DVDBeaver Newsletter - May 12th, 2006
Hey friends! - 13 films on digital versatile disc are reviewed this week. I enjoyed so many of the selections - Essential Noir, digitally accessible Mizoguchi, 50's Drive-In fodder, a poet of modern cinema, Altman, an Italian females director's masterpiece, another 70's disaster flic, lots of PRE-ORDER save-ability... and more.
ADVERT: 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!
Easiest way to catch up is simply read the new Newsletter Archive HERE.
NEWS: In Sunday's New York Times it was announced that Criterion are planning on releasing an Eric Rohmer Six Moral Tales (1963-72) box set (and an Olivier Shakespeare box set) in August of this Year!
CRITERION ON RARE SALE AT AMAZON
BELOW AT 45% OFF! (click titles for more)
Mr. Arkadin, Ugetsu, Brazil, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Short Cuts, M, Seven Samurai, Young Mr. Lincoln, The Third Man, Grand Illusion, My Own Private Idaho, Do The Right Thing and Traffic
Stay Tuned - The Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum will be writing for us again soon...
The Most Popular Additions to the Release Calendar (PRE-ORDER and SAVE!)
Clark Gable - The Signature Collection(Dancing Lady / China Seas / San Francisco / Wife vs. Secretary / Boom Town / Mogambo) Warner
Heroes of War Collection - Navy Battles(The Enemy Below, The Frogmen, Morituri, Sink the Bismarck!) 20th Century Fox
Heroes of War Collection - Frontline Combat(Halls of Montezuma, Decision Before Dawn, D-Day the Sixth of June, Guadalcanal Diary) 20th Century Fox
Classic Crime Collection- Street Justice (Murder Inc., The French Connection, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, The Seven-Ups) 20th Century Fox
Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 1- (Charlie Chan in Egypt / Charlie Chan in London / Charlie Chan in Paris / Charlie Chan in Shanghai / Eran Trece - The Spanish-language version of the lost film 'Charlie Chan Carries on') 20th Century Fox
Classic Western Collection - The Outlaws(The Proud Ones, Forty Guns, Broken Lance, The Culpepper Cattle Co.) 20th Century Fox
The Batjac Suspense Collection(Ring of Fear / Track of the Cat / Plunder of the Sun / Man in the Vault) - Paramount Home Video
Sympathy for the Devil(Jean-Luc Godard , 1968) R2 UK - Fremantle
Red Angel(Yasuzo Masumura , 1966) R2 UK - Yume Pictures
Faust(F.W. Murnau, 1926)- R2 UK - Eureka Masters of Cinema
The Magnificent Ambersons[Orson Welles, 1942] - R2 UK Universal Pictures Video
Masterworks of Silent Cinema: Erotikon(Mauritz Stiller, 1920) Kino International
Masterworks of Silent Cinema: Sir Arne's Treasure(Mauritz Stiller ,1921) Kino International
Masterworks of Silent Cinema: The Saga of Gosta Berling(Mauritz Stiller, 1928) Kino International
The Loved One(Tony Richardson, 1965) Warner Home Video
RECOMMENDATIONS: I have two films that are very personal favorites this week - Julio Medem's The Lovers of the Arctic Circle is a fabulous effort from a director just stacked with potential. I've come to embrace Cry of the City as a pure Noir - great performances, strong feel, wonderful music. Beaver gives its highest recommendation to Terrence Malick's masterpiece - The New World. The new DVD does it justice. Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye is filled with positive reasons why we enjoy films SO much. Wertmüller's best film deserves an audience - although it is the same DVD (s) as in the flawed boxset - Seven Beauties is a good purchase.
Only IF: If you do not own the much sought after Image DVD of Mizoguchi's The 47 Ronin, then picking up the weak Korean port is a kind of 'must own' situation. I wish I had some positive news about restoration and re-release for you. But I don't.
I'm Guilty - I could spend every Sunday watching stuff like - Day The World Ended and The She-Creature. They are unique, lovable and definitely flawed (in a charming way).
Cause' its so cheap - There isn't much Noir that escapes us these days - Forgotten Film Noir has great value!
Cry of the City - NEW comparison (Carlotta vs. Seuvia) - This classic Noir by Siodmak has really grown on me and now ranks as one of my favorites. The familiar '30s theme (cop and criminal sharing the same deprived background in New York's Little Italy) acquires an almost metaphysical ring in being displaced by what turns into a literal cry of the city as the wounded gangster (Conte, terrific) goes on the run for the last few hours of his life, leaving behind him a dark trail of murder, pain and betrayal.
