Friday, 10 April 2015

Aaaaaaaah!


Written/directed by Steve Oram 
starring Julian Barratt, Toyah Willcox, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Steve Oram, Noel Fielding
 Soundtrack by King Crimson ProjeKcts 

 COMING SOON

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Sandy Whitelaw, RIP















We were very sorry to hear of the death on Friday of Sandy Whitelaw, who directed the Mondo release Lifespan.

I was first introduced to Sandy via a mutual friend, the documentary film maker David Thompson. I phoned Sandy in Paris, where he lived, and he immediately insisted I give him my number and he would call me back. “People tell me I talk a lot,” he said, in his dry, American voice. “So probably best if I pay.”

Indeed. I think we were on the phone that first time for well over an hour. And I soon became used to these marathon calls. I both dreaded and adored them. Dreaded, because if you had anything else to do, you might as well forget about it, and adored, because I always learned so much and was so enormously entertained by talking to Sandy. After the call was over I felt like I’d had a thorough course of mental calisthenics. Sandy was always bubbling over with ideas, theories, scabrous tales about the great and the not so good – names that had figured in his life in some way, like Mick Jagger, Jane Fonda, Polanski, Grace Kelly. There didn’t seem to be any important event or iconic figure of the last 50 years that Sandy didn’t have some personal link with or insight into. He was the original “six degrees of separation” man. Although with him it was more like one or two degrees. I remember after we first discussed Lifespan he had obviously checked out our website and said to me later: “Oh, I see you released a film produced by Luciano Ercoli” - it was Death Walks at Midnight. “Yes,” I said. “Do you know him?” “Oh, not really, Sandy replied. “We sang together in a blues band in London in the late 50s.” That was the kind of intriguing nugget he was prone to casually toss one’s way.

Although we talked a lot over the years, I actually learned very little about his life. He would drip feed you information and there were things he didn’t talk about but only alluded to. I always felt that details would follow and there would always be time to ask him again. But now time has run out. And we’re left with what we have and must join the dots to create some kind of a portrait.

He was born in 1930 (or was in 1925?? – another mystery) and I know his father
was a Scottish career soldier. Sandy attended Harvard and later worked for David O Selznick, the famous Hollywood producer of Gone With the Wind. Sandy’s command of five languages and his wide ranging cultural and artistic connections made him an ideal assistant for someone like Selznick who had a definite Euro-centric and old world leaning. Sandy became a producer and later Head of United Artists in Europe, living in Paris. He worked on a number of big budget productions, including Taras Bulba, Reflections in a Golden Eye and Night of the Iguana.


His restless mind and devilish sense of fun made him an unlikely Studio Executive. I remember him telling me a story about Gucci loafers – slip-on shoes favoured by wannabe hip US execs back in the day. When a group of them visited him in Italy, their main concern was finding out where they could buy the much coveted loafers at a bargain price, as they were expensive in Los Angeles. Sandy took them to a seedy location in the commercial district of Rome and waited as they greedily fingered the display of white leather shoes. It was the time of the Brigado Rosso, murderous freedom fighters, and as he watched the execs at play, Sandy had a fantasy of the armed urban guerrillas cordoning off the street and weeding out anyone wearing the thoroughly bourgeois Gucci footwear before taking them off for summary execution.

The loafers made a dramatic re-appearance at a crucial moment in Lifespan, his first film.

Sandy’s second film as a director came a mere twenty two years after Lifespan. Vicious Circles was not widely seen, and is a an eccentric work. But it’s packed full of fascinating details and original ideas. Perhaps he was just too individualistic and too little fond of compromise to make it as a commercial film maker, but the two titles that bear his name reward repeat viewings. I’ve not seen Venus, the film that he directed pseudonymously, but I assume he had a reason for keeping his name off it.

Since 1975 he had “fallen accidentally” (his words) into a second career as a script translator and subtitler of many prestigious films from French into English. He worked on more than a thousand scripts. This had led to his third career, as actor in films such as The American Friend, Lady Oscar and The Beat that My Heart Skipped, where he has a small but key role as Mr Fox, the agent who auditions the piano playing protagonist.



















