UK release - 22nd October

UK release - 2nd SeptemberUK release - 27th August


23rd September 2004

Contributor Andrew Smith has written a review of the BBC's recent Dad's Army - The Complete First Series DVD.

These early episodes of Dad's Army haven't had the constant exposure that the colour episodes have had, so they won't be familiar to many viewers.

A couple of them has been repeated recently, after they were recovered from someone's garden shed a couple of years ago, but only then because they were completely restored, and processed using the remarkable VidFIRE process.

The set has somewhat restored my flagging faith in the BBC's archive comedy DVD output. The set contains all the episodes of the first season, and the three surviving episodes of the the second. Click on the sleeve image, right, or here to read Andrew's review.

22nd September 2004

Fox has released these pictures of their forthcoming Buffy The Vampire - The Complete DVD Collection box set (which contains all seven seasons, spread across 39 discs, packaged in a leather-look box. (The discs themselves are packaged in seven digistacks). The set will feature all the bonus materials from the original discs, and a bonus letter from creator Joss Whedon, which is "inserted down the side of the discs, in which he gives his thoughts on the whole Buffy experience". Dimensions are 130mm wide x 200mm tall x 150mm deep. The set is limited to 10,000 copies, and has an RRP of £199.99.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the third and final series of Millennium on October the 25th.

The six-disc set will feature all twenty-three episodes, which pick up a few months after the apocalyptic events at the end of the second season. The third series sees Frank Black paired with a rookie FBI agent (played by Klea Scott, last seen in a small role in Michael Mann's Collateral).

The new set will feature a forty-two minute featurette, Endgame: The Making of Millennium Series 3, and a twelve-minute featurette titled Between The Lines. Three episodes will feature commentary tracks: The Innocents and Goodbye To All That (by Lance Henriksen and Clea Scott) and Collateral Damage (by director Thomas J. Wright).

The press release states that the episodes will be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and English HoH subtitles. I believe that this will be the first time the series will have been presented in its original widescreen ratio. RRP for the set is £39.99. There will also be a box set of all three seasons, with an RRP of £89.99. This will also be released on October the 25th.

The rest of today's update has a distinctly Western feel.

First up, there are a couple of new Spaghetti Western reviews for you. Mark Frost has reviewed Enzo G. Castellari's Keoma, and Matt West has reviewed Ferdinando Baldi's Texas, Adios. The two films are being released on Monday, as a double bill, by a relatively new company, Argent. Click on the sleeve image, right, or here, to read the review.

There are two new soundtrack CDs from Film Score Monthly which you might like to check out. They're available now from specialist soundtrack retailers, or directly from the Film Score Monthly website.

The first features Franz Waxman's typically-lyrical score from MGM's epic 1961 remake of Cimarron.

The film was directed by Anthony Mann, perhaps better known for his films starring James Stewart, which completely changed Stewart's image, and revitalised his career. Cimarron tells the story of a family of Oklahoma land rush pioneers, and spanned twenty-five years of their lives, all presented in glorious CinemaScope.

The film's production was a mess: the film was mis-cast, filming continued after Mann had departed the production, and its costs spiralled. Although it's mixed badly in the movie, Waxman's powerful score is one of the few elements that works in the film's favour, helping to hold the stodgy melodrama together. Indeed, many of Waxman's cues were severely curtailed, as last minute editing took its toll. Cimarron marked Waxman's second - and last - collaboration with the director (it was one of the last films Mann made - he died in 1967).

Film Score Monthly's disc has been remixed from the 35mm three-track stereo masters. The disc contains the complete score (at almost eighty-minutes, it pushes CD capacity to its limits). The disc also features a five-minute suite of outtakes, which offers alternate versions of three cues, including the Main Title and Finale. The disc comes with a lavishly-illustrated, twenty-four page booklet, featuring extensive production notes and a track-by-track guide, by Christopher Husted.

I dare say if you asked fifty film music fans to name fifty film music composers, the name George Bassman wouldn't pass their lips. Unless, of course, they'd heard the second of FSM's new releases, which features music from two films scored by the New York-born composer, Ride The High County (a.k.a. Guns in the Afternoon, 1962) and Mail Order Bride (a.k.a. West of Montana, 1964).

Ride The High Country has endured, partly because it's a pretty good movie, but mainly because it was directed by the great Sam Peckinpah. (Shamefully, it's one of many Peckinpah films not available on DVD). The film, about an uneasy encounter between two battle-worn men, one of whom is charged with carrying a sizeable quantity of gold...  

The film starred two genre legends: Joel McCrea, nearing the end of a movie career that spanned almost fifty years, and Randolph Scott, making his swansong after thirty years on screen. Ride The High Country didn't get much support when it was originally released (as the bottom half of a double-bill with the now virtually-forgotten The Tartars), but it has aged rather well, and still appears regularly on TV.

The Ride The High Country disc also features another homespun score by Bassman, Mail Order Bride, a film made by many of the same cast and crew members (although this time it was helmed by Burt Kennedy, another director who made a career directing Westerns). Mail Order Bride is a buddy comedy, starring Barnaby Jones' Buddy Ebsen and Keir Dullea, as a man who is forced into marriage if he wants to claim his inheritance.

Both of Bassman's scores are unmistakably Western scores, often falling into the clichés of the genre (jaunty harmonica, banjos, etc), but they're undeniably melodic, and the sound quality is excellent (as it is with the Cimarron disc). Both scores have been remixed and re-mastered in stereo from the original three-track 35mm film masters. They're not really my cup of tea, but I'd certainly recommend them to fans of the genre. As usual, the disc comes with a swanky twenty-four page illustrated booklet, and comprehensive background notes and track breakdown (by Peckinpah authority Nick Redman and label boss Lukas Kendall).

Both discs are limited editions of 3000 copies each.

20th September 2004

Let's kick off the week with three brand new reviews! The first is of Michel Gondry's brilliant science-fiction romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is being released on DVD on October the 4th. Focus Features are releasing the disc via Momentum. There a couple of minor, but irksome, technical problems with the disc that the producers apparently aren't going to fix. Read the review for more details (click here, or on the sleeve image, right!)

Mark Frost has written a fine review of two recent blaxploitation films that were released by Warner Home Video recently: Cleopatra Jones and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. Click on the sleeve image, right, or here to discover what Mark thought of them!

We have two new competitions today (I've kept THX 1138 open for an extra week). Today we're offering two copies of Granada Ventures' Thriller Series 1 DVD box set, which contains ten episodes of the popular ATV series, from 1973. I'm also very pleased to welcome Titan Books, who are running their first competition with us. They're offering five copies of the Stargate SG-1 - The Essential Scripts book. Click on the banners, above, or here for the THX 1138 competition, here for the Thriller competition, or here for the Stargate SG-1 competition!

Speaking of banners, I've made a few changes this week which may mean that some of you are seeing images on the site that were previously being blocked by some anti-virus software. If the site looks a bit different, that's probably why!

Here's some exciting news for Hammer fans. DD Video has announced that they're going to release several more Hammer titles next year. They will include a double-disc collection of the World of Hammer series (presumably including the episode that's never been released on DVD, War). Although it's not terribly thrilling in of itself, it might mean that UK collectors will be free to to ditch the Anchor Bay discs that have been superseded with Warner Home Video's superior PAL transfers. Since many of the Anchor Bay discs are due to go out of print any second, there might soon be a thriving market for second-hand copies on Ebay! The World of Hammer set is due in February 2005.

DD Video is also releasing the 1984 Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense TV series. It's not the first time that the series has been available on home video, but the VHS release, from Brent Walker, was incredibly rare. I used to visit dozens of video rental stores in the mid-eighties, and I only ever saw one set of copies, and that was through the window of a shop that was closed! DD Video is splitting the series into two sets, one due in February, the other in March. The sets will feature newly-recorded interviews with several Hammer stalwarts who worked on the show, including directors John Hough and Val Guest, and the series' script editor, John Peacock. The discs will also feature extensive stills archives for each episode.

Other Hammer titles due from DD Video include three early science-fiction films, Spaceways, Stolen Face and Four-Sided Triangle. These will be supplemented with short films from Hammer's extensive archive, including The Right Person, Operation Universe and Copenhagen. These are expected to come out in April.

DD Video reckon they will have practically exhausted all the commercially-viable Hammer titles available from the company once they release Terence Fisher's car-racing drama Mask of Dust, in late spring, 2005. Unless rights held by other companies revert back to Hammer, that's more or less all, folks!

Not that that will stop DD Video's plans to become the foremost British horror label. They've pencilled in two oft-delayed titles for release in January: Blood Beast Terror and Island of Terror, and another pair of films in March: Curse of the Crimson Altar and The Devil's Men.

In May DD Video plans to release BBC Scotland's 1979 series about a team of paranormal investigators, The Ωmega Factor, which starred James Hazeldine and Louise Jameson.

My thanks to Colin at DD Video for that information.

Warner Home Video is releasing a five-disc box set showcasing the work of director George Stevens on December the 6th. The George Stevens 100th Anniversary Collection set will feature two landmark films, Giant and Woman of the Year, the colour WWII documentary D-Day To Berlin and a documentary, George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey. The release ties in with a season of Stevens' films running at the National Film Theatre, between November the 11th and November the 29th. Woman of the Year, which paired Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn for the first time, will come with a trailer; Giant is a two-disc Special Edition with an introduction by the director's son, George Stevens Jr, a commentary track by George Stevens Jr, screenwriter Ivan Moffat and critic Steven Farber; documentaries; New York and Hollywood premiere footage and photo' galleries. The 1985 documentary George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey features interviews with several Hollywood luminaries, including Fred Astaire, Frank Capra, Cary Grant, John Huston, Alan Pakula and Elizabeth Taylor.

Here's a look at the sleeves for Warner Home Video's Hammer Horror DVD Collection, which makes the titles previously only available in Warner Home Video's Hammer and Horror box sets available separately. Release date is the 11th of October. RRP is £7.99, but you can get them for £5.99 each at Amazon...

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb at £5.99
The Curse of Frankenstein at £5.99
Frankenstein Created Woman at £5.99
Horror of Dracula at £5.99
The Horror of Frankenstein at £5.99
Lust For A Vampire at £5.99
The Mummy at £5.99
Plague of Zombies at £5.99
Quatermass and the Pit at £5.99
Rasputin the Mad Monk at £5.99
Scars of Dracula at £5.99
To The Devil A Daughter at £5.99
The Vengeance of She
at £5.99

... which rather makes a mockery of Warners’ launch promotion of two titles for £15… Click on any of the titles (above) to go to their Amazon listing.


Here's Mr Laing, with his dossier on the week's bargains, and titles to look out for...


Hey everyone, back again with this week’s update to the Incoming and Offers pages…

We’ll start with the Films again and some clearances at the BBFC for new versions of the James Bond films, the new transfers of which have been prepared over the past couple of years.

MGM have submitted new special features for both Dr No and From Russia With Love, both of which are described as Ultimate Editions.

For Dr No the clearances are: The Guns of James Bond (4m52s); Terance Young: Bond Vivant (17m53s); Dr No 1963 Featurette (8m17s); Trailer (3m11s); Introducing Mr Bond (3m06s); James Bond is Back to Back Dr No From Russia with Love (sic) (1m54s); James Bond Face to Face with Dr No and Goldfinger (2m11s); Miss Honey and Miss Galore have James Bond back for more (57s); and Miss Honey and Miss Galore (19s).

For From Russia with Love: Ian Fleming and Rayomnd Chandler (4m57s); Ian Fleming on Desert Island Discs (4m56s); Ian Fleming CBC Interview (7m22s); Storyboard Sequence: The Boat Chase (1m22s).

Neither of these is being listed by the retailers yet.

Special features for The Matrix Trilogy Box Set have also been cleared at the BBFC. These are specifically for Reloaded Revisted section. Here’s all the clearances, with timings in hours:minutes:seconds…



00:03:33    72 HOURS
00:03:30    A KISS FROM NIOBE
00:03:13    A KISS FROM GHOST
00:00:14    CLEAN EXIT
00:02:40    LOCK AND NIOBE
00:00:20    GHOST & TRINITY PART 1
00:00:46    GHOST & TRINITY PART 2
00:00:53    OFF TO THE FREEWAY
00:01:34    EMP AFTERMATH

00:03:14    QUEEN OF THE ROAD
00:04:02    TWO EQUALS CLASH

The rumoured release from Buena Vista of a special edition of Disney’s Bambi has appeared on some of the retailers for February the 14th 2005. There is no word on the content yet, but it has an RRP of £22.99.

Paramount has a special edition of Top Gun up for December the 6th, with £19.99 as its RRP. But again, no word on the content yet, though. It will probably be very similar to, if not identical to, the R1 version, which was announced recently.

Universal have a Coen Brothers Collection showing on some of the retailers for October the 18th. The box set features The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, The Hudsucker Proxy and Barton Fink. This marks the first UK release of the Director’s Cut version of Blood Simple, which is about three minutes shorter then the original theatrical release. The version recently certificated by the BBFC is in widescreen format, too (the old version was full-frame). The set has an RRP of £39.99.

As a follow-up to my report last week that Universal have individual volumes of The Invisible Man / The Phantom of the Opera and The Mummy / The Creature from the Black Lagoon showing for October the 11th, joining them are re-issues of Dracula / House of Dracula, Frankenstein / Bride of Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man / Werewolf of London. All five have RRPs of £9.99 (and not £19.99 as I reported last week).

Finally, for the films, an unlisted label (I’m guessing Instant Vision) has Charlie Chan In Paris, starring Warner Oland as the master oriental detective, showing for November the 29th. It has £13.99 as its RRP.

Now the TV releases…

At The Mausoleum Club details of Network’s Ripping Yarns – The Complete Series and The Sweeney – The Complete Series 4 has been posted. Both releases have had their episodes digitally restored.

In addition to that…

The Ripping Yarns box set has audience laughter-free tracks; commentaries by Michael Palin and Terry Jones for all 9 episodes; deleted scene from Murder at Moorstones Manor; Comic Roots, a documentary from 1983 in which Michael Palin returns to his comic roots hometown of Sheffield; Secrets, the first episode from the 1973 series Black and Blue; a black comedy written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones and starring Warren Mitchell, unseen since its original broadcast; Stills gallery; script PDFs from Michael Palin's archives; and a Commemorative booklet.
The script PDFs are: Tompkinson’s Schooldays (Original script); Across the Andes by Frog (Script / Alteration to beginning / Radio Commentary Script); Testing of Eric Eric Olthwaite (Camera script); Whinfrey’s Last Case (Original script); The Curse of the Claw (Original handwritten script); and Murder at Moorstones Manor (Revised script).

The Secrets episode from Black and Blue (an anthology comedy drama series of sixty-minute plays) is sourced from an “off-air” copy (similar to the Steptoe and Son episodes retained by Ray Galton) made for series producer Mark Shivas. This was transferred to VHS at some point, copies of which are currently held by the National Film and Television Archive, which are the only copies remaining. Quite a bit of clean-up work has been done of this with the, but the quality will probably be similar to the VHS off-air episode, The Royal Wedding, included in the recent Till Death US Do Part – The Complete 1974 Series.

Network are really going all the way, it’s a jaw-dropping list of contents for any Archive TV release. Then you look at the RRP - £24.99 – and your jaw drops even lower...

The Sweeney – The Complete Series 4 box set will include a new Dolby 5.1 track; Original as-broadcast mono track; Music only tracks; Episode introductions by guest stars James Warrior, George Sewell, Jenny Runacre, Nick Stringer, Gary Morecambe and Peter Wight; The Electric Theatre Show interviews with John Thaw, Dennis Waterman and producer Ted Childs from 1978; Sweeney 2 trailer with introduction by Ken Hutchison and James Warrior; Sweeney 2 promotional gallery PDF; This is Your Life - Dennis Waterman extract from 1978; This is Your Life - John Thaw extract from 1981; Stills gallery; The Sweeney Annual 1978 PDF; Extract from Behind the Sunshine recounting Morecambe and Wise's association with John Thaw and Dennis Waterman; Out-takes; and Series 4 textless titles with dual sound.

Which is, again, a mighty fine set of extras to grace any archive TV release. The set has the usual RRP of £39.99.

The currently listed dates for these are Ripping Yarns – The Complete Series on the 11th of October and The Sweeney – The Complete Series 4 a week later on the 18th. As ever don’t be surprised if these dates slip – look at the content of these releases, that’s a large amount of work that’s being done…

The rumoured release of the Live Aid concert has appeared on some of the retailers for November the 8th, from Warner's music video division, Warner Vision. No word on the full content as yet, but the release has an RRP of £39.99. A recent report said that Led Zeppelin had refused permission for their appearance to be included, because they weren’t happy with their performance. Instead they have apparently made a sizeable donation to the charity.

Coinciding with a new series of his World Tour, Universal is releasing a whole raft of Billy Connolly DVDs on October the 11th. These are Erect For 30 Years, Live 2002, Live At The Apollo, One Night Stand Down Under / Best of The Rat, Two Night Stand (all at £19.99 each) and re-issues of World Tour of England / Ireland / Wales, World Tour of Australia and World Tour of Scotland (all at £24.99 each). The new series - World Tour of New Zealand – is listed for the 6th of December (presumably at the end or towards the end of it’s broadcast run), with the £24.99 RRP.

Also listed for the 11th of October from an unknown label (but I’m guessing Universal on the strength of the above Billy Connolly releases) is a release of Jasper Carrott’s 24 Carrott Gold. It has the £19.99 RRP.

Universal’s Playback division has the third series of Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer’s sitcom As Time Goes By showing for October the 25th. Its RRP is £24.99.

Thanks to Ian K. McLachlan for notifying me that Play have put up details for The Lucy Show box set. I was wrong in my assumption that the episodes included would all be from Season 1 (I was expecting a chronological release) – it will include two episodes from Season 1, fourteen episodes from Season 5 and two episodes from Season 6. The set will also include a Lucy Meets John Wayne featurette, all for an RRP of £24.99.

Now, let’s have a look at some of BBC Worldwide’s titles…

The next sentence isn’t entirely unexpected, but one which we all hoped wouldn’t appear on this page: Blake’s 7 – Series 2 has been delayed until next year! Ho hum…

Choices Direct has a new date of January the 1st (that’s 2005!), but as that’s a Saturday I’ve just moved it to the In the Pipeline section until we have a more definite date (I did just say definite then didn’t I…? Hmm, ah well…).

But don’t worry BBC Worldwide are bringing us more Only Fools And Horses releases to make up for it – Best of’s – yay! (err…… groan). But, of course BBC Worldwide aren’t stupid when it comes to this, these three All the Best volumes which are listed for the 1st of November will sell like hotcakes in the Christmas market and they will make a tidy bundle from them. You just hope they put the money to good use, like er… making sure there aren’t any problems with the Blake’s 7 – Series 3 & 4 box sets! Only Fools And Horses – All the Best Volumes 1 -3 have RRPs of £15.99 each.

With the trail for the start of the series currently on high priority on the BBC channels the release of Shoebox Zoo - Series 1, the corporation’s new CGI-fest children’s show, is being listed for the 15th of November for an RRP of £19.99.

Thanks to Steve for emailing me that a release of the BBC 2 series Grumpy Old Men is showing for November the 15th. The content of which is listed as four episodes and the Christmas Special all for £15.99.

Choices Direct has put up an Open All Hours – Series 1 & 2 box set for October the 1st. It has an RRP of £24.99.

DD Video are pooling together some of their recent John Thaw releases into a box set - John Thaw – The Dramas – for a listed date of the 8th of November. The £39.99 set features Bomber Harris, We'll Support You Evermore, Dinner At The Sporting Club, Goodnight Mr Tom, The Waiting Time and Into The Blue.

