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Preview: The Unknown Man of Shandigor (Bluray)

Deaf Crocodile Films is proud to announce the upcoming release, for the first time ever on Blu-ray in the U.S., of Swiss director Jean-Louis Roy’s long-unseen 60s Cold War super-spy thriller THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR (L’INCONNU DE SHANDIGOR, 1967), starring legendary French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and famed Chilean cult actor Daniel Emilfork. Pre-sales will launch on January 1, 2022, to be followed by a digital and streaming release several weeks after in collaboration with Grasshopper Films.

Recently restored in 4K from the camera negative by the Cinémathèque suisse, the visually stunning THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR originally screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1967. The upcoming Blu-ray features new interviews with the director’s wife Francoise Roy and 1st assistant director on the film Michel Schopfer, along with an ultra-rare 1967 Swiss TV “making of” documentary featuring the director and behind-the-scenes footage, and new artwork by acclaimed illustrator Tony Stella.

THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR (1967, 90 min.) is a marvellous and surreal hall of mirrors, part-DR. STRANGELOVE, part-ALPHAVILLE, with sly nods to British TV shows like “THE AVENGERS” and “DOCTOR WHO.” The film stars a who’s who of great 60s European character actors starting with the unforgettable Daniel Emilfork (THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE) as crazed scientist Herbert Von Krantz, who’s invented a device to “sterilize” all nuclear weapons. A mad herd of rival spies are desperate to get their hands on the device, including legendary French singer Serge Gainsbourg as the leader of a sect of bald, turtleneck-wearing assassins, and Jess Franco veteran Howard Vernon (THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF).  Gainsbourg’s deranged jazz-lounge song, “Bye Bye Mr. Spy”— performed by him on funeral parlor organ, no less— is arguably the film’s high point. “An accomplished spy is at the same time psychologist, artist, funambulist, conjurer,” to quote one of the film’s characters, and the same could be said of Roy’s exotic camera obscura of B&W Cold War paranoia. (In Swiss French with English subtitles.)

BLU-RAY BONUS FEATURES

• New 4K Restoration from the original 35mm picture and sound elements by Cinémathèque suisse with additional digital restoration by Craig Rogers of Deaf Crocodile

• New Commentary by film journalist Samm Deighan (Diabolique magazine, Daughters of Darkness podcast)

• New Booklet essay by filmmaker, punk musician and poet, and genre expert Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters; author of Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film)

• New interview with Francoise Roy, wife of director Jean-Louis Roy, and Michel Schopfer, first assistant director on THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR (17 min., in Swiss French with English subtitles)

• Ultra- rare 1967 “making of” documentary from Swiss TV’s “Cinema VIF” show, featuring interviews with director Jean-Louis Roy, cast members Daniel Emilfork, Jacques Dufilho, and Marie-France Boyer, and behind-the-scenes footage (28 min., in Swiss French with English subtitles)

• Restored original trailer (4 min., in French with English subtitles)

• Blu-ray encoding and authoring by David Mackenzie/Fidelity in Motion

• New art by Tony Stella

“Our father was always fascinated by the United States and the creativity of its artists. Their influence on him was significant. Besides the genius of directors such as Alfred Hitchcock or Orson Welles, he was also captivated by the American society, so different in some ways from old Europe,” states the director’s son, Michael Roy. “Deaf Crocodile Films can’t do a better tribute to him than to distribute THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR in America… and around the world!”

Christian Roy, son of the director, continues “With THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR and its strange atmosphere in the dark, my father taught me a lot about cinema, but also about life. I am happy that this film, 55 years after its release, still arouses interest. It is a nice reward for all the passion, as well as all the efforts that were necessary to make this work exist.”

“THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR has been high on my wish list of films to re-release for many years,” says Deaf Crocodile Co-Founder and Head of Acquisitions & Distribution Dennis Bartok. “It took nearly five years to locate and negotiate the rights for the  film, and I’m thrilled we’re able to present it in such a beautiful edition with new interviews and artwork and rare archival material.”

Craig Rogers, Co-Founder and Head of Restoration for Deaf Crocodile, added on the deal, “The Cinémathèque suisse preservation provided us with a spectacular source element to use for our final digital restoration work. THE UNKNOWN MAN OF SHANDIGOR’s stunning locations and cinematography have never looked so good. 60s spy style at the highest level!”

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