The recently restored director’s cut of Sam Fuller’s DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET is now out on DVD and blu-ray from Olive Films (USA). In both formats, the release includes the feature-length Fiction Factory documentary RETURN TO BEETHOVEN STREET: SAM FULLER IN GERMANY, featuring rare archival footage of Fuller on the set and new interviews with actors Christa Lang-Fuller, Eric P. Caspar and Hans-Christoph Blumenberg, fellow directors and Fuller fans Wim Wenders and Dominik Graf, film scholars Bill Krohn and Janet Bergstrom, Fuller’s daughter Samantha and more.
Independent British distributors Signal One Entertainment have just announced two blu-ray releases that will feature a string of brand-new Fiction Factory productions.
Frank Perry’s DOC (1971) is set in 1881 and begins with Doc Holliday entering the ‘No Name Saloon’ and challenging a man to a game of poker. He bets his horse for the opponent’s wife, the whore Katie Elder, and wins. From then on, Elder goes wherever Doc goes. When they arrive in Tombstone, Sheriff Wyatt Earp is standing as a candidate in the local election, but hostilities erupt and the Clanton family, a gang of outlaw cowboys, make their opposition felt. Doc soon joins forces with Earp and his brothers to take on the Clanton gang. This gritty, revisionist take on the true story of the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral stars Stacy Keach as Doc Holliday and Faye Dunaway as Kate Elder, and features music by the legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb (Wichita Lineman). Signal One’s blu-ray of DOC (street date: 29 February) will feature these two Fiction Factory features: TRUTH BE TOLD: STACY KEACH ON FRANK PERRY’S »DOC« (20 min), and OUTSIDE THE SYSTEM: ALAN HEIM ON EDITING FRANK PERRY’S »DOC« (25 min).
In Bob Rafelson’s BLACK WIDOW (1987), FBI investigator Alexandra Barnes (Debra Winger) becomes obsessed with proving glamorous socialite Catharine Petersen (Theresa Russell) is a murderess, responsible for the deaths of several millionaires who died suspiciously soon after marrying. Believing her to have assumed a new identity each time, Agent Barnes sets out to prove her suspicions, but finds that she too is falling under the spell of her seductive suspect. This stylish thriller from director Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces, The Postman Always Rings Twice) features brilliant performances by two of Hollywood’s most exciting actresses, and stunning cinematography by the legendary Conrad L. Hall (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man), who returned to make Black Widow after a ten-year absence from film-making. Signal One’s blu-ray of BLACK WIDOW (street date: 7 March) will feature these two Fiction Factory features: THE PREDATOR AND HER PREY: RON BASS ON WRITING »BLACK WIDOW« (27 min), and BRIGHT COLORS, DEEP BLACKS: CONRAD L. HALL AND THE VISUAL STYLE OF »BLACK WIDOW« (29 min).
At Fiction Factory, new documentaries on two classic Hollywood films just finished production: ILLUSION OF FREEDOM has veteran cinematographer Richard H. Kline (ASC) reminiscing about the making of John Frankenheimer’s BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (1962) starring Burt Lancaster, on which Kline was the camera operator for director of photography Burnett Guffey.
In MEANS OF SURVIVAL, veteran screenwriter Christopher Knopf talks about writing in Hollywood in the fifties, sixties and seventies, with special emphasis on being inspired by story elements from Jack London’s »The Road« for his screenplay EMPEROR OF THE NORTH (1973), directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Keith Carradine.
These two documentaries will first be published on the French blu-ray editions of BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ and EMPEROR OF THE NORTH, due out in early 2016.
In 1973, veteran director Richard Fleischer (VIOLENT SATURDAY, THE BOSTON STRANGLER) directed Charles Bronson in one of the action icon’s finest roles, peaceful Colorado melon farmer Mr. Majestyk, who crosses paths with local labor bullies and, more dangerously, a Mafia heavy (Al Lettieri) freshly sprung from jail. Based on an original screenplay by cult writer Elmore Leonard, MR. MAJESTYK is pure delight, and a recent HD restoration will finally do it justice on DVD and blu-ray. For the French and British home entertainment editions, both due out in early 2016, Fiction Factory produced two brand-new special features: In COLORADO COOL, director of photography Richard H. Kline, ASC, remembers his friend Charles Bronson and the many action highlights of the movie, and in COLORADO COOL, actress Lee Purcell, who plays the bad guy’s gorgeous moll, analyses her part and pays tribute to her acting partner Al Lettieri (THE GODFATHER, THE GETAWAY). Below are teasers for both. For more on Lee Purcell, see here.
Production is completed on PURE CINEMA: JOE NAPOLITANO ON BRIAN DE PALMA’S BODY DOUBLE, 38 minutes of first-hand information on the making of De Palma’s cinematic study on voyeurism, eroticism and suspense, as remembered by the film’s first assistant director. Last July, Robert Fischer talked to Napolitano at his home in Westlake Village, California, and also revisited some of the key locations of the film for this brand new documentary.
