Category Archives: Must See

Nineteen Eighty-Four | The celebrated 1954 BBC adaptation starring Peter Cushing gets a dual-format BFI restoration

Adapted by Nigel Kneale (whose centenary is being celebrated this year) and directed by Rudolf Cartier, the BBC’s adaptation of George Orwell’s seminal dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, broke new ground for television drama and caused quite the stir when it was first broadcast live in December 1954.

Featuring a career-defining central performance from Peter Cushing as Orwell’s fatalistic protagonist, Winston Smith, this small-screen landmark has been restored by the BFI using original film materials from the BBC Archive and the BFI National Archive.

André Morell co-stars as deceptive Inner Party member O’Brien, Yvonne Mitchell as Smith’s rebel lover Julia and Donald Pleasence as Syme, Winston’s Ministry of Truth colleague. Giving a brief, but notable, turn is Wilfrid Brambell, who had also appeared in the BBC’s previous Kneale sci-fi, 1953’s The Quatermass Experiment.

Kneale was so in-tune bringing Orwell’s cautionary tale on totalitarianism and the cult of personality to dramatic life that it caused great upset within British public and political circles when it was first performed on Sunday 12 December 1954 (mainly due to a torture scene involving rats). While criticised for being ‘horrific’ and ‘subversive’, it was restaged on Thursday 16 December (thanks in part to Prince Philip’s announcement that the Queen enjoyed the first screening) with some 7 million viewers tuning in. And it is this telerecording that has become one of the earliest surviving British TV dramas.

The following year, an Australian radio adaptation was aired as part of the Lux Radio Theatre with Vincent Price taking on the role of Winston Smith, while Donald Pleasence would be the only actor from the BBC play to appear in director Michael Anderson’s 1956 film adaptation starring Edmund O’Brien.

The BFI restoration has really spruced up the image and sound of the 1954 production which is a mix of the live recording and 14 filmed inserts that were required for the scene changes. These inserts look fantastic now – but seeing them alongside the live (soft and grainy) footage they do somewhat jar. Nevertheless, it’s the performances (especially Cushing’s) that count. So time to ditch that old ‘taped off the telly’ DVD (or in my case VHS). Nineteen Eighty-Four is also available on DTO via iTunes and Amazon Prime on 11 April 2022.

Order from the BFI Shop here:
https://shop.bfi.org.uk/nineteen-eighty-four-dual-format-edition.html

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
  • Audio commentary by television historian Jon Dear with Toby Hadoke and Andy Murray
  • Late Night Line-Up (BBC, 1965, 23 mins): members of the cast and crew look back on the controversies surrounding this adaptation of Orwell’s classic. This is a historic time capsule — and a must-see for Cushing fans.
  • The Ministry of Truth (2022, 24 mins): in conversation with the BFI’s Dick Fiddy, television historian Oliver Wake dispels some of the myths that have grown up around the groundbreaking drama over the course of the past half-century.
  • Nigel Kneale: Into the Unknown (2022, 72 mins): writer, actor and stand-up comedian Toby Hadoke and Nigel Kneale biographer and programmer Andy Murray try to unpick who Kneale was, what he did and why his work still matters today.
  • Gallery of rare images from the BBC Archives
  • Original script (downloadable PDF)
  • Newly commissioned sleeve artwork by Matt Needle
  • Illustrated booklet with essays by Oliver Wake and David Ryan; credits and notes on the special features.

Dune | David Lynch’s flawed 1984 sci-fi gets a stellar 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release from Arrow

With director Denis Villeneuve’s epic new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 sci-fi novel getting a worldwide release in October, this is the perfect time to revisit David Lynch’s 1984 Dino De Laurentiis-produced space opera, which is now out on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray from Arrow. And I must say… this is a stellar release.

Making his screen debut, Kyle MacLachlan and his voluminous 1980s hair-do plays messiah-in-waiting Paul Atreides who incites an intergalactic war after his father Duke Leto (Jürgen Prochnow), the patriarch of House Atreides, and his loyal followers are murdered by the rival dynastic family, House Harkonnen, who seek control of the coveted spice melange – a space flight-enabling drug produced only on the desert planet of Arrakis.

