28th August

Here are some more details about the four horror titles being released by Momentum on October the 20th (see the news entry for 22nd of August, below). All four discs are anamorphic: The Vengeance of Fu Manchu and The Bride of Fu Manchu are in 1.85:1 ratio, and The Face of Fu Manchu is in 2.35:1 ratio. The Mummy's Shroud is windowboxed in 1.65:1 ratio. You can see example menu screens for the four discs by following this link. You can discuss these titles by contributing to this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

27th August

MGM have announced their October titles. There are some terrific titles for the Hallowe'en season, but more discriminating consumers will be hearing alarm bells...

Three recent comedies lead MGM UK's October releases: the Golden Globe-nominated coming of age story Igby Goes Down; a $75m sleeper hit Stateside that did virtually no business in the UK, Barbershop; and the relationship triangle A Guy Thing, starring the talented Jason Lee, Selma Blair and Julia Stiles. 

Igby Goes Down will feature a commentary track (by director Burr Steers and star Kieran Kulkin), the In Search of Igby featurette, deleted scenes with director's commentary, a photo' gallery and trailer.  The release date is the 20th of October, and the RRP is £19.99.

Barbershop is released on the 6th of October, and also has an RRP of £19.99. The Collector's Edition disc will contain featurettes (The Final Cut, Set, Press and Style, Finishing Touches and HairDo's and Don'ts), deleted scenes, outtakes, the Fabulous (featuring P.Diddy and Jagged Edge) music video Trade It All  and a photo' gallery. Potential customers should know that the UK disc seems to be missing the commentary track that's on the Region 1 version.

A Guy Thing is due on October the 20th, with an RRP of £19.99. The disc will contain three featurettes (Inside A Guy Thing, Bachelor Party Confidential and Groovy Gravy: Making the Scene in A Guy Thing), deleted scenes, alternative endings, outtakes, a trailer and a photo' gallery. Once again, the Region 2 version seems to have lost the commentary track that's on the American disc. Sigh. Whatever happened to MGM UK's stated desire to better the Region 1 product? You can discuss these three comedy titles in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

Six classic horror movies are added to MGM UK's catalogue on October the 20th, each with an RRP of £12.99: the Hammer adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, three of AIP's wonderful Edgar Allen Poe movies: Tales of Terror, The Fall of the House of Usher and The Raven, and the two Vincent Price Doctor Phibes movies The Abominable Doctor Phibes and Doctor Phibes Rises Again. Horror fans will be sharpening their stakes when they discover that MGM has dropped the excellent Christopher Lee interview from The Hound of the Baskervilles DVD and Roger Corman's terrific commentary track from the The Fall of the House of Usher DVD. It gets worse, though! The UK version of The Raven, which will be missing a featurette about legendary scriptwriter Richard Matheson, a featurette about Corman's Comedy of Poe, and an audio presentation of a promotional LP. (Not to mention that the US version is a double-bill with Comedy of Terrors, which has its own bonus materials!)

Since these horror titles are available for less than ten pounds in the US, there seems to be no reason to buy the UK versions until they inevitably become included in MGM's seemingly never-ending "3 for £20" promotions, and even then it's probably worth paying the extra pound or two for the bonus materials.

Note that no reliable technical spec's for these titles have been released. 

You can discuss these titles in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum. 

Here's a gallery of the October sleeves, together with November's bare-bones Agent Cody Banks disc, which is missing all the deleted scenes, featurettes, the commentary track and multi-angle sequences that are on the US version:

26th August

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the Coen Brothers' gripping prohibition-era drama Miller's Crossing on October the 13th. 

The disc will feature a featurette focusing on the work of the film's cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld (later director of Men in Black and Get Shorty), and interviews with stars Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro and Marcia Gay Harden. The disc will have an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer, and Dolby Digital 4.0 (left, centre, right, mono surround) audio. The disc will also feature a stills gallery and trailers for Miller's Crossing and Raising Arizona. RRP for the disc is £19.99. 

Click here to discuss this title in the Forum.

Fox has issued a new picture of the forthcoming X-Men 2 DVD, showing part of the disc art (although it should be noted that this image doesn't feature the BBFC certificate, so may have been be sourced from another territory). See the news entry for the 22nd of August, below, for more details.

I've added four sleeves to the Alternate Reality gallery: provisional designs for tapes of the Hancock and Doomwatch TV series. The Doomwatch ones are really nice, but the Hancock ones have to be seen to be believed! Click here or on the Alternate Reality button, left. You can discuss these sleeves in particular, and the gallery in general, in this thread at the Forum. I'd be very interested in reading your feedback. 

25th August

Fox are running a promotion at the moment, significantly reducing the RRP of several of their season one-type TV box sets, meaning, for example, that you can pick up the first, six-disc box set of NYPD Blue for an astonishing £15.99 (from, for example). Other series in the promotion include Futurama, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Family Guy and Dark Angel - lots of bargains out there for those of you yet to dip your toes in the water. It strikes me as being a particularly smart bit of marketing, even if only a fraction of people who take advantage of the offer go on to buy other seasons.

There are a few bits and pieces of news left over from the flurry at the end of last week. (It seems there's nothing like the prospect of a three day holiday to get the PR people working flat out!)

VCI will be releasing an Upstairs, Downstairs - Seasons 1-5 box set on the 27th of October. RRP for the set is £99.99. (Seasons 4 and 5 were released last week). On the same day they're issuing a set of both seasons of the recent adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, with an RRP of £29.99. The Rising Damp set being released on the 3rd of November will have an RRP of £29.99. Still no word on whether Stand Up and Be Counted will be included (see news item for 8th August, below, for more details).

Anchor Bay will be releasing a 2-disc 25th Anniversary version of Halloween on the 27th of October, which looks like it will mirror the version released recently in the US. Let's hope they're not going to use the same much-criticised transfer. The press release says that the new "fully restored" version will contain "a video transfer by award-winning telecine colourist Adam Adams, and approved by the film's cinematographer Dean Cundey", which I don't think was claimed of the US version, although it's probably going to be exactly the same. The new set will include Criterion's commentary track (recorded for their laserdisc, and not previously included on any DVD version), the new 87-minute Halloween - A Cut Above The Rest documentary, a new featurette, On Location - 25 Years Later, and the usual mix of trailers, TV spots, posters, stills and DVD-Rom content. Neither the UK version nor the US version contains the extra material that Carpenter shot to create a TV version of the film, which was included on earlier DVD releases.  RRP is a very reasonable £17.99, although if it's like every other Anchor Bay release, it will probably be available for less than ten quid within a month or two.  

Jon Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt in The House That Dripped Blood.Anchor Bay are also releasing two terrific Amicus horror anthology films, The House That Dripped Blood and Doctor Terror's House of Horrors on October the 27th. No other details are available, except the RRPs, which are £14.99 each. Anchor Bay's website lists Doctor Terror's House of Horrors as being in 2.35:1 ratio, so that's a good sign. They're also listing an Amicus box set for November (no more details, but it would probably require at least one more qualifying title), and a couple of other interesting British horror movies, The Asphyx and Blood on Satan's Claw, as forthcoming titles.

Finally, those of you paying attention might have noticed a few cosmetic changes around the place today.  Nothing to get too excited about. The main change is that I've redesigned the home page so that more of the content can be seen without having to scroll down (with the addition of Roobarb's DVD Forum, one of the options had fallen off the bottom of the screen!) 

22nd August

Fox UK have announced the release of one of the year's biggest blockbusters, and one of the year's most eagerly-awaited DVDs: X-Men 2.

I've added a page which contains the entire press release, and two shots of the cover art, which you can find by clicking on the sleeve art, left, or here

Unlike the Americans, it seems we're getting a variation of the theatrical artwork for our packaging. Odd to see Storm (Halle Berry) get such prominence on this design, though, since several other X-Men had more screen time than her, from what I remember. I guess that's what winning an Oscar does for you! 

I'm very glad to see that it looks like the UK will be getting the DTS track. From the spec's we have it looks like being a match for the US version, which comes out two weeks later. You can discuss this release by clicking to this thread at the Forum.

Warner Home Video have provided the sleeve art for the September science-fiction and horror titles (and Fame!), which were announced earlier this month (see the news entry for the 7th of August, below). Here they are:

Momentum Pictures look set to make fans of British horror movies very happy in October, with the release of three films from the Fu Manchu series (nicely complementing the two being released by Blue Underground in their Christopher Lee box set, see news entry for the 5th of August, below). These are The Brides of Fu Manchu, Vengeance of Fu Manchu and The Face of Fu Manchu. These will be complemented by the release of the 1967 Hammer movie The Mummy's Shroud. No technical details for the discs have been announced, but they have an RRP of £12.99 each, and will be released on October the 20th. You can discuss these titles in this thread at the Forum.

The Emmy-nominated "four-hour" (177m) mini-series Hitler: The Rise of Evil (which stars Robert Carlyle, Juliana Margulies and Matthew Modine) will be screened on Channel 4 later this year, and is being released on DVD by Momentum Pictures on October 20th. 

The series will be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The only listed extra is a trailer. RRP for the disc is £17.99. Go to this thread to discuss this release at the Forum.

21st August

The second part of a guide to the BBC drama series When The Boat Comes In, detailing the four episodes on Acorn Video's second two-disc set, Empire Day On The Slag Heap, has now been added to the site. I've also updated the first part of the guide, which can be found here, and have improved the clarity of some of the photographs. The second part of the guide can be found here. If anyone has any comments about the guide, or the series, they can be added to this thread at the Forum.

My thanks to David Auger, for pointing out that I was confusing two episodes of Department S in my description of the series' first episode, below. This error has now been airbrushed from history!

19th August

Australian label Umbrella will be releasing cult TV favourite Department S on October the 15th. The ITC series starred Peter Wyngarde as dashing best-selling author Jason King, who would each week be confronted by a Jonathan Creek-type mystery (for example, in the first episode, a commercial airliner lands, but the crew and passengers don't realise it has been missing for six days).

Umbrella's seven-disc Department S box set will contain all twenty-eight episodes of the 1969-1970 series, uncut and digitally-remastered. 

Peter Wyngarde has contributed commentary tracks for two episodes, and there will also be other bonus material (an insert facsimile of the series' original publicity brochure, a text guide to the series' locations, isolated music and effects audio tracks, ITC publicity and memorabilia files, production notes, cast and crew biographies, photo' galleries, a trailer for the series, and trailers for other ITC series). 

Umbrella's continued interest in the ITC catalogue is terrific news for fans of cult TV, especially now that Carlton seems to have lost interest in anything that doesn't have Gerry Anderson's name attached to it. Umbrella are also working on The Saint, and have already released The Prisoner. RRP for the set is A$129.95 (about £53). 

Click here to discuss this release at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

18th August

I guess that people must really love 24, 'cause I had a ton of entries to the 24 - Season 2 DVD Collection competition, which closed yesterday. The answer to the question "Kiefer Sutherland is the son of which famous movie star?" was, of course, Donald Sutherland. I wonder if that explains Kiefer's freakish earlobes? Go on, check 'em out! Sadly, although Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's generosity knows no bounds - at least, not as far as you lucky people are concerned - there can be only three winners, and they are: S. MacDonald, Wayne Howell and Mike Rogerson. Congratulations to them, and thanks again to the fine folk at Fox. Who would have guessed it turned out to be the butler?

Season six of Stargate SG-1 comes to a dramatic end with the episodes on the Volume 31 DVD, which is released on September the 1st. Courtesy of MGM Home Entertainment, we've got three copies to give away in our new competition, which you can enter by clicking on the banner, above or on this link.

15th August

I've had a quick look at Warner Home Video's forthcoming The Man From UNCLE movies box set. Although it's relatively bare-bones, I think fans will be very happy with it. 

Considering that the movies were compiled from episodes of a mid-sixties TV production, they look very colourful (at the time most TV viewers would only have been able to watch the series in black and white, so the chance to see their heroes in colour must have been quite exciting!) The third disc in the set contains a DVD-Rom section, which offers nicely- designed Adobe Acrobat files detailing some of the series spin-off merchandise (the novels, the Gold Key comics, etc), as well as extracts from contemporary promotional material (character profiles, etc). Click here to see some menu screens from the set, or here to discuss this release on the forum. The set will be released on September the 8th.

