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SPHE Press Release: The Films of Michael Powell


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#1 of 32 Ronald Epstein

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Posted November 03 2008 - 08:03 PM

Two Classic Films from the Legendary Director
on DVD for the First Time

THE FILMS OF
MICHAEL POWELL

Age of Consent ~ A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven)

Bonus Features Include a Special Introduction by
Academy Award® Winning Director Martin Scorsese
and an Interview with Oscar® Winning Actress Helen Mirren

The Second Release in the “Collector’s Choice” DVD Series
with The Film Foundation Debuts January 6



CULVER CITY, CALIF. (October 27, 2008) – On January 6, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) honors a celebrated British director with The Films of Michael Powell, the second release under the creative partnership between SPHE and Martin Scorsese’s non-profit film preservation organization, The Film Foundation, which seeks to make available newly restored classic films on DVD. This collection features two of the Academy Award® nominated Powell’s (Best Original Screenplay, One of Our Aircraft is Missing, 1943) most acclaimed films making their DVD debuts: the original director’s cut of Age of Consent and (co-directing with Emeric Pressburger) A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven). In addition, the bonus materials include a special introductions to both films by Academy Award® winning director Martin Scorsese (Best Director, The Departed, 2007), an interview with Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren (Best Actress, The Queen, 2007), and commentary by noted film historians Ian Christie (author of Powell, Pressburger and Others and Arrows of Desire) and Kent Jones. The two-disc set of The Films of Michael Powell will be available for $24.96 SRP.

About Michael Powell
British-born Michael Powell (1905-1990) entered the film industry in 1925 by working low level jobs for director Rex Ingram (Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) in France. After his return to England in 1928, he learned his craft by working various jobs for filmmakers (including Alfred Hitchcock) before debuting as a director of low budget films in 1931 with Two Crowded Hours.

In 1939, Powell met Emeric Pressburger on the film The Spy in Black and formed a creative partnership that spanned 19 films (credits on their films together were always listed as “Written, Produced and Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger”). In addition to A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven), other classics in their joint filmography include The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948) and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). Their last collaboration was the 1957 war film Night Ambush.

While it has since become a classic and influenced a generation of filmmakers (Scorsese has described it as the “greatest intellectual influence” on his work), the twisted horror film Peeping Tom (1960) destroyed Powell’s standing with mainstream reviewers and audiences; he made only a handful of films after. His rediscovery by film critics in the early 70s through a series of retrospectives led to his the resurrection of his reputation as a great filmmaker and in 2002, Entertainment Weekly ranked Powell at #22 on their list of all-time greatest directors.

“I make films for myself. What I express I hope most people will understand. For the rest, well, that's their problem.” – Michael Powell

Age of Consent (1969) stars three-time Oscar® nominee James Mason (A Star is Born, Georgy Girl, The Verdict) and, in her first starring role, Helen Mirren (National Treasure: Book of Secrets). Disillusioned with his shallow New York lifestyle, an aging artist (Mason) moves to a remote Australian island where he seeks fresh inspiration. He finds it in vivacious, young Cora Ryan (Mirren) who agrees to pose for him. So begins their most unusual relationship, punctuated by the intervention of the island's rich assortment of quirky inhabitants.

A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven, 1946) stars Academy Award® winner Kim Hunter (Best Supporting Actress, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1952), Academy Award® winner David Niven (Best Actor, Separate Tables, 1959), Robert Coote (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Prisoner of Zenda), and Academy Award® nominee Raymond Massey (Best Actor, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, 1941). The film was originally released as Stairway to Heaven in a censored version. This is the uncensored version with the correct title. Reality and fantasy are disarmingly commingled in this superb film about a WWII pilot who claims he was accidentally chosen to die and must now plead for his life in a heavenly court. Niven gets on the radio and shares what he believes to be his last words with an American WAC, with whom he falls hopelessly in love.