Throughout the 1970s, various attempts were made to bring Herbert’s Duniverse to the big screen. Most famously was Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose aborted attempt became the subject of a must-see 2013 documentary. A director to watch following the critical success of 1980’s Elephant Man, Lynch was hired to helm De Laurentiis’ ‘Star Wars for grown-ups’ which, if successful, could have spawned a new sci-fi franchise. But the film bombed big time. Lynch called it ‘a failure and a great sadness’ and disowned the film due to lots of interference from the money men and not getting final cut privilege.

Having seen it again after all these years, I can understand why. The excising of an hour of the film’s original running time has reduced it down to a series of disjointed set pieces – thus cutting out the very heart of Lynch’s original vision. It’s a shame as it is gorgeous to look at, with an awesome production design that evokes Jules Verne steampunk with some Byzantine stylings.

It’s also got a knock-out cast who deliver some memorable performances – especially Kenneth McMillan as the obese Baron Harkonnen (he’s most disturbing in a John Wayne Gacy with a face of oozing sores kind of way) and a fit-looking Sting (and his blue loincloth) as the Baron’s sadistic nephew. But there’s also Freddie Jones, Siân Phillips, Patrick Stewart, Francesca Annis, Linda Hunt and many many more. They are all so good in each of their parts, I can almost forgive the film’s major faults. I do, however, find the whole surfing on giant sandworms rather silly.

Still, Lynch’s Dune remains a unique part of cinematic sci-fi history, and this 4K restoration is probably the best way to rediscover it (despite the fact there’s no input from Lynch). It also allows you to revisit Herbert’s seminal tale which, in its essence, is about colonial terrorism – something that still plays out across our own troubled world.

SPECIAL FEATURES

DISC ONE – FEATURE & EXTRAS (4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY)

• 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray™ presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
• Original uncompressed stereo audio and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Audio commentaries by film historian Paul M Sammon and Mike White (The Projection Booth podcast)
Impressions of Dune: 2003 making-of documentary, featuring interviews with star Kyle MacLachlan, producer Raffaella de Laurentiis, cinematographer Freddie Francis, editor Antony Gibbs and many others
Designing Dune, Dune FX, Dune Models & Miniatures, Dune Costumes: 2005 featurettes
• Eleven deleted scenes from the film, with a 2005 introduction by Raffaella de Laurentiis
Destination Dune: 1983 promotional featurette
• Theatrical trailers and TV spots
• Image galleries

DISC TWO – BONUS DISC (BLU-RAY)

Beyond Imagination: Merchandising Dune: Collector Brian Sillman explores the bizarre toys and ephemera that was created to promote the film – and there was quite a lot.
• Prophecy Fulfilled: Scoring Dune, Toto’s Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro, and film music historian Tim Greiving explore the film’s music score, and the importance of the state-of-the-art synthesisers used.
• Interviews with make-up effects artist Giannetto de Rossi (2020), production coordinator Golda Offenheim (2003), actor Paul Smith (2008) and make-up effects artist Christopher Tucker

4K ULTRA HD LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

• Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative
• 60-page collector’s book featuring new writing on the film by Andrew Nette, Christian McCrea and Charlie Brigden, an American Cinematographer interview with sound designer Alan Splet from 1984, excerpts from an interview with the director from Chris Rodley’s book Lynch on Lynch and a Dune Terminology glossary from the original release
• Large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dániel Taylor
• Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
• Reversible sleeve packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dániel Taylor

Possessor | ‘Pull me out!’ – Brandon Cronenberg’s body-hacking killing for profit sci-fi is a mind-bending original

After an eight-year break, writer-director Brandon Cronenberg returns with another searing sci-fi that landed him two awards, Best Director and Best Film, at Spain’s 53rd Sitges Film Festival in 2020. 

Possessor tracks corporate assassin Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) who hacks into people’s bodies to execute high-level targets using brain-implant technology. Intelligent and extremely violent, it’s a mind-bending sci-fi puzzle with a very dark heart.  

Kicking off, all-guns-blazing, a young woman in a blue tracksuit viciously stabs to death a prominent lawyer during a corporate function. It’s just another day at the office for Vos, Trematon’s No.1 assassin. But something’s amiss, as the host was able to stop Vos from using the required retrieval method: suicide. 

Vos’ handler, Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh), worries that with each new host’s body she inhabits, Vos is becoming detached from her own identity. She believes that only by being free of all human attachments can she excel in her job and take her place at the top of the table. And that includes destroying any remnants of feeling she may have for her estranged husband, Micheal (Rossif Sutherland) and son, Ira.  

Her latest assignment puts her to the test. Vos agrees to take a hit on John Parse (Sean Bean), the CEO of a data-mining corporation that Trematon wants control of, and his daughter Ava (Tuppence Middleton), via Ava’s fiancé, Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott).

Again the assignment goes awry as Colin damages the implant, which leaves Vos’ consciousness stuck and the now fugitive from justice Colin experiencing fragmented memories of her life. What follows is an internal battle of wills.

In drawing on his own struggles with identity, Cronenberg has created a scenario that is deeply personal and uses the sci-fi construct for some fascinating psychological explorations – ‘Is it possible to maintain a sense of self, and what is that?’; while the graphic violence on display could be read as the kind of cathartic release for Cronenberg (SPOILER: Sean Bean’s eye-gorging, teeth-spitting demise is especially squirm-worthy). 

When I first saw Possessor, my head hurt trying to work out what and who was who. But a second viewing (and viewing some of the extras) helped me to really appreciate Cronenberg’s vision. I also love his alternate reality world, part-retro, part-futuristic; highly-stylised, and minimal: it’s every inch his creation. And those yellow, blue and red filters just screamed Roger Corman, Mario Bava and Dario Argento. I’ll be watching this again!

Possessor is out on Digital via Amazon Prime on 1 February and Blu-ray and DVD on 8 February from Signature Pictures

Special Features

• Deleted Scenes

• A Heightened World: The Look of Possessor: Brandon Cronenburg, production designer Rupert Lazarus, cinematographer Karim Hussain, special effects designer Dan Martin and actors Christopher Abbott and Andrea Riseborough look at the visual approach in creating the film’s intricate alternate 2008 universe.

• Identity Crisis: Bringing Possessor to Life: Cronenberg and the cast look at how the director explores psychological themes through a science fiction narrative, and how Andrea and Christopher worked together on sharing the same role.

 The Joy of Practical: The Effects of Possessor: Look at the film’s mainly on-set special effects. This one contains spoilers, so don’t watch this before you have seen the movie. The best thing is seeing Sean Bean’s body lifecast. 

• Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You (dir. Brandon Cronenberg, 10min, 2019): An institutionalised woman with a brain implant describes her dreams to a psychiatrist. Using the same effects and filters used in Possessor, this heavily stylised short effectively turns wigs, sticky fruit cake and blemishes into the stuff of nightmares.

Georges Méliès A Trip to the Moon | The pioneering 1902 sci-fi gets a deluxe release

Illustrator, magician, filmmaker and inventor – Georges Méliès (8 December 1861 – 21 January 1938) was one of the true pioneers of early cinema, and Le Voyage dans la Lune (AKA A Trip to the Moon) remains his most celebrated efforts. Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic writings, Méliès’ 1902 short (which runs for 13-minutes on this release) follows a group of scientists who blast off to the Moon where they are captured by the local inhabitants, the Selenites.

With Méliès taking a lead role, this is not only one of the earliest examples of sci-fi cinema but one of the most influential films in the entire history of cinema. The story itself might be slight, the set designs and simple special effects are a revelation.

Arrow Academy presents Méliès’ seminal classic in a limited edition, accompanied by a host of fantastic supplements. You get both the original black and white and the hand-painted colourised version (which also dates from 1902), plus there are a number of options over which soundtrack to listen to. They are a bit of a fiddle to get to (they’re located in the Special Features section) but worth checking out – particularly the prog-rock Dorian Pimpernel score for the colourised version. Also included is Georges Franju’s 1952 short Le Grand Méliès which is a something of a time capsule as it features both Melies’ second wife (aged 90) and his son, André (who plays his father).

A huge amount of effort has gone into the restoration of the hand-coloured version of Méliès’ masterwork and it’s all chronicled in the illuminating feature-length documentary that’s included here. Considering its age and the fact the original master negatives were destroyed, it looks pretty good. But I can only wonder what it would look like if it was given the same kind of remastering magic that Peter Jackson weaved on the archival World War One footage that transformed in his 2018 documentary They Shall Not Grow Old?

SPECIAL FEATURES
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 surround audio
• Optional English subtitles
• Multiple scores: Black and White Version (Robert Israel score, Frederick Hodges piano accompaniment, Frederick Hodges piano and actors accompaniment); Colourised Version (Jeff Mills score, Dorian Pimpernel score, Serge Bromberg score, Serge Bromberg narration)
The Innovations of Georges Méliès: video essay by Jon Spira exploring the short and Méliès’ career
An Extraordinary Voyage: Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange’s 2011 documentary on the film featuring interviews with Costa Gavras, Michel Gondry, Michel Hazanavicius, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (80min)
Le Grand Méliès: The 1952 short film directed by Georges Franju about the life and work of Méliès
• 2020 re-release trailer
The Long-Lost Autobiography of Georges Méliès – Father of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Cinema: Available for the first time since 1961, previously unpublished in English, with annotations and supporting material

The Man with the X-Ray Eyes | Roger Corman’s cult 1960s sci-fi horror develops Second Sight on Blu-ray

Obsessed with expanding the powers of human sight, renowned scientist Dr James Xavier (Ray Milland), aims to develop a formula that will allow the user to see beyond the visible spectrum. Despite warnings from his friend Dr Brandt (Harold J Stone) and business associate Diane Fairfax (Diana Van Der Vlis), he experiments on himself and finally perfects a serum that gives him the power to see through solid objects. But his ambitions turn to obsession. No longer able to control the effects, his vision extends beyond the realms of human comprehension until he finally sees more than he can bear.

This sci-fi horror directed by Roger Corman won the Astronave D’argento award in 1963 at the inaugural Festival internazionale del film di fantascienza in Trieste, Italy back in 1963 and – over the years – has become a cult film fan favourite. It now gets a newly-restored Limited Edition Box Set release on Blu-ray, featuring a host of special features, from Second Sight.

SPECIAL FEATURES
• New interview with Director Roger Corman
• Introduction by Kat Ellinger
• Audio commentary by Roger Corman
• Audio commentary by Tim Lucas
• Original prologue
• Joe Dante on The Man With X-Ray Eyes
• Trailers from Hell epsiode with Mick Garris
• Trailer

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
• Rigid slipcase featuring new artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Reversible poster with new and original artwork
• Soft cover book with new writing by Jon Towlson and Allan Bryce

The Colossus of New York | Beware his death ray – the cracking 1958 sci-fi lands on Blu-ray

From Eugene Lourie, the director of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Gorgo comes the 1958 sci-fi The Colossus of New York, which is now out on Blu-ray in the UK from 101 Films.

Colossus is a nine-foot robot with the brain of Dr Jerry Spensser (The Wild Wild West‘s Ross Martin), a brilliant scientist, killed in a car crash, whose father (Otto Kruger) is determined that his son’s mind shall go on working for humanity. But, of course, things don’t go as planned. Mourning for his wife (Mala Powers) and child (Charles Herbert), and unwilling to be the guinea pig in his father’s psychotic project, Colossus turns homicidal and goes on the rampage at the United Nations building…

Despite a storyline not too dissimilar to The Fly (which actually came out one month later), this monochrome 1958 Franken-science-fiction certainly stands on its own and deserves cult status. It moves a cracking pace and does a hell of lot on its tiny budget; even the special effects (like the robot’s death ray) are pretty cool; while the subplot in which Jerry’s son (Charles Herbert, who was also in The Fly) befriends Colossus is rather touching. Oh, and the curious silent movie-inspired musical score is by noted composer Van Cleave of Funny Face and White Christmas fame.

Playing Colossus is an uncredited 7ft 4in actor Ed Wolff, whose fantastic get-up makes him look like a cross between Batman and Herman Munster with a glowing brain. Wolf also appeared in genre favourites The Phantom Creeps (1939) and Invaders from Mars (1953), and would follow this playing a mutated Brett Halsey in Return of the Fly (1959), before his untimely death in 1966, aged 59. Now, I wonder is anyone did an action figure of Colossus, I’d certainly have one.

