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31st March 2005

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has confirmed that it will release the underperforming Elektra on DVD on May the 30th.

Bonus features on the disc will include three deleted scenes with optional director's commentary, including a ditched cameo appearance by Ben Affleck as Daredevil; two featurettes (one titled Elektra Incarnations); and Inside Look snippets (usually just trailers) for the forthcoming Marvel movie Fantastic Four and Ice Age 2.

The film will be presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

This seems to be quite a different line-up from the US disc, which will apparently feature the deleted scenes, a Making of... featurette, footage from Jennifer Garner's Comic-Con presentation, and an Inside The Editing Room featurette. Their disc, due on April the 5th, will also apparently feature DTS audio.

RRP is £15.99. Daredevil fans, don't forget that the Daredevil Director's Cut, featuring thirty minutes of new footage, will be released here on May the 2nd.

A two disc Special Edition of George Cukor's classic 1940 romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story will be released by Warner Home Video on June the 20th. The film stars Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart, in the role that won him the Best Actor Oscar that sat in the window of his father's hardware shop for a quarter of a century.

Disc one will feature a digitally re-mastered version of the film, with a commentary by film historian Jeannine Basinger, and a George Cukor trailer gallery. The second disc will feature documentaries about the director and one of the film's stars: Katharine Hepburn: All About Me -  A Self-Portrait and The Men Who Made The Movies: George Cukor. The disc will also feature a Robert Benchley short, That Inferior Feeling, a cartoon, The Homeless Flea; and an audio presentation of two radio adaptations, featuring the film's three stars.

The film will be presented in 1.37:1 ratio, with mono audio. RRP is £19.99.

Gregory Jacob's directorial debut Criminal will be released on DVD by Warner Home Video on June the 13th.

The film, a remake of the Argentine film known here as Nine Queens, is about a plot to trick an antique-currency collector. It stars John C. Reilly, in what I believe was his first leading role, Diego Luna and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Apart from a theatrical trailer, it looks like the disc will be bare-bones. The press release says the film will be presented in 2.35:1 format, but this appears to be an error, as numerous other sources say the film is in 1.85:1 format. The film will have a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The RRP is £15.99.

The seventh season of The Tomorrow People will be released by Revelation on April the 25th. This penultimate disc features three complete stories (Castle of Fear, Achilles Heel and The Living Skins). The disc, which was previously available as part of an MVC-exclusive box set, will feature the usual bonus materials: a commentary track (with ; cast biographies; photo' gallery; and episode synopses. RRP for the disc is £15.99.

Dave Rowntree's BAFTA-nominated animated series Empire Sq. will be released on DVD on May the 2nd. The disc will feature the first twelve episodes of the series, which is beautifully described in the press release thus: "If Viz and South Park had a baby and it was taken into care by the Young Ones, that unholy infant might be called Empire Square".

The set will also feature a never-before-seen alternate version of episode one; a gallery of images showing character development; two dozen short gags; a karaoke version of the infamous Ho Song, plus and original animatic. Total running time for the disc is about an hour. The press release didn't state an RRP, and it doesn't seem to be listed by the main e-tailers yet.

If you aren't easily offended, have a peek at the series' swanky website.

The notorious Sylvester Stallone film Italian Stallion is being released by Ventura International on April the 25th. The film, a 1970 sexploitation movie, formerly known as Party at Kitty and Studs, will be presented in a sixty-seven minute version with ten minutes of footage previously unreleased in the UK. Stallone told Playboy that he got paid $200 to appear in the film, when he was only 24. I wonder how many tens of thousands of dollars he'd pay to have every copy destroyed!

RRP for the disc is £15.99.

Another compilation of episodes of The Simpsons is due on May the 23rd: Around The World In 80 D'Ohs. The disc will feature four travel-themed episodes not currently available on DVD: The Regina Monologues (on a visit to the UK, the family meets Tony Blair), 30 Minutes Over Tokyo (Japan), Blame It On Lisa (Brazil) and Simpsons Safari (Africa). The episodes will be presented with 2.0 audio, and English subtitles (amongst others). The disc will feature an Animation Showcase, and adverts for the season sets. The RRP is £15.99.

Fox has postponed the release of the Predator 2 Special Edition, and the four-disc Predator 1 & 2 box set by a week - the two sets will now be released on April the 18th.

Fox has also moved the release date of the Family Guy - Freakin' Sweet Collection DVD to April the 25th.

