DVDBeaver Newsletter - October 6th, 2006


Zdravstvuite! - 17 new reviews this week (4 of which are multi-film boxsets!). Noir, Horror, Sci-fi, plus Wenders, Altman, Coppola, Godard, Beatty, some new Calendar listings and more...  


FEATURE DVDs OF THE MONTH (OCTOBER)! - Four essentials from the great Max Ophuls - Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), The Reckless Moment (1949), Le Plaisir (1952) and Madame De... (1953) are released by Second Sight Films (UK) in wonderful transfers with relevant supplements. They deserve recognition. PURCHASE HERE


RE: The Server - We have a quote and are scrapping funds together as we speak. Support is always appreciated!


Check out Beaver's ESSENTIAL FILM NOIR STORE - many more (with more listing) coming soon...


Sale on many RKO titles at Amazon France HERE!


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 Weeping Meadow (Theo Angelopoulos, 2004) New Yorker

The Cruel Sea (Charles Frend, 1953) Anchor Bay

They All Laughed (Peter Bogdanovich, 1981) Warner Home Video

The Other (Robert Mulligan, 1972) 20th Century Fox

The Dam Busters (Michael Anderson, 1954) Anchor Bay

Woman on the Beach (Sang-soo Hong, 2006) R3 - NTSC - Bitwin

WWII Three-pack - Objective, Burma!/Never So Few/Go for Broke - Warner

49 Up (Michael Apted, 2006) First Run Features

Laurel & Hardy - (Air Raid Wardens / Nothing but Trouble) - Warner Home Video

Oldboy (Three-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) (Chan-wook Park, 2004) Tartan Video

1900 - Special Collector's Edition (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1977) Paramount Home Video

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 Picture


RECOMMENDATIONS: I usually watch a lot of films for DVDBeaver but I doubt anyone viewed as much cinema as I did this past 7 days. Perhaps I should try to be more discerning but I have many recommendations this newsletter. I'll tone down the superlatives and just say that I was thrilled with my viewings of the boxset collections - Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection, The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection, and Motion Picture Masterpieces. Incredible value in those DVD collection sets. Forced to choose one film favorite of that 15 - The Return of Dr. X was pure pleasure.

Noir enthusiasts may wish to jump on The Window, Follow Me Quietly and Forgotten Noir Vol. 3.

As far as classic cinema goes I REALLY enjoyed - Objective, Burma. Two similar works crossed my mind as I watched - Anthony Mann's Men in War and Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (the latter steals from it in some respects). Great high level propaganda. Makes me want to seek more WWII cinema.

I can't see how Godard fans could miss out on Hail Mary.

Beatty's Reds has been awaited for a long time.

Modern stuff? A Prairie Home Companion was warm and charming... and occasionally cynical. Land of Plenty has Wenders deft signature all over it. 36 Quai des Orfèvres is a less than subtle crime drama with excellent performances. The Complete Dossier has incredible value - Apocalypse Now needs no introduction.

Guilty Pleasure of the Week: A Dan Curtis 70's gem, tarred with the same brush as Kolchak: The Night Stalker - The Norliss Tapes gave me some of that nostalgic enjoyment back again.


New Reviews:


Reds - In the annals of Hollywood history, Warren Beatty is a member of industry royalty. Blessed with charm, good looks, and talent, Beatty was a big box-office draw during the 1960s and 1970s who was also famous for dating many celebrities before marrying Annette Bening after 1991’s Bugsy. At the height of his influence, Beatty persuaded his friends at Paramount to finance Reds, a biopic about John Reed and Louise Bryant. Reed and Bryant were American journalists who supported the global Communist movement; they even spent some time in Russia, which gave Reed the experiences and materials that he needed to write Ten Days That Shook the World.


Hail Mary - Before “Hail Mary” ever reached theaters in 1985, the film had already generated enough controversy to earn Godard a stern reprimand from Pope John Paul 2, as well as a pie in the face at the Cannes Film Festival (which one upset Godard more, I have no idea.) Godard was accused of making a film that sullied the reputation of the Virgin Mary and offended Christians throughout the world. As is usual in such cases, the most vigorous protesters had not bothered with the formality of actually seeing the movie.


