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.
material we have seen lately has been often forgettable and weak, but the next
titles are better than usual on the whole.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
above, you can order the PAL DVD import edition of Prowler exclusively from Umbrella at: