DVDBeaver Newsletter - May 14th, 2007


Sekoh! - Another whopping newsletter with 18 new reviews this week - 4 comparisons, 2 new Masters of Cinema DVDs and one Criterion - plus strong westerns, noirs,  Melville to The Quays, Tex Avery to the Maysles Brothers (I defy you to say we aren't 'eclectic' ;) - plus some very healthy calendar updates.


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


CAREFUL: Initial reports of Cinema Epoch film transfers, Big Road & Queen of Sports, Crossroads & Daybreak, Song at Midnight, Springtime in a Small Town and Street Angel/Twin Sisters  are very sub-standard. An example can be found HERE!


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


ENTICING: When we find what specific titles will be represented on Kino's Avant-Garde 2 - we will publish. Stay tuned!

A YEAR FOR MR. MELVILLE: Sterling year for the director on DVD and Masters of Cinema are joining-in with Le Silence de la Mer. Great news!

MORE INGMAR BERGMAN!: Tartan (UK) are publishing two more in June - digitally unreleased (to our knowledge) - The Devil's Eye and Sawdust and Tinsel.

LOTS OF GOOD TITLES - Keep attuned for The Stewart Granger Collection - there are many interesting titles here.

ASIAN CINEMA UNEARTHED: A few more titles coming up - The Taste of Tea Lady Kung Fu and My Young Auntie. Ohhh and A World Without Thieves.

VINTAGE WESTERN: Sooner rather than later are mid-range entries Gun the Man Down, Fort Courageous and Fury at Furnace Creek.

SODABURGER and CLOONEY AGAIN?: is this another remake? - Hey I admitted I liked 'their' Solaris so I'll give The Good German a spin. Review forthcoming. Cheers Marshall for the heads-up!

'BOUT TIME - I thought Coppola's The Rainmaker was underrated (it did have Teresa Wright!), and although perhaps over-rated - The Verdict - was still an excellent film. I look forward to updated editions of both courtroom dramas. The former really needs a new DVD presence.

INFINITUM: Along with De Palma's Scarface (bare, Platinum, Anniversary, Deluxe alligator skin etc.), Verhoeven's Robocop - this time the Lenticular Edition - will continue to probe the heights (or depths) of DVD re-editions. NOTE: The term lenticular often refers to a printed image that shows depth or motion as the viewing angle changes.


Gun the Man Down (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1956) 20th Century Fox

Fort Courageous (Lesley Selander, 1965) 20th Century Fox

Fury at Furnace Creek (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1948) 20th Century Fox

Avant-Garde 2 (Films by Brakhage, Markopoulos, Mitry, Vogel, Broughton, Isou, Maas, Menken, Watson, Webber, Leni, Peterson, Kirsanof) Kino Video

The Good German (Steven Soderbergh, 2007) Warner Home Video

A World Without Thieves (Xiaogang Feng, 2004) Genius Products

The Devil's Eye (Ingmar Bergman, 1960) R2 UK - Tartan

Sawdust and Tinsel (Ingmar Bergman, 1953) R2 UK - Tartan

Le Silence de la Mer (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1949) - R2 UK Eureka - Masters of Cinema

The Rainmaker - Special Edition (Francis Ford Coppola, 1997) Paramount Home Video

Blue Planet (IMAX) (Ben Burtt, 1990) [HD DVD] Imax

Blue Planet (IMAX) (Ben Burtt, 1990) [Blu-ray] Imax

The Taste of Tea (Katsuhito Ishii, 2003) VIZ Pictures

Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh, 1996) Warner

Lady Kung Fu ( Feng Huang, 1972) Weinstein Company

My Young Auntie (Chia-Liang Liu, 1981) Weinstein Company

The Verdict (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (Sidney Lumet, 1982) 20th Century Fox

Robocop - Lenticular Edition (Paul Verhoeven, 1987) MGM

From Russia With Love - remastered (Terence Young,1964) MGM

The Stewart Granger Collection - Adam and Evelyne, Blanche Fury, Caesar And Cleopatra, Captain Boycott, Fanny By Gaslight, Lamp Still Burns, Love Story, Madonna of The Seven Moons, Magic Bow, Waterloo Road, Woman Hater and Caravan - R2 UK ITV DVD

