April 2023 brings cinephiles a collection of cinematic classics meticulously restored in 4K UHD, all spellbinding audiences with unforgettable performances and exceptional filmmaking.
Warner Bros. continues its 100th Anniversary celebration this month with the release of two of the most celebrated and enduring American films ever made, one from John Huston and the other from Nicholas Ray.
Then there's Adrian Lyne's iconic dance-themed romantic drama celebrating its 40th Anniversary, Terry Gilliam's acclaimed buddy comedy-drama starring Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams, and a provocative legal drama from Sidney Lumet featuring an all-star ensemble that includes Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and Jack Warden.
Finally, a definitive four-film box set arrives featuring the Next Generation crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise to take collectors to the stars with stunning 4K UHD transfers. Let's boldly go…
The Maltese Falcon
Released in 1941 and nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay, The Maltese Falcon remains widely regarded as one of cinema's most defining achievements. The film made a star of its leading man, Humphrey Bogart, and launched the career of director John Huston, who went on to direct such classics as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and The African Queen (1951). A highly effective suspense thriller and cited as the very first true film noir, The Maltese Falcon follows Detective Sam Spade (Bogart) as he investigates the culprit behind his partner's murder and navigates the workings of a group of rogues who will stop at nothing to obtain a jewel-encrusted falcon, "the stuff that dreams are made of."
Huston's masterpiece, impeccably paced and undeniably engrossing, is one of the most influential American films ever produced. In 1989, The Maltese Falcon became one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
This stunning new 4K UHD restoration comes courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment complete with HDR and a newly mastered DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono track. Supplements are extensive with an audio commentary by Bogart biographer, Eric Lax, the featurettes The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird and Breakdowns of 1941: Studio Blooper Reel, makeup tests, Becoming Attractions: The Trailers of Humphrey Bogart, and Warner Night at the Movies, a program meant to recreate what a night at the movies was like in 1941. The program is comprised of a vintage newsreel followed by both live action and animated shorts, including the Jean Negulesco-directed The Gay Parisian, and two Looney Tunes cartoons.
Get it: April 4 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray – also on digital.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection
One of most enduring film and television series of all time, the beloved Star Trek franchise began its run on the big screen in 1979 with The Sound of Music director Robert Wise's Oscar-nominated Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Succeeded by five sequels featuring the cast from the original television series led by William Shatner as Captain Kirk, in 1994, the torch of adventure was passed to the cast of the second television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation for the seventh big screen adventure in the series, Star Trek: Generations. Led by Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the film would also mark the final appearance of Shatner as Captain Kirk.
A rousing success with audiences, Generations brought forth three sequels, the Oscar-nominated First Contact (1996), Insurrection (1998) and Nemesis (2002). With high-octane action sequences and dynamic visuals, each film continued the series’ long standing exploration of the human condition tackling themes of grief, revenge, colonialism, and nature vs nurture. The films also shine thanks to the impressive array of distinguished actors that join Stewart and the Next Generation cast, including Alfre Woodard, Malcolm McDowell, James Cromwell, Donna Murphy, Tom Hardy and Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham.
With Paramount Studios’ continued commitment to film preservation and having released the first six Star Trek films in the 4K UHD format last year, their team has meticulously restored the four Next Generation films to the 4K UHD format, each transfer sourced from the films' original camera negatives. HDR and Dolby Vision enhancements allow for greater detail and striking color, and each film’s new Dolby TrueHD. 7.1 audio track makes for an explosive experience for your home theater. Each film is loaded with hours of supplemental materials including filmmaker commentaries, behind the scenes and retrospective featurettes, Deleted Scenes, trailers and much more.
Get it: April 6 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray – also available separately and on digital.
"…what a feeling!"
Featuring the quintessential Oscar-nominated song, upon its release in 1983, Adrian Lyne's Flashdance became a cultural phenomenon, revered for its electrifying dance sequences, Donald Peterman's sublime cinematography, and Jennifer Beals' sensational lead performance. Beals stars as Alex, a passionate young woman working as a welder by day and as an exotic dancer by night. Driven by the uncompromising dream to study at the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance, with grit and sheer determination, Alex's journey touches the heart and serves as a reminder that anything is possible.
Along with its Oscar-winning song "Flashdance... What A Feeling," the film also received Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Original Song for the song "Maniac."
