155 Secret Ceremony

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MichaelB
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155 Secret Ceremony

#1 Post by MichaelB » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:01 am

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SECRET CEREMONY
(Joseph Losey, 1968)


Release date: 18 November 2019
Limited Blu-ray Edition (World Blu-ray premiere) - pre-order

Joseph Losey’s lurid and often misunderstood drama stars the great Elizabeth Taylor (Suddenly, Last Summer) as an ageing London prostitute who befriends a young woman (Mia Farrow, See No Evil) that reminds her of her long-dead daughter. As the bizarre relationship between the two evolves, the appearance of Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear), as Farrow’s abusive stepfather, ignites deep emotions and dark passions.

With its exquisite production design, stylish cinematography and elegant score, Joseph Losey’s lost masterpiece finally makes its long-overdue premiere on Blu-ray.

INDICATOR LIMITED BLU-RAY EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:

• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• Audio commentary with authors and critics Dean Brandum and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (2019)
• Interview with Joseph Losey (1968): the celebrated director promotes Secret Ceremony in this archival interview from French TV
• The Beholder’s Share (2019): interview with filmmaker Gavrik Losey, son of director Joseph Losey
• Original theatrical trailer
• Trailer commentary (2015): short critical appreciation by Larry Karaszewski
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet containing a newly commissioned essay by Neil Sinyard, archival interviews, historic articles, an overview of contemporary critical responses and full film credits
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited edition of 3,000 copies
• All extras subject to change

#PHILTD155
BBFC cert: 15
REGION B
EAN: 5037899084038

alacal2
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#2 Post by alacal2 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:03 am

"Lost masterpiece". I've never seen this (which probably explains the 'lost' bit) but is this just hyperbole from Indicator or a genuine discovery?

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domino harvey
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#3 Post by domino harvey » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:48 am

It’s a weird movie, as you might surmise from the cast and description (though once more Indicator leaves out a huge and memorable element of the film’s narrative from their description), and one well worth seeing, but I think few would dispute that “masterpiece” is pushing it.

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zedz
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#4 Post by zedz » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:18 pm

Yeah, it's a weird movie with big stars in it. I think that in most cases "lost masterpiece" is marketing speak for "could have been a cult movie but for some reason never became a cult movie," and this fits that bill.

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david hare
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#5 Post by david hare » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:31 pm

I would have called it a major and a great late Losey but that's just me I guess. I think it ranks easily with say M. Klein and Assassination of Trotsky, and is infinitely superior to say The Go Between. Indeed I would put it in his best ten category.

After the excesses of Liz (and everyone else) in the insufferable campfest of Boom, he gets her right back under control and she gives the kind of shaded performance she used to be able to do. MIa is Mad Mia (comme toujours) and this is the movie that had the line from MItchum that got the film heavily censored by Australian censors in 1968: "Make the noise for me Cenci... you know, there's fathers diddling their daughters all over the Australian bush,"

The resonances from today, with Mad MIa playing her Woody child molester schtick are impossible to miss. You can track her pscychosis back through her filmography.

I shouldn't be surprised but I always am when the sheer lapse of time seems to simply erase so many great movies from view and a whole generation (or two) have just never seen them. It's called getting old.

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knives
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#6 Post by knives » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:20 pm

It's honestly one of my all time favorites and easily my favorite Losey. It's bizarre in just the way that's catnip for me.

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Ovader
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#7 Post by Ovader » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:43 pm

I was informed there are two versions which are the original theatrical release "monkeyed with" and the restored version now in circulation. Safe to assume the restored version is presented on this blu-ray edition?

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Dylan
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#8 Post by Dylan » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:59 pm

Several years ago I got really into Joseph Losey and saw everything I could get my hands on, including this. Losey directed many different kinds of films, and this falls under the distinctive "weird Losey" category with Boom!, These Are the Damned, and Modesty Blaise, and like all of those it's quite excellent in its own unique way.

Regarding the alternate version, this is from the Secret Ceremony trivia page on IMDB:
When the film aired on NBC several years later, it was not only heavily edited to sanitize some of the seamier sexual suggestions but also included newly shot footage (none involving any of the actors who appeared in the actual film: Michael Tolan. Paul Rogers), including a prologue and epilogue in which a psychiatrist character discussed the characters' failings and attempted to explain away the truncated film's many plot holes. Among other major changes was the profession of Elizabeth Taylor's character, who somehow morphed from a prostitute in the theatrical release to a wig model in the TV version.
I vaguely recall reading an interview where Losey said that he had nothing to do with the TV cut and that it was a Universal TV director who was hired to make the changes, but I can't locate my source for this at the moment.

