NEWS ARCHIVE - 19th TO 25th APRIL 2004

23rd April

There's some good news about the Tigon horror titles that were pulled from the schedule at the last minute because of "legal reasons", (this apparently erroneous information came from DD Video's PR company). The titles in DD Video's package are The Creeping Flesh, Night of the Big Heat, Island of Terror, Blood Beast Terror, The Devil's Men and Curse of the Crimson Altar.

We've heard from DD Video directly that the release was put on hold because of concerns about the suitability of the source materials they had been offered. I'm told that the company got very close to releasing 4:3 transfers of the first two films in the package (Night of the Big Heat and The Creeping Flesh), after being told that widescreen masters weren't available. At the last minute the company was given access to new source materials for five of the six titles in the collection, and they now plan to release 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen versions of all the films in the collection, except for The Devil's Men, which will be presented in 14:9 ratio.

The Creeping Flesh and Night of the Big Heat are back in production, and should appear next month.

Bonus materials on the discs are confirmed as:

The Creeping Flesh: commentary with Christopher Lee and Marcus Hearn; trailers for The Abominable Snowman, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell and Captain Kronos; photo' gallery.

Night of the Big Heat: commentary by Christopher Lee, writers Pip and Jane Baker and Marcus Hearn; trailers for The Abominable Snowman, Captain Kronos, Quatermass and the Pit and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell; photo' gallery.

Island of Terror: Interview with Christopher Lee (by Marcus Hearn, about director Terence Fisher); theatrical trailer; photo gallery.

Blood Beast Terror (under its American title: Vampire Beast Craves Blood): Interview with actress Wanda Ventham, by Marcus Hearn; Blood Beast Terror theatrical trailer; photo' gallery.

Curse of the Crimson Altar: Interview with Christopher Lee (by Marcus Hearn, about Boris Karloff); theatrical trailer; photo' gallery.

The Devil's Men: Interview with Christopher Lee (by Marcus Hearn, about Peter Cushing); photo' gallery.

Entertainment in Video are releasing a bunch of catalogue titles on May the 10th, which will have an RRP of £14.99. These are Roland Joffé's 1995 adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, which stars Demi Moore and Gary Oldman; the sixth film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare; John Walters' cult classic Hairspray; Paul W.S. Anderson's beat-'em-up video game adaptation Mortal Kombat; Seinfeld star Michael Richards' 1997 comedy Trial and Error (amusingly, Entertainment is pushing co-stars Jeff Daniels and Charlize Theron); Tupac Shakur's basketball drama Above The Rim; Kid'n'Play's House Party 2; and the Anais Nin novel adaptation Delta of Venus (re-titled Delta Venus, if the press release is to be believed!). No technical spec's were released, and, theatrical trailers aside, there seems to be no sign of any bonus materials. Mark these up as future cannon fodder for the three-for-£20-type offers.

A new Nightmare on Elm Street box set, featuring the first six films in the series, will follow on June the 28th, with an RRP of £39.99. Entertainment in Video will also be releasing a double-pack of Mortal Kombat and its 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat II: Annihilation on May the 10th, with an RRP of £19.99.

Here are sleeve images for another three of these releases...

One spot of good news about these new releases is that Mortal Kombat, which was cut by seven seconds for its 1995 theatrical release, and also cut for its previous home video incarnations (from First Independent and Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment), has been resubmitted to the BBFC, and will be released uncut for the first time.

In 1971 Peter Fonda, fuelled and financed by the runaway success of Easy Rider, was in a position to make a film of his own. He picked an allegorical Western, The Hired Hand, about a drifter who returns to his home town, and the family and friends he left behind. The film was written by Alan Sharp, who would go on to create Ulzana's Raid for Robert Aldrich and star Burt Lancaster, and was shot by Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who later won an Oscar for Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and received nominations for The River and The Deer Hunter.

