Category Archives: Back in Cinemas

Goodbye Park Circus blog and a big thank you

Au revoir, adieu and goodbye

20th June 2012 will mark  a significant date in Park Circus’ historical calendar as the company introduced a new website for clients and classic cinema lovers alike.

Although the new website does not present any radical changes, we feel there have been some key tweaks that have refined the way cinemas can book films from us while allowing classic cinephiles to enjoy a base of rich content which delves into the 15,000-strong back catalogue of films we represent.

We would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal blog followers and we hope that you have enjoyed all we have posted on this site. From interviews with Brandon Schaefer, the man behind some of our best movie posters, to fun top 5 fact postings on films such as Taxi Driver and Pulp Fiction and much much more, it has been a great tool for us to showcase our unrelenting passion for classic films and our eternal aim of allowing these films to be easily put back in cinemas where they belong.

Our blog site will no longer be updated but fear not as our new website has an even better way for film fans to learn about what we do at Park Circus, what films we are focusing on throughout the year and what classics are screening at key festivals and cinema retrospectives alike. Everything you need can now be discovered here.

We welcome your feedback on our new site and you can do so through our social media outlets, on Facebook or Twitter. The new site allows easy access to our YouTube channel with the latest clips and trailers from our upcoming and past releases as well as our Flickr account which presents to you all of our posters – from The Last Picture Show to the soon-to-be released 50th anniversary artwork for Lawrence of Arabia.

Thank you once again to all of our followers and here’s to an exciting rest of 2012 – there’s lots to look forward to….

Brief Encounter will be released in Film Forum NY:

The Apartment is out in UK cinemas now and is to be released in France in July:

We are releasing Cassavetes’ Husbands in September:

and last but not least

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One Great Scene From The Shining

“Wendy darling, light of my life, I’m not gonna hurt you…I’m just gonna bash your brains in..”

Jack Nicholson in The Shining

Where do you start with Stanley Kubrick’s remarkable 1980 psycho-horror The Shining? A film so awash with primitive, elemental spirit that its sweaty paw print is still marking the linen of the horror genre thirty odd years on. The wonder of The Shining’s ageless malice is due to a combination of weird talents who could have only found each other on a cinema set.

There’s Kubrick with his obsessions and stern sense of mise en scene. There’s Jack Nicholson’s demented, willfully hammy turn as a walking conduit for spirits of evil. There’s Garrett Brown’s miraculous work with his own invention the Steadicam, there’s transsexual composer Wendy (formerly Walter) Carlos and Rachel Elkind’s mental electronica additions to the score, cinematographer John Alcott’s old master approach to the interiors…. the list goes on.

Kubrick, ever the wannabe distributor of his own films had even worked out a killer release strategy which allowed the film to only open in a few cinemas and take a month to build by word of mouth before conquering the rest of the world.

All these things and more make The Shining a quite exceptional variation on the old haunted house B-Movie. From the schoolyard to the water cooler the post film debate about The Shining was always a fever of half remembered scenes and declarative lines (“Here’s Johnny!”), but the scene that really encapsulates Kubrick’s vertiginous, callous portrait of a family in isolation and free fall is the one where Jack finally snaps and lets loose on his baseball bat bearing wife (Shelley Duvall), as she creeps away from him backwards up the hotel’s main stairs. So odd and mannered is Nicholson’s performance, so in control and yet demonic, caught mostly from his terrified wife’s point of view as he backs her up the stairs. The hotel lobby behind him composed and oddly styled. In this scene Kubrick accesses the genuine horror of the wife beater, the drunk and the rapist. It’s a scene that culminates with a man being beaten and falling backwards and yet you are in no doubt that he will rise again. This is the queasiest and choicest of all moments in modern horror, one that lingers in the cold light of day, much like a nightmare.

The Shining will be playing at the New Zealand International Film Festival in July and at Nordisk cinemas across Denmark in November.

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Jonathan Demme – The Hardest Working Man In Showbusiness?

