ARCHIVED NEWS - 15th - 21st MARCH 2004

19th March 2004

Pathé Distribution will release off-road trip horror flick Dead End on May the 10th. The film, about a family who takes a fateful shortcut through the woods, stars Twin Peaks' Ray Wise.

The DVD presents the film in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (at 448kbps). The disc also contains a irreverent featurette, Stuck On This Bloody Road - The Making of Dead End (28m), two deleted scenes with introductions from the directors (8m), the theatrical trailer, and three teaser trailers. The disc also features adverts and trailers for other forthcoming titles, including the theatrical trailer for the cloning drama Godsend (which stars Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Greg Kinnear and Robert DeNiro). RRP is £19.99.

The first season of Larry David's Golden Globe-winning sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm is being released by HBO Video on May the 17th. The set will contain all ten thirty-minute season one episodes, plus the hour-long Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm pilot episode, which originally aired in 1999.

The set will also include an interview with series creator / star Larry David, and a commentary track on the first episode, The Pants Tent.

The set has an extraordinarily high RRP of £34.99. Some retailers (HMV, for example), are offering the set for about £26, but that's still more a lot more expensive than the US version, which can be bought for about £16.

DD Video has formerly announced their intention to release the second series of Terry Nation's Survivors on DVD, but has given no further information, other than an indication that the second set will more or less follow the format of the first (which included an excellent booklet, video interviews and commentary tracks on a couple of episodes). The second season has not been commercially released on VHS or DVD.

Other DD Video titles due this year are the second and third seasons of Secret Army and Oh Brother!

The Survivors press release also confirms rumours that DD Video have added another two horror films to their schedule: the terrific 1966 Terence Fisher monster flick Island of Terror, which stars Peter Cushing and Edward Judd, and the 1978 Peter Cushing / Donald Pleasence film The Devil's Men (a.k.a. Land of the Minotaur).

Incidentally, I corresponded briefly with DD Video's PR company today, and, although I didn't ask specifically, it didn't sound like The Creeping Flesh and Night of the Big Heat were likely to be released on Monday, as expected.

Another Tomorrow People DVD, Volume 4:2 - Into The Unknown, will be released on April the 26th.

The disc will contain the complete four-part story, which was the last to feature actors Peter Vaughan Clarke and Dean Lawrence. The story, which originally aired in 1976, featured Catweazle star Geoffrey Bayldon as Tirayaan.

The disc will include a commentary track, by series regulars Nicholas Young, Peter Vaughan Clarke and Flintlock heartthrob Michael Holoway, a picture gallery, fact files and character biographies.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is releasing more budget-priced titles on April the 19th: the Keanu Reeves SF flick Johnny Mnemonic, the Hugh Grant comedy Nine Months, Michael Apted's courtroom drama Class Action, which stars Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, the newsroom-based comedy drama Broadcast News, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and chick-flick Western Bad Girls, which stars Madeleine Stowe, Mary Stuart Masterson and Drew Barrymore. Other titles released in the package are Sandra Bullock's Hope Floats, the 1996 Daniel Day Lewis version of The Crucible, Pierce Brosnan's Native American drama Grey Owl, the Madeleine Stowe thriller Blink and Michael Moore's The Big One. No technical spec's have been released.

Fox will release Francois Ozon's acclaimed erotic thriller Swimming Pool, which stars Charlotte Rampling and Peter Pan's Ludivine Sagnier, on DVD on May the 17th. The press release didn't include the technical spec's, or details of any bonus features. Or an RRP. Hardly worth bothering with, was it!?

Twentieth Century Fox will be running a Buy One Get One Free promotion from May the 3rd. The deal offers the chance to buy two Special Edition sets for an RRP of £22.99. Titles included in the offer are: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, The Abyss, Braveheart, DareDevil, Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, The Fifth Element, Fight Club, The French Connection, Minority Report, Moulin Rouge, Predator, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Speed, X-Men 1.5 and X-Men 2.

The offer will also include a new two-disc version of Independence Day, which will feature new DTS sound and restored picture. The set will also include trailers, TV spots, Creating Reality documentary, HBO First Look featurette; news reports, storyboards and production stills. The re-release is timed to coincide with the theatrical release of Roland Emmerich's apocalyptic new movie, The Day After Tomorrow. The new Independence Day set will include a promotional featurette for the film.

Mosaic Entertainment will release a Special Edition version of the testosterone-fuelled action movie The Wild Geese on May the 31st. The film, about a bunch of mercenaries who go on a rescue mission in Africa, has apparently been "painstakingly re-mastered". The film starred Roger Moore, Richard Burton and Richard Harris.

No technical details were included in the press release, but the disc will include a commentary track featuring Roger Moore, producer Euan Lloyd and editor John Glen, and a documentary about Lloyd titled Last of the Gentlemen Producers. (Lloyd also produced Who Dares Wins, Catlow and Paper Tiger, amongst others). The disc will also feature footage from the film's charity premiere. RRP for the disc is £15.99.

VCI has finally scheduled the black and white episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs, and the spin-off show Thomas and Sarah. They will be released on June the 7th. The Upstairs, Downstairs set has an RRP of £14.99. There will be two sets of Thomas and Sarah (Episodes 1-7 and Episodes 8-13), with an RRP of £14.99 each.

Granada Video / VCI's Directors Commentary [sic] DVD has been confirmed as a two-disc set (a DVD-9 and a DVD-5), containing ninety-minutes of extras, including the show's twelve-minute pilot, which featured the Upstairs Downstairs episode Why Is Her Door Shut.

The disc will offer the chance to see how the series was put together, and to enjoy deleted bloopers and deleted scenes from Bonanza, The Bounder, Only When I Laugh, Flambards and Mr & Mrs. You can also browse Peter De Lane's photo album. The disc will be released on March the 29th, with an RRP of £19.99.

Granada / VCI has also confirmed the release of two of the four recent Poirot stories: they will be released on the 19th of April. (They've also declared their intention to release the others, The Hollow and Death on the Nile later this year). Five Little Pigs and Sad Cypress will both feature bonus materials. Little more has been revealed, and technical spec's aren't available, but it's known that one of the discs will include an interview with producer Margaret Mitchell (13m). The two discs will be available separately, with an RRP of £12.99, or as a double pack of some sort, for £19.99.

I think you'll agree that the sleeves for the two discs are simply horrible. Here they are...

17th March 2004

A few interesting bits and pieces have turned up since the last News updates. Not all of them are hot off the presses, but some of them should clarify things that have been reported elsewhere.

I've added a separate News page containing the complete press release for Universal's very impressive-looking Laurel and Hardy Collection release, which you can find by clicking on the image, left, or here. The box set, due on May the 3rd, contains twenty-one discs, featuring dozens of the duo's feature films and short features. The set also boasts an exclusive disc containing rare footage, including a German version of one of the shorts, and a tribute documentary. 

Several classic Universal horror films are being released (or re-released) on May the 10th, to coincide with the theatrical release of Stephen Sommers' Van Helsing. Oddly, there's no sign of The Mummy and The Mummy's Hand, which is being listed as part of the collection by some of the retailers ( for example).

Each of the discs will contain two films, and bonus materials. Stuart Walker's 1935 film The Werewolf of London makes its UK DVD debut with George Waggner's The Wolf Man as The Wolf Man Collection. The disc will include an original documentary with John Landis, Monster By Moonlight, commentary on The Wolf Man by film historian Tom Weaver, the Wolf Man Archives, and a Wolf Man trailer.

The Frankenstein Collection will include James Whales' classic 1931 version of Frankenstein alongside its 1935 sequel, Bride of Frankenstein. Bonus materials include The Frankenstein Files documentary, commentary on Frankenstein by Rudy Behlmer. the Frankenstein Archives, She's Alive - Creating The Bride of Frankenstein documentary and theatrical trailers for both films.

The original Bela Lugosi Dracula and its 1945 sequel House of Dracula (the last film in the Universal horror cycle, discounting Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein) make up The Dracula Collection. The disc will contain The Road To Dracula documentary, a commentary for Dracula by film historian David J. Skal, an alternate sound track for Dracula featuring music by Philip Glass and Dracula production photo's.

Each disc includes an introduction from Stephen Sommers, and a trailer for Van Helsing. RRP for the new discs is £19.99. There's a discussion about these discs, and other Universal horror movies in this Roobarb's DVD Forum thread. Here's a look at the new sleeves...

The first five episodes of the 1977 London Weekend Television romantic drama series set in the 1920s, Love For Lydia, based on the novel by H.E. Bates, are being released by Acorn Video on April the 19th. The two-disc set will include a biography of the author, cast filmographies and a picture gallery. RRP is £19.99. A set of three two-disc sets containing the complete series is also being released on April the 19th: it has an RRP of £59.99.

Two more investigations for Midsomer Murders' Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and Detective Sergeant Troy will be released by Acorn on April the 19th. They are the series' pilot episode, The Killings at Badger's Drift (originally broadcast in May 1997), and the first episode of the series proper, Written in Blood (broadcast in May 1998). According to the sleeves, both will be presented in widescreen 16:9 format. Both discs include "a host of extras including cast filmographies [and] Midsomer map interactive menus", but nothing else is mentioned on the sleeves. Each disc has an RRP of £16.99.

Here are the sleeve images for the two Midsomer Murders discs, and the VHS sleeve art for Love For Lydia.

Medusa's release of Lynda La Plante's Trial and Retribution series, which was due on April the 26th, has been put back to September.

Harvie Krumpet, the winner of this year's Best Animated Short Film Oscar has made its DVD debut in it's native territory, Australia. The film, about an ordinary Joe cursed with bad luck, features the voices of Geoffrey Rush and Ned Kelly's Kamahl. The disc contains a number of bonus short features: Uncle (1996, 6m), Cousin (1998, 4m), Brother (1999, 8m) and Human Behavioural Case Studies (1996, 1m). The film is supported by a commentary track, by director Adam Elliot, and a short Storyboard / Making of... featurette (5m). RRP is AU$25. (About £9 + P&P from retailers like EzyDVD).