Becket (Peter Glenville, 1964) MPI Home Video


RECOMMENDATIONS: I won't bore you with too many selections (we had many other reviewers this week so there are a few I haven't seen), but I was smitten with Hell Drivers. Must be the Brit in me. I saw the merit in How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman. The Maysles Bros. films (Salesman and Grey Gardens) are must-own in some digital form. So Proudly We Hail! is also a great film folks, and I personally enjoyed Becket very much. That's it but less enthusiastically I endorse the Stewart western Broken Arrow, and the compilation of cartoons in Tex Avery's Droopy - The Complete Theatrical Collection.


New Reviews:


Hell Drivers (SE) - Energetic and violent trucking thriller marked by the raw, angry edge of the best of blacklist victim Endfield's Hollywood work, and by his appreciation (shared, oddly enough, by fellow exile Joseph Losey) of the markedly out-of-the-mainstream talent of Stanley Baker. Playing an ex-con hired as one of a team of drivers forced to drive at dangerous speeds in rattletrap lorries over rugged roads to meet the daily quota of loads to be delivered (a touch of The Wages of Fear here), Baker further becomes involved in a deadly duel with a sadistic rival (McGoohan) on his way to smashing the haulage company's racket. Baker and Endfield eventually formed their own production company for Zulu. DVD Release Date: March 19th, 2007

How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman - I can't say whether this 1971 feature is the best film by Brazilian master Nelson Pereira dos Santos, the father of Cinema Novo, but it's the first one I saw, and it left the strongest impression. It describes the complex interactions between a French adventurer and a Tupinamba Indian tribe and charts a brilliantly comic and highly ironic ethnographic analysis of both; almost the entire cast is naked, and the overall message is that probably the only way the Frenchman can truly be absorbed by the tribe is nutritively. A must-see. DVD Release Date: May 8th, 2007

Grey Gardens - Grey Gardens is an intimate documentary portrait of two eccentric and reclusive women (cousins to the Bouvier family). Edith Beale and her daughter Edie are familiarly know as "Big" Edie and "Little" Edie. They live together in their quite dilapidated, garbage-ridden, 28-room house in and amongst a very wealthy area of East Hampton. Like their other documentaries, the Maysles Brothers (and their editors- who are often given directing credits) present an absolutely mesmerizing piece of work here. The Masters of Cinema DVD Release Date was April 30th, 2007

Broken Arrow - Retired army captain Tom Jeffords (James Stewart) aids a deadly wounded Apache boy back to life and thus comes face to face with the more human side of the Apaches. As the war between the white man and the Apaches now is running on its tenth year, Jeffords believes that he can make peace by creating a dialogue between the two sides, thus learns the speak Apache and goes to meet their leader, Cochise (Jeff Chandler). The Fox DVD Release Date is May 22nd, 2007

Tex Avery's Droopy - The Complete Theatrical Collection - Droopy, a detective basset hound, lulls the bad guys into a false sense of security by acting slow and dumb when in actual fact he is a genius. The shrewd Droopy always outwits his enemies! Droopy Dog was a low-key animated movie character created by Tex Avery at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1943. Among the many cartoon characters Avery created are Daffy Duck, Droopy, Screwy Squirrel and Chilly Willy. Tex Avery is also credited with creating the basic personality of Bugs Bunny. He was the one who coined the phrase "What's up, Doc?" DVD Release Date: May 15th, 2007

Unconquered - Cecil B. DeMille's noted fondness for the good old-fashioned life and for the good old-fashioned way of making movies out of good old-fashioned stuff has never been manifested in a franker nor more disarming way than it is in his latest lavish picture, "Unconquered," which hit the Rivoli yesterday. For here is adventure drama of the sort that we got in silent films—except that it's done in Technicolor—and dialogue such as that we used to read. Here is unblushing employment of the oldest dime-novel clichés. And it will probably reward its producer with a tub full of good old-fashioned gold. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

