DVDBeaver Newsletter - June 30th, 2006


Hello friends - another 13 reviews this week. 4 revealing comparisons and reviews with films directed by Fritz Lang, Edward Yang, John Ford, Powell and Pressburger, Joseph Losey, Michael Haneke, Carol Reed and more.... wow - what a lineup.


NEW ARTICLE - Sifting Hope... From Hype We strive to identify some of the better English-language films of the past decade. There are some surprises.


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.


FEATURE DVD OF JULY: Our Feature DVD of the Month has been chosen for July HERE.


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


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!)

L' Enfant (Dardenne Bros.,2005) Sony Pictures

Tsotsi (Gavin Hood , 2004) Miramax

Ronald Reagan - The Signature Collection (Knute Rockne All American / Kings Row / The Hasty Heart / Storm Warning / The Winning Team) Warner Home Video

Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 2 - Disk 1: A-Haunting We Will Go (1942) Disk 2: The Dancing Masters (1943) Disk 3: Bullfighters (1945) - 20th Century Fox

Knute Rockne All American (Lloyd Bacon, 1940) Warner Home Video

Kings Row (Sam Wood, 1942) Warner Home Video

Jesse James (Henry King ,1939) 20th Century Fox

Jayne Mansfield Collection (The Girl Can't Help It, Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?) 20th Century Fox

Femme Fatale Collection (Devil Girl from Mars, The Astounding She Monster, Mesa of Lost Women) Image Entertainment

Elizabeth I (Tom Hooper, 2005) (TV) Hbo Home Video

Clark Gable Collection, Vol. 1 (Disc 1: Call of the Wild (1935) Disc 2: Soldier of Fortune (1955) Disc 3: The Tall Men (1955) ) 20th Century Fox

Death Mr Lazerescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005) Wellspring

Lonesome Jim (Steve Buscemi, 2005) Genius

Brick (Rian Johnson, 2005) Universal Studios

Cavite (Neill Dela Llana, 2005) Magnolia

Fantastic Planet (René Laloux, 1973) Eureka - Masters of Cinema

Eternity and a Day (Theo Angelopoulos, 1998) New Yorker Video

Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) Eureka - Masters of Cinema


RECOMMENDATIONS: First and foremost - I don't know how a Powell and Pressburger gem on DVD slipped by me but One of Our Aircraft is Missing is another of their pure cinema joys. And as well as being a great film, with Fritz Lang's subversive underpinning, the Cinema Club DVD of You Only Live Once is an infinitely better transfer than its Region 1 counterpart and its a steal - a great film noir that is 50% off! I enjoyed The Rocking Horse Winner very much. New reviewer Kurtis leans towards the positive for The Syrian Bride - and that's good enough for me. The new Criterion Yi Yi really does the film justice in all areas. Our Man in Havana is fun, cheap and a great transfer.

PASS: MGM are really a joke when it comes to DVD transfers and their new Yellowbeard is not even progressive - awful 'combing' everywhere. The film is bad but it deserved better. The Libertine didn't do much for me - none of the usual you might expect from a Depp performance. 

RUMORS - we've heard that Warner are working to replace the UE The Searchers - but I doubt enough people care about the color variance. I'll believe it when I see it. Otherwise this is an incredibly strong DVD package.

R2 wins these battles - Von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress (France beats out Criterion) and the aforementioned You Only Live Once.


New Reviews:


The Scarlet Empress - Filmmaker-svengali Josef von Sternberg escalates his obsession with screen legend Marlene Dietrich in this lavish depiction of sex and deceit in the 18th-century Russian court. A self-proclaimed “relentless excursion into style,” the pair’s sixth collaboration follows the exploits of Princess Sophia (Dietrich) as she evolves from trembling innocent to cunning sexual libertine Catherine the Great. The French Universal DVD improves greatly upon the Criterion. The Universal PAL DVD came out December 6th, 2005

Yi Yi - With the runaway international acclaim of this film, Taiwanese director Edward Yang could no longer be called Asian cinema’s best-kept secret. Yi Yi swiftly follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Check out the new Criterion DVD. The Criterion DVD has a release date of July 11th, 2006

The Searchers - It’s not what is said and done in John Ford’s The Searchers that makes it such an effective film. It is what is not said and done—the actions that are implied but never seen, and the dialogue that is thought but never spoken. It is about two men’s five-year search for a girl kidnapped by Comanche Indians, but it is more interested in why they are searching than who they are searching for. Check out the new Ultimate Edition compared to the old release. The Ultimate Collector's Edition came out June 6th, 2006

One of Our Aircraft is Missing - As 49th Parallel would be the Canadian influenced propaganda effort by Powell & Pressburger - One of Our Aircraft is Missing is the Dutch equivalent. Supporting the war effort - Michael Powell was commissioned by the British government and the film he and Emeric Pressburger made focuses on six Royal Air force men who find themselves stranded in Holland after their bomber, "B for Bertie", is shot down by anti-aircraft fire after a raid on Stuttgart. DVD Release Date: May 15th, 2006

Secret Ceremony - Losey's disparate style has some appeal upon reflection but during initial viewing can be tedious. It seems to be a film trying too hard to be misunderstood - and succeeding in that vein. Losey and Taylor completists may get the most benefit. Others may find it too weird. DVD Release Date: May 15th, 2006

Our Man in Havana - Having found so much success with his adaptations of Graham Greene novels The Fallen Idol (1948) and The Third Man (1949), Carol Reed revisited the author's oeuvre with this fabulous satirical spy story. Ex-pat vacuum salesman Jim Wormold (Guinness) is roped into Britain's Cuban espionage division. Paid per item of intelligence, and desperate to send daughter Milly (Morrow) to an expensive European school, Wormold embellishes his reports with daring falsification. DVD came out December 25th, 2005

Hidden (Caché) - A master of the icy yet visceral shock, Austrian-born Michael Haneke often turns his formidably unpleasant imagination to the movie equivalent of a cruel prank. But in Caché ("Hidden"), the subject matter is worthy of his nastiness: What first appears to be a subtly sadistic campaign of terror against one annoyingly smug, bourgeois French intellectual proves rooted in global discontents, national character and personal responsibility. DVD Release Date: June 19th, 2006

The Libertine - In this period piece Johnny Depp plays artistic wit and literary graphic poet/philosopher John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester circa 1650. I like Depp and his more daring and eclectic selections of roles - he found some time between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Pirates of the Caribbean to portray this raunchy, excessive wunderkind. Director Laurence Dunmore exposes Wilmot as a typically tragic figure - destroying every aspect of his life - friends, family and potential talent are left by the wayside for a life of decadence. DVD Release Date: July 4th, 2006

The Rocking Horse Winner - Based on one of D.H. Lawrence’s most enduring short works, this is a haunting tale of a boy driven to the limits of his own life by his mother’s wanton materialism. Plagued by his mother’s (Valerie Hobson) extravagant shopping and spending - the young, introverted son discovers that by riding his toy rocking horse he can predict the outcome of future horse races. DVD Release Date: September 24th, 2002

Sundown - Kind of an Kipling-esque desert adventure tale during WW2 with Tierney's glow taking camera precedence. Barré Lyndon adapted his own Saturday Evening Post short story of Nazi's in Africa and their conflicting counterparts aided by mysterious and beautiful Zia (Gene Tierney). DVD Release Date: January 24th, 2003

Yellowbeard - For twelve years, Yellowbeard (Graham Chapman) has looted the Spanish Main, making men eat their lips and swallow their hearts. Caught and convicted -- for tax evasion -- he's sentenced to 20 years in St. Victim's Prison for the Extremely Naughty. In a scheme to confiscate his fabulous treasure, the Royal Navy allows him to escape and follows him to the Spanish Main, where saucy tarts, lisping demigods and some awful puns and punishments await. DVD Release Date: June 27th, 2006

The Syrian Bride - is the latest release from Israeli writer/director Eran Riklis and yet another addition to his continuing series of films that examine the heavy influence that culture has on lives in the Middle East. DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006

You Only Live Once - Fritz Lang's second American film (often regarded as his best from that period) is a bold paradox - diverging from the normal fare of the times. Characters are introduced - they are put to a test - we question - and quickly it is two star-crossed lover's vs. society as they fight an unjust fate. STOP the PRESS and check out how the R2 PAL Cinema Club editions fare against the overly expensive Image Entertainment disc. The Cinema Club came out August 9th, 2004


Next 3 weeks on the Calendar:


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

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

Femme Fatale Collection (Devil Girl from Mars, The Astounding She Monster, Mesa of Lost Women) Image Entertainment

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


Week of July 17th, 2006


Asphalt (Joe May, 1929) Kino Video

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

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

Clean (Assayas, Olivier / 2004) Palm Pictures

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

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

Film Noir Classics Collection 3 (6pc) - Border Incident, Film Noir: Bringing Darkness Into Light, His Kind of Woman, Lady in the Lake, On Dangerous Ground. The Racket - Warner

G Men (William Keighley, 1935) Warner Home Video

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

Passenger (Andrzej Munk , 1963) R2 UK SecondRun DVD

San Quentin (Lloyd Bacon, 1937) Warner Home Video

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

Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959) MGM

Tsotsi (Gavin Hood , 2004) Miramax

Tough Guys Collection (6pc) - Bullets or Ballots, City for Conquest, Each Dawn I Die, G-Men, San Quentin, A Slight Case of Murder - Warner


Get out from behind your computer and spend time outside with family and friends - have a BBQ! (and invite me!),



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)