Motion Picture Masterpieces - 5 classics available for the first time on DVD - David Copperfield (1935), Marie Antoinette (1938), Pride and Prejudice (1940), A Tale of Two Cities (1935) and Treasure Island (1934). Seeing Freddie Bartholomew, Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore, Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Maureen O'Sullivan, Ronald Colman, Basil Rathbone, Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper either in their primes or early in their careers makes this collection all the more desirable. DVD Release Date: October 10th, 2006

The Window - In Ian McEwan's telling comment, 'low-budget films, enforce good behavior'; the best of RKO's post-war thrillers and social dramas thrived on this notion. Tetzlaff's tense movie - from a story by Woolrich - marks a variation on the boy who cried wolf (once too often). Here the boy is an over-imaginative kid whose working-class parents are driven to distraction by his stories. But one night he witnesses a murder. No one believes him, but the killers get to hear of it and decide to kill him. The chase and the climax are brilliantly handled against suitably authentic New York backgrounds. DVD Release Date: October 1st, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion - Altman's film is a celebrity performed cinema version of Garrison Keillor's radio show - A Prairie Home Companion. Occasionally narrated by Kevin Kline who plays a security guard named Guy Noir - another nostalgic throw-back as an ex-private investigator temporarily out of work due to the deficiency of both missing heiresses and tycoon's lying in the solarium with lipstick stains on their smoking jackets. Two kind of quasi main plots - a new owner (Tommy Lee Jones) has purchased the Fitzgerald theater (that the show broadcasts from) and is going to tear it down while an angel (Virginia Madsen) stalks the theater to take one of the performers and converse with a few others. Other than that we have a wonderful plot less narrative of rapid-fire dialogue, hints of sub-stories and character placements. DVD Release Date: October 10th, 2006

36 Quai des Orfèvres - Director Olivier Marchal has roots in law enforcement but I sincerely hope the muddled extremes examined in the plot between power hungry cops and unconscionable criminals is pure fiction. Totally dissimilar to Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1947 classic called simply Quai des orfevres, 36 (as it became marketed as) still gives a very entertaining ride based, in great part, to Daniel Auteuil's commanding performance. He resembles Robert DeNiro in this film to quite a strong degree and is the fair cop essentially foiled by the letter of the law turning against him. The Tartan DVD Release Date: September 18th, 2006

Follow Me Quietly - Follow Me Quietly (1949) has a script partly by Anthony Mann, and the film is in the tradition of Mann's He Walked by Night (1948). Both films are semi-documentaries, focusing on the hunt for a lone serial killer. Both films have the regular police as their protagonists. Both films have somewhat similar police work. In both, the police finally get a clue to the killer's identity. This clue is followed up by much legwork. This allows the police to get closer and closer to the killer, progressing through inquiries at various institutions, and finally track him to where he lives. At the finale, the killer escapes the police net at his home, and winds up in a police chase through a Los Angeles industrial location.

Forgotten Noir Vol. 3 - Shoot To Kill sees gangster Dixie Logan framed by crooked DA Lawrence Dale. His wife secures a job as Dale's assistant, the better to find the proof of the DA's dishonesty. She gets help from Reporter Mitchell, who falls in love with her. In Street of Shadows, Luigi (Cesar Romero), owner of night club, falls in love with the attractive Barbara (Kay Kendall). But a corpse of his former friend is found, and one of Barbara's gloves is the only clue. Is it a Murder? Scotland yard gets involved and the plot thickens... great British Noir in the vein of the Hammer thriller/murder films of this period. DVD Release Date: September 26th, 2006

Yellow Submarine - Inspired by Beatlemania, this was the first feature-length animated movie made in Britain for 14 years, and it seemed determined to give a break to all those valiant animators who had been sweating to produce under-budgeted shorts throughout the '60s. Which is doubtless why there's such a wide disparity of graphic styles from sequence to sequence. Some of them, though, still look terrific: director George Dunning's own contribution is the 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' fantasia, with swirling, colour-washed couples counterpointing the song in a totally unexpected way. Speculation: maybe the banality of the over-long 'Love Conquers All' finale has less to do with John Lennon than with Erich (Love Story) Segal, who had a hand in the script.

The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection - The Mole People (1956), Tarantula (1955), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Monolith Monsters (1957) and Monsters on Campus (1958). This package is a real cracker - at a great price (under $20.00). I'd love e to see a 'Jack Arnold Boxset' one day - loaded with extras and commentaries. If these titles appeal to you then we can vouch that this DVD collection is fun, nostalgic cinema that we strongly recommend. DVD Release Date: September 19, 2006

Land of Plenty - Land of Plenty isn't for everyone, but patient viewers will be rewarded with a poignant look at life in America today. The screenplay by director Wim Wenders and Michael Meredith, from an original story by Wenders and Scott Derrickson, concerns Lana (Michelle Williams), a young woman returning to live in the U.S. after years abroad. While working as a missionary, Lana tries to locate her only living relative, an uncle named Paul (John Diehl), but once she finds him, he wants nothing to do with her. Paul is a Vietnam veteran living in fear of outsiders attacking America; he travels in a van throughout the day and night spying on people who look suspicious to him. Finally, Paul allows Lana into his life when a sudden and unexpected killing of an Arab man forces them together in order to figure out the mystery behind the murder. DVD Release Date: October 10th, 2006

Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection - Mark of the Vampire (1935), The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), Mad Love (1935) The Devil Doll (1936), Doctor X (1932) and The Return of Doctor X (1939). was in absolute nirvana watching these films and then listening to the commentaries. Although I enjoyed The Boris Karloff Collection and the Inner Sanctum Mysteries I think this package is far superior. With talent like Lionel Barrymore, Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning, Boris Karloff, Myrna Loy, Peter Lorre, Maureen O'Sullivan, Fay Wray, Michael Curtiz, Vincent Sherman and Humphrey Bogart - you know you are in for a big treat viewing these (I watched all in one day!) Great stuff that we strongly recommend! DVD Release Date: October 10th, 2006

The Norliss Tapes - Another Dan Curtis niche gem in the mold of Kolchak The Night Stalker - which had a similar pilot-film (The Night Strangler / The Night Stalker) before evolving into the cult TV series. The Norliss Tapes fell short of that never being picked up for broadcast . A newspaper publisher listens to the personal tapes of investigative reporter David Norliss (Roy Thinnes), who has disappeared during an investigation. The tapes tell the story of that investigation, involving a recent widow (Angie Dickenson) whose late husband has been seen working in his private studio. As Norliss and the widow investigate, they unravel a plot involving Voodoo and the walking dead. DVD Release Date: October 3rd, 2006

The Education of Shelby Knox - In the conservative Christian community of Lubbock, TX, school policy (in accordance with a state law passed by Governor George W. Bush) mandates that teachers’ adhere to an abstinence-only program of sex education in the public schools. The program has produced the predictable results: the teen pregnancy rate in Lubbock is among the highest in the state, and STD rates have skyrocketed since the policy was implemented. DVD Release Date: September 26th, 2006

Save The Last Dance - Save the Last Dance follows a whole bunch of other films, plays, novels, etc. that has mined similar territory, and it suffers as a result of its derivative nature. The problem does not lie with the execution of the material but with the immense weight of cultural history that the film must bear. It plays as a hip-hop version of Romeo and Juliet, but it fails to find a convincing balance to the love story at its center. Ultimately, the movie comes up short, leaving every issue that it tries to discuss feeling half-baked. DVD Release Date: September 26th, 2006

Apocalypse Now - Apocalypse Now is one of the great films. Photography, score, acting and direction are without flaw. Coppola never scaled such heights subsequently. It seems the sheer effort to produce such a work extinguished much of his creative spark. Stravinsky frightened himself with the awesome force of his Sacre Du Printemps, and changed directions after, never to match this achievement; Richard Strauss fled into Neo-romanticism after writing the disturbing Elektra and Salome, unable to equal their innovation and power. But these seminal works (Le Sacre, Salome, Elektra, Apocalypse Now) remain as peaks of Art. Like the great classics of literature, each viewing of this film reveals deeper levels of meaning. It's stupid to even apply an arbitrary rating to this work. It cannot be rated. DVD Release Date: August 15, 2006

Objective, Burma - This 1944 war film is a very pure, almost abstract statement of Raoul Walsh's themes and style, with Errol Flynn as the leader of an American platoon sent on a jungle mission against the Japanese. The problem, essentially, is to travel from point A to point B; the enemy remains all but unseen, and the journey becomes a test of endurance and personal drive. The film is long (142 minutes), claustrophobic, and intense, yet it works with elegance and rigor, like a philosophical problem stated and solved.

Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:


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


Week of October 16th, 2006


Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Two (5-disc) - Universal Studios

Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol 2 - Carefree, Flying Down to Rio, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle - Warner

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

Clean, Shaven (Lodge H. Kerrigan, 1994) Criterion Collection

Colonel Redl (István Szabó , 1985) R2 UK Ind DVD Ltd

The Cruel Sea (Charles Frend, 1953) Anchor Bay

The Dam Busters (Michael Anderson, 1954) Anchor Bay

Deadfall (Bryan Forbes, 1968) 20th Century Fox

Icons of Horror: Boris Karloff The Black Room (1935), The Man They Could Not Hang (1939), Before I Hang (1940), The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942) - Sony Pictures

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

Norman McLaren: Masters Edition - 7-disc - Homevision

The Other (Robert Mulligan, 1972) 20th Century Fox

Peeper (Peter Hyams, 1975) 20th Century Fox
Sólo con tu pareja (Alfonso Cuarón, 1991) Criterion Collection

They All Laughed (Peter Bogdanovich, 1981) Warner Home Video

When the Sea Rises (Yolande Moreau, 2004) 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), 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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Enjoy the upcoming weekend!