Newly and meticulously restored and remastered to a modern, 4K resolution, digital standard, the iconic Ealing Studios black comedy will receive a limited cinema release from Friday 23rd October.
Archive owner STUDIOCANAL has returned to director Alexander Mackendrick original three-strip Technicolor camera negatives to produce the new remaster, which has been subject to more than 1,000 hours of manual restoration work by specialists.
The restoration means that The Ladykillers will now be available in a higher quality than has been seen since its original theatrical release.
The film will also become the first of any Ealing comedy to be released on UHD Blu-ray (4K resolution). The 5-disc box set is set to include a multi-region 4K Blu-ray, featuring the film at its very highest quality; two region B HD (2K resolution) Blu-rays containing the film at both both 1.37:1 and 1.66:1 aspect ratios; one region 2 DVD copy of the film; and a CD featuring soundtracks from this and a variety of other celebrated Ealing titles.
Regular Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download releases will also be issued on 9th November. It follows Kind Hearts And Coronets in receiving a 4K restoration and cinema re-release, but will be the first available to own in the format.
The company explains: "The Ladykillers follows the hilarious capers of a group of small-time crooks, taking on more they can handle in the form of their sweet, but slightly dotty, elderly landlady Mrs Wilberforce. This group of seedy misfits are planning a security van robbery and rent a room from Mrs Wilberforce in her rickety Victorian house next to King's Cross station from which to base their operation. To conceal their true purpose, they pose as a string quartet, though they cannot play a note and are in fact miming to a recording of Boccherini's Minuet. The gang pull off the robbery but none of them could have predicted that their greatest obstacle to escaping with the loot would be their tiny hostess."
A plethora of extras included on the home entertainment releases include a selection of exclusive artcards; 64-page booklet; stills galleries; a locations featurette; interviews; plus two brand new documentaries exploring the 1955 film's early use of colour, and the the film and its legacy.
STUDIOCANAL say: "As The Ladykillers was the last Technicolor three-strip film shot in the UK, it was crucially important that the original camera negative was used for a restoration that will serve as the best version of the film since its original release. The restoration began with the 4K pin-registered scanning of the original 1950s Technicolor three-strip camera negative. The three strips had to have their colour separations combined to produce the final colour image. One of the biggest issues to overcome was aligning the colour separations together, initially an automated process, but also requiring a huge amount of manual tweaking.
"Manual and automated digital restoration was carried out over the aligned images. The film suffered from a few extreme issues such as blue marks in the middle to right hand side of frame throughout the film that had to be removed, there was significant density fluctuation (flicker) that has been corrected as best as possible on a shot by shot basis. Many shots suffered from instability and some sections also suffered from scratching, the worst being a four-minute section including scratches throughout the sequence with up to eight on screen at a time. In total the film benefitted from over 1,000 hours' worth of 4K digital restoration.
"A 35mm Technicolor print was used as a reference for the colour grade to ensure the new HDR Dolby Vision master stayed true to the film's original 1950s 'Colour by Technicolor' look."
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