Something Wild (1986) title treatment

Filmmaker, producer, screenwriter and arguably America’s most grounded multi-disciplinary filmmaker Jonathan Demme has been quiet of late. The last non-documentary feature he made was the critically divisive Rachel Getting Married in 2008 starring Anne Hathaway. Rachel was generally well received but one critic did compare it to “a two-hour colonoscopy”. For the last few years he’s been absorbed in producing a trilogy of Neil Young concert films, doing some television (including two episodes of the Laura Dern/Mike White drama Enlightened) and developing a film version of Stephen King’s doorstop of a novel 11/22/63. The King adaptation still seems to be simmering away as do future projects with his old actor/playwright friend Wallace Shawn (My Dinner With Andre) and author Dave Eggars (an adaptation of Eggars’ book  Zeitoun).

Denzel Washington in Philadelphia

It’s at times like these that it’s good to re-familiarise oneself with Demme’s prolific and seemingly seamless oeuvre. Demme is a filmmaker all too ready to own up to plagiarism. His gift for emulation is always born of love. Hitchcock’s hot breath is all over 1979 thriller Last Embrace starring the mighty Roy Scheider in one of his finest performances. His much-loved new wave rom-com thriller Something Wild owes as much to the films of Preston Sturges as it does to the ‘lovers on the lam’ B movies it brings more directly to mind.

Philadelphia and Silence of the Lambs showed his ability to move between disparate genres with the intelligence and individuality of Nicholas Ray or Elia Kazan. While documentaries Swimming to Cambodia (featuring the late great Spalding Gray) and Storefront Hitchcock were unique and fairly theatrical experiments in form. If anyone is overdue a retrospective of his work, it is Demme.

Do something really wild and book one or many of his films today. JD we salute you!

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Lawrence Conquers Cannes Again In World Premiere Of 4K Restoration

Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia

Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia

On Saturday 19 May, Lawrence of Arabia rode desert sands again for the world premiere of the stunning 4K digital restoration of David Lean’s incredible epic.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Lean’s multi-award winning film which introduced the world to the unique talent of Peter O’Toole and also starred Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Alec Guinness, Claude Rains and Jack Hawkins, the version that went before the ever-diligent audiences of Cannes has been lovingly restored to 4K digital by Sony Pictures Entertainment at Sony Pictures Colorworks from the 1988 reconstructed Director’s Cut.

Grover Crisp (pictured, right) from Sony, who oversaw the new digital restoration proudly introduced the screening . In conversation with festival director Thierry Frémaux (pictured, left) he thanked the many talented people involved in keeping Lawrence of Arabia alive for future generations.

The film looked amazing, Freddie Young’s breath-taking cinematography, Maurice Jarre’s all-powerful score and Lean’s exquisite vision dominated the Salle du 60ème and Cannes on the first Saturday of the festival. When the film ended the restoration credits received a round of applause. Lawrence of Arabia has begun its desert trek back into cinemas around the world.

Red Carpet Entrance for Lawrence Of Arabia

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A Night To Remember – The Titanic Centenary

Park Circus is re-releasing the esteemed ITV Studios classic, A Night To Remember this week, on 13 April, and you can expect to see Roy Ward Baker’s masterpiece at several key locations that make up part of the rich history of the Titanic, which sank 100 years ago in 1912.

We aim to be at the forefront of digitally restoring classic films and A Night To Remember is just one example of the many films we now have available on DCP. Having already received a warm reception at the Glasgow Film Festival earlier this year, A Night To Remember will also be showing at the TCM Classic Film Festival which kick starts later this month (not the only Park Circus title on show either).

One example of the film's restoration process

Following successful screenings at QFT Belfast earlier this month (where the ship was built), Park Circus has licensed screenings along the Titanic route:

- FACT Liverpool: 15 April (where the ship was registered)

- Harbour Lights Picturehouse, Southampton: 12 to 15 April (where the Titanic set off)

- Rome Capitol Theatre, New York: 21 April (where the survivors were later taken)

We spoke to the team at the Harbour Lights Picturehouse in Southampton to see why the history of the Titanic and Baker’s film adaptation is so important to their city’s history:

Get ready for another Titanic première

“Harbour Lights is proud to be showing the digitally re-mastered version of A NIGHT TO REMEMBER on the centenary of the tragic loss of the White Star vessel. Harbour Lights is the only cinema with a direct view to the actual berth from which the Titanic sailed and is close to the original White Star offices. The sinking of the Titanic still has a tremendous resonance with the people of Southampton due to the number of families that were directly affected by it. Of the 800 plus crew, over 600 came from the City and 549 of them never came back…We show this film in tribute to its brave crew and their families, to give Southampton a night in which to remember.”

