30th May 2010
ZETA MINOR NEWS
Updates have been brief recently, because I
am in the middle of moving house!
28th April 2010
Two imminent signings at the Forbidden
Planet Megastore, Shaftesbury Avenue, London...
April 29th - Director Lewis Gilbert (Alfie,
The Spy Who Loved Me, etc) will be signing copies of his
autobiography, All My Flashbacks, between 6-7pm.
May 1st - Gerry Anderson will be signing
copies of the Century 21 comic strip books between 2-3pm
Signed copies can be ordered from the
shop's mail order department, on 020 7803 1900.
30th March 2010
Recent high-profile additions to
Blu-ray versions of fantasy epic Percy Jackson and the Lightning
Blu-ray versions of Mel Gibson's remake of Edge of Darkness;
a new anniversary DVD edition of
The Dam Busters; and
Limited Edition Steelbook Blu-ray editions of The Wolfman.
Details of these titles are thin on the ground at the moment, but at
least we now have dates and the sleeve art to admire!
have announced a new book based on the Joss Whedon TV series Firefly.
Here's the blurb...
Firefly is the Emmy Award-winning "sci
fi-western" TV show from inimitable cult writer/director Joss Whedon,
creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and
Dollhouse. Since its short-lived appearance on TV in 2002, the show
has sold over a half a million copies on DVD, spawned the hit movie
Serenity, and most remarkably, inspired a loyal fan following - the
Browncoats - whose numbers continue to grow.
Firefly: Still Flying [Titan Books,
May 2010, $19.95/£16.99] is a brand new celebration of all aspects of
the show. Featuring memories from the cast and crew, a tribute to the
Browncoats, and even a feature on Nathan Fillion’s legendary practical
jokes, Still Flying is illustrated throughout with a wealth of
rare and previously unpublished images, including storyboards,
production design art and candid behind-the-scenes photos – including an
on-set shot of the last ever scene filmed for Firefly.
But that’s not all. Titan has also done the
impossible to present fans with exclusive new Firefly fiction by
writers of the original TV episodes!
Editor Adam Newell says, "rumours have been
swirling about these for a while now, and I’m delighted to be able to
confirm that we have wonderful stories from Jane Espenson, Brett
Matthews and Jose Molina, plus an illustrated contribution from Ben
Edlund called ‘Fun with Dick and Jayne’, which is just as crazy as it
Fun With Dick and Jayne written and
drawn by Ben Edlund
Ben Edlund was a producer on Firefly,
wrote the episode Jaynestown, and co-wrote Trash with Jose
Molina. His other TV credits include Angel, Point Pleasant,
Supernatural and The Tick, which he also created.
What Holds Us Down by Jane Espenson
Jane Espenson wrote the episode Shindig
for Firefly. Her other TV writing and producing credits include
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Battlestar Galactica,
Dollhouse, and Caprica.
Crystal by Brett Matthews
Brett Matthews wrote the episode Heart
of Gold for Firefly, and co-wrote the Serenity graphic
novels Those Left Behind and Better Days with Joss Whedon.
His other writing credits include Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury.
Take The Sky by Jose Molina
Jose Molina was executive story editor on
Firefly, wrote the episode Ariel, and co-wrote Trash
with Ben Edlund. His other TV writing and producing credits include
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Without a Trace, and
Castle, starring Nathan Fillion.
17th March 2010
You may have noticed that Fox has announced
Blu-ray release of James Cameron's Avatar. This initial
release will be a bare-bones film-only version, with extended and / or
3D versions expected to follow somewhere down the line.
limited edition steelbook version (with Avatar - An Activist
Survival Guide book, four lenticular artcards and, if you buy it
Play.com, a free glow-in-the-dark T-shirt) is also being released.
Here's a look at the steelbook set's contents...
Other recent additions include the first
Blu-ray from the new series of Doctor Who (which starts on
BBC One in a couple of weeks' time);
America - The Bill Hicks Story, a documentary about the
comedian, which is getting a modest theatrical release; series four of
Blu-ray (a box set containing the first four series is also being
Blu-ray); the recent Michael Caine pensioner-turned-vigilante movie
Harry Brown on
Blu-ray; an elaborate new edition of Fulci's City of the Living
DVD); martial arts action movie Raging Phoenix (on
DVD); a sequel to Universal Soldier featuring original stars
Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme, Universal Soldier:
DVD); the Amanda Burton series
The Helen West Case Book; Ealing movies
Man in the Sky and
The Night My Number Came Up; a very reasonably priced Blu-ray
edition of Mel Gibson's gore-fest
The Passion of the Christ; the first series of long-running
children's adventure series
The Littlest Hobo; an interesting-looking documentary called
Tattoos: A Scarred History and early listings for
The Inbetweeners - Series 3 and a box set containing nine
I've also added more details of the new
Battlestar Galactica spin-off pilot,
Caprica. A promotional trailer for this can be found on
As always, thanks to Graves for keeping
things up to date!
HAMMER DVD NEWS
Here are a couple of menu screens from
Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde DVD. The transfer is rather
disappointing, being no better than the fuzzy one used on the out of
print American Anchor Bay disc. Contrary to the press release, the new
disc will feature one bonus feature: a rather ratty theatrical trailer.
11th March 2010
added press releases to a number of titles in our forthcoming releases
...the 1952 British comedy
Laxdale Hall; the 1937 George Formby film
Keep Fit; Mexican thriller
I'm Gonna Explode (aka Voy a explotar); a new horror film
from the producers of Outlander and Die Hard 4, Stag
DVD); a re-mastered edition of Robert Stevenson's 1944 adaptation of
Jane Eyre (which starred Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine); and
the first season of John Sullivan's dark sit-com,
Dear John (a box set containing both seasons and the Christmas
special, is apparently exclusively available from
The announcement that Dear John is
finally getting a release is going to make a lot of people very happy!
Mark Millar and John Romita Jr will be
signing copies of Titan's Kick-Ass books (two editions of the
graphic novel, and the book about the forthcoming film version) at the
Forbidden Planet Megastore on Sunday the 21st of March, between 2 and
2nd March 2010
The South Bank IMAX has had a
record-breaking run with James Cameron's 3D spectacular Avatar,
taking more money than any other IMAX cinema except for the one in
Moscow, apparently. Speaking as someone who has recently tried to get a
ticket for one of the dwindling number of screenings, I can certainly
vouch for its popularity. Even with screenings that start just before
midnight, and ones that start at three o'clock in the morning at
weekends, it was very difficult to find a show that hadn't sold out
(or, at least, find one where any good seats were available!)
next major presentation, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, looks
set to repeat Avatar's success. I was lucky enough to see the
film at the weekend, on their always-impressive giant screen, in 3D.
I have to admit, as a collector and
connoisseur of various different adaptations of Carroll's two Alice
novels, (including the Anglia Television version I wrote about
here), I approached Burton's re-visioned version with a fair degree of
The film is neither a straight recounting
of the novel (not even one that, as is common practice, borrows
liberally from the second book, too), nor is it a new story, nor a
sequel. A somewhat baffling plot point is that no-one seems sure if the
young woman called Alice who has arrived in Wonderland is the same Alice
that visited as a child. Incidents from Carroll's novels are borrowed
when it suits, so clearly, the production wants to have their Eat
Me cake and... err... eat it.
Mia Wasikowska is a rather beguiling
grown-up Alice, supported by a strong, largely-British supporting cast,
including Helena Bonham Carter as the manic Red Queen; and Timothy Spall
and Tim Pigott-Smith as Oxford gentry. Several others provide voices
(and, perhaps, motion capture): Matt Lucas as Tweedledum and Tweedledee,
Barbara Windsor as the Dormouse, Paul Whitehouse as the March Hare,
Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar,
Christopher Lee as the Jabberwock, Michael Gough as the Dodo, and
Stephen Fry, as the Cheshire Cat, amongst others. American talent comes
in the shape of Anne Hathaway, as a very regal White Queen, and Crispin
Glover as the villainous Knave of Hearts. Johnny Depp, who gets top
billing, walks a perilous cliff-edge,
very nearly toppling the production as a clearly bonkers Mad Hatter.
The production design is stunning, but
curiously conventional. It's as bizarre as any version of Alice you'll
find, but perhaps less outré than might have expected from Burton. Since
Burton and Alice have been mentioned in the same breath for many, many
years, perhaps it would have been impossible to live up to our daydreams
of what the combination might be like? Some elements, like the Queen's
armoured soldiers have certainly got Burton's stamp on them.
effects work - an entire fantasy landscape, replete with fauna and flora
- is heavily-stylised, but quite convincing. There are some
lovely touches, little details that made me smile, like various
heart-shaped motifs that pop up in various places.
The clever 3D framing dictates almost
every shot, and some of it is very impressive indeed (certainly the best
I've seen so far). There are numerous shots that, naturally, rush by too
quickly for the brain - or, at least, my brain - to latch onto,
but otherwise Burton's staging is generally excellent. Clearly this is a
director who understands the 3D process, and knows how to make the best
of it. There are many, many beautifully composed shots, expertly
captured by Sweeney Todd's Dariusz Wolski. The 3D depth of field
in some shots is quite breath-taking. I certainly can't imagine the film looking quite
so impressive in more conventional venues, though! Full booking details
can be found
Alice in Wonderland at the IMAX
has inspired a season of Alice-related screenings at the BFI, including
multiple opportunities to see the first ever film adaptation, from 1903.
Sadly, there's little on offer that isn't available on DVD, one way or
another. I'm sure fans would have liked to have seen more obscure
productions, like the BBC's 1974 Christmas extravaganza Alice Through
The Looking Glass, or their 1986 adaptation of Alice in
Wonderland, or the aforementioned Anglia Television version, none of
which have been seen in public since they originally aired. More
information can be found
Alice fans might like to know that two
previously-unreleased versions of Alice in Wonderland have been
released on DVD in the US to coincide with the release of Burton's
The first is the misconceived
1933 Paramount studios adaptation, which features a star-studded
cast, largely buried under inches of prosthetic make-up. It's a
fascinating production, as much for the interesting production design as
for the top-notch acting talent involved (Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, W.C.
Fields, etc). The script was by two of the best writers working in
Hollywood, too: Joseph Mankiewicz and William Cameron Menzies (who's
probably best known now as production designer and director of the
original version of Invaders from Mars).
The second is
Jonathan Miller's 1966 BBC version, which was been released here in
the UK by the BFI. The American edition has the considerable bonus of
also including Dennis Potter's 1965 Wednesday Play, Alice
(aka The Life of Lewis Carroll), which blended episodes from the
novel with a biography of the author. This adaptation features Doctor
Who companion Deborah Watling as Alice, and George Baker as the
Two forthcoming signings at the Forbidden
Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London: Brian and Wendy Froud
will be signing copies of their book The Heart of Faerie Oracle
on Friday the 26th of March, between 6 and 7pm; and Jonathan Ross and
Tommy Lee Edwards will be signing the first issue of their comic book
Turf, on Wednesday the 14th of March, between 6 and 7pm. Signed
copies can be ordered from the shop's mail order department, on 020 7803
15th February 2010
I've added a few press releases to the
Incoming database today, including ones for: Michael Keaton's
directorial debut, the thriller
The Merry Gentleman; romantic comedy
Adam (out this week); the
DVD versions of Terry Gilliam's marvellous fantasy The
Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; the inspirational documentary
The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off; the Russian science-fiction film
from the makers of Nightwatch and Daywatch, Interceptor
Blu-ray; the Blu-ray version of Wim Wenders' masterpiece
Wings of Desire; the
Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman TV movie;
three of Kojak.
Here's a look at the sleeve art for the
Kojak and Six Million Dollar Man releases...
Details of the next Kaleidoscope meeting:
Saturday 6th March 2010, 12:00 - 7:00 pm
Function Suite, The Talbot Hotel,
High Street, Stourbridge,
West Midlands DY8 1DW, UK
THE MAIN ROOM
* 12:00 pm ATV Start-up film
* 12:05 pm The Likes of Sykes -
Later work written by and starring Eric
Sykes, also featuring Diana Coupland, Hugh Burden and Diane Holland.
Produced and directed by today's guest Paul Stewart Laing (TX:
* 1:00 pm Guest Presentation - Steve Bryant
- TV's Credit Crunch: The
slow death of end credits on British television and how some programmes
fought back. Steve Bryant is the Senior Curator of Television at the
National Film and Television Archive.
* 1:30 pm Sooty - a classic BBC episode
from the 1950s, including
original continuity. Followed by The Goodies - two clips previously cut
from UK recordings were recently returned from Australia and can be seen
again for the first time in many years.
* 1:45 pm Break
* 2:00 pm Guest Panel - Paul Stewart Laing.