The 101 Films UK Blu-ray includes a terrific audio commentary with film historian Richard Hollis and The Dark Side magazine editor Allan Bryce.

World on a Wire (1973) | Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s virtual reality sci-fi epic is a retro noir wet dream

world on a wire (1973)

Originally made for German TV in 1973, Rainer Werner Fassbinder‘s science-fiction thriller World on a Wire (Welt am Draht) is a frightening look into the world of virtual reality and a masterful adaptation of Daniel F Galouye’s 1964 novel Simulacron-3 (aka The Counterfeit World).

world on a wire (1973)

It centres around a highly-advanced project designed to elevate conventional computer technology to a new level by creating a virtual reality inhabited by computer-generated people or ‘identity units’.

When the head of the project dies mysteriously, Dr Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch) becomes his successor and sets out to probe deeper. Making contact with an identity unit called Einstein (Gottfried John), Stiller faces a terrible truth: that his world is actually a simulation of another world one level above…

world on a wire (1973)

Forget The Matrix and its ilk, Fassbinder’s two-part TV adaptation was way ahead of its time and has been praised as a science fiction masterpiece. Featuring some familiar faces from the director’s company of actors (Berlin Alexanderplatz‘ Brigette Mira, Tenderness of the Wolves‘ Kurt Raab, Effi Briest‘s Ulli Lommel and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul’s El Hedi ben Salem), the dystopian thriller also sports superlative production design (that probably influenced Blade Runner, and certainly has an Alphaville feel about it). So, for anyone into 1970s fashion, architecture and design, the sets, costumes, lighting and location shots are a retro noir wet dream (I know I could quite happily live in this simulated world). It might be dense in parts, made more so by the heavy German accents, but taken as instalments, World on a Wire is a revelation.

world on a wire (1973)

This new restoration, supervised by The Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (Goodfellas, The Departed), comes 46 years after its initial release and still pushes audiences to question the world around them.

It is now being released by Second Sight in a Limited Edition Blu-ray which includes a 50-page collectors booklet and a host of outstanding new special features.

SPECIAL FEATURES
• No Strings Attached: interview with assistant director Renate Leiffer
• Observing Fassbinder: tribute to photographer Peter Gauhe
• Looking Ahead to Today documentary
• On-set featurette
• Original Broadcast Recap
• The Simulation Argument: interview with Professor Nick Bostrom
• 50-page collectors booklet featuring new essays by Anton Bitel and Daniel Bird, archival 
writing by Daniel Oberhaus and Christian Braad Thomsen, stills and rare on-set photos by Peter Gauhe

The Doctors: Villains! | DVD review

If you’re a classic Doctor Who fan, then Koch Media’s series of Myth Makers compilations are a must-see, offering candid memories from the actors and crew members who worked on the cult BBC sci-fi series. The latest release, The Doctors: Villains!, is a two-disc DVD collection of interviews with five fan-favourite actors whose screen villain performances have become as iconic as the show itself, plus there’s poignant tribute to one of my childhood heroes, Roger Delgado.

Recorded between 2006 and 2018, these interviews are vital historical record about what went on behind-the-scenes, and feature personal testimonies and life stories that will be of huge interest to fans of the show.

Roger Delgado as The Master

Following a new from Nicholas Briggs and Keith Barnfather, the first feature on the disc one is a 1997 tribute to Roger Delgado (1 March 1918-18 June 1973), who was the original Master (and, in my view, the definitive one). Between 1971 and 1973, the East London-born character actor featured as the primary nemesis to Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor, a fellow renegade Time Lord whose nefarious schemes spanned eight adventures and 37 episodes.

However, his untimely death – in a terrible car accident in Turkey, while filming the fourth episode of a Franco/German TV series (La Cloche tibétaine) – meant his character’s final story (which was planned to end with a big bang) had to be scrapped and resulted in Jon Pertwee’s decision to bow out of the series.

This affectionate feature includes archive interviews from fellow actors Nicholas Courtney (aka Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), John Levene (aka Sgt John Benton) and Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates), producer Barry Letts, director Paul Bernard, head of serials Shaun Sutton, and writer Terrance Dicks, and well as two interviews with Pertwee. There’s also some behind-the-scenes footage from the location shoot in Aldbourne, Wiltshire from The Daemons which I’ve never seen before (very exciting).

Ian Collier as Omega

Next up is with Ian Collier (25 January 1943-1 October 2008), who played Omega (MK2) in the 1983 Peter Davison serial Arc of Infinity, and later in the Big Finish Productions audio drama Omega. Recorded in 2006, Collier, who also appeared in the 1972 Jon Pertwee adventure The Time Monster, looks back over his life and career and talks candidly about his HIV diagnosis and its negative effect on his career (and thanks Big Finish for saving it). Collier, who ends the interview with a lovely message: ‘being content and at peace with who you are is close to the secret of happiness’, passed away two years after this interview was recorded, aged 65.

Disc one concludes with an interview – recorded at an Ipswich Who convention in 2006 – with Bernard Archard (20 August 1916-1 May 2008), who had two notable roles in Doctor Who: the now missing Patrick Troughton serial The Power of the Daleks, and (one of my all-time fave episodes) as the possessed Marcus Scarman in the Tom Baker story Pyramids of Mars. This wonderful character actor, who appeared in lots of other classic British TV series and features (like 1961’s Village of the Damned), died in 2008 at the ripe age of 91.

Terry Molly and David Gooderson

Disc two’s first feature is on David Gooderson (b. 24 February 1941), who was the second actor to play Davros in the 1979 Tom Baker adventure Destiny of the Daleks. Beginning with a quick visit to Winspit Quarry (one of the locations used in Destiny of the Daleks, Gooderson who chats with interviewer Richard Dick about growing up in India, his memories of becoming an actor and writer (and working with the future Monty Python team), and his time on Doctor Who. Check out David’s website here: http://david-gooderson.co.uk/

David Gooderson as Davros

Up next is an interview from 2005 with actor Peter Miles (29 August 1928-26 February 2018), who appeared in three serials, The Silurians (1970), Invasion of the Dinosaurs (1974) and Genesis of the Daleks (1975), in which he famlusly played Davros’ henchman, Nyder. He has a neat story about working with Brian Blessed, but did you know he was also an accomplished jazz and soul singer, and a childhood friend of Dusty Springfield?

Finally we have the esteemed Julian Glover (b 27 March 1935), who played Richard the Lionheart in the 1965 William Hartnell serial The Crusade and ended up in the City of Death in the 1979 Tom Baker adventure. He’s been in everything from The Avengers to Game of Thrones, and a luminary of the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, James Bond and Harry Potter franchises.

If, like me, you enjoy listening to the personal memories of actors who have given us so such enjoyment playing some our favourite villainous roles, then this latest release from Koch Media is a must-have.

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2001: A Space Odyssey | Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece gets a first-time 4K Ultra High Definition UK release

2001 Space Odyssey_4K-UHD_BD

With 2001: A Space Odyssey, director Stanley Kubrick redefined the limits of film-making and cemented his legacy as one of the most revolutionary and influential film directors of all time.

This groundbreaking sci-fi from 1968 (co-written by Kubrick and sci-fi author Arthur C Clarke) first visits mankind’s prehistoric ape-ancestry past, then leaps millennia (via one of the most mind-blowing jump cuts ever) into colonised space, and ultimately whisks astronaut Bowman (Keir Dullea) into uncharted space, perhaps even into immortality. “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

Following this summer’s theatrical run of the unrestored 70mm print of the film, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has now released Kubrick’s masterpiece on 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) Blu-ray. For the first time since the original release, new 70mm prints were struck from pristine printing elements made from the original camera negative, with award-winning director, writer and producer Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy) working closely with the team at Warner Bros.

Building on the work done for the new 70mm prints, the 4K UHD with High Dynamic Range (HDR) presentation was mastered from the 65mm original camera negative, with the 4K UHD also including both a remixed and restored 5.1 DTS-HD master audio track, as well as the original 1968 6-track theatrical audio mix (formatted for 5.1 DTS-HD master audio).