DVD Special Features**
· Age of Consent Includes:
§ Introduction by Martin Scorsese
§ Featurette: Making Age of Consent
§ Featurette: Helen Mirren: A Conversation with Cora
§ Featurette: Down Under with Ron & Valerie Taylor
§ Commentary by Author/Film Historian Ian Christie
· A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven) Includes:
§ Introduction by Martin Scorsese
§ Commentary by Film Historian Kent Jones

**Special Features include rare behind-the-scenes photographs courtesy of the estate of Michael Powell.

Age of Consent has a running time of 98 minutes and is not rated. A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven) has a running time of 104 minutes and is not rated. Artwork is available at Welcome to SPHE Connect. Visit Sony Home Entertainment on the Web at Sony Pictures

DVD Catalog # 25919
UPC Code: 0-43396-259195
Order Date: 12/4/08
SLP: $24.96

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 32 docdoowop

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Posted November 04 2008 - 01:40 AM

"Stairway" is a warm and wonderful film. Robert Coote and Raymond Massey are excellent in support. I can now retire my ancient VHS copy.

#3 of 32 Richard M S

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Posted November 04 2008 - 05:55 AM

I am very excited about these releases, but I cannot help but be slightlt dismayed that the SONY Pictures PR person who wrote this press release by following Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren's name with one picture:

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

#4 of 32 Russell G

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Posted November 05 2008 - 08:35 AM

I'll blind buy these!

question!
"The Second Release in the “Collector’s Choice” DVD Series
with The Film Foundation Debuts January 6"

what was the first release?

#5 of 32 Tim Tucker

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Posted November 05 2008 - 08:38 AM

The Budd Boetticher box set.
BARBARA WRIGHT: You're from Earth?
MORTON DILL: No... no, ma'am, I... I'm from Alabama.
Doctor Who: Flight Through Eternity

#6 of 32 Russell G

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Posted November 05 2008 - 08:40 AM

Thanks TIm, that Budd set's already on it's way to me, so it looks like I haven't missed a release! Posted Image

#7 of 32 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted November 07 2008 - 08:23 AM

Could somebody please post or capture the cover art indicated in the above press release for us?

Thanks!

#8 of 32 Simon Howson

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Posted November 30 2008 - 10:57 PM

Cover Art from ClassicFlix

Posted Image

Looks like all these Collector's Choice releases are going to match. The same colourisation and futura bold lettering.

#9 of 32 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted December 01 2008 - 11:36 PM

yuck.

#10 of 32 CineKarine

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Posted December 30 2008 - 08:28 AM

DVDTalk reviews the DVD here
Sing your worries away, smile, be kind and accentuate the positive!
DVD wish list: The Accused (48), Margie (46), I'll Get By (50), The Constant Nymph (43), The Voice of the Turtle (47), The Barretts of Wimpole Street (34), Her Twelve Men (54), The Lost Moment (47), I Walk Alone (48), The Glass...

#11 of 32 Jeff Swindoll

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Posted December 31 2008 - 01:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard M S
I am very excited about these releases, but I cannot help but be slightlt dismayed that the SONY Pictures PR person who wrote this press release by following Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren's name with one picture:

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Even worse on the back of the Long Good Friday they mention Caligula. I'm surprised they didn't highlight the Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu..... Posted Image
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#12 of 32 Jim Peavy

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Posted January 06 2009 - 07:04 AM

I'm surprised this hasn't made more of a splash here. I thought more than this were waiting for Life and Death - ?

Be that as it may, this really snuck up on me. I just found out about it yesterday (the day before it was due to come out!). Sound's like it has quite a few extras, too. Definite purchase for me!
"I just pre-ordered I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, even though I have no job."

#13 of 32 Dave B Ferris

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Posted January 06 2009 - 07:49 AM

I picked it up at Best Buy, a little over an hour ago. I was actually somewhat surprised Best Buy was carrying this release, although they had also carried the earlier Boetticher release.

#14 of 32 Russell G

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Posted January 06 2009 - 08:18 AM

My pre-order just shipped, so I should get it for next week.

#15 of 32 Brianruns10

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Posted January 07 2009 - 07:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Peavy
I'm surprised this hasn't made more of a splash here. I thought more than this were waiting for Life and Death - ?

I could think of a few reasons. I think a lot of people (myself included) were hoping this would be a Criterion release. I'll still be buying it, but being the anal retentive movie buff that I am, it'll be a bit annoying to have that Sony smack in the middle of my nice group of chronological P & Ps, which are all Criterion releases. Not to mention Age of Consent will be out of place! What to do?

