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Frank Sidebottom The Home of the Retrospective


On this page we take a look at the best independent Blu Ray / DVD labels on the UK market. The releases from these companies can usually be relied upon to treat cult and classic movies with respect, including superb audiovisual restorations, collectable packaging numerous weighty special features.
Powerhouse Films Indicator Logo
Indicator is a Blu Ray and DVD label run by London-based film distributor Powerhouse Films Ltd. They are the most recent entrant into the UK market (having started releasing in 2016) and are already arguably the most consistently strong in their choice of titles, quality of restorations and selections of special features.

They tend to release old favourites and cult classics from the 1940s to 1980s, with an emphasis of thrillers, horror films and social dramas - typically from well-respected directors such as Brian De Palma, Orson Welles, John Huston and Otto Preminger.

The packages are attractively-designed with front covers featuring original poster artwork and a distinctive "spectrum" motif. Each comes with an enclosed booklet featuring a range of literate essays, photographs of original promotional material and much more. Perhaps the finest of their recent releases is the limited edition Sinbad Trilogy box set, compiling all three of Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad films along with an incredible wealth of special features.

As of October 2017, they are switching from Dual Format to Blu Ray only releases.
Arrow Video Logo
Arrow Video and its sister label Arrow Academy are the Blu Ray/DVD labels of Hertfordshire-based movie distributor Arrow Films, which was established in 1991. The Guardian newspaper has listed them as UK home video distributor of the year on two occasions: in 2011 and 2013. In 2015 they also entered the US market.

Arrow Video focuses on cult genre classics, usually from the 1960s to 1980s. These have included such titles as Blood and Black Lace, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Lifeforce and To Live and Die in L.A. The Academy label on the other hand has concentrated on old arthouse and wold cinema favourites such as Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Les Diaboliques and Sidney Lumet's Network.

While the "video nasty era" aesthetics of Arrow Video's cover art have received mixed opinions, most of their releases have reversible sleeves which allow for the option of displaying the original artwork instead. Nowadays the films often sport pristine and ravishingly colourful 4K restorations, glossy enclosed booklets and plenty of entertaining special features to trawl through.
The Criterion Collection Logo
The Criterion Collection is a US-based home video distribution company founded in 1984. They became renowned across the pond for their reverential Blu Ray and DVD releases of well-regarded classics. They expanded to the UK market in 2016.

Their ever-expanding UK range has so far included critically acclaimed films both old (Jacques Tourneur's Cat People) and not so old (Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums). Again, they are impeccably packaged, with lavish booklets and hours of extras - sometimes even including whole movies (their release of Howard Hawks's His Girl Friday came with a copy of the previous 1931 adaptation of The Front Page directed by Lewis Milestone).

One of their most impressive UK releases is The Lone Wolf and Cub Collection, featuring superb 2K restorations of all six of the blood-splattered Japanese Samurai classics along with the English language Shogun Assassin (which melded scenes from the first two films in the series into one straightforward action adventure aimed at the period's grindhouse and video markets) and a number of documentaries.
Eureka! logo
Eureka Entertainment have long been one of the leading independent distributors of Blu Ray and DVD in the UK.

In 2004, they started the Masters of Cinema series: a collection of acclaimed old classics, making them the UK equivalent of The Criterion Collection. Of course, they no longer corner the market as The Criterion Collection has now jumped across the Atlantic, while Arrow Academy and Indicator have also recently been pumping out their own selections of classic movies. However, the series has still amassed an impressive back catalogue of around 300 releases to date.

Eureka have also released a large number of films and TV series under the Eureka Classics monicker, often of a more cult classic than bona-fide classic nature. Examples have included the Golan-Globus Ninja Trilogy, Fright Night and Franklin Schaffner's The War Lord.
Second Sight logo
Second Sight Films have been going since 2004, and since then have released an extensive range of films and TV series veering from classics to cult favourites.

They specialise in Limited Edition Steelbooks, but also have plenty of standard editions of reliable quality in their back catalogue. For great releases ranging from Re-Animator to Absolute Beginners, they're well worth checking out.

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