March waddles into sight with a couple of movie behemoths. First up there’s the Stanley Kubrick Special Edition Box Set (Warner Home Video ••••), which includes special editions of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket plus the documentary A Life in Pictures which details Kubrick’s life and features candid contributions from colleagues, family and the man himself. Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket make their DVD debut in their original widescreen cinematic format which is a bonus (for the two latter films anyway – do not under any circumstances put yourself through Kubrick’s final farrago). It’s a far from complete collection but is still worth purchasing.
Chain smoking stop frame animation god Ray Harryhausen also steps out of the shadows this fortnight with the Ray Harryhausen Box Set (Sony ••••) which contains three of the great man’s early films from the 1950s, presented with loads of extras. The set contains restored versions of 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957), Earth vs the Flying Saucers (1956) and It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955). All are worth checking out if you’re a fan of this kind of sci-fi adventure, and each film can be played in the original black and white, or the new colourised versions.
Bringing things more up to date, Gareth Lewis’ The Baker (2 Entertain ••, pictured) is a wannabe Ealing comedy starring Damian Lewis (and directed by his brother) about a gangster on the run who hides out as a baker in Wales. The film is of interest solely because it was only released in cinemas in London, so DVD may be your only option if you wish to see it.
Finally, fascism was never more beautiful or frightening than when it went under the lens of Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. For right or wrong, and lest we ever forget the power of the media (then as now), Riefenstahl’s 1936 documentary Triumph of the Will (Pinnacle •••), about the Nuremburg rally, finally gets a DVD release.
This will be the last DVD roundup of this kind. From next issue we will be looking at TV DVD box sets, film books, children’s films and much more. Each issue we will endeavour to bring you something different. It’s been fun, happy viewing.