Tuesday’s Blu-ray release of 1968’s “Hell in the Pacific” (Kino Lorber, $30; DVD, $20) finally allows fans to watch the underrated World War II gem with a seamless presentation of director John Boorman’s intended ending. Or they can choose the ludicrous theatrical finale.
Toshiro Mifune and Lee Marvin star as stranded enemies — a Japanese navy captain and an American pilot, respectively — who realize they can get out of their predicament only by working together. It’s unforgettable — and arguably influenced the sci-fi film "Enemy Mine" and a few "Star Trek" episodes.
But viewers have always had to settle for watching the movie with a studio-imposed ending that traded an over-the-top climax for the director's ambiguous ending, which better fit the tone of the character study. A previously issued DVD offered a clumsily edited snippet of the original ending as an extra to be viewed apart from the film. Kino's new release offers two versions of the complete film, with Boorman's take as the "alternate."
Extras on the disc include enlightening interviews with Boorman and art director Anthony Pratt, and pithy commentary by film historians Travis Crawford and Bill Ackerman. Turning on the subtitles, which were not included in the theatrical version and thus are off by default, offers viewers the pleasure of finding out what Mifune's character is actually saying.
More from Kino Lorber
Also new from Kino Lorber is a nicer-priced Blu-ray double-feature "Thunderbirds Are Go!" / "Thunderbird 6" ($30), previously available only as a limited edition from Twilight Time. Filled with extras, these high-def releases of Gerry Anderson's 1960s ventures into "Supermarionation" are a true blast from the past.
Tuesday also brings Shout Factory!'s Blu-ray release of "The Pink Panther Collection" ($100), an extras-packed, six-disc set of the Blake Edwards movies starring Peter Sellers. Kino Lorber is getting in on that action the same day with high-def releases of other actors' takes on the bumbling detective: "Inspector Clouseau" (1968), "Curse of the Pink Panther" (1983) and "Son of the Pink Panther" (1993).
Also coming Tuesday
• “The Autopsy of Jane Doe”
• “Dirty Dancing” (TV)
• “Power Rangers”
• “T2 Trainspotting”