They called themselves “a small company dedicated to bringing independent, foreign and classic films to life,” but Olive Films continues to reach out in the widest possible cinematic embrace.
To celebrate Black History Month, Olive Films will be releasing two films on February 16, their first releases on Blu-ray. These titles include the beloved “Beat Street” (1984), which introduced New York City’s hip-hop culture to the mainstream as a legitimate form of artistic expression; and “Pressure Point” (1962), which stars Sidney Poitier as a psychiatrist examining the root causes of racism in his patient.
Explains Olive Films honcho Bradley Powell: “The need for diversity in the films we create, show and honor is a cause that continues to be worth fighting for. This February, as we reflect, we hope it gives people the opportunity to discover ‘Pressure Point,’ a poignant and unfortunately overlooked film on the topic of societally conditioned racism. We’re also glad that fans of old school hip-hop will be able to rediscover a classic like ‘Beat Street.’ That movie meant a lot to so many people, and we’re honored to help reintroduce it on Blu-ray to a whole new generation of fans.”
We share a bit more on each must-have flick.
This upbeat and genuine musical carries a lot of cultural and sentimental significance. Although the hip-hop movement was already well established in places like the South Bronx, this film introduced it to mainstream America. Beat Street made a statement that hip-hop was here to stay and legitimized MCing, DJing, and b-boying as valid forms of artistic expression. Many of the artists in the film would soon rise to international fame after its release, including Kool Moe Dee, New York City Breakers, Rock Steady Crew, and Grand Master Melle Mel & the Furious Five. The story follows an erstwhile disc jockey (played by Guy Davis), a breakdancer (Robert Taylor) and a graffiti artist (Jon Chardiet) who all dream of breaking out of their South Bronx lives. They see a ray of hope when a local composer and choreographer (Rae Dawn Chong) takes an interest in their talent.
Sidney Poitier and Bobby Darin team up in an underappreciated film that was ahead of its time in the way it examined issues of racism. Pressure Point unfolds as a young psychiatrist (Peter Falk) asks for help from his seasoned superior (Sidney Poitier) in treating a hate-filled patient. Through flashback, Sidney Poitier’s character recounts his own experiences when he treated a young American Nazi patient (Bobby Darin) who hated black people. Many films deal with racism superficially, but this film really takes the time to develop its themes carefully and explores racism at its root causes. “Pressure Point” was unfortunately overlooked at its theatrical release in 1962. Now, audiences can find its themes more relevant than ever. This will be the film’s first release on Blu-ray, and its anamorphic presentation will be a vast upgrade over the previous non-anamorphic DVD.