DVDBeaver Newsletter - May 21st, 2007


What you sayin Buyh! - Another healthy newsletter with 14 new reviews this week - 3 vintage film/DVD editions compared, 2 Hawks classics, Fuller, Spaghetti westerns, Hammer Horror, Film-Noir, Silent to modern Hollywood. News, Sales - plus some fresh calendar updates.


NEWS: Eclipse Series 5 will be The First Films of Samuel Fuller (I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona and The Steel Helmet) - scheduled for August 14th, 2007
"His films have been called raw, outrageous, sensational, and daring. In four decades of directing, Samuel Fuller created a legendarily idiosyncratic oeuvre, examining U.S. history and mythmaking in westerns, film noirs, and war epics."


SALE 'nab while you can': The following 30 Criterion DVDs are all 35% OFF !: Seven Samurai - 3-Disc Remastered Edition (1954), Grey Gardens (1976), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), The 400 Blows (1959), Amarcord (1974), Viridiana (1962), Playtime (1967), The Tin Drum (1980), Solo Con Tu Pareja (1991), Tanner '88 (1988), Late Spring (1949), Kind Hearts and Coronets (1950), Equinox (1970), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Naked (1994), Do The Right Thing (1989), Shoot the Piano Player (1962), 3 Women (1977), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), The King of Kings (1927), Hoop Dreams (1994), Fanny and Alexander (The Theatrical Version) (1983), The Children Are Watching Us (1947), Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976), Slacker (1991), Smiles Of A Summer Night (1957), The Complete Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report) (1962), Unfaithfully Yours (1948), Kicking & Screaming (1995), Monsters And Madmen (The Haunted Strangler / Corridors of Blood / The Atomic Submarine / First Man into Space) (1959)


MORE NEWS: August Criterion's announced: David Mamet's House of Games, Carlos Saura's Cria cuervos..., Luis Bunuel's The Milky Way and Godard's Breathless...


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Audrey Totter added to the The Femme Fatales of Film Noir page HERE!




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


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


THRILLED: One of my favorite all-time TV shows is making its debut on DVD - I'm highly excited about The Fugitive - Season One, Vol. 1!

BLOWN AWAY ASIAN RELEASE: I'm confident that the upcoming Tartan R2 Ballad of Narayama will be miles better than the Region 3 release we reviewed HERE.

HELLMAN?!: Hellman fans will be keen on Two-Lane Blacktop. A masterpiece from the criminally underrated director!

WATKINS - Should be another stellar release from Ny'er/ Project X - The Freethinker.

IWAI: Love the director and can't wait to see The Kon Ichikawa Story.

DITTO FOR: Resnais and Private Fears in Public Places.

CONTROVERSY: Let's keep our eyes peeled for Devor's Zoo and Police Beat.

KEEN ON THE THIN MAN? - Then the Myrna Loy & William Powell Collection should also be right up your alley.

HARTLEY: Sounds like Fay Grim should be an interesting spy story.


Ballad of Narayama (Shohei Imamura, 1983) R2 UK Tartan Video

King of the Hill (Steven Soderbergh, 1993) R2 UK Universal Pictures UK

Harold Lloyd Collection [10-disc] R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) R2 UK Universal Pictures UK

Fay Grim (Hal Hartley, 2006) Magnolia

The Executioner's Song (Lawrence Schiller, 1982) (TV) Paramount Home Video

In the Gloaming (Christopher Reeve, 1997) (TV) Hbo Home Video

Avenue Montaigne (Danièle Thompson, 2006) Velocity / Thinkfilm

Gary Cooper - MGM Movie Legends Collection (The Cowboy and the Lady, The Real Glory, Vera Cruz, The Winning of Barbara Worth) MGM

Frankie & Annette Collection (Beach Blanket Bingo / How to Stuff a Wild Bikini / Beach Party / Bikini Beach / Fireball 500 / Thunder Alley / Muscle Beach Party / Ski Party) MGM

Shakespeare Collection (Hamlet 1996 / A Midsummer Night's Dream 1935 / Othello 1965 / Romeo & Juliet 1936) Warner Home Video

Charlie Chan Collection Vol. 3 (Behind that Curtain (1929), Charlie Chan's Secret (1936), Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937) and Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo (1937) 20th Century Fox

The Fugitive - Season One, Vol. 1 (David Janssen, 1963) Paramount Home Video

Myrna Loy & William Powell Collection (Manhattan Melodrama / Evelyn Prentice / Double Wedding / Love Crazy / I Love You Again) - Warner Home Video

The Freethinker (Peter Watkins, 1994) New Yorker

Private Fears in Public Places (Alain Resnais, 2006) IFC

Jean-Luc Godard Collection Volume 1 (A Bout De Souffle, Passion, Alphaville and Made in the USA) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Police Beat (Robinson Devor, 2005) Homevision

Zoo (Robinson Devor, 2007) Velocity / Thinkfilm

The Monster Squad (Two-Disc 20th Anniversary Edition) (Fred Dekker, 1987) Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Tales from Earthsea (Goro Miyazaki, 2006) R2 JP (has English subs) Buena Vista Home Entertainment (JP)

The Kon Ichikawa Story (Shunji Iwai, 2006) R2 JP (with Eng. subs)


RECOMMENDATIONS: Again, I'm not the only reviewer here but what I saw that I liked -> FBI Girl  from the VCI Boxset, Hell and High Water for Fuller's in-your-face humanity. The Third Part of the Night for a new avenue on cinema appreciation. Sabata for good old-fashioned Spaghetti western intensity. The Italian has grown on me even more since watching - thumbs up! And you should own, in some form (now easily available), Ball of Fire, Scarface and True Grit.

Avoid The Good German - no one seems to want to be a party to this one. Can't blame them.


New Reviews:


Borderline - A groundbreaking silent film for its explicit theme of racial prejudice and with an implicit homoerotic subtext, Borderline (1930) is a seething exploration of love, passion and betrayal, directed by Kenneth Macpherson, editor of the influential intellectual film journal Close Up (1927-33). DVD Release Date: April 30th, 2007

Sabata - This flamboyant spaghetti Western comes with acrobats, bearded knife-wielding drunks, a strolling minstrel with a banjo which doubles as a gun, pantomime villains and standard virtuoso gunplay. Van Cleef, all in black, looks mean and surly, but this doesn't stop him from standing up for the Texas small folk whose livelihoods are threatened by rapacious railroad tycoons. The sound editing is ludicrous, the costumes are absurdly gaudy, performances come close to caricature and the dubbing is always noticeable, but that doesn't lessen the entertainment value one jot. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

The Good German - In his genre pastiche “The Good German,” Steven Soderbergh has tried to resurrect the magic of classical Hollywood, principally by sucking out all the air, energy and pleasure from his own filmmaking. Based on the well-regarded Joseph Kanon novel, this film stars a distracted, emotionally detached George Clooney as Jake Geismer, an American journalist who, following World War II, returns to Germany to check out the doings at Potsdam and find his lost love, Lena, a frau who, as played by a vamping Cate Blanchett, recalls Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s postwar heroine Veronika Voss by way of Carol Burnett. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

Hell and High Water - Fuller's hard-nosed style adds wallop to this routine submarine picture - formulaic material in which Widmark's crew dive under the ice and foil an attempt by those wicked communists to amass a fearsome atomic arsenal in the Arctic. The cunning plan, you see, is to cause the Third World War and blame it on the Yanks (just like they did at Hiroshima and Nagazaki, I'll bet). Darvi is the decorative one with not very much to do. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

El Bola - El Bola traces Pablo's relationship with Alfredo (Pablo Galán), a more confident, sophisticated schoolmate who befriends him and takes him to an amusement park, where Alfredo exchanges a chaste kiss with the older male ticket taker for two free passes. Alfredo becomes a role model of independence and fearlessness for Pablo. And when Pablo introduces Alfredo to his friends at the railroad tracks, Alfredo shrugs off the other boys' contempt after he refuses to play chicken. DVD Release Date:  March 1st, 2007