Unfortunately for Fonda, distributors Universal disliked the film, and gave it a half-hearted release, as the bottom half of an undistinguished double-bill. After that, it played a few times on American TV, in a version that reinstated a Sheriff played by Larry Hagman, and then the film quietly vanished, virtually without trace.

Thirty years later, Fonda returned to the film, tightening the narrative with the assistance of the original editor, Frank Mazzola. The revised film received a modest theatrical release in 2001, and it will soon be released by Tartan on DVD in the UK as a two-disc edition, featuring a commentary track by Fonda; an introduction by Martin Scorsese; a fifty-minute behind the scenes featurette,The Return of The Hired Hand; deleted scenes; a trailer and TV Spots. The film will be presented with a choice of Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. (The US versions are 2.0 only). The release date is June the 28th, the RRP is £22.99.

Eureka will release a restored and digitally-re-mastered two-disc set featuring Leni Riefenstahl's 1924 drama The Holy Mountain (Der Heilige Berg) on June the 21st.

The film is about an exotic dancer (played by Riefenstahl herself), who travels to a small mountain village, where she meets two young men, a climber and a skier, who form a triangle relationship that results in tragedy.

The set will also contain the acclaimed three-hour documentary The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, which explores the director's controversial life, which was dogged by her association with Hitler and the Nazi party. The set has an RRP of £22.95.

22nd April 2004

Warner Home Video has formerly announced the release of three more Hammer movies on DVD: Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and Taste The Blood of Dracula. The three discs will be presented on June the 16th, in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with mono audio. The only bonus feature will be a theatrical trailer. RRP is £12.99 each. These films will be released very soon in the US, and Hammer fans there are already reporting that Taste The Blood of Dracula is the uncut version, with the scenes in the bordello intact. For more details check out our Hammer DVD Guide.

John Woo's futuristic thriller Paycheck, which stars Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman, will be released on DVD on May the 17th (a day before the US version). The film, an adaptation of a short story by Philip K. Dick, is about a man who works on top-secret hi-tech projects, on the condition that when a particular project is finished, his memory of it will be wiped. There's something unusual about his latest job, though: when he comes to, he is told that he's waived his fee, and is handed an envelope filled with apparently random objects. These offer a chance to piece his memory back together, before his employers have him killed. The movie stars Ben Affleck and the divine Uma Thurman.

Universal's DVD release will feature a two commentary tracks: one with the director, and the other with screenwriter Dean Georgaris. The disc will also contain two featurettes (Tempting Fate: The Stunts of Paycheck (17m) and Paycheck: Designing The Future (18m)), and deleted scenes, including an alternate ending (12m). No technical details have been released. More information is expected in the next couple of days.

Warner Home Video is releasing Kung Fu - The Complete First Season on DVD on July the 5th. Fans of the Emmy-nominated series who have been hoping that the Region 2 version would present the series in its original 4:3 ratio might as well skip to the next item now, because the UK release will also be in re-formatted anamorphic 1.78:1 format. Try to look on the bright side: at least they haven't screwed around with the original mono audio.

The set will contain fifteen episodes, including the original feature-length pilot episode, Way of the Tiger, Sign of the Dragon, spread across three discs. It will also feature two new documentaries: From Grasshopper to Caine: Creating Kung Fu (25m) and The Tao of Caine: Production and Beyond (20m), as well as an original TV promo' spot. RRP for the set is £29.99.

Warner Home Video is also releasing a quartet of literary adaptations on June the 28th. They are the 1948 version of Anna Karenina (1948, starring Vivien Leigh and Ralph Richardson), the 1953 adaptation of The Beggar's Opera (directed by Peter Broooks, and starring Laurence Olivier and Dorothy Tutin); John Schlesinger's Oscar-nominated version of Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd (the 1967 version, with cinematography by Nicolas Roeg, which stars Alan Bates, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Julie Christie); and Laurence Olivier's acclaimed 1970 version of Chekov's Three Sisters.