Speaking of colour, I've just noticed that the picture of the expanded Man From UNCLE pack that I added yesterday came out in black and white, for some reason.  I've corrected it, and now you can see it in all its glory!

14th August

Here's a closer look at The Man From UNCLE box set, and the third Ealing Classics DVD Collection, both of which are due on the 8th of September. For more details on The  Man From UNCLE set check out the News entry for the 17th of July; for more information on the Ealing Classics set visit the News entry for the 26th of July.

Revelation will release Stephen Gallagher's science fiction-flavoured conspiracy thriller mini-series Oktober on October the 27th. The disc will include footage that wasn't in the version originally broadcast, back in 1998, an exclusive interview with Stephen Gallagher, and the author's personal production diary. The RRP is £15.99. Here's a look at the sleeve, which is one of the company's better efforts...

The two already-available two-disc sets of the BBC's science fiction runaround Crime Traveller will be re-issued by Revelation as a boxed set on the 27th of October, with an RRP of £39.99.

A two-disc set containing the entire first series of Robson Green's criminal profiler series Wire In The Blood will be released by Revelation on October the 27th. The set will contain exclusive interviews with Green, his co-star Hermione Norris and writer Val McDermid, and a behind the scenes documentary (about the second series). The sleeve mentions "previously unseen footage", but it's not clear if this refers to additional scenes or the behind the scenes material.

Here are the sleeve images for Wire In The Blood - Series 1 and the Crime Traveller box set. You can discuss these new announcements by following these links to Roobarb's DVD Forum: Oktober, Wire in the Blood and Crime Traveller.

Here's the box art for the next CSI: Crime Scene Investigation set, which contains the second half of the second season. I don't have any further details, except that it seems to be due on October the 6th...

© MMII CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Alliance Atlantis Productions, Inc. All

Columbia Tristar have been in touch to let us know that the Ridley Scott box set I mentioned yesterday will contain the existing two-disc versions of Hannibal, Black Hawk Down and Gladiator. RRP is £34.99, which seems pretty steep when these movies are regularly on sale for less than ten pounds each. 

13th August

Well, well, well! Have I got news for you today!

I'm delighted to welcome Roobarb's DVD Forum to the Zeta Minor site. 

For those of you who haven't heard of Roobarb's, it's a great source of advice and information about releases of British TV series and movies on DVD. 

The site's been active for a couple of years, but recently it's been plagued with intrusive pop-up advertising. Now Roobarb's DVD Forum has a new, pop-up free home! 

You can access the site by clicking on the menu option, left, or by clicking on this link. Don't forget to bookmark the site once you're there! 

With the move, Roobarb's DVD Forum has broadened its horizons a little, and visitors will now be able to discuss all kinds of DVD releases, as well as DVD and TV hardware-related issues.

My thanks to Adam and Alan, for making the move as painless as possible. You'll forgive me if I extend to them a huge, Sir Richard Attenborough-style "Welcome to Zeta Minor!"

Columbia Tristar's provisional release schedule for November has been announced, but there's nothing worth getting excited about. 

There'll be several 2-disc box sets, re-packaging existing titles to take advantage of the Christmas "granny factor": Stuart Little and Stuart Little 2, Matilda and Madeline, Annie and Oliver, and Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal (all on November the 3rd). 

Columbia are also releasing an Al Jolson double-bill DVD containing The Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again, and a pairing of A Muppet Family Christmas and A Christmas Toy (it's not clear whether this will be a box set, or two films on a single DVD). These are also due on November the 3rd. It's also worth mentioning that there's a Ridley Scott box set penciled in for October the 6th, but no other details are available.