Warner Home Video is releasing four big-screen adaptations of British sitcoms on May the 10th. These are Till Death Us Do Part, Love Thy Neighbour, Ooh, You Are Awful and Watch Your Stern. RRP for each disc is £12.99. These have been listed in the Incoming section for a while.

15th March 2004

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release two highly-anticipated cult TV series on DVD in April.

Joss Whedon's ambitious Emmy Award-winning space Western series Firefly will be released on April the 19th, a couple of weeks later than was rumoured. The set will include all fourteen episodes, along with two featurettes: Here's How It Was: The Making of Firefly (29m) and Serenity: The Tenth Character (10m); Joss Whedon's tour of the set (1m); a gag reel; footage from Alan Tudyk's audition (1m); deleted scenes (12m), an Easter Egg; and Joss Whedon singing the Firefly theme (1m). The set has Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (at 192kbps), and the episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic format. RRP is £34.99. The set will be available in "limited edition packaging for a very short time only".

The press release only mentions commentary tracks on two episodes (Whedon on Objects in Space, and star Alan Tudyk on The Message), both of which are on the fourth disc, which I don't have. There are, however, commentary tracks on five other episodes, which it doesn't mention, so don't panic if they're not being listed elsewhere. They are: Serentity (the eighty-three minute pilot episode, commentary by Joss Whedon and star Nathan Fillan), Train Job (Whedon and director Tim Minear), Shindig (writer Jane Espenson, star Morena Baccarin, and costume designer Shawna Trpcic), Out of Gas (writer Tim Minear and director David Soloman) and War Stories (stars Nathan Fillan and Alan Tudyk).

The first series of UFO mystery series Roswell will be released by Fox on April the 26th (a week later than previously expected). The six-disc set will contain all twenty-two episodes, in 1.78:1 anamorphic format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The set will also include a deleted scene (from the Roswell pilot), two featurettes, Area 51: Behind The Scenes of Roswell (30m) and Roswell High: The Making of Roswell (10m); Emile de Raven's audition tape (4m); and a music video, for Save Yourself, by Sense Field (3m). Again, the press release only specifically mentions one commentary track (for Destiny), but in fact there are five others (Roswell, by Executive Producer Jason Katims and Executive Producer / Director David Nutter; Blood Brother, by David Nutter; The Balance, by Co-Executive Producer Thania St. John; and Sexual Healing and Crazy, by stars Shiri Appleby and Majandra Delfino). RRP for the set is £39.99. If there's a gag reel, as reported elsewhere, it's hidden away. It wasn't mentioned in any of the reviews of the Region 1 set I read, so I'm guessing it didn't make the cut.

Momentum Pictures is releasing the second half of the first series of Creature Comforts on April the 5th.

The disc will feature seven episodes: The Pet Shop, What's It All About?, Being A Bird, Is There Anyone Out There?, Cats or Dogs?. Merry Christmas and The Beach. Bonus materials will include Favourite Bits (the director's choice clips, 10m); TV Extras: ITV1 idents (1m), National TV Awards clips (1m); PG Tips adverts (1m); the original Heat Electric commercials (6m); Bringing Creature Comforts to Life behind-the-scenes featurette (3m); Who Said That? game; downloadable wallpapers; Say That Again downloadable audio samples. RRP is £17.99.

A new review has been added to the site today. It's of the BFI's excellent A Zed & Two Noughts DVD, which was released a couple of weeks ago. You can read the review by clicking on the sleeve image, left, or by clicking here.

Ceri has updated the Incoming page, with some interesting bits and pieces.

There are more details of Granada Media's Director's Commentary DVD; more extras for Joss Whedon's Firefly series have been cleared by the BBFC; several Monty Python movies are getting the Collector's Edition treatment, including a two-disc version of Monty Python's Meaning of Life; Universal will be releasing double-bills of some of their classic horror movies; British classics An Inspector Calls, Lucky Jim and Britannia Hospital are being released by VCI; the two-disc version of Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King has been listed by various retailers, along with a six-disc box set collecting together the two-disc versions of the three films; season two of Alias is on the way; Warner Home Video's Police Academy box set, and a separate Special Edition version of the first film have been scheduled; three long-awaited Hammer movies (Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and Taste The Blood of Dracula) have been pencilled in for release in June; several bonus features for Lost in Translation have been cleared; the second Smallville and ER boxsets have been added; and there's lots of information about the forthcoming Monkey releases. Also of note is a forthcoming special edition of Spartacus, which is being released by Universal. It looks like the disc will feature many of the same supplements as the terrific Criterion DVD.

Eli Roth's backwoods horror flick Cabin Fever is released on DVD today. If it sounds like a title you might be interested in, why not read the Zeta Minor review?

Previous News entries can viewed be by following this link.



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