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Arrow Academy announces its May Blu-ray and DVD titles

20 February 2017

As spring hits, Arrow Academy will be releasing a delightful slate of classic cinema, cult film and arthouse favourites to savour as the evenings get lighter and we enjoy a couple of Bank Holiday weekends. As ever, the releases are full of new and archival extras to keep cinephiles content.

Revisiting the film that put director Lass Hallström on the map more than 30 years ago, the first of the month’s releases is My Life as a Dog [Mitt liv som hund], an arthouse favourite based on Reidar Jönsson’s autobiographical novel. It follows young Ingemar as he is sent to live in the Swedish countryside during the 1950s, away from his terminally ill mother, and embarks on adventure and new friendships.

The next May release is The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933, a stunning Blu-ray box set covering the classic Paramount-era that saw Chico, Groucho, Harpo and Zeppo release their most enduring comedies. The set includes five films from The Cocoanuts (1929) to Duck Soup (1933) and shows the Brothers at their finest – all in beautiful high definition, transferred from original film elements by Universal, allowing you to witness the controlled chaos like never before.

Following this is a much more recent film from 2016 – but one that is already assured cult status. The Untamed [La región salvaje] comes from director Amat Escalante and deftly weaves social commentary with Lovecraftian-style science fiction. Winning acclaim including the Silver Lion at the prestigious Venice Film Festival and Best Director at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, the film has been described as “ferociously intelligent” (Jonathan Romney, Screen) and “brilliant, frightening” (Rory O’Connor, The Film Stage).

Last, but by no means least, is Spotlight on a Murderer [Pleins feux sur l'assassin], the lesser-known third feature from Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face, Judex). It’s a delightfully playful romp through Agatha Christie and Gothic territory, constantly playing up to the clichés and tropes of the murder mystery genre. The story follows the heirs of a wealthy count who are told they will not inherit for at least five years after he vanishes without a trace. They set about to transform the family château into a tourist attraction in order to pay for its upkeep in the meantime, but are beset by a series of tragic, seemingly accidental, deaths.

 

My Life as a Dog

My Life as a Dog | Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD | 8 May 2017 | £19.99

Nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay), My Life as a Dog has become a perennial arthouse favourite. A bittersweet portrait of growing up in Sweden in the late 1950s, the film continues to speak to audiences more than 30 years after its release.

Based on Reidar Jönsson’s autobiographical novel, My Life as a Dog focuses on Ingemar (a remarkable performance from 11-year-old Anton Glanzelius), who is sent to the country to live with his uncle. An escape from his turbulent home life – and his terminally ill mother – the rural town brings adventure, eccentricity, growing pains, and friendship with tomboy Saga (Melinda Kinnaman – Modus).

Directed by Lasse Hallström, the success of My Life as a Dog brought him international recognition. Previously best-known for his collaborations with ABBA, having been responsible for most of their music videos as well as ABBA: The Movie, Hallström would soon pursue a Hollywood career, his later films including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules and Hachi: A Dog's Tale.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations, transferred from original film materials and approved by director Lasse Hallström

  • Original 1.0 mono audio

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Come On Then! [Kom igen, nu'rå!], a 1981 TV film by Hallström about a 35-year-old footballer (played by Swedish pop star Robert Broberg) looking back over his life

  • Original theatrical trailer

  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Candice Tripp

  • First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Peter Walsh

 

The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933 | on Blu-ray | 15 May 2017 | £44.99

The Marx Brothers – Chico, Groucho, Harpo and Zeppo – are one of the cornerstones of American comedy. Starting out in vaudeville, they conquered Broadway and the big screen in their own inimitable style, at once innovative, irreverent, anarchic, physical, musical, ludicrous and hilarious.

With the advent of the ‘talkies’, the Brothers signed to Paramount Pictures and brought their stage act to cinema audiences. They made five films in five years, all of which are collected here: The Cocoanuts (1929), Animal Crackers (1930), Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932) and one of the greatest comedies of all time, Duck Soup (1933).

