Search Now:

In Association with


1st September 2005


I was saddened to hear of the death of fine British character actor Michael Sheard, who appeared in numerous films and TV shows over the last few decades.

Indeed, Sheard's resume reads like an A-Z of cult British television, with appearances in series such as The Tomorrow People, Space: 1999, Adam Adamant Lives!, Strange Report, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Jason King, Beasts, The New Avengers, Blake's 7, Enemy at the Door (The Raid), and The Invisible Man.

He appeared in six Doctor Who stories, alongside five different Doctors (most memorably as the tragic Laurence Scarman in the 1975 Tom Baker story Pyramids of Mars).

These telefantasy credits are the tip of the iceberg, though: he appeared in dozens of other TV shows.

To a generation of children raised during the late 80s he was Grange Hill's officious teacher, Mr Bronson. To their parents, he was perhaps better known as the German site foreman, Helmut, in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Michael also made notable appearances in several well-liked films. In The Empire Strikes Back he was Admiral Ozzel, who was memorably throttled by Darth Vader. He played a U-Boat Captain in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and appeared, un-credited, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as Adolf Hitler (a role he played several times during his career).

He was a favourite guest at numerous fan conventions, always generous with his time, and unfailingly enthusiastic. If you do a Google image search on his name, you'll find dozens of photo's of him with his fans.

The BBC has a nice obituary here. An In Memoriam thread can be found at Roobarb's DVD Forum. My condolences to his family and many friends.


Warner Home Video will release the Babylon 5 spin-off TV movie Legend of the Rangers on October the 24th.

The film, the sixth of the feature-length Babylon 5 movies, was produced by series creator J. Michael Straczynski, and features one of the stars of the original series, Andreas Katsulas. I'm not familiar with this particular strand of JMS's universe, so here's the blurb from the press release:

The year is 2264 and Ranger David Martel is given command of the Liandra, a haunted 20 year old Minbar, fighting ship. The wars are over, and an unprecedented era of exploration is at hand. The Interstellar Alliance has been organized to establish and maintain peace among its member worlds, including Earth.

The Rangers are an elite military force made up of hand-picked young, smart, dedicated human and alien members who combine the high-tech elements of space travel with the idealism and honor of the knights of old. They encounter a previously unknown alien race whose lethal power is far greater than any force previously known to Earth or any other world in the Interstellar Alliance.

The programme will be presented in its original 1.33:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Sadly, there are apparently no bonus features. The RRP is £17.99.

Pauly Shore is Dead, a satirical look at the transitory nature of celebrity, will be released on DVD by M.I.A. on October the 10th. The film features a parade of guest roles, and includes appearances by Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Jaime Bergman and Sean Penn, among many others

The disc will feature a commentary track by writer / director / star Pauly Shore; Interrogating the Wiez Q&A with Shore; a Making of... featurette; deleted scenes, hosted by Eminem, Shore, Charlie Sheen, and Paris and Nicky Hilton; and a music video featuring Shore and Aaron Lewis of Staind, It's Been A While. The RRP is £17.99.

Ventura International will release Dennis Przywara's award-winning documentary Starwoids, about obsessive Star Wars fans, on DVD on November the 7th.

The film explores the intense rivalry that develops between two queues of fans who are competing to be the first people to see The Phantom Menace. (I wonder if any of them thought that the film was worth queuing for six weeks for?)

The film will also feature fans who try to gatecrash the Skywalker ranch; MC Boba Fett; and a girl who painted her car to look like a battle-damaged X-Wing fighter. The disc features a bonus twenty-three minute interview with self-confessed "Star Wars dork", director Kevin Smith. RRP for the disc is £15.99.

The first collaboration between director Carol Reed and author Graham Greene, the Oscar-nominated 1948 thriller The Fallen Idol, will be released by Optimum Releasing on DVD on November the 7th. The film, which is based on Greene's story The Basement Room, stars Ralph Richardson. No technical details were announced. The disc has an RRP of £15.99.

Optimum Asia will release two Studio Ghibli animated films, The Cat Returns and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, on September the 26th. The release ties in with the twentieth anniversary of the studio's creation, and the theatrical release of their latest film. Howl's Moving Castle, (on September the 23rd).

The Cat Returns will feature a Making of... featurette; complete storyboards; the original Japanese theatrical trailer, and a Studio Ghibli trailer reel.

The Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind disc will feature complete storyboards; the original Japanese theatrical trailer and a Studio Ghibli trailer reel; and The Birth Story of Studio Ghibli featuette.

Both discs will feature "Doby" 5.1 Japanese mixes, with English subtitles, and an English dub (the one for The Cat Returns features Tim Curry, Anne Hathaway and Elliot Gould). No other technical details were announced. Each disc has an RRP of £19.99.

Nucleus Films, a new company run by film guru Marc Morris and filmmaker Jake West, will be releasing two titles on September the 19th. The company aims to create "a high quality collector's film... run by people whose passion for film is equal to that of the fans".

Two Spanish films make up the label's initial offering. The first is Miguel Bardem's science-fiction thriller The Ugliest Woman in the World (La mujer más fea del mundo), "a witty critique of society's hypocritical obsession with physical beauty". The film stars Talk To Her's Roberto Álvarez and former model Elia Galera, making her acting debut.

The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen format, with a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1 audio tracks and optional English subtitles. Bonus materials include a Making of... featurette; trailers; TV spots; a stills gallery.

Álvarez also appears in Nucleus's second release, Between Your Legs (Entre las piernas), a slick erotic thriller, inspired by Hitchcock's Vertigo. The film, which stars Victoria Abril and Javier Bardem, is about "two rehabilitation-seeking sex addicts whose adulterous relationship leads them into a dark world of blackmail and murder".

The disc will feature an anamorphic widescreen transfer, a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1 audio tracks and optional English subtitles. Bonus features include a Making of... featurette; trailers; TV spots; and a stills gallery. 

Both discs have an RRP of £14.99. Here's the sleeve art...



Buena Vista Home Entertainment is launching the DVD of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy movie at the Oxford Street, London branch of the Virgin Megastore on September the 5th, at 5pm. The event will be attended by Martin Freeman (who plays Arthur), Warwick Davies (who plays Marvin the android) and Executive Producer Robbie Stamp.

The first forty-two fans will receive special numbered limited edition box sets, a dressing gown and a towel. Fans can also win a signed and framed poster in a "special cosmic raffle".


American label TVT Records will release a new two-disc compilation of TV theme tunes on September the 6th.

The label has a long history of releasing TV themes (they released their original collection in 1985). They were responsible for the multi-volume Television's Greatest Hits collection, which featured a pretty comprehensive selection spanning several decades. Unsurprisingly, this was skewed to American series, but a few from this side of the pond crept in here and there.

The new collection, All-Time Top 100 TV Themes, was compiled based on music chart positions (it includes a number of bona fide hits, including Jan Hammer's Miami Vice, Al Jarreau's Moonlighting, and The Rembrandts' I'll Be There For You (the theme from Friends), TV Guide ranking, and simple public popularity.

In the past the company has used "recreations" for some themes, where the original masters were lost or unavailable, but this new collection features only the original recordings (including themes like Gilligan's Island, My Three Sons, Batman and WKRP in Cincinnati). This pledge will extend to TVT's forthcoming Tee Vee Toons - All Original Television Themes series.

Naturally, the tracks on All-Time Top 100 TV Themes are exclusively American. All the obvious choices are represented, from ancient favourites like Dragnet, right up to recent themes like Six Feet Under and Everybody Loves Raymond. The vast majority of the series will be familiar to British audiences, perhaps an indication of just how much American culture has been assimilated into our own.

Naturally, there'll be a few tracks you might quibble with. Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes don't seem to qualify, for example, and there's not a sniff of anything by Dennis Waterman.

Here's the track listing:

1.01. Six Feet Under
1.02. Sex And The City
1.03. Ally McBeal
1.04. Will & Grace
1.05. Everybody Loves Raymond
1.06. Frasier
1.07. Friends
1.08. Late Show With Letterman
1.09. Mad About You
1.10. Melrose Place
1.11. Beverly Hills 90210
1.12. Law & Order
1.13. Northern Exposure
1.14. The Simpsons
1.15. Thirtysomething
1.16. Full House
1.17. 21 Jump Street
1.18. L.A. Law
1.19. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse
1.20. Perfect Strangers
1.21. Growing Pains
1.22. Moonlighting
1.23. Who’s The Boss?
1.24. Miami Vice
1.25. Night Court
1.26. The A-Team
1.27. St. Elsewhere
1.28. Cheers
1.29. Knight Rider
1.30. Cagney & Lacey
1.31. The Greatest American Hero
1.32. Hill Street Blues
1.33. Dynasty
1.34. Magnum, P.I.
1.35. The Facts of Life
1.36. Diff’rent Strokes
1.37. WKRP In Cincinnati
1.38. Taxi
1.39. Dallas
1.40. Fantasy Island
1.41. The Love Boat
1.42. Soap
1.43. Eight Is Enough
1.44. Three’s Company
1.45. Wonder Woman
1.46. Charlie’s Angels
1.47. The Muppet Show
1.48. Alice
1.49. What’s Happening!!
1.50. Laverne & Shirley

  2.01. One Day At A Time
2.02. Welcome Back, Kotter
2.03. Barney Miller
2.04. Starsky and Hutch
2.05. S.W.A.T.
2.06. The Jeffersons
2.07. Police Woman
2.08. The Rockford Files
2.09. Good Times
2.10. The Six Million Dollar Man
2.11. M*A*S*H
2.12. The Waltons
2.13. Maude
2.14. Sanford and Son
2.15. All In The Family
2.16. The Partridge Family
2.17. The Odd Couple
2.18. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
2.19. Happy Days
2.20. Sesame Street
2.21. Love, American Style
2.22. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
2.23. The Brady Bunch
2.24. Scooby-Doo
2.25. Hawaii Five-O
2.26. The Banana Splits
2.27. The Newlywed Game
2.28. The Dating Game
2.29. The Monkees
2.30. Batman
2.31. I Dream Of Jeannie
2.32. The Wild Wild West
2.33. Green Acres
2.34. Gilligan’s Island
2.35. The Addams Family
2.36. Bewitched
2.37. The Jetsons
2.38. The Dick Van Dyke show
2.39. The Andy Griffith Show
2.40. The Flintstones
2.41. My Three Sons
2.42. The Twilight Zone
2.43. Leave It To Beaver
2.44. Perry Mason
2.45. The Honeymooners
2.46. Merrie Melodies
2.47. Looney Toons
2.48. Dragnet
2.49. I Love Lucy
2.50. The Lone Ranger

If only there was a company doing something similar in the UK.

As Geoff Leonard's label Play It Again has apparently upped stumps, there's a desperate need for a label to champion British TV themes. The five volumes The A To Z of British Themes they released offered a fine selection, but the last one came out seven years ago, and there have been dozens of memorable themes since then, and many more that have gained renewed popularity through being released on DVD.

29th August 2005


Contender is releasing a Special Collector's Edition of George Romero's seminal 1968 zombie movie Night of the Living Dead on September the 26th (to coincide with the September 9th theatrical release of the latest film in Romero's series, Land of the Dead.

The new disc presents the film in "fully restored and re-mastered" form, with a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 (384kbps) or original mono (192kbps) audio mixes. The "fully restored and re-mastered" claim can be moderated by the knowledge that the disc is a standards-conversion from an NTSC master, with tell-tale interpolation errors (video frames are often blends of adjacent film frames). There are also other problems with the transfer which could have been fixed, or abated, if the film had been "fully" restored, including film weave, twitchy cuts, and density changes (all betraying the film's low budget origins, and it's chequered history).

Bonus features include star Duane Jones' final audio interview (16m); Judith Ridley interview (11m); selected scenes from George Romero's lost film There's Always Vanilla (5m, from a poor-quality video source); photo', prop and merchandise galleries; US TV spots and trailers (3m); and a script archive (presented as 409 separate .jpg images, accessible via a DVD-ROM drive). There are two commentary tracks: one by Romero; the other by cast members Keith Wayne, Vince Survinski, Kyra Schon, Bill Heinzman and Judith O'Dea.

The disc will be housed in limited edition steel packaging. The RRP is £19.99.

The fifth series of the award-winning animated sketch show 2DTV will be released on DVD by Contender Home Entertainment on September the 26th.

2DTV - The Complete Series 5 features more than a hundred minutes of sketches, including appearances by Wayne and Colleen (the stone age scousers), Gordon Ramsey, Michael Palin, Peter Andre, Abi Titmuss, Location, Location's Phil and Kirsty, Charles and Camilla, Arnie, Posh and Becks, and many more.

Special features include "the Paula Radcliffe sketches that were too nasty to broadcast"; "the biggest John Prescott burp ever"; writer's commentary; stills gallery, and "The Queen Passing Wind".

Buena Vista will release the quirky romantic comedy A Lot Like Love on October the 24th. The film features Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet, as a couple who seemed destined to be together, despite circumstances that contrive to keep them apart. There's little chemistry between the lead characters, and Peet is miscast in a role that needs someone who can convincingly convey a punkish free-spirit.

The disc will feature deleted scenes; a blooper reel; a music video by Aqualung; and a commentary track by director Nigel Cole. No technical details were announced, and the press release didn't include the RRP, which is believed to be £17.99.

Walt Disney Classics will release a restored and re-mastered two-disc edition of their animated classic Cinderella on October the 24th.

Bonus features include a pop music video, A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes; deleted scenes; the Cinderella Work Song; Dancing on a Cloud; songs deleted from the final film (Sing a Little, Dream a Little, I'm in the Middle of a Muddle and The Dress My Mother Wore); From Rags To Riches - The Making of Cinderella; Storyboard-to-Film Comparison (showing the animation process); From Walt's Table - A Tribute to Disney's Nine Old Men; Cinderella Gallery; and theatrical trailers. The RRP is £21.99. The film itself is just over an hour long, so that's pretty expensive, if you're not interested in the bonus material!

Tartan has made a number of changes to its theatrical and DVD schedule. The titles affected are:

Battle Royale II: Revenge (two-disc tin edition) - was October, now 5/12/05

Inner Senses - now due 24th October

Vital - was due December, now due 30th January 2006

Whispering Corridors - now due December the 5th

Bigas Luna's The Tit and the Moon - now due December the 5th

Ozu Box Set 3 - was due December, now due 27th February 2006

Essential Truffaut box set - now due 5th December

HBO Video is releasing two stand-up comedy specials: Jamie Foxx - Straight From The Foxxhole, on October the 3rd, and Whoopi Goldberg - Back to Broadway - The 20th Anniversary, on October the 31st.

The Jamie Foxx performance, which was recorded in San Diego in 1993, runs for about an hour, and has an RRP of £12.99.

Back To Broadway is a two-disc set, contains Whoopi's first solo HBO special in thirteen years, recorded at New York's Lyceum Theatre. The set also contains an interview; bloopers; In The Can featurette; and the hour-long Direct From Broadway. The RRP is £15.99

Species IIIAs usual, MGM's latest press release has arrived long after titles have been listed by the various e-tailers. It also appears that MGM is no more - the latest press release bears the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment logo.

Here's a summary of the company's October releases...

Due 3rd October

Species 1-3 Box Set - The Making of Species; Interviews (inc. HR Giger); Commentaries; Alternate Endings; Species 3 teaser; featurettes; behind-the-scenes photo' gallery - £24.99

Spaghetti Westerns Special Edition Box Set (A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly) - combining the three existing two-disc sets. Copious bonus material. £34.99

Due 17th October

Mindhunters (Renny Harlin) - £19.99

Halloween titles (£12.99 each):


Haunted Honeymoon

Poltergeist III

The Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman)

The Tomb of Ligea (Corman)

Torture Garden

Due 24th October

The Amityville Horror - 2005 version, Interviews, Making of..., Commentary - RRP £19.99

The Amityville Horror Box Set -containing the 1979 version and the  2005 version - RRP £24.99

Kung Fu Hustle - Cast and Crew commentary; Stephen Chow interview (28m); deleted scenes (4m); outtakes and bloopers (5m); poster and photo gallery; trailer - £19.99

Kung Fu Hustle - Box set with key ring, sweatband, playing cards and inflatable axe - £24.99


If, a week ago, you'd asked anyone who knew anything about film soundtracks if there would ever be a CD of the original film recordings for the 1960 version of The Time Machine, the answer would have been a definitive "No!"

Russell Garcia's evocative score is a favourite among film music fans, and, indeed, with the many fans of the film itself. 

There has been a recording available, from Talking Rings Records, via GNP Crescendo, but, apart from a couple of cues, this was a re-recording. Because the original orchestrations had been junked, it had been reconstructed by Garcia from scratch. Although the album was well-received - and is an essential part of any genre buff's collection - it's become increasingly disappointing as the years roll by. The tracks on the old album that do come from the original film recordings are mono, and lack texture. The rest of the recording sounds rather austere, as if a few corners had been cut here and there. There's even been some speculation that the quality of the re-recorded tracks was deliberately downgraded, so that the album would sound more consistent. With these shortcomings in mind, speculation about the possibility of an authentic soundtrack release has always been high (especially as the original stereo tracks were known to have existed as recently as the 90s, when the stereo laserdisc was released).

Until last week, however, everyone thought that the original stereo recording of The Time Machine's score might be lost. Last year La-La Land Records released a compilation album that included a few Time Machine tracks  titled The Fantasy Film Music of George Pal. They'd worked on the album for two years, and had searched extensively for the original recordings, without any success.

So, imagine the wave of surprise and excitement last week, when, out of the blue, Film Score Monthly announced the release of a new CD of The Time Machine, in stereo, mixed from the original three-track scoring masters!

The results are impressive. The new FSM Golden Age Classics CD sounds incredibly rich in comparison to the old disc, with good dynamic range, encompassing some thunderous brass. There's a bit of hiss during some of the quieter tracks, and the occasional slightly iffy edit, but I doubt if anyone will mind too much.

The score is complete, running for just over three-quarters of an hour. After a respectful pause, a seven-minute Outtakes Suite begins, consisting of five very-much-appreciated tracks: versions of the Main Title / Credits / London 1900 montage, and the Beautiful Forest / Fear cues, without the addition of sound effects (which Garcia regards as an integral part of the score); the original version of the People Scurry / Fast Change cue, with the ragtime section played in normal speed (it's sped up in the film, to suggest the rapid passing of time); an alternate version of All The Time In The World (which plays as George begins telling his guests his remarkable story); and an abbreviated version of the End Title.

The disc's nicely-illustrated sixteen booklet disc comes with background notes (which reveal some of the innovative techniques used for the score), and track notes, by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall. It also features, in my humble opinion, one of the most striking cover designs I've seen on a compact disc: a clever blend of two pieces of Reynold Brown's stunningly-beautiful poster artwork.

Film Score Monthly's Silver Age Classics release is Maurice Jarre's full-blooded score, for Ilya Salkind's 1978 follow-up to The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers, Crossed Swords. If that title has puzzled you, then it's probably because you've only ever heard the film referred to by its British title - and the title of the novel that it was based on - The Prince and the Pauper.

The disc contains the same programme as the LP version (it's another title where, because the rights to the album are owned by a different company to the one that owns the film, the album version is all that's available for licensing). Thankfully this selection is more than satisfying, with a handful of strong themes, and lots of rousing action cues. There's also a streak of pomp and circumstance, which is scored for, and played on, some authentic period folk instruments (including the dulcimer, the crumhorn, and the delightfully-named sackbut). The recording was made by legendary producer John Richards, whose close-miking technique has resulted in a spectacular audio mix. The disc has been digitally re-mastered from the original quarter-inch stereo album recording.

The ten-page booklet that accompanies the disc isn't as lavish as the ones that accompany most FSM discs, and is illustrated only by a number of relatively crude drawings. I suspect that this was another contractual restriction imposed upon the producers, (this may also be why the album had to retain the film's US title, instead of it's arguably more marketable UK one). Still, the background and track notes, by Paul Andrew McLean, are, as usual, interesting and informative.

The Time Machine disc is a limited edition of three thousand copies. There's no indication that there's a limit on Crossed Swords (which, as it's not as comprehensive as is customary for the label, is available at a reduced price). Both can be bought from specialist soundtrack dealers, or direct from FSM's trading associate, Screen Archives Entertainment. Buying them from Screen Archives Entertainment would obviously be the preferred option, since more of your money will make its way back to the source.

While you're contemplating an order, you might like to know that stock of a number of Film Score Monthly's CDs is dwindling, and you'd be well-advised to pick up any of the following titles, if you have any intention of getting them: Batman (Nelson Riddle), Beneath The Planet of the Apes (Leonard Rosenman), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes / Battle For The Planet of the Apes (Tom Scott / Leonard Rosenman), Fantastic Voyage (Leonard Rosenman), The French Connection / French Connection II (Don Ellis), Monte Walsh (John Barry) and Take A Hard Ride (Jerry Goldsmith). All these discs are limited edition pressings, and once they're gone, there won't be any more pressed. They, too, are available from Screen Archives Entertainment.


The schedule for Kaleidoscope's 50 Years of ITV event has been finalised. The event will be held in the Amblecote Room, Stourbridge Town Hall, Stourbridge, West Midlands, on Saturday the 3rd of September, between midday and 8.3pm. Admission to the event is free and, as usual, there will be some fundraising activity, in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

The programme (subject to last minute changes) is as follows ...


12:00 The Opening Night of ITV - highlights from this landmark occasion.

12:15 Biggles with Oliver Reed.

12:45 Pathfinders to Mars - episode 7 of the legendary sci-fi serial.

13:00 Strangers - Retribution

14:00 Guest Panel - Christopher Hodson - the eminent director discusses his long career.

15:00 Magpie - the final edition of the popular children's magazine show.

15:30 Mr Digby Darling - an episode of this popular Yorkshire
Television sitcom, starring Peter Jones and produced by Christopher Hodson.

16:00 Guest Presentation - Ident Heaven with Tony Currie.

17:00 Weaver's Green - episode 32 of the soap opera, with Dennis Waterman and Kate O'Mara in early roles.

17:30 Spindoe - the last episode of this taut thriller, starring Ray McAnally and Julie Goodyear in an early role.

18:30 Canned Laughter - comedy play from 1979, starring Rowan Atkinson.

19:00 Minder - A Little Bit of Give and Take - this Central Office of Information film was not shown by ITV.

19:30 The Avengers - Hot Snow - all the surviving footage from the first ever episode.

20:00 Raven - episode one.

20:30 Close


12:00 Upstairs Downstairs - Women Shall Not Weep - this award-nominated episode of the classic drama series was chosen for today's schedule by its director, Christopher Hodson, who will also introduce it.

13:00 Hello Lola - 1976 play from the Murder strand, directed by
Christopher Hodson.

14:00 Opportunity Knocks - penultimate edition of the talent show.

14:30 Thirty Minute Theatre - Kind to Everyone.

15:00 Starmaker - musical play with Ray Davies from The Kinks.

15:30 Preview - a 1982 play from this Scottish Television series, unseen in England.

16:00 Armchair Theatre - Scent of Fear.

17:00 The Eagle Has Landed - play that uses the same scenario as the film Capricorn One. Did America really land on the Moon?

17:30 Rogues Gallery - jail-based comedy-drama from 1969 with Ian
McShane in an early role.

18:30 The Avengers - Girl on a Trapeze, early 1961 action... without Patrick Macnee.

19:30 The Organization - Rodney Spurling and Peter Frame - Yorkshire Television drama from the pen of Philip Mackie, directed by Christopher Hodson.

20:30 Close

More details - and last-minute updates - are available at the Kaleidoscope website.

Last week's Zeta Minor News can be viewed here.

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

Site content copyright © J.A.Knott - 2002-2005