DVDBeaver Newsletter - September 29th, 2006
Bore Da! - Critical Server issues and the time the repairs have stolen result in only 11 new reviews this week (3 of which are comparisons, 2 are new Criterion labels). Ophuls, Welles, Angelopoulos, Cuarón are highpoints, plus some new Calendar listings and a few deals...
RE: The Server - I will do my best to limit downtime till we can afford a new Box. Thanks for all your support!
Check out Beaver's ESSENTIAL FILM NOIR STORE - many more (with more listing) coming soon...
Marlene Dietrich (6-disc - Screen Goddess Collection) - The Lady Is Willing (Dir. Mitchell Leisen, 1942), Shanghai Express (Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1932), Foreign Affair (Dir. Billy Wilder, 1948), Destry Rides Again (Dir. George Marshall, 1939), Blonde Venus (Dir. Josef von Sternberg), Devil Is A Woman (Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1935) - R2 UK Universal is 60% OFF HERE !
GOT BY US - Maureen O'Hara - Screen Goddess Collection (Against All Flags, Rio Grande, Lady Godiva, The Quiet Man, Rare Breed And Our Man In Havana) R2 UK - Universal Pictures Video - available NOW HERE at 60% off!
Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.
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!
NEW Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER!)
The Premiere Frank Capra Collection - 6 disc - (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, It Happened One Night, You Can't Take It with You, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, American Madness and Frank Capra's American Dream) Sony Pictures
Norman McLaren: Masters Edition - 7-disc - Homevision
Holiday Inn - Special Edition (Mark Sandrich, 1942) Universal Studios
Films of James Broughton (3-disc) - Facets
The Ultimate Hammer Collection 20 disc (She, The Nanny, Dracula Prince of Darkness, The Plague of the Zombies, Rasputin the Mad Monk, The Reptile, The Witches, One Million Years B.C., The Viking Queen, Frankenstein Created Woman, Quatermass and the Pit, The Vengeance of She, The Devil Rides Out, Prehistoric Women, Scars of Dracula, The Horror Frankenstein, Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, Straight on Till Morning, Fear in the Night, Demons of the Mind, To The Devil A Daughter) R2 UK Optimum Home Entertainment
The Conformist: Extended Edition (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970) Paramount Home Video
BACK - Paul Newman Collection (6-disc) Harper (1966), Drowning Pool (1975), The Left Handed Gun (1958), The Mackintosh Man (1973), Pocket Money (1972), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), The Young Philadelphians (1959) - Warner
BACK - Gary Cooper: Signature Collection (5-disc) - Sergeant York Two-Disc Special Edition (1941), The Fountainhead (1949), Springfield Rifle (1952), The Wreck of Mary Deare (1959), Dallas (1950)
Perry Mason: Season 1, Volume 2(5-disc) - Paramount Home Video
RECOMMENDATIONS: Beavers are very high on the recent Second Sight (UK) DVD releases of Max Ophuls' films - Madame de..., The Reckless Moment, Le Plaisir, and Letter From An Unknown Woman. Essential for cinema lovers everywhere.
We don't often reject Criterion titles - and both Sólo con tu pareja and Clean, Shaven are very worthy purchases. The former is a lot of fun - the latter quite harrowing. Both wonderful cinema.
Although we don't rate the image of the Focus Films edition of Orson Welles - The Stranger - it does have a commentary, and I still enjoy the film immensely.
One of the better endings of a modern film, Shallow Grave, represents Danny Boyle's best work in my opinion. I was remiss in not mentioning it in the article HERE.
Better take this with a pinch of salt (as my mother used to say) - I continue to be ga-ga over the X-Men films. Although X-Men 3: The Last Stand is a notch below X2 - it still gave me some pretty decent escapist fun. The CE DVD is as complete as one could ever hope.
Sólo con tu pareja - Before Alfonso Cuarón brought us the international sensation Y tu mamá también, he made his mark on Mexican cinema with the ribald and lightning-quick social satire Solo con tu pareja. Don Juan-ish yuppie Tomás Tomás (Daniel Giménez Cacho, from Bad Education) spends his nights juggling so many beautiful women that he can't keep their names straight—until one of his many conquests, a spurned nurse, gives him a taste of his own medicine. Beautifully filmed by the inimitable Emmanuel Lubezki (The New World), Cuarón's wildly successful feature debut (which has never been released in the United States) offers the first glimpses of the exuberant flair that has come to define this one-of-a-kind director. DVD Release Date: October 17th, 2006
Clean, Shaven - Lodge Kerrigan began his succession of utterly unique, visually and aurally dazzling character studies with the raw, ravaging Clean, Shaven. A compelling headfirst dive into the mindscape of a schizophrenic (played by the remarkable Peter Greene) as he tries to track down his daughter after he is released from an institution, Kerrigan's film brilliantly uses sound and image to lead audiences into a terrifying subjectivity. No one is left unscathed. DVD Release Date: October 17th, 2006
Letter From An Unknown Woman - Of all the cinema's fables of doomed love, none is more piercing than this. Fontaine nurses an undeclared childhood crush on her next-door neighbour, a concert pianist (Jourdan); much later, he adds her to his long list of conquests, makes her pregnant - and forgets all about her. Ophüls' endlessly elaborate camera movements, forever circling the characters or co-opting them into larger designs, expose the impasse with hallucinatory clarity: we see how these people see each other and why they are hopelessly, inextricably stuck.
Shallow Grave - Three unattached roommates share a flat and are in search of a 4th. They find a seemingly good fit, but without giving away too many spoilers - his positional (and past) function create huge conflicts. The once great friends now nervously border on interactions of paranoia, suspicion and greed. It certainly could be considered a modern film noir - with basically good people transformed to behave illegally... all for money. (Fox is a great Femme Fatale in the offing).
The Stranger - Not considered by Welles to be one of his finer efforts, and made only as a studio concession, 'The Stranger' still has elements of film-noir greatness, both behind the camera and in front as a more svelte thespian than in his later years. Edward G. Robinson as the doggedly pursuing detective using his strong instincts to ferret out a hiding ex-Nazi war criminal in a sleepy US small-town. Loretta Young looks good even if the soft-focus on her close-ups seems a trifle too heavy. I enjoyed it immensely and the final clock-tower sequence is yet another element that sets it, and Welles, apart from his peers.
Le Plaisir - The second film made by Ophuls in France after his return from Hollywood, Le Plaisir was championed by Jean-Luc Godard as "the greatest film made in France since the Liberation." It begins with a dark screen, and the narrator 'Maupassant' (the voice of Servais) informing us that, "I'm talking in the dark as if I were beside you", immediately reminding us that we are spectators in a cinematic experience. The first section of the triptych unfolds in nineteenth century Paris at a packed dance hall, where a male reveller faints and is tended to by a doctor (Dauphin). DVD Release Date: September 18th, 2006
So Ends Our Night - Based on Erich Maria Remarque’s novel Flotsam – the film zeroes in on three German refugees during World War II who are at the beck and call of the Nazis, always hiding, always in fear of deportation. The settings for this adventure include WWII Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Margaret Sullavan, a Jewish chemist, is fleeing for her life; and Glenn Ford, born of a Jewish mother and Aryan father, is racked with confusion and torn loyalties. The three main characters separate as they move across Europe, just a step or so ahead of the advancing Nazis. DVD Release Date: September 19th, 2006
The Travelling Players - Made, incredibly, under the noses of the military police during the Colonels' regime, Angelopoulos' film examines, with a passionate radicalism, the labyrinth of Greek politics around that country's agonizing civil war. This is done through the eyes of a troupe of actors, whose pastoral folk drama Golfo the Shepherdess is continually interrupted as they become unwitting spectators of the political events that ultimately polarize them. This slow, complex, four-hour film will obviously provide problems for people raised on machine-gun cutting techniques.
X-Men 3: The Last Stand - Although the new film has drastically diverged from the original plot, the premise is the same. Each story has an underlying current of, what debatably could be, the most important issue in the world today - tolerance. As opposed to mutant genes, the dialogue could easily be replaced by a topical conversation of race, religion, color or sexual orientation. DVD Release Date: October 3rd, 2006
The Reckless Moment - Having concealed her daughter's accidental killing of her seedy older lover, upper middle class housewife Bennett finds herself being blackmailed by a loan shark; fortunately for her, the man he sends - small-time crook and loner Mason - becomes infatuated with Bennett, and ends up killing his partner. Ophüls' noir melodrama, like his previous film, Caught, can be seen as a subtle, subversive critique of American ambitions and class-structures. DVD Release Date: September 18th, 2006
Madame de... - Ophüls' penultimate film, indulging a characteristically tender irony in its adaptation of Louise de Vilmorin's novel, is - even by his standards - exceptionally elegant in its rendering of its fin de siècle Paris milieu of ballrooms, the opera, and dashing young military officers paying their attentions to the unnamed heroine (Darrieux) of the title. The story concerns this beautiful woman's adulterous affair with an Italian diplomat (De Sica), with a pair of earrings playing an implausible and extraordinary role in their relationship. What is particularly brilliant about the film is the way Ophüls constantly draws attention to this improbable plot device, to allow a distanced and unmoralistic meditation on actions and their consequences. DVD Release Date: September 18th, 2006
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of October 2nd, 2006
Bachelor Mother (Garson Kanin, 1939) R2 France Editions Montparnasse
Changing Times (André Téchiné , 2004) Koch Lorber Films
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
Hail Mary (Jean-Luc Godard, 1985) New Yorker Video
Humphrey Bogart - The Signature Collection, Vol. 1 (Casablanca Two-Disc Special Edition / The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Two-Disc Special Edition / They Drive by Night / High Sierra) Warner Home Video
The Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection Volume 2 (3-disc SE of The Maltese Falcon, Across the Pacific, Action in the North Atlantic, All Through the Night and Passage to Marseille) Warner Home Video
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956) R2 Germany Kinowelt
Rachel and the Stranger (Norman Foster, 1948) R2 France Editions Montparnasse
Twilight Zone: The Complete Collection (28-disc) Image Entertainment
The Window (Ted Tetzlaff, 1949) R2 France Editions Montparnasse
X-Men 3 - The Last Stand (The Stan Lee Collector's Edition) (Brett Ratner, 2006) 20th Century Fox
Week of October 7th, 2006
Eric Rohmer's Tales Of The Four Seasons (Four Discs - Autumn Tale (1998), A Summer's Tale (1996), A Tale of Winter (1992), A Tale of Springtime (1990) ) R2 UK Artificial Eye
Holiday Inn - Special Edition (Mark Sandrich, 1942) Universal Studios
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
Knights Of The Teutonic Order (Aleksander Ford, 1960) R2 UK Second Run
The Maltese Falcon (Three-Disc Special Edition) (John Huston, 1941) 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
A Prairie Home Companion (Robert Altman, 2006) New Line Home Video
Red Desert (Antonioni, 1964) R4 PAL AV Channel
Reds (25th Anniversary Edition) (Warren Beatty, 1981) Paramount Home Video
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER SAVINGS
Criterion's October lineup
Sólo con tu pareja
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
My favorite time of year is approaching - take some long walks!