DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 23rd, 2007
Ciao! - 13 new reviews this week - Borzage, Fuller, Malle, a swashbuckling superstar that we never saw enough of, TV's best detective, classics by Bronte and Hugo, Orson Welles acting (3 films!) more sales from the UK, Criterion and Noir news, calendar updates - it never ends!
BRESSON FAN? - There was a ListServ for discussion of the great director's work but it deteriorated into a SPAM festival. I've revived the group but have included a SPAM blocker. Join us if you are interested HERE - it's free!
Criterion announces for July, 2007:
Three Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara (Box Set) - Pitfall, Teshigahara - Woman in the Dunes, Teshigahara - The Face of Another, Teshigahara - Ace in the Hole, Wilder, Billy - Ivan's Childhood, Tarkovsky - Les enfants terribles, Melville
Warner Film Noir Boxset 4 IS NOW LISTED FOR SALE
HERE with 10 films (instead of 5):
Act of Violence (MGM, 1949), The Big Steal (1949)
Cornered (RKO, 1945), Crime Wave
Decoy (Monogram, 1946),
Illegal (WB, 1955),
Mystery Street (MGM, 1950),
Side Street (MGM, 1950),
Tension (MGM, 1950), They Live By Night (RKO, 1949),
Where Danger Lives (RKO, 1950) is set for JULY 31st,
2007 - MORE DETAILS
MORE Amazon UK sales (all from our TOP 100 LIST!): The Naked Island (Kaneto Shindô, 1960) 45% OFF!, Naruse Box Set Volume One 30% OFF!, Three Colours Blue [Kieslowski, 1993] 38% OFF!, Chungking Express [Wong, 1995] 35% OFF!, Metropolis [Lang, 1927] 45% OFF!, Stalker [Tarkovsky, 1979] 67% OFF!, Last Year At Marienbad  53% OFF!
STILL: Max Ophuls' DVDs of Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Reckless Moment (1949), Le Plaisir (1952) and Madame De... are now 65% OFF! HERE
Brighton Rock  56% OFF!, The Heart Of The Matter  63% OFF!, Belle de Jour - 40th Anniversary  70% OFF!, Europa Europa  70% OFF!, Vera Drake  70% OFF!, L'Enfer (2005) 70% OFF!, Détective (1985) 70% OFF!, L'Appartement  67% OFF!, The Tree of Wooden Clogs  60% OFF!, Pepi, Luci, Bom  67% OFF!, The Man Without A Past  70% OFF!, Goodbye Lenin!  73% OFF!, A Matter Of Life And Death  75% OFF!, Wuthering Heights  66% OFF!, The Deadly Affair  58% OFF!, The Battle Of The River Plate (Digitally Remastered Edition)  62% OFF!, The Way Ahead  60% OFF!, Blithe Spirit  60% OFF!, The Red Shoes - Plus Documentary  69% OFF!, Tiger Bay  66% OFF!, City Lights  57% OFF!, The Black Windmill  69% OFF!, The Blue Lamp  46% OFF!
YOUR ASSISTANCE: We are having some trouble covering expenses these days - any suggestions to improve would be greatly appreciated. How can we do better? Tell us! We'll do it! (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks!
NEW ARTICLE: "Eleven Treasures of Jazz Performance on DVD" by Jonathan Rosenbaum
BLU-RAY STORE HD-DVD STORE HIGH DEFINITION DVD STORE
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!):
NOTEWORTHY: The Film Noir Classics Collection: Vol 4 is the biggie - we can't wait! Available in region 2 but seeing The Wind That Shakes the Barley get to NTSC is a treat.
LOUISE BROOKS - Eureka Masters of Cinema's Diary of a Lost Girl - I'll wager that it blows the Kino edition away.
NOSTALGIA? - As a young boy The Land of the Giants was a favorite but I'll wager it, like The Time Tunnel, will prove to be just awful! Well, maybe my sons will like it.
HIDDEN GEM? - From the upcoming Joan Collins Collection - watch for Rally Around the Flag, Boys!
PERSONAL FAV - One of my absolute favorite John Wayne westerns is The Cowboys.
The Film Noir Classics Collection: Vol 4 - Act of Violence (MGM, 1949), The Big Steal (1949) replaces Cornered (RKO, 1945), Crime Wave (WB, 1954), Decoy (Monogram, 1946), Illegal (WB, 1955), Mystery Street (MGM, 1950), Side Street (MGM, 1950), Tension (MGM, 1950), They Live By Night (RKO, 1949), Where Danger Lives (RKO, 1950) - Warner Home Video
Land of the Giants - Full Series (The Giant Collection) - 20th Century Fox
Attack of the 50Ft. Woman (Nathan Juran, 1958) Warner Home Video
The Joan Collins Superstar Collection (The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing / Rally Around the Flag, Boys! / The Sea Wife / Seven Thieves / Stopover Tokyo) 20th Century Fox
Masters of Horror: The Screwfly Solution (Joe Dante, 2006) Anchor Bay
Letters from Iwo Jima / Flags of Our Fathers (Five-Disc Commemorative Edition) Warner Home Video
Borderline (Kenneth MacPherson, 1930) R2 UK BFI
36 Hours (George Seaton, 1965) Warner Home Video
Classic Musicals From the Dream Factory, Vol. 2 - 5-disc (The Pirate/Words and Music/That's Dancing/The Belle of New York & Royal Wedding/That Midnight Kiss & The Toast of New Orleans (5pc) - Warner Home Video
The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006) Genius Products
The Pirate (Vincente Minnelli,1948) Warner Home Video
Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer, 1993) R2 UK Eureka Entertainment Ltd
Diary of a Lost Girl (Georg Wilhelm Pabst,1929) R2 UK Eureka Masters of Cinema
The Cowboys (Mark Rydell, 1972) [HD DVD] Warner
The Cowboys (Mark Rydell, 1972) [Blu-ray] Warner
RECOMMENDATIONS: I enjoyed a lot of great cinema this past week - The Purple Heart is blatant propaganda but maybe that made me love it even more. Dana Andrews, Richard Conte and Farley Granger (there is a noir lineup I've ever I heard one!) are all super.
LITERARY CLASSICS: I thoroughly enjoyed both the 1944 film of Jane Eyre and the 1935 version of Les Miserables.
BOXSET HEAVEN!: I was very high on all three of the collection sets that we reviewed this week - Tyrone Power, Columbo and Malle.
The Purple Heart - I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this
blatant U.S. flag-waving war film (that isn't really a war film, but a courtroom
drama) - rife with such strident propaganda that I almost stood and saluted...
and I'm not even American! Director Lewis Milestone will oft be remembered for
All Quiet On The Western Front from 1930 as well a vast varietal range including
Hallelujah I'm a Bum and the later atmospheric Film Noir -
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. It takes a special kind of ability to instill
patriotism in an obvious but still effective manner. Milestone is right on the
money here. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
China Doll - In China gruff Air Force captain Cliff Brandon (Victor Mature) wakes up after a night of drinking to discover he has purchased the housekeeping services of comely, young Shu-Jen (Li Hua Li) from her father. Disappointed by Cliff's insistence on staying out late in bars, Shu-Jen leaves for home when Cliff, made aware that she is carrying her child, finds her and marries her in a delightful traditional Chinese ceremony. Happy days are spent as Shu-Jen and her infant daughter join Cliff at a forward base until Cliff, returning from a supply-drop mission, hears the base is under attack by Japanese bombers. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
Tyrone Power: The Swashbuckler Box Set - Though famous for his dark, classically handsome looks that made him a matinee idol from his first film appearance, Tyrone Power was not just handsome but very versatile. He played a wide range of roles, from a protagonist with a darker side to light romantic comedy. In 1940 the direction of Tyrone Power’s career took a dramatic turn when his movie, The Mark of Zorro, was released. Power played the role of Don Diego Vega, fop by day, and Zorro, bandit hero by night. The role had been made famous by Douglas Fairbanks in the 1920 movie by the same title. Power’s performance was excellent, and 20th Century Fox often cast him in many swashbucklers in the years that followed. This incredibly popular star is celebrated with this 5 DVD set all made in the decade of the 1940's. A truly classic collection with Blood and Sand (1941), Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake (1942), Captain from Castile (1947), Prince of Foxes (1949) and The Black Rose (1950) . DVD Release Date: May 1st, 2007
Columbo Mystery Movie Collection - In the detective series that inspired them all, acclaimed actor Peter Falk returns in his four-time Emmy-winning role as the wry and ruffled police lieutenant in 5 made-for-TV movies released in 1989. Luckily they didn't try to deviate too much from the successful aspects - namely strong scripts. Falk is perfect and the supporting 'villains' are equally adept in their characterizations. I am a big fan and would probably purchase regardless of price but this package is quite reasonable for almost 7.5 hours of intelligent entertainment. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte reduced to straight Gothic romance, but surprisingly effective right from the opening shot of a wavering candle being carried down a long, dark corridor. The early sequences of Jane's schooling are probably the most stylistically consistent and vividly realised (Daniell's chillingly pious sadism as the headmaster, Moorehead sourly petting a piggish little fat boy, young Elizabeth Taylor dying from cruel negligence). After Welles makes his thunderous appearance out of the mist, thrown from his startled horse but still able to swirl a cape with fine braggadocio, the film becomes more erratic, but always looks as though Orson had at least one eye behind the camera. And the cracks (notably the discrepancies in acting styles between pallid Jane and full-blooded Rochester) are neatly papered over by a fine Bernard Herrmann score. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
Sailor of the King - Action drama starring Jeffrey Hunter as a Canadian serving in the World Ward II Royal Navy who is taken prisoner by the German raider which sinks his ship. The ship then puts in for repairs and Hunter delays the ship's departure by escaping and sniping at the sailors working on the vessel. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
Fixed Bayonets! - 'His films are like scenarios made from communities of rats, the camera itself a king rat,' David Thomson wrote of Fuller. The rat trap is the Korean war, in a studio set of fake rock and fake snow, literally a theatre of war. The constantly moving camera isolates the tensions within an American platoon fighting a rearguard action. As the leaders are picked off by the 'alien' reds, one sensitive corporal's struggle with the responsibilities of leadership drags the plot in a slow dance of death; only to be blasted apart by a typical cigar-chewing affirmation of good old Yankee guts. From John Brophy's novel Immortal Sergeant (previously filmed in 1943). DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
The Documentaries of Louis Malle - Over the course of a nearly forty-year career, Louis Malle forged a reputation as one of the world’s most versatile cinematic storytellers, with such widely acclaimed, and wide-ranging, masterpieces as Elevator to the Gallows, My Dinner with Andre, and Au revoir les enfants. At the same time, however, with less fanfare, Malle was creating a parallel, even more personal body of work as a documentary filmmaker. With the discerning eye of a true artist and the investigatory skills of a great journalist, Malle takes us from a street corner in Paris to America’s heartland to the expanses of India in his astonishing epic Phantom India. These are some of the most engaging and fascinating nonfiction films ever made. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
Les Miserables (1935 & 1952) - There are several versions, both American and French with modern renditions often forgetting the true spirit of Hugo's original novel. A story universally known now - Jean Valjean, a Frenchman of good character, has nevertheless been convicted for the minor crime of stealing bread. This infinitesimal infraction leads to his pursuit by the relentless policeman Javert, an encompassing journey that consumes both men's lives for many years. The 1935 edition is often regarded as the best Hollywood version on film and Gregg Toland's cinematography and Laughton's evil characterization are a huge part of that. The 52' movie is able to encompass the pure storytelling concept of the plot - Michael Rennie deftly playing Jean. Both films are a valued pleasure to view holding the essence of the narrative very close at hand. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
Twin Peaks - Season 2 - From three-time Academy-Award nominee for directing David Lynch ("The Elephant Man," "Blue Velvet," and "Mulholland Drive") and Mark Frost comes the wildly imaginative, darkly comic mystery-thriller series that is one of the most acclaimed events in television history, "Twin Peaks"... DVD Release Date: April 3rd, 2007
Princesas - Mr. Aranoa is good with actors but lousy with ideas, though he broaches themes of class conflict and the economic basis of racism. His best material observes the rivalry between a clique of native working girls and the dark-skinned streetwalkers newly arrived on the scene. Otherwise, Princesas rehearses “hooker with a heart of gold” tropes and indulges Almodóvarian clichés of Spanish spunk and solidarity.
