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More DVD/Blu-ray News: "End of the Road," "Sunset Boulevard"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 15, 2012

"End of the Road,":a 1970 film that was much discussed and debated in its day, is finally coming to DVD, while "Sunset" is getting the Blu-ray treatment. The official word on "Road": Directed by innovative auteur Aram Avakian (Cops and Robbers, Jazz on a Summer's Day, 11 Harrowhouse) and co-written by Dennis McGuire (Shoot It Black, Shoot It Blue), Terry Southern (Dr. Strangelove, Barbarella, Easy Rider), and Aram Avakian, End of the Road makes its long-awaited debut on DVD September 18 from Warner Home Video. Produced by Terry Southern and Stephen F. Kesten and adapted from the John Barth novel, End of the Road resonated with fans of the counter-culture movement and was viewed as shocking, powerful and controversial at the time of its release. A groundbreaking art house film with strong anti-establishment sensibilities, the DVD release of End of the Road will include an all-new special feature produced and directed by Steven Soderbergh, which tells the compelling story of how this brutally honest film was made, the obstacles it overcame, and its lasting impact. The DVD will have a suggested retail price of $19.97.

End of the Road features the talents of Stacy Keach (Fat City by John Huston, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter), Harris Yulin (Training Day, Rush Hour 2), Dorothy Tristan (Klute, Scarecrow) and James Earl Jones (Dr. Strangelove, Star Wars franchise). It was also the first film for legendary cinematographer Gordon Willis (The Godfather, All The Presidents Men) and features an original soundtrack composed by Teo Macero, J.S. Bach and P.I. Tchaikowsky and supervised by George Avakian.

End of the Road is an indictment of the upcoming 'me' generation and also a philosophical questioning of the notion of succeeding and even participating in a society that is so violent. After graduating from an ivy-league school, Jacob Horner (Stacy Keach) is seen standing at a New England train station, waiting on a platform—in a catatonic state. He stands there for days without moving—like a human sculpture—an installation of broken promise. Doctor D (James Earl Jones) discovers him and takes him back to "the farm of psychic remobilization." After being ‘cured,’ Horner takes a job as an English lecturer at a nearby college and begins a catastrophic affair with Rennie (Dorothy Tristan), the wife of a colleague. The film becomes an exploration into Jacob Horner's limits and values, in the face of all he thought he had, which crumbles before him under the existential questioning of the powerful Doctor D and the tragic demise of Rennie.


· An Amazing Time: A Conversation About End of the Road: An all-new documentary by Steven Soderbergh featuring in-depth interviews with the extraordinary creative team that brought this film to life, as well as their surviving family members.

Run Time: 110:00 mins
MPAA Rating: R
U.S. Street Date: September 18, 2012
Order Due Date: August 14, 2012
UPC / CAT #: 1000175190 / 883929165957
SRP: $19.97

Note: All enhanced content listed above is subject to change.

Here's the skinny on "Sunset":  Paramount Home Media Distribution proudly presents one of the studio’s most iconic films, newly restored and in sparkling high definition for the first time ever, when SUNSET BOULEVARD debuts on Blu-ray November 6, 2012. A fitting release to continue Paramount’s centennial celebration, Billy Wilder’s seminal classic continues to enthrall audiences with its bizarre and tragic tale of Hollywood’s dark side. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, and winner for Best Writing, Best Art Direction and Best Music, SUNSET BOULEVARD was named by the American Film Institute as #12 on its list of the Greatest American Movies. William Holden, as a struggling young screenwriter, and Gloria Swanson, as an aging silent film queen, created two of the screen’s most memorable characters, delivering unforgettable performances amidst the dramatic light and shadow of John Seitz’s evocative cinematography.


Not only a cinematic masterpiece, SUNSET BOULEVARD also captures some extraordinary moments in Hollywood history, including Cecil B. DeMille on the set of Samson and Delilah, which was erected in a soundstage still in use on the Paramount lot. Director Erich von Stroheim, who had directed Swanson previously in real life, appears as Norma Desmond’s butler and former director. Various notable figures make appearances in the film as themselves, including actors Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper, Anna Q. Nilsson and H.B. Warner. And, of course, there are the iconic images of Hollywood itself, including the well-known shot of Paramount’s legendary gates.

The main objective of the restoration effort was to remain faithful to the distinctive look created by the director and cinematographer. Stark shadows and darkness occasionally cut by the bright light of a film projector are themselves essential in telling the disturbing story of madness and obsession. The restoration team secured a vintage print made at the time of release from the Library of Congress to view and study the tones and extensively researched documentation from the production to accurately present the director’s original vision. Although none of the original nitrate materials survive, the restoration team conducted a worldwide search for the earliest generation elements, ultimately using an acetate 35mm duplicate negative as a primary source for scanning at 4K to create the highest picture quality possible.


In addition, work done on the film’s original mono soundtrack back in 2001-2002 was expanded upon. As with the picture, no original sound materials survive, but a variety of source elements were analyzed, transferred, digitally cleaned and incorporated into the final restoration – including optical soundtrack negatives, music and effects tracks and partial music master materials.


The SUNSET BOULEVARD Blu-ray boasts over two hours of in-depth bonus material that sheds light on the film, its origins and its path to becoming a classic. With featurettes on stars Gloria Swanson and William Holden, a look at renowned costume designer Edith Head, an exploration of the Paramount lot of the 50s, a Hollywood location map and much, much, more, the Blu-ray offers a comprehensive guide to this enduring cinematic treasure. In addition, the Blu-ray features a never-before-released deleted scene entitled “The Paramount-Don’t-Want-Me Blues”, which was obtained from the Academy Film Archive and features Academy Award-winning songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans performing a comedic song that was cut for fear of being too Hollywood insider in 1950.



Available for $24.99, the SUNSET BOULEVARD Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English Mono Dolby TrueHD, French Mono Dolby Digital, Spanish Mono Dolby Digital, Portuguese Mono Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Disc contents are as follows:


Commentary by Ed Sikov, author of On Sunset Blvd: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder
Sunset Boulevard: The Beginning
Sunset Boulevard: A Look Back
The Noir Side of Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard Becomes a Classic
Two Sides of Ms. Swanson
Stories of Sunset Boulevard
Mad About the Boy: A Portrait of William Holden
Recording Sunset Boulevard
The City of Sunset Boulevard
Franz Waxman and the Music of Sunset Boulevard
Morgue Prologue Script Pages
Deleted Scene—“The Paramount-Don’t-Want-Me Blues” (HD)
Hollywood Location Map
Behind the Gates: The Lot
Edith Head: The Paramount Years
Paramount in the ‘50s
The Movie
Theatrical Trailer (HD)

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