Paul is a prolific producer and director who began his career as a
cameraman on Thank Your Lucky Stars, The Golden Shot and many other
shows. He went on to work with all the greatest artistes on New Faces,
London Night Out, Wednesday
at 8 and many others. Eventually he became Director of Programmes at
TSW. Those who attended Bob's Full House in 2009 will already have
enjoyed some of Paul's great anecdotes from his long career in the
industry. We look forward to welcoming him back to our event today.
* 3:30 pm Afternoon Tea
* 4:00 pm The Famous Five - "Five Run Away
Together". For a generation
of children, this well remembered Southern series was a wonderful
introduction to Enid Blyton's classic characters. Michele Gallagher,
Marcus Harris, Gary Russell and Jennifer Thanisch star in an episode
adapted by Gail Renard.
* 4:30 pm Guest Panel - Three Come Back For
a Reunion! They are back!
The Famous Five are reunited on stage! Marcus Harris no longer works in
television, Gail Renard is busy still writing and Gary Russell now works
on the new series of Doctor Who.
* 5:30 pm Break
* 5:45 pm The Golden Shot - An edition of
the much loved game show
hosted by Bob Monkhouse, assisted by Anne Aston. Guests are Rod Hull and
Emu and Rolf Harris (TX: 18/08/1974).
* 6:30 pm Men Behaving Badly - A rare
chance to see the untelevised
pilot of one of the finest sitcoms of recent years. Written by Simon Nye
and starring Harry Enfield, Martin Clunes, Leslie Ash and Caroline
* 6:55 pm Closedown
SECOND VIEWING AREA
* 12:00 pm I'm Bob He's Dickie - 2388/77 -
entertainment show starring
Messrs Monkhouse and Henderson and featuring Una Stubbs, Sylvia Syms,
Clodagh Rodgers and Jack Parnell and His Orchestra. Produced and
directed by Paul Stewart Laing.
* 1:00 pm This is Your Life - Douglas
Bader. A special edition of the
long running series, devoted to the Second World War fighter ace and
former Colditz prisoner of war. The programme was made by Paul Stewart
* 1:45 pm Break
* 2:00 pm Sunday Night Theatre - "Man and
Boy". Telly Savalas heads
the cast in Terence Rattigan's play. Also featuring Liz Fraser, Gayle
Hunnicutt, David Bauer and Ed Bishop.
* 3:30 pm Night Time - untransmitted pilot
made by Paul Stewart Laing
for TSW when the schedule extended into the night-time. Featuring jokes
and chat, the show contains some risque material.
* 4:30 pm Celebrity Squares - An edition of
the long running game show
hosted by Bob Monkhouse and featuring guests including Dickie Davies,
Sandra Dickinson, Bill Maynard, June Whitfield, Harry H. Corbett and
William Rushton (TX: 27/07/1975).
* 5:30 pm The Making of New Faces - a
documentary behind the scenes on
the famous ATV talent show.
* 6:30 pm I Wish I Had Said That - An
untelevised pilot made by Paul
Stewart Laing from his own idea with Dickie Henderson. Featuring
impressionists and an interview with Kenneth Williams. The lady
impressionist Karen Kay is the mum of Jay Kay of Jamiroquai!
* 7:00 pm Closedown
All material at Kaleidoscope events is
screened with the permission of
the copyright holders. Programmes and timings may be subject to change
before the day. Guests appear subject to professional and personal
In 2010, Kaleidoscope is supporting the
Royal National Lifeboat
Institution once again.
The Talbot Hotel is offering a special room
rate for anyone coming to
Kaleidoscope events, so if you wish to stay the night before or after
the event, please mention Kaleidoscope when booking.
Tel: 01384 394350 -
Full details of this event and
Kaleidoscope's other activities can
always be found on our web site:
10th February 2010
I've added press release details to many
records in our forthcoming releases database today, including: Thames
Television's TV adaptation of Dick Clement's Thatcher satire
Anyone for Denis?; mafia movie
The Level; Oscar hopeful An Education on
Blu-ray (go Carey!); the third season of gay vampire series
The Lair (which features scream queen Sybil Danning);
Street Hawk - The Complete Series (making its world DVD debut
here in the UK);
Cabin Fever 2, the sequel to Eli Roth's surprisingly popular
horror hit; Revelation's new edition of science-fiction series
Chocky (which features a new interview with star Andrew Ellams);
ship-board slasher flick Triangle (on DVD and Blu-ray); a
thirty-three disc box set of one of the finest TV series ever made,
Homicide: Life on the Street; a two-disc edition of
Day of the Dead on Blu-ray, which celebrates the film's 25th
anniversary; exploitation movie spoof
Bitch Slap (which reunites a group of Hercules and
Xena stars); supernatural thriller Not Forgotten (which stars
The Mentalist's Simon Baker, on
Blu-ray); season four of Fox's action series
Here's a better look at Arrow's Day of
the Dead - 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray, with the various
alternate sleeve designs (including the new artwork by Rick Melton)...