La Fidelidad - A far more effective film about the effects of emotional infidelity than EYES WIDE SHUT (which says and does less in the same amount of running time), LA FIDELITE is perhaps the most mainstream of Zulawski's films but not without its share of quirks. The Zulawski style is there: lengthy takes, tracking and steadicam shots (the film apparently won a French award for best steadicam shot). The seemingly mock-sentimental is actually very appropriate to the level of Zulawski's melodrama which extends from intimate recitations of poetry (in English by Gregory and Marceau with a delightful accent) to HK-style gunplay and explosions. At times, the film seems like an acting portfolio for Marceau, demonstrating her range (here she is in an erotic scene, here she is in high drama, here she is with a machine gun) and her performance is right up there with Isabelle Adjani's (whom she at times resembles) extraordinary work in the earlier Zulawski film POSSESSION or Romy Schnedier in his IMPORTANCE OF LOVE.
Born to Fight - The Thai movies Ong Bak and The Protector signaled the rise of Tony Jaa as a charismatic action star. Using fighting styles that originated in Thailand, Jaa dazzled action fans with running knee kicks and elbow blows to the tops of his opponents’ heads. Undoubtedly, Jaa’s no-nonsense brutality developed a cult following even here in North America, so the Weinstein brothers made a deal to release Born to Fight on DVD via their Dragon Dynasty label. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of April 23rd, 2007
Anna Karenina (Julien Duvivier, 1948) 20th Century Fox
Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer, 1993) R2 UK Eureka Entertainment Ltd
China Doll (Frank Borzage,1958) MGM
Columbo: Mystery Movie Collection 1989 - Universal Studios
Deja Vu (Tony Scott, 2006) Touchstone / Disney
Documentaries of Louis Malle (6-disc - Vive le tour / Humain, Trop Humain / Place de la République / Phantom India / Calcutta / God's Country ... of Happiness) - Criterion's Eclipse label
Elegy of a Voyage (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2002) Ideale Audience
Fixed Bayonets! (Samuel Fuller, 1951) Fox Home Entertainment
Forgotten Noir 4: Man From Cairo & Mask of Dragon - Vci Video
Forgotten Noir 5 - FBI Girl & Tough Assignment - Vci Video
Forgotten Noir 6: I'll Get You & Fingerprints Dont Lie - Vci Video
Forgotten Noir Collector's Set 2 (Man From Cairo / Mask of the Dragon / FBI Girl / Tough Assignment / I'll Get You / Fingerprints Don't Lie) - Vci Video
Fritz Lang Box Set - (Metropolis, Dr Mabuse - The Gambler, Spione, M and The Testament Of Dr Mabuse) R2 UK Eureka Entertainment
Gabrielle (Patrice Chéreau, 2005) R2 UK Artificial Eye
I Deal in Danger (Walter Grauman, 1966) 20th Century Fox
I'm an Elephant, Madame (Peter Zadek, 1969) R2 DE Kinowelt
Ironside: Season 1 - Complete 1st Season (8pc) (1967) Shout Factory
James Cagney - The Signature Collection (The Bride Came C.O.D. / Captains of the Clouds / The Fighting 69th / Torrid Zone / The West Point Story) Warner Home Video
Jane Eyre (Robert Stevenson, 1944) 20th Century Fox
Jean Renoir Collection - (Nana, La Marseillaise, The Testament of Dr. Cordelier, The Elusive Corporal, La Fille De L’Eau (1925 short), The Little Match Girl, Charleston Parade) - Lions Gate
Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) R2 DE Kinowelt
Lured (Douglas Sirk, 1947) R2 DE Kinowelt
Les Miserables (1935 & 1952 Two-Disc Set) (Lewis Milestone, 1952) - 20th Century Fox
Man in the Middle (Guy Hamilton, 1964) 20th Century Fox
Night at the Museum (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Shawn Levy, 2006) 20th Century Fox
Night at the Museum [Blu-ray] (Shawn Levy, 2006) 20th Century Fox
The Odd Couple - The First Season (Alan Rafkin, 1970) Paramount Home Video
The Panic in Needle Park (Jerry Schatzberg, 1971) 20th Century Fox
Pier Paolo Pasolini Vol.2 - Hawks and Sparrows (1966), Oedipus Rex (1967), Pigsty (1968) - R2 UK Tartan
Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (Quay Brothers) - Zeitgeist Films
Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series - 4-disc [Blu-ray] - BBC Warner
Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series - 4-disc [HD DVD] - BBC Warner
Play Dirty (André De Toth , 1968) MGM
The Purple Heart (Lewis Milestone, 1944) 20th Century Fox
Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Quay Brothers - 2-disc - Zeitgeist Films
The Queen (Stephen Frears, 2006) Miramax
The Queen [Blu-ray](Stephen Frears, 2006) Miramax
Sailor of the King (Roy Boulting, 1953) 20th Century Fox
Sleep, My Love (Douglas Sirk, 1948) R2 DE - Kinowelt Home Entertainment
Tonight We Raid Calais (John Brahm, 1943) 20th Century Fox
Wet Asphalt (Frank Wisbar, 1958) R2 DE Kinowelt
Week of April 30th, 2007
The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Fando Y) Anchor Bay
Borderline (Kenneth MacPherson, 1930) R2 UK BFI
Circus of Horrors (Sidney Hayers, 1960) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
El Topo (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1971) Anchor Bay
Henri-Georges Clouzot Collection - (Quai Des Orfevres, Le Corbeau and The Wages Of Fear) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Holy Mountain (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973) Anchor Bay
Jean Cocteau Collection (Le Sang D'un Poete (Blood Of A Poet), Testament D'orphee (The Testament Of Orpheus) And Cocteau Cineaste Documentary) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Le Jour se lève (Marcel Carné, 1939) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Little Children (Todd Field, 2006) New Line Home Video
Night of the Eagle (Sidney Hayers, 1962) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, 2006) Kino Video
The Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman, 1964) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Tyrone Power: Swashbuckler Box Set - The Black Rose (1950), Blood and Sand (1941), Captain from Castile (1947), Prince of Foxes (1949), Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake (1942) - 20th Century Fox
OUR CURRENT 'A" STORES:
50 CLASSIC TV SHOWS ON DVD- best of vintage TV!
SOME REGION FREE DVD PLAYERS TO CONSIDER
SOME OF THE BEST JAPANESE CINEMA ON REGION 1 DVD
54 DVDs TO CONSIDER WHILE SHOPPING AT AMAZON FRANCE (PAL)
SOME OF THE BEST OF 'FRENCH LANGUAGE' CINEMA ON DVD (NTSC)
'BEST OF WORLD CINEMA' on UK (PAL) DVD
BEST OF ITALIAN CINEMA
(on NTSC DVD)
SEE OUR ESSENTIAL CRITERION STORE - Best of the Best!
SEE OUR ESSENTIAL FILM-NOIR STORE!
Hope all is well in your part of the world,
P.S. DVD of the Year - 2006 still remains a popular place to peruse.