Deaf Crocodile To Release New 2K Restoration of THE ASSASSIN OF THE TSAR on Blu-Ray This Month


Blu-ray includes 2K restorations of both the English and Russian-language versions of the film


Deaf Crocodile, in association with partner Seagull Films, announces details for their disc release of director Karen Shakhnazarov’s time-traveling historical mystery THE ASSASSIN OF THE TSAR from 1991 in a stunning 2K restoration from Mosfilm for the first time ever on Blu-ray. Malcolm McDowell (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, TIME AFTER TIME) delivers one of his finest performances as Timofeyev, a patient in a Soviet mental hospital who’s convinced he’s the killer of two Tsars: Alexander II in 1881 and Nicholas II in 1918. The film was shot simultaneously in English and Russian-language versions on separate 35mm negatives, and the company is releasing restorations of both versions on Blu-ray via partner Vinegar Syndrome, available now for pre-order in both limited edition slipcover and standard editions:

The Blu-ray release of THE ASSASSIN OF THE TSAR features:

New 2K restoration of the English language version of the film (104 min.).
New 2K restoration of the Russian language version of the film, featuring a slightly different cut and different music (102 min.).
New hour-long video interview with lead actor Malcolm McDowell, moderated by Dennis Bartok of Deaf Crocodile Films.
New hour-long video interview with director/co-writer Karen Shakhnazarov, moderated by Dennis Bartok.
New commentary track by film historian Samm Deighan.
New essay by film critic Walter Chaw (Film Freak Central).
Blu-ray authoring by David Mackenzie of Fidelity In Motion.

“It was an amazing experience, really, and something I will never forget. It stands out of all the movies I’ve done as one of the most interesting,” says Malcolm McDowell. “I knew by meeting Shakhnazarov I was going to work with him. He was a substantial artist and very passionate about his work … I just knew instantly I was going to work with him.”

Following ZEROGRAD, Shakhnazarov’s surreal 1988 satire which Deaf Crocodile released for the first time on Blu-ray this past October, Shakhnazarov was approached to direct an adaptation of the 1892 novella Ward No. 6 by Anton Chekhov. That project ultimately fell through, but the research he did in Soviet mental hospitals inspired him and co-writer Aleksandr Borodyanskiy to craft their own story of a patient in a Russian asylum haunted by ghosts from the past. “The subject of the assassination of the Tsar was banned absolutely, and we knew very little about it. Any materials concerning this matter only began to appear only at the end of the perestroika period,” recalls director and co-writer Shakhnazarov. “When I read those materials, articles, books, I was fascinated by the story. The formerly closed archives were open and accessible … Of course, the story of the assassination of the royal family is very dramatic, it’s a tragedy, and a very complex subject.”


THE ASSASSIN OF THE TSAR (TSAREUBIYTSA), 1991, Mosfilm, 104 min./102 min. From Karen Shakhnazarov, director of ZEROGRAD, ASSASSIN OF THE TSAR is a mysterious and labyrinthine psychological drama in which the tormented chambers of a patient’s mind come to warp everything around him, even the folds of history itself. In one of his finest latter-day performances, Malcolm McDowell (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, TIME AFTER TIME) stars as Timofeyev, a severe schizophrenic in a dreary Soviet mental hospital who is convinced that, impossibly, he’s the killer of two Tsars: Alexander II in 1881 and Nicholas II in 1918. The sympathetic head of the hospital, Dr. Smirnov (the great Russian actor Oleg Yankovskiy) is determined to cure Timofeyev of his madness – but instead finds himself literally pulled back through time, inhabiting the ghosts of the past as they march towards their tragic destiny. A Deaf Crocodile and Seagull Films release.

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