8th February 2010
Film Score Monthly (FSM) has kindly sent
three of their recent soundtrack CDs for review...
1968 film Bullitt features a hugely charismatic star, Steve
McQueen at his brooding best; one of the best car chases in cinema
history; and an edgy jazz score that's become synonymous with "cool".
Never mind that most people in the UK probably only know it from the
classic 1997 Ford Puma advert, which incorporated clips from the movie!
Somewhat amazingly - and I assume this will
come as something of a shock for many people who own a copy of
Bullitt on CD - the original score (that is, the actual music used
in the film itself) has never been released, until now. All previous LP
and CD releases, including the expanded version released in 2000 on the
composer's own label, have been re-recordings. Even more surprisingly,
the new Film Score Monthly release marks the score's CD debut in the US
(the Ford Puma advert, which was the catalyst for much interest in the
film's music, was a campaign created for the European market).
Film Score Monthly's new Silver Age
Classics release of Lalo Schifrin's score features both the complete
original score (42'17") and the original late-60s album recording (the
twelve-track, 34'00" programme used for the LP-based releases). Their
disc features both the original album recording, (which, incidentally,
featured a number of jazz greats doing session work), and the film
recording, in stereo, from the original 1" eight-track and ½”
three-track masters, respectively.
The disc comes with a twenty-four page
illustrated booklet which includes extensive background information and
detailed track notes, by John Bender and Alexander Kaplan.
With such a broad potential customer base,
which will surely extend well beyond hardcore film score collectors, the
limited edition pressing of three thousand copies seems a touch
conservative. Buy it now to avoid disappointment!
have already been wowed by several "well I never thought I'd see
that"-type score releases this year, now that some of the
harder-to-crack studios have prised open the vault doors. Perhaps none
has been as welcome as FSM's new Islands in the Stream CD, which
features the original film recording of one of Jerry Goldsmith's
The beautiful, melodic score primarily
explores variations on a single theme, which is for the film's main
character, Hudson, a thinly-veiled avatar for the author of the novel
the film was based on, Ernest Hemingway.
Islands in the Stream was one of the
composer's great collaborations with director Franklin J. Schaffner (Planet
of the Apes, Patton, The Boys From Brazil, etc). It
was previously only available as a mid-80s re-recording conducted by
Goldsmith himself, (Intrada's much admired, but ultimately unsatisfying,
Excalibur Collection edition). Although the track list on the new
disc is broadly similar to that of the Intrada disc, it re-instates one
significant section of music, from the boat chase cue Eddy's Death
(omitted from the Intrada version because the composer wasn't happy with
the performance of the orchestra).
Until FSM's disc was announced, source
tapes for Islands in the Stream were widely thought to have been
lost, and the original score was often spoken of in hushed, reverential
tones. The new disc was created from a stereo, 15ips, quarter-inch tape
supplied by soundtrack producer Bruce Kimmel, who fortuitously made a
copy of the masters in 1979, before they disappeared from Paramount's
vaults (a story recounted
here). The disc was mastered by Goldsmith's long-serving
engineer-of-choice, Bruce Botnick, and the results are outstanding.
The disc comes with a twenty-page booklet,
featuring in-depth notes by Jeff Bond and Alexander Kaplan, studded with
evocative images from the film, and topped with a cover painting by one
of the the all-time great film poster artists, Bob Peak. The disc is a
limited edition of five thousand copies.
two heavyweights, releasing a score by two composers which most
collectors won't have heard of, for a relatively obscure 1972 Western,
would seem to be a recipe for bankruptcy, but it's precisely the type of
obscure gem that the label excels in re-vitalising, and one of the
reasons I admire the company so.
It may be pretty obscure, but the film in
question, Jeremiah Johnson, has impeccable credentials. It was
directed by the late, great Sydney Pollack, written by Apocalypse Now's
John Milius, and it starred Robert Redford. It may not have joined the
pantheon of all-time classics, but it is widely regarded as something of
a minor masterpiece.
