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BFI in February

The BFI have announced the UK DVD release of three new titles on 15th February 2010. Details follow…

The COI Collection - Police and Thieves - £19.99 RRP - The first volume in a new DVD series of films made by the Central Office of Information. Established in 1946, the Central Office of Information (COI) was a successor to the wartime Ministry of Information and was responsible for producing thousands of films which celebrated Britain, its people and their achievements. With the majority of them previously unseen on DVD, these films provide a fascinating and often poignant record of British life in a seemingly more innocent age.

Volume One spans 1944 - 1977 and explores policing, crime, teenage delinquency and the justice system. Highlights of this double-disc set include: Children on Trial (1946), an approved schools drama set in a progressive and enlightened system; Youth Club (1954), which proposed a solution to keeping Britain's young people out of trouble; Help Yourself (1950), a no-nonsense crime prevention film; Man on the Beat (1956) and British Policeman (1959), in which the local Bobby comes armed with a friendly smile.

The accompanying 25-page booklet provides comprehensive film notes from academics and film historians and a brief history of COI. The films are presented in 1.33:1 with optional English HOH subtitles. Full film listing follows...

Disc one:
* Children on Trial (1946)
* Children of the City (1944)
* Probation Officer (1950)
* Youth Club (1954)
* A Chance for Brian (1977)

Disc two:
* Four Men in Prison (1950)
* Help Yourself (1950)
* Transatlantic Teleview 26: Man on the Beat (1956)
* British Policeman (1959)
* Unit Beat Policing (1968)
* Anything Can Happen (1973)
* Bicycle Thefts (1974)
* Snatch of the Day (1975)
* Challenge for a Lifetime (1975)

The Exiles - £19.99 RRP - Kent Mackenzie's 1961 film chronicles one night in the lives of a group of young American Indians living in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles.

A 2-Disc set with 111mins of extras, features include:

  • 1.33:1 / PCM dual mono (48k/16bit) / English HOH subtitles
  • Four shorts directed by Kent Mackenzie: Bunker Hill 1956 (1956), A Skill for Molina (1964), The Story of a Rodeo Cowboy (1962) and Ivan and His Father (1970)
  • Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003): extracts from Thom Anderson’s film
  • Last Days of Angels Flight (1969): a short film by Robert Kirste
  • Bunker Hill: A Tale of Urban Removal (2009): a short film by Greg Kimble
  • White Fawn’s Devotion (1910): a short film by James Youngdeer, thought to be the first directed by an American Indian
  • 2008 theatrical trailer
  • Feature commentary by Sherman Alexie and Sean Axmaker, plus audio interviews with Charles Burnett and a panel discussion with the cast and crew
  • Downloadable PDF files (DVD-ROM) of Kent Mackenzie’s scripts, Master’s thesis, press kits and much more

The Pleasure Garden - £15.99 RRP - Made by the American poet James Broughton, the film features Hattie Jacques and Lindsay Anderson, with John Le Mesurier as the bureaucrat determined to stamp on any form of free expression. Photography is by Walter Lassally who went on to become a key figure in the British New Wave.

Features include:
  • 1.33:1 / PCM mono audio / English HOH subtitles
  • The Phoenix Tower (1957, 39 mins), a short documentary charting the construction of the BBC’s Crystal Palace Television Tower
  • Illustrated booklet with film notes, an original review and a history of the Crystal Palace

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