DVDBeaver Newsletter - June 23rd, 2006


Hello friends - in keeping with our latest edict  (short and sweet) - I'll just state that we have a real eclectic mix of 13 reviews this week. From Corman to Murnau... and more.


ANTICIPATION - On September 18th, Second Sight (R2 UK) are coming out with The Max Ophuls Collection (4 DVD set) including The Reckless Moment, Le Plaisir, Madame De... and Letter From An Unknown Woman. We will keep you informed!


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 still have until the release date to cancel - at no charge.


DON'T FORGET: Craving the stuff you can't seem to get anywhere else? Beavers TOP YesAsia picks are listed HERE


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


New Criterions on the horizon (PRE-ORDER and SAVE):
Seven Samurai
3-disc, Amarcord 2-disc, Brazil 3-disc, Brazil 1-disc, Spirit of the Beehive, Playtime and

NOTE: From Criterion website:

"Seven Samurai is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The picture has been slightly window-boxed to ensure that the maximum image is visible on all monitors." Grrrr....


BEAVER'S ALWAYS NEED HELP: 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!


New Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!)

Loulou (Maurice Pialat , 1980) Artificial Eye

Open Letter to the Evening News (Francesco Maselli, 1970) No Shame

Beyond the Rocks (Sam Wood , 1922) Milestone Films

The Little Shop of Horrors - colorized and BW (Roger Corman, 1960) Legend Films

The Fassbinder Collection II: Martha / In a Year with 13 Moons (Fassbinder, Rainer Werner) - Fantoma

Clean (Assayas, Olivier / 2004) Palm Pictures

Asphalt (Joe May, 1929) Kino Video

Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959) MGM

Olivier's Shakespeare (Henry V / Hamlet / Richard III) - Criterion Collection

OLYMPIA -The LENI RIEFENSTAHL Archival Collection - Pathfinder Home Entertainment

Bullets or Ballots (William Keighley, 1936) Warner Home Video

City for Conquest (Anatole Litvak, 1940) Warner Home Video

Each Dawn I Die (William Keighley, 1939) Warner Home Video

G Men (William Keighley, 1935) Warner Home Video

San Quentin (Lloyd Bacon, 1937) Warner Home Video

A Slight Case of Murder (Lloyd Bacon, 1938) Warner Home Video

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection (Basil Rathbone) 14 Classic Films On 5 Discs

Perry Mason - Season 1, Vol. 1 (Raymond Burr, 1957)

Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985) Criterion Collection

Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973) Criterion Collection

The Films of Toshiaki Toyoda (Toshiaki Toyoda ) Arts Magic

The Libertine (Laurence Dunmore, 2006) Weinstein Company

The Boat Is Full (Markus Imhoof ,1981) Home Vision

Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (Fritz Lang, 1921) Kino Video


RECOMMENDATIONS: I'm never totally comfortable with this as I remind you that these choices are only MY OPINION - but here goes - I was immensely impressed with Beyond the Rocks - for both the escapist silent melodrama film and its recent historical discovery significance. I've become a huge Charlie Chan fan thanks to The Charlie Chan Collection Volume 1 - masterful 30's mystery filled with Asian mystique and inscrutable charm. As far as Murnau's 1926 iconic film goes - the Masters of Cinema release of Faust appears to be the definitive - essential cinema! Patrice Leconte's best film - Monsieur Hire - looks truly excellent on DVD. If you always wanted Howard Hawks' Scarface (1932)  but refused to buy the alligator skin 83' edition gargantuan monstrosity of packaging - we remind you that you have options. I suppose I'll always be a Columbo fan and the latest - Columbo: The Complete Fifth Season -still holds great appeal for me (NOTE: If you are just buying one season then get # 3). An amazing image and extras - Beyond the Valley of the Dolls - it's just a shame the nostalgic appeal is so much stronger than the film itself.

Still up for debate - we are going to investigate the German DVD of Ludwig as the Infinity release (UK) has some failings (non 16X9 and huge subtitles). Stay tuned.

PASS: Image and Kino tend to gouge on prices at times and it's time to stand up and say no - for what its worth - Sudden Fear is far too expensive. 

R2 wins these battles - in both Bunuel's L'Age D'or and Dumont's L'Humanite pick the PAL UK editions for superior image quality over NTSC.           


New Reviews:


Beyond the Rocks - The rediscovery and restoration of any film long believed lost is good news. Beyond the Rocks inspired still more excitement at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival because it was the only movie ever to co-star two of the silent era's highest-wattage luminaries: Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino. DVD Release Date: July 11th, 2006

Columbo: The Complete Fifth Season - Season 5 of Columbo proves again the strength of the writing and the wonderful character acting of Peter Falk. He dons his famous trenchcoat again as he returns in his 4-time Emmy award-winning role as everyone’s favorite wry and ruffled Police Lieutenant. DVD Release Date: June 27th, 2006

Faust - Murnau's last German film features astonishing photography, magnificent art direction, and special effects which retain the power to amaze. Freed from the constraints of psychological narrative, Murnau's mastery of cinematic technique places Faust at the pinnacle of the silent era, its barrage of visceral and apocryphal imagery contrasting with the simplicity and directness of its spiritual theme.  DVD Release Date: June 26th, 2006

The Little Shop of Horrors - The Little Shop of Horrors is a 1960 dark comedy film directed by Roger Corman. The film is famous for having been shot in two days. The film tells the story of a nerdy young florist's assistant who cultivates a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. The film is also noteworthy for featuring a young Jack Nicholson in a small role as Wilbur Force, the dentist's masochistic patient.  DVD Release Date: June 27th, 2006

Ludwig - Visconti’s 1972 film is a lavish and operatic portrait of Ludwig II, the ‘Mad King’ of Bavaria. From his glittering coronation to his mysterious suicide, Ludwig II (1845-86) epitomised the doomed nineteenth-century Romantic hero. A loner by nature, he was tormented by his unrequited love for his cousin, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who sensed his true sexual nature and fragile grip on reality. DVD Release Date: June 19th, 2006

Sudden Fear - Gargoyle thriller from 1952, with Joan Crawford (in her high garish period) as an heiress who discovers her husband (Jack Palance, the perfect iconic match) is planning to kill her. The film was a product of RKO desperation and didn't do especially well on first release; its anomalous success as a revival (in 1987, in 35-millimeter restoration) seemed largely a matter of fidelity to archetype (as a clear-lined suspenser) and kitschy iconographic tastes, though Charles Lang's glossily noirish cinematography may have had something to do with it, too.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls - This film is a sequel in name only to Valley of the Dolls (1967). An all-girl rock band goes to Hollywood to make it big. There they find success, but luckily for us, they sink into a cesspool of decadence. This film has a sleeping woman performing on a gun which is in her mouth. It has women posing as men. It has lesbian sex scenes. It is also written by Roger Ebert... DVD Release Date: June 13th, 2006

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.

Wonderful Days - “Sky Blue” is the most ambitious and most expensive animated production to date from Korea, being seven years in the making and costing over $10 million, combining cell animation with CGI, as also seen in the Japanese “Appleseed” or even years ago in Disney’s “The Beauty and the Beast”.

L'Humanite - Dumont’s film is unfinished in the sense that some paintings are; that is, some parts of the “canvas” are only sketched in while other parts are fully realized. As a mannerist portrait of a few individuals, it’s often amazing; as a spiritual statement about suffering in the contemporary world, it almost lives up to its title; for its blunt depictions of sex, it’s about as carnal in an unvarnished way as filmmaking can get... DVD Release Date: 22 May 2006

L'Age D'or - Buñuel penned that L'Age d'Or was about "the impossible force that thrusts two people together [and] the impossibility of their ever becoming one." Amusingly enough the couple referred to were both sex-maniacs who reveled by lusting after everything including each other and inanimate objects.

Monsieur Hire -A superb thriller containing the ugliest portrait of French provincialism since Henri-Georges Clouzot's LE CORBEAU, Patrice Leconte's MONSIEUR HIRE is set in a Parisian suburb in which conformity reigns supreme. Based on the Georges Simenon novel that also inspired Julien Duvivier's PANIQUE, MONSIEUR HIRE is a penetrating psychological portrait of a love-starved outsider who, by the film's end, arouses the audience's protective instincts. DVD Release Date: May 15, 2006

The Charlie Chan Collection Volume 1 - Hollywood's favorite Asian sleuth (Warner Oland) is on hand for this restored collection of perplexing mysteries. "Charlie Chan in London" (1934),"Charlie Chan in Paris" (1935), "Charlie Chan in Egypt" (1935) and "Charlie Chan in Shanghai" (1935) - DVD Release Date: June 20th, 2006


Next 3 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of June 26th, 2006


Almanac of Fall (Béla Tarr, 1984) Facets Video

The Boat Is Full (Markus Imhoof ,1981) Home Vision

Cache (Hidden) (Michael Haneke, 2005) Sony Pictures

Columbo - The Complete Fifth Season (Various etc.,1971) Universal

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection (Basil Rathbone) 14 Classic Films On 5 Discs: The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes And The Voice Of Terror Sherlock, Holmes And The Secret Weapon, Sherlock Holmes In Washington, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, Sherlock Holmes In The Spider Woman, Sherlock Holmes The Scarlet Claw, Sherlock Holmes In Pearl Of Death, Sherlock Holmes House Of Fear, Sherlock Holmes And The Woman In Green, Sherlock Holmes Pursuit To Algiers, Sherlock Holmes Terror By Night, Sherlock Holmes Dressed To Kill

The Films of Toshiaki Toyoda (Toshiaki Toyoda) Arts Magic

Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926)- R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema

Knights Of The Teutonic Order (Aleksander Ford, 1960) R2 UK SecondRun DVD

Loulou (Maurice Pialat , 1980) Artificial Eye

The Little Shop of Horrors - colorized and BW (Roger Corman, 1960) Legend Films

Masters of Horror: Lucky McKee - Sick Girl (2006) Anchor Bay

Music in Darkness (Bergman, Ingmar / 1948) [Tartan / R2 PAL / UK]

OLYMPIA -The LENI RIEFENSTAHL Archival Collection - Pathfinder Home Entertainment
Prison (Bergman, Ingmar / 1949) [Tartan / R2 PAL / UK]


Week of July 3rd, 2006


The Libertine (Laurence Dunmore, 2006) Weinstein Company


Week of July 10th, 2006


Beyond the Rocks (Sam Wood , 1922) Milestone Films/New Yorker

The Black Swan (Henry King,1942) Fox Studio Classics

Grand Prix (Two-Disc Special Edition) (John Frankenheimer, 1966) Warner Home Video

The Keys of the Kingdom (John M. Stahl , 1944) Fox Studio Classics

Koko - A Talking Gorilla (Barbet Schroeder , 1978) Criterion Collection

Perry Mason - Season 1, Vol. 1 (Raymond Burr, 1957)

The River's Edge (Allan Dwan, 1957) Fox Studio Classics

Yi yi (Edward Yang, 2000) Criterion Collection


Enjoy the summer folks...



P.S. - Although the percentages keep juggling around you can still pick up some great deals at Amazon.UK!:

Laurel-Hardy 21-disc collection (42% off),  The Gospel According To St. Matthew (40% off), Jamon Jamon (60% off), Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf (65% off), Girl on the Bridge (70% off), Baise-Moi (56% off), The Seventh Seal (65% off), Central Station (68% off), Kes (62% off), The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (2-disc) (70% off), Amelie (Two Disc Special Edition) [DTS] (72% 0ff), Pedro Almodovar Collection: Bad Education / Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down / Live Flesh / All About My Mother / Talk To Her (58% off), Visconti's Conversation Piece (61% off), The Fallen Idol (43% off), Sherlock Holmes - The Definitive Collection (54% off), Katherine Hepburn - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Rita Hayworth - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Barbara Stanwyck - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Sophia Loren - 6-disc Screen Goddess Collection (52% off), Marilyn Monroe - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off)