Independent U.S. distributors Flicker Alley will release on Blu-ray Robert Joseph Flaherty's Nanook of the North (1922). Also included on this two-disc release is Friedrich Dalsheim's The Wedding of Palo (1934). The preliminary release date set by the distributors is February 26th.
Nanook of the North
Robert Flaherty made this wonderful film of Eskimo (Inuit) life following six years as an Arctic explorer for the Canadian Northern Railway. During journeys often lasting months at a time with only one or two Inuit as companions, he developed a deep regard for these indigenous people and after two unsuccessful filming attempts, Flaherty seized upon the idea of structuring his movie around characters who reenacted episodes of their lives and participated in the shaping of the film. He was not trained as an anthropologist, but Flaherty wisely guides our discovery of the people and their activities, and ninety years later, Nanook remains as completely engaging as it was in 1922, a huge influence on many ethnographic films that followed. This edition is mastered in high definition at the visually correct speed from the painstaking 35mm restoration of 1972, with a lovely orchestral score composed, compiled and conducted by Timothy Brock. Selected for the National Film Registry, 1989.
The Wedding of Palo
Palos Brudefaerd a.k.a The Wedding of Palo (1934), Nanook's obvious successor, is the last beautiful work of the famed Danish polar explorer and anthropologist Dr. Knud Rasmussen. Filmed in sound with an Inuit cast from the Angmagssalik district of east Greenland, Palo, like Nanook, documents a vanished lifestyle and uses Flaherty s device of an appealing narrative; in this case, a story of two men who desire the same woman as wife. It is mastered in high definition and digitally restored from an original 35mm nitrate print in the collection of George Eastman House.
Flicker Alley's Blu-ray release also contains six extraordinary bonus films:
Nanook Revisited (Saumialuk) by Claude Massot, made in the same locations used by Flaherty, shows how Inuit life changed in the intervening decades (it s not that different from ours), how Flaherty consciously depicted a culture which was then already vanishing, and how Nanook is used today to teach the Inuit their heritage. Nanook Revisited was produced in 1988 on standard definition video for French television.
Houses of the Arctic (1928) is the igloo-building sequence of Nanook re-edited and re-titled as an educational film
Arctic Hunt (1913) and extended excerpts from Primitive Love (1927) are by Arctic explorer Frank E. Kleinschmidt
Eskimo Hunters of Northwest Alaska (1949) by Louis de Rochemont shows many activities seen in Nanook thirty years after, and Face of the High Arctic (1959) depicts the ecology of the region.
As happy as I am that Flicker is diving into blu with so many cool titles that others wouldn't touch in HD... I have to admit that they really need to look at their pricing. I've been looking to get This Is Cinerama since it was announced, but I've yet to find a reasonable price.
At $45 retail, I suspect I'll be waiting a while for this one too.
To be fair, the MSRP on this isn't that ridiculous, it's just that retailers don't often mark down titles from companies like these for whatever reason. For an example, just look at the retail price on stuff at the top of the page, like House at the End of the Street for $39.99 (of course it's being offered at 50% off on Amazon).