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Category:    Home > Reviews > Musical > Backstage > Drama > Dancing > Lesbian > Thriller > Comedy > Gay > TV > Leading Ladies (2011/Wolfe DVD)/The Night The Prowler (1978/Umbrella Region Zero/PAL Import DVD)/Queer As Folk – The Complete Collection (Original UK Series/1999 – 2000/Acorn Media DVD)

Leading Ladies (2011/Wolfe DVD)/The Night The Prowler (1978/Umbrella Region Zero/PAL Import DVD)/Queer As Folk – The Complete Collection (Original UK Series/1999 – 2000/Acorn Media DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C/C+/B-     Main Programs: C/C+/B-



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0/Free PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



The gay-related material we have seen lately has been often forgettable and weak, but the next titles are better than usual on the whole.



Erika Randall Beahm and Daniel Beahm’s Leading Ladies (2011) starts as a typical melodrama with some ambition about two sisters who spur all around them to get involved in a ballroom dancing contest, with the twist that at least one pair will be an all female couple.  In recent yeas, more of these Backstage Musicals set in Ballrooms have cropped up (including the underrated Shall We Dance?) to the point where it is almost a cycle, but this one got too tied up by its formulaic script, though some may enjoy this more than myself for just being different.  However, through no fault of the production, the Backstage cycle has been played out for now and TV dancing contest shows have only made the situation worse.  Extras include a Trailer, Outtakes and Deleted & Extended Scenes


If you ever wondered what Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) director Jim Sharman made after that eventual hit, than you missed The Night The Prowler (1978) which is not available in the U.S. on DVD, yet Umbrella Entertainment in Australia has issued it.  Based on the Patrick White book, a young lady (Kerry Walker) has been in a toxic living situation with her mother (Ruth Cracknell) to the point that she has lost her identity and/or never developed one.  One night, she is attacked and this shatters her oppressed, innocent self to the point that she develops a masculinized persona and goes on a bad girl spree.


I am surprised fans of Rocky Horror have not embraced this film or made it a hit too, even as an adjunct to the hit, but it is an interesting work that has its flaws, but seems as current as ever.  The actors are good all around including Walker who later showed up in The Piano.  Definitely an interesting film.  Extras include a Theatrical Trailer and feature length audio commentary by Director Sharman.


Finally we have the original U.K. version of Queer As Folk in a Complete Collection DVD set from Acorn in the U.S. that offers a series far superior to the U.S. HBO version for many reasons.  This version is more authentic, well acted, believable and not as silly.  Whereas the U.S. HBO version takes place in a Pittsburgh that never has, does not and never will exist, this takes place in Manchester, which supposedly includes the #1 location in all gay cities worldwide for gay men according to the teleplay (who knew).  Doctor Who contributor Russell T. Davies created the show and its stars include Aidan Gillen (The Wire), Charlie Hunnam (Sons Of Anarchy) and Craig Kelly (Titanic), so this is not some obscure project and was a big hit in England when it debuted.  Gay males have rarely (or lately) been treated with such 3-dimensionality and dignity.


Extras include a 20-page booklet on the show, U.K. interviews, behind-the-scenes interviews, U.K. trailers for Series 2, photo gallery, featurette “What The Folk…?” and Deleted & Extended Scenes with optional commentary.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on all three releases are not great, but not bad with some nice shots for the format throughout, which is particularly interesting in the part of the much older Prowler, but all could use Blu-ray editions.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 on Leading is about even as it is a dialogue-based mix and the only surrounds really kick in for music and maybe some sound effects.  Prowler is a solid Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono presentation and Folk has Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but with limited surrounds if that.  However, they are all lossy sound versions and maybe they could fair better in lossless editions.



As noted above, you can order the PAL DVD import edition of Prowler exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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