NEWS ARCHIVE - 2nd - 8th JANUARY 2006

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6th January 2006


An interesting Australian release slipped out virtually unnoticed during the run-up to Christmas, and the general kerfuffle of Umbrella's recent re-organisation. It's a six-disc box set of Thames' period adventure series Reilly Ace of Spies (the discs are DVD-5s, with two episodes apiece).

The series is available in the UK (from Acorn) and in the US (from A&E), but Umbrella's Australian set would seem to be a strong contender for being the best choice.

True, it lacks the Region 1 set's Life of Reilly: The Super Spy documentary (about the real Reilly), but boasts superior (PAL) picture quality. (The series was shot on 16mm film, but it's likely the Region 1 set was a standards conversion from an existing set of PAL telecine transfers).

Acorn's UK edition is generally twice the price of the Umbrella edition (which is about £25). Here's are links to the set's listings at EzyDVD and DVDCrave.

More details about Goodnight Sweetheart Series Three (see below) are now available. The two episodes with commentary tracks are It Ain't Necessarily So (by Maurice Gran, Gary Lawson and John Phelps) and The Yanks Are Coming (by Lawson and Phelps). The video interview with Dervla Kerwin runs for twenty-two minutes.


Archive television group Kaleidoscope have announced their latest publication: Forsyte and Hindsight, the memoirs of one of Britain's accomplished television directors, James Cellan Jones. Here's the press release in full...

Forsyte and Hindsight

Available to pre-order from 15th January!

‘It is difficult to remember that all those years ago, the BBC treated The Forsyte Saga as just another show. We had no idea that forty years on it would still be watched by thousands, or that it would be regarded as the BBC’s first Classic serial and indeed would be part of the title of this book. We had done plenty of Classics before that we thought were rather good and we reckoned that this was just another job, though a bit longer.

We were wrong, weren’t we?

In early 1967 the production team started work. David Giles was to direct the beginning and I would do a big chunk in the middle starting with young Jon and Fleur. I cast Martin Jarvis and Susan Hampshire. She was very nervous and frightened and was concealing profound dyslexia. When I got the scripts I was in despair. The series was already underway, I was to direct eight weeks of location filming and the scripts were drab, boring and conventional. I said to Donald, with my heart in my mouth, that I couldn’t direct them. Donald said, ‘I’ll write you the location film sequences and by the time you have
finished I will have the studio scripts ready.’

We proceeded. I made up a lot of introductory shots, one for each episode. Many of them we threw away later. The filming went spectacularly well. When we were filming Jon and Fleur on
Chanctonbury Ring, where Susan sang, enchantingly, ‘O who will o’er the Downs with me?’ Donald arrived in a rage: ‘What’s this I hear about you overspending and commissioning music?’ ‘Two oboes only,’ I said crisply. ‘I’m not bloody made of money,’ he said. There was a roaring and a rattling sound from above. ‘And what the hell’s that?’ ‘That’s the helicopter I’ve ordered for the next shot. May we get on?’ I said.’

James Cellan Jones is one of Britain’s foremost directors of classic plays, series and serials. Credits include Portrait Of A Lady, The Ambassadors, Out Of The Unknown, Play For Today, Holby City and A Bequest To The Nation. He is involved in every aspect of production and his work on The Forsyte Saga, Fortunes Of War and Harnessing Peacocks is still watched by audiences worldwide.

For the first time, James reveals the inside story of his days at the BBC and in independent production. He talks frankly about the scandals and awards of being a jobbing professional in ‘the business’.

Published 24th January 2006. £28 hdbck, £18 pbck
Hardcover or papercover, 292pp, with 40pp of rare and unseen photos, and a detail appendix of work. ISBN 1-900203-11-1

More details are available at the Kaleidoscope website.

4th January 2006


The third season of Goodnight Sweetheart will be released by Revelation on January the 23rd.

The two-disc set features ten episodes, originally screened in 1996, and the fifty-minute Christmas 1995 episode, Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (which features a cameo appearance by a familiar-looking Police Box). This is the last series to feature the show's original line-up of Dervla Kirwan and Michelle Holmes (as Phoebe and Yvonne, respectively).

The set features two episodes with commentary tracks by series co-creator Maurice Gran and writers Gary Lawson and John Phelps. The set also features an exclusive interview with Dervla Kirwin.

Goodnight Sweetheart - The Complete Series Three has an RRP of £19.99.

The seventh series of Will & Grace will be released by Contender Home Entertainment on January the 30th. (This is the season that starts on Channel 4 on Friday).

The set features all twenty-four episodes. According to the sleeve image (left), it will also include a "bonus feature", although this was not mentioned in the press release.

The episodes include guest appearances by Janet Jackson, Sex and the City's Kristin Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Lily Tomlin, Ed Burns, Luke Perry, Sharon Stone, Lee Majors, Alec Baldwin and Eric Stolz.

RRP for the six-disc set is £49.99.

A preview clip from the opening episode of the series is available here:

High Resolution       Medium Resolution       Low Resolution

Warner Home Video will release A Film About Jimi Hendrix on January the 30th.

The two-disc set features a "digitally transferred and restored" version Joe Boyd's 1973 authorised tribute film, which was originally released three years after the musician's untimely death. It features live performance footage spanning Hendrix's entire career (including the landmark Monterey and Isle of Wight festival performances), as well as behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with friends and admirers (including contributions from Pete Townshend, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton).

