DVDBeaver Newsletter - April 16th, 2006
Firstly Happy Easter to all who celebrate! and a big welcome to all of our new Newsletter subscribers.
In my efforts to slow things down on DVDBeaver, everything just appears to be picking up speed. In a recent financial downturn many of you supported us. DVDBeaver would not exist without the encouragement of many patrons - those who generously donate, and those who use our Amazon and YesAsia links. For individuals who do not use Amazon (and our links) perhaps you would consider doing so every 3rd or 4th purchase AND/OR if you will purchase more than 35 Region 1 DVDs in a 365 day period (and live in the Continental US) it makes excellent financial sense to subscribe to Amazon Prime! Get Free 2-day shipping on everything!
This newsletter links to reviews of DVDs of the films of Kazan, Huston, Kitano, Powell and Pressburger, Renoir, Milestone, Anthony Mann and more... plus a free giveaway, plus a new Rosenbaum article, plus new release calendar listings - and more...
NEW Article: Jonathan Rosenbaum tells us of Ten Overlooked Noirs
Free Criterion DVD?: DVDBeaver, in conjunction with The Criterion Collection and Image Entertainment, are giving away 10 copies of the Criterion DVD of Louis Malle's Noirish debut 'Elevator to the Gallows' (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud). Become eligible and enter HERE
Two new Criterion's on tap:
Barbet Schroeder's Koko: A Talking Gorilla
In 1977, acclaimed director Barbet Schroeder and cinematographer Nestor Almendros entered the universe of the world’s most famous primate, to create the captivating documentary.
and Edward Yang's YiYi!
With the runaway international acclaim of this film, Taiwanese director Edward Yang could no longer be called Asian cinema’s best-kept secret. The Criterion package will include a commentary by director Yang and noted Asian-cinema critic Tony Rayns.
CORRECTED LINK: Last newsletter's Jonathan Rosenbaum article (exclusive for DVDBeaver!) tells us his 10 Favorite Offbeat Musicals
Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.
Godard's Histoire(s) du cinéma - 4 DVD Boxset from Gaumont Columbia Tri-Star Home Video is back on schedule for May 4th, 2006! HERE
Recent Additions to the Release Calendar
Lemonade Joe(Oldrich Lipska, 1967) Facets
Bogie & Bacall - The Signature Collection( Howard Hawks : The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, Key Largo, To Have and Have Not) Warner Home Video
Hidden aka Caché(Michael Haneke , 2005) R2 France
Yûkoku(Patriotism) (Yukio Mishima, 1966) [R2-Japan] or from YesAsia HERE
The Intruder(Claire Denis, 2004) Wellspring
Histoire (s) du cinéma- 4 DVD (Jean-Luc Godard) Gaumont R2 France
Christ Stopped At Eboli2-disc [Francesco Rosi, 1979] Infinity Arthouse R2 UK
Three Times(Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2005) TF1 Vidéo R2 France
Petulia(Richard Lester,1968) Warner Home Video
Columbo - The Complete Fifth Season(Steven Spielberg etc.,1971) Universal
Benny's Video(Michael Haneke, 1992) Kino
Music in Darkness(Ingmar Bergman, 1947) Tartan [R2-UK]
À nos amours(Maurice Pialat, 1983) Criterion
Green for Danger(Sidney Gilliat,1946) Network R2 UK
The Virgin Queen(Henry Koster , 1955) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment R2 UK
Charulata(Satyajit Ray, 1964) [R2-UK]
Rien ne va plus aka The Swindle(Claude Chabrol,1997) Second Sight Films Ltd.
Mahapurush(Satyajit Ray,1965) (Satyajit Ray, 1964) [R2-UK]
RECOMMENDATIONS: In my most aggressive tone I strongly encourage any who love film to pick up the pristine Black Narcissus DVD package from Warner Home Vidéo (Europe). One of the greatest films in the best ever transfer to date. You will not regret owning this gem! Master's of Cinema have done it again and Renoir's Toni is a grand film experience essential to any DVD collection! Get into the correct mindset and Lewis Milestone's The Purple Heart is charming for its huge political slants. And speaking of propaganda, Canadian WW2 flag-waving has never been more strident than in Powell and Pressburger's 49th Parallel. Finally, no-brainer of the month is Warner's The Tennessee Williams Collection. It contains films that represent a very important part in the growth of US performance awareness. 4 previously unreleased gems and 2 re-transfers plus more extras than you can shake a fist at.
AVOID: So you know what you are getting yourself into check out the review captures of Alpha Video's The Black Book before you buy.
The Tennessee Williams Collection - The 8-disc Tennessee Williams Collection has 6 screen adaptations of one of America's greatest playwrights (all 6 are also available separately). This includes the DVD debut's of Sweet Bird of Youth, The Night of the Iguana, Baby Doll and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone as well as re-transfers of both A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A Bonus disc is included that contains Tennessee Williams South - a rarely seen feature-length documentary. DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 2006
A Streetcar Named Desire - The film in
which the Marlon mumble and scratch gave the Method a bad name and Tennessee
Williams a yellow paper reputation as the playwright of steamy sex. Actually
pretty mild (Stanley's 'liberating' rape of Blanche is coyly elided while we
watch a hose washing away garbage with portentous symbolism), it remains
impressive largely because of Brando's superbly detailed performance (which
rather wipes the floor with Leigh's showy but superficial bundle of mannerisms).
DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 2006
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - "I'm not living with you," Maggie snaps at Brick. "We occupy the same cage, that's all." The raw emotions and crackling dialogue of Tennessee Williams' 1955 Pulitzer Prize play rumble like a thunderstorm in this film version whose fiery performances and grown-up themes made it one of 1958's top box-office hits. Paul Newman earned his first Oscar nomination as troubled ex-sports hero Brick. In a performance that marked a transition to richer adult roles, Elizabeth Taylor snagged her second. Her Maggie the Cat is a vivid portrait of passionate loyalty. DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 2006
Night of the Iguana - A companion piece to Huston's Wise Blood, The Night of the Iguana has disgraced clergyman Burton turned traveling courier, accompanying a group of women teachers across Mexico. They are pursued in turn by a young sexpot (Lyon), the middle-aged owner of a hotel (Gardner) and an artist (Kerr), all of which leads to moral and mental turmoil in the trademark style of Tennessee Williams, on whose play this is based. DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 2006
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone - A fine bit of melodrama adapted from Tennessee Williams's potboiler about an aging actress (Leigh) who moves to Rome to find a new lease of life in her career, but instead finds a love affair with a young gigolo (Beatty, with a truly crappy Italian accent). The two manage to suggest a believably seedy but passionate romance. However, the real star of the show is Lenya, who turns in a fine performance as the grossly unpleasant Contessa. As Leigh was filming this, her marriage to Olivier was falling apart - a lot of the misery on screen reflected events in her private life. DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 2006
Sweet Bird of Youth - Director Richard Brooks' second involvement with Tennessee Williams has Newman repeating his Broadway role as the no longer quite pristine gigolo who returns to his home town with fading movie queen (Page) in tow, scheming to establish himself as someone in the eyes of the corrupt political boss (Begley) who once ran him out of town for aspiring to marry his daughter (Knight). DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 2006
Takeshis' - Suddenly, completely out of nowhere, Kitano’s next film was announced during Cannes 2005, with a huge black banner with big red letters spelling "Takeshis’", and with smaller white letters "500% Kitano – nothing to add". Instant confusion and curiosity. Instant clicking onto Office Kitano. Instant frustration. No synopsis, no cast, no poster. Not even a trailer… that until mid July, where a teaser began running the theatres in Tokyo, and from September 1st on Office Kitano, showing Kitano tap dancing on a railroad track. DVD Release Date: April 7th, 2006
