Masters of Cinema in September
Eureka Entertainment have announced the UK release of two films as part of their Masters of Cinema Series on 26th September 2011. Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri is a Dual Format Edition (Blu-ray+DVD) release, and John Ford’s The Iron Horse is DVD only.
Harakiri - Tatsuya Nakadai (Yojimbo, The Face of Another, Ran) stars as Hanshiro Tsugumo, a masterless down-and-out samurai who enters the manor of Lord Iyi, requesting to commit ritual suicide on his property. Suspected of simply fishing for charity, Hanshiro is told the gruesome tale of the last samurai who made the same request – but Hanshiro will not be moved…
With its intricate structure and pressure-cooker atmosphere, Kobayashi's first jidai-geki period drama is a full-scale demolition job of samurai ideals and feudal hypocrisy, filmed with artistry and surgical precision, and scored by celebrated composer Toru Takemitsu. Adapted from the same source novel in 2011 by notorious auteur Takashi Miike, the original – winner of the 1963 Special Jury Prize at Cannes – still stands as a startling moment in Japanese cinema.
Features on this Dual Format Edition include:
- New, officially licensed, Shochiku high-definition transfer (1080p on Blu-ray)
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- Original theatrical trailer
- Excerpt from a 1993 Directors Guild of Japan interview with Masaki Kobayashi discussing the film with director Masahiro Shinoda
- An illustrated 28-page booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Philip Kemp, a 1963 interview with Kobayashi, and rare archival production stills
The Iron Horse - The 1924 blockbuster that launched John Ford into Hollywood's emerging A-list of directors, The Iron Horse is an epic mythification of the American railroad's birth: a rambunctious blend of historical drama and Western actioner, revenge story and saloon comedy, noble biopic and all-bets-off tall tale.
Neighbour to the pre-presidential Abe Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, young Davy Brandon accompanies his father westward to realise the elder's dream of a rail line bridging the ends of the continent. Years after Brandon Sr.'s murder and scalping by a two-fingered Cheyenne half-breed, the adult David (played by George O'Brien, three years before his lead role in Sunrise, here in the first of ten films he made with Ford) joins in the effort now underway to lay track and accommodate "the iron horse". Once more stir the blood and butterflies of Davy's past as Ford guides his characters' fates towards final convergence, like the merging of the tracks from east and west.
Features on this 2-Disc DVD include:
- Original, US, 150-minute version of the film, accompanied by a 2007 score by Christopher Caliendo
- Shorter, UK, 133-minute version of the film (which includes alternate takes), accompanied by an adaptation of the Caliendo score
- Audio commentary for the UK version of the film by scholar Robert Birchard
- New and exclusive 30-minute video essay by Tag Gallagher, author of John Ford: The Man and His Films
- A lengthy illustrated booklet containing vintage press and publicity material, and more!