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DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES • New, restored digital transfer, approved by director Ken Loach and director of photography Chris Menges, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition • 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 feature directed by Loach and produced by Garnett, with an introduction by film writer Graham Fuller • Original theatrical trailer • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by Fuller
Like Tom Courtenay in Tony Richardson's The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Billy isn't a good kid, but the other lads are no better, and Kes brings out his best. If his stern principal and sadistic coach push him around, an English teacher encourages his passion, but when Billy crosses Jud, he risks losing the only thing that gives his life meaning. Though the flute-intensive score attempts to soften the scenario, the dialogue is astringent, the accents are authentic, and self-sabotaging Billy will break your heart.
Criterion's two-disc set offers the ideal counterpart in Cathy Come Home, which critic Graham Fuller describes in the afterword as "a watershed moment in British television drama." In this contribution to the BBC's Wednesday Play series, Loach introduces a Birmingham couple who end up homeless after a series of setbacks. By incorporating actual interviews, he creates a stirring documentary effect. Other supplements include an insightful South Bank Show profile, in which he discusses his working methods, and a featurette with Loach, Bradley, cinematographer Chris Menges, and producer Tony Garnett, who reveals that Kes owes its very existence to Richardson, who saved the day after funding fell through. --Kathleen C. Fennessy