ARCHIVED NEWS - 15th to 21st September 2003

21st September

I've greatly expanded the guide to Hammer on DVD, to include entries for every single film made by the studio. 

This means a few more titles that are available on DVD have been added (the 70s comedies - some of the most successful films Hammer made - and the three Dick Barton films, for example). I've also added The Viking Queen, which was missed out last time, but no-one noticed!

The guide also highlights how much Hammer material has yet to be released on DVD. Many of their early films seem destined to rot away, never to be seen in public again. There's a miniscule chance that all of their feature films may eventually get released, but what about Hammer's short featurettes? Perhaps some enterprising label will exhume some of them to use as bonus features? They'd surely be marginally more interesting than episodes of the World of Hammer TV series?!

The popularity of Hammer's horror and science-fiction films seems to be undiminished, but there seems to be little interest in their historical dramas, crime thrillers and early comedy films. Who knows how many obscure films as good as Cash on Demand Hammer has locked in its vaults? 

Any comments, additions or corrections are most welcome, either by emailing me using the button, left, or by contributing to this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum. 

My thanks to those who have given their support and assistance so far.

20th September

The third series of The League of Gentlemen is being released by the BBC on the 10th of November. 

The two-disc set, which has an RRP of £19.99, will contain all six episodes in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (at 192kbps). Bonus materials are featured on the second disc: a thirty-minute The Making of Series 3 featurette filmed by Adam Buxton (of The Adam and Joe Show), outtakes (7m), deleted scenes (12m), a commentary by the League members, character biographies, a photo' gallery, All About Yves (an interview with costume designer Yves Barre, 15m), storyboards for the series finale (5m), an Edit Your Own End feature, a lecture by magician Dean Tavalouris (6m), Music Score cues (8m), SFX footage (2m), and a Video Diary (26m). There's also an Easter Egg on the first disc (16m).You can see menu screens for the disc by clicking here, and you can discuss the disc in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

A hardback book containing the scripts for the three series, and the Christmas Special, is being released on October the 16th. 

Tartan's Asia Extreme label is releasing Miike Takashi's outrageous 2001 black comedy The Happiness of the Katakuris (Katakuri-ke no kôfuku) on DVD on the 29th of September. 

Their Region 0 disc features an anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer, with an average bitrate of 4.47Mb/s. There's a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 (at 224kbps) or 5.1 (at 448kbps) Japanese audio, with optional English subtitles. Bonus materials include a director's commentary track (in Japanese, with optional English subtitles), a half-hour Making of... featurette (not 61m, as the sleeve claims), a Miike Takashi interview (32m), the theatrical trailer, six other Takashi trailers, production notes, filmographies and a 30" TV spot. Not mentioned on the sleeve are bonus interviews with various cast members (24m), and an Animating the Katakuris featurette (5m). (It's possible that the sleeve will be corrected before the disc hits the shops). RRP is £19.99. You can see some menu screens for this release here.

19th September

A substantial overhaul of the Hammer DVD Guide (yet to be uploaded) and other stuff has prevented the news being updated for a couple of days, so here's a catch-up! 

Let's start with something that is new: a better look at Pathé's forthcoming The Fifth Element 2 Disc Special Edition DVD. (For more details check out the news entry for the 12th of September).

DD Video is releasing a box set of five Hammer movies on November the third. The set will include the two Quatermass films (The Quatermass Xperiment and Quatermass 2), X-The Unknown and - presumably - Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell and Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter. The DVD set has an RRP of £69.99. The company is also releasing a five-film Deanna Durbin box set, containing Three Smart Girls and 100 Men and a Girl. RRP is £49.99.

Warner Home Video is releasing National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on November the 24th, no doubt hoping to cash in on a bit of seasonal goodwill! The disc will be presented in 1.85:1 ratio (no other technical details have been announced), and will come with a theatrical trailer and outtakes. RRP is £12.99. 

Two box sets containing ten Clint Eastwood movies are being released by Warner Home Video on the 10th of November. (NB: They've now been rescheduled to the 24th - JK). The box sets will include seven Eastwood movies that are making their UK DVD debut. All the films will have new widescreen transfers, and 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. Each box will have an RRP of £49.99.

Clint Eastwood - The Legend Volume 1 will include the eagerly-awaited Where Eagles Dare (which is accompanied by an On Location featurette), White Hunter, Black Heart, Heartbreak Ridge, City Heat and Pink Cadillac.