Cult Classics - Fans of the 'Drive-In' 50's Sci-fi/Horror/Fantasy genre have suffered through DVD analog bootlegs of these particular two titles for many years (available on EBay). Fitting on one side of a dual layered disc, Lions Gate have given these 2 cult titles commercial accessibility. DVD Release Date: April 18th, 2006
Day The World Ended - Originally released in the fifties during the atomic decade, Day The World Ended tells the story of what happened when man finally destroys himself in a nuclear holocaust. Only 7 people survive the blast including a rancher and his beautiful daughter, an arrogant thug and his striptease dancer girlfriend, a gold hunter and his donkey and a handsome geologist carrying a contaminated man. The fate of the human race lies in the hands of this unique crowd as they battle against the new mutated world.
The She-Creature - The She-Creature is a classic fifties horror story of a slow scary monster controlled by an evil hypnotist to commit murder! His hold over her begins to fade as her love grows for the hypnotist’s archenemy Dr Ted Erikson who is investigating the murders! Will Andrea break free from the hypnotist’s evil grip before he gets her to kill her true love Dr Erikson? How does she manage to kill so many people when she moves so slowly?
The New World - Based on the classic Pocahontas and John Smith legend, director Terrence Malick scripted this penetrating drama of conflict between Native Americans and English settlers in the 17th century 'New World'. The heart of each film in Malick's sporadic oeuvre (a twenty year break between his second and third films - Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line) must be cinematography. This is shot in Virginia by Emmanuel Lubezki, and continually overwhelms us with beauty, wild detail and washes us clean like a breath of mountain air. With organic precision Malick crafts films that can only be... his own - a fervent pioneer in an profession spilling over with copycats. An elegant visionary peeling away contemptible overused ploys and centering his cast, crew and lenses on adventure, romance with the grace of your senses. Masterpiece seems an understatement. DVD Release Date: May 9th, 2006
The 47 Ronin - NEW KOREAN DVD RELEASE! Great narrative films, whether from Hollywood or France or Japan, are often searing because their visual style articulates the story's emotions, interpreting and intensifying the drama. The same may be said of Mizoguchi's 1941-'42 film, but individual characters' emotions are seldom as important as they are in other films. Mizoguchi uses few close-ups, and the camera never seems to encourage identification with a character's inner life. Instead Mizoguchi creates music in space through slow, deliberate, magisterial long takes. Korean DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2006
The Lovers of the Arctic Circle - NEW HOME VISION EDITION! 'The Lovers of the Arctic Circle' tells the story of Ana and Otto. We are informed quite early that the character's names are palindromes; spelled the same forward or backward. The patterns of their lives seem to have been influenced in similar mathematical or geometrical continuity. A circle appears to be the defining and repeated vision. The imagery of this film is both haunting and at times humorous and charming in its simplicity. I give this a very strong recommendation. Region 1 DVD Release Date: April 25th, 2006
Earthquake - If there was one thing that guaranteed bums on seats during the 70s it was disaster films. The undisputed king of the genre was Irwin Allen. But while he sank cruise liners and wreaked havoc in a skyscraper, producer and director Mark Robson went that bit further and reduced Los Angeles to rubble in "Earthquake". DVD Release Date: May 9th, 2006
Forgotten Film Noir -
one of many El cheapo Double Featured discs from companies like VCI BUT
they seen fit to add a commentary to one feature! It's too good to pass up.
Rare Noir heaven! DVD Release Date: April 25th, 2006
Portland Expose - In the 1950's LIFE Magazine printed a blistering expose on the rampant sin, crime and Teamsters-controlled corruption that at the time had a stronghold on Portland, Oregon. Producer Lindsley Parsons seized upon the considerable publicity and assembled a cast of great character actors for the starring roles.
They Were So Young - Iffy Noir - Five European models arrive in Rio de Janeiro and become trapped in a white slavery ring. An exciting crime melodrama with Raymond Burr at his villainous best!'
The Long Goodbye - Possibly my favorite Altman film - filled with equal parts Noir homage, parody and the director with his best sardonic witticisms. Elliott Gould is a Philip Marlowe, but circa 1970, and he does a perfect job injecting Raymond Chandler's pulp private-eye hero (or anti-hero) by a perverse form of subversion as he floats through the new sexually open environment of viciously unbalanced criminal leaders, coquettish neighbors and a writer, played by Sterling Hayden, who appears the most comfortable in Marlowe's unbalanced time lines.
Seven Beauties - Lina Wertmüller's harrowing 1976 film stars Giancarlo Giannini as a petty crook with seven unattractive sisters to support, and it features a picaresque, World War II-era journey through a prison asylum, army service, and a Nazi concentration camp. Wertmüller is more indulgent in highbrow sadomasochism than she is real profundity, but there's no denying that the film is powerful in its story of subjugation and survival. A climactic scene in which Giannini saves his skin at the camp by seducing its disgusting female commandant is unnervingly honest. Giannini became a '70s international icon partially on the basis of this work. DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2006
One Life Stand - One Life Stand is that rare thing, a film made for its own sake. There was no money riding on it and no reputations were on the line. Leading up to the shoot, when trying to convince myself that making it was a good idea, everybody told me it couldn't be done, that it was impossible. Looking back, this was probably the most helpful attitude. It unleashed a tiny monster called defiance. Reined in by pragmatism - and some talent - it's as good a definition of independent filmmaking as it gets.
