New Release: Kes DVD and Blu-ray

A bird holds the key in Ken Loach's Kes (1969).

Kes, the 1969 film by Ken Loach (Hidden Agenda) that was named by the British Film Institute as one of the 10 best British films of the century, arrived on DVD and Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection on April 19, 2011.

The deceptively simply story focuses on Billy (David Bradley, Zulu Dawn), a 15-year-old miner’s son whose close bond with a wild kestrel provides him with a spiritual escape from his dead-end life.

British cinema’s quintessential portrait of working class Northern England, the coming-of-age drama movie established the sociopolitical engagement and artistic brilliance of its filmmaker and pushed the British “angry young man” film of the 1960s into a new realm of authenticity, using real locations and nonprofessional actors (something for which Loach would become known for over the course of his still-active career).

The Criterion Blu-ray and DVD editions of the film feature a new, restored digital transfer of the film, approved by director Ken Loach and director of photography Chris Menges, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

Both also include the following special features:

  • Making Kes, a new documentary featuring Loach, Menges, producer Tony
    Garnett and actor David Bradley
  • The Southbank Show: “Ken Loach” (1993), a profile of the filmmaker, featuring Loach, Garnett, directors Stephen Frears and Alan Parker, and other Loach collaborators
  • Cathy Come Home (1967), a movie directed by Loach and produced by Garnett, with an introduction by film writer Graham Fuller
  • original theatrical trailer
  • booklet featuring an essay by Fuller

The Blu-ray and DVD discs carry the list prices of $39.95 and $29.95, respectively.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.