In addition to the above locations, A Night To Remember will be screening elsewhere around the world:

- BFI Southbank, London: 13 to 26 April

- National Australian Maritime Museum, Sydney: 15 April

- The Monarch Theatre, Alberta, Canada: 14 April

- Swedish Film Institute, Stockholm: 16 to 25 April

We also have some fantastic archival materials of events tied to the film, courtesy of ITV Studios, on our Facebook page, including costume designs and a sophisticated menu for those who found the time to dine:

http://www.facebook.com/parkcircusfilms

In the mean time, check out this clip from the film. Intense, gripping, dramatic and a beautiful restoration. This is the Titanic film to see this year:

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How Boudu Can Save Us All From Drowning

Poster Artwork for Boudu Saved From Drowning

Whatever you’ve heard about the French cinema’s New Wave, the truth is that the real Golden Age of French cinema was a period between 1929 and 1939. It was bookended by the advent of sound at the cinema and the outbreak of World War II. The men (for they were always men) who heralded this age were Jean Vigo, Marcel Carné and Jean Renoir whose magnificent 1937 war satire La Grande Illusion is out this year for its 75th anniversary (one month before ITV/Park Circus’ timely rerelease of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, its closest British equivalent). But for every pompous general there should always be an anarchic tramp and for Renoir, this benighted incarnation came years before in his remarkable 1932 class war comedy Boudu Saved From Drowning.

Set in and around Paris, Boudu Saved From Drowning tells the story of a Parisian tramp Boudu (played by the physically gifted Michel Simon), who is pulled out of the Seine by a bourgeois bookseller Edouard Lestingois (Charles Granval) after a suicidal plunge. Boudu is brought into Lestingois’ home, a rambling maze-like Left Bank apartment, which overlooks the river. Lestingois, his wife and maid/mistress (Séverine) adopt Boudu as their underprivileged pet in an attempt to reform him from his scruffiness and social ineptitude. However, his gratitude for this sees him shake the household to its foundations, challenging their meaningless principles from conventional society and then seducing both women with his anarchic charm.

Boudu is a defiant farce, one driven by the ferocity of Simon’s characterisation and Renoir’s mise-en-scène. Simon was given free reign for his character’s portrayal and the result is pure chaos. Boudu is someone who does not belong in the city, especially not within the confines of a book-filled apartment (one scene portrays Boudu spitting into a book by legendary French novelist Balzac, epitomising the difference between his values and those of the bourgeois Lestingois – this was also a previously lost scene restored in Park Circus’ DVD and Blu-ray issue). Renoir’s skills lie best in his eye for detail and depth of field when using the camera. There are scenes within scenes here and a layering that engrosses you as a spectator and in this case, brilliantly demonstrates Boudu’s claustrophobia as someone who should be out in the open.

There is a great contrast in the way Renoir films his central character in Lestingois’ narrow apartment or in the bustling streets of Paris to when Boudu traipses around parks and the countryside seemingly freer and more content. Similarly to the recently praised Le Quattro Volte (2010), this is a spiritual film about a man more at ease surrounded by water, pastures and animals, not humans and an ironically disruptive city atmosphere.

There can be little doubt that Renoir was influenced by his impressionist painter father Pierre-Auguste in creating films where actors and objects were placed with precision. In a film with such a vivacious actor as Michel Simon, the blend of this measured approach to one that is unpredictable marries fantastically well.

Much copied but never bettered Boudu Saved From Drowning remains an early gem from Renoir’s esteemed oeuvre and offers light relief to his other more dramatic works from the period (Renoir did though always maintain a tone of optimism in his films). On its 80th anniversary, this is one title worth storing in your collection or one to watch out for in cinemas near you this year.

