NEWS ARCHIVE - 24th TO 31st APRIL 2006



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24th April 2006

ZETA MINOR NEWS

The first Cybill DVD box set is released today, and Anchor Bay has kindly supplied an interview with Ms Shepherd, in which she discusses her Moonlighting days, the chances of a Moonlighting reunion, and the story behind the series. You can find the interview here.

DVD NEWS

The recent release of the long-overdue The Fly Special Edition DVD in the US was one of the highlights of 2005.

Now Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's UK division will top it with a seven-disc, limited edition, individually-numbered DVD box set titled The Fly - Ultimate Collector's Edition, which will include two-disc editions of The Fly (1986) and The Fly II, the original 1958 film, and its sequels, The Return of the Fly (1959) and, making its DVD debut, The Curse of the Fly (1965). Plans for a separate release of The Curse of the Fly seem to have been abandoned.

The set is housed in a box shaped like the teleport pods seen in the 1986 movie (which, in turn, were modelled after the cooling fins on a Ducati motorcycle). Assuming all the contents from the R1 discs make the transition across the Atlantic, and that the special packaging doesn't scratch the discs like a tomcat on bath night, this should be a terrific - if pricey - set (the RRP is a whopping 69.99 - the same RRP, incidentally as Fox's Alien Quadrilogy set, which is now available for less than eighteen quid).

Confirmed bonus features on The Fly include the 135m Fear of the Flesh documentary; an audio commentary by director David Cronenberg; featurettes; deleted scenes; branching clips; stills gallery "and much more". The Fly II will have a commentary by director Chris Walas and film historian Bob Burns; a documentary, Transformations: Looking Back at The Fly II; an alternate ending; video production journal; featurette;  storyboards; stills gallery "and much more".

The recent flaccid version of Casanova, starring Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller will be released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment on June the 19th. 

Bonus features on the disc will include featurettes Creating An Adventure (set visit, cast and crew interviews); Dressing In Style (costumes); Hidden in Plain Sight extended scene; Visions of Venice (a look at the city); and an audio commentary by director Lasse Hallstrom. No technical details were announced. The RRP is believed to be 17.99. I've seen four versions of Casanova in the last year, and this was by far the least engaging.

Pierce Brosnan gives a wonderfully self-deprecating performance as a Tequila-sodden hit-man who outlives his usefulness when he loses his nerve in The Matador, which will apparently be released by Buena Vista on July the 10th (Buena Vista has issued a press release, but most of the etailers have it as "unavailable" or "not scheduled").

The film also features Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear, as a regular Joe who befriends Brosnan's character. Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall and Dylan Baker all have worthwhile cameos. The film is set - and was shot - in Mexico City, which gives it an added kick.

The disc will feature a Making of... featurette; deleted scenes; a commentary by director Richard Shepard; and an alternate opening. No technical spec's were announced (it should be 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio), and neither was the RRP.

Both sides of the sleeve for Nucleus Films' forthcoming Gwendoline DVD have been revealed...

AUDIO BOOK NEWS

BBC Audiobooks has finalised their releases for May the 1st. In addition to Superman - Doomsday & Beyond (announced here a couple of weeks ago) and Doctor Who - The Dalek Chronicles (announced here), they have seven more releases.

The first is a set featuring "New Zealand's fourth best folk guitar-based jazz, techno, hip-hop duo" The Conchords'. Their Radio 2 series, Flight of the Conchords, was written by Perrier award-nominated dup Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, and features Rob Brydon, Rhys Darby and Jimmy Carr. RRP for the three-disc, three-hour set is 15.99.

Three stories featuring Enid Blyton's intrepid kid's club The Secret Seven feature on three two-disc sets being released on May the 1st. The three stories are Go Ahead, Secret Seven, Good Work, Secret Seven and Secret Seven Win Through. Each story runs for about an hour and fifty minutes, and is read by Sarah Greene. The RRP for each title is 9.99.

A digitally-re-mastered recording of the 1967 Patrick Troughton Doctor Who story The Tomb of the Cybermen marks a new phase of Doctor Who releases from BBC Audiobooks. Previous releases in the series have all featured stories where one or more of the episodes no longer exists on film or video. All stories that have missing episodes have now been released as audio books. The range has been so successful that BBC Audiobooks is continuing the series by releasing titles which do exist on video in the BBC's Film and Television archives. The new CD will be narrated by Frazer Hines (who played the Doctor's assistant, Jamie, in the series), who also contributes a bonus interview about the story. The RRP for this title is 13.99.