Star-Spangled to Death - Ken (Jacobs - the director) says, 'The film is done; it weighed on me all those years.' But I wouldn’t take that for the last word. Maybe the only film I know that is Artaud: Monumental Song of Despair & Hope. Of epic proportions, incredibly complex in meanings. It’s an absolute masterpiece that will be seen differently by every viewer. The greatest found-footage film. No found-footage film can be made after this one; add to it Joseph Cornell, Bruce Conner, Julius Ziz, and Bill Morrison. A film that contains some of the most cinematic and grotesque film material from the first 100 years of commercial cinema.
Next 2 weeks on the Calendar:
Week of May 15th, 2006
71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (Michael Haneke , 1994) Kino International
Benny's Video (Michael Haneke, 1992) Kino
Christ Stopped At Eboli 2-disc [Francesco Rosi, 1979] Infinity Arthouse R2 UK
L' Enfant (Dardenne Brothers, 2005) TVA
Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997) Kino
Letter From an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) Paramount
Match Point (Woody Allen, 2005) Warner UK
Monsieur Hire (Patrice Leconte , 1989) Second Sight Films Ltd.
My Mother's Smile (Marco Bellocchio, 2002) New Yorker Video
The Seventh Continent (Michael Haneke, 1989) Kino
Three Times (Hsiao-hsien Hou, 2005) TF1 Vidéo R2 France
The White Countess (James Ivory, 2005) Sony Pictures
Week of May 22nd, 2006
Abhijaan (Satyajit Ray, 1962) Eureka Masters of Cinema R2 UK
100 Rifles (Tom Gries, 1969) 20th Century Fox
The Boondock Saints (Troy Duffy, 1999) 20th Century Fox
Cecil B Demille Collection (5pc) (Cecil B. DeMille directs Sign of the Cross, Four Frightened People, Cleopatra, The Crusades and Union Pacific) Universal
Classic Crime Collection - Street Justice (Murder Inc., The French Connection, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, The Seven-Ups) 20th Century Fox
Compulsion (Richard Fleischer, 1959) 20th Century Fox
Decision Before Dawn (Anatole Litvak, 1951) 20th Century Fox
Guns at Batasi (John Guillermin, 1964) 20th Century Fox
Harlan County, U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple, 1976) Criterion Collection
Heroes of War Collection - Frontline Combat (Halls of Montezuma, Decision Before Dawn, D-Day the Sixth of June, Guadalcanal Diary) 20th Century Fox
Heroes of War Collection - Navy Battles (The Enemy Below, The Frogmen, Morituri, Sink the Bismarck!) 20th Century Fox
Hidden aka Caché (Michael Haneke , 2005) Artificial Eye
Histoire (s) du cinéma - 4 DVD (Jean-Luc Godard) Gaumont R2 France
House of Flying Daggers [Blu-ray] (Yimou Zhang, 2004) Sony Pictures
Immortal Sergeant (John M. Stahl, 1943) 20th Century Fox
Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964) Eureka - Master's of Cinema R2 UK
Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott , 2005) 4-disc - 20th Century Fox
The Last Wagon (Delmer Daves, 1956) 20th Century Fox
The Longest Day (Ken Annakin , 1962) 2-disc SE - 20th Century Fox
Murder, Inc. (Burt Balaban, 1960) 20th Century Fox
Music in Darkness (Ingmar Bergman, 1947)
Prison (Ingmar Bergman, 1949) Tartan [R2-UK]
The Proud Ones (Robert D. Webb, 1956) 20th Century Fox
The Seven-Ups (Philip D'Antoni, 1973) 20th Century Fox
These Thousand Hills (Richard Fleischer, 1959) 20th Century Fox
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chan-wook Park, 2005) Tartan UK
Tora! Tora! Tora! (Richard Fleischer , Kinji Fukasaku 1970) 2-disc SE - 20th Century Fox
Yellow Sky (William A. Wellman , 1949) 20th Century Fox
Viridiana (Luis Bunuel, 1962) Criterion Collection
Classic Western Collection - The Outlaws (The Proud Ones, Forty Guns, Broken Lance, The Culpepper Cattle Co.) 20th Century Fox
Here's hoping the weather co-operates this weekend for you for some outdoor enjoyment (get away from the tube!)
P.S. - Some of the %'s may have bumped up but the sale is still good!:
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 (56% off), The Seventh Seal (65% off), Central Station (62% off), Kes (56% 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 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), Marilyn Monroe - 6-disc Screen Goddess Boxset (52% off)