The uplifting 1961 social drama A Raisin in the Sun, which stars Sidney Poitier, will be released on November the 10th. The Kevin Kline and Tracy Ullman comedy I Love You To Death is due on the 17th. The rather gory Alien Hunter (pictured, a film heavily inspired by The Thing, starring James Spader, and featuring The Mummy's John Lynch, Roy Dotrice and 2001: A Space Odyssey's Keir Dullea) looks set to go straight to DVD on the 24th of November. Gérard Depardieu's Le Pacte du Silence is also due on the 24th. You can discuss this announcement in this forum thread

11th August

DD Video has formally announced the details for the Survivors - The Complete First Series box set, which is being released on October the 6th. 

The DVD version will contain the thirteen episodes that make up the first season, digitally remastered. 

The set will include audio commentary tracks on two episodes (The Fourth Horseman and Law and Order), and filmed interviews with stars Carolyn Seymour, Ian McCulloch and Lucy Fleming, and director Pennant Roberts. There'll also be a "special guest interview" with Tanya Ronder, who played one of the children, Lizzie Willoughby, and rare behind the scenes film footage. The set will also come with a thirty-six page booklet, featuring some previously unpublished photo's. RRP is £49.99.

There's a new competition for you to enter today, where you could win a copy of the Planet of the Apes TV series, which is being released by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment next Monday. I've been a fan of this series since it was originally shown in the mid-70s. It's often unfairly dismissed by those who feel it doesn't compare favourably with the feature films, but it does have good production values, and benefits greatly from the contributions of Roddy McDowell (as Galen) and Mark Lenard (as General Urko) . We have three sets to give away, but if you're not one of the lucky ones, you'll be able to pick up this four-disc set for less than £18, which, I humbly suggest, is a bit of a bargain. Click here, or on the banner, above, to enter.

9th August

It's hard to whip up much enthusiasm when the latest BBC press release arrives. For some reason news about forthcoming BBC titles usually dribbles in from various sources (online retailers and the BBFC, for example) long before any official announcement is made, so when the press release turns up, it's usually a bit of an anti-climax. The BBC often announced their titles much closer to the actual street date than other labels do, too.

September is generally regarded in the industry as the beginning of the Christmas period, and competition for retailer shelf space becomes even more intense than it is during the rest of the year. So what does the BBC -ahem - have in store for us?

Doctor Who's 40th anniversary year is being marked by a series of even-more-special-than-usual DVDs.

The next Doctor Who release, the 1985 Colin Baker story The Two Doctors, doesn't have an official release date yet, probably because this month's release (Earthshock) has been postponed by two weeks due to a packaging problem). 

The story featured the Doctor's recurring foes the Sontarans, and featured a return to the title role by Patrick Troughton (together with his assistant, Jamie, played by Frazer Hines). The story also featured Blake's 7 star Jacqueline Pearce, as the villainous Chessene. The two-disc set will feature the three-part story (each episode was about forty-five minutes long at this point in the series' history), and a host of special features:

Commentary by stars Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Frazer Hines, Jacqueline Pearce and the Director, Peter Moffatt.

Isolated music score

Production notes subtitles

A Fix With Sontarans (mini-episode from Jim'll Fix It)

Behind The Sofa - a forty-five minute featurette on Doctor Who's most celebrated writer, Robert Holmes

Beneath The Lights - twenty-five minutes of studio footage from the first episode

Beneath The Sun - footage from the story's Spanish location filming, sourced from VHS (35m)

Adventures in Spain and Time - An interview with production manager Gary Downie (30m)

Wavelength - a 1984 radio programme following the production of the story

Photo gallery

Easter egg

Comedy fans will be satiated by flood of classic titles, although, as usual, there are a few frustrating announcements, too. 

The second series of Happiness will be released on September the 8th. The disc will feature six episodes (A Little Bit of Love, A Nice Person, Real Dancing, Retrospective, Old Bloke at the Door and People Move On), and has an RRP of £12.99. 

There'll be another chance to savour Simon Nye's quirky Cornwall-based sitcom Wild West, which starred Dawn French, on September the 15th, when the series will be released on DVD, with an RRP of £19.99.

Last Christmas' lavish Absolutely Fabulous special Gay, which was partly shot in New York, and featured cameo appearances from Whoopi Goldberg, Debbie Harry, Helen Lederer and Graham Norton, will be released on DVD on September the 22nd, with an RRP of £15.99. The forty-five minute programme will be supplemented by out-takes and a photo' gallery.

