Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Marvel Announces 'Black Panther,' 'Captain Marvel,' Two-Part 'Avengers: Infinity War' And More Marvel Announces 'Black Panther,' 'Captain Marvel,' Two-Part 'Avengers: Infinity War' And More Exclusive: Sean Durkin Directed Video For Sharon Van Etten's "Your Love Is Killing Me" Exclusive: Sean Durkin Directed Video For Sharon Van Etten's "Your Love Is Killing Me" Benedict Cumberbatch Is Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' Benedict Cumberbatch Is Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Series Finale — Season 5, Episode 8 ‘Eldorado’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Series Finale — Season 5, Episode 8 ‘Eldorado’ Watch: A Twisted Jake Gyllenhaal Crosses The Line In Wicked Red Band Trailer For ‘Nightcrawler’ Watch: A Twisted Jake Gyllenhaal Crosses The Line In Wicked Red Band Trailer For ‘Nightcrawler’ Watch: 'The Invisible Man,' A 50-Minute Documentary On The Life And Career Of Stanley Kubrick Watch: 'The Invisible Man,' A 50-Minute Documentary On The Life And Career Of Stanley Kubrick Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Dave Franco And More Join James Franco’s 'Zeroville' Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Dave Franco And More Join James Franco’s 'Zeroville' 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes Kristen Stewart Says She's Taking "Time Off" From Acting To Pursue Other "Creative Endeavors" Kristen Stewart Says She's Taking "Time Off" From Acting To Pursue Other "Creative Endeavors" Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: First Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron,' Brings Mass Destruction Along With Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Watch: First Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron,' Brings Mass Destruction Along With Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Watch: 'Star Wars' Prequels Recut Into 2 Hour 40 Minute 'Turn to the Darkside: Episode 3.1' Watch: 'Star Wars' Prequels Recut Into 2 Hour 40 Minute 'Turn to the Darkside: Episode 3.1' Edward Norton Says He Didn't Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More "Diversity" In His Film Roles Edward Norton Says He Didn't Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More "Diversity" In His Film Roles Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

The Disc-Less: 5 British Films Not Available On DVD Including Movies By Alfred Hitchcock, Mike Leigh, Terence Davies & More

The Playlist By Peter Labuza | The Playlist November 27, 2012 at 10:07AM

With "Hitchcock" now in theaters giving us a (not very accurate) portrait of the Master of Suspense, one of history's greatest directors is once again in the conversation. Additionally, the National Film Preservation is currently streaming a partial copy of "The White Shadow," a 1924 silent by Graham Cutts, one of Hitchcock’s early mentors and collaborators. In honor of Cutts and Hitchcock, this week’s column highlights our neighbors across the Atlantic, with five great classics of British cinema that have yet to grace us with discs of their own here.
7

Disc-Less Header
The Disc-less is a column exploring films not available on DVD in North America. While physical media is becoming less and less relevant with the advent of online streaming, the best quality for films outside of a theater are still DVDs and Blu-Rays. The release of major and minor cinematic works on physical media has lead to reevaluation of cinematic history. The Disc-less hopes to point cinephiles to films still not available, as well as possible ways one can see them.

With "Hitchcock" now in theaters giving us a (not very accurate) portrait of the Master of Suspense, one of history's greatest directors is once again in the conversation. Additionally, the National Film Preservation is currently streaming a partial copy of "The White Shadow," a 1924 silent by Graham Cutts, one of Hitchcock’s early mentors and collaborators. In honor of Cutts and Hitchcock, this week’s column highlights our neighbors across the Atlantic, with five great classics of British cinema that have yet to grace us with discs of their own here.

Distant Voices, Still Lives
The Movie: "Distant Voices, Still Lives" (Terrence Davies, 1988)
What’s Going On: Based on Terrence Davies' own life, a tone poem focusing on the births, deaths, and marriages of a family led by a stern patriarch (Pete Postlethwaite) in 1940s Liverpool.
Why You Need To See It: Davies’ films have been few and far between during the last two decades, though he gave us a hauntingly emotional work with "The Deep Blue Sea" this year. But his debut feature remains his best—flowing through memory between its two halves with provocative beauty but never romantic nostalgia. The repeated gestures of pub visits, familial celebrations, and occasional violence marks a distant era of a post-war Manchester that speaks volumes about the world we can and can’t live without.
Why You Can’t Get a Disc: It’s unclear who exactly owns the rights to 'Distant Voices.' IFC seems to own the TV rights, as it played earlier this year at the not-so-convenient time of 6 AM. The Film Desk owns the rights to Davies’ second feature, "The Long Day Closes," which is also in need of a proper DVD release. Perhaps they can work something out?
How You Can See It: Thankfully, Davies is a national treasure in his home country, and the BFI has a decent R2 DVD release. It is also available on VHS.

Life Is Sweet
The Movie: "Life is Sweet" (Mike Leigh, 1991)
What’s Going On: Another portrait of a dysfunctional family, this one made up of a quirky dad (Jim Broadbent), a sentimental mother (Alison Steadman), and their twin 22-year-old daughters, one an over achiever (Claire Skinner) and the other a social pariah (Jane Horrocks).
Why You Need To See It: What is happiness? This is probably the overarching question of Mike Leigh’s career. "Life is Sweet" is of course an ironic title for a film that is certainly a comedy, but has a lot of emotion buried underneath as these four characters struggle through the hardships of life, notably Horrocks’s character and her attempts to define herself in a family she can’t exactly fit into. This is certainly one of Leigh’s funniest films in many ways, and the dialogue is certainly catchy, but Leigh leaves you in a state of melancholy hope as each character slowly reveals their desperate interiors.
Why You Can’t Get A Disc: Technically you can order a disc from the Film4 Library, but the transfer is questionable at best (almost a sub-standard VHS transfer). A film that is so essential in Leigh’s career—especially because of its mix of broad comedy and pathos—deserves a release of Criterion standards.
How You Can See It: Film4 has a sub-standard DVD release, but they have a wonderful UK Blu-Ray worth checking out if you can.

This article is related to: The Disc-Less, Features, Ken Russell, Alfred Hitchcock, Mike Leigh, Terence Davies


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates