5th March 2004
Who fans are having a very good year. A few
weeks ago a missing Dalek episode was re-discovered, and now dozens of
off-screen photo's from another missing story, the seven-part historical
epic Marco Polo, have also been found.
Long before domestic video recorders became commonplace, a
chap called John Cura used to take sets of off-monitor photo's, so that
people involved with a programme could keep a visual record of their work.
Doctor Who wasn't unique in this respect: Cura took tens of
thousands of photo's from all sorts of shows. Indeed, many of these
telesnaps (as they're known) are now the only surviving material from many
BBC programmes of the era. Unfortunately, the BBC itself did not always
keep these photo's, and many of them now only survive in private
The Marco Polo telesnaps were discovered by
researcher Derek Handley, in the possession of the series' director Waris
Hussein. They represent six of the story's seven episodes (Hussein didn't
direct one of the episodes), and represent a significant find for fans of
the programme. The story is the only one from the show's first two seasons
where not even a single episode survives, and it is widely acknowledged to
be one of the series most ambitious productions. The photo's will be
published in forthcoming issues of Doctor Who Magazine. You can see
a few of the recovered images by clicking on the image above, or by
Home Video will release the 1956 epic Helen of Troy on May the
17th, to coincide with the release of the Brad Pitt movie Troy. The
film, which was directed by Robert Wise, stars Libyan actress Rossana
Podesta, alongside stalwart Brits Niall MacGinnis, Cedric Hardwicke and
Stanley Baker, as well as Day of the Triffids star Janette Scott
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
villain Torin Thatcher (not to mention Brigitte
Bardot in a small supporting role).
The film will be presented in 2.55:1 ratio,
with a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. Bonus materials include three
featurettes (The Look of Troy. Interviewing Helen and
Sounds of Homeric Troy), and the theatrical trailer. RRP is £12.99.
Zwick's Oscar-nominated costume epic The Last Samurai is being
released on DVD in the UK on May the 7th.The two-disc set will include a
commentary track (by Zwick), several featurettes (Tom Cruise: A
Warrior's Journey; Making an Epic: A Conversation with Edward Zwick
and Tom Cruise; Edward Zwick: Director's Video Journal; From
Soldier to Samurai: The Weapons; Imperial Army Basic Training;
Silk and Armour: Costume Design; A World of Detail: Production
Design with Lilly Kilvert and Creating Digital Reality), and
additional scenes. The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen
format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. RRP is £22.99.
Warner Home Video is releasing a battalion
of War movies on May the 31st, to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary
of the D-Day landings. Details are a bit sketchy, but here's what I've
got: D-Day To Berlin, Where Eagles Dare (2.40:1, Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, On Location featurette, trailer - probably
identical to the version in the recent Clint Eastwood Collection
box set), The Dirty Dozen (Making of... documentary TBC,
trailer), Against the Wind (1.33:1, mono audio), Dive Bomber,
They Who Dare (1.33:1, mono audio), Powell and Pressburger's
terrific bomb-disposal drama The Small Back Room (1.33:1, mono
audio), Aces High and Battleground. RRP is £12.99.
4th March 2004
Natali's labyrinthine science fiction thriller Cypher is being
released on March 29th. Pathé are distributing the rental version, but the
retail release is coming from VCI.
Many retailers don't seem to be listing the bonus features
that are on the retail version, which will include behind-the-scenes
footage, deleted scenes, audio commentary, interviews and a Making of...
featurette. Initial copies will be available in a limited edition
holographic sleeve. RRP is £17.99. No technical specifications were listed
in the press release, but it's believed that the disc will be presented in
1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen.
are more details about the 5th of April release of animated Spider-Man
episodes. It will be a two-disc set that contains all thirteen
episodes of the recent MTV series, which features the voice talents of
Doogie Howser's Neil Patrick Harris, Ian Ziering and Lisa Loeb.
