1st September 2005
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
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
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.
International will release Dennis Przywara's award-winning documentary
Starwoids, about obsessive Star Wars fans, on DVD on November
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
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
Both discs will feature "Doby" 5.1 Japanese
mixes, with English subtitles, and an English dub (the one for The Cat
Tim Curry, Anne Hathaway and Elliot Gould).
No other technical details were announced. Each disc has an RRP of £19.99.
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
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
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
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".
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
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
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
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
1.08. 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
1.16. 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
1.23. Who’s The Boss?
1.24. Miami Vice
1.25. Night Court
1.26. The A-Team
1.27. St. Elsewhere
1.29. Knight Rider
1.30. Cagney & Lacey
1.31. The Greatest American Hero
1.32. Hill Street Blues
1.34. Magnum, P.I.
1.35. The Facts of Life
1.36. Diff’rent Strokes
1.37. WKRP In Cincinnati
1.40. Fantasy Island
1.41. The Love Boat
1.43. Eight Is Enough
1.44. Three’s Company
1.45. Wonder Woman
1.46. Charlie’s Angels
1.47. The Muppet Show
1.49. 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
2.06. The Jeffersons
2.07. Police Woman
2.08. The Rockford Files
2.09. Good Times
2.10. The Six Million Dollar Man
2.12. The Waltons
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
2.25. Hawaii Five-O
2.26. The Banana Splits
2.27. The Newlywed Game
2.28. The Dating Game
2.29. The Monkees
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
2.37. 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
2.49. 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
29th August 2005
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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):
The Masque of the Red Death (Roger
The Tomb of Ligea (Corman)
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
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
Russell Garcia's evocative score is a
favourite among film music fans, and, indeed, with the many fans of the
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
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.
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
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
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
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
(subject to last minute changes)
is as follows ...
12:00 The Opening Night of ITV - highlights from this landmark
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
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
19:30 The Avengers - Hot Snow
- all the surviving footage from the first ever episode.
20:00 Raven - episode one.
SECOND VIEWING AREA
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
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
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.
More details - and last-minute updates -
are available at the
Last week's Zeta Minor News
can be viewed
Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed