The American Film Theatre Collection
5th July heralds both the launch of a new DVD label, inD DVD, and the remarkable American Film Theatre Collection which brings together the best talent from stage and screen to build up to what will undoubtedly become one of the most collectible and prestigious DVD libraries.
The American Film Theatre Collection was conceived in the Seventies to merge the worlds of film and theatre. Rarely seen since they were made and never before released on video or DVD in the UK, the premise was to take dramatic works of art and turn them into cinematic works of art by broadening out the action, thereby appealing to lovers of theatre and film. Utilising the greatest actors of our time, together with some of the most renowned playwrights and producers, the credits read like a who’s who of 20th Century talent. Amongst these are Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Katherine Hepburn, Glenda Jackson, Susannah York, Derek Jacobi, Jeff Bridges, Stacy Keach, Harold Pinter, Peter Hall, Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson, John Frankenheimer and Edward Albee.
Combining some of the best known plays of the day, together with lesser known but equally compelling works, the Collection will build to feature fourteen titles including ‘The Iceman Cometh’, ‘The Three Sisters’, and ‘The Maids’. Each DVD will feature a wealth of extras which will include in-depth filmed interviews with the stars, directors and producers, theatrical trailers, articles written by leading critics and reviewers and much, much more.
The first two releases from The American Film Theatre Collection, which will be available from 5th July, are a superb Harold Pinter double-bill, the first being the darkly comic Butley written by Simon Gray and directed by Harold Pinter along with his masterpiece The Homecoming directed by Peter Hall.
The late Alan Bates recreates his Tony award winning role, alongside Jessica Tandy, Michael Byrne, Georgina Hale, John Savident, Richard O’Callaghan, Susan Engel and Simon Rouse. Although shot almost entirely in one room, Simon Gray’s razor sharp dialogue is the thing that transports the viewer with its black humour, vicious game playing and intricate characterisations. Set on just one day in the life of a university don, it happens to be the day when his life falls apart. His ex-wife is remarrying, his adored protégé is moving in with another man and, to cap it all, he’s passed over for promotion by a less talented colleague.
Butley is released on 5th July 2004, certificate 15, RRP £19.99. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen. Extra features include Interviews, AFT Trailer Gallery, AFT Cinebill, Stills Gallery, Poster, Article - 'Simon Gray & Butley'.
Starring Ian Holm, Paul Rogers, Vivien Merchant, Cryil Cusack, Terence Rigby and Michael Jayston, Harold Pinter’s play adheres pretty much to the original script, but Peter Hall’s deft direction and subtle use of the camera gives it new symbolism and life making it one of the definitive version of the play. The story centres on a cruel and violent male household where dark and murky secrets come to light when one of the song brings home his wife to meet the family for the first time.
The Homecoming is released on 5th July 2004, certificate 12, RRP £19.99. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen. Extra features include Interviews, AFT Trailer Gallery, AFT Cinebill, Stills Gallery, Poster, Article - Peter Hall 'Changing Rooms'.
Other titles to come from the American Film Theatre Collection.
A Delicate Balance
The Man In The Glass Booth
The Iceman Cometh
Philadelphia, Here I Come
Lost In The Stars
Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris