Sky commissions HD 'Zulu', 'Italian Job'

Sky is paying for new high definition versions of Zulu and The Italian Job in a push to get British movies remastered in the format.

Sky Movies found many classic titles were not available in HD as it planned a season to mark Sir Michael Caine's 75th birthday. It ordered the two films from Paramount Home Entertainment UK to air on Sky Movies HD1 later this month.

It could also kick-start a wide-ranging digital remastering process which improves the quality of films broadcast on TV even if they are not shown in HD.

Sky Movies will hold a premiere of The Italian Job HD in London and regional screenings around his birthday on March 14. It will also air several of his other films and new retrospective Michael Caine... From Alfie to Zulu.

Sir Michael said as an HD fan he was pleased with the plans: "I love HD, itís so difficult to watch anything else once youíve watched it in HD. Of course itís very unforgiving, especially on young beautiful ladies, but thank god Iím old, I donít care... Iíll be recording the whole season."

Sky Movies director Ian Lewis said it was important the HD remastering process was continued: "Watching a classic title remastered in HD is like viewing a restored painting. The experience is deeper, more immersive and ultimately far more satisfying.

"Yet we found that many great classic films, particularly British titles, are still to be re-mastered. These films are a part of our cultural heritage and itís vital that they are made available to be seen in the best possible format.

"Sky are now pro-actively looking at opportunities to re-master other classic titles, particularly British product, to ensure the British film archive doesnít get left behind in a high definition world."