The Purple Heart - I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this blatant U.S. flag-waving war film (that isn't really a war film, but a courtroom drama) - rife with such strident propaganda that I almost stood and saluted... and I'm not even American! Director Lewis Milestone will oft be remembered for All Quiet On The Western Front from 1930 as well a vast varietal range including the musical Hallelujah I'm a Bum and the later atmospheric Film Noir - The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. It takes a special kind of ability to instill patriotism in an obvious but still effective manner. Milestone is right on the money here. DVD Release Date: March 13th, 2006
Toni - Financed by Marcel Pagnol's production company, Jean Renoir's Toni is a landmark in French filmmaking. Despite the exquisite location backgrounds — the vineyards, rocky hilltops and verdant pathways surrounding the little village — Renoir makes no attempt to impose, through picturesqueness, the placid power of this Provencal backwater. Toni's direct style and theme (Luchino Visconti was assistant director) attained classic status with the critics and directors of the French New Wave. Renoir's vision of realism approaches a purity sometimes found in documentary, whilst retaining the literary power and emotion of Balzac, Flaubert and Zola. DVD Release Date: April 17th, 2006
The Red Shoes NEW Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - A glorious Technicolor epic that influenced generations of filmmakers, artists, and aspiring ballerinas, The Red Shoes intricately weaves backstage life with the thrill of performance. A young ballerina (Moira Shearer) is torn between two forces: the composer who loves her (Marius Goring), and the impresario determined to fashion her into a great dancer (Anton Walbrook). DVD Release Date: April 5th, 2006
Black Narcissus NEW Warner Home Vidéo
(2-disc) - Master cinematographer Jack Cardiff's extravagant visual
Technicolor style helps expose the breathtaking landscape into a corollary for
the transcendent seduction overtaking the pious strangers to this new world.
Settling into this sparse and haunting atmosphere, steeped in firmly entrenched
traditions and cultural roots, proves to be an unanswerable challenge. The nuns
are from a bleak, simple world of black and whites and are now thrust into the
color-infused landscape filled with mysterious native idiosyncrasies. DVD
Release Date: April 5th, 2006
49th Parallel NEW Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - From Olivier's somewhat hammy French Canadian characterization to Leslie Howard's almost duplicate portrayal of the quasi-fearless academia intellectual Alan Squier from "The Petrified Forest', I reveled in this powerful story of a Nazi U-boat sunk by the Canadian Air Force with all the crew lost excepting six men who had been sent ashore before the attack... to take on a country. This is another example of Powell and Pressburger's ability to create 'pure cinema' - an absolute delight. Anton Walbrook, Eric Portman, and Glynis Johns also chip in with outstanding one dimensional, yet totally believable, performances. DVD Release Date: April 5th, 2006
The Black Book - One of the great unacknowledged forms of noir is costume drama. I can’t think of a better example than this campy, hugely enjoyable thriller about the French Revolution—-also known as Reign of Terror, with Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, and Arlene Dahl--brilliantly shot by John Alton, the greatest noir cinematographer. I even prefer it to Mann’s more conventional noirs in contemporary settings, many of them also shot by Alton.
The Seventh Victim - Producer Val Lewton has misleadingly been called a master of horror when in fact he mainly made cheap, noirish art movies that were marketed as horror items. The first three, justly celebrated (and sometimes genuinely scary), were directed by the great Jacques Tourneur—Cat People (1942), I Walked with a Zombie (1943) The Leopard Man (1943)—but the greatest and most densely plotted of them, directed by Mark Robson, came right after these. Packing an inordinate number of vivid characters into 71 minutes, this doom-ridden tale about a cult of devil worshipers in Greenwich Village—-including a lonely girl looking for her lost sister, a resurrection of the shrink from Cat People, a couple of lesbian characters, a detective, a lawyer, and a poet—-has a moment that anticipates the shower murder in Psycho, and an overall feeling for desolate city streets at night that was virtually Lewton’s signature.