All the films will be presented in 4:3 format (with the possible exception of Far From The Madding Crowd, which is "TBC"), with mono audio.

21st April 2004

Here's the sleeve image for Columbia Tristar's new Das Boot - The Original Uncut Version DVD, which is due on May the 17th. No further details have been released.

Columbia has also released sketchy details of the bonus features we can expect to see on some of the Special Edition DVDs that are being released on July the 19th (there's no word yet on their new Philadelphia Special Edition).

The Panic Room Special Edition three-disc set will include two commentary tracks (one by Director David Fincher, and another by stars Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam); twenty visual effects featurettes; the Shooting of Panic Room making of... featurette; five multi-angle featurettes; a photo' gallery; four Scene Deconstructions; a short film, Habitrail; the theatrical trailer; Creating The Previz: Previz Sessions with David Fincher featurette; On Sound Design featurette; Previsualization Demo Reel (with optional visual effects commentary); Safe Cracking School; Make Up Effects featurette; two branching featurettes and three Easter Eggs. RRP will be £19.99.

The new Black Hawk Down Special Edition will be spread across three discs. The first will feature three commentary tracks (one by Director / Producer Ridley Scott and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, another by book author Mark Bowden and screenwriter Ken Nolan, and a third by the real-life Task Force Ranger Veterans) and filmmakers and cast biographies. The second disc will contain eight deleted or alternate scenes; six Essence of Combat featurettes; seven Image and Design featurettes, including Jerry Bruckheimer's on-set photography; and a weblink. The third disc will have the PBS Frontline Ambush in Mogadishu documentary; The True Story of Black Hawk Down History Channel documentary; ten TV spots; Denez Prigent and Lisa Gerrard's Gortoz A Ran - J'Attends music video; trailer; Target Building Insertion multi-angle featurette; photo' gallery; and interviews (including a Q&A session at BAFTA). RRP is £19.99.

The Easy Rider Special Edition set won't add any new content to the film disc (it already comes with an hour-long documentary, Shaking the Cage), but instead Columbia are packaging the film with a copy of the Easy Riders, Raging Bulls DVD, a copy of the BFI Modern Classics book about the film, and four postcards. RRP is £24.99.

20th April 2004

Network will release the Sid James and Victor Spinetti Thames Television comedy series Two In Clover on May the 3rd. Their two-disc set will contain the seven black and white episodes of the 1969 season, and the six colour episodes of the 1970 series.

The series, written by Harry Driver and Vince Powell, is about two City insurance clerks who give up the rat race and buy a farm. It features guest appearances from ITC stalwart Charles Lloyd Pack and Dad's Army cast members Bill Pertwee, John Le Mesurier and James Beck. RRP for the set is £24.99.

Network is also returning to the hit US sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun. They released the sixth season two years ago, but since then, zip. Now they're going back to the beginning, to release the first season on May the 17th, as a three-disc set that will contain all twenty episodes (Brains and Eggs, Truth or Dick, Dick is from Mars, Sally is from Venus, Angry Dick, Post-Nasal Dick, Dick’s First Birthday, Dick, Smoker, The Dicks, They Are A Changin’, Green-Eyed Dick, Lonely Dick, The Art of Dick, Ab-Dick-Ted, Body and Soul and Dick, Assault with a Deadly Dick, Dick Like Me, I Enjoy Being a Dick, Frozen Dick, See Dick Run, Father Knows Dick, and Selfish Dick. RRP for the set is £29.99. If that doesn't get this site blocked by every Net Nanny-type filter out there, I don't know what will!  For more 3rd Rock news, read on...

Warner Home Video will release Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning film Mystic River on June the 7th, but fans of the movie will be disappointed to discover that the UK disc is a pale shadow of the version that will be released in the US a day later.

The UK version will be presented in 2.40:1 ratio, with anamorphic enhancement, and with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Bonus materials include the 2003 Bravo special Mystic River: From Page to Screen (12m) and a theatrical trailer. Pretty shabby for such an acclaimed film. RRP for the disc is a modest £15.99.

