24th March 2008
Many titles have been added to our
forthcoming releases database,
Incoming, this week, and many others have
had additional information or links added to them.
Shameless - Series 5 (and the
Series 1-5 box set); the Oscar-winning comedy Juno (available in
double-disc DVD editions, and on
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (on
high-concept science-fiction blockbuster Jumper (on
double-disc DVD and
BBC crime series
Chinese Detective; Casualty spin-off
Holby Blue; and five's award-winning comedy series
Thanks again to the Incoming
team: Barry, Ben, Ceri and Graves for updating the database.
The DVD of George Franju's horror
Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) has been
delayed: it will now be released on May the 12th, three weeks later than
reminder that the second series of the BBC's divorce separation sit-com
Joking Apart is now available from the
(it's only available via the website - you can't get it in the shops!)
If you read our
review of the first series,
you'll know that the series is being released on DVD as very much a labour
of love, and independently licensed from the BBC.
If anything, the new disc is more
impressive than the first, with a solid collection of bonus material
(including commentary tracks on every episode and the show's Comic
Asides pilot episode in full). The episodes have been meticulously
restored (a process that is examined in some detail
I wish label boss Craig Robins all the best
for this release, and hope that it will lead to similarly-neglected gems
from the BBC's archive being liberated (Sink or Swim, anyone?)
Slightly-belated news about the latest
soundtrack CD releases from US label Film Score Monthly (FSM)...
Most months FSM releases two titles: a
Silver Age Classics release and a Golden Age Classics release. These are
categorised by the age (and, to a degree, the perceived target market) of
the scores in question. Golden Age scores date from to 1960; Silver Age
scores date from 1960 onwards (their most recent release, David Shire's
Monkey Shines, dates from 1988).
most recent Golden Age Classic to arrive at Zeta Minor Mansions is a
two-disc set featuring Dimitri Tiomkin's lavish score for Howard Hawks'
camp 1955 Cinemascope epic
Tiomkin, fresh from his Oscar success for
The High and the Mighty, was given a generous budget for the film,
and composed a full-blooded, richly-thematic score for an orchestra of
more than ninety musicians and a choir of eighty. Just recording the score
took almost six months!
Unsurprisingly, the resultant score
accompanies almost the entire film. FSM's discs reflect this, offering
several chunky suites comprised of several cues. The score is almost two
hours long, with another ten minutes of additional and alternate cues
tagged onto the end of disc two (including a pop instrumental version of
the main theme, which was recorded for release as a single).
FSM's CD offers the complete score, and
this is the original recording's (legitimate) CD debut. Ignoring a few
poor-quality bootlegs, Elmer Bernstein re-recorded some material in 1978,
with a much-reduced orchestra, for his Film Music Collection series
(which is also available from FSM). A couple of re-recorded Land of the
Pharaohs cues have also popped up here and there on compilation
albums. It almost goes without saying than none of the bootleg recordings
offers sound quality approaching the FSM disc, but it should be noted that
without exception they lack vital elements which make some key cues,
(the technically-ambitious Song of the Builders, for example),
Land of the Pharaoh's stereo master
tapes were long-ago archived to mono, but the survival of some separate
elements (overdubs, solos, etc) has enabled FSM to offer some of the score
Silver Age Classic is Jacques Loussier's score for Jack Cardiff's 1968
the Sun (which is perhaps better known outside the US as The
The film, a Heart of Darkness-style
pot-boiler set in 1964, in war-torn Congo, reunited The Time Machine's
Rod Taylor (in butch mercenary mode) and Yvette Mimieux (playing a French
refugee). Although the film boasted some exotic location filming (shot by
former cinematographer Cardiff, and DoP Edward Scaife), with Jamaica
standing in for Africa, the film was actually a British production, based
at MGM's studios in Borehamwood.
The film's score was written by Jacques
Loussier, a name that will be unfamiliar to most soundtrack fans. He's
better known to jazz aficionados, for his series of Play Bach
albums (which sold a staggering six million copies in the 60s and early
70s). He also composed the music for a landmark French television series,
Thierry la Fronde, and the LP from the series sold a million
Dark of the Sun's raw, brassy,
multi-layered score, which might reasonably be classed as avant-garde, was
afforded a much larger orchestra than Loussier was used to, comprised of
about sixty to seventy musicians.
About half an hour of the score has been
released on CD before (by Chapter III), but the disc was mono, and many
cues were offered in abbreviated versions. Four tracks were subsequently
included on a French compilation disc, Les Plus Belles Musiques de
Jacques Loussier. This new disc features almost the entire score (one
cue is lost), running for about an hour. Ten minutes of alternate cues and
versions from the 1968 album release are also offered. FSM's disc is in
stereo, taken from quarter-inch stereo archive tapes.
Both discs come with FSM's customary
cue-by-cue track and background notes (the Dark of the Sun booklet
includes the track notes from the original MGM album, and shows how it can
be re-created using the new CD, incidentally).
Both CDs are limited edition pressings of
3000 copies. They're available from specialist etailers, notably FSM's
trading partner, Screen
Last week's Zeta Minor News
can be viewed here.
Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed