Robert Fuest's film of Michael Moorcock's science fiction novel (the only one of his to have had a screen adaptation so far) gets a DVD, Blu-ray and Download release from Studio Canal.
Dystopian Britain in the near future, heading towards an apocalypse with only days to go and World War III having been rumbling away for years but nobody's really noticed. Nobel Prize-winning, Bells whiskey and chocolate digestive-consuming, well-dressed genius Jerry Cornelius (Jon Finch) attends the funeral of his physicist father in Lapland. Afterward he's accosted by one of his father's colleagues asking for help locating microfilm that will assist in 'The Final Programme' which, it transpires, is a plan to funnel all human knowledge into a single human being which will form the next stage of evolution. Despite Jerry having other problems, including his brother Frank (Derrick O'Connor) keeping his sister Catherine (Sarah Douglas) drugged at the family home, he agrees to help the scientists, led by the mysterious (and mysteriously abled) Miss Brunner (Jenny Runacre), with eccentric consequences.
Of all the many novels written by Michael Moorcock the Jerry Cornelius quartet must be considered amongst the most difficult to adapt for the screen. Full marks, then, to Robert Fuest for making a pretty coherent job of what is admittedly the most narratively linear of the Cornelius books. That said it would have been marvellous to see what Fuest could have made of A Cure for Cancer or The Condition of Muzak, and it would have been especially marvellous to see Jon Finch in the role more than once. As it is Finch is likely the best screen incarnation of Jerry we will ever see, alternately brilliant or useless, foppish or aggressive, off the cuff witty or at a complete loss as to how to respond. One of the few individuals who could make a ruff shirt look cool, the others being Jimi Hendrix and Jon Pertwee. It's a memorable performance and after watching it's difficult not to think of him when reading later Cornelius books.
Studio Canal's Blu-ray comes with an 11 minute interview with Jenny Runacre which starts off by her talking about her role in Freddie Francis' THE CREEPING FLESH before going into more detail about THE FINAL PROGRAMME. Kim Newman gives us 14 minutes on the films and career of Robert Fuest, we get the Italian title sequence with Moorcock's name spelled Moorcoek and three trailers, two UK ones and one for the US with its alternate title of LAST DAYS OF MAN ON EARTH. Note that the commentary track which is on Shout Factory's Region A Blu-ray release has not been ported over.
Studio Canal are releasing Robert Fuest's film of Michael Moorcock's THE FINAL PROGRAMME on Download, DVD and Blu-ray ( the Blu-ray comes with four art cards) on Monday 20th February 2023