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domino harvey
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#9 Post by domino harvey » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:07 pm

"Wig model" is too good, that's now canon as far as I'm concerned

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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#10 Post by KJones77 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:20 pm

Dylan wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:59 pm
Several years ago I got really into Joseph Losey and saw everything I could get my hands on, including this. Losey directed many different kinds of films, and this falls under the distinctive "weird Losey" category with Boom!, These Are the Damned, and Modesty Blaise, and like all of those it's quite excellent in its own unique way.
Ha, funny you mentioned that. I'm currently going through a Losey phase myself. As of July, I'd never seen one of his films but I've now seen 8 (The Prowler, Time Without Pity, The Criminal, Eva, The Damned, King and Country, Modesty Blaise, and Boom!). Next up, I can stream The Big Night, The Sleeping Tiger, Accident, The Romantic Englishwoman, and The Trout, while I've pre-ordered this release of Secret Ceremony and Studio Canal's The Go-Between.

He is such a fun director to explore. So eclectic as you said - even when exploring similar themes - and the films tend to be great (or, at the very least, interesting) as well.

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Dylan
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#11 Post by Dylan » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:29 pm

KJones77 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:20 pm
Ha, funny you mentioned that. I'm currently going through a Losey phase myself. As of July, I'd never seen one of his films but I've now seen 8 (The Prowler, Time Without Pity, The Criminal, Eva, The Damned, King and Country, Modesty Blaise, and Boom!). Next up, I can stream The Big Night, The Sleeping Tiger, Accident, The Romantic Englishwoman, and The Trout, while I've pre-ordered this release of Secret Ceremony and Studio Canal's The Go-Between.

He is such a fun director to explore. So eclectic as you said - even when exploring similar themes - and the films tend to be great (or, at the very least, interesting) as well.
That's awesome. Yes, Losey's cinema is wonderfully eclectic and exciting. I had a blast going through his filmography. You have some great Losey ahead of you, but I must recommend my favorite which you have not mentioned, The Servant, which in addition to being my favorite Losey is also one of my all-time favorite films.

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knives
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#12 Post by knives » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:04 am

That old English boxset is a great resource featuring as well Mr. Klein which I'd label one of his best. There's a decent edition of his first feature. The Boy with Green Hair, as well that's worth seeking out.

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MichaelB
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#13 Post by MichaelB » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:36 am

Dylan wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:59 pm
Regarding the alternate version, this is from the Secret Ceremony trivia page on IMDB:
When the film aired on NBC several years later, it was not only heavily edited to sanitize some of the seamier sexual suggestions but also included newly shot footage (none involving any of the actors who appeared in the actual film: Michael Tolan. Paul Rogers), including a prologue and epilogue in which a psychiatrist character discussed the characters' failings and attempted to explain away the truncated film's many plot holes. Among other major changes was the profession of Elizabeth Taylor's character, who somehow morphed from a prostitute in the theatrical release to a wig model in the TV version.
I vaguely recall reading an interview where Losey said that he had nothing to do with the TV cut and that it was a Universal TV director who was hired to make the changes, but I can't locate my source for this at the moment.
I didn't want to say anything until I'd witnessed it with my own eyes on the actual disc encode, but I'm delighted to confirm that the Indicator edition will include the prologue and epilogue of the TV version - newly scanned in HD from Universal's film master.

And yes, this material is pretty jaw-dropping. The wig-model rewrite is particularly amusing if you're already familiar with the Losey version, because its motives are so utterly transparent.

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david hare
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#14 Post by david hare » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:12 pm

That “version” screened on Oz TV as well. This was after the indignity visited upon the theatrical release there in 1968, from which the censorship board cut around three minutes. Most of the cuts were the footage of Farrow with Bob Mitchum.

I hope the new disc restores the film to critical reputation. Apart from being a major Losey it was probably the last good performance anyone obtained from Liz Taylor, along with her snarling wife in Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye.

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MichaelB
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Re: 155 Secret Ceremony

#15 Post by MichaelB » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:06 pm

Final specs:

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