DVDBeaver Newsletter - July 21st, 2006
Hey there! - All over the place again - Warner gold with Cagney, Edward G. and Bogie. French animation, Italian spirituality, Aussie western, a Criterion compilation, Carol Reed, Budd Boetticher, Billy Wilder.... sheeesh - think we deserve the 'eclectic' moniker?
FASTER? - No patience for the Beaver homepage? - try the streamlined http://www.dvdbeaver-lite.com/ (a text version with all the same intrepid info!)
UPCOMING - Two comparisons on the horizon - Patton (old vs. new) and debatably the best Bond ever - From Russia With Love (old R1 vs. Ultimate R2) - and a new Article by Yunda Eddie Feng on The Last Star of the East: Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia and Her Films... stay tuned!
Criterion's October lineup - Clean, Shaven (Lodge H. Kerrigan, 1994), Sólo con tu pareja (Alfonso Cuarón, 1991), Hands Over the City (Francesco Rosi, 1963) and Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989)
Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.
New Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!)
Satantango(3pc) (Béla Tarr, 1994) Facets Home Video
Exterminating Angel(Luis Buñuel, 1962) R2 UK Fremantle
Viridiana(Luis Buñuel, 1961) R2 UK Fremantle
Hunger(Henning Carlsen, 1968) New Yorker Video
Rien ne va plus - aka The Swindle(Claude Chabrol, 1997) New Yorker Video
Film Noir - The Dark Side of Hollywood(Sudden Fear / The Long Night / Hangmen Also Die / Railroaded / Behind Locked Doors) Kino Video
The War Game/Culloden(Peter Watkins, 1968) New Yorker Video
Masters of Horror: Dance of the Dead(Tobe Hooper) - Anchor Bay
Hollywood's Legends of Horror Collection- The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) , Mark of the Vampire (1935), Mad Love (1935), The Devil Doll (1936), Doctor X (1932), The Return of Doctor X (1939) - Warner Home Video
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
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!
RECOMMENDATIONS: I'm very high on the new Warner Warner Bros. Pictures Tough Guys Collection - they've done everything right - a real treasure. Some Like It Hot is an enduring classic that belongs in everyone's collections - the new release is far in advance of the older ones - an easy upgrade. Our own Henrik Sylow is high on The Proposition (and many other critics are as well). If you don't own any of the Olivier-directed (and starred) Shakespearian classics - Criterion are giving a handsome discount for - Olivier's Shakespeare Boxset - if you are keen buy soon as these have a tendency to get scooped-up rather swiftly. Miracle of Marcelino is quite a uniquely beautiful film experience and we endorse the VCI DVD. Eureka, Masters of Cinema give us the best digital presentation of Fantastic Planet. After 3 other DVD failures - someone (Palm Pictures) finally got it right - Clean thanks. Clandestine Noir is often the best - try Behind Locked Doors. I, personally, loved Carol Reed's The Stars Look Down -powerful UK 40's cinema at its best!
Strangely enough we have recommended everything this week except Intimate Stories... and it's a great film too!
Clean - Finally a decent DVD release! - After the uncharacteristically epic Les Destinées and surprisingly cynical Demonlover, Olivier Assayas got his groove back with the cautiously optimistic Clean. Granted, the globe-trotting tale gets off to a grim start, but the grace notes gradually begin to accumulate. Corkscrew-coiffed Emily (Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung) is the outspoken lover of struggling musician Lee (James Johnston, formerly of Brit band Gallon Drunk). She's also a heroin addict, just like her partner. When he dies from an overdose, she does time for possession, while his Canadian parents, Albrecht (Nick Nolte in a nicely-shaded performance) and Rosemary (Martha Henry), gain custody of son Jay (James Dennis). DVD Release Date: July 18th, 2006
Warner Bros. Pictures Tough Guys Collection (Bullets or Ballots, City for Conquest, Each Dawn I Die, 'G' Men, San Quentin and A Slight Case of Murder) This is one of Warner's best Boxsets in my opinion. It has the direct commonality of genre - each film carrying a gangster/government or crime related theme (A Slight Case of Murder being perhaps the 'odd duck' with its comedic element) - the films are all made within a 5 year span - four of the six are directed by William Keighley - the other 2 Lloyd Bacon - three star Cagney, two with Edward G. and two with Bogie. The quality is very evenly matched with all ,except possibly G Men, looking exceptionally strong. Each has a commentary and further additional extras. For more see the individual reviews. DVD Release Date: July 18th, 2006
Olivier's Shakespeare - Dubbed the greatest actor of the twentieth century, Sir Laurence Olivier, the classically trained and majestically handsome English theater veteran, first transplanted his passion for Shakespeare to the big screen in the 1940s, and in so doing, allowed Elizabethan verse to break free of its stage-bound origins. Olivier directed only five films in his sixty-year career, yet his three Shakespeare adaptations (Henry V, Hamlet, Richard III), presented here together on DVD for the first time, are still widely considered the definitive film adaptations. Faithful to the playwright’s words yet open to the unique possibilities of the cinema, these works transcend both screen and stage with timeless passion. DVD Release Date: August 1st, 2006
The Proposition - While The Proposition is Australian in any way possible, it is one of the most valuable contributions to the western genre since Eastwood’s Unforgiven. It is in one way unique, given both the Australian context, yet universal in the way it addresses the conflict of letters of the law versus justice and in doing the right thing. As such, it portraits the human psyche facing justice and revenge, showing us both sides of the coin and the consequences. DVD Release Date: July 17, 2000
Miracle of Marcelino - is one of those lovely little pictures that stand out oddly on the cold commercial screen, for it is, in its theme and essence, a very special religious fantasy. It moves, with a pureness of spirit, in the realm of simple Christian faith and it comes to a supernatural climax that draws entirely on devout credulity. Admirers of the beautifully pictorial should find it a photographic gem; those sensitive to poetic image-making should be touched by its candid poignancy.
Fantastic Planet - René Laloux's mesmerizing psychedelic sci-fi animated feature won the Grand Prix at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival and is a landmark of European animation. Based on Stefan Wul's novel Oms en série [Oms by the dozen], Laloux's breathtaking vision was released in France as La Planète sauvage [The Savage Planet]; in the USA as Fantastic Planet; and immediately drew comparisons to Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Planet of the Apes (both the 1968 film and Boule's 1963 novel). Today, the film can be seen to prefigure much of the work of Hayao Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) due to its palpable political and social concerns, cultivated imagination, and memorable animation techniques. DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2006
The Stars Look Down - Carol Reed's 1940 drama of life in a northern British mining town stands as a perfect blend of authentic social realism and detailed cinematic professionalism. Co-scripted by AJ Cronin from his own novel, it focuses on Davey Fenwick (played by Michael Redgrave) a miner's son who is gifted academically - helping him achieve a scholarship. His eventual goal in life is to improve the lot of the miners. Corollary to him is conniving Joe Gowlan (Emlyn Williams) - a cunning mercenary business mind. Margaret Lockwood plays the melodramatic fiancé, then wife, of Davey steering him away from his idealistic course. The film is yet another reason to recognize Carol Reed as one of the best, and most underrated , directors of all time. The characters, story and its filmic retelling are a remarkable achievement of powerful cinema.
Intimate Stories - Argentinean filmmaker Carlos Sorin's deadpan and beguiling road-trip drama Intimate Stories makes use of the road itself as a major character. In vignettes of coincidence and cooperation played out between Fitz Roy and the distant port of San Julián, the imposing physical presence of blacktop extends in an endless ribbon over the vast, extraordinary steppes of Southern Patagonia. DVD Release Date: July 18th, 2006
Behind Locked Doors - Before he made a name for himself directing westerns under the first name "Budd," Oscar Boetticher made this nicely smug little film noir about a private investigator (Richard Carlson, later the non-scaly star of The Creature From the Black Lagoon) who checks himself into the shady La Siesta Sanitarium in search of a corrupt judge hiding from the law. Once there his cover is blown and it’s up to the femme fatale who sent him there (Lucille Bremer) and a punch-drunk inmate (Tor Johnson, who later achieved immortality via Plan 9 From Outer Space) to save his bacon. Presaging Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor, the film often plays mental illness for laughs but gets genuinely creepy when the doctors conspire to make the shamus a permanent resident. Snappy dialogue, the requisite black and white chiaroscuro (in a fine Kino Video transfer) and the pleasant sixty-two-minute running time make Behind Locked Doors a valuable addition to anyone’s noir library.
Some Like It Hot - A near-perfect exhibition of the comic arts, Some Like It Hot effortlessly melds cross-dressing and Chicago gangsters to blistering effect. In 1929, Chicago lies in the depths of winter and gainful employment is scarce. Luckily for Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), the heavy weight of Prohibition means that there are numerous speakeasies requiring musicians. Taken on by Spats Columbo (George Raft), in his funeral home club, the pair are looking forward to paying off their debts with hard cash. Unfortunately on pay day, the police use Toothpick Charlie's (George E. Stone) information to stage a raid. Thus Joe and Jerry are cast out onto the frozen streets, reducing to seeking odd jobs from agents like Sig Poliakoff (Billy Gray). DVD Release Date: July 18th, 2006
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
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
Week of July 31st, 2006
Dreams That Money Can Buy (Hans Richter, 1947) R2 UK BFI Video
Louis Malle Collection - Vol. 2 (Black Moon, Milou En Mai, Lacombe Lucien, Le Souffle Au Coeur, Au Revoir Les Enfants) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
Mr. Moto Collection, Vol. 1 (Various starring Peter Lorre) Mr. Moto Takes a Chance, Mysterious Mr. Moto, Thank You Mr. Moto and Think Fast Mr. Moto 20th Century Fox
Olivier's Shakespeare (Henry V / Hamlet / Richard III) - Criterion Collection
The River (Jean Renoir , 1951) R2 UK BFI Video
V for Vendetta (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) (James McTeigue, 2006) Warner Home Video
Woman Of The Dunes [Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964] R2 UK Bfi Video Publishing
DON'T FORGET: Craving the stuff you can't seem to get anywhere else? Beavers TOP YesAsia picks are listed HERE
SALES: A few Criterions on sale at Amazon - Dazed and Confused (42% off), Viridiana (33% off), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (27% off), The Sword of Doom (27% off), Le Samourai (30% off), Harakiri (30% off), Hopscotch (27% off), Fat Girl (33% off)
andPRE-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
Best to you all my friends!
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)