2019 was another superb year in Home Entertainment and one that welcomed a host of essential new Blu-ray, DVD and 4K offerings from mainstream and arthouse distributors alike.
With the year now coming to an end we’ve rounded up some of our favourite Home Entertainment highlights that have graced the shelves over the past twelve months.
Powerhouse Films (Indicator)
Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set
Presented in brand new restorations, and on Blu-ray for the very first time in the UK, this stunning Limited Edition set brings together the six fascinating films that director Josef von Sternberg made with star Marlene Dietrich in Hollywood in the early 1930s.
Though it includes the same films featured in Criterion’s 2018 Dietrich and von Sternberg in Hollywood box set, it is the extensive array of extras (and new extras at that) which sets the Powerhouse set apart.
An essential set that beautifully showcases one of Hollywood’s most enduring collaborations.
The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]
Boasting exceptional image and sound clarity, Criterion’s magnificent Blu-ray edition of Spike Lee’s landmark masterpiece, released in August of this year, was the gift that Lee fans had been waiting for for far too long, and if you’re yet to see this dazzling film then this is most definitely the way to do it.
Criterion’s presentation was sourced from a brand new digital transfer supervised by cinematographer Ernest Dickerson and created in 16-bit 4K resolution on a Lasergraphics Director film scanner from the 35mm original camera negative, whilst the 5.1 surround track was remastered in 2009 by NBCUniversal StudioPost Audio Operations from the original 35mm four-track stems, supervised by sound designer Skip Lievsay and approved by director Spike Lee.
The result: Rich, spotless visuals and crystal clear audio. An absolute must have!
Eureka Entertainment (Masters of Cinema)
Limited Edition Blu-ray
One of the iconic horrors of the silent era finally makes its way onto Blu-ray for the first time in the UK courtesy of the ever wonderful Eureka Entertainment and The Masters of Cinema Series.
Paul Wegener’s enduring 1920 masterpiece (and his third attempt at adapting the Golem character for the screen) is presented from a 4K digital restoration of the original film negatives, completed by FWMS in 2017, and delivers a remarkably clean and detailed presentation given the film’s age.
4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray
Many have debated where yet another edit or another reissue of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic was in fact necessary, and many who own previous editions of the film were wary of double-dipping for this new ‘Final Cut’. However, if you happen to have a 4K set-up at home, and want to own the best edition of the film currently available, then this is definitely the one to get.
Gorgeous video and immersive, reference-quality Dolby Atmos audio tracks make this Ultra HD ‘Final Cut’ an absolutely must have and a fine showcase for your 4K home set-up.
‘Apocalypse Now: Final Cut’ Is a never-before-seen and newly restored edit of the film which Coppola is said to have stated “looks better than it has ever looked and sounds better than it has ever sounded”.
Deluxe Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD Edition
Presented in partnership with Universal Pictures, Flicker Alley’s 4K digital restoration of Paul Leni’s 1928 expressionist classic saw another of the silent era greats upgraded to Blu-ray for the very first time, and in fine fashion.
Sourced from a 35mm composite fine grain from the Universal Pictures vault – created in 1954 from the nitrate original camera negative – The Man Who Laughs is said to be part of Universal’s ongoing silent restoration initiative so it is to be hoped that many more under-appreciated silent classics arrive on Home Entertainment platforms soon.
New Wave Films (Drakes Avenue)
Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan, arguably the finest and most consistent filmmaker in contemporary world cinema, sees all eight of his remarkable feature films collected together in this essential new box set from New Wave Films, alongside a rarely seen early short and a range of interviews and making-of documentaries.
The set includes: Kasaba, Clouds of May, Uzak, Climates, Three Monkeys, Once upon a Time in Anatolia, Winter Sleep, The Wild Pear Tree, and Koza (short).
The Criterion Collection
Sublime presentations of three of Abbas Kiarostami’s most exquisite films: Where Is The Friend’s House? (1987), And Life Goes On (1992), and Through The Olive Trees (1994), all taken from brand new 2K digital restorations and accompanied by a host of brand new extras, as well as new English subtitle translations! What more is there to say?
An absolute gem of a collection and a cinephile’s must have!
Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD Edition
Clive Donner’s expert adaptation of Harold Pinter’s great psychological tragicomedy (a play that changed the face of modern theatre) is now readily available for a new generation to discover and relish courtesy of the BFI and this new Dual Format Edition set – including a long-awaited Blu-ray upgrade!
Featuring original production cast members Alan Bates and Donald Pleasence (reprising their acclaimed stage roles), alongside Robert Shaw, Donner’s famously low-budget production is something of a collector’s item for theatre buffs, and this new edition – newly restored from the original camera negative by the BFI – is the much-deserved upgrade fans have been waiting for for a very long time.