DVDBeaver Newsletter - February 12th, 2007


Hey there! - Another strong week - 12 new reviews (3 Criterion) this week - five of which are comparisons. Films by Hitchcock, Naruse, Powell and Pressburger, Fellini, De Sica, Roeg and more...  Enjoy!


DESERT ISLAND DVDs! : You choose! - tell us of one (or more - max 10) of the DVDs that YOU find most valuable - the one(s) YOU will watch for the rest of your lives. NOTE: Single DVDs only (not boxset) but they can be one DVD from a boxset (EX. Ordet from Criterion's Carl Theodor Dreyer Special Edition Box Set). Tell US HERE - results posted on an upcoming webpage.




BIGGER SALE: Max Ophuls' DVDs of Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Reckless Moment (1949), Le Plaisir (1952) and Madame De...   are still 70% OFF!  HERE




Plus MORE SALES From the UK - * Fantômas (1913) 63% OFF!, *A Matter Of Life And Death [1946] 80% OFF!, Brokeback Mountain [2005] 75% OFF!, Amelie [DTS] [2001] 75% OFF!, *Hidden (cache) [2005] 65% OFF!, City Of God (Cidade De Deus) [2003] 67% OFF!, Midsomer Murders (10 DVD Box Set) 71% OFF!, Laputa - Castle In The Sky 55% OFF!, Delicatessen [1991] 80% OFF!, *Kes [1969] 69% OFF!, Goodbye Lenin! [2002] 70% OFF!, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not [2002] 70% OFF!, The Cook Thief, His Wife And Her Lover [1989] 63% OFF!, The Cat Returns 55% OFF!, Eloge De L'Amour [2001] 70% OFF!, Slow Motion [1980] 60% OFF!, Le Mepris [1963] 70% OFF!, *Stalker (1979) - 58% off!, The Almodovar Collection (Vol.1) - 50% off!, The Girl on the Bridge (1999) - 70% off!, Battle In Heaven (2005) - 60% off!, La Haine (1995) - 60% off!, The Almodovar Collection (Vol.2) - 50% off!. *Land And Freedom (1995) - 60% off!, *Mirror (1974) - 60% off!, *Innocence (2005) - 60% off!, *Last Year At Marienbad (1961) - 60% off!, Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection - 56% off  and many more HERE.


Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.


STRATEGIES: The best way to take full advantage of Amazon is to use PRE-ORDERs - lock in at the discount price by ORDERING - if perchance you decide against the purchase you have until the release date to cancel - at no charge.

AND  if you will purchase more than 35 DVDs (or anything) in a 365 day period (and live in the Continental US) it makes excellent financial sense to subscribe to Amazon Prime! You will get Free 2-day shipping on your purchases!


LATEST Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!):


No Man of Her Own (Wesley Ruggles, 1932) Universal Studios

Tout va bien (Jean-Luc Godard, 1972) R2 UK - Arrow Films

Pier Paolo Pasolini Vol.2 - Hawks and Sparrows (1966), Oedipus Rex (1967), Pigsty (1968) - R2 UK Tartan

Bigas Luna Collection - The Ages of Lulu (1990), Jamón Jamón (1992), Golden Balls (1993) and The Tit and The Moon (1994) - R2 UK Tartan

Julie Christie Screen Icons Collection (The Go-Between, Billy Liar, Darling and Far From the Madding Crowd) - R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Catherine Deneuve Screen Icons Collection (Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Belle de Jour, Donkey Skin, Manon 70 and Ma Saison Préférée) - R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

My Country My Country (Laura Poitras, 2005) Zeitgeist Films

Scarface (Universal Cinema Classics) (Howard Hawks, 1932) Universal Studios

So Proudly We Hail! (Universal Cinema Classics) (Mark Sandrich , 1943) Universal Studios

Unconquered (Cecil B. De Mille, 1947) Universal Studios

Tex Avery's Droopy - The Complete Theatrical Collection - Warner Home Video

Tonight We Raid Calais (John Brahm, 1943) 20th Century Fox

The Purple Heart (Lewis Milestone, 1944) 20th Century Fox

Jane Eyre (Robert Stevenson, 1944) 20th Century Fox

Anna Karenina (Julien Duvivier, 1948) 20th Century Fox

Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, 2006) Kino Video


RECOMMENDATIONS: I am often asked how I see so many films in a week. Firstly, there are other contributors to DVDBeaver's review section than just myself.  But I, personally, try to watch one DVD in the day and one in the evening if possible. Commentaries are usually done immediately following feature viewing, but I don't stay still while listening. In fact I don't even have time to review all the DVDs that I see. I often choose the recently released or better ones if I have the option.

This was a particularly strong week  with Criterion's Bicycle Thieves as the zenith. Second billing goes to When a Woman Ascends the Stairs another strong DVD release and also a film I love to pieces - 49th Parallel. Criterion rules the roost again.

Second tier, but still quite worthy purchases are Warner's NTSC of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Performance and The Butcher Boy.

THUMBS SIDEWAYS - Ginger and Fred didn't sit as well with me the second time around and I say wait for the Optimum (9-disc) to see Hitch's The Manxman.

GUILTY!: I've become a huge Mr. Moto fan and am only sorry there are no more in the series for me to escape to - so I endorse The Mr. Moto Collection, Vol. 2. I can't watch heavy stuff all the time and love to get back to basics with the 50's genre films - so Terror in the Haunted House really fulfilled an itchy craving.


New Reviews:


Terror in the Haunted House - As far as a film goes "Terror in the Haunted House" works because of its storyline and performances. After a whirlwind romance a newlywed bride is escorted by her husband for a Florida vacation to recover from nightmares, only to discover that their rented house is the very one she's been dreaming of. The weaknesses are the production limitations (only 5 cast players and no special effects). Accepting those lack-of-attributes and you have a decent film. The subliminal inputs are obvious and because of this it elevates the film's camp value to a desirable level. I think this is a lot of nostalgic fun and I recommend! DVD Release Date: August 14th, 2001

The Butcher Boy - Set in an Irish town in the early '60s, Jordan's film of Patrick McCabe's novel centres on troubled teen Francie Brady (Owens), a lippy lad who withdraws from family strife - dad (Rea) is almost permanently drunk, mum (O'Sullivan) sliding towards insanity - into fantasies inspired by comics, sci-fi movies and TV shows, and into blood brother pacts with best pal Joe (Boyle). His renown as an ill-mannered hothead, however, is such that he's denied access to his friend. Moreover, after a spell in a church-run remand home, he returns to find his family in tatters. This consistently surprising, even shocking work moves from sly social comedy to something more darkly disturbing as Francie's sense of control begins to crumble. Though the movie sometimes looks as if the authentic Irish wit, colour and blarney has been filtered through the sensibility of a Buñuel or Polanski, Jordan never allows the surreal/expressionist aspects to dominate. DVD Release Date: February 13th, 2007

Performance - Roeg's debut as a director is a virtuoso juggling act which manipulates its visual and verbal imagery so cunningly that the borderline between reality and fantasy is gradually eliminated. The first half-hour is straight thriller enough to suggest a Kray Bros documentary as Fox, enforcer for a London protection racket, goes about his work with such relish that he involves the gang in a murder and has to hide from retribution in a Notting Hill basement. There, waiting to escape abroad, he becomes involved with a fading pop star (Jagger) brooding in exile over the loss of his powers of incantation. In what might be described (to borrow from Kenneth Anger) as an invocation to his demon brother, the pop star recognizes his lost power lurking in the blind impulse to violence of his visitor, and so teases and torments him with drug-induced psychedelics that the latter responds in the only way he knows how: by rewarding one mind-blowing with another, at gunpoint. DVD Release Date: February 13th, 2007

