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Directed by Derek Jarman
UK 1991


In this new HD restoration of the iconic New Queer Cinema classic, Derek Jarman offers a postmodern take on Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan drama. Pleasure-seeking King Edward II sets the stage for a palace revolt by taking as a lover the ambitious Piers Gaveston - who uses his favor in bed to wield political influence - sending the gay pair from the throne to a terminal torture dungeon. This landmark of gay cinema features an incredible performance from Jarman muse and Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) as Edward's spurned Queen Isabella and a rare film appearance by singer Annie Lennox.


Two years before director Derek Jarman died of AIDS, he directed this extremely ambitious variation on Christopher Marlowe's 16th-century play. While Marlowe is the root of this film, Jarman has taken a great deal of leeway with the manner of presentation. The story revolves around King Edward's open homosexuality, which eventually led to his murder and succession. Instead of lush historical settings, the film uses bare walls and dirt floors and puts the cast into smart suits. This "staginess" works to the advantage of Jarman's design, and he takes every opportunity to anachronize. (For example, Annie Lennox shows up to provide a lovely rendition of Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye.") A striking film, and a high point of Jarman's career.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE




Theatrical Release:  September 9th, 1991 (Venice Film Festival)

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Review: Film Movement Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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Distribution Film Movement Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:13.032

1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 31,285,380,898 bytes

Feature: 27,179,827,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.




LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Film Movement Classics


1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 31,285,380,898 bytes

Feature: 27,179,827,200 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

• Documentary featurette Derek's Edward (23:40)
• Queenie Queens on Top - a new essay by filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, with a prologue by star Tilda Swinton"

Release Date: June 12th, 2018
Transparent Blu-ray box

Chapters 13




NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: (August 2018) Film Movement Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray: Edward II is transferred on a dual-layered Blu-ray, in 1080P, from Film Movement. The 1-hour 27-minute feature has a max'ed out bitrate. It is in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio (presumably opened-up from the original 1.85:1), and looks reasonably clean. Many scenes take place in shadows or darkness and, thankfully, the image here has good depth, with blacks not getting washed out. There is a fair amount of grain, though certain scenes do have a softness to them, albeit intentionally. This Blu-ray presentation offers a very solid transfer of a wildly unorthodox film.

Film movement present Jarman's "Edward II" with a 24-bit linear PCM 2.0 stereo track. The score from Simon Fisher-Turner sounds great here, as does Annie Lennox's show-stopping rendition of Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye". The dialogue is easily discernible from the score, giving a fairly balanced audio track. There are optional SDH English subtitles on this Region Free

Film Movement have included the Severin-produced documentary, "Derek's Edward", which runs about 24-minutes. It is a revealing doc that lovingly remembers Derek Jarman as well as the filming of Edward II. There is also a new essay from film-provocateur Bruce LaBruce entitled "Queenie Queens on Top". This also has a prologue from star, Tilda Swinton. There are also a handful of trailers for other Film Movement releases.

Edward II is a wild take on Christopher Marlowe's 1593 play, with Jarman's queer punk style giving the story many levels. Though not for everyone, this is an interesting post-modern take on a mysterious historical figure. Film Movement have given the film a decent transfer as well as including a doc and an essay. Jarman was a queer icon and this film is just another example of his wild and unconventional avant-garde style. Would definitely recommend this to fans of queer cinema.

Colin Zavitz






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