In recent years, Sandy was still talking about making another film. He sent me a long treatment for it, on strict promise of keeping it to myself. “Loose lips sink ships,” he reminded me. I loved it of course and pleaded with him to write it as a novel, just in case the film didn’t happen. Well, he didn’t and it didn’t. The film was to be called Time to Go and told the story of a young American who comes to Europe in search of his “biodad”, Sam Whitman . Who turns out to be a former film producer and director of “not cult movies, collectors’ movies”. Sam is quizzed over his various celebrity love afairs. “Three month mercy fucks” he calls them. And he’s been hounded by biographers in search of anecdotes on Jane Fonda, Natalie Wood, Ava Gardner, Warren Beatty…

“You had an affair with Warren Beatty?! Was he bi ?” the excited visitor asks him.

“If he was, it’s news to me…,” replies Sam. “We’ll tackle that later…”

The “we’ll tackle that later…” dropped in at the end is typical Sandy. Now there is no later, and we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got. Let’s be thankful for that, at least. For a man fascinated by immortality (it was the subject of Lifespan) Sandy put in a pretty good effort, but I suspect his lasting legacy will be the influence he had on the many people who knew and loved him and who will find him a hard, if not impossible, act to follow.

Pete Tombs


Monday, 26 January 2015

THE FAN: Red Case Limited Edition Pre-Sale!



                  







  





BUY IT NOW

Pre-sale runs through Feb. 8th. Copies will be mailed out around the week of the 16th.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Our Release of Eckhart Schmidt's THE FAN on BD and DVD

We will be issuing this incredible 80s arthouse thriller soon, so here's everything you need to know right now about the two different versions we'll have available.

In February we'll put out a BD-only version in a red case, limited to only 500 copies, numbered, and sold exclusively through the MM website, $25.

The following month will see a widely distributed BD/DVD combo, which will itself be limited to either 1500 or 2000 copies, SRP $29.99.
The content of the two editions will be exactly the same, the only difference being the packaging.

If you are interested in this release and want to see more MM blu rays, I urge you to buy the direct-sale limited version. We will be doing this for all our BD releases, trying to offset the huge costs involved. Thanks!

The pre-order date for the LE will be Jan. 26th. Keep an eye out here or at our Facebook page for more details in the coming weeks.

Oh, and yes, we will ship international.


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

MONDO 2015

Just a few things to look forward to in the new year.

THE ONLINE STORE 

First off, we are setting up a new online store that will supply backlist but also lots of new, exclusive offers. Watch this space for more info as it becomes available.

The first of the new lines will be red box releases of Blu Rays, starting with The Fan in February. This will be limited to 500 numbered copies. We’ll be giving more details later when we have them. The Fan will also be available as a retail Blu Ray/DVD combo on March 10th, a few weeks after the red box version goes on the website.

 Later in the year there’ll be a red box exclusive of Girl Slaves of Morgana le Fay. This will be limited to 666 numbered copies and will have a totally different sleeve design from the DVD release. More info when we have it.





NEW TITLES 

Other new titles for 2015 include The Spider (Zirneklis), an amazing sex/horror film from Latvia. Yup, you read that right – LATVIA! It’s a really great film that we think will surprise a lot of people.



We’re also going Greek with a new line of Hellenic exploitation goodies. The first two releases will be Tango of Perversion and The Wife Killer.

Tango is a really great exploitation gem from 1973. It’s got everything that you would expect from that vintage: masses of politically incorrect behaviour, dollops of sleaze, naked scenes galore, drugs, voyeurism, necrophilia, even a little bit of Greek psych-rock. In fact… is there anything this film hasn’t got?

The Wife Killer – the Greek title was the much less queasy Crime in Kavouri – was originally released in the US in 1976 as Rape Killer. We’ll probably avoid that title for obvious reasons…

 The film is very close in style to the Italian giallo thrillers of the 70s and is another Hellenic exploitation gem. It has the same male lead as Tango – the wonderful Larry Daniels, known to his mother as Lakis Komninos and still active in Greek film and theatre to this day.



All three of the above will be brand new telecines and in the case of the Greek films, in English and Greek language dubs.

Burn, Baby Burn!

Finally, we’ll be putting out a very limited number of backlist titles as burns. This is just to satisfy the small trickle of orders we get for titles that are about to run out of license. More info on actual titles when they are available. But these will be very small numbers, less than 100. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. That’s it, folks!

Have happy hols and see you in 2015. Thanks for all your interest and support and please let us know your thoughts or comments on any of the above. We’re here to listen.