 67 mins), Kieślowski’s first feature-length fiction film, a partly autobiographical piece about a Warsaw theatre company

  • The Calm (1976, 82 mins), one of Kieślowski’s most powerful early films, about a man rebuilding his life in mid-70s Poland after a short prison sentence

  • Short Working Day (1981, 73 mins), Kieślowski’s study of a political strike, controversially told from the viewpoint of a Communist functionary trying to keep order

  • Krzysztof Kieślowski: Still Alive (2007), an affectionate 82-minute portrait of the director by his former student Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz, including interviews with dozens of friends and colleagues

  • Collector’s booklet featuring a lengthy essay on Dekalog and Kieślowski by Father Marek Lis, plus Kieślowski’s own intensely self-critical discussion of all the films in this set and Stanley Kubrick’s famous eulogy to Kieślowski and co-writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz

  • More extras in development!