The Paramount era represents the Marx Brothers at their absolute finest, retaining all of the energy and controlled chaos of their stage shows. Plots are unimportant – it’s the gags, set-pieces and one-liners that matter: “Why a duck?”, “Hello, I Must Be Going”, “Hooray for Captain Spaulding”, “That’s the bunk!”, Horse Feathers’ “Swordfish” scene and classic mirror sequence in Duck Soup.

Limited Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all five features, transferred from original film elements by Universal

  • Original 1.0 mono audio

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

  • Commentary on The Cocoanuts by film scholar Anthony Slide

  • Commentary on Animal Crackers by film historian Jeffrey Vance

  • Commentary on Monkey Business by Marx Brothers historian Robert S Bader and Bill Marx, son of Harpo Marx

  • Commentary on Horse Feathers by film critic FX Feeney

  • Commentary on Duck Soup by Bader and film critic Leonard Maltin

  • The Marx Brothers: Hollywood’s Kings of Chaos, a feature-length documentary containing interviews with Leonard Maltin, Dick Cavett and others

  • Three excerpts from NBC’s The Today Show featuring interviews with Harpo Marx, Groucho Marx and Bill Marx

  • MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED!

  • Reversible sleeve featuring two pieces based on artwork from the films’ original release

  • First pressing only: Perfect-bound book featuring new and archival writing on the films

 

The Untamed (temporary cover artwork)

The Untamed | DVD and Blu-ray | 22 May 2017 | DVD: £15.99 Blu-ray: £19.99

Celebrated filmmaker Amat Escalante follows up his critically lauded features Heli and Los Bastardos with the award-winning The Untamed, which critics have called “ferociously intelligent” (Jonathan Romney – Screen) and “brilliant, frightening” (Rory O’Connor – The Film Stage).

Alejandra is a housewife, raising two boys with husband Angel in a small city. Her brother Fabian works as a nurse in a local hospital. Their provincial lives are upset with the arrival of the mysterious Veronica. Sex and love can be fragile in certain regions where strong family values, hypocrisy, homophobia, and male chauvinism exist. Veronica convinces them that in the nearby woods, inside an isolated cabin, dwells something not of this world that could be the answer to all of their problems. Something whose force they cannot resist and with whom they must make peace or suffer its wrath.

Escalante’s film mixes Lovecraftian science fiction with social commentary as he tackles themes including corruption and social injustice, a mix that has won acclaim including the Silver Lion at the prestigious Venice Film Festival and Best Director at Austin’s Fantastic Fest.

Blu-ray Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition digital transfer

  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original international art and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil

  • PLUS MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED!

First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, writing by critic Jonathan Romney, the director’s statement and extracts from the press book, illustrated with original stills

DVD Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition digital transfer

  • 5.1 surround sound audio

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original international art and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil

  • PLUS MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED!

 

Spotlight on a Murderer

Spotlight on a Murderer | Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD | 29 May 2017 | £24.99

When the terminally ill Count Hervé de Kerloquen (Pierre Brasseur – Goto, Isle of Love) vanishes without trace, his heirs are told that they have to wait five years before he can be declared legally dead, forcing them to devise ways of paying for the upkeep of the vast family château in the meantime. While they set about transforming the place into an elaborate son et lumière tourist attraction, they are beset by a series of tragic accidents – if that’s really what they are…

The little-known third feature by the great French maverick Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face, Judex) is a delightfully playful romp through Agatha Christie territory, whose script (written by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac of Les Diaboliques and Vertigo fame) is mischievously aware of the hoariest old murder-mystery clichés and gleefully exploits as many of them as possible.

They’re equally aware of the detective story’s antecedents in the Gothic novel, a connection that Franju is only too happy to emphasise visually at every opportunity thanks to his magnificent main location. A young Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Conformist, Amour) is amongst the Kerloquen heirs.

Special Edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the feature, restored by Gaumont

  • Uncompressed French Mono 1.0 PCM Audio

  • Optional English subtitles

  • Vintage production featurette from 1960, shot on location and including interviews with Georges Franju and actors Pascale Audret, Pierre Brasseur, Marianne Koch, Dany Saval and Jean-Louis Trintignant

  • Original theatrical trailer

  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain

  • First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris Fujiwara