The sixth season of Only Fools and Horses, originally broadcast in 1989, will be released on September the 22nd. The series includes several classic episodes, including the one where Dell has a load of blow-up dolls to shift (Danger UXD) and the episode where the Trotters win a Mediterranean holiday, but Rodney has to pretend to be fourteen if they're to claim the prize (The Unlucky Winner Is...) RRP for the DVD is £19.99. Another Only Fools and Horses Christmas special, Strangers on the Shore, will be released in November.

The original, and some might say best, of Michael Palin's globetrotting adventures, 1989's Around The World in 80 Days, will be released on September the 22nd, with an exclusive, especially-recorded interview with the man himself. The RRP is £19.99.

The Baby Cow-produced black comedy Human Remains will be released on September the 29th. The series featured six self-contained stories about six different off-beat couples, each co-starring and co-written by Big Train's Julia Davis. The two-disc set will feature a commentary track by Davis and fellow writer Rob Brydon; Fonte Bund Band Live (following Fonte and Barne on tour); a multi-angle option to view original character improvisations; deleted scenes; out-takes; Les' songs; make-up tests, three BBC trailers; and a photo gallery. The RRP is £19.99. Speaking of Big Train, when is that going to be released, eh, eh??

Five comedy series get yanked from the archives on September the 29th. There are three additions to ongoing season-by-season releases (Yes Minister - Series 3, Porridge - Series 3 and Open All Hours - Series 2) and two Best of... compilations (an eighty minute Two Ronnies compilation, and a ninety-nine minute condensation of (what's left of) Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's BBC work, principally featuring (but not necessarily limited to) surviving footage from Not Only But Also, titled The Best of Cook and Moore). Porridge fans will be disappointed to learn that the two Christmas specials, which were broadcast between the second and third series, are not included on the new DVD (they'll probably be released on a separate disc next year). These comedy discs have an RRP of £12.99.

Three David Attenborough series receive their DVD debut on September the 1st: 1979's groundbreaking Life on Earth, 1984's The Living Planet and 1985's The Private Life of Plants. The Life on Earth set will feature a thirty-minute making of programme, originally transmitted as part of the Wild Track series, presented by Tony Soper (whatever happened to him?) The Living Planet set comes with a forty-minute Making of... documentary, and The Private Life of Plants will feature an interview with Mr Attenborough taken from Blue Peter, and "excerpts from Hot Shots, a making of... documentary". The Life on Earth and The Living Planet sets have an RRP of £34.99, The Private Life of Plants is £19.99. There'll also be a box set of the three series, which has an RRP of £74.99.

Finally, the sleeve for The Best of Not The Nine O'clock News - Volume One (see the News entry for the 4th of July) confirms that this DVD was previously available on VHS as Not The Nine O'clock News - The Gorilla Kinda Lingers. Fans of the series will be pleased to hear that the sleeve no longer says that it stars Pamela Anderson!

8th August

Here's an unexpected announcement: VCI will be releasing Rising Damp - The Complete Series as a four-disc digipack on November the 3rd. I'll try and find out whether this will include the episode missing from the Rising Damp - The Complete 1st Series disc because of legal problems, Stand Up and Be Counted.

7th August

A few exciting new announcements from Warner Home Video today! 

On September the 29th Warner will release four undisputed science-fiction and horror classics: the original version of The Haunting, The Omega Man, Soylent Green and Friday the 13th. The four discs have an RRP of £12.99 each.

The 1963 version of The Haunting will be presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement, with its original mono audio mix (which is widely hailed as one of the most effective sound mixes of the pre-Dolby Stereo era!) The disc will include a commentary track by director Robert Wise, screenwriter Nelson Gidding and stars Richard Johnson, Julie Harris, Claire Bloom and Russ Tamblyn, a stills gallery, an essay (Things That Go Bump In The Night) and at least one theatrical trailer.

