It’s been 27 years since Bruce Robinson gave us the story of an unnamed protagonist and his hard-drinking, hard-living, incredibly prissy roommate and friend, two actors on the dole in 1969 London, entitled Withnail & I, but in nearly three decades, the highly quotable, meandering comedy continues to entertain. This is why we’re particularly excited to hear about the new HD restoration and special edition Blu-ray/DVD box set coming out from UK’s Arrow Films, along with a theatrical re-release and a VOD first-time-release.
For those who don’t know (and we’re not here to judge, merely educate), Withnail & I stars Richard E. Grant as Withnail and Paul McGann as & I (also known as Marwood, though never onscreen), two out-of-work but clearly very full of themselves actors who live in squalor, are friends with drug dealers and sexual deviants, and drink alcohol like they’ve been in the Sahara Desert for a year. Withnail is the embodiment of every bad influence and good-for-nothing roommate everybody has had at one time or another, and would be incredibly aggravating if he weren’t so darned likable for some reason. Have a peak at the restoration trailer to get a better idea.
Now, there’s no word yet if this restoration will be available in North America at all, or if the Criterion Collection, who has the rights to Withnail & I will be doing a special edition of their own, but if they port over even half of the features on Arrow’s 4-disc set, we’ll be in wine-fueled heaven. Have a look at the current list of features:
New 2K restoration of WITHNAIL and I from the original camera negative, supervised and approved by director of photography Peter Hannan
Bruce Robinson s follow-up feature, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, newly transferred from original film elements and approved by director of photography Peter Hannan
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD Presentation of both films
Original uncompressed mono 1.0 PCM audio for both films
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Audio commentary by writer-director Bruce Robinson
Audio commentary by critic and writer Kevin Jackson, author of the BFI Modern Classic on WITHNAIL and I
All four original Withnail Weekend documentaries, first screened on Channel 4 in 1999, including The Peculiar Memories of Bruce Robinson, which looks at the director s career, Withnail & Us, which focuses on the film’s making, and two shorter documentaries, I Demand to Have Some Booze and Withnail on the Pier
Newly filmed interviews with key members of WITHNAIL and I‘s behind-the-scenes team (TBC)
Theatrical trailers for both films
Exclusive limited edition hardback book packaging (2,000 copies) containing new writing on the films, reprints of key articles on WITHNAIL and I, deleted scenes and more across 200 pages, illustrated with original production stills.
More to be announced!
Those are some impressive things to be sure. Come on, Criterion! Let’s get ourselves a Region A release!