Warner Home Video has changed the release date for Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement to June the 13th.

Most of the retailers have it listed for release on April the 25th, but this morning's press release says that the Angus Deayton comedy drama Heartless will be released on April the 4th, the same day it's transmitted on ITV.

The Channel 4 DVD will feature the "Original Director's Cut" of Heartless, which is about a man whose personality changes radically after a heart transplant. The press release does not, however, elaborate on what the differences between the two versions will be (the DVD version will be ninety-three minutes long). The film was shot on the Isle of Skye, and was made by the people behind Monarch of the Glen and Mrs Brown. RRP for the disc will be £14.99.

Is that a wookie in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me? Phone manufacturer Orange is launching an especially-designed Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith telephone box set to tie in with the release of the film, which hits the flicks on May the 19th.

The box is designed to look like a prop from the film. It contains a customisable Nokia 3220 phone; five themed lenticulars (featuring key characters from the saga); a Darth Vader desk phone cradle; and a furry Wookie-pouch to keep a mobile safe while on the move. I kid you not.

The phone will be able to access Orange's Star Wars mobile content, including clips and downloadable games. You'll also be able to have Darth Vader's asthmatic wheeze as your ringtone. Luddite that I am, I'm getting out of my depth the further I get into the press release, so I'm going to quote the next bit: "Orange customers will be able to get characters from the Star Wars films to speak their text messages using Avatar Messaging. Customers simply type in their message, choose a Star Wars character and then send it to a friend. The Star Wars character will then appear on the friendís phone and speak the message".

There'll be 100,000 of these box sets for sale, spread across seven European countries. There will also be two thousand limited-edition silver box sets for use in promotions and "special retail offers". A thousand of these will be sold in the UK, and a hundred of them will be available in the Kings Road store on April the 2nd - ten days before Orange's official retail launch. Doors open at 9am. The first twenty people through the door will get a free Star Wars limited edition box set. The next hundred will get a free Orange goody bag. You'll also have the chance to have your photo taken with a storm trooper. (Just to clarify - there are a hundred box sets. Twenty will be given away, the other eighty will be sold).

The box sets and the first Sith content will be released during the first week of April. They'll be available from Orange stores, Carphone Warehouse, The Link, Argos, Phones4U and Woolworths. Orange's 280 stores will be decked out in Star Wars livery, and their 2000 "phone trainers" will become "Jedi trainers", "showing customers how to get the best Star Wars experience from of their phones" (sic). Star Wars-themed Orange adverts will be appearing in cinemas, on the radio, on line and in print.

Here are a couple of photo's of the set...

30th March 2005

American label Blue Underground will release Gillian Armstrong's acclaimed romantic drama My Brilliant Career on May the 31st.

The two-disc Region 0 (NTSC) set will feature a new transfer, created from a high definition transfer taken from the original negative, supervised by the film's Academy Award-nominated Director of Photography Donald McAlpine. The film will be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format. The disc will be Closed Captioned. The soundtrack, too, has been re-mastered, and will be offered in DTS-ES and Dolby Digital EX flavours. Bonus material includes a commentary by Armstrong; trailers; a poster and stills gallery (all on disc one); interviews with Armstrong and Producer Margaret Fink; Cannes Film Festival Newsreel (featuring star Judy Davis, Armstrong and Fink; The Miles Franklin Story; and a Teachers' Study Guide DVD-ROM feature.

Details of Tartan's 2046 DVD release have been announced. It will be part of the label's Wong Kar-Wai Collection, and is due on May the 23rd.

It will be available on its own, with an RRP of £19.99, or as a double-pack with In The Mood For Love, with an RRP of £24.99.

The disc will feature an exclusive interview with Wong Kar-Wai; on-set interview and footage with Ziya Zhang; deleted scenes; Casta Diva music video; original English and Hong Kong trailers, and Cannes footage. The disc will be presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 format, with English DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks, and English subtitles. It will be a Region 0 (PAL) DVD-9 disc.

Cinema Club will release H.B. Halicki's 1974 version of Gone in 60 Seconds - The Original Classic n May the 30th.

The disc will be presented in "fully restored and digitally re-mastered" widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Bonus features include an introduction by H.B's widow, Denice Halicki, and the star of the film, Eleanor. There are also interviews with car manufacturing legend Lee Iococca, and motor racing hero Parnelli Jones, and others (30m); never-before-seen footage (30m); a clip reel (27m); three trailers and six film clips. RRP for the disc is £15.99.

