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Showing Soon: Oh What A Circus, Oh What A Show… April 30, 2010

Posted by John Hodson in : Film General, Showing Soon , trackback

Park Circus Flex Their Home Entertainment Muscle…

Setting out with aims to be a leading international sales and distribution company, the Glasgow based Park Circus provide distributors, cinemas and film festivals with (and I quote):

“…knowledge, ideas, rights and prints to make screenings of classic films straightforward.

“We have a passion for what we do, invest in our film libraries and ensure our people’s knowledge is at the forefront of that for the industry. For our customers, we want our name to be synonymous with classic films.”

They’ve done a fine job thus far. Park Circus handle a number of extensive libraries, including the vast British holdings of ITV Studios Global Entertainment, they were one of the driving forces behind the superb Summer of British Film screenings a couple of years back, in fact screenings are organised at cinemas and festivals all over Europe.

In the past year or so, they’ve taken a courageous step and expanded into the frankly uncertain Home Entertainment market. Gently at first with a couple of documentaries (including Maximilian Schell’s Marlene) on DVD, then breaking into a trot with Henri-Georges Clouzot’s L’enfer (Inferno), Julien Temple’s Vigo - Passion For Life and Bille August’s Den goda viljan (The Best Intentions). That became something of a gallop when they gained the rights to a number of Charlie Chaplin films, licensed from French outfit mk2, that were previously part of the Warner catalogue.

The Great Dictator Blu-rayOn May 10 Park Circus release The Great Dictator (extras include: Chaplin Today: The Great Dictator documentary (26mins) • Behind The Scenes colour footage (25 mins) • Charlie The Barber (1919) deleted scene from Sunnyside (7 mins) • Photo Gallery • Chaplin Trailer Reel) and The Kid (Introduction by David Robinson (6 mins) • Chaplin Today: The Kid documentary (26 mins) • Scenes deleted for 1971 release (6 mins) • Recording the new score (1971) (2 mins) • Jackie Coogan dances (1920) (2 mins) • Nice and Friendly (1922) featuring Lord and Lady Mountbatten, Jackie Coogan and Chaplin (11 mins) • Photo Gallery • Chaplin Trailer Reel) not only on DVD but also in High Definition on Blu-ray.

You can see that those extra features replicate the previous Warner releases, and The Kid appears to be the same version cut for the 1971 theatrical re-release as before.

However, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In August, Park Circus adds two more from the Chaplin catalogue with the major difference that both The Gold Rush and Modern Times will be emerging in dual-format DVD/BD editions. The former includes both versions of The Gold Rush – the 1925 silent original, restored by Kevin Brownlow, and the digitally restored 1942 film (in 1942, Charles Chaplin took the 1925 original, composed and recorded a musical score for the film, added narration and re-edited). Other extras include: Introduction by David Robinson, Chaplin Today: Gold Rush, Chaplin Trailer Reel and Photo Gallery.

Modern Times includes the 1936 feature, which has now been restored in high definition, and the following extras: Chaplin Today: Modern Times, Introduction By David Robinson, Deleted Scenes, Chaplin Karaoke, Chaplin Trailer Reel, and Photo Gallery.

Incidentally, the rights to these Chaplin films have gone to Kinowelt in Germany, and to Criterion in the U.S. Though the Park Circus/Kinowelt releases should be identical (you can find screenshots from the Kinowelt Chaplin BDs at the redoubtable DVDBeaver), I’m sure Criterion will go to even further lengths in due course.

August also sees the release of another dual-format treat; Pandora And The Flying Dutchman which, thrillingly, also gets a theatrical re-release.

Pandora & The Flying Dutchman

That press release in full:

A brand new theatrical trailer has been created for PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN ahead of the film’s re-release from Friday 14 May 2010.

Originally released in 1951, PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is iconoclastic writer-producer-director Albert Lewin’s deliriously romantic and contemporary Technicolor™ visualisation of the often told legend of the sea, starring two of Hollywood’s most popular performers. Ava Gardner, in a thinly veiled portrait of herself, is Pandora, who falls hard for James Mason as Hendrik, a 17th-century seaman eternally condemned to sail the oceans.