Witnesses - Svjedoci (Witnesses) is a masterful piece of storytelling that looks at events surrounding a murder and the possible execution of its only witness through various points of view. Croatian director Vinko Bresan, whose first two films were political satires, abandons irony here for an honest and emotional account of how war and ethnic hatred corrupt moral behavior. With top-notch production values, especially fluid and sharp-focused cinematography by Zivko Zalar, this Berlinale competition film makes an excellent candidate for art houses everywhere. DVD Release Date:  March 1st, 2007

Ball of Fire - Marvelous performance from Stanwyck, all snap, crackle and pop as the brassy nightclub entertainer Sugarpuss O'Shea who seeks refuge with seven crusty old professors (plus Cooper) to escape unwelcome attentions from a gangster, and whose vocabulary (not to mention charms) excite delighted wonderment in the professors since they have just reached 'Slang' in the encyclopedia they are compiling. Rather surprisingly, Hawks slightly muffs the sequence in which the gangster and his aides get their comeuppance; otherwise his handling of the sparkling Brackett-Wilder script and its subversions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is pure joy. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

Forgotten Noir Vol. 5 - VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films present "Forgotten Film Noir Vol. 5". First up we have "FBI Girl" (1951) - A governor planning to run for U.S. Senate has a secret past that could prove damaging to his political aspirations: he's a convicted murderer, and that will come to light if the FBI does an investigative check on him. He goes to a local crime boss for help. The racketeer arranges for a low-level FBI employee to take the incriminating file from FBI headquarters, but then she is conveniently murdered. Two FBI agents investigating her murder begin to think that something isn't quite kosher. Noir perennial's Burr and Totter support the style.
Second on double feature bill we have a quasi-noir western called Tough Assignment. In order to investigate a modern-day cattle rustling operation, a newspaper reporter and his girlfriend infiltrate the gang. With Don 'Red' Barry, Marjorie Steele and Steve Brodie. DVD Release Date: April 24th, 2007

The Italian - Given the choice between a life of sun-dappled ease in Italy with adoptive parents or a harsh, probably inevitably hazardous solo jaunt through rural Russia with angry adults in pursuit, most kids would choose the former. Six-year old Vanya (Kolya Spiridonov), the hero of Andrei Kravchuck’s marvellous drama The Italian, isn’t most kids, however. So he flees his dilapidated orphanage (where he’s in line for black-market adoption) in search of the mother who unceremoniously abandoned him there. What began as a vivid tour of enclosed institutional rot segues, smartly and seamlessly, into a compelling open-road odyssey. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

True Grit -...make no mistake: True Grit is a splendid movie, with lovingly textured storytelling and sturdy characters, Henry Hathaway's finest high-country action set-pieces, intoxicatingly ornate frontier language, and a couple of formidable bad guys (Jeff Corey's Tom Cheney and Robert Duvall's "Lucky" Ned Pepper). It's a compliment to say that, from a technical standpoint, the movie could have been made any time in Hathaway's 40-year career, yet its feeling for the reality of violence ceded no ground to The Wild Bunch, released around the same time. Still, the film's most sublime passage falls between bursts of gunplay: Rooster sitting on a hilltop at night recounting his life story, as John Wayne metamorphoses ineluctably into W.C. Fields. The Special Collector's Edition DVD comes out May 22nd, 2007

Scarface (1932) - One of Hawks's undisputed masterpieces, and a landmark in the screen depiction of gangsters. Though the gangster genre had recently exploded with Little Caesar and The Public Enemy, it was Scarface (a.k.a. "Scarface, the Shame of a Nation") that depicted the professional hood as a murderous beast. In earlier films of the genre, a great deal of attention was paid to developing the background of the criminal and placing the blame for his antisocial activities on his environment. But with Scarface, all of that was dispensed with to give audiences for the first time an adult, fully developed monster who thrived on murder and power. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007

