DVDBeaver Newsletter - July 14th, 2006


Hello! - Let's see - Spike Lee (first feature effort - first time to DVD), More Noir than you can shake a blackjack at, TV films and animation gems, David Lean, Zhang Yimou and lots of British classics.


Came across this interesting French Film Blog - I've been reading daily:



ANTICIPATION: Warner Home Video have announced the Region 1 DVD release of The Astaire and Rogers Collection: Volume 2 for 17th October 2006. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Volume 2 will include Carefree, Flying Down To Rio, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta and Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. All five films are new to DVD and have been newly remastered...


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 Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!)

Motion Picture Masterpieces (5 disc) - Marie Antoinette (1939), David Copperfield (1935), Pride and Prejudice (1940), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), Treasure Island (1934) Warner Home Video

V for Vendetta (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) (James McTeigue, 2006) Warner Home Video

Sybil (30th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition) (Daniel Petrie, 1976) Warner Home Video

Pinky and the Brain, Vol. 1 (Russell Calabrese, 1995) Warner Home Video

Animaniacs, Vol. 1 (Rich Arons, 1993) Warner Home Video

So Ends Our Night (John Cromwell , 1941) Vci Video

The Third Generation (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1979) Tango Entertainment

Wanda (Barbara Loden , 1971) Parlour Pictures

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (Nathan Juran, 1958) Infinity Media R2 UK

D.W. Griffith Collection (Three Discs - The Avenging Conscience; Thou Shalt Not Kill (1914), Birth of a Nation (1915), Broken Blossoms (1919), Intolerance (1916), Way Down East (1920) Network - R2 UK

Roma città libera (Marcello Pagliero, 1946) Noshame

Flower Island (Il-gon Song, 2001) Tai Seng

Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, 1947) Warner Home Video

The Prisoner - Complete Series Megaset (40th Anniversary Edition) - A&E Home Video

Rawhide - The Complete First Season (Clint Eastwood, 1959) Paramount Home Video

Henry Fonda - The Signature Collection (Advise and Consent / Battle of the Bulge / Mister Roberts / The Wrong Man) - Warner Home Video

The Boris Karloff Collection - Night Key (1937), Tower of London (1939), The Climax (1944), The Strange Door (1951) and The Black Castle (1952) - Universal Studios

Hammer Film Noir, Vol. 1 - Bad Blonde (1953) Man Bait (1952) - VCI Video

Hammer Film Noir, Vol. 2 - A Stolen Face (1952) - Blackout (1954) - VCI Video

Hammer Film Noir, Vol. 3 - Gambler and the Lady (1952) - Heat Wave (1954) - VCI Video


RECOMMENDATIONS: I have a couple of solid endorsements, but I suspect you may already have these targets in sight. Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 3 is pretty much essential viewing - if the Noir bug hasn't hit you with - Border Incident, His Kind of Woman, Lady in the Lake, On Dangerous Ground and The Racket - I'll be one surprised diner stool patron. Well, the wait is over - Zhang Yimou's classic Raise the Red Lantern in anamorphic glory has arrived and you can't beat the price - must buy he says!. For some less obvious offerings - I really enjoyed - Ice Cold In Alex - an excellent film and pretty decent DVD image. On the filp-side - Obsession - is a great film and hopeless DVD transfer - your call. I don't think Spike Lee's debut feature-length film - She's Gotta Have It - received the credit it was due - the MGM image is not fatal and it's the only DVD available at present. And Sybil is a darn fine drama with stellar performances - a shocking film totally devoid of exploitive intent.

GUILTY BUT I SHOULDN'T BE: Pinky and the Brain was great when I saw it 10 years ago - and its great now. In small doses this is excellent pre-film fun. This is as close to 'brilliant hilarity' as I might want animation to get.


New Reviews:


V For Vendetta - Any subtlety (and there wasn't much) expressed through British comic book artist Alan Moore's (who wanted nothing to do with this film) occasionally brilliant, 1981 graphic political foray exposing a potential hidden wave of totalitarian oppression, V for Vendetta, (incidentally it was really his response over the ascendance of Margaret Thatcher) is replaced with computer-enhanced stylisms in an obvious attempt at.... obviousness - and it succeeds in typical Hollywood fashion. V, an operetta phantom wannabe, is a unique breed of cultured terrorist. The short story is he kills people and blows things up - all that is missing is the flashing 'APPLAUSE' sign. DVD Release Date: August 1st, 2006

Sybil - The film that set into motion Sally Field's long acting career, "Sybil" was an emotional tornado of multiple personalities, child abuse, and modern psychology. Set in a now distant New York, the mini-series settled down upon an introverted young woman by the name of Sybil Dorsett. Living in constant fear of social situations, she struggles to understand what is happening within herself. But when things steadily worsen, she must seek the help of a psychiatrist: Dr. Wilbur. A horrific yet beautiful series, Sybil stands alone as one of the best made for television movies of all time. DVD Release Date: July 18th, 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. But as war raged around him, Ludwig’s sole obsession remained the visionary music of Richard Wagner, and he retreated more and more into a fantasy world, alarming his ministers through his irrational behaviour, neglect of state affairs and lavish expenditure on several fairytale castles. Judged unfit to rule, Ludwig was declared insane. Comparison added with the Kinowelt Home Entertainment - Region 2, 8 - PAL

Pinky and the Brain - Two lab mice, ("One is a genius, the other insane") living in the Acme labs seek to formulate a plan for the duo, led by Brain, to take over the world. Each episode of Pinky and the Brain carries a dry wit and humor effectively parodying media, pop culture and film (both new and old). The adult following grew to huge proportions till it became more popular with parents than their children. DVD Release Date: July 25th, 2006

She's Gotta Have It - Inspired and driven by what he saw as Hollywood patronizing black issues (eg The Color Purple) and the desire to see a world he recognized on screen, Spike Lee got family and friends involved, came up with $175,000 and made this wonderful film. This is seat-of-the-pants, guerilla film-making, and the look of the film reflects that but hides none of its ambition or invention. DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2006

Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 3 - Including Border Incident, His Kind of Woman, Lady in the Lake, On Dangerous Ground and The Racket - The image quality in this boxset is a solid notch below Warner standards of the Film Noir Vol 1 and Film Noir Vol. 2 Collections. I'm also unhappy that these are not sold separately, but suspect anyone buying will indulge in the entire collection regardless. I'm not crazy about the colorized images from the film(s) in the menus - which continue to be anamorphic widescreen for 4:3 films (about as picky as I can get). Okay enough complaining... on the positive side - the extras are the best of any Warmer boxset to date. All 5 films have commentaries - and the bonus disc documentary and 5 short Noirs are a wonderful inclusion. Bravo! DVD Release Date: July 18th, 2006

Blithe Spirit - Lean's third feature served Noel Coward's witty supernatural comedy fairly well though, despite the Oscar-winning special effects by Tom Howard, it remains somewhat theatrical. Harrison suavely plays the newly-wed cynical novelist who is literally haunted by his first wife (Hammond), while his current wife (Cumming) looks on. Rutherford, as the eccentric bicycle-riding medium, steals the picture. It was not a commercial success - perhaps a comedy about death in wartime was a bit tasteless.

Ice Cold In Alex - The title Ice Cold in Alex refers to the beer the heroes of this 1958 British World War Two classic plan to drink in Alexandria, once they have escaped from the Germans, negotiated minefields and survived both mechanical failure and the killing heat of the North African sands.

Obsession - Certainly Dmytryk's best British film, made after his blacklist exile and before freedom from the Hollywood system led him into the pretensions of Give Us This Day. Adapted by Alec Coppel from his own novel, it's an intriguing 'perfect murder' thriller in which an obsessively jealous husband lures his rival to a cellar on a bomb site, keeping him chained there until the coast is clear and his own grimly meticulous preparations for disposing of the body in an acid bath are complete.