“2001 to me is the most cinematic film that has ever been made and it has been an honour and a privilege to be able to share the film with a new generation,” say Nolan. “4K UHD allows the closest recreation of viewing the original film print in your own home. Kubrick’s masterpiece was originally presented on large format film and the deeper colour palette and superior resolution comes closest to matching the original analogue presentation.”

The Warner Bros. Home Entertainment UHD presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey includes the feature film in 4K with (HDR), a remastered Blu-ray disc with the feature film in hi-definition, a Blu-ray disc with the special features in hi-definition, and a Digital version of the feature film. The premium packaging also includes a collectible booklet and art cards featuring iconic images from the film. Sci-fi fans can also own 2001: A Space Odyssey in 4K UHD via purchase from select digital retailers including iTunes, and Rakuten TV.

4K UHD BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
• 4K UHD Blu-ray™ with Commentary from Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood
• Remastered Blu-ray™ with Commentary from Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood
• The Making of a Myth
• Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001
• Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001
• 2001: A Space Odyssey – A Look Behind the Future
• What Is Out There?
• 2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork
• Look: Stanley Kubrick!
• 11/27/66 Interview with Stanley Kubrick [Audio Only]
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Premium Booklet
• Art Cards

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Blake’s Seven: 7 Stars Liberated from the Classic TV Series! | Be prepared for six hours of Maximum Power!

Blake’s Seven – 7 Stars Liberated From The Classic TV Series!

It was 40 years ago this year that Terry Nation’s ‘Robin Hood meets The Dirty Dozen‘ sci-fi series Blake’s 7 blasted onto our telly screens and went on to achieve cult status after four series and 52 episodes.

Two years ago, the show’s star Gareth Thomas, who played the titular commander of the rag-tag group of rebels battling the totalitarian Terran Federation, headed off into the cosmos aged 71, and, this week, tributes are pouring in for Jacqueline Pearce (aka the glamorous evil Supreme Commander Servalan), who has also left us, aged 74, after a long battle with cancer.

So it’s weirdly timely that Koch Media have released this 2-disc DVD set compilation from the Doctor Who-centric Myth Makers series of cult TV interviews featuring six cast members, alongside visual effects consultant Mat Irvine.

GARETH THOMAS WITH DALEK

Recorded over several years, these interviews were conducted by Nicholas Briggs (best known for voicing the Daleks in Doctor Who and heading up Big Finish Productions) and shot in some of the locations used in the series.

Talking about their acting careers, their time on the show and what happened after the series ended are the late Gareth Thomas (shot at Gatton Park and Betchworth Quarry, Surrey in 2003), Jan ‘Cally’ Chappell (filmed at Quex Park, Kent in 2005, which appeared in Bounty), Michael ‘Vila’ Keating (recorded this year at Windspit Quarry in Dorset, which appeared in Games, and was also used in the Doctor Who episode Destiny of the Daleks), Stephen ‘Travis No1’ Greif (shot at the location for Jewel in the New Forest in 2000) and Peter Tuddenham (who voiced Zen, ORAC and Slave), which was recorded in 2003 in Brighton, four years before Peter’s passing in 2007 aged 88.

PETER TUDDENHAM

Although they all are hugely enjoyable (particularly so Pete Tuddenham’s piece, in which he’s interviewed by ORAC, and Mat Irvine’s interview, whose outhouse contains loads of boxes filled with his handmade props from Doctor Who and Blake’s 7), the most entralling offering must be the interview with Jacqueline Pearce.

She holds nothing back as she discusses her highs (sex and drugs) and lows (mental illness), reflects on her time at RADA and in the US, her admiration for Rudolph Nureyev, and reveals what she really felt about Blake’s 7 and sci-fi in general.

JACQUELINE PEARCE

Filmed in 2000, this interview captures Jacqueline at her best – exuding the glamour, warmth and vivid charm that made her such a colourful character and won her legions of fans (including myself). Her fascinating recollections would later be included in her unflinching 2012 autobiography From Byfleet to the Bush (which I highly recommend).

Are you ready for six hours of ‘Maximum Power!’?

Blake’s Seven: 7 Stars Liberated from the Classic TV Series! Out of 2-disc DVD now! Available from Amazon

 

Peter Fuller with Jacqueline Pearce

RIP Jacs!

 

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