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'Midnight Express' Gets 30th Anniversary Edition

16 Jan, 2008 By: Billy Gil

Midnight Express

Movies with plot lines ripped from the headlines are as popular as ever, with films such as Michael Clayton and Lions for Lambs. It's a return to the firebrand filmmaking of the 1970s and the likes of films such as All the President's Men.

One of those early political thrillers is turning 30 this year, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will celebrate the film with a new DVD release: Midnight Express. This 30th anniversary edition streets Feb. 5 at $19.94.

Alan Parker, who directed the film from an adapted screenplay by Oliver Stone, said his story about a young American named Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) caught trying to smuggle hashish at the Turkish border still holds relevance today.

“There are still disparate judicial and prison systems around the world — very different to America — and the same difficulties that beset Billy Hayes could still happen,” Parker said. “[And] the themes about alienation and never giving up hope [are] still relevant.”

The DVD will include featurettes from the producers, one on the production, another on the finished film; a commentary track with Parker; a photo gallery; and a photo booklet and essay from Parker's on-set experiences.

“Sony was particularly helpful in allowing me to re-grade the film and do a new 5.1 sound mix, so this version should look and sound as good, if not better, than the original,” Parker said. “I think people will enjoy the new documentary on the making of the film with contributions from myself, Oliver Stone, David Puttnam, John Hurt and Peter Guber, etc.

“I have also written a 7,000-word ‘memoir' on the making of the film which accompanies the DVD — this, hopefully, is the definitive making-of and an extremely thorough recounting of exactly how the film evolved and was made.”

Upcoming Political Thrillers:

  • Right at Your Door. Lionsgate. 2006. Starring Mary McCormack. Streeting 1/29.
  • Crimson Tide (Blu-ray Disc). Disney. 1995. Starring Denzel Washington. Streeting 2/5.
  • Michael Clayton. Warner. 2007. Starring George Clooney. Streeting 2/19.
  • Rendition. New Line. 2007. Starring Reese Witherspoon. Streeting 2/19.
  • Redacted. Magnolia. 2007. Directed by Brian De Palma. Streeting 2/19. Prebook 1/22.
  • Southland Tales. Sony Pictures. 2007. Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Streeting 3/18. Prebook 2/14.
  • Surveillance 24/7. Wolfe. 2007. Starring Tom Harper. Streeting 3/4.
  • The Walker. ThinkFilm. 2007. Starring Woody Harrelson. Streeting 4/22. Prebook 3/27.

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