Immoral Women - Walerian Borowczyk's anthology follow-up to his Immoral Tales features three stories set in different time periods. In Renaissance Italy, Margherita (stunning Borowczyk regular Marina Pierro) the baker's daughter uses sex for profit as the simultaneous lover of Vatican artist Raffaelo (François Guétary) and grotesque banker Bini. This first story is the longest and certainly the best. The other two pale in comparison. In Belle Epoque France, Marcelline's (Gaelle Legrand) parents resent her too-close relationship with her pet rabbit and plan a special dinner for her. Last (and certainly least), in modern Paris Marie (Pascale Christophe) is kidnapped and held for ransom and her husband would rather invest that money in an expensive painting. Luckily, Marie's amorous pet Doberman is on the scent. DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2007

Private Collections - Producer Pierre Braumberger brought three top directors of erotica known to the French (Just Jaeckin had directed Emanuelle and Story of O, Borowczyk had done  Immoral Tales and The Beast; and Shuji Terayama had directed producer Anatole Dauman's Story of O follow-up Fruits of Passion) to produce the three short films that make up Private Collections. Just Jaeckin's tale of a shipwrecked sailor encountering an island of beautiful, sensual women with unsual apetites is the weakest but sports stunning photography (Jaeckin makes Laura Gemser look even more gorgeous and golden than she does in Joe D'Amato's Black Emanuelle films) and a score by Pierre Bachelet who scored the aforementioned Jaeckin films. Terayama's segment "The Glass Labyrinthe" is the longest and most aggressively erotic and horrific and worth the price of the disc alone. DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2007

The Manxman - Hitchcock's final silent film is the story of two friends on the Isle of Man, lawyer Phillip (Keen) and fisherman Pete (Brisson), who both fall in love with the daughter of the local landlord, Kate (Ondra). When Pete asks the girl to marry him, her father will not hear of it until he can support her, so he sets off from the island to earn some money and prove himself, asking his friend to look out for his sweetheart. Inevitable consequences lead to the birth of an illegitimate baby, suicide attempts and final pleas for happiness. DVD Release Date: February 6th, 2007

The Mr. Moto Collection, Vol. 2 - In the realm of filmdom, Mr. Moto is no ordinary detective. He is short, relatively unattractive, and has a personal interest in the business of importing rare goods. His drink of choice is far removed from James Bond’s preference for martinis--Moto frequently chooses to imbibe a tall glass of milk. Still, behind the quiet demeanor and gentlemanly manners lies a quick-thinking spy with ninja-like agility and a flair for hand-to-hand combat. Even the guilt of murder has very little weight in his mind. Moto is a master of disguise and can cleverly manipulate even the most intelligent persons. DVD Release Date: February 13th, 2007

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs - When a Woman Ascends the Stairs might be Japanese filmmaker Mikio Naruse's finest hour--a delicate, devastating study of a woman, Keiko (played heartbreakingly by Hideko Takamine), who works as a bar hostess in Tokyo's very modern postwar Ginza district, who entertains businessmen after work. Sly, resourceful, but trapped, Keiko comes to embody the conflicts and struggles of a woman trying to establish her independence in a male-dominated society. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs shows the largely unsung yet widely beloved master Naruse at his most socially exacting and profoundly emotional. DVD Release Date: February 20th, 2007

49th Parallel - At once a compelling piece of anti-isolationist propaganda and a quick-witted wartime thriller, 49th Parallel is a classic early work from the inimitable British filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. When a Nazi U-boat crew, headed by the ruthless Eric Portman, is stranded in Canada during the thick of World War II, the men evade capture by hiding out in a series of rural communities, before trying to cross the border into the still-neutral United States. Both soul-stirring and delightfully entertaining, 49th Parallel features a colorful cast of characters played by larger-than-life actors Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey, Anton Walbrook, and Leslie Howard. DVD Release Date: February 20th, 2007