This new release of Flashdance by Paramount Home Media Distribution features a new 4K scan from the film's original camera negative, personally supervised by director Lyne. Both the HDR and Dolby Vision deliver a fiercely vivid color presentation of the film which is complemented with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 Audio track bringing the necessary enthusiasm to the film's energetic 1980's musical beats. Supplements include Filmmaker Focus: Director Adrian Lyne on Flashdance, The Look of Flashdance, and Releasing the Flashdance Phenomenon. A limited edition Steelbook is also available for collectors.
Get it: April 11 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray – also on digital.
The Fisher King
Terry Gilliam's 1991 modern day fairy tale The Fisher King perfectly melds a Manhattan-set social drama with comedy, and surrealist fantasy. Jeff Bridges starts as Jack, a disgraced and depressed radio DJ who begins the long journey to redemption by virtue of an unlikely bond formed with a homeless man, Parry (Williams) who is on a quest for the Holy Grail – which he believes to be hidden somewhere on the Upper East Side. While aiding each other on their journeys, the two men discover a life-changing link to both their pasts.
The Fisher King received five Oscar nominations, including one for Best Original Screenplay and another for Best Actor for Williams. Mercedes Ruehl won for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Anne, Jack's strong-willed girlfriend.
Featuring a new 4K restoration approved by the filmmaker, this new presentation of The Fisher King from The Criterion Collection features both HDR and Dolby Vision and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Supplements include an Audio Commentary with Gilliam, Interviews with Gilliam and the key production team, a 2006 interview with late actor Robin Williams, a Video essay featuring Bridges' on-set photographs, Deleted Scenes, Trailers, and much more.
Get it: April 11 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray.
12 Angry Men
Released in 1957, Sidney Lumet's tautly directed debut feature 12 Angry Men has been widely praised as the definitive legal thriller and serves as biting cautionary tale against the dangers of the lynch mob mentality and mass hysteria. Henry Fonda stars as Davis, a justice-seeking architect who is serving as Juror #8 with 11 other sequestered jurors who must deliberate following the closing arguments in a murder trial – with a guilty verdict meaning death for an accused teenage boy. When Davis casts doubt on the elements of the trial, the remaining jurors revolt against him causing personal issues to rise which threaten to derail the judicial process, one that will decide the teen's fate.
Often sharing the conversation with To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) as the greatest legal drama ever made, in 2007, 12 Angry Men was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
This new 4K restoration of 12 Angry Men from Kino Lorber was sourced from the film's original camera negative and provides a beautifully filmic presentation. Additionally, the HDR and Dolby Vision enhances the tonal accuracy of the black and white photography, and the film is complemented by a remastered DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono track. Bonus features included are a new Audio Commentary by Film Historian and Screenwriter Gary Gerani, two featurettes, Beyond Reasonable Doubt – Making 12 Angry Men, Inside the Jury Room. Rounding off the release is the inclusion of the 1997 TV remake by The French Connection (1971) director William Friedkin, adapted by Reginald Rose from his original 1954 teleplay, starring Jack Lemmon and Courtney B. Vance.
Get it: April 18 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray.
Rebel Without a Cause
A cinematic and cultural milestone, director Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause to this day remains as one of the most enduring films of all time. Released in 1955, James Dean stars in his most seminal performance as Jim Stark, a troubled teen struggling to adjust to his new life in Los Angeles and find meaning within the confines of his home life and the adult establishment surrounding him. A landmark achievement, Ray's film offers a harsh critique on modern-day parenting, post-war youth, and the generational conflicts between them which sparked debate from audiences upon its first release.
Rebel Without a Cause was nominated for three Oscars including Best Picture and, in 1990, was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Almost seventy years after the film's release, Dean's performance in Rebel Without a Cause is still deemed extraordinary. Dean himself is regarded as an exceptionally gifted actor, a legitimate movie star, and a definitive icon from Hollywood's Golden Age.
This new 4K restoration of Rebel Without a Cause, comes courtesy of Warner Bros Home Entertainment. Meticulously restored with a striking HDR color grade, the release also features a newly remastered Dolby Digital Mono track delivering an unprecedented presentation of this cinematic landmark. Bonus features include Screen and Wardrobe Tests, Deleted Scenes, featurettes Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents, Dennis Hopper: Memories from the Warner Lot, the 1994 TV special James Dean Remembered, and an audio commentary by author Douglas L. Rathgeb.
Get it: April 18 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray – also on digital.
By Adam J. Yeend