DVDBeaver Newsletter - August 18th, 2006


Dagot'ee! - 15 new reviews (or comparisons) - we continue to be all over the board - A Cannes winner, classic noir, sci-fi 50's camp gold, Criterion, Kieslowski, Fritz Lang and a worthy TV effort... calendar addition news, Jonathan Rosenbaum... - you are at the right place.


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


UPCOMING - We are in possession of the upcoming Criterion DVDs of Seven Samurai - 3-disc and Amarcord 2-disc, as well as Fox noirs - Shock (Alfred L. Werker, 1946) and Vicki (Harry Horner, 1953) 20th Century Fox. We'll post them in time to capitalize on Pre-Orders discounts (if you choose to purchase)!


November Criterions...

Krzysztof Kieslowski's: The Double Life of Veronique
Carol Reed: The Fallen Idol
G. W. Pabst: Pandora's Box


NEW Article: Jonathan Rosenbaum tells us of Ten Neglected Science Fiction Movies


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

Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Shoeshine (Vittorio de Sica, 1946) R2 UK Masters of Cinema

Bachelor Mother (Garson Kanin, 1939) R2 France Editions Montparnasse

Rachel and the Stranger (Norman Foster, 1948) R2 France Editions Montparnasse

The Window (Ted Tetzlaff, 1949) R2 France Editions Montparnasse

Forbidden Planet (Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956) Warner Home Video
Forbidden Planet (Two-Disc 50th Anniversary Special Edition) (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956) Warner Home Video

Flower Drum Song (Henry Koster, 1961) Universal

House of the Damned (1963) (Maury Dexter, 1963) 20th Century Fox

Teen Terror Collection - (Teenage Doll, Teenage Monster, Teenagers from Outer Space) - Image Entertainment

Deadfall (Bryan Forbes, 1968) Fox

The Magus (Guy Green, 1968) 20th Century Fox

Peeper (Peter Hyams, 1975) 20th Century Fox

Hail Mary (Jean-Luc Godard, 1985) New Yorker Video

Amazon.com Exclusive Astaire & Rogers Partial Ultimate Collector's Edition - Note: This edition is designed for customers who already purchased Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 1. It contains all the content of Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collection except the actual DVDs of Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, and The Barkleys of Broadway. However, the Thinpak cases for those discs are included in this set. - Warner Home Video

The Swindle (Claude Chabrol, 1997) New Yorker Video

Le Voyage en douce (Michel Deville, 1980) New Yorker Video

Marius et Jeannette (Robert Guédiguian, 1997) New Yorker Video

When the Sea Rises (Yolande Moreau, 2004) New Yorker 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: The new SE DVD of Double Indemnity has such good supplements that I watched them (and listened) twice already. It will definitely be there for 2006 DVD of the Year balloting. The Criterion DVD of Pietro Germi's Seduced and Abandoned is as marvelous as the film - filled with olde world Italian charm/joy and pain. lf I had to take 10 films to a desert island I might, foolishly, chose This Island Earth - my passion for it runs that sophomorically deep. Henning Carlsen's Hunger is another must-own from Project X DVD - an exacting fit for our eclectic community. If you found ordering in French a bit daunting - you now have an option for The Double Life of Veronique with the UK DVD - but if you can wait till November Criterion is on the way. The addictive drug known as film noir filled the void briefly with Fourteen Hours - you won't be disappointed! Speaking of decent noir - tack on The Amazing Mr. X, Hangmen Also Die, and Lured. (but wait for 5-disc Film Noir - The Dark Side of Hollywood boxset for Hangmen Also Die.   


New Reviews:


Fourteen Hours - Notable for the screen debut of Grace Kelly, this is a gripping little number from Hathaway, with Basehart as the despondent young man who threatens to jump from a New York skyscraper. He proceeds to change the lives of all around him as a result of his actions, from the policeman who spends the aforesaid 14 hours trying to talk him down, to Kelly as the young wife who is forced to reconsider her divorce as a result of the would-be suicide. It's a simple formula, but one that works, thanks to Basehart's tormented performance, and direction that maintains the suspense throughout. DVD Release Date: August 29th, 2006

This Island Earth - Let us start with a plot that rarely gets more appealing for a young adventure-seeking lad of any era: Dr. Cal Meacham (played by tall, dark and absurdly deep-voiced actor Rex Reason) is a handsome scientist, able to dabble in nuclear energy and expertly pilot jet planes. Cal and his Jimmy Olson-like sidekick Joe, played by Robert Nichols, have received a strange metal-paged instruction manual on how to build an "interocitor". It is very hard to rationalize and rate such a campy film, but I will do it regardless with a very enthusiastic 5 out of 5 Let your guard down and enjoy yourself! DVD Release Date: August 22, 2006

L'Enfant - (compared French, UK and US releases) Twice garlanded by the Cannes Film Festival, the Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have a style and set of interests that are as instantly recognizable as those of any filmmakers in the world. Cine Dardenne is characterized by its hectic, rough-and-ready camerawork, impeccable performances, a concern with the urban dispossessed (specifically those living in the small industrial city of Seraing), and an unlikely affinity for Robert Bresson; the mode might be described as spiritually infused social realism. Sony
DVD Release Date: August 15th, 2006

Loulou - Sex with Loulou (Depardieu) is great, life is never boring in his extended demi-monde of drinkers, idlers and petty criminals, and at first Nelly (Huppert) does not mind being the one who pays all the bills while her work-shy partner stays at home. But when she falls pregnant, all the tensions in their relationship rise to the surface, as it becomes unclear whether Loulou will ever be more than Nelly's bit of rough, or indeed whether she wants him to be more. Artificial Eye DVD Release Date: 26 Jun 2006 

Double Indemnity - Regarded by many as the epitome of the film-noir stylistic norm. All at once cynical, sly, dark... a 'hard-boiled' suspense involving adulterous behavior, graft and murder. The plot was taken from James Cain's 1943 short story 'Three of a Kind' first published in a pulp magazine. With the help of legendary novelist Raymond Chandler, director Wilder adapted it to the screen. The new Special edition DVD Release Date is August 22nd, 2006

Seduced and Abandoned - Pietro Germi's maliciously funny examination (1964) of the marriage rites of Sicily, done up in a crowded, cartoonish style that suggests the work of Preston Sturges. The wit may be closer to Evelyn Waugh--the jokes are cruel and corrosive, and why not when the subject is sexual hypocrisy? Stefania Sandrelli, as the girl in desperate need of a husband, maintains a beatific calm in the midst of the manic goings-on. DVD Release Date: August 29th, 2006

Kicking and Screaming - Paralyzed by postgraduation ennui, a group of college friends remain on campus, patching together a community for themselves in order to deny the real-world futures awaiting them. Academy Award–nominated screenwriter Noah Baumbach’s hilarious and touching directorial debut was one of the highlights of the American independent film scene of the nineties, speaking directly to a generation of adults-to-be unable to reconcile their hermetic educational experience with workaday responsibility, and posing the eternal question, where do we go from here? Stingingly funny and incisive, Baumbach’s breakthrough features endlessly quotable dialogue, delivered by a stellar ensemble cast. DVD Release Date: August 22nd, 2006

Hunger - Knut Hamsun's remarkable book Hunger was written in 1890 and it remains one of the freshest books I've ever read. This 1966 film adaptation, SULT [Hunger], was the first ever Swedish/Danish/Norwegian film co-production and it is a masterpiece of cooperation, subtlety and respect for its source material. It was director Henning Carlsen's fourth feature film (after fifteen years making documentaries) and he talks eloquently in the DVD extras interview about the problems of adapting an entirely first person perspective book to the screen. In another filmed extra, author Paul Auster talks of his love for the film with Hamsun's grand-daughter Regine, who both agree that it is one of the best film adaptations of a novel ever. Auster compares the intensity of the film to Bresson's Diary of a Country Priest, another of his favourites. The New Yorker DVD Release Date is August 22nd, 2006

The Amazing Mr. X - a very misleading title for one of the most haunting and original film noirs ever released. It gives the impression of a diabolical criminal genius on the rampage or perhaps a comedy about a milquetoast with fantastic powers. The movie is neither of these. It's a stunningly beautiful and unpredictable look at the phoney spiritualism racket as well as ghosts both real and imagined. An immediate favorable comparison can be made to the works of Val Lewton. The Amazing Mr. X straddles the line between Lewton's gothic but plausible horrors and great film noir works like Murder My Sweet and Out of the Past. Is it a ghost story? A romance? A crime tale? The answer is, it is all of these things and more. DVD Release Date: July 18th, 2006

The Double Life of Veronique (MK2 release compared to Artificial Eye)- Krzysztof Kieslowski focuses on identity using naturalistic and sultry actress Irene Jacobs in the dual role of French music teacher Veronique and Polish soprano Weronika - both born on the same day. Metaphysically they are aware of each other's counterpart and it harkens back to the director's penchant for fate, chance and circumstance and we envision a possible meeting of the intertwined souls. Both mysterious and spiritual, Kieslowski touches us with the universally hopeful destiny of a parallel kindred spirit. Our unspoken desire for a mirrored being - who can non-verbally share our most intimate loves and joys - is the ultimate expression of personal support. The director's use of music and atmosphere again appears unmatched in the modern era of film. Overall, an ambiguous and enigmatic offering, this is a film that clings to you for years after viewing. A true masterpiece of cinema.

Hangmen Also Die - Lang's marvellously dark adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's fictionalized take on the assassination of notorious Nazi leader and Czech 'protector' Reinhard Heydrich by the resistance movement, killed in Prague in 1942. Donlevy plays the assassin hiding in the city as the Gestapo promise retribution. There's plenty of tense Langian suspense and the story fits his noir disposition perfectly. Brecht was apparently none too pleased with the result, feeling his contribution had been undermined, but the film manages to pull off the tough double of making an anti-Nazi political statement and being thrilling entertainment as well.

Lured - Early Sirk serial killer thriller set in London, with a brassy Ball as an American gal enlisted by Scotland Yard to trap the culprit. As they frequently do in the movies, the serial killer meets his victims through the personal columns and sends gloating announcements to the police in verse form, just before he commits a murder. Nice of him to meet them half way and provide a tangible paper trail. As this is a studio-bound London somewhere in California, there are no prizes for guessing who plays the supporting Brits: Karloff, Hardwicke, Napier and Zucco - a nice brace of red herrings.

Prison Break Season One - The success of the television series “24” (2001), which features kinetic pacing and “real-time” action, clearly paved the way for today’s outlandish television premises. “24” proved that television audiences would ignore plausibility and logic given intense performances and plenty of pulse-pounding action. The series also conveyed to audiences that a series could have staying power without necessarily having an extensive concept. “Lost” (2004) and “Prison Break” (2005)--two shows that have seemingly brief premises--are evidently the spawn of “24”. “Lost” begins with an aircraft accident on a deserted island, and “Prison Break” follows the attempted rescue of a wrongly-convicted murderer. Both shows have a presumably obvious ending in sight but place an exhaustive focus on the journey to get there. DVD Release Date: August 8th, 2006

Left Turn Right Turn The Sun - Turn Left Turn Right the movie is a successful, enjoyable adaptation of its source. One key advantage that the movie has over the book is the sound dimension. The main male character is a violinist, and unless the reader is a connoisseur of classical music, it’s not easy to “understand” why certain pieces of music are so important to the characters. On the other hand, a movie’s soundtrack can reproduce Edward Elgar’s violin solos for viewers, thereby deepening the audience’s emotional connection with the story. The music score is so spot-on that it was nominated for a Golden Horse (Taiwan’s equivalent of the Oscar). Also, Gigi sang several sweet and aching love songs, and “At the Carousel” won a Golden Horse for Best Original Song.


Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of August 21st, 2006


Angel Heart - Special Edition (Alan Parker, 1987) R2 UK Momentum Pictures

Clean (Assayas, Olivier / 2004) R2 UK Momentum Pictures

Do You Remember Dolly Bell? [Emir Kusturica, 1981] Artificial Eye R2 UK

Dunkirk (Leslie Norman, 1958) Warner Home Video

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

Fantastic Planet (René Laloux, 1973) R2 UK Eureka - Masters of Cinema

Fateless (Lajos Koltai, 2005) R2 UK - Vital Distribution

Funeral Parade Of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) R2 UK Eureka Masters of Cinema

Hunger (Henning Carlsen, 1968) New Yorker Video

Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbach ,1995) Criterion Collection

Lemming (Dominik Moll, 2005) R2 UK Artificial Eye

Red Angel (Yasuzo Masumura , 1966) Fantoma

State of the Union (Frank Capra, 1948) Universal Studios

When Father Was Away On Business [Emir Kusturica, 1985] Artificial Eye R2 UK


Week of August 28th, 2006


The Black Swan (Henry King,1942) Cinema Club R2 UK

Double Indemnity (Special Edition) (Billy Wilder, 1944) Universal Studios

Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, 1962) Fremantle Home Entertainment

Fourteen Hours (Henry Hathaway, 1951) 20th Century Fox

Let's Scare Jessica to Death (John D. Hancock, 1971) Paramount Home Video

Lonesome Jim (Steve Buscemi, 2005) Genius Products Inc

Rien ne va plus - aka The Swindle (Claude Chabrol, 1997) New Yorker Video

Seduced & Abandoned (Pietro Germi, 1964) Criterion Collection

Shock (Alfred L. Werker, 1946) 20th Century Fox

The Sun Also Rises (Henry King , 1957) Cinema Club R2 UK

The Swindle (Claude Chabrol, 1997) New Yorker Video

The Tall Men (Raoul Walsh, 1955) Cinema Club R2 UK

This Island Earth (Joseph M. Newman, 1955) Universal Studios

Vicki (Harry Horner, 1953) 20th Century Fox

Viridiana (Luis Buñuel, 1961) Fremantle Home Entertainment

Le Voyage en douce (Michel Deville, 1980) New Yorker Video




Criterion's October lineup
Sólo con tu pareja
(Alfonso Cuarón, 1991), Clean, Shaven (Lodge H. Kerrigan, 1994), Hands Over the City (Francesco Rosi, 1963), Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989)


FASTER? - No patience for the Beaver homepage? - try the streamlined http://www.dvdbeaver-lite.com/ (a text version with all the same intrepid info!)


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


PRE-ORDERS and discounts (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), Seven Samurai - 3-disc, Amarcord 2-disc, Brazil 3-disc, Brazil 1-disc, and Playtime. Plus October's lineup - Sólo con tu pareja (Alfonso Cuarón, 1991), Clean, Shaven (Lodge H. Kerrigan, 1994), Hands Over the City (Francesco Rosi, 1963), Sweetie (Jane Campion, 1989)


Have a safe weekend!