Nightbirds (BFI All Region Blu-Ray / DVD PAL Combo Pack)

$24.99

The BFI and Nicolas Winding Refn (celebrated director of Drive) have joined forces to bring Nightbirds – the ‘lost’ film by New York underground filmmaker Andy Milligan (1929-1991) – to DVD and Blu-ray. Previously seen by no more than a handful of people in a print shorn of five minutes’ worth of footage, the film was shot on location in Spitalfields, East London in 1968 and never given a significant release anywhere in the world. Newly mastered from the original 16mm camera element under Nicolas Winding Refn’s supervision, Nightbirds is finally being in a Dual Format Edition on the BFI’s acclaimed Flipside label.

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Nightbirds (BFI All Region Blu-Ray / DVD PAL Combo Pack)


Nicolas Winding Refn & BFI Flipside present Nightbirds


A film by Andy Milligan


The BFI and Nicolas Winding Refn (celebrated director  of  Drive) have joined forces to bring  Nightbirds  – the  ‘lost’ film by New York underground filmmaker Andy  Milligan (1929-1991) – to DVD and Blu-ray. Previously  seen by no more than a handful of people in a print  shorn of five minutes’ worth of footage, the film was  shot on location in Spitalfields, East London in 1968 and  never given a significant release anywhere in the world.  Newly mastered from the original 16mm camera  element under Nicolas Winding Refn’s supervision,  Nightbirds  is  finally  being  in  a  Dual  Format Edition on the BFI’s acclaimed Flipside label.


This much anticipated release also contains Milligan’s British-shot horror feature  The Body Beneath (1970), original trailers, an audio commentary and an extensive booklet.  While living rough on the streets of London’s East End, a young man, Dink (Milligan regular  Berwick Kaler  – Coronation Street, Red Riding), encounters the beautiful and mysterious Dee  (Julie Shaw – The Big Switch). Concerned for Dink’s welfare, she invites him to stay with her.  The two soon develop a curious relationship  which  oscillates,  often  without  warning,  between sexual intimacy and raging jealousy.  As tenderness gives way to cruelty, they  become consumed by darkness and their relationship spirals out of control.    Milligan aficionados have long considered Nightbirds  to  be  a  lost  film,  and  the  preparation  involved in this release has been subject to a number of problems and adventures  involving tracking down rare and unique film  materials.  Fascinated  by  Milligan’s  work  since he was young, Nicolas Winding Refn has spent years buying up any Milligan-related  items on eBay.


When he found that Milligan biographer Jimmy McDonough was selling his  collection of the director’s own film prints he bought the lot and, as a long-time fan of BFI  Flipside titles, approached the BFI to suggest that  Nightbirds  and  The Body Beneath  be  included on the label. With Milligan’s own print materials missing some scenes, the BFI  has been on a journey much like an archaeological dig to find other elements from which  to assemble the most complete and authentic presentations possible.  Nicolas Winding Refn comments: “…when you watch an Andy Milligan movie you’re in no doubt whose film you’re watching. It’s a special quality to have a unique personal style. He  was sort of a Douglas Sirk figure: there’s so much subtext in his movies, what you’re seeing  is not all that’s going on. First time perception is one thing, but when you get into them,  and read more, you begin to realise that these films were made by someone who was very  tormented, and also very intelligent, a sensitive man who used film as an art form to  express his views on life.”


Newcastle-born Berwick Kaler who plays Dink is nowadays best known for writing,  directing and starring as the Dame in one of  Britain’s  most  admired  traditional  annual  pantomimes, at the York Theatre Royal.


Dual Format DVD / Blu-Ray Combo All Region


Special features



  • All content presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition

  • Newly mastered from original 16mm camera elements and surviving 35mm prints, under the supervision of celebrated filmmaker, and Andy Milligan fan, Nicolas Winding Refn

  • Audio commentary with Berwick Kaler (2011): The stalwart of British stage and screen
    looks back at Nightbirds, and his other four Andy Milligan roles, with film expert Stephen Thrower

  • The Body Beneath (Andy Milligan, 1970, colour, 82 mins): Milligan’s second Britishshot feature is a ghoulish horror in which a young woman comes to visit her distant relative, the Reverend Algernon Ford, only to discover that she is descended from a long line of vampires 

  • Optional dialogue-only soundtrack presentations for both Nightbirds and The Body Beneath

  • Original Nightbirds trailer

  • Original The Body Beneath trailer

  • Extensive illustrated booklet with newly-commissioned essays by filmmaker  Nicolas Winding Refn, Milligan biographer Jimmy McDonough and film experts  Stephen Thrower and Tim Lucas

Product details
cat. no. BFIB1133 / BFI Flipside no. 023 / Cert 15
UK / 1970 / black and white / 77 mins + 82 mins / original aspect ratio 1.33:1
Disc 1: BD50 / 1080p / 24fps / PCM mono audio (48k/16-bit)
Disc 2: DVD-9 / PAL / Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps)

Additional information

Weight 8 oz