One of the most inter­est­ing home video news items thus far in 2013 is the Shout! Factory’s dis­tri­b­u­tion deal with ITV Entertainment, which includes a lot of films from Sir Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment.  A lot of pres­tige pro­duc­tions from this British mogul have lan­guished in poor qual­i­ty edi­tions on home video for many years in the U.S. so this gives American view­ers a new chance to get bet­ter edi­tions.  They just released one of the first titles in this deal with a new blu-ray/DVD set of The Eagle Has Landed — and the results bode well for the future of the Shout/ITV arrange­ment.

The heart of this set is a new high-def­i­n­i­tion trans­fer of the film.  The blu-ray ver­sion was watched for this review and it deliv­ers a crisp, col­or­ful ren­di­tion of the film that has the appro­pri­ate vin­tage-cel­lu­loid look.  The audio is pre­sent­ed via a DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio track and the fideli­ty is quite nice, with a smooth yet punchy mix.  Fans might want to note that there are a few dif­fer­ent cuts of The Eagle Has Landed and this film presents a 2 hour 15 min­ute ver­sion (some prints are ten min­utes longer).  For what it’s worth, the film plays well in the cut includ­ed here and nev­er feels abrupt­ly edit­ed.

This set also includes a hand­ful of spe­cial fea­tures to accom­pa­ny the main attrac­tion, with the same extras on both the blu-ray and the DVD.  First up are a pair of fea­turettes from 2007.  “Invading Mapledurham” takes a look at the real English vil­lage where the film was shot, with pro­duc­tion design­er Peter Murton walk­ing the view­er through how he altered the vil­lage for the production’s needs (shoot­ing bat­tles in the church was par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing).  “Tom Mankiewicz: Looking Back” offers a brief chat with the screen­writer.  He dis­cuss­es the chal­lenges of par­ing down the nov­el for a fea­ture film and reveals the par­tic­u­lar touch­es he added to the sto­ry.

There are also sev­er­al vin­tage, news­reel-style extras.  “ATV Today On Location” and “Film Night Location Report” both mix behind-the-sce­nes footage at the Mapledurham loca­tion with talk­ing-head inter­views with John Sturges, Michael Caine and a few oth­er cast mem­bers while “On Location In Norfolk” pure­ly focus­es on Sturges, with him dis­cussing the chal­lenges of loca­tion film­ing dur­ing breaks in direct­ing a shot in the woods.

The real gold­mine here is “On Location Interviews,” a 26-min­ute reel of inter­view mate­ri­al that the some of the afore­men­tioned pieces draw from.  The inter­views for Sturges, Caine and Donald Sutherland are par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing because they all fea­ture moments where they are allowed to offer com­ments on a list of films they have done.  A the­atri­cal trail­er rounds out the extras.

All in all, Shout! Factory has served up a nice high-def edi­tion of a title that has need­ed one for a long while on American home video and sets a nice stan­dard for their ITV-ori­ent­ed releas­es.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Eagle Has Landed, click here.