Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The lions, the witch and the wardrobes

When you can't think of a title, think of anything that pops up....

We're always on the lookout for unusual DVDs. If you're a music fan, listen up.
Guillotine Films has released three (far as I know, that's all that's available) obscure British '60s music films on DVD. "Live It Up" stars David Hemmings (also in "Blow Up!") and features Gene Vincent, Heinz, Sounds Incorporated (who toured with the Beatles in the U.S.), Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen and a young pre-fame Steve Marriott in an acting role. Hemmings also stars in "Be My Guest" which features music (produced by Shel Talmy, later associated with the Who) by Jerry Lee Lewis, the Nashville Teens, Kenny and the Wranglers and another acting role by Marriott. "Dateline Diamonds" also features Marriott, but this time singing with the Small Faces (he'd become famous by this time), plus Kiki Dee (way before her association with Elton John) and the Chantelles.
All three films are variations on the "A Hard Day's Night"/"Ferry Cross the Mersey"/"Having a Wild Weekend" school of filmmaking. All the plots are associated with the burgeoning British music scene and even namedrop the Beatles occasionally. (It makes for good marketing.) If you're a '60s British Invasion fan, these are very much worth tracking down.

Best Buy has released "Rolling Stones: The Biggest Bang," its second four-disc live set devoted to the Stones on tour. (To buy it, click Music, Movies and Games and search for "Rolling Stones: The Biggest Bang"). If you love the Stones, this one's a no-brainer, obviously. At any rate, this is much better than any bootleg you'll manage to come across, sound quality is outstanding and the camera angles are gorgeous. Well worth the $30.

Since we last met, two more releases in the Tojo Master Collection have appeared for Godzilla fans. Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster and Invasion of Astro-Monster (aka Monster Zero) are out. Both have both the original Japanese and truncated U.S. films on one DVD. And both, like the others in the series, are worth grabbing.

Fans of Johnny Weissmuller know the later Tarzan movies were cheesier and some of the plots were more comfortable on a soundstage than a jungle. That's one reason we had to get The Tarzan Collection Starring Johnny Weissmuller, Vol. 2 (Tarzan Triumphs / Tarzan's Desert Mystery / Tarzan and the Amazons / and the Leopard Woman / and the Huntress / and the Mermaids). The improbable (well, they're all improbable, but these are even more so) plots bordered at times on comedic, but they're more fun than the ones on the first set. "Tarzan and the Amazons" is probably the best example of that. Anyway, Tarzan purists will probably groan, but this set is very cool.