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of April 17th, 2006
Hidden aka Caché (Michael Haneke , 2005) R2 France
The Chess Players (Satyajit Ray, 1977) Kino Video
Claude Chabrol Box Set: Les Biches/La Femme infidele/Que la bete meure/Le Boucher/Juste avant la nuit/Le Noces rouge/Nada/Madame Bovary (Chabrol) Arrow Film Distributors [R2-UK]
Charulata (Satyajit Ray, 1964) [R2-UK]
L'Enfant (Dardenne Brothers, 2005) blaq out R2 France
Green for Danger (Sidney Gilliat,1946) Network R2 UK
The Laurel and Hardy Collection (The Devil's Brother / Bonnie Scotland) - TCM Archives - Warner
Mahapurush (Satyajit Ray,1965) (Satyajit Ray, 1964) [R2-UK]
The Complete Mr. Arkadin (aka Confidential Report) - (Orson Welles, 1962) Criterion Collection
Rien ne va plus aka The Swindle (Claude Chabrol,1997) Second Sight Films Ltd.
Second Circle (Aleksandr Sokurov, 1990) Kino Video
Swamp Water (Jean Renoir, 1941) Fox [R2-UK]
Toni (Jean Renoir, 1934) Eureka/MoC [R2-UK]
The Virgin Queen (Henry Koster , 1955) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment R2 UK
Week of April 24th, 2006
The Robert Altman Collection: M*A*S*H, A
Perfect Couple, Quintet, A Wedding (Altman) Fox
Blissfully Yours (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002) Second Run [R2-UK]
Blood For Dracula / Flesh For Frankenstein (Morrissey, 1974) Tartan
Bogie & Bacall - The Signature Collection ( Howard Hawks : The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, Key Largo, To Have and Have Not) Warner Home Video
Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory (Ziegfeld Follies / Till the Clouds Roll By / Three Little Words / Summer Stock / It's Always Fair Weather) Warner Home Video
Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985) Nouveaux Pictures [R2-UK]
Damnation (Bela Tarr, 1988) Facets
The Double Life of Veronique -
Artificial Eye - [R2-UK]
Effi Briest (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974) [R2-UK]
Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1957) Criterion
Fists in the Pocket (Marco Bellocchio , 1965) Criterion Collection
Every Little Thing (Nicolas Philibert, 1997) Second Run [R2-UK]
Forgotten Noir, Vol. 1 - Portland Expose (Harold D. Schuster , 1957) + They Were So Young (Kurt Neumann, 1954) Vci Video
The Guard From Underground (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1992) Arts Magic
Guys & Dolls (Widescreen Deluxe Edition) (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1955) MGM
Harlan County, U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple , 1976) Criterion Collection
Heimat II: A Chronicle of a Generation (Edgar Reitz, Robert Busc,1992) Facets
The Hidden Blade (Yôji Yamada, 2004) Tartan
Hotel du Nord (Marcel Carné, 1938) Soda Pictures [R2-UK]
The Intruder (Claire Denis, 2004)
The Kingdom (Lars Trier, 1994) Tartan [R2-UK]
Lemonade Joe (Oldrich Lipska, 1967)
Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Julio Medem, 1998) Home Vision
Mother Joan of Angels (Jerzy Kawalerowicz) Polart
Night Watch (Timur Bekmambetov, 2004)
2-disc -20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
The Passenger (Antonioni, 1975) Sony Pictures
Tickets (Abbas Kiarostami/Ken Loach/Ermanno Olmi, 2005) Artificial Eye [R2-UK]
Where the Truth Lies (Atom Egoyan, 2005) R2 UK - Momentum Pictures
Yûkoku (Patriotism) (Yukio Mishima, 1966) [R2-Japan] or from YesAsia HERE
Enjoy time off work, relax with family and get outdoors if you can!
P.S. -Sale still strong at Amazon.UK:
Summer With Monika(60% off), The Gospel According To St. Matthew (46% off), Jamon Jamon (60% off), Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf (65% off), Girl on the Bridge (70% off), Baise-Moi (62% 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 39 Steps (68% 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), Mae West - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off), Marilyn Monroe - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off)