Cinema Club is also issuing Antonio Margheriti's notorious shocker Cannibal Apocalypse (aka Invasion of the Fleshhunters) on May the 30th.

Although the press release mentions that it is "uncut", it also footnotes that the film has received a compulsory BBFC cut for animal cruelty. (I believe the word they were actually looking for is "cut").

The disc will feature extensive extras, including Cannibal Apocalypse Redux (a documentary featuring John Saxon, John Morghen and Antonio Margherete); Apocalypse In The Streets (a video tour of filming locations); poster and stills galleries; alternate openings; trailers; cast and crew filmographies; and notes by journalist Travis Crawford. RRP is £15.99.

Here are the details of the next Kaleidoscope archive television event, which is being held on Saturday the 11th June 2005, between 12:00 and 7:00 pm, at the Amblecote Room, Stourbridge Town Hall, Stourbridge, West Midlands. Admission is free!


12:00 - Special Branch - Reliable Sources, produced by Reginald Collin. A monochrome videotaped episode from the first series, starring Derren Nesbitt.

13:00 - Shadows - Dutch Schlitz's Shoes - one-off play starring Russell Hunter as Mr Stabs, a spin-off from Ace of Wands.

13:30 - Noggin the Nog - Noggin and the Omruds - Episode two.

13:45 - From the Arts... A retrospective of the careers of our guests Pamela Lonsdale and Reginald Collin, who began in arts programming before diversifying. With extracts from Tempo, Ace of Wands (audio extracts from otherwise lost episodes, with photos), Sally and Jake (in

Rainbow), Mystery and Imagination, Beauty and the Beast and Cranford, amongst others.

14:00 - Guest Panel - Reginald Collin and Pamela Lonsdale discuss their long and diverse careers.

16:00 - Educating Oz - 1986 spin-off TV film from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, starring Tim Healy and Jimmy Nail as Dennis and Oz.

16:30 - Rainbow - Plastics - a BAFTA-award winning entry in the long-running series, produced by Pamela Lonsdale.

16:45 - The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - the two surviving episodes from ABC's well remembered adaptation, introduced by Pamela Lonsdale.

17:15 - Tempo - the famous arts series, introduced by Reginald Collin.

17:45 - The Lovers - extract from behind the scenes on the feature film version of Jack Rosenthal's classic comedy, starring Paula Wilcox and Richard Beckinsale.

18:00 - Educating Marmalade - episode from the Andrew Davies kids' drama, starring Charlotte Coleman.

18:30 - Dramarama - Mr Stabs - This second Ace of Wands spin-off stars David Jason as Mr Stabs.

19:00    Close



12:00 - Gazette - Gerald Harper is James Hadleigh in Turn A Blind Eye.

13:00 - Holiday with Strings - A Galton and Simpson comedy play from 1974 starring Les Dawson.

13:30 - Six Dates with Barker - The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town", starring Ronnie Barker.

14:00 - The Signalman's Apprentice - an Anglia play from 1971.

16:00 - The Edward Woodward Hour - music and laughter in this special, produced by Reginald Collin.

17:00 - Diamond Crack Diamond - episode five, starring Alan Dobie.

18:00 - Napoleon and Love - an edition of the 1974 drama series, produced by Reginald Collin.

19:00 - Close

All material at Kaleidoscope events is screened with the permission of the copyright holders. Programmes and timings may be subject to change before the day. Guests appear subject to professional and personal commitments.

In 2005, Kaleidoscope is supporting the Royal National Lifeboat Institution once again.

Web Site:


29th March 2005

I've got something special for you this morning, an announcement that many cult TV fans have been eagerly awaiting!

Australian label Umbrella Entertainment will be releasing an eight-disc DVD set featuring the 1965-66 ITC series The Baron on June the 15th. The series, about an international art and antiques dealer (Steve Forrest), whose profession pitches him into the realm of shady deals and greedy and unscrupulous collectors, was the first UK drama series to be made in colour.

The series, which was based on the famous character created by novelist John Creasey, features a string of first-rate British acting talent in guest roles, including Sue Lloyd (as sidekick Cordelia), Peter Wyngarde, Peter Bowles, George Baker, Jeremy Brett, Edward Woodward, Patrick Allen, Michael Gwynn and Robert Hardy. It was produced by ITC stalwart Monty Berman, and includes episodes by Doctor Who mainstays Dennis Spooner and Terry Nation (who was also the series' script editor).

