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Monday, April 25, 2016

"THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI" -- Olive Films Releases Ahead-of-its-Time Classic

Olive Films Releases Ahead-of-its-Time Classic and Restores Soundtrack of Beloved Film to its Theatrical Version

Chicago, IL – Olive Films, a boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, and classic films to DVD and Blu-ray, is excited to announce that May 24th will be the Blu-ray debut of 10 films, including Albert Lewin’s ahead-of-its time classic The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1946) and French Postcards (1979) with its long-awaited theatrical soundtrack restored.

“Albert Lewin was a phenomenal intellectual director, and The Private Affairs of Bel Ami reflects that.,” said Alex Kopecky of Olive Films. “We’re proud to bring such a revered and complex film to Blu-ray, so that cinephiles everywhere can continue to enjoy it.”


Director Albert Lewin is often cited as one of the earliest intellectual directors in Hollywood, spending most of his young adulthood as an English academic. As one might expect, his films were often grossly misunderstood and underappreciated in their time.  Perhaps the best example of this is his 1946 drama The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, adapted from Guy de Maupassant’s novel and starring George Sanders and Angela Lansbury. It received near-unanimous negative reviews at its release, most notably from Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, but it is now widely praised by cinephiles. The film echoes many of the recurring themes in the director's work: artists at war with themselves, harmful obsessions, and a fusion of baroque and surreal styles.

Lewin’s fascination with aesthetics famously manifests itself in The Private Affairs of Bel Ami with a single Technicolor shot juxtaposed against the rest of the film’s black and white. The Technicolor shot in question is of Max Ernst’s grotesque and disturbing The Temptation of St. Anthony. To find this painting, producers held a contest called the Bel Ami International Art Competition in which 11 artists including Salvador Dalí, Leonara Carrington, Eugene Berman, and Dorothea Tanning participated. They each submitted their version of the often-painted story of St. Anthony, which itself reflects the film’s themes. A jury selected Max Ernst’s, and its presence in the film has gone down in film history as incredibly jarring and powerful.


Fans of the film French Postcards have long been waiting for a DVD or Blu-ray of the film that includes the theatrical version’s beloved soundtrack. Rather than the replacement songs dubbed in for previous releases, Olive Films’ edition features the French language versions of pop songs such as “Do You Believe in Magic” that are integral to the film’s nostalgic atmosphere.

French Postcards was directed by Willard Huyck (Howard the Duck) from a screenplay by Huyck and Gloria Katz (American Graffiti) and stars an ensemble of Miles Chapin, Debra Winger, Valerie Quennessen, Blanche Baker, David Marshall Grant, Marie-France Pisier, and Jean Rochefort.

Other Olive Films April Titles

Blu-ray and DVD debut of Rich Kids (1979), directed by Robert M. Young, starring Trini Alvarado, Jeremy Levy, John Lithgow, Olympia Dukakis, Paul Dooley, David Selby, and Terry Kiser.

Blu-ray debut of Zapped! (1982), directed by Robert J. Rosenthal and starring Scott Baio, Willie Aames, Scatman Crothers, Robert Mandan, Heather Thomas, and Felice Schachter.

Legend of the Lost (1957), directed by Henry Hathaway and starring John Wayne, Sophia Loren, and Rossano Brazzi.

Blu-ray debut of The King and Four Queens (1956), directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Clark Gable, Jo Van Fleet, Eleanor Parker, Jean Willes, Barbara Nichols, and Sara Shane.

Blu-ray debut of Iphigenia (1977), directed by Michael Cacoyannis and starring Irene Pappas, Costa Kazakos, and Tatiana Papamoskou.

Blu-ray debut of The Sum of Us (1994), directed by Geoff Burton and Kevin Dowling and starring Russell Crowe, Jack Thompson, Deborah Kennedy, and John Polson.

Blu-ray debut of The Whoopee Boys (1986), directed by John Byrum and starring Michael O'Keefe, Paul Rodriguez, Denholm Elliott, Carole Shelley, Dan O'Herlihy, Eddie Deezen, and Marsha Warfield.

Blu-ray debut of Agent Cody Banks (2003), directed by Harald Zwart and starring Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, Angie Harmon, and Ian McShane.

Blu-ray debut of Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004), directed by Kevin Allen and starring Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Hannah Spearritt, Keith David, and Cynthia Stevenson.

About Olive Films

 Olive Films is a Chicago-based boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, documentary, and classic films to life. Its catalog boasts over 500 titles ranging from Hollywood classics to contemporary titles. More information about Olive Films may be found at


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