The film's two composers, John Rubinstein
and Tim McIntire, were actors by trade, but moonlighted as a composer
and singer-songwriter on the side. The Jeremiah Johnson CD offers
a charming programme of beguiling, folksy Americana, featuring several
charming themes, and focussed around several ballad-like songs.
The music from the film was previously only
available on LP in a presentation peppered with dialogue samples,
intended to form a narrative re-telling of the film. FSM's disc offers
the complete score, in stereo, without the dialogue. The dialogue-laden
versions of the cues are offered as alternates, along with additional
score tracks and a collection of original demo tracks. The original LP
programme can be more-or-less replicated by making a playlist (as
described in the booklet). The music is in stereo, taken from various
The disc comes with a twenty-four page
booklet, containing exemplary notes by Nick Redman, which made me order
the film on DVD. There's also a typically-revealing track-by-track guide
by Alexander Kaplan. The disc is limited to three thousand copies.
FSM CDs can be ordered from specialist
soundtrack etailers, including the label's distribution partner,
Screen Archives Entertainment.
27th January 2010
Honor Blackman (Goldfinger, The
Avengers, etc) will be signing in the basement of the
Vintage Magazine Shop, 39-43 Brewer
Street, London on Saturday the 27th of February, between 12-2pm.
25th January 2010
with press release information added in the last couple of days include
Lubitsch in Berlin box set, from Masters of Cinema; two
Stateside escapades for the Most Haunted gang,
A Living Hell on Earth and
The House That Fear Built; three acclaimed recent movies on Blu-ray
The Last King of Scotland,
Michael Clayton which, for some reason, aren't being listed by
many etailers; and a 35th anniversary re-release of the BBC sitcom
The Good Life.
Many other titles have been added to the
database this week, including the TV movie
Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman; new
Bellamy's People (a spin-off from the radio series Down The
Line); Battlestar Galactica: The Plan on
DVD and steelbook
Blu-ray; the first season of
Stargate SG-U (Stargate Universe); and a
box set of three recent Clive Barker-related films from LionsGate (Midnight
Meat Train, Book of Blood and Dread).
19th January 2010
releases added to the database in the last couple of days include:
The Secret Diary of a Call Girl - Series 3; the epic
BBC documentary series
A History of Scotland;
Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman: The Movie; the second series of the
BBC's version of Wallander (which is being released on
DVD, and also within a box set of seasons one and two on
DVD and on
Blu-ray); the third seasons of cult Adult Swim animated favourites
Robot Chicken and
Aqua Teen Hunger Force; and the third season of
The Avengers, which completes Optimum's release of the Honor
Blackman era. There's also a snippet or two of information about
Catweazle - 40th Anniversary Edition.
HAMMER DVD NEWS
in the US has announced that their next collection of Hammer films,
Icons of Suspense, will be released on April the 6th.
The set will feature six rarely-seen Hammer
movies: Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (aka Never Take
Candy from a Stranger), The Snorkel, Maniac, Cash
on Demand, The Full Treatment (aka Stop Me Before I Kill!)
and Joseph Losey’s The Damned (aka These Are The Damned).
Sony is promising that the films will be
restored to their optimum length, including eleven minutes to one of my
favourite Peter Cushing films, Cash on Demand. Here's the full
text of their In Production press release:
Probably one of the best-known companies
releasing horror films, Hammer Film Productions was the pre-eminent
producer of gothic and lusty favorites such as The Curse of
Frankenstein, Dracula Has Risen from His Grave
Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, The Horror of Dracula, The
Vampire Lovers, Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll... among many others,
which still maintain a cult status today.
Among Hammer’s voluminous output in the
50’s and 60’s were a number of excellent, albeit lesser known, suspense
films directed by the likes of Val Guest, Joseph Losey and Michael
Carreras. Hammer titles released by Columbia Pictures have been the
subject of previous DVD releases (Icons of Adventure and Icons
of Horror sets), and now these stylish black and white Hammer
suspense films are set to go to DVD in the upcoming box set, Icons of
Suspense (due out in 2010).
One well-known issue with films from this
period, and for Hammer films in particular, is the fact that they were
often censored or edited for either U.S. or international audiences. The
restoration work done in order to bring these films to DVD has included
the restoration of deleted scenes, and includes the presentation of the
longest possible versions.
The films in this set include Never Take
Candy from a Stranger (the UK release title was Never Take Sweets
from a Stranger), The Snorkel, Maniac, Cash on
Demand, Stop Me Before I Kill! (UK title The Full
Treatment) and the long-awaited release of Joseph Losey's These
Are The Damned (UK The Damned).
All six of these films feature stark black
and white cinematography, and most are Cinemascope titles that will be
presented in their original widescreen theatrical aspect ratio.
Familiar actors and directors from Hammer
grace these films, but Peter Cushing turns in one of his best
performances ever, in Cash On Demand. Cushing is the fussy bank
manager who is forced to ally himself with a bank robber in this tense
story, based on a play. The original film version was cut by nearly
eleven minutes, because audiences found it difficult to sympathize with
Cushing’s character. The restored footage makes this film even more
tense and surprising. Be sure to keep your eye out for this collection!
As before, Sony are offering customers the
chance to vote for one of three potential sleeve designs. You can see
(note that the page loads with a trailer for Columbia Classics movies
playing!) Click on the Knife Art, Phone Art and Noose
Art labels to see the covers.
Author Paul Cornell will be attending a
signing copies of Marvel's
Captain Britain and MI13: Vampire State at the Forbidden Planet
Megastore, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, on Thursday the 28th of January,
between 6 and 7pm. As always, signed copies can be ordered from the Mail
Order department, on 020 7803 1900.
15th January 2010
Press releases added to the database
yesterday include: Robbie Coltrane's compelling return to crime drama,
Murderland; a "50th Anniversary" edition of Ken Russell's
Lady Chatterley; the fifth series of genealogy show
Who Do You Think You Are? (Patsy Kensit, Boris Johnson, David
Suchet, etc); and the fourth series of Stephen Tompkinson African drama
Wild at Heart.
12th January 2010
More press releases have been added to the
site, for: the first series of fondly-remembered 80s sitcom
Chance in a Million; Ondi Timoner's documentary
We Live In Public; block-busting supernatural shocker
Paranormal Activity (on
Blu-ray); and the film that represents the
nadir of Christopher Lee's lengthy and generally respectable
Howling 2 - Your Sister is a Werewolf.
11th January 2010
New titles continue to be added to the
database, so visit often for the latest updates!
In the last couple of days I've added
detailed information for many British catalogue films coming from
Optimum, as well as adding press release blurb for, amongst others, Jon
Amiel's charming study of Charles Darwin, Creation (on
DVD); the Judd Apatow comedy Funny People (which stars Adam
Sandler and Seth Rogan, on
Blu-ray); two Satyajit Ray films, currently only being listed by
Company Limited and
The Stranger; Pedro Almodóvar's recent hit Broken Embraces (on
Blu-ray); Derek Jarman's
Edward II (on DVD only); an odd Prisoner Cell Block H
release showcasing a run of episodes, titled
The Edna Pearson Story, which were previously heavily-edited
here for legal reasons; a collection of animated nuggets from Family Guy
creator Seth McFarlane, the
Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy; Humberto Solas' Cuban classic
Lucia; Chan-Wook Park's off-kilter vampire thriller Thirst,
DVD; and football hooliganism movie The Firm, on
5th January 2010
ZETA MINOR NEWS
Happy New Year!
I hope that everyone had a nice Christmas.
I've been incredibly busy over the last few weeks, and this has drawn my
attention away from the website, I'm afraid. I apologise for the lack of
In my absence Graves has been
characteristically diligent in keeping our forthcoming releases
up to date. While the PR companies are still sending out press releases
for January titles, the etailers have pretty fleshed-out listings for
the next three months and beyond, in some cases. It will probably be at
least a week before things start getting back to normal, and the press
releases pick up momentum again.
My thanks to all the companies that have
kindly agreed to run competitions with us over the last year, especially
BBC Audio, who have been with us week in, week out. Other stalwarts
include Optimum, 2 Entertain, Titan Books and Silva Screen Records.
Without their support the site would be a lot less interesting!
Thanks, too, to everyone who uses our
affiliated links to buy their discs. The tiny percentage kicked-back to
us by the etailers helps oil Zeta Minor's wheels!
I'd also like to thank Karl, who hosts Zeta
Minor and Roobarb's Forum, and is always there when I lose all my
month's Zeta Minor News
can be viewed here.
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