ARCHIVED NEWS - 14th - 20th FEBRUARY 2005


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17th February 2005

Momentum will release a two-disc Special Edition disc of the Paul Verhoeven's 1991 science-fiction movie Total Recall on May the 30th. The disc will feature a widescreen transfer, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Bonus features for the new disc include a commentary track by star Arnold Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven; commentary by cinematographer Jost Vacano; teasers and trailers; a Making of... featurette; Imagining Total Recall featurette (30m); Visions of Mars feature; The Worlds of Science Fiction Literature documentary; Virtual Vacations; Storyboard / Film comparisons; photo' gallery and conceptual artwork.  RRP for the set is £19.99.

Momentum has Mike Hodges' recent thriller I'll Sleep When I'm Dead lined up for release on May the 2nd. The film, which stars flavour of the month Clive Owen (did nobody see King Arthur?), Charlotte Rampling and Malcolm McDowell will be presented in anamorphic widescreen format (1.78:1), with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and optional HoH subtitles (on the feature only). Bonus features are a commentary track by Hodges and outspoken writer Trevor Preston; a BBC documentary - Mike Hodges & I'll Sleep When I'm Dead; deleted scenes and a trailer. According to the press release, this will all be crammed on a single-layer disc.

16th February 2005

Well, well, well, here we are again, with a bumper crop of news! There's surely something for everyone today, including details of two new UK Hammer DVDs and a few titles of interest to fans of British archive television.

Zeta Minor also a new navigation button block, left, which some of you may be seeing for the first time. The old version relied on Javascript, which was being blocked by some anti-virus software, because it qualified as "active content". Some people weren't running Javascript, anyway, so it wasn't working for them, either. Hopefully, the new version, which is basic HTML, will work for everyone. I've changed the navigation buttons on the site's key pages, but there will be a lot of old pages which still have the old buttons (most notably DVD review pages). You'll just have to rely on the "Back" button if you stumble upon one of those!

And now, as Ronnie Barker used to say, the news...

Channel 4 Video has announced details of its forthcoming The Comic Strip Presents... DVD box set, which is currently pencilled in for release on June the 6th.

The nine-disc box set will feature all thirty-nine episodes of the series, include the Famous Five spoof Five Go Mad In Dorset, the Golden Rose of Montreaux-winning Strike! and the popular - if you will - rockumentary, Bad News. It will also include the theatrically-released feature film spin-off, The Supergrass.

The ninth disc in the set will feature more than two and a half hours of bonus material, including brand new, exclusive interviews (participants include Dawn French, Adrian Edmondson, Peter Richardson, Pete Richens, Lenny Henry, Leslie Philips, Ruby Wax and Phil Cornwell), and Julien Temple's 1981 behind-the-scenes look at the original stage show, The Comic Strip (30m), and cast interviews from 1998. RRP for the set is likely to be £49.99

The full episode list: Five Go Mad in Dorset, War, The Beat Generation, Bad News Tour, Summer School, Five Go Mad on Mescaline, Dirty Movie, Susie, Fistful of Travellers Cheques, Gino - Full Story and Pics, Eddie Monsoon - A Life?, Slags, The Bullshitters, The Supergrass, Consuela, Private Enterprise, The Strike, More Bad News, Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, The Yob, Didn't You Kill My Brother, Funseekers, South Atlantic Raiders (Parts 1 and 2), GLC, Oxford, Spaghetti Hoops, Les Dogs, Red Nose of Courage, The Crying Game, Wild Turkey, Detectives On The Edge of a Nervous Breakdown, Space Virgins From Planet Sex, Queen of the Wild Frontier, Gregory - Diary of a Nutcase, Demonella, Jealousy, Four Men In A Car and Four Men In A Plane.

Cinema Club has kindly provided details of a whole slew of titles due in April, including a few surprises!

Perhaps the most uncharacteristic release is Antonio Margheriti's Apocalypse domani, which is probably better known to UK gorehounds as Cannibal Apocalypse (or Invasion of the Flesh Hunters). The disc, due on April the 4th, will feature exclusive documentary featuring Margheriti, stars John Saxon and "John Morghen", titled Cannibal Apocalypse Redux; a video tour of filming locations, Apocalypse in the Streets; an alternate US opening sequence (8m); European and Japanese trailers; a poster and stills gallery; filmographies; a new text essay, The Butchering of Cannibal Apocalypse; and notes by film journalist Travis Crawford. The film has been cut for animal cruelty, Details aren't available, as the record hasn't yet appeared in the BBFC database. RRP is £15.99.

A two-disc Collector's Edition of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is also due on April the 4th. The set will include the original 8mm Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, sing-a-long songs, deleted scenes and "much much more". I wonder if it will feature the sleeve copy I wrote for the last UK VHS edition: "Before there was the Alien, there was... the tomato", or some such nonsense! RRP is £15.99.

The 1970 Roger Moore doppelgänger movie The Man Who Haunted Himself is also due on the 4th of April. The disc will include an audio commentary track by Moore and un-credited writer / producer Bryan Forbes (presumably inherited from the US Anchor Bay disc); stills and storyboards galleries; trailer and publicity materials. RRP is £15.99.

Hammer's crime thriller Hell is a City will get a well-deserved release on April the 4th. The BAFTA-nominated film stars Stanley Baker and John Crawford, and features Donald Pleasence and Billie Whitelaw. Sadly there are no extra features (perhaps Cinema Club don't realise director Val Guest is alive and well, and has contributed commentary and interviews to several DVDs recently?) RRP is £12.99. Wouldn't it be worth an extra £3 for a Guest commentary track? Is it just me, or has the sleeve art (below) got a Sin City vibe?

The classic 1954 adaptation of J.B.Priestley's morality play An Inspector Calls is scheduled for DVD release on April the 4th. Cinema Club's press notes claim the film, which stars Alastair Sim, has been "digitally enhanced from the original 35mm prints". RRP is £12.99.

Moving on to April the 18th, Cinema Club are offering the Golden Globe-nominated Steve Martin / Lily Tomlin body-swap comedy All of Me. The disc will feature a trailer, and has an RRP of £9.99.

Cinema Club will also release the pitch black Robin Williams / Ed Norton comedy Death To Smoochy on April the 18th. Presumably this will be a straightforward re-issue of the existing Film Four disc, with all its bonus materials intact. The press release mentions: trailer, cast and crew interviews, director's commentary, behind-the-scenes, additional scenes and songs. bloopers and outtakes. RRP is £9.99.

It's "Hi-Yo Silver!" on April the 25th, when Cinema Club release The Lone Ranger - The Colour Episodes. The five-disc digi-pack set will feature all thirty-nine episodes from the show's fifth and final season, which starred Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. The RRP is £39.99.

A re-mastered version of the 1982 BBC adaptation of Anthony Trollope's The Barchester Chronicles will also be released on April the 25th. This is the version that features Alan Rickman, Donald Pleasance and Nigel Hawthorne. RRP is £24.99 - about twice the price of the R1 version.

I've lost track of the number of times that the BBC has released the plays in Cinema Club's Oscar Wilde Collection on DVD. Certainly The Picture of Dorian Gray has been released at least three times since 2002! The Cinema Club set will include four BBC plays: The Importance of Being Earnest (a 1986 version featuring Joan Plowright as Lady Bracknell, with Paul McGann and Rupert Frazer), The Picture of Dorian Gray (a 1976 Play of the Month version, with a script by John Osbourne, starring Sir John Gielgud, Peter Firth and Jeremy Brett), An Ideal Husband (a 1969 Play of the Month, directed by Rudolph Cartier, and starring Keith Michell, Jeremy Brett and Susan Hampshire) and Lady Windermere's Fan (a 1985 version, featuring Kenneth Cranham and Helena Little). The set will also include the hour-long BBC documentary The Life and Loves of Oscar Wilde. RRP for the set, which is due on April the 25th,  is £24.99.

The BAFTA-nominated Scottish TV series McCallum, about a forensic pathologist (played by John Hannah), will be released as a five-disc box set on April the 25th. Apparently this will include the complete series, but it's not yet clear if this encompasses the pilot episode, The Key To My Heart, which was broadcast two years before the rest of the series, in 1995. The RRP is £39.99.

The acclaimed three-part conspiracy thriller about genetically-engineered crops, Natural Lies, will be released on disc on April the 25th. The 1992 series, starred Bob Peck, Sharon Duce and Denis Lawson. RRP for this title is £15.99.

Here's the sleeve art for some of these titles...

Warner Home Video will release a two-disc Special Edition version of Samuel Fuller's 1980 war movie The Big Red One on May the 2nd, tying in with an engagement at the National Film Theatre, between April the 29th and May the 5th.

The film has been restored by critic and filmmaker Richard Schickel, to Fuller's original shooting script and 70,000 feet of vault material. Special features for the set will include a commentary track by Schickel, a featurette, The Fighting First a War Dept (13m); Reconstruction Trailer - 2004 (2m); Alternate Scenes (31m); Anatomy of a Scene (18m); a documentary, The Men Who Made Sam Fuller (55m); another documentary, The Real Glory: Reconstructing The Big Red One; the Original Promo' Reel (30m) and a stills gallery. Running time of the new version is 156 minutes. The film will be presented in 1.85:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. RRP will be announced later.

Acclaimed biopic The Life and Death of Peter Sellers will be released on DVD by Warner Home Video on April the 11th.

The disc will feature two audio commentary tracks (one by star Geoffrey Rush and director Stephen Hopkins, the other by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley); a Making of... documentary; and eight deleted scenes. The film will be presented in 1.85:1 widescreen format, with 5.1 channels of Dolby Digital audio. RRP is £15.99.

Here are sleeve images for the two Warner Home Video releases...


Optimum will release two films written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz on April the 4th. These are his 1946 debut feature,  Dragonwyck (which has never been released on any home video format in the UK), and the Oscar-winning satire A Letter To Three Wives, from 1949. Technical details were not released. Each film has an RRP of £9.99. A restored version of A Letter To Three Wives, which also includes a  commentary by the author of a Makiewicz biography, and a documentary about star Linda Darnell, is available for about £6 in the US. are listing Hammer's 1972 psychological thriller Fear In The Night as a release for May the 30th. You can find their listing here. They don't list an RRP, but they're selling it for £5.99, which can't be bad. Thanks to Richard Downs for the tip-off!

Disney will release a two-disc Special Edition version of Pocahontas on March the 7th.

The film has been restored and re-mastered (just as well, because previous home video versions have been blighted by grain). The disc will feature an array of games and nonsense aimed at kids, along with Vanessa Williams' music video for Colours of the Wind; a Making of... documentary; a featurette on The Music of Pocahontas; a featurette about the If I Never Knew You music video, and the video itself; Creating Pocahontas with Glen Keane; Early Presentation Reel with introduction by producer James Pentecost; a storyboard-to-film comparison; and  Abandoned Concepts and Deleted Animation (including Below The Deck After Thomas' Rescue, Dancing to the Wedding Drum, Transition to Just Around The River Bend and Pocahontas Dresses as an Englishwoman). No technical details were released, and the RRP wasn't mentioned, but it's believed to be £21.99.

Details of the Doug McClure Fantasy Adventure Triple Bill DVD set (which contains three of my favourite childhood movies: The Land That Time Forgot, Warlords of Atlantis and At The Earth's Core) have been released by Cinema Club. The set features a theatrical trailer, thumbnail biographies and very modest stills galleries for each movie, and a promotional behind-the-scenes featurette for The Land That Time Forgot called Master of Adventure (12m).

Considering that these movies boasted some of the best poster art of the 70s, this is the best that Cinema Club could do for the sleeve? Personally I think colour-blind people should be barred from working in graphic design, but hey, what do I know?

All three discs have anamorphic widescreen transfers: The Land That Time Forgot is 1.77:1. At The Earth's Core is about 1.6:1, and Warlords of Atlantis is about 1.73:1. The set has an RRP of £24.99. The films will also be available separately, for £12.99 each. You can see menu screens for the three discs here.

Speaking of crappy sleeve art, the BBC Shop website has published images for the BBC's highly-anticipated forthcoming collection of science fiction TV shows. Apart from the sleeve for the three-disc Quatermass Collection set, they all have a similar spine layout. The Invisible Man sleeve could have been extremely striking, if the designer had had the confidence to stick with the primary image. Instead, we get a bunch of other heads, as if the designer hadn't watched the programme, and had no idea which characters were important, and which weren't, and with no regard to perspective or any sense of symmetry. The Nightmare Man and Dominick Hide sleeves aren't too bad, especially considering that there probably aren't many photo's available from either programme, but neither of them say anything about what the programme's about. The Day of the Triffids sleeve is simply terrible, especially the death ray that appears to be shooting out of the Triffid's sting.  

To cheer you up, there's a fascinating article about the restoration of the Quatermass serials here.

A second documentary about the weird world of Star Trek fandom, Trekkies 2, is being released by Paramount Home Entertainment on March the 7th. Highlights from the disc include an interview with the chap who put up his starship-style flat for sale on Ebay, and an interview with "the Spock of Germany", whatever that means. The documentary is hosted by Star Trek - The Next Generation star Denise Crosby. The disc will be in "full screen format" (is that a 4:3 screen or a 16:9 screen?) and has Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The disc will feature a commentary track by director Roger Nygard and deleted scenes. The RRP is £15.99.

Optimum will release the 1985 British comedy Restless Natives on April the 11th. The film, about a couple of Scots who embark on a Bonnie and Clyde-style string of robberies, will have an RRP of £12.99. Special features are "TBC".

It seems like only a few weeks since I reviewed Gore Verbinski's remake of The Ring, but evidently enough time has passed for the filmmakers to have made a sequel, and for Universal Pictures to have revamped the DVD to accommodate features to promote it. The new film is due in cinemas on April the 1st, and a couple of days earlier, on March the 28th, they'll release a Special Edition version of The Ring.