The 1971 post-apocalypse movie The Omega Man (based on Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend, which was also the basis of the Vincent Price movie L'Ultimo uomo della Terra, aka The Last Man On Earth) will arrive on disc with a 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer, and mono audio. The disc will also feature an introduction by writer Joyce H. Carrington and actors Paul Koslo and Eric Laneuville, a contemporary four-minute featurette titled The Last Man Alive: The Omega Man, a theatrical trailer, and an essay called Charlton Heston: Science Fiction Legend.

Another Charlton Heston classic, 1973's Soylent Green (based on Harry Harrison's story Make Room! Make Room!), will be presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement, and its original mono audio mix. 

Bonus features include a commentary track by Director Richard Fleischer and actress Leigh Taylor-Young (who played Shiri), a contemporary promotional featurette (A Look At The World of Soylent Green), a tribute to Edward G. Robinson, marking his 101st film appearance (and, unbeknown at the time, his last), the Science Fiction Legend essay and at least one trailer.

Hailed by the PR company as "the most terrifying film of all time", Sean S. Cunningham's seminal 1980 slasher movie Friday the 13th will be presented in 1.85:1 ratio (no mention of anamorphic enhancement), and with mono audio. The disc will feature a feature-length commentary by Cunningham, a twenty-minute featurette Return to Crystal Lake: Making Friday the 13th, and the theatrical trailer. The press release promises it will be in "all its glory", but doesn't specifically note whether this will be the full, uncut version, or the R-rated version previously released here and in the US. (The uncut version occasionally airs on the Turner satellite channels). I'm sure I'll get my knuckles rapped if I don't mention that the film stars Kevin Bacon.

George P. Cosmatos' 1983 giant rat movie Of Unknown Origin, something of a minor hit for Warner Home Video in the early, VHS rental-only days, is being released on September the 1st. The film, which stars Robocop's Peter Weller and the pneumatic Shannon Tweed, will be presented in 1.85:1 ratio (no mention of anamorphic enhancement), and will apparently have Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (the recent Region 1 release from Warner Home Video was in mono, so that may well be an error). Worryingly, there's no mention of the trailer and commentary track that appeared on the recent Region 1 release. The UK disc will have an RRP of £12.99.

If you remember the enormously popular TV series, but have never seen the grittier 1980 movie that spawned it, you'll have your chance to see Fame on the 22nd of September, when it's released by Warner Home Video, with an RRP of £12.99. The disc will feature a commentary track, by Director Alan Parker (and, if the Region 1 version is any guide, a few cast members), a Class Reunion interview gallery and a "vintage" featurette. The film will be presented in 1.85:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Fritz Lang's classic 1931 serial killer film M is being released as a special 2-disc Ultimate Edition on October the 6th. 

The film itself, restored from an original 35mm print, will be presented in German, with English subtitles, and with a full-length commentary track. Disc one will also feature a documentary, The Restoration of M

The second disc will feature an interview with Lang by fellow director Peter Bogdanovich, a Lang documentary, a visual essay by R. Dixon Smith titled Lending Order to Horror, a film restoration and comparison featurette (with Martin Koerber), a photo gallery and animated slideshow, set designs and final scene comparisons, and "animated biographies and historical backgrounds". The extra material runs for more than 150 minutes.

Finally, a small update to the site's Enemy at the Door section: I've added images for the last three episodes to the season one episode guide, and added three more familiar faces to the Enemy at the Door guest cast gallery

5th August

Releases from the American label Blue Underground continue to impress. I've just seen their disc of Larry Cohen's Q - The Winged Serpent, and it looks and sounds just peachy. The disc also contains a terrific commentary by Cohen, prompted by Blue Underground's Bill Lustig, who, as the Director of the Maniac Cop movies, knows a thing or two about low-budget filmmaking himself. Some of Cohen's working practices seem so eminently sensible, that you wonder why more films aren't made the way Cohen makes them. Anyway, I digress. 