Phantom Museums: The Short Films of the Quay Brothers - This two-disc set, in custom packaging, collects 13 of the Quay Brothers' short films, spanning 24 years, in brand new restored and re-mastered editions (six of them with new Quay commentaries), plus a collection of 'footnotes' including interviews, alternative versions, unrealized pilot projects and more. An accompanying illustrated color booklet features an encyclopedic guide to the Quays' universe, plus the original illustrated treatment for their best-known film Street of Crocodiles. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007

So Proudly We Hail! - Brimming with all the patriotic rhetoric typical of war flicks of the time, So Proudly We Hail! (1943) was nevertheless something of a change of pace for audiences as it followed the adventures and hardships of a troupe of military nurses through some of the darkest hours of the war in the Pacific. Told in flashback as the women arrive home, it takes them from December 1941, with their Hawaii-bound ship diverted to Bataan after the attack on Pearl Harbor, through Corregidor and finally back to the U.S. about a year later. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

The Fountain - Only a truly gifted director can make a movie as flamboyantly bad as The Fountain, Darren Aronofsky's trippy, swooning triptych about a millennium-spanning quest for the secret of immortality. Originally planned as an expensive CGI epic to star Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, the film was scuttled several years ago when Pitt, perhaps belatedly recognizing its toxic pretentiousness, abruptly bailed just weeks before principal photography. Aronofsky persisted, though, in the time-honored tradition of filmmakers obsessed with foolhardy, grandiose dream projects, retooling the script slightly and scaling the budget down to a level commensurate with his second-string replacement cast, Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. The result, I must say, doesn't look terribly compromised — at the very least, it's plenty ponderous enough to confirm one's reluctant suspicion that some visions are better left unrealized. DVD Release Date: May 15th, 2007

Salesman - A landmark American documentary, Salesman captures in vivid detail the bygone era of the door-to-door salesman. While laboring to sell a gold-embossed version of the Good Book, Paul Brennan and his colleagues target the beleaguered masses—then face the demands of quotas and the frustrations of life on the road. Following Brennan on his daily rounds, the Maysles discover a real-life Willy Loman, walking the line from hype to despair. In a society saturated with reality TV, soundbite analysis, and slickly produced docu-tainment, Salesman stands tall as one of the first non-fiction films to show the lives of ordinary people indepth, without judgement or narration. The Masters of Cinema DVD Release Date was April 30th, 2007

Hammer Film Noir Vol. 4 - "Terror Street" (1953) - our story has our hero Dan Duryea as the prime suspect in the murder of his British wife who has been shot ... in this post war film noir Duryea has only 36 hours to discover in his desperation who is the real killer and why. Second on the double bill is a Lippert Picture release "Wings of Danger" (1952) the second film noir is a first timer on DVD, and the intrigue is nerve-wracking just the way we would want it ... is our leading man Zachary Scott having bouts with blackouts and what part does the lovely Kay Kendall play in this twist and turn film noir story ... is Scott's friend Robert Beatty strong armed into the smuggling game, has he turned up missing ... this overlooked noir is loaded with suspense and drama, watch Zach Scott take on this web of smugglers only to find more mystery to this puzzle. DVD Release Date: December 26, 2006

Hammer Film Noir Vol. 5 - The Glass Tomb (aka: Glass Cage) (1955) - our story has "The Starving Man:" with the longest fast undertaken by Sapolio who will go food less for 70 days ... can he do it, or will he be found dead inside his glass cage ... several murders as the police investigate and our hero John Ireland side steps a poisoning and kidnapping ... the lovely Honor Blackman appears in the midst of drama and intrigue within the carnival world ... discover whose behind all of this and why. Second on the double bill is "Paid to Kill" (aka: Five Days) (1954) ther story is another thriller - when Dane Clark hires his best friend to kill him for the insurance money ... why you ask?, so his wife can be provided for as his business has gone down the tubes ... is the wife on the up and up, or is she behind an alternative plot to kill her husband. DVD Release Date: December 26, 2006

Becket - Set in 12th century England and based on the historical record, "Becket" involves not only questions of honor and loyalty but also a savage split between best friends, one of whom happens to be England's king, over the conflicting rights of church and state. Not exactly an MTV-friendly subject, but there you have it. DVD Release Date: May 15th, 2007


Army of Shadows - Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterpiece about the French Resistance against the Nazi occupation went unreleased in the United States for thirty-seven years, before its triumphant theatrical debut in 2006. Atmospheric and gripping, Army of Shadows is Melville’s most personal film, featuring Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the incomparable Simone Signoret as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their own brand of honor in their battle against Hitler's regime. The Criterion DVD Release Date is May 15th, 2007

Mysterious Object at Noon - This masterpiece from new Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul blends fiction and non-fiction into a new form of cinema previously forged by Hou Hsiao-hsien and Abbas Kiarostami. For his low-budget, 85-minute, black-and-white film, Weerasethakul traveled all over Thailand, inviting people to continue the storyline he has begun about a teacher, her student, and a mysterious boy who has suddenly appeared and has magic powers. Whenever eager storytellers are not crowded in the frame tossing out ideas faster than any Hollywood pitch meeting, Weerasethakul's camera simply follows the day-to-day events of the region -- from fishmongers selling their wares to children playing with a dog.

Britannia Hospital - Whilst it may lack the iconic vitality of 'If….' (1968) or the cinematic daring of 'O Lucky Man!' (1973), Lindsay Anderson’s 'Britannia Hospital' (1982) should nonetheless be regarded as highly as its well-received predecessors in the 'Mick Travis' trilogy. However, from its première at Cannes – which witnessed a walk-out by British critics – to the present day, opinion has generally been slanted against this sideswipe at Thatcherite Britain. Does this opinion fail to notice the powerful moral questions that lie beneath 'Britannia Hospital''s caustic exterior? Or does it choose to ignore them?

Because I Said So - "The rules of romantic comedy dictate a few wrong choices on the way to the right one, an alternation of giggles, tears and hugs, and ''Because I Said So'' plays cautiously by the rules. Directed by Michael Lehmann from a script credited to Karen Leigh Hopkins and Jessie Nelson, it is a mild exercise in deliberate mediocrity, with chuckles and heartwarming moments distributed as carefully as nuts in a factory-made brownie. DVD Release Date: 8 May 2007

Manito - The film has been compared to Mean Streets and has the same driving energy as the 1974 picture. But some of Scorsese's characters wanted to be criminals--you could see that again in GoodFellas. The Morales family has had all the crime it wants, thanks to the father, and wants only to pay the bills, have a party, and see Manito succeed. Where do the actors come from, who can walk into their first picture and act with such effortless effect? Franky G. has had three roles since he finished Manito, in big pictures like The Italian Job, and we'll hear more of him. Leo Minaya and Jessica Morales have not worked before or since, but what freshness and truth they bring to their performances. DVD Release Date: March 1st 2007

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of May 14th, 2007


Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Criterion

The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky 6-disc -(El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Fando Y) R2 - UK Tartan

Becket (Peter Glenville, 1964) MPI Home Video

Fiorile (Taviani bros., 1993) R2-UK Arrow Films

The Fountain (Widescreen Edition) (Darren Aronofsky, 2006) Warner

Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait (Barbet Schroeder, 1974) R2 UK MoC Eureka Entertainment Ltd

Little Children (Todd Field, 2006) R2 UK Entertainment in Video

Man in the Vault (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1956) R2 UK Paramount Home Entertainment

Pan's Labyrinth (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) New Line Home Video

Pier Paolo Pasolini Vol.2 (Hawks And Sparrows, Oedipus Rex and Pigsty) Tartan Video

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

Vengeance Is Mine (Shohei Imamura, 1979) Criterion


Week of May 21st, 2007


The Adventures of Marco Polo (Archie Mayo, 1938) MGM

Ball of Fire (Howard Hawks, 1941) MGM

Black Kiss (Macoto Tezuka, 2004) R2 UK Terra Entertainment

Broken Arrow (Delmer Daves, 1950) 20th Century Fox

Can-Can (Walter Lang , 1960) 20th Century Fox

Casanova Brown (Sam Wood, 1944) MGM

The Cowboys: Deluxe Edition (Mark Rydell, 1972) Warner Home Video

Diary of a Lost Girl (Georg Wilhelm Pabst,1929) R2 UK Eureka Masters of Cinema

Encore (Harold French, 1951) - R2 UK - Network

Fort Courageous (Lesley Selander, 1965) 20th Century Fox

From Russia With Love - remastered (Terence Young,1964) MGM

Fury at Furnace Creek (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1948) 20th Century Fox