The additional bonus features on the lavish three-disc US release, which includes the soundtrack CD, include a commentary track by stars Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, Charlie Rose Show interviews with Robbins, Bacon and Eastwood, and a second behind-the-scenes featurette, Beneath The Surface. The three-disc set is available for about £13, including shipping, from e-tailers like

Following the very successful theatrical revival of Jean-Pierre Melville's acclaimed 1970 heist thriller Le Cercle Rouge, BFI Video is releasing three Melville films on April the 26th, each with an RRP of £19.99.

Le Cercle Rouge will be presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic format, in French with English subtitles. Bonus features include a commentary track and introduction by French cinema expert Ginette Vincendeau, a video interview with assistant director Bernard Stora, director's biography, and theatrical trailer.

Melville's 1963 gangster movie Le Doulos will be presented in 1.66:1 format, with anamorphic enhancement. Bonus materials include a commentary over selected scenes and filmed introduction by Ginette Vincendeau, a video interview with assistant director Volker Schlöndorff, the theatical trailer, and director's biography.

Léon Morin, prêtre, Melville's delicate 1961 romantic drama, completes the BFI's offering. The film will be presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic format, in French with English subtitles. Bonus materials include a commentary over selected scenes and filmed introduction by Ginette Vincendeau, a video interview with assistant director Volker Schlöndorff, the theatical trailer, and director's biography.

The second series of Born and Bred will be released by Acorn on May the 10th. There will be two two-disc sets (RRP £19.99) and a box set containing both sets (RRP £39.99). The series, which features James Bolam and Michael French as father and son doctors, also features Maggie Steed, Clive Swift and David Troughton. The disc will include filmographies, cast interviews and production notes. Series 2 Part 1 features the episodes Lost Souls, Home To Roost, Blood Relations, Fertility Rites and His Brother's Keeper. Series 2 Part 2 contains Old Flames. The Miracle of Ormston, The Magnificent Colin and The Last Hurrah (Parts 1 and 2). The episodes will be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format.

Here are the sleeves for the two new sets.


I've updated the Hammer DVD Guide, adding a couple of forthcoming UK titles (Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires and Doctor Jekyll and Sister Hyde), and information about several Australian discs (which seem identical to the UK versions). Yesterday I received a copy of DD Video's Nearest And Dearest DVD, which was originally supposed to ship at the beginning of the year, but was postponed because of problems with the source materials. It's being listed by some retailers as coming out on June the 14th, but it seems likely that copies are available from DD Video's website now. My thanks to Colin Cutler for providing the Oz info.

And now (drum-roll.....) Mr Laing's weekly news roundup, and his list of the latest bargains from the online retailers. Ta-da!

Hi everyone! Apologies for the slight delay to this week’s update – but I hope the content will more than make up for it!

Let’s get cracking with the film changes and additions to Incoming.

Play are listing the special features for Columbia Tri-Star’s new 3 Disc version of Spider-Man. The first two discs replicate those of the original release with all the new material on the third. This is an exclusive sneak peek at Spider-Man 2 with special cast appearances from the set; Designing The World of Spider-Man featurette; Spider Wrangler featurette; Wrestling Match featurette; World Unity Festival featurette; Oscorp Lab featurette; Goblin's Arsenal featurette; Costume Design featurette; Spider-Man 2 teaser trailer and a Activision Spider-Man 2 game trailer. The release has a listed date of May the 17th and an RRP of £24.99. However, Play currently are offering it at £11.99.

To coincide with Universal’s feature packed release of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life Columbia Tri-Star are re-issuing both Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python's Life Of Brian as box sets. Each set contains the previous DVD release along with a copy of the movie's screenplay; a limited edition senitype and limited art cards. Both have a date of June the 14th with RRPs of £24.99

Buena Vista have both House of Sand And Fog, starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly, and The Human Stain, starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman, showing for August the 23rd. RRP’s are £15.99.

David Cronenberg’s adaptation of the William S. Burroughs novel Naked Lunch is being listed for June the 7th with a £19.99 RRP. It isn’t known yet which label is releasing it.

The BBFC has certificated the pilot episode of The Office, then titled The Boss (19m) so it seems likely that it will be featured in its entirety on the DVD of the two Christmas episodes, due later this year.

Right, let’s have our weekly look at Warner Home’s Video’s ever burgeoning release schedule.

21 Grams, the Icon film starring Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro is listed for the 8th of August at £15.99. It’s not showing yet which label will be distributing it, but we think it will be Warner Home Video.

Listed for August the 27th is the current theatrical release Scooby Doo 2 - Monsters Unleashed with an RRP of £15.99. No word on any special features yet.

Four of Alec Guinness’s superb Ealing comedies are showing for the 21st of June under the banner The Alec Guinness Collection - Kind Hearts And Coronets, The Ladykillers, The Lavender Hill Mob and The Man In The White Suit. All four formed the content of Warner Home Video’s first Ealing Comedies box set of a couple of years ago, but will now be available individually. These releases seem to be straight re-issues, as they replicate the only extra each film had – the theatrical trailer. The four discs have RRP’s of £9.99.

Also newly-listed is John Schlesinger's 1967 adaptation of Far From The Madding Crowd, starring Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Alan Bates. It has a date of June the 28th and an RRP of £12.99.

Now for information on the special features for four of Warner Home Video’s special edition releases, which we'd already listed.

The two disc release of Around The World In 80 Days will include an introduction, documentary, highlights from the film's premiere and the Oscar ceremony, highlights from the 1957 Playhouse broadcast, 1958 newsreel footage an the theatrical trailer. It’s listed for the 5th of July and has £19.99 as it’s RRP.

Two weeks later on July the 19th see Blazing Saddles and THX 1138 being listed. As well as the additional scenes, Black Bart TV pilot and the Intimate Portrait: Madeline Kahn cleared by the BBFC the other features now being listed for Blazing Saddles include an audio commentary and a Back In The Saddle documentary. For the THX 1138 disc there's an audio commentary by George Lucas, a documentary entitled A Legacy of Filmmakers - The Early Years Of Zoetrope, a featurette - The Making of THX 1138 and a Lucas Short Film, which presumably is the original film-school version of THX 1138. The Blazing Saddles – Special Edition has an RRP of £15.99 and the THX 1138 - Special Edition is at £19.99.

The two disc Enter The Dragon – Special Edition has an audio commentary from producer Paul Heller and scriptwriter Michael Allin, Blood and Steel: a Making of... documentary, Bruce Lee: In His Own Words documentary, Curse Of The Dragon documentary, A Warrior's Journey documentary, Backyard Workout With Bruce featurette, Trailers, and TV spots. It’s RRP is £19.99, with a date of August the 2nd.

That’s it for Warner Home Video’s film releases, but they have two more Looney Tunes DVDs on the way, both of which were previously released as part of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection HMV exclusive box set back in February. Now getting a wider release are The Best of Bugs Bunny and The Best of Daffy And Porky. Special features listed for The Best of Bugs Bunny include: audio commentaries for each episode; music programmes; Behind The Tunes featurette; Bugs Bunny At The Movies; The Bugs Bunny Show; Bloopers; and Stills Gallery and for The Best of Daffy And Porky: there's an audio commentaries for each episode; music programmes; and a Behind The Tunes featurette. Both are showing for the 5th of July with £12.99 RRPs.

Now the TV releases.

Paramount’s three season box sets of Star Trek - The Original Series are now listed by Play. Each set has an RRP of £84.99 and Season 1 has a date of August the 30th, Season 2 is due on November the 1st and Season 3 is expected on December the 6th. Season 1 is listed as having eight discs: Seasons 2 and 3 have seven apiece. Thanks to Analogueman for contacting me about these!

LWT’s 13 part serial from 1982, We'll Meet Again is showing from VCI for June the 7th. The serial is being released to co-inside with the D-Day anniversary and follows of the events at a quiet Suffolk village when a US Air Force Bomber Group arrive at a local air base. The four disc box set has an RRP of £34.99

News about Network's forthcoming releases has been posted at The Mausoleum Club's forum. As ever with Network's releases, the dates are provisional, but here's what we can expect:

The 1968 ITC series Strange Report, which will be digitally restored, along with a shed-load of extras: generic and episodic trailers; a new on-location interview with co-star Anneke Wills (known to Doctor Who fans as companion Polly) and Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger from Only Fools and Horses), whose father, Charles, also starred in the series; stills and promotional gallery with Roger Webb's original music soundtrack; Interview with co-star Kaz Garas; Kaz Garas' on-location photo gallery; Original script PDFs; Restoration featurette; and an introduction by Robert Hardy introduction. [Wow! Kind of puts Carlton's ITC releases to shame, doesn't it! JK]

The respective Series Two’s of Dick Turpin and Solider, Soldier are being lined up as vanilla releases.

Press Gang - Series 2 will include behind the scenes footage and other material that's still being sorted out.

3rd Rock from the Sun – Season 2 is also in preparation, along with some extras: Nightmare on Dick Street special 3D episode (including 2 sets of free 3D glasses); Season 2 promos; behind the scenes of Nightmare on Dick Street; bloopers and a previously-unaired season ending.

Network are also working on a release of the 1968 ITC action series about a freelance bounty hunter, Man In a Suitcase, currently being planned for some time during the summer.

Following last weeks listing of BSB science-fiction series, Jupiter Moon, it is now known that Oracle Home Entertainment is the label releasing it. Also Play’s listed RRP of £14.99 for Volume 1 did turn out to be a mis-price as it was changed mid-week to the same RRP of Volumes 2 and 3 - £24.99. Volume 1 is listed for June the 21st, Volume 2 for August the 23rd and Volume 3 for October the 25th.

And finally, for Incoming, Delta’s release of Lovejoy – Series 1 (which was due out yesterday) has been put back to the 17th of May and Sanctuary Visual Entertainment’s release of The Tribe – Season 2 is now back on the schedule for the 7th of June.

Now the Offers changes….

The BBC Shop have amended Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven to it’s correct RRP, but still have Casanova mis-priced.

Benson’s World are now listing BBC Worldwide’s Doctor Who – The Leisure Hive and BBC science-fiction series The Nightmare Man at £13.99 and £9.99 respectively.

Choices Direct have the Alien two disc special edition releases at £7.99 each, the Monkey! promotion with discs at £5.99 each, and the Babylon 5 Season 1-3 box sets at £25.99 each – thanks to Baz for posting about the original offer!

And finally, have ClearVision’s Callan and Van der Valk box sets at £15.99. Be aware that the Callan box does suffer from some presentation problems and that the Australian label, Umbrella, are planning their own (so far un-confirmed) release for later in the year.

19th April 2004

We've got two brand new reviews for you today. The first is for the BBC's next Doctor Who DVD, which features the 1973 Jon Pertwee story The Green Death (widely remembered as "the one with the giant maggots"). You can read the review by clicking on the sleeve image, left, or by clicking here.

The second review is the first one on the site that's not been written by me. Ceri has had a good look at three representative discs from Universal's forthcoming twenty-one disc Laurel and Hardy DVD box set. You can read the review by clicking on the sleeve image, left, or by clicking here. Don't forget to check out the best price for this monster set in our Offers section...

...speaking of which, new Offers and Incoming pages are running behind schedule, so check back tomorrow for an update. To keep things ticking along, last week's titles have been removed, and this week's releases have been checked against one of the leading mail order retailers, to see whether they're still expected today, so it should be reasonably accurate.

Previous News entries can viewed be by following this link.


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