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DVD News 06.03.

poster art for Never Take Sweets From A Stranger

UK quad for Never Take Sweets From A Stranger, one of the thirteen Hammer titles announced for DVD release in a deal announced between DD Home Entertainment in the UK and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Hammer's official website has today announced an exciting slate of dvd releases starting later this year. The deal is the result of a long negotiation between DD Home Entertainment in the UK and the present owners of the Columbia Pictures catalogue, Sony. Thirteen Hammer titles have been provisionally announced, many of which have never been released on home video formats before, and two of which were widely considered to be "lost" Hammer films.


The thirteen titles coming to dvd are The Camp on Blood Island (1958), Cash on Demand (1963), Creatures the World Forgot (1971), The Damned (1961), Don't Panic Chaps (1959), The Gorgon (1964), Maniac (1963), Never Take Sweets From A Stranger (1960), The Stranglers of Bombay (1959), Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960), Taste of Fear (1961), Terror of the Tongs (1960), and Watch It Sailor (1961).


The announcement stresses that the titles are subject to an evaluation of archive materials, which could suggest that more titles may be announced, or that titles may be subsequently put on hold. According to Hammer "There may be other titles to follow."


The Columbia Hammer films are amongst the most highly sought after by fans, and include a number of war pictures, horror and comedy films, and have previously been unreleased on home video formats. Most have been screened on tv in the last twenty years, but few lately in the UK or USA, resulting in a healthy inferior bootleg trade for several of the titles. We'd encourage fans to hold out for the official releases later this year.


Sony/Columbia have previously dipped into their catalogue to issue dvds of Revenge of Frankenstein (US & UK), and Die Die My Darling (aka. Fanatic)(US & UK), alongside a UK only release of The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb and a Japanese only dvd of Taste of Fear.


Indications that the Sony catalogue *might* at least be accessible for licensing in the UK were evident with the 1990s video release by Elite of several Hammer titles including These Are the Damned (US title for The Damned), Stranglers of Bombay, The Old Dark House, and The Gorgon.


Of the titles revealed today enthusiasts will be delighted by the prospect of scope versions in high-resolution dvds for the first time. Several titles were also thought by some to be unlikely to see a dvd release owing to changing attitudes, and the possibility of the accusation of racism being levelled against the likes of Terror of the Tongs, The Stranglers of Bombay and The Camp on Blood Island owing to their casting of caucasion actors in ethnic roles. Nevertheless the Hammer/Columbia productions include some of the most cerebral work from the company - Yesterday's Enemy (1959) received a BAFTA nomination for Best Film and paints a grim reality to the duality of the warring Japanese and British factions in the second World War; The Damned is a grim sci-fi warning helmed by the blacklisted director Joseph Losey; Cash on Demand proved an intelligent psychological two-hander between Andre Morell and Peter Cushing; and  Never Take Sweets From A Stranger is one of the finest films Hammer ever produced, with its shocking warnings of paedophilia lambasted by a conservative press of the period who believed Hammer to only be capable of exploitation and not social comment.


We'll be following progress on this story with great interest over the coming weeks and months and will keep you updated. The dvds are likely to include a swathe of special features in line with previous DD releases.


The announcement does leave a number of other Hammer titles produced with Columbia still unreleased. This includes: The Ugly Duckling, A Weekend With Lulu, The Old Dark House, The Brigand of Khandahar, The Devil Ship Pirates (previously released by Warner Bros in the UK), The Full Treatment, The Pirates of Blood River, The Scarlet Blade, The Snorkel, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, Visa To Canton, and the Val Guest masterpiece Yesterday's Enemy.



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see also....

* Weekend With Lulu - not lost! (news 28.04.07)









House of Horror: The Unofficial Hammer Films Site © RJE Simpson 1999 - 2007
Site launched Sunday 8th August 1999