Spider-Man - The New Animated Series - The Complete First Season, as
it's formerly known, will feature audio
commentary; an outtake reel; spider-facts; 3 featurettes; The Making of
Spider-Man; Building With Layers (multi angle); photo gallery;
three pre-visualisation clips; and filmographies. The disc will feature a
choice of DTS and DD 5.1 audio, and will be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic
widescreen. RRP is now unconfirmed, but the previously-listed RRP (£15.99)
is now looking like a bit of a bargain.
It's been confirmed that Columbia Tristar's
forthcoming release of Betty Blue will be the 178m Director's
Cut (formerly Version Integrale) version. The disc, which is
due on the 29th of March, is exclusive to HMV. The film will be presented
in anamorphic 1.66:1 ratio, with 2.0 English audio.
Other Columbia Tristar news: the second
volume of Jim Henson's The Storyteller has been pencilled in for
release on May the 17th. Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation
has been moved back to the 10th of May.
Fry's directorial debut Bright Young Things will be released by
Icon Home Entertainment on April the 19th.
The film, an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel Vile
Bodies, about beautiful young socialites in the 1930s
will be presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1
The disc will feature a commentary track by director,
script-writer and producer Stephen Fry (which should be worth the price of
the disc alone). The disc will also include a behind-the- scenes
featurette, and a documentary about Fry. RRP is £15.99.
Home Video will release four classic World Cinema titles on the 3rd of
Leading the collection is Akira Kurosawa's
1985 adaptation of King Lear, Ran, which will be presented
in 1.85:1 widescreen ratio, with stereo audio. The two-disc set will also
contain Chris Marker's excellent 1985 documentary about Kurosawa and the
making of the film, A.K.
The other titles in the collection are
Jean-Jaques Beineix's stylish thriller Diva, (which will be
presented in 1.66 (apparently non-anamorphic) widescreen format, with mono
audio); Orson Welles' Kafka adaptation The Trial (Le Procès),
in anamorphic 1.66 ratio, with mono audio and Bertrand Blier's comedy
Buffet Froid, which stars Gerard Depardieu, also in 1.66 anamorphic
format, with mono audio.
RRP for these titles is £12.99. Some
retailers are quoting a higher RRP for Ran, so it might be worth
waiting to see how things shake out.
April line-up is headlined by the highly-anticipated Special Edition
version of Sergio Leone's classic 1966 Western The Good The Bad and
The film has been restored to its full (174m) length, with
three missing scenes reinstated from the original Italian version, adding
eighteen minutes to the film's running time. These scenes have been
newly-dubbed by Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach, since the sequences were
only available with Italian audio.
The film will be supported by more than an hour and a half
of mouth-watering bonus materials: a documentary about the making of the
film (Leone's West, 20m); one on the impact of Leone's spaghetti
Westerns (Leone's Style, 24m); historical background documentary
The Man Who Lost The Civil War (14m); Reconstructing The Good, The Bad
and The Ugly (11m); The Secorror Sequence (animated gallery of
missing sequences with stills and available footage (3m); Extended Tuco
Torture [Le Bon La Brute Le Truano] Scene (7m); Il Maestro (on
the creation of Ennio Morricone's score, 7m); Il Maestro Part 2
(audio featurette offering extended insight into Morricone's music, 12m);
French trailer (including material not included in the finished version of
the film) and four Easter Eggs (total 3m). The film will be
supported by a commentary track by film historian Richard Schickel.
The disc will be released on the 26th of April, more than
two weeks before the seemingly-identical American version. No technical
spec's for the UK version were released (MGM's press releases don't
include them). The American version will have a 2.35:1 anamorphic
transfer, with a choice of English Dolby Digital 5.1 or Italian mono audio
tracks. The RRP is £19.99.
MGM's other April the 5th titles include Roger Corman's
1967 hippy classic The Trip and Richard Rush's 1968 head trip
Psych-Out (These are available as a cheap double-bill disc in the US,
but are being sold separately, for about three times the price, here).
The Trip has an RRP of £15.99, Psych-Out is £12.99. Both discs
will include a theatrical trailer.
Other releases include The Boost (with trailer),
Roadie (with trailer), Cuba, Pork Chop Hill, The
Devil's Brigade, Kings Go Forth, The McKenzie Break, and
The Pride and the Passion. Trailers on the other titles are TBC.
Sleeve images for most of these titles are already available from
retailers like Play.com, and are the same as their American counterparts,
with the exception of Psych-Out and The Trip, which are
3rd March 2004
back, and has very kindly updated the
Offers page to
include the latest offers from the online retailers. There are some great
more Taggart stories are being released by ClearVision on the 8th
of March, marking the departure of one of the leading characters, and the
introduction of the current line-up, which features new DCI Matt Burke
(played by Alex Norton). The new titles are Volume 42 - Death Trap,
Volume 43 - Fire, Burn, Volume 44 - Watertight and Volume
45 - The Friday Event.
The four discs are available separately, with an RRP of
£9.99 each, or in a box set with an RRP of £29.99. (The
Incoming page has been updated to
reflect this information). The press release says that the new set will
include the fifty-minute behind-the-scenes documentary There's Been A
Murder (which was broadcast on New Year's Eve, 2003), but it doesn't
specify which disc it's on. Their website indicates that it might be split
across the four discs. Not a great idea.
shows that the first ten episodes of Taggart, including the pilot
episode, Killer, are now available on DVD, on five double-bill
discs! These aren't being listed by some of the mail-order
retailers, so fans might want to investigate further.
Score Monthly has released two new CDs, which means another Blue
Ribbon day for soundtrack fans. The new title in their Silver Age
Classics range is a double-bill of music by Oscar-nominated British
composer Frank Cordell: Khartoum and Mosquito Squadron. An
odd combination, but an interesting disc. Cordell's background as an
orchestrator and conductor for the RAF made him a good choice for 1966's
Khartoum, the story of General Gordon's efforts to evacuate 13,000
British subjects from a Sudanese town, before it was overrun by Islamic
fundamentalists led by Mohammed Ahmed. The disc's comprehensive sleeve
notes suggest that Cordell's William Walton-influenced score shares a
similar tone with the more exotic cues from John Williams' Star Wars
and Indiana Jones scores.
The disc marks the first CD debut of the
original Khartoum LP re-recording, from quarter-inch stereo tapes.
The original film recordings are lost. The 41m selection includes the
previously-unreleased End Title / Exit Music, taken from the film.
Cordell's rousing military-themed score for
the British World War II drams 633 Squadron (1969) is previously
unreleased. The master tapes are believed lost, and the disc has been
mastered from quarter-inch tapes created for an aborted EMI album release.
Golden Age Classics release is Alfred Newman's Academy
Award-nominated score for MGM's Stewart Granger 1952 swashbuckler The
Prisoner of Zenda. The rich, thematic score was a more lavish
re-recording of Newman's original compositions for the 1937 David O.
Selzncik version of the story, which starred Ronald Coleman. Sadly, as is
the case with many of the classic MGM scores from the era, the original
three-track stereo recordings only survive as mono mix-downs. (At least it
still survives, unlike the 1937 recording!) The
fifty-eight minute CD contains the
complete score, including a couple of classical tracks.
Both discs come with comprehensive
sleeve notes, illustrated with colour stills and posters, and are limited
editions of 3000 copies. FSM's discs are available from specialist
soundtrack dealers, or directly from
If anyone's interested, HMV has added the Star Wars
Trilogy set to their website, with a £44.99 price tag. You can find it
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has very kindly
sent over disc one of Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World.
You can see the menus
There's not much else to see, frankly, because the only extra on disc one
is the I, Robot Sizzle Reel, a two-minute promo' featurette for the
upcoming Will Smith film. I'm also able confirm that the disc has a choice
of Dolby Digital (448kbps) and DTS (754kbps) audio tracks.