Boudu Saved From Drowning is now available to download from iTunes and is available on both DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.

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The Original Casablanca Press Notes

Our 70th Anniversary Casablanca Poster

Here’s a lovely retro treat for fans of Casablanca, the greatest love story ever told, which Park Circus is reissuing in selected cinemas from Friday 10 February 2012. What follows is an original press release for the imminent release of Casablanca back in January 1942. Written in a rich, highly charged style that signals urgency and a sense of just how important this film is going to be, these notes make fascinating reading. They certainly don’t write ‘em like this anymore. We have not doctored this document, everything is as it would have looked back in those war-torn days, including a few typos. Enjoy and remember to revisit this great film at the cinema for Valentine’s Day this year.

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CAYNE DEXTER            DIRECTOR OF PUBLICITY

PAT O’CONNOR

REFUGEES ESCAPED FROM GESTAPO IN CASABLANCA AND BROUGHT ITS STORY TO SCREEN

Rush Release Ordered for Timely Warner Picture Throughout World. Dual

Premiere for “Casablanca” at Warner and Regal Theatres, London, Friday, January 15, 1942

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While Lisbon has always worn the dress-suit of international intrigue or the fairy godmother’s gossamer of escape, according to whether you’re a foreign agent doing a spot of dirty work or a Nazi-hunted fugitive seeking freedom overseas, the roundabout road to Lisbon is dotted with strange stopping-places.

Throughout three years of war many eyes in imprisoned Europe have turned towards that great embarkation point — the Needle’s Eye to the Americas; but not everybody could get to Lisbon directly. So a tortuous refugee trail sprang up: Paris to Marseille, across the Mediterranean to Oran, then by train, car or foot around the rim of North Africa to Casablanca in French Morocco. Here money, influence or luck secured exit permits for the fortunate ones who hurried on to Lisbon and from there to the new world. The others could only wait in Casablanca and hope.

Their numbers grew to thousands as the Axis strengthened its grip on Europe. Political fugitives, escapees from German concentration camps, members of the underground movements of all Occupied countries were dammed up. With the connivance of Vichy the Gestapo chose its prey.

Victims were surrendered and dragged back to Dachau or tossed into savage internment in the desert. A black market trafficked in forged visas at fantastic prices. Czechs, Dutch, Norwegians, anti-Nazis operated secretly to smuggle their leaders away and checkmate the Axis by counter-espionage. The psalm of life contained all the discords of danger, despair and double-cross, yet Casablanca held no more dramatic value than a thousand other border towns until a few fugitive artists wriggled through to the outside world.

Eventually they reached America. The international swarm of writers and players in Warner Bros. studios heard bits of their tale and word was passed along to Jack L. Warner and his associate producer Hal B. Wallis. They seized on the idea and location as something new. Action followed fast.

Three ace scenarists, Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, who gathered the material and wrote the script for ”Sergeant York,” were assigned to track the story down. Michael Curtiz, who had just finished “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” was called in to direct. Then backing their judgement of screen values with the highest sum allocated for any production in 1942, Warner splurged on stars – Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre all in one cast.

That was last July. When production started Casablanca meant so little on the map that the first publicity stories had to explain where and what it was. Four months later Casablanca shot into the headlines of the world, and on the very day that the American Expeditionary Force marched in, the Hollywood laboratories were delivering to Warner Bros. the first prints of their latest picture — “Casablanca.”

Call it producer’s sixth sense, or call it his incredible good luck — it’s what makes show-business, just the same.

Because of its timeliness, release of “Casablanca” has been marked urgent in every country where Warner Bros. operate. Air-borne prints have gone throughout the world. In London it will have a simultaneous premiere at the Warner and Regal Theatres on Friday January 15 — the first time these two cinemas have played a picture concurrently. Provincial centres will follow immediately. But even without its added force of topicality, Warners still would have an outstanding picture in this drama of a hunted woman and six desperate men who keep a date with destiny in Casablanca.

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