Thunder Rock - Thunder Rock is one of the most original and unique works to come out of 1940's British cinema. David Charleston (Michael Redgrave) is an isolated and mysterious lighthouse keeper on a barren lone island in Lake Michigan. The chain of bureaucracy filtering down to his employment are becoming concerned - although his work is strangely perfect, he desires no outside communication, refuses any holiday and doesn't even cash his pay cheques. In one obligatory visit to confirm his safety (and issue him supplies) his buddy Streeter (James Mason) helps fill in some holes as to his past.

Raise the Red Lantern - Finally in an acceptable anamorphic transfer - A masterpiece. The historical dramas of Zhang Yimou, a master "Fifth Generation" filmmaker who emerged from the reopened Beijing Film Academy during the liberal climate of the early 1980s, resonate with subtexts of repression, resistance and retribution. Though Zhang's screenplay for Raise the Red Lantern (based on the 1989 novel Wives and Concubines by Su Tong) got a stamp of approval from the Chinese censors, the finished production was banned at home while playing to great praise abroad. The ERA Remastered Edition came out DVD Release Date: June 17th, 2006


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


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

Sybil (30th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition) (Daniel Petrie, 1976) Warner Home Video

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


Week of July 24th, 2006


A Canterbury Tale (Powell and Pressburger, 1944) 2-disc Criterion Collection

Animaniacs, Vol. 1 (Rich Arons, 1993) Warner Home Video

The Child aka L'Enfant (Dardenne bros., 2005) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, 1947) Warner Home Video

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

Fifth Horseman is Fear (Zbynek Brynych, 1964) Facets

Flower Island (Il-gon Song, 2001) Tai Seng

Hammer Film Noir, Vol. 1 - Bad Blonde (1953) Man Bait (1952) - VCI Video

Hammer Film Noir, Vol. 2 -A Stolen Face (1952) - Blackout (1954) - VCI Video

Hammer Film Noir, Vol. 3 - Gambler and the Lady (1952) - Heat Wave (1954) - VCI Video

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

Pinky and the Brain, Vol. 1 (Russell Calabrese, 1995) Warner Home Video

The Powell & Pressburger Collection - 9 DVD Box Set - (A Matter Of Life & Death, The Red Shoes, The Life & Death Of Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I'm Going, 49th Parallel, Battle Of The River Plate, Ill Met by Moonlight, They're A Weird Mob) Granada Ventures R2 UK

The Prisoner - Complete Series Megaset (40th Anniversary Edition) - A&E Home Video

Rawhide - The Complete First Season (Clint Eastwood ,1959) Paramount Home Video

Red Angel (Yasuzo Masumura , 1966) R2-UK - Yume Pictures

Roma città libera (Marcello Pagliero, 1946) Noshame

So Ends Our Night (John Cromwell , 1941) Vci Video

The Third Generation (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1979) Tango Entertainment

Wanda (Barbara Loden , 1971) Parlour Pictures

Will Rogers Collection, Vol. 1 (Steamboat Round the Bend, Life Begins at Forty, In Old Kentucky, Doubting Thomas ) 20th Century Fox


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!


SALES: A few Criterions on sale at Amazon - Dazed and Confused (42% off), Viridiana (33% off), Night and Fog (26% off), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (27% off), The Sword of Doom (27% off), Le Samourai (27% off), Harakiri (30% off), Masculin Feminin (27% off), Hopscotch (27% off), Fat Girl (33% off), Murmur of the Heart (27% off)


and PRE-ORDERS (30% off or more)

Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbach ,1995), Seduced & Abandoned, Six Moral Tales By Eric Rohmer (The Bakery Girl of Monceau, Suzanne's Career, My Night at Maud's, La collectionneuse, Claire's Knee, and Love in the Afternoon), A Canterbury Tale (Powell and Pressburger, 1944) 2-disc, Seven Samurai 3-disc, Amarcord 2-disc, Brazil 3-disc, Brazil 1-disc, and Playtime


Wishing you a peaceful summer - talk to you next week!



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)