We here at Milestone are excited to welcome you to our first EVER Blu-Ray release! After spending several years collecting an amazing array of bonus features for the digital premiere of On the Bowery: The Lionel Rogosin Collection Volume 1 (including never-before-released films and a new introduction by Martin Scorsese) we decided that we couldn't resist releasing this gorgeous package in both DVD and Blu-Ray packages! Timed to coincide with the theatrical premiere of Rogosin’s Come Back Africa, these deluxe two-disc sets promise to be among the most powerful and important releases of 2012!
For songwriter Woody Guthrie, his guitar was a machine that “kills fascists.” For Rogosin, the weapon of choice was a movie camera, and his first battle was waged on the streets of New York City. Exploring the underworld of the city’s skid row, Rogosin developed his signature style. After months drinking with men he met on the Bowery, he worked with his buddies to write a screenplay that reflected their lives—and then cast them as themselves.
This technique of making films “from the inside” allowed Rogosin to film ordinary people caught up in universal problems. His films explored alcoholism, homelessness, racial discrimination, war, labor conflict, and poverty with great compassion and honesty.
On the Bowery chronicles three days in the drinking life of Ray Salyer, a part-time railroad worker adrift on New York’s skid row. When the film opened it 1956, it exploded on the screen, burning away years of Hollywood artifice, jump-starting the post-war American independent film movement and earning an Oscar nomination. Now gloriously restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, On the Bowery is both an incredible document of a bygone era and a vivid and devastating portrait of addiction that resonates today just as it did when it was made.
Good Times, Wonderful Times was Rogosin’s powerful response to militarism and fascism. For two years, the filmmaker traveled to twelve countries, amassing footage of war atrocities from national archives. He then interspersed these harrowing images with scenes of a London cocktail party’s inane chatter. The juxtaposition satirizes the tragic irresponsibility of modern man and the heroics of war. Good Times, Wonderful Times, released at the height of the Vietnam conflict, became one of the great antiwar films of the era. Although previously released on DVD overseas, this is the first version with the proper captions and subtitles as seen on the original prints. For these two titles, the director's son, Michael Rogosin, has created critically-acclaimed documentaries on the making of each movie. Moving and fascinating films in themselves, they contain many rare interviews and stories.
Never before released in the US, Out was a documentary made by Rogosin for the United Nations. It tells the plight of Hungarian refugees fleeing to Austria in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. It comes courtesy of the United Nations Multimedia Resources Unit.