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The Black Panther (BFI) in May

The Black Panther (1977) - an intelligent true-crime drama that charts the infamous killing spree which Donald Neilson, aka the Black Panther, carried out across England in the mid-70s, culminating in the kidnapping and murder of a 17-year old girl. Newly mastered from original film elements preserved in the BFI National Archive, this film is being released on 28 May as a Dual Format Edition by BFI Flipside.

Told with uncommon accuracy and refraining from any measure of sensationalism, director Ian Merrick and screenwriter Michael Armstrong’s fascinating and disturbing film fell foul of a media-driven campaign upon its original cinema release in 1977, which resulted in an effective ban.

Caught by chance after a random encounter with the police, Neilson was convicted in 1976. With five life sentences he was destined to spend the rest of his life in prison and died there in December 2011.

This Dual Format Edition (DVD and Blu-ray discs together) also includes Bob Bentley's BAFTA Award-winning 1981 short film, Recluse, which is based on reports of another real life crime, the death by shotgun of three siblings at a remote farm in Dorset.

Both Ian Merrick and Michael Armstrong have written new contributions for the comprehensive booklet that accompanies the discs. Director Bob Bentley has also contributed a new essay about the making of Recluse.

Features include:

  • Disc 1: BD50 / 1080p / 24fps / PCM mono audio (48k/16-bit)
  • Disc 2: DVD9 / PAL / Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)
  • Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
  • Director approved transfer
  • Alternative French language soundtrack, with English subtitles
  • Recluse (Bob Bentley, 1981, 30 mins): arresting short film based on real events, starring Maurice Denham and edited by David Gladwell (editor of If…. and O Lucky Man!)
  • Recluse: recce footage (1978, 10 mins): recently discovered 16mm location scouting footage shot by director Bob Bentley
  • Original 1980s video trailer
  • Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays and contributions from Ian Merrick, Michael Armstrong, Bob Bentley and James Oliver; original promotional artwork and full credits

RRP is £19.99.

Also released on the BFI Flipside strand this May is Andy Milligan's Nightbirds.

Check out our full BFI Flipside review coverage on the site.

Below is the video trailer that will also be included as an extra on the discs followed by the cover art.


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