The release of the set celebrates the series' 40th anniversary (production began in 1965). It will feature thirty fifty-minute episodes, packaged in four double Amaray cases, housed in a deluxe hard box packaging.

Exclusive bonus features include commentary tracks on three episodes (Sue Lloyd and Production Supervisor Johnny Goodman on Diplomatic Immunity; Sue Lloyd and Director Cyril Frankel on Something For A Rainy Day; and Sue Lloyd, Production Supervisor Johnny Goodman and Director Roy Ward Baker on The Man Outside). There are also video introductions from guest stars Peter Wyngarde, Annette Andre and writer Brian Clemens (who contributed a couple of scripts under a pseudonym); an insert booklet reprinting the original ITC publicity brochure; original memorabilia gallery; production notes; cast profiles; and extensive image galleries from the ITC archives.

RRP for the set is AU$129.95 (inc. GST taxes, if you're an Australian resident). This should translate to about £45. Here's a look at the provisional box art, which will be tweaked slightly for the finished version.

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

28th March 2005

Ceri has updated the Incoming page with lots of new information, including details about the Lemony Snicket DVD, another forthcoming Dennis Potter disc, and details of 2 Entertain's special edition of Buster Keaton's The General.

The fifth season of The Sopranos will be released by HBO Video on June the 20th.

This set will complete the Sopranos DVD collection for the time being, bringing the DVD releases right up to date. This is the season where Tony and Carmela have just split up; Adriana is spilling family secrets to the Feds; where Tony Blundetto (Steve Busemi) is released back into the community after a spell of imprisonment; and Christopher's addictions are spiralling out of control.

The set will feature thirteen episodes, four of them with commentary tracks (with directors Steve Buscemi, Peter Bogdanovich, Mike Figgis and Rodrigo Garcia).

The set will have Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and optional English subtitles.

Thomas [The Tank Engine] and Friends  - The Complete Second Series will be released on DVD by 2 Entertain / VCI on April the 18th. The set features twenty-six episodes, many of them apparently "never before seen". RRP for the disc is £12.99.

More episodes will be featured on the Thomas & Friends Bumper Party Collection (67m), due on May the 23rd. This set features "12 exciting stories plus never before seen episodes", and features a Thomas Party Game.

Click here if you'd like to see the menu screens for the Region 2 release of Sideways, and here for some sample menu screens from the Lost In Space - Season 3 set.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment will release Scorsese's magnificent Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator as a two disc DVD edition on June the 13th. The disc will feature a deleted scene (Howard tells Ava about his car accident); A Life Without Limits - The Making of the Aviator (12m); The Role of Howard Hughes; a Discovery Channel documentary about Hughes, titled Modern Marvels; The Affliction of Howard Hughes (14m); an OCD panel discussion with Leonardo DiCaprio, Scorsese, and Hughes' widow, Mighty Joe Young's Terry Moore (14m); The Visual Effects of The Aviator; Constructing The Aviator - The Work of Dante Ferretti (6m); Costuming The Aviator - The Work of Sandy Powell; The Age of Glamour - The Hair and Make-up of The Aviator; Scoring The Aviator - The Work of Howard Shore; The Wainwright Family - Loudon, Rufus and Martha; an advert for the soundtrack; An Evening With Leonardo DiCaprio and Alan Alda; and a stills gallery. No technical details were announced - other than the film has closed captions - but it's expected to be in anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Timings on the bonus material are from the BBFC. No RRP was announced - it's believed to be £22.99 (Amazon and have it for £14.99, Virgin currently has it listed for £12.99, but they seem to think that it's a single-disc, and might not honour pre-orders at that price).

Ladder 49, Jay Russell's dull and soapy film about the career of a Baltimore fireman (played by The Village's Joaquin Phoenix), will be released on DVD on June the 6th. The Buena Vista disc will feature a three-part Making of... documentary (On Location (6m); Fire Academy - Training The Actors (7m) and Anatomy of a Scene - The Warehouse Fire (9m)); Why We Do It (real stories from real fire fighters, apparently titled Everyday Heroes at the BBFC, 9m); deleted scenes (14m approx.); Robbie Robertson's Shine Your Light music video and a commentary track. Timings for the bonus material are from the BBFC. The press release didn't disclose any technical details - except that the disc will have closed captions, and it didn't mention the RRP, which is thought to be £16.99.