Blue Underground have announced a collection of Christopher Lee movies for release on September the 30th. Three of the four movies in the Region 0 box set will be available separately: the fourth, The Bloody Judge, is exclusive to the box set. Two Fu Manchu films lead the set: Jess Franco's The Blood of Fu Manchu and The Castle of Fu Manchu. Both will be presented in 1.66:1 format with anamorphic enhancement, and both will feature interviews with the Director, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and stars Christopher Lee, Tsai Chin and, in the case of Blood.. golden girl Shirley Eaton. The two discs will also boast stills and poster galleries, trailers, talent bios and liner notes by Video Watchdog magazine editor Tim Lucas. The third film, John Moxey's 1966 movie Circus of Fear will also be presented in 1.66:1 format with 16:9 enhancement, and will feature a commentary track with the director, trailers, and a stills and poster gallery.

Jess Franco's 1970 film The Bloody Judge is available only in the box set, which is limited to 7500 copies. The film will be presented in its original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, with 16:9 enhancement. Extras include interviews with Franco and Lee, a deleted scene, alternate scenes, trailers, a TV spot, poster and stills galleries and Tim Lucas liner notes.

All four films will be mastered from original vault elements. RRP for the three individual discs is $19.99 each, the box set will be $59.99. 

Here's a look at the sleeve artwork:

Incidentally, in addition to Q - The Winged Serpent, Blue Underground are releasing two other Larry Cohen films this week: God Told Me To (a rooftop sniper pins down citizens on the streets of New York - this from the man who wrote Phone Booth!) - and Bone (a violent criminal (Alien's Yaphet Kotto) breaks into the house of a wealthy white couple). All three Cohen films are accompanied by commentary tracks, and are presented in 1.85:1 ratio, with anamorphic transfers. God Told Me To and Q - The Winged Serpent have both been given Dolby Digital Surround EX and DTS-ES remixes (the original mono tracks are also offered). 

In October Blue Underground will release The Mondo Cane Collection, comprising Mondo Cane, Mondo Cane 2, Women of the World, Africa Addio and Goodbye Uncle Tom.

1st August

The BFI are releasing a pair of two-disc Charlie Chaplin sets, gathering together the fifteen short films made in 1914 during his tenure at Essanay studios. The discs present the results of a nine-year search for the best and most complete archive materials, and will include footage never before seen by UK audiences. Volume one includes His New Job, A Night Out, The Champion, In The Park, A Jitney Elopement, The Tramp, By The Sea and Work. The second volume contains A Woman, The Bank, Shanghaied, His Regeneration, A Night in the Show, Charlie Chaplin's Burlesque on Carmen, Police! and Triple Trouble: An Essanay Collage. The discs will contain a mixture of black and white and tinted material, presented in 1.33:1 full-frame ratio. Each set has an RRP of £19.99. 

Although it's only available on VHS, the BFI's tape of the 1982 Thames Television fascinating series Unknown Chaplin also comes highly recommended. The series, which was produced by silent-film gurus Kevin Brownlow and David Gill, is a fabulous primer on Chaplin and his career, and, most importantly, his working methods. The series was compiled from Chaplin's rushes, and shows scenes from Chaplin's films evolving as you watch. Trust me, the tape is worth it for James Mason's captivating narration alone!   

If you missed the details of the collection of Chaplin films being issued by Warner Home Video in September, visit the news section for July the 18th and the text of the press release

Here are the sleeve images for the two new DVD collections.

Video Collection International have announced a few updates and additions to their 2003 schedule: 

A new Have I Got News For You compilation, The Best of the Guest Presenters, will be released on October the 27th, with an RRP of £19.99. 

The first five seasons of Cold Feet will also be reissued as a box set (apparently containing five discs) on the 27th of October. I'm trying to get confirmation whether or not the first two seasons will be remastered in 16:9 format, and how the last season will be presented. RRP for the set is £49.99.

There'll be a box set of the first two seasons of Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, released on the 10th of November, with an RRP of £29.99. The second season will be released on its own, on the 6th of October, with an RRP of £19.99.

A second Bo Selecta disc will be released on the 17th of November, as will an Ali G - In The USAiii disc. Both have RRPs of £19.99.

If you're wondering where the rest of the news went to, you need to zap over to the news archive page for July


July 2003

June 2003

May 2003

April 2003

March 2003

February 2003

January 2003

December 2002

October and November 2002



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