The Good German (Steven Soderbergh, 2007) Warner Home Video

Gun the Man Down (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1956) 20th Century Fox

Hell & High Water (Samuel Fuller, 1954) 20th Century Fox

The Hills Run Red (Carlo Lizzani, 1966) MGM

The House By The River - 2-disc (Fritz Lang, 1950) - R2 FR Wild Side Vidéo

The Italian (Andrei Kravchuk, 2005) Sony Pictures

The John Wayne Film Collection (Without Reservations / Allegheny Uprising / Tycoon / Reunion in France / Big Jim McCain / Trouble Along the Way)

Katharine Hepburn Collection - On Golden Pond/African Queen/Iron Petticoat/Clive James Interview - R2 UK - ITV DVD

Letters from Iwo Jima (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Clint Eastwood, 2007) Warner

Letters from Iwo Jima (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) [HD DVD] (Clint Eastwood, 2007) Warner

Letters from Iwo Jima / Flags of Our Fathers (Five-Disc Commemorative Edition) Warner Home Video

Little Red Flowers (Yuan Zhang, 2006) R2 UK Eureka Entertainment Ltd

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

On the Riviera (Walter Lang, 1951) 20th Century Fox

Prince of the City (Two-Disc Special Edition) (Sidney Lumet, 1981) Warner Home Video

A Prize of Arms (Cliff Owen, 1962) R2 UK - Odeon Entertainment

Quartet (Ken Annakin, 1948) R2 UK Network

Regular Lovers (Philippe Garrel, 2005) Zeitgeist Films

The Return of Sabata (Gianfranco Parolini, 1971) MGM

Rio Bravo: Ultimate Collector's Edition (Howard Hawks, 1959) Warner Home Video

Roots (Four-Disc Collector's Edition) - Warner Home Video

Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) Criterion

Sabata (Gianfranco Parolini, 1969) MGM

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

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

Steelyard Blues (Alan Myerson, 1973) Warner Home Video

Straight Time (Ulu Grosbard , 1978) Warner Home Video

The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949) Criterion

Tomorrow at Ten (Lance Comfort, 1964) R2 UK - Odeon Entertainment Ltd

Trio (Ken Annakin, 1950) R2 UK Network

True Grit - Special Collector's Edition (Henry Hathaway, 1969) Paramount Home Video

The Ultimate Matrix Collection [HD DVD] (5-disc) - Warner Home Video

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

The Wedding Night (King Vidor, 1935) MGM

White Feather (Robert D. Webb, 1955) 20th Century Fox

Whose Life Is It Anyway? (John Badham, 1981) Warner Home Video



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






- Best of the Best!



Have a great week!,




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


P.P.S. - 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 [1961] 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 [1947] 56% OFF!, The Heart Of The Matter [1953] 63% OFF!, Belle de Jour - 40th Anniversary [1967] 70% OFF!, Europa Europa [1992] 70% OFF!, Vera Drake [2004] 70% OFF!, L'Enfer (2005) 70% OFF!, Détective (1985) 70% OFF!, L'Appartement [1995] 67% OFF!, The Tree of Wooden Clogs [1978] 60% OFF!, Pepi, Luci, Bom [1981] 67% OFF!, The Man Without A Past [2003] 70% OFF!, Goodbye Lenin! [2002] 73% OFF!, A Matter Of Life And Death [1946] 75% OFF!, Wuthering Heights [1939] 66% OFF!, The Deadly Affair [1966] 58% OFF!, The Battle Of The River Plate (Digitally Remastered Edition) [1956] 62% OFF!, The Way Ahead [1944] 60% OFF!, Blithe Spirit [1945] 60% OFF!, The Red Shoes - Plus Documentary [1948] 69% OFF!, Tiger Bay [1959] 66% OFF!, City Lights [1931] 57% OFF!, The Black Windmill [1974] 69% OFF!, The Blue Lamp [1950] 46% OFF!