Here are a few choice images from the I, Robot
1st March 2004
A word of warning for anyone who's thinking about
buying the Region 1 DVD of Hammer's One Million Years B.C. Against
all expectations, Fox has issued the truncated American theatrical version
of the film on disc, which is about ten minutes shorter than the version
on Warner Home Video's UK DVD release. You can find a review of the new
The Hammer DVD Guide has
been updated with this new information.
There are a few new bits and pieces for your delectation today. Firstly
there's a new review, of Eli Roth's derivative backwoods horror film
Cabin Fever. The UK DVD, from Redbus Entertainment, is substantially
different from the Region 1 version. You can read the review by clicking
on the sleeve image, left, or by clicking
here. The disc is released on
the 15th of March. RRP is £15.99.
I've added a new programme to the
Cult TV section: a guide to the first five episodes of the 1974 ATV series
Father Brown, which stars Kenneth More as G.K. Chesterton's
clerical sleuth. Click
here, or on the
Cult TV button, left, to check it out. It's a terrific series, and I
heartily recommend it.
will release the first season of Star Trek - Voyager on May the
3rd. The six-disc box set will include fifteen episodes, re-mastered and
with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The set will include two discs of extras,
featuring an hour and a half of bonus material including location and set
tours, rare footage and outtakes, and cast and crew interviews. That's an
hour and a half, split over two discs.
Bonus material includes eleven featurettes: Braving The
Unknown (Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor discuss the
creation of the series); The First Captain: Genevieve Bujold (rare
footage of the original actress cast to play Captain Janeway); and Star
Trek - The Experience (a tour of the Las Vegas attraction, which won't
be part of the generic Region 1 release); Voyager: Time Capsule -
Kathryn Janeway (a new interview with star Kate Mulgrew); Cast
Reflections: Season One (interviews with cast members, including
Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Armin Shimerman); On Location With The
Kazons (Supervising Producer David Livingstone guides viewers on a
tour of the location used in the Pilot episode, with
behind-the-scenes footage); Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One;
Launching Voyager On The Web (includes footage with Kate Mulgrew
and Robert Picardo that was shot for a trivia game); Real Science With
Andre Bormanis; Lost Transmissions From The Delta Quadrant
(interview clips hidden as Easter Eggs) and a photo gallery.
The sixth disc contains material exclusive to the Region 2
release: two classic episodes of the original series: Arena
(Episode 19) and The City on the Edge of Forever (episode 28), and
Deep Space 9 and The Next Generation DVD trailers.
All this bonus material seems like a pretty desperate
attempt to justify the £84.99 RRP (the same as most twenty-odd episode
Star Trek season sets have been). If the second (twenty-six episode) season costs
the same as the first one, pro rata, it will be a whopping £138!!
Further Star Trek: Voyager sets will be released on
the 5th of July, the 6th of September and on the 1st of November. The rest
of the series will be released in 2005, on January the 3rd, March the 7th
and May the 2nd.
Other Paramount releases for May are less interesting: the
depression-era drama The Education of Little Tree is due on on May
10th (1.78:1 anamorphic, 5.1 audio), and period drama Lady Jane,
starring Helena Bonham Carter on May the 17th (Dolby Digital
Surround, 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer; photo gallery). Both have an RRP of
Believe it or not, the Blake's 7 - The Complete Series
One DVD box set is actually going on sale today, after numerous
delays. Many people, myself include, have already received their
mail-order copies, so it definitely exists! I've watched the first three
episodes, and for the most part the episodes look pretty good. Up close
you'll see some hints of excessive DVNR, though, with occurrences of
'floating-face syndrome' throughout. There is a spot of good news, though:
the second episode, Space Fall, is presented uncut (previous
versions had a very short cut made by the BBFC to one of the fight
There have been a smattering of additions to the
Incoming page (there was a sizeable
update at the end of last week, so if you haven't visited it for a few
days, it's worth doing so). New additions today include tentative dates for
the next Blake's 7 DVD set, the BBC's House of Cards Trilogy
box set, and Michael Palin's Full Circle.
Previous News entries can
by following this link.