The quintessential Lewin film, PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN was a production made independently of the Hollywood studios, and its original camera negative has been presumed lost for several decades.

Working from a nitrate separation positive and other sources, George Eastman House has supervised a painstaking 35mm restoration of the film, bringing back the rich palette of deep, sensuous colours utilised by renowned cinematographer Jack Cardiff.

Unavailable theatrically for many years and never available on Home Entertainment [in the UK], PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN will open from 14 May at BFI Southbank and Key Cities on brand new 35mm prints and in Digital Cinema format.

PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN has been restored by George Eastman House in cooperation with The Douris Corporation. Funding provided by The Film Foundation, the Rome Film Festival, and the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a partnership of the Directors Guild of America; Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique; the Motion Picture Association of America; and the Writers Guild of America, West.

Extras on this dual-format disc set appear to be a little thin, two separate theatrical trailers – the new, restored version and the original. But click here and you’ll see that new trailer and get a glimpse of the lush Technicolor wonders that await.Pandora & The Flying Dutchman

One of the most ravishing romances ever committed to celluloid, Lewin’s film is a genuine oddity: at once coolly literate, intensely passionate, and quite sensuously surreal. Transposing to 1930s Spain the old legend of a loner doomed to sail the seven seas forever unless he’s redeemed by a woman’s love, Lewin centres his film on the alluring Pandora (Ava Gardner), courted by a clutch of expats and locals but intrigued by the arrival of a mysterious yachtsman (James Mason) who drops anchor outside the village.

The film is as audaciously stylised and erudite as a Powell-Pressburger movie – unsurprising, perhaps, given the presence of actors like Sheila Sim and John Laurie, and the stunning Technicolor camerawork by Archers regular Jack Cardiff. His immaculately lit compositions, often evoking the delirious dreaminess of a Delvaux or De Chirico painting, are beautifully served by this recent restoration.

- Geoff Andrew

In September Park Circus release two more DVDs, Don McKellar’s Last Night, with McKellar himself, Sandra Oh, David Cronenberg, Roberta Maxwell and Robin Gammel, and David Hare’s unsettling Wetherby (Vanessa Redgrave, Ian Holm, Judi Dench and a memorable Tim McInnerny). Getting a dual-format release in September is Sean Mathias’ Bent (Lothaire Bluteau, Clive Owen, Brian Webber, Ian Mckellen, Mick Jagger).

Unlike the other DVD releases for this month, Bent features a number of good looking extras. The film has been restored in HD and the BD/DVD set contains: Theatrical Trailer, Interviews with Sean Mathias, Martin Sherman, Clive Owen, Lothaire Bluteau, Ian McKellen and Mick Jagger, On Set Footage and the Music Video for Streets of Berlin, performed by Mick Jagger.

From that standing start, Park Circus is quickly becoming a player in the Home Entertainment market. And with that library of film to delve into, hopefully both the will and the ability to secure the necessary rights, we can only imagine the riches that may come…


1. Michael Brooke - April 30, 2010

“The Kid appears to be the same version cut for the 1971 theatrical re-release as before.”

It is indeed - I’ve just reviewed the Blu-ray for Sight & Sound.

2. Livius - April 30, 2010

Really looking forward to that release of Pandora And The Flying Dutchman.

3. John Hodson - May 12, 2010

Small caveat; Park Circus appear to have had a change of mind regarding The Great Dictator and The Kid, and instead of releasing them on both DVD and BD, they are now dual-format releases with both SD and BD in the same package, extras being on the SD disc alone. Except in the case of The Kid, copies appear to have been released minus the SD disc, and thus any extra features.

They’ve released a statement:

THE KID Blu-Ray Manufacturing Issue
It has come to our attention that there is an issue with the initial batch of THE KID Blu-Ray, released on 10 May. The product should include two discs: a Blu-Ray (with the feature in high definition) and a DVD (with standard definition feature and the extras). Unfortunately, there was an error in the first batch assembled, and the DVD was left out. All retailers are aware of the issue and their stock has been now replaced with the correct package. If you have been affected by this issue, please contact your retailer and they will be able to replace it for you. This issue only affects the Blu-Ray release of THE KID. We apologise for inconvenience caused.

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