The film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Bonus material includes a never-before-seen performance of Stone Free from the July 4th, 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival (culled from the Experience Hendrix estate vaults); The Making of Dolly Dagger (analyised by producer / engineer Eddie Kramer); and From Ukulele to the Strat (an hour's worth of bonus featurettes).

RRP for the set is £19.99.

Blue Underground made the following announcement just before Christmas. I've confirmed that this offer extends to customers in the UK who have the set:


Tombs of the Blind Dead and Return of the Evil Dead – Replacement Discs

Blue Underground discovered a one-second audio dropout in the Spanish version of Tombs of the Blind Dead, and a one-frame video / audio glitch in the Spanish Version of Return of the Evil Dead, included in The Blind Dead Collection. The DVDs have been fixed and re-mastered.

Replacement DVDs are ready now should any customers wish to replace their discs. Please mail the Disc(s) Only (do not send the plastic case or coffin box) along with the Return Address to:

BLIND DEAD Replacement
11271 Ventura Boulevard #500
Studio City, CA 91604


Film Score Monthly has released two new soundtrack discs, featuring two scores by John Barry, and a two-disc set featuring music by Bronislau Kaper.

The two John Barry scores are paired on a disc which features music from the star-studded 1972 film version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (which features songs with lyrics by Don Black), and the score for the the 1968 drama Petulia.

Both scores are presented in their original soundtrack album format, licensed from Warner Bros (which is just as well, because the rights to Joseph Shaftel's film adaptation of Alice's Adventures... seem to be in limbo - as demonstrated by the numerous grotty public domain DVD releases in the US).

The score for Alice's Adventures... is one of Barry's most enchanting compositions. It focuses on three sweet ballads, presented on the disc as Curiouser and Curiouser, I've Never Been This Far Before, and the finale, The Me I Never Knew. The disc also includes songs featuring Michael Crawford (the White Rabbit), Sir Robert Helpmann (The Mad Hatter), Peter Sellers (The March Hare) and Spike Milligan (the Gryphon).

Barry's music for Petulia marked the composer's second collaboration with director Richard Lester (after 1965's The Knack... and How To Get It). The film, about the relationship between a San Franciscan surgeon (George C. Scott) and a quixotic free-spirited woman (Julie Christie) trapped in an abusive marriage, was a breakthrough movie for Lester. Barry wrote Petulia's melancholy score during an extraordinarily-creative period, which also spawned fabulous scores like You Only Live Twice, The Lion in Winter and Midnight Cowboy. The film's haunting main theme is presented in several variations, including a smoky jazz version apparently aimed at getting radio airplay.

Both scores have been re-mastered from the original quarter-inch stereo studio album tapes. The disc has a nicely-illustrated sixteen-page booklet, featuring track notes by Jon Burlingame.

The Glass Slipper was, as the title suggests, an adaptation of the Cinderella tale. The film was made in the wake of the hugely-successful Lili, by much the same MGM crew. Both films starred Leslie Caron, and featured music by composer Bronislau Kaper, who was reunited with Lili's screenwriter / lyricist Helen Deutsch.

The Glass Slipper made prominent use of its lush, romantic ballet score, and its infectious waltz, Take My Love (which was recorded as a single by Eddie Fisher).

The film was in production for a long period, allowing Kaper plenty of time to create and record the music. This meant that many cues were re-written and re-recorded. The Film Score Monthly disc presents the film's score on one disc (running in excess of seventy minutes), and alternate cues and outtakes on a second (totalling an hour). These were re-mixed from the original 35mm stereo recordings (conducted by the great Miklós Rózsa).

The disc has extensive sleeve and track notes by Lukas Kendall, in its twelve-page booklet.

The Glass Slipper is a limited edition of 300 copies.

Track lists and track samples for both titles can be found at the Film Score Monthly website.

A couple of days ago Film Score Monthly label boss Lukas Kendall issued a list of the company's CD releases that are running out of stock. If you have any desire to get the following titles, I suggest you snap them up as soon as possible. There's not a duff disc among them, and some of them are essential cornerstones in any decent collection (Patton, for example).

Stagecoach / The Loner  (Jerry Goldsmith)

Fantastic Voyage (Leonard Rosenman)
The Return of Dracula / Cabinet of Caligari etc  (Gerald Fried)

Patton / Flight of the Phoenix  (Goldsmith / Frank DeVol - 100 left!)

Prince Valiant  (Franz Waxman)

Monte Walsh  (John Barry)

Prince of Foxes  (Alfred Newman)

All About Eve / Leave Her To Heaven (Alfred Newman)

Rio Conchos   (Jerry Goldsmith)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Leonard Rosenman)

A Guide For the Married Man  (John Williams)

Batman   (Neil Hefti - less than 200 copies left)

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef   (Bernard Herrmann - less than 100 left)

The French Connection I & II (Don Ellis - less than 200 left)

The Bravados  (Alfred Newman, Hugo Friedhofer)

The World of Henry Orient  (Elmer Bernstein)

The best place to get Film Score Monthly discs is from their official distributor, Screen Archives Entertainment.


Kaleidoscope has announced the dates of four events that will take place during 2006. These are:

Saturday the 4th of March (provisional guests: Ted Childs, Verity Lambert, and James Cellan Jones)

Saturday the 3rd of June

Saturday the 2nd of September

Saturday the 9th of December

More details will be announced in due course.

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

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

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