He are some sleeve images, including the one for Garden State, which was included in the News update for the 9th of March.

A slightly belated plug for two fine new soundtrack releases from specialist label Film Score Monthly, which has delivered what's widely regarded as one of the holy grails of soundtrack collectors: Dimitri Tiomkin's powerful Theremin-based score for the 1951 science fiction classic, The Thing From Another World.

The score for The Thing From Another World has long lived in the shadow of Herrmann's masterful The Day The Earth Stood Still, which has become the archetypal 50s science fiction score. The Thing...'s score is equally fine, but hasn't had anything like the exposure that Herrmann's score has had over the years. Indeed, for decades it was thought that the original recordings of Tiomkin's score, like those of most RKO productions, were lost to the ether. The only material available from The Thing From Another World came in the form of re-recordings (Charles Gerdhardt's Classic Film Scores adaptation, which substituted an Ondes Martenot for the Theremin; and Silva Screen's version, on their Alien Invasion compilation).

So, it came as something of a surprise to the soundtrack collectors when FSM announced the score's imminent CD release! In fact, the score was re-discovered a couple of years ago, among the acetate recordings from the composer's own collection, which now reside at the Cinema-Television Library of the University of Southern California. Naturally, this means that the audio quality isn't quite up to FSM's usual high standard, but it's perfectly fine, under the circumstances. Most of the score is mono, but a couple of tracks featured overlays, facilitating a rudimentary stereo presentation. The thirteen cues from the film, which include the Main Title and End Title, weigh in at just under twenty-seven minutes. This is a complex score that merits repeated listening.

The Thing From Another World, the label's latest Golden Age Classics release, comes paired with another Tiomkin score, Take The High Ground! It would be relatively easy to dismiss this as a makeweight, to bulk up the relative brevity of The Thing From Another World, but it would be somewhat unfair, too. The 1953 film, about the training of a bunch of army cadets, has never been released on video. The entire score is presented on the disc, mostly in stereo from a second-generation half-inch three track master. It features a memorable march (which is well-integrated into other cues), and a typically fine Tiomkin title song. The disc offers a handful of bonus tracks. Take The High Ground! is an uncomfortable bedfellow to The Thing..., but fans of the composer should be delighted. 

If composer Russell Garcia has any fans, it will almost certainly be on the strength of his beautifully lyrical score for George Pal's 1960 science fiction classic The Time Machine. That disc featured a nice re-recorded seven-minute bonus suite, from another Pal movie, the sword-and-sandals fantasy Atlantis - The Lost Continent. Last year about quarter of an hour's worth of original cues were featured on La-La Land Records' The Fantasy Film Music of George Pal CD. Now, thanks to FSM's Atlantis - The Lost Continent CD the entire score is available, mastered from the original 35mm three-track recordings. The film - not one of Pal's best efforts - was hamstrung by budgetary cuts. It required a great deal of post-production re-shaping, as the result of costly sequences being dropped from the shooting script. Because of this a lot of music cues were hacked around, and the CD finally restores this damage, by presenting all forty-six minutes as the composer originally intended.

Garcia's score is complemented by the music from another Pal movie: Miklůs Růzsa's score for the little-seen 1968 science fiction movie The Power. The original tapes are long-gone, but before they disintegrated, about half an hour of cues were corralled for a 1978 composer-approved unofficial "private pressing" Citadel LP, which paired the music with Růzsa's score for Sodom and Gomorrah. Subsequently these cues have appeared a couple of times on CD (once, unauthorised, on Prometheus's Miklůs Růzsa: Film Music Volume One CD, and, more recently, on La-La Land's legit The Fantasy Film Music of George Pal CD). Although some of the cue titles have been changed for accuracy, the FSM CD offers nothing new (although it has been re-mastered from Citadel's original album masters).

Both discs come with FSM's customary detailed track notes, as part of their lavishly-illustrated booklets, and come highly recommended. Science fiction scores seem to sell well for FSM, and it seems likely that The Thing From Another World will sell-out before too long.

Both discs are limited editions of 3000 copies, and are available from the usual specialist retailers (including the label's official distributor, Screen Archives Entertainment). Audio samples and more information is available at the Film Score Monthly website.

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

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