The new disc offers little that the old version didn't. There's a short film titled Rings (a.k.a. The Ring Bridge Story), which apparently fills in the gap between the first film and its sequel (it's about a group of young adults pushing their luck by playing chicken with the curse). This runs for sixteen minutes, and is better than you might expect it to be (it's very slick and professional, with a 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix). There's also eight minutes of cast and crew interviews, masquerading as a Making of... featurette, a theatrical trailer for The Ring, and two for Ring 2. To accommodate this extra material, the bitrate on the film has been reduced (from 7.7Mb/s to a much more modest 6.14Mb/s). RRP for the new disc is £17.99. The retailers that are listing this title are listing it as being due on March the 21st, incidentally.

Francis Ford Coppola's quixotic 1982 romantic comedy One From The Heart will be released on DVD by Buena Vista on March the 14th. The disc will feature a commentary by Coppola; documentaries (The Dream Studio (29m), Tom Waits - The Music of One From The Heart (13m), Electronic Cinema (10m) and a 1982 Making of... (24m)); deleted scenes; Alternate Takes of Tom Waits' score; Found Objects (Press Conference at the Studio (7m) and Francis Speaks to Exhibitors (2m)); One From The Heart music video; Rehearsals and Trailer and Galleries. RRP is believed to be £15.99. The spec's are a bit vague (and don't mention the technical aspects of the disc), but they seem broadly in line with the two-disc R1 disc, from Fantoma. Running times are from the BBFC records.

Film Score Monthly has released two more limited edition soundtrack CDs which are worthy of your attention.

Their Silver Age Classics release is Lalo Schifrin's score for Brian Hutton's spectacular WWII heist movie Kelly's Heroes (a film, trivia fans, based on an original screenplay by Edge of Darkness's Troy Kennedy Martin called The Warriors). As Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall's typically excellent liner notes report, Schifrin had a tough time getting the right mood for the film's music, which needed to match the movie's odd mix of military drama and goofball comedy. The result is a jazzy, lightweight "march for whistlers and percussion".

FSM's disc features three pop music tracks used in the film: Burning Bridges, which replaced Schifrin's main title cue, co-written by Schifrin and the then head of MGM records, Mike Curb, Schifrin's laid back country tune All For The Love of Sunshine, which was performed by Hank Williams Jr (it underscores the scene where Oddball (Donald Sutherland's hippie character) takes on might of the German infantry), and the French cocktail music track Si Tu Me Dis, performed by Monique Aldebert. As the film becomes more comedy than drama, Schifrin's music switches gear, becoming much more quirky (some of the later cues riff on Morricone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly).

More importantly, FSM's disc features the original score recordings (previous releases have used re-recorded pop arrangements created for the original album, with only a few cues that were featured in the film). It also includes cues written for the film, but not used, including the original main title theme. The seventy-nine minute disc also features the original album recordings (albeit some of them mastered from an LP, because the album masters were in poor shape). The bulk of the disc has been taken from the original half-inch stereo master tapes.

The Golden Age Classics release is a score that will probably be more familiar to jazz fans than film music buffs: André Previn's popular score for the 1960 Arthur Freed-produced drama The Subterraneans, which was based on a Beat Generation novel by Jack Kerouac. I must confess to being way out of my depth with jazz titles, so hopefully a résumé of some of the soloists will assist potential buyers: Carmen McRae (Vocals), Red Mitchell (Bass), Dave Bailey (Drums), Russ Freeman (Piano), Bob Enevoldsen (Trumbone), Gerry Mulligan (Baritone sax), Shelly Manne (Drums), Art Farmer (Trumpet), Buddy Clark (Bass), Art Pepper (Alto sax), Bill Perkins (Sax) and Jack Sheldon (Trumpet).

Unusually for a FSM disc, the album is not presented in film order. Instead the tracks that made up the original album are presented first, and then there are a dozen additional cues from the recording sessions, making two distinct programmes, each lasting about forty minutes. Most of the album has been remixed and re-mastered from the original 35mm three-track recordings, and sounds just peachy. A couple of source cues are mono, from 17.5mm film, but even they sound fine. I'm sure that collectors with an affinity for jazz will love it, and I'm sure hardcore jazz fans will dig it, too!

Both discs are limited editions, of 3000 copies each, and both come with full liner notes, illustrated with rare stills and posters. The liner notes for The Subterraneans were written by Lukas and Jeff Eldridge. As usual, there are audio samples available on FSM's website. The discs are available via the usual specialist retailers, most notably FSM's outlet of choice (and mine) Screen Archives Entertainment.

The label has, once again, provided a couple of hints as to their next releases: "Sci-fi/fantasy/horror marks both out Golden and Silver Age releases!" and "Four scores and three composers on two discs, featuring music from far ends of the earth...and beyond!" The smart money seems to be on a long-overdue release of Tiomkin's brilliant The Thing (From Another World)...

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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