Clint Eastwood - The Legend Volume 2 will contain Tightrope, The Rookie, Honkytonk Man, Firefox (with a 25 minute Eastwood Director featurette) and A Perfect World. All the films will be accompanied by an Eastwood Film Highlights featurette and theatrical trailers.

The BFI are releasing three Akira Kurosawa films on October the 6th: 1952's Ikiru (Living), 1962's Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjuro) and the great director's final film with leading man Toshiro Mifune, 1965's Red Beard (Akahige). Sanjuro and Red Beard will be in anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio, Living is 4:3. The three films will each have a video introduction by Sid and Nancy director Alex Cox and biographies of Kurosawa and Mifune. RRP is £19.99 each.

NB: This is the VHS version's sleeve.

The bfi screenings of The Matrix Reloaded at London's South Bank IMAX theatre have been a smash hit, (grossing more than £400k in the nine weeks since it opened). It's been so successful that the run has been extended to October the 26th. If you haven't had a chance to see the film, or haven't yet experienced the spectacle of an IMAX presentation, check it out! Click here to read my review of an IMAX Matrix Reloaded screening.

The release date of Anchor Bay's four-disc Hercules: The Legendary Journeys box set has been put back to October the 6th.

The fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine will be released by Paramount on the 27th of October. The seven-disc set will contain twenty-six episodes, all with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. There'll be ten hidden Easter Eggs, as well as featurettes focusing on scenic artist Mike Okuda and the make-up work of Michael Westmore. Other bonus materials include a Crew Dossier profile of Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney), a featurette about Ferengi Culture, a look at John Eaves' DS9 Sketchbook, and a featurette on the special 30th anniversary Star Trek crossover episode Trials and Tribbleations called Uniting Two Legends. The set will also contain the latest installment in the interactive DS9 CD-Rom. RRP for the set is £84.99.

Acorn Video has several new discs due on October the 6th. The first contains six of the seven episodes of the first series of The Good Life. (The missing episode, Backs To The Wall, is available on a different disc). The two-disc set will also contain an exclusive interview with writer Bob Larby, production notes and filmographies. RRP is a very hefty £24.99. There's a discussion about the series in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum. 

The entire first season of the hideously-titled, lightweight detective / gardening series Rosemary and Thyme will be on Acorn's two-disc set, which will feature an exclusive interview with stars Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris, production notes, picture gallery and filmographies. The press release didn't say whether these will be in their original anamorphic widescreen format or not.  RRP is £24.99.

Two more volumes Midsomer Murders stories are being released on the 6th: Anthony Horowitz's 1999 story Dead Man's Eleven, and 2000's Beyond The Grave. RRP is £16.99 each.

The third season of Monarch of the Glen is also due on the 6th. It will be split into "two double DVDs in two parts", containing episodes 1-6 and 7-11. The discs will contain an exclusive interview with Susan Hampshire, cast filmographies and production notes.

Since I wasn't keeping my eye on the ball, you might have not noticed that Acorn Video have released further volumes of Tenko (Season 2 Part 2, which completes the second season - it's also available as a box set with the first volume), Father Brown (The Mirror of the Magistrate and Other Stories - the other stories being The Dagger With Wings, The Actor and the Alibi and The Quick One), and the final disc from the first season of When The Boat Comes In (containing King For A Day, Happy New Year, Some Say, Heads You Win, Tails You Lose and Kindhearted Rat With A Lifebelt). (I'll be adding these episodes to the When The Boat Comes In section of the site soon). All these discs are available now.

16th September

Menu grabs from Carlton's Fireball XL5 DVD box set (due 20/10/03 - see News entry for July 31st) and Buena Vista's Halloween: Resurrection disc (due 13/10/03) are now available. Click here for the Fireball XL5 menus, and here for the Halloween: Resurrection menus. You can discuss the release of Fireball XL5 on DVD in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

15th September

Today we're offering you the chance to win a set of the new Charlie Chaplin DVDs, courtesy of Warner Home Video. You can read more about The Chaplin Collection here. You can enter the competition by clicking on the banner, above, or by clicking here.


8-14th September 2003

1st-7th September 2003

August 2003

July 2003





Unless explicitly stated, DVD screen captures used in the reviews are for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to be accurate representations of the DVD image.   While screen captures are generally in their correct aspect ratio, there will often have been changes made to the resolution, contrast, hue and sharpness, to optimise them for web display.

Site content copyright © J.A.Knott - 2002-2004