Ginger and Fred - It is hard not to be won over by Giulietta Masina at her best. This tiny, expressive actress had an air of Chaplin's tramp about her, and the requisite ability to simultaneously break and lift hearts. Federico Fellini cast Masina, his wife and his muse, in a number of roles where her innocent clowning was used to great effect, La Strada being the most obvious and most beloved of her pictures. In Ginger And Fred, Fellini pairs her with another great icon of Italian cinema, Marcello Mastroianni. DVD Release Date: February 13th, 2007

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner - Colin (Tom Courtenay) has no intention of living the stultifying, backbreaking, blue-collar existence that's expected of him, an existence that sapped the life of his miner father. His rebelliousness lands him in Borstal reform school, where his abilities as a long distance runner endear him to the school's headmaster (Michael Redgrave), who pins his hopes of winning a race against a prestigious public school on Colin. This leads to conflict with Colin's friends, who come to doubt his contempt of the establishment. He himself is torn about this predicament. Should he continue what may be a futile fight, or trade his self-respect for some small measure of acceptance? This outstanding drama has been unfairly maligned over the years as being too derivative of the French New Wave, yet if the same film had been made by Truffaut or another Frenchman, it would be hailed today as a masterpiece. The camerawork and performances are top-notch. DVD Release Date: February 7th, 2007

Bicycle Thieves - Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, Vittorio De Sica's Academy Award-winning Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) defined an era in cinema. In postwar, poverty-stricken Rome, a man, hoping to support his desperate family with a new job, loses his bicycle, his main means of transportation for work. With his wide-eyed young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief. Simple in construction and dazzlingly rich in human insight, Bicycle Thieves embodied all the greatest strengths of the neorealist film movement in Italy: emotional clarity, social righteousness, and brutal honesty. DVD Release Date: February 13th, 2007


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of February 12th, 2007


Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) Criterion Collection

The Big Steal (Don Siegel, 1949) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video

The Blue Dahlia (George Marshall, 1946) R2 UK

Butcher Boy (Neil Jordan, 1998) Warner Home Video

Curse of the Golden Flower (Yimou Zhang, 2006) R3 - Edko Films Ltd.

The Departed (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition) (Martin Scorsese, 2006) Warner Home Video

Gandhi (25th Anniversary Collector's Edition) (Richard Attenborough, 1982) Sony Pictures

Ginger and Fred (Federico Fellini, 1986) Warner Home Video

The Glass Key (Stuart Heisler, 1942) R2 UK Universal Pictures Video

Green for Danger (Sidney Gilliat, 1946) Criterion Collection

Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, 2006) Sony Pictures

Infamous (Douglas McGrath, 2006) Warner Home Video

The Killers (Robert Siodmak , 1946) R2 UK -Universal Pictures Video

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Tony Richardson, 1962) Warner Home Video

Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola, 2006) Sony Pictures

Mr. Moto Collection - Vol. 2 (Mr. Moto's Gamble / Mr. Moto in Danger Island / Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation / Mr. Moto's Last Warning / The Return of Mr. Moto) - 20th Century Fox

Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video

This Gun for Hire (Frank Tuttle, 1942) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video

Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist (The Emperor Jones / Body and Soul / Borderline / Sanders of the River / Jericho / The Proud Valley / Native Land / Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist) - Criterion Collection

Performance (Nicolas Roeg, 1970) Warner Home Video

Volver (Pedro Almodóvar, 2006) R2 UK - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment



Week of February 19th, 2007


49th Parallel (Michael Powell , Emeric Pressburger - 1941) Criterion Collection

A Man for All Seasons - Special Edition (Fred Zinnemann, 1966) Sony Pictures

The Alice Faye Collection (That Night in Rio / Lillian Russell / On the Avenue / The Gang's All Here) - 20th Century Fox

Flesh and Fantasy aka Obsession (Julien Duvivier, 1943) FR PAL - Universal

A Gorgeous Bird Like Me (François Truffaut, 1972) Cinema Club

The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006) Touchstone / Disney

Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985) R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) Criterion Collection



50 CLASSIC TV SHOWS ON DVD - best of vintage TV!






- Best of the Best!






P.S. DVD of the Year - 2006 still remains a popular place to peruse.