On a more serious note, I wonder if AMOLAD's reputation hasn't suffered in recent years? It's had this reputation as their most "beloved" work, yet it seemed to me that it didn't get nearly as much press as some of their other works. I've only seen it on American TV once in the last five years. Heck I've seen The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp has been on TV more times than AMOLAD, and considering the length of Blimp, you'd think it would be far less common to air.

And to be honest, while I enjoy AMOLAD, it isn't one of my favorites. I'd pick Blimp, or Tales of Hoffmann, or the Red Shoes, or even 49th Parallel over it. Which is not to say is isn't an excellent film, but P & P made a lot of excellent films, and I wonder if it hasn't been diminished a bit in light of the renewed interest in some of their other films?

Thoughts?

Best,
BR

#16 of 32 Bob Cashill

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Posted January 07 2009 - 01:13 PM

I watched the films today. CONSENT is a matter of taste, but MATTER is terrific, and the image is in great shape. Ian Christie's MATTER commentary is terrific, too, and the Scorsese and Mirren interviews are good as well. You can't go wrong with this one.

#17 of 32 Jim Peavy

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Posted January 07 2009 - 01:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianruns10
I wonder if AMOLAD's reputation hasn't suffered in recent years? It's had this reputation as their most "beloved" work, yet it seemed to me that it didn't get nearly as much press as some of their other works. I've only seen it on American TV once in the last five years..

And to be honest, while I enjoy AMOLAD, it isn't one of my favorites. I'd pick Blimp, or Tales of Hoffmann, or the Red Shoes, or even 49th Parallel over it. Which is not to say is isn't an excellent film, but P & P made a lot of excellent films, and I wonder if it hasn't been diminished a bit in light of the renewed interest in some of their other films?
I've always thought of it as one of their finest films, and I thought I had a lot of company in that, too. I can remember a few years ago threads seemingly going on for pages wondering what the holdup was on AMoLaD, 'fer cryin' out loud (!). It seemed to be something of a holy grail for many. I don't know - maybe all those folks have moved on. Or maybe they're all over in the Bluray forum... or somethin'...

Anyway, I ordered it from Amazon (only $17.50) and am looking forward to it! The commentary sounds good, too.
"I just pre-ordered I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, even though I have no job."

#18 of 32 BillyFeldman

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Posted January 07 2009 - 04:16 PM

I agree - pages and pages of how this was the film people were waiting for the most. But, as always with these types of things, they say they want it and then they either buy in silence or don't buy at all. The problem with this is that it sends such a bad message to the companies doing the DVDs - they read these pages and pages and assume there's a demand - especially with AMOLAD - very much a holy grail according to the numerous posts. And then the company finds out the reality - the demand isn't real, and they don't sell anywhere near what they thought, and then they simply don't trust these threads again - and who can blame them. Everyone should have this disc - the transfer, while not the best I've ever seen, is miles better than the ten year old UK disc, and the film is fantastic.

#19 of 32 Jeff Swindoll

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Posted January 07 2009 - 11:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyFeldman
I agree - pages and pages of how this was the film people were waiting for the most. But, as always with these types of things, they say they want it and then they either buy in silence or don't buy at all.

You can't blame me now, I ordered mine off amazon last night Posted Image. I bought the Budd Boetticher set as well so I hope that Sony keeps them coming. Although I'd much rather have bought them on Blu-ray Posted Image.

Support the cause, buy the Archers Posted Image
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#20 of 32 Simon Howson

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Posted January 08 2009 - 12:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Swindoll
You can't blame me now, I ordered mine off amazon last night Posted Image. I bought the Budd Boetticher set as well so I hope that Sony keeps them coming. Although I'd much rather have bought them on Blu-ray Posted Image.

Support the cause, buy the Archers Posted Image
I bought both of these sets too! I won't be silent! Posted Image

I'm a bit worried though, my Powell set shipped from DVDPacific on 24/12, but I'm yet to receive it. I normally receive my items from them in 7 business days. Even accounting for the Christmas / New Year period, it seems to have encountered a further delay.


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