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3rd February 2005

Warner Home Video will release Exorcist: The Beginning on April the 18th. The film, which was re-shot by Cutthroat Island director Renny Harlin after poor test screenings of a version filmed by Cat People's Paul Schrader, is a prequel to the first movie in the Warner Bros. series, and is set in 1949.

 The disc will be presented in 2.35:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and optional English SDH and ECM subtitles. It's possible that the disc will not be presented in its intended aspect ratio: cinematographer Vittorio Storaro shot the film in his irksome Unvision format, which has an aspect ratio of 2:1. The theatrical presentation was cropped to 2.35:1, as, it seems, will be the DVD.

The disc will include a commentary by the director and a behind-the-scenes featurette. Interestingly, and unusually for Warner Home Video, the UK release has a different cover image to the one used in the US. The US disc was due at the beginning of January, but has since been pushed back to March the 1st. RRP for the UK disc is £15.99.

The Chairman of producers Morgan Creek, James C. Robinson, has said that there will eventually be a release of Schrader's version of the film, rumoured to be more cerebral, and described by The Exorcist's writer William Peter Blatty as a "masterpiece".

Hopefully a release of Schrader's version of the fourth film would prompt Warner Home Video to look at doing a definitive box set of the four films, which would include the existing DVD releases, the original theatrical version of John Boorman's Exorcist II - The Heretic, the original version of The Exorcist III (or, at the very least, deleted and alternate scenes). More information about the films can be found here and here.

Warner Home Video is unleashing Tod Browning's Freaks on April the 25th, as an HMV exclusive.

The disc will feature the re-mastered version of the film. Bonus materials are the same as the US disc, which is about half the price of the UK edition: three alternate endings; the excellent documentary Freaks: Sideshow Cinema; commentary by David J. Skal, author of Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre; and the prologue that was added to the theatrical release of the film. The US version of Freaks was recently the runner-up in the 2004 Roobarb Awards for Best DVD Restoration - Film. The disc has an RRP of £15.99.

Universal Pictures is releasing Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason on DVD on February the 25th. Details are sketchy (the press release mentions a box set with an RRP of £29.99, but offers no more information, for example). The disc will offer bonus material grouped into three sections: Bridget's Area (four deleted scenes with director's introduction; The Mini-Break to Austria - Renée does her own stunts; audio commentary by director Beeban Kidron), Daniel's Area (The Big Fight; The Smooth Guide to Exotic Thailand and Who's Your Ideal Man? quiz); and Mark's Area (Bridgit Interviews Colin Firth, with director's introduction, Mark and Bridget Forever; Lonely London). RRP for the DVD is £24.99.

Henri-Georges Clouzot's controversial 1942 whodunnit Le Corbeau (The Raven) will be released by Optimum on March the 14th. The film, about a French town plagued by a spate of poison-pen letters, has apparently been "digitally re-mastered", and the disc will feature an introduction by film critic Ginette Vincendeadn. RRP for the disc is believed to be £19.99 (it wasn't mentioned in the press release).

The Alec Guinness Oscar-nominated film about a bigamist sailor, The Captain's Paradise, which co-stars The Munsters' Yvonne De Carlo, is also being prepared for DVD release by Optimum, and is due on March the 28th. The disc has a suspiciously-cheap RRP of £9.99.

31st January 2005

It's all systems go here today! We have three new reviews for you, two new competitions, a proper update to the Incoming page, and a few bits and pieces of news!

Firstly the reviews, starting with Ceri's review of the second Journey Into Space CD box set, The Red Planet, which was released recently by BBC Audiobooks. Tim Symonds has kindly contributed a review of the Dutch DVD of the 1997 BBC adaptation of Ivanhoe (there isn't a UK version). Finally there's a review of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's two-disc DVD of Tony Scott's searing thriller Man on Fire, which offers considerably more than the Region 1 version, released in September last year. Sometimes it pays to wait! Man on Fire is released here on Valentine's Day.

Click here or on the pack image, left, for the Journey Into Space - The Red Planet review; here or on the sleeve image, right, for the Ivanhoe review; here or on the sleeve image, right, for the Man on Fire review.

Ceri has very kindly given the Incoming page an overhaul, adding numerous titles and generally keeping it up to date.

Here's the sleeve art for Stargate SG-1 - Volume 38, which is due out February 28th. Note, particularly, the addition of the "Season 8" text at the top of the spine.

I know that many of you are waiting for an update on Nicholas Lyndhurst's time-travelling sit-com Goodnight Sweetheart, which Revelation originally had pencilled in for release in March. Unfortunately, the series might not now be released until much later this year (possibly as late as November).

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

Unless explicitly stated, DVD screen captures used in the reviews are for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to be accurate representations of the DVD image.   While screen captures are generally in their correct aspect ratio, there will often have been changes made to the resolution, contrast, hue and sharpness, to optimise them for web display.

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