DVDBeaver Newsletter - September 8th, 2006


Nei Ho! - 19 new reviews this week (5 of which are comparisons). Lots of Film Noir - Buñuel, De Sica, Bela Tarr, Carol Reed, many new Calendar listings, news and more...  


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


JESSE JAMES GOES MISSING - The following DVDs from Fox are no longer listed - The True Story of Jesse James (Nicholas Ray, 1957), The Return of Frank James (Fritz Lang , 1940) and Jesse James (Henry King ,1939) - dang!


Mizoguchi titles - next year from Masters of Cinema
Oyu-sama (Miss Oyu, 1951)
Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)
Gion bayashi (Gion Festival Music, 1953)
Sansho Dayu (Sansho the Bailiff, 1954)
Uwasa no onna (The Woman of Rumour, 1954)
Chikamatsu mongatari (1954)
Yohiki (The Empress Yang Kwei Fei, 1955)
Akasen chitai (Street of Shame, 1956)


ALT-REGION DVD SALE - a loyal and trusted long-time Beaver is releasing some of his diverse collection on EBay - check it out HERE


FEATURE DVD FOR SEPTEMBER: An expected and obvious choice for this months Feature DVD...


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

The Dead Zone (Special Collector's Edition) (David Cronenberg, 1983) Paramount Home Video

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956) R2 Germany Kinowelt

Carousel Anniversary Ed. (Henry King, 1956) 20th Century Fox

The King and I Anniversary Ed. (Walter Lang, 1956) 20th Century Fox

Edward G Robinson Double Feature #1 (B&W) (The Red House, 1947, Scarlet Street, 1945) Critic's Choice

Post coïtum animal triste aka After Sex (Brigitte Roüan, 1997) New Yorker

Yellow Asphalt (Dan Verete , 2000) New Yorker

Le Temps Qui Reste aka Time to Leave (François Ozon, 2005) Warner

Mikio Naruse - Three Films - Repast (1951) Sound Of The Mountain (1954) Flowing (1956) - R2 UK Eureka, MoC

Forbidden Hollywood Collection 1 - Baby Face, Red Headed Woman, Waterloo Bridge (1931) - Warner Home Video

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton Film Collection - Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - 2 disc, The Sandpiper, The V.I.P.s , The Comedians - Warner

The Complete Buster Keaton Short Films - R2 - UK - Eureka MoC

The Francois Truffaut Collection - 6 Disc Box Set (Exclusive to Amazon.co.uk) R2 - UK Cinema Club

Anne And Muriel (aka "Two English Girls") (François Truffaut, 1971) R2 - UK Cinema Club

The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959) R2 - UK Cinema Club

Jules And Jim (François Truffaut, 1963) R2 - UK Cinema Club

Shoot The Pianist (François Truffaut, 1960) R2 - UK Cinema Club

Finally Sunday! aka 'Confidentially Yours' (François Truffaut, 1983) R2 - UK Cinema Club

The Definitive Ealing Studios Collection - 16-disc set (Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Ladykillers, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit, The Magnet, Passport to Pimlico, The Titfield Thunderbolt, Whisky Galore, Champagne Charlie, Dead of Night, The Maggie, Scott of the Antarctic, Nicholas Nickleby, Went the Day Well, Hue and Cry and It Always Rains on a Sunday) R2 UK - Optimum Home Entertainment

Phantom (F.W. Murnau, 1922) Flicker Alley

The Fallen Idol (Carol Reed, 1948) Criterion Collection

The Double Life of Veronique 2-disc (Krzysztof Kieslowski,1991) Criterion Collection

Pandora's Box 2-disc (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1929) Criterion Collection

There Was a Crooked Man... (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1970) Warner Home Video

Illustrated Man (Jack Smight, 1969) Warner Home Video
Operation Crossbow (Michael Anderson, 1965) Warner Home Video
Presenting Lily Mars (Norman Taurog, 1943) Warner Home Video
Up Periscope (Gordon Douglas, 1959) Warner Home Video

Arrangement (Elia Kazan, 1969) Warner Home Video
Band of Angels
(Raoul Walsh, 1957) Warner Home Video

(Michael Crichton, 1981) Warner Home Video
Madame Curie
(Mervyn LeRoy, 1944) 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 feel that the big release this week is Eureka - Masters of Cinema's PAL edition of the De Sica's masterpiece Shoeshine - the image, although imperfect - reaches Criterion levels, as do the extensive extras and commentary - amazing job lads! I'd say for fans of the style - that Kino's packaged Film Noir: The Dark Side of Hollywood is a great purchase even if you already own 3 of the 5 releases - I enjoyed each of the films in that set regardless of the poor state of most of the transfers. Speaking of Film Noir Carol Reed's Odd Man Out (new Network R2 edition) is an essential for me - far better than his The Third Man. When Craig Keller talks - we usually listen and he is as high as a kite on Serge Gainsbourg, d'autres nouvelles des étoiles. If it sounds up your alley - indulge. Blade Runner fans have been patient for almost a decade - the new REMASTERED edition may only be a stopgap approach till the extended comes out, but I'm glad I have mine (spun twice in the past week). Buñuel fans can rejoice - the R2 The Exterminating Angel - simultaneously joins an R4 release of the same desirable film. Bela Tarr fans can also be happy with Almanac of Fall - a Facets release that is not an abominable transfer!

I GOT IT AND YOU DON'T DEPT. - Our review of a VHS dub to DVDR of The Blue Dahlia is an attempt to get the Universal off their collective cans.     

MIGHT WANT TO PASS - Mediocre Bogie may still suffice for some with Tokyo Joe. 50's sci-fi fans see Target Earth start out like a house on fire - but the unfortunately it doesn't maintain - but on the positive the DVD is cheap and has a decent commentary.

SURPRISE QUALITY - Henry Kings take on Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises looks fabulous on DVD - beautifully transferred widescreen - chock full of stars.


New Reviews:


Blade Runner - (Beaver examines the new remastered release vs. the old edition) One of the most visually influential science fiction films ever made, Blade Runner has a history as labyrinthine as any of its futuristic film noir sets. A fascinatingly contemplative detective story about a world-weary android-killer and his renegade prey, it has attracted a sizeable cult audience and retains a unique place in cinema. DVD Release Date: September 4th, 2006

Shoeshine  is widely regarded as one of the finest films to have emerged from the Italian neorealist cinema. It was also the first foreign film to receive an Oscar. "The high quality of this motion picture," noted the Academy, "brought to eloquent life in a country scarred by war, is proof to the world that the creative spirit can triumph over adversity."  DVD Release Date: September 25th, 2006


United 93 - Oftentimes, we are haunted by a powerful movie’s first and final images. United 93 is no exception. The last sequence involving the passengers’ counter-attack against the terrorists was really the free world’s first strike against fundamentalist terrorists. The passengers’ collective action was our collective refusal to be cowed by criminals who aren’t afraid of die. In the face of fatalistic determinism, the strongest response is the will to live. Still, I was stunned by the ending’s forceful finality.

After the Wedding
- Since “The one and only”, Susanne Bier has been the darling of Danish cinema, but she made a transition as director with “Open Hearts” and moved from the shadow of a light but the most successful Danish romantic comedy in years, towards a darker and more serious approach to love, which she followed up with “Brothers” and now “After the Wedding”.

Three Extremes - Three Asian directors, from Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan, join forces to create an omnibus horror film, Three...Extremes, a sequel of sorts to the 2002 Hong Kong/Korean/Thai production Three. Directed by Fruit Chan (segment "Dumplings"), Takashi Miike (segment "Box") and Chan-wook Park (segment "Cut"). The Tartan region 2 PAL edition is compared to Mega Star - Region 0 - NTSC and the LionsGate (2-disc) - Region 1- NTSC. The Tartan DVD Release Date was August 21st, 2006

Target Earth - Nora (Kathleen Crowley) wakes in a deserted city. With increasing horror, she discovers the extent of her predicament. Someone - something - has caused a panic during her unconsciousness, emptying the streets and causing all essential services to be cut off. As she explores the results outside with increasing trepidation, and in some genuinely eerie scenes (shot without permit on the early morning streets of L.A.) the viewer shares in her growing concern.

Serge Gainsbourg, d'autres nouvelles des étoiles - This greatest of songwriters -- a man who deserves to be counted among the greatest of all the twentieth-century's artists -- remade the universe over and over again. There are no Plutos in his oeuvre, and as such I can't give Universal's nearly 5-hour-long release anything other than cinqs étoiles des étoiles.

The Blue Dahlia - Sterling film noir from the pen of Raymond Chandler. Alan Ladd stars as a war veteran framed for the murder of his own wife. Veronica Lake plays the requisite femme fatale. The Blue Dahlia is smartly plotted and unpredictable enough to keep the killer's identity a secret. Classy stuff.

Almanac of Fall - In his first three films Bela Tarr--conceivably the most important Eastern European filmmaker currently working--betrays an impatience with cinematic style, focusing almost exclusively on content, but that tendency was radically overturned with this 1984 feature, whose taste and intelligence are specifically (and exquisitely) cinematic and revealed Tarr as a master stylist. Set entirely in an apartment inhabited by an elderly woman, her son, his former teacher, the old woman's nurse, and the nurse's lover, the film consists mainly of intense two-part dialogues and encounters largely concerned with the old woman's money. DVD Release Date: July 25th, 2006

Tokyo Joe - Not every Humphrey Bogart film is a winner, though most are at least watchable. "Tokyo Joe" falls into the latter category. In this 1949 effort from director Stuart Heisler ("The Glass Key") Bogart plays a World War II hero who returns to postwar Japan to reclaim the life and wife he had long believed dead.

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Hollywood - The five films brought together in Kino's new specially priced box set are Noir at its most exemplary. Though boasting stars like Joan Crawford and Henry Fonda and helmed by renowned directors, these five films are B movies in the best sense of the term: tight, raw and cannily devoid of gloss. Masters of the genre such as Budd Boetticher, Anthony Mann and the expatriated Fritz Lang are captured here in fine form, as are some of the greatest directors of black and white photography in the business. DVD Release Date: September 12th, 2006

Odd Man Out - Director Carol Reed's most ambitious and accomplished film, Odd Man Out stars James Mason as Johnny McQueen, leader of an IRA gang forced into taking on a bank raid in order to raise funds for the organization. It's a tense time and it shows: the hold-up doesn't exactly go as planned. Unable to cope with the demands of the situation, McQueen kills a man and then falls from the speeding getaway car. Badly wounded, he manages to scramble into hiding and we are invited to follow his desperate progress as he clings to life. the new Network PAL edition is compared to existing releases. The Network PAL DVD Release Date was August 28th, 2006

Samaria (Samaritan Girl) - Awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for best direction, and being one of the films in the race for Best Film, "Samaria" is allegory questioning both moral and sin. Divided into three chapters: “Vasumitra” deals with the friendship between Jae-Young and Yeo-Ji, “Samaria” deals with Yeo-Ji’s reaction to the death of her best friend and the final chapter, “Sonata”, concludes. The Tartan DVD Release Date was August 21st, 2006

The Exterminating Angel - In Mexico some rich folk are inexplicably invited to a dinner party at “Calle de la Providencia” - a mansion. As the night progresses it becomes apparent that they are all incapable of leaving the house. A message of idle rich dependency is the subtext. With the servants outside they no contact with them what becomes apparent is the hollowness and pettiness of the bourgeois lifestyle. Buñuel champions the exposure of the aristocratic *lack* of nobility for those who have more wealth than sense and have lost any touch with reality and a value structure. DVD Release Date: August 28th, 2006

The Sun Also Rises - This visual magnificence, in CinemaScope and color, frames a picturesque cast, headed by Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner and Mel Ferrer, that looks hand-picked down to the last bit "extra." Director Henry King has staged a personalized, handsome big "show," from Peter Viertel's admirably faithful script, which slices a few corners and minor characters from the source. While the result is emotionally intriguing, rather than powerful, it remains, nevertheless, Hemingway all the way. DVD Release Date: August 28th, 2006

The Blue Lamp - Introducing PC George Dixon (Warner), charged with showing new boy Andy Mitchell (Hanley) the ropes. There is helping old ladies and giving directions, until the film takes a darker turn when Dixon is killed in a raid on a cinema. The killer (a great turn from young Bogarde) is presented as part of a new breed of post-war criminals, without a code or honour, and even the respectable criminals want to help the police track him down. DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2006

The Devil and Daniel Johnston - To open a film with the statement about Daniel Johnston, as “…the greatest singer-songwriter alive today.” Both is bold and provocative, especially since few ever heard about him. But during the film, it becomes clear, that there may be some truth in that statement, especially after one learns about the contract Elektra drew up for him, where they didn’t demand either success, touring or public appearances, nor would pressure him for material, and would secure him with any medical help he would need. At the same time, the insanity of Daniel Johnston is visual via this contract, as while Elektra basically offered him money for the rest of his life, asking nothing of him than he continued to do what he already did, he turned it down, as they also managed Metallica, and hence he saw them as advocates for the devil. DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2006

Mountain Patrol - The movie is also noteworthy in and of itself--it is a stunning, devastating tale about workaholics who defend the environment not out of idealism but because of a hard-bitten sense of ethics. Yet, strangely, the protagonists’ modus operandi IS a kind of idealism, one of action rather than of talk (i.e. bullshit). Movies like Kekexili feel real rather than manufactured because you see people who are so busy doing what needs to be done that they have no time for the swaggering and the posturing that so-called “heroes” in American movies exhibit (Miami Vice comes to mind). DVD Release Date: August 29th 2006

Rollin With The Nines - Fearing production falling thru, brothers Julian and Will Gilbey chose 100% private financing, thus “Rollin’ with the Nines” is a low-budget film. Production wise it is visible. Most dialogue scenes are single set few actors, with minimum production values, common for low-budget productions. But don’t be fooled by this element. “Rollin’ with the nines” is quiet a good gangster film, and had it had a million pound budget and more professional actors, it would have been recognized as such by more. “Rollin’ with the nines” may be a low-budget amateur film, but its story and action really sucks you in. DVD Release Date: August 21st, 2006

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


Week of September 11th, 2006


Death Mr Lazerescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005) Wellspring Media, Inc

Film Noir - The Dark Side of Hollywood (Sudden Fear / The Long Night / Hangmen Also Die / Railroaded / Behind Locked Doors) Kino Video

Great Yokai War (Takashi Miike, 2005) Tokyo Shock

I Am a Sex Addict (Caveh Zahedi, 2005) Wellspring

International Cinema Collection (A Very Long Engagement / Day for Night / The Damned / Gloomy Sunday / Death in Venice) Warner Home Video

Jan Svankmajer: The Ossuary & Other Tales - Kino 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

Phantom (F.W. Murnau, 1922) Flicker Alley

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


Week of September 18th, 2006


Post coïtum animal triste aka After Sex (Brigitte Roüan, 1997) New Yorker

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

Edward G Robinson Double Feature #1 (B&W) (The Red House, 1947, Scarlet Street, 1945) Critic's Choice

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

Jigoku (Nobuo Nakagawa, 1960) Criterion Collection

Letter From An Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) R2 UK Metrodome

Madame De... (Max Ophüls, 1953) R2 UK Metrodome

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

Le Plaisir (Max Ophüls, 1952) R2 UK Metrodome

The Quiet Duel (Akira Kurosawa, 1949) Brentwood Home Video
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophüls, 1949) R2 UK Metrodome

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

Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973) Criterion Collection

Le Temps Qui Reste aka Time to Leave (François Ozon, 2005) Warner

Tight Spot (Phil Karlson, 1955) R2 UK Sony Pictures Home Ent.

Yellow Asphalt (Dan Verete , 2000) New Yorker



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), The Fallen Idol (Carol Reed, 1948) Criterion Collection, The Double Life of Veronique 2-disc (Krzysztof Kieslowski,1991) Criterion Collection, Pandora's Box 2-disc (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1929) Criterion Collection


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