The Third Part of the Night - Trzecia część nocy (1971) is a film by Andrzej Żuławski, the enfant terrible of Polish Cinema. It is also a film about the ‘Polish experience’, but one made by a filmmaker too young to remember the War. It was made in 1971, before the so-called Polish ‘cinema of moral concern’ of Holland, Kieslowski and Zanussi. It is based (in part) on the life of Żuławski’s father, Miroslaw, during the Second World War. It is perhaps the first (and probably the last) film about Weigl Institute in Lwow. But above all else, it is the debut film of one of cinema’s true visionaries. DVD Release Date: May 14th, 2007

The Alejandro Jodorowsky Collection (PAL) - Alejandro Jodorowsky, while being a prolific author, playwright, graphic novelist (in association with Jean Giraud) and Tarot expert, is best known for his work as director, especially for his 1970 cult classic "El Topo". Born in in Iquique, Chile, February 7, 1929, Jodorowsky moved to Santiago to study at the university in 1942, but rather than pursuit an academic career, he worked as a clown for some years, then moved to Paris in 1955 where he studied mime with Marcel Marceau. It was also in Paris he met with Fernando Arrabal and Roland Topor, with whom he in 1962 formed the Panic Movement, responding to society with shocking theatrical and performance attacks, as surrealism had become "petite bourgeoisie." Jodorowsky would continue to do avant-garde theatre in Paris and Mexico, and ventured into film with "Fando y Lis" in 1967, which caused riots after its festival screening. Tartan PAL DVD Release Date: May 14, 2007

Horror of Dracula - It is always a delight to enter the Hammer otherworld of garish lighting, luscious beauties, starched Englishmen and red-paint blood. And this delight is never greater than in the case of the studio's 'Horror of Dracula' (Terence Fisher, 1958), which marries these charming qualities with stark social commentary and a good deal of historical prescience. Indeed, the film might be regarded as a Gothic counterpart to the class-conscious, social realist films that were another component of British cinema in the late-1950s.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


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

Fay Grim (Hal Hartley, 2006) Magnolia

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

Gary Cooper - MGM Movie Legends Collection (The Cowboy and the Lady, The Real Glory, Vera Cruz, The Winning of Barbara Worth) MGM

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


Week of May 28th, 2007


The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion - R2 UK - Artificial Eye Film Company Ltd.

L'Amore Molesto (Mario Martone,1995) - R2 - Arrow Films

Artemisia (Agnès Merlet, 1997) R2 UK - Bluebell Films

The Big Lebowski [HD DVD] (Joel Coen, 1998) Universal Studios

Circle of Iron (2-Disc Special Edition) (Richard Moore, 1978) Blue Underground

Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2006) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Cousin, cousine (Jean Charles Tacchella, 1975) R2-UK Arrow Films

Dirk Bogarde - The Screen Icons Collection (Accident, The Servant, The Blue Lamp, King And Country And The Sleeping) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Eisenstein Collection Vol.1 [Battleship Potemkin, Strike And October] R2 UK Tartan Video

Four Films From Fellini - La Dolce Vita ; I Vitelloni ; 8 1/2 ; Giuliette Degli Spiriti - R2 - Nouveaux Pictures

Free Zone (Amos Gitai, 2005) New Yorker

The Frighteners: Director's Cut [HD DVD] (Peter Jackson, 1996) Universal Studios

The Green Man (BBC Mini-series) R2 UK Cinema Club

Harold Lloyd Collection [10-disc] R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Jan Svankmajer - The Short Films 1964-1992 - R2 UK - Bfi Video

James Mason - The Screen Icons Collection (The Man Between, Five Fingers, Man In Grey And Odd Man Out) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Kasaba / Clouds of May (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 1998 -99) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Katharine Hepburn Collection (Morning Glory / Undercurrent / Sylvia Scarlett / Without Love / Dragon Seed / The Corn Is Green) Warner Home Video

King of the Hill (Steven Soderbergh, 1993) R2 UK Universal Pictures UK

The Moon and Sixpence (Albert Lewin, 1943) Vci Video

Napoléon Bonaparte (Abel Gance, 1934) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment

Scouts to the Rescue (Alan James, 1939) Vci Video

Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971) R2 UK Universal Pictures UK



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






- Best of the Best!



Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows...,




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!