A Radio 4 dramatisation of Tolstoy's War and Peace makes its CD debut as an epic ten-disc box set on May the 1st. The series features a thirty-five strong cast, including Leo McKern as Kutuzov, Simon Russell Beale as Pierre Bezuhov, Emily Mortimer as Natasha Rostov and Gerard Murphy as Andrei Bolkonsky. The set runs for nine-and-a-half hours, and has an RRP of 40.

A two-disc set celebrating the life and career of popular musician / raconteur Gerald Hoffnung, Hoffnung at Large, will be released on May the 1st. The set will include previously-unreleased archive material, linked with tributes and recollections from friends, admirers and his widow, Annetta. Programmes excerpted include Desert Island Discs, One Minute Please and Saturday Night on the Light. The disc will include Hoffnung's famous Bricklayer story. RRP for the CD is 12.99.

Michael Horden and Richard Briers star in two Radio 4 full-cast adaptations of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories, The Code of the Woosters and Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, which are being released as two three-disc sets. Each has an RRP of 15.99.

BBC Audiobooks continue to squeeze every drop of goodness out of Little Britain with the release of Best of TV Series 3, a two-disc set with an RRP of 12.99.

Here is some sleeve art....

       
     

SOUNDTRACK NEWS

There are two new Film Score Monthly CD releases to report on this month: Marvin Hamlisch's The Swimmer and an elaborate three-disc set featuring songs and score from the Peter O'Toole version of Goodbye Mr Chips.

The Swimmer is a film that's maintained a loyal cult following since 1968. Certainly, once seen, it's not easily forgotten.

The film, an allegorical Twilight Zone-style story ostensibly about a man (Burt Lancaster) who makes his way home from a dinner party by working his way from backyard to backyard, swimming in the pools of his affluent Connecticut neighbours, was based on a story by renowned author John Cheever.

Of course, very little in the film is quite what it seems, and this is reflected in its ethereal, heart-breaking score. The Swimmer marked the first film score composed by the then-twenty-four-year-old Hamlisch, and it demonstrates remarkable maturity. Hamlisch takes a thematic approach to the score, headlined by the sombre harp and piano Theme From The Swimmer, which is explored and developed over the course of the movie.

The score is presented on the FSM disc in its entirety, and in chronological order, remixed and re-mastered from half-inch three-track tapes. This expands on the original album release, restoring six complete cues, and lengthening others.

A remake of The Swimmer, starring Alec Baldwin, is apparently in production.

It's probably fair to say that Film Score Monthly's three-disc release of Goodbye Mr Chips isn't primarily aimed at film music enthusiasts, despite featuring some lush underscoring by John Williams. The set is instead targeted squarely at the musicals market, which probably doesn't have as much crossover appeal as fans of neither type of music will imagine. The release will also make a lot of Petula Clark's fans ecstatically happy!

The three-disc set, showcasing the music and lyrics of composer Leslie Bricusse, breaks down into three sections: the first disc features a lengthy presentation of the music and songs heard in the film (and a few Williams cues that weren't); the second is a "narrative sequence of alternates and source music with [contemporaneous promotional] interviews"; and the third contains the original 1969 soundtrack album, with additional interviews, alternate cues and unused songs, including Tomorrow With Me, sung by Petula Clark, and orchestrated by Williams.

It takes the lavish forty-eight page booklet that's included with the set to explain the background to the film, and explore its music in track-by-track detail, so I'm not going to go into any detail here. Suffice to say that if you like the film, anyone involved in it, or musicals in general, you'll certainly get a real thrill from the set. Rarely has any record label - let alone one that's effectively run by one man and his dog - attempted anything quite so ambitious with a film music release. Most of the material is in stereo, with only the interviews and some of the source and demo' cues in mono.

Potential customers should be aware, though, that some of the discs in circulation are exhibiting problems playing in some players. A thread discussing this issue can be found here. You may wish to delay your purchase while the glitches are ironed out.

Both discs are available from specialist retailers, or from FSM's trading partner Screen Archives Entertainment. The Swimmer is here, and Goodbye Mr Chips is here. The site also offers sample clips.


Last week's Zeta Minor News can be viewed here.

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.


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