Granada Ventures are the label behind a release of the recent BBC 2 comedy series featuring look-a-likes - Double Take. It has a date of November the 22nd and an RRP of £19.99, with Behind the Scenes (running to 15m15s) cleared at the BBFC.

Also showing for the 22nd of November, but from Paramount, is a collection of the BBC 3 comedy series 3 Non Blondes. Featuring both series and the Christmas Special, with special features: Bonus Blondes (25m95s); The Stage Show (1m04s), The Mini Pilot (7m32s), Blonde Bumpers (8m51s), cleared at the BBFC and listed on some retailers. The set has an RRP of £29.99.

And finally, for the TV releases…

Acorn has complete box sets up for To the Manor Born and The Good Life, both being listed by Chocies Direct. The To the Manor Born is due on the 1st of January, with an RRP of £49.99, with the The Good Life due on the 7th of February and £79.99 as its RRP.

Right, that’s it for Incoming, now onto the additions to the Offers page…

Amazon has a bumper crop of bargains this week!

I’m indebted to Roobarb’s DVD Forum members Ed Parsons and Lissa for respectively posting that The Professionals – The Complete Set is back in Amazon’s box set sale at the (even more!) tempting price of £43.97 (£86.02 off! about £6 cheaper than before) and Carlton’s The Champions box set is available at £28.97 (£21.02 off!), with Acorn’s complete set of the fantastic Raffles at £25.97 (£34.02 off!). Acorn’s complete box sets of Cribb, Love for Lydia, When the Boat Comes In – Series 1 and 2 are also available at this £25.97 (£34.02 off!) price, with their Tenko – Series 1 and 2 sets both at £21.97 (£28.02 off!) and Reilly – Ace of Spies set at £33.97 (£46.02 off!). Alias – Season 2 is at £20.97; the complete Battlestar Galactica set is at £19.97; The Beatles Anthology at £24.97; The Fu Manchu Trilogy at £11.97; the Randall and Hopkirk Deceased complete set is at £28.97; Rising Damp – The Works is at £15.97 and Starsky and Hutch – The Complete First Season is at £13.97.

Thanks to Mark Aldridge for posting that Amazon also had ‘Allo ‘Allo – Series 1& 2 and Series 3 & 4 sets at £9.97 each. This led me to some other Universal titles - Bread - Series 3 & 4, Citizen Smith titles, All Creatures Great and Small titles, Hi de Hi titles and The Liver Birds - Series 2 all at £9.97 each, with Duchess of Duke Street titles being a mixture of £9.97/£8.97 each and both The Onedin Line and Poldark titles at £8.97 each. They also have Northern Exposure - Season 1 at £9.97 and Taken at £20.97.

And it doesn’t end there...

Thanks to Lee for posting that Amazon are also offering Jim Henson's The Storyteller - Volume 1 at £4.97.

Other new Amazon bargains include the two-disc Cold Mountain at £9.97, Nip/Tuck - Season 1 at £34.99, Red Dwarf - Series 5 at £12.99, Spaced - Definitive Collector's Edition at £16.99, The West Wing - Season 4 at £37.99 and Big Train at £17.99.

Finally, for Amazon, after much confusion about the RRP of the Doctor Who – Lost in Time box set they now have the correct one and are offering at £22.49. A much more sensible price for International folks, though of course (who unfortunately don’t do international shipping) is the best option to go for by UK based people, with their marvellous offer of £17.99.

Phew! Only a couple from the other retailers after that lot…

Choices Direct have the two disc edition of The Day After Tomorrow at £13.99.

And Play have a few audiobooks titles - Blake's 7 - The Radio Adventures at £11.99; The Boosh at £11.99; Francis Durbridge - Paul Temple Classic Radio Serials: 1954 - 1968 at £69.99; Mark Gatiss’ The Vesuvius Club at £9.99; I'm Sorry I Haven't A Christmas Carol Clue at £9.99 and the superb Journey Into Space - Operation Luna box set at the rather tempting price of £39.99.


Right, that’s it from me, see you next week!

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

Van Helsing - Released October the 11th.

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