Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has a new 2K restoration (from the original negative camera) of writer/director Alfred Sole’s Alice, Sweet Alice awaiting a Blu-ray release on Aug. 6.
Filmed in Paterson, New Jersey beginning in the summer of 1975, it would take a long and winding path to domestic theatres. First, Sole need something like 18 months to finally finish the film and during that time his original release window evaporated.
What to do? Alice, Sweet Alice went out under its original title, Communion, and worked the festival circuit ‘ Virgin Island Film Festival (a Gold Medal winner) and the Chicago Film Festival (nominated Best Picture) — in late 1976. Hemdale then picked it up for distribution in the U.K.
Suddenly, there is interest in the domestic market for the film. Communion was the debut film for a nine year-old girl by the name of Brooke Shields. But in the meantime, Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby grabbed the spotlight and was heralded for Shields performance as a young New Orleans’ prostitute. Allied Artists steps in and obtains the distribution rights, retitles the film to Alice, Sweet Alice and it is finally released theatrically in the United States in May of 1978.
A long and winding road, but it got there.
Alice, Sweet Alice is a Gothic murder mystery that focuses on who killed Alice’s sister, Karen (Brooke Shields), during her first communion. Everything points to Alice (played by Paula E. Sheppard (Liquid Sky), but even as the evidence piles up we come to learn that someone else is actually doing the killings. But who … and more importantly, why?
Bonus features include not one, but two commentary options. The first is an archival commentary featuring filmmaker Alfred Sole, who is joined by editor Edward Salier. The second is by FilmStruck’s Richard Harland Smith.
Additionally, there are deleted scenes, the TV cut of the film titled Holy Terror and a trio of featurettes — “First Communion: Alfred Sole Remembers Alice, Sweet Alice,” “Sweet Memories: Dante Tomaselli on Alice, Sweet Alice” and “Lost Childhood: The Locations of Alice, Sweet Alice.”