PURE CINEMA will first be released in France as part of Carlotta Film’s de luxe collector’s edition of BODY DOUBLE, available from 2 December.
There’s little doubt that, for the serious cinephile, the home video event of this fall will be the the release of Jacques Rivette’s magnum opus OUT 1 (1971) on blu-ray and DVD in three territories: Carlotta Films and Carlotta US will kick off on November 18 in France and the USA respectively, with Arrow Films in the UK following suit on November 30. All three dual-format editions will feature a brand-new Fiction Factory documentary: THE MYSTERIES OF PARIS: JACQUES RIVETTE’S »OUT 1« REVISITED, conceived and directed by Robert Fischer and Wilfried Reichart.
In June 2015, forty-five years after OUT 1 was made, the filmmakers went to Paris to interview cast and crew members and to revisit some of the film’s most significant locations. THE MYSTERIES OF PARIS features new contributions from actors Bulle Ogier, Michael Lonsdale and Hermine Karagheuz, cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn, assistant director Jean-François Stévenin and producer Stéphane Tchal Gadjieff, but also rare archival interviews with actors Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Michel Delahaye and, most prominently, illuminating statements by director Jacques Rivette himself from two different archival interviews. Running time is 110 minutes. Original title: LES MYSTÈRES DE PARIS: OUT 1 DE JACQUES RIVETTE REVISITÉ. Language: French with English subtitles.
Fiction Factory finished production on LOVE LETTERS, a new half-hour documentary on Leonard Kastle’s cult movie THE HONEYMOON KILLERS (1969). LOVE LETTERS, featuring newly filmed interviews with actors Tony Lo Bianco and Marilyn Chris and with editor Stan Warnow, will appear both on The Criterion Collection’s blu-ray release of the film (street date: September 29) in the US and on Arrow Film’s dual-format release in the UK (November 10).
Production just wrapped on Fiction Factory’s latest slate of documentaries: Last January, Robert Fischer went to Los Angeles to film interviews on two of Delmer Daves’s best Westerns, 3:10 TO YUMA (1957), starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, and COWBOY (1958), starring Ford and Jack Lemmon. Michael Daves, Delmer’s son, reminisces about his father in DELMER DAVES BY MICHAEL DAVES (two parts).
Phedon Papamichael, A.S.C., the award-winning cinematographer who lensed James Mangold’s 2007 YUMA remake starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, discusses both of these adaptations of a story by Elmore Leonard in THE SHADOWS OF NOIR.
Veteran cinematographer Richard H. Kline, A.S.C., who was an assistant cameraman on both of these Delmer Daves Westerns, talks about director of photography Charles Lawton, Jr., A.S.C., in CAPTURING THE WEST: A TRIBUTE TO CHARLES LAWTON, JR. BY RICHARD H. KLINE. Last but not least, Jan-Christopher Horak, author of the book »Saul Bass: Anatomy of Film Design«, analyzes Bass’s credit sequence for COWBOY in the documentary HOW TO BRAND A FILM: JAN-CHRISTOPHER HORAK ON SAUL BASS AND COWBOY. All coming to DVD and blu-ray later this spring.
Fiction Factory contributed two brand-new documentaries to the UK blu-ray release of director Norman Jewison’s sci-fi classic, ROLLERBALL (1975). The first is called THE FOURTH CITY: SHOOTING »ROLLERBALL« IN MUNICH and follows production manager Dieter Meyer as he revisits the original race track that, in the film, stood in for arenas in no less than three different cities: Madrid, Tokyo and New York.
For the second ROLLERBALL documentary from Fiction Factory, THE BIKE WORK, Robert Fischer visited stunt performer (and action film director) Craig R. Baxley in his California home and filmed his recollections about staging and performing some of the most spectacular motorcycle stunts in motion pictures of the seventies.
Both behind-the-scenes featurettes are included on Arrow Films’ blu-ray release of ROLLERBALL, available in the UK from 23 March.
Earlier this month, Robert Fischer talked to director/writer Volker Schlöndorff about his Brecht adaptation BAAL, filmed in 1969 for German television. After its initial airing in January 1970, BAAL was banned for 44 years by the Brecht estate and could not be seen until its revival — in a digitally restored version — at the Berlin film festival a year ago. Fischer’s 46-minute interview film with the director is called THE POET AND THE FILMMAKER and covers every phase in the making of BAAL, with special emphasis on Schlöndorff’s casting of fellow director Rainer Werner Fassbinder in the title role.
In a second video piece on BAAL, Fassbinder’s Danish friend and biographer Christian Braad Thomsen (whose own new documentary, FASSBINDER: TO LOVE WITHOUT DEMANDS, premiered this month at the Berlin film festival) talks about the strange link between Brecht and Fassbinder. It’s called SENSE AND REASON and is 10 minutes long. Both documentaries will be featured on Paris-based Carlotta Film’s DVD release of BAAL on May 6.