British War and Ealing Comedy Collections

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jason-D, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. Jason-D

    Jason-D Agent

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    I would have posted this in one of the Anchor Bay 2005 releases threads but they both seem to be focused on the teen and exploitation films that are coming to DVD this year. I was wondering if someone who knows more about British cinema than me could recommend these sets as a blind buy. I have all of the Powell and Pressburger titles released by Criterion and the Alec Guinness Collection by Anchor Bay and I have enjoyed all of them for the most part. I'd also appreciate it if anyone who is familiar with the R2 releases could say anything about the quality of the transfers.
     
  2. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    The films are great and most are absolute classics of British cinema; most are available in R2 and on some (Went the Day Well, The Titfield Thunderbolt spring to mind), the transfers aren't that red hot, but the majority are acceptable. I cannot see that AB's transfers will be any better, but you never know. The major disappointment is the complete lack of extras and the high srp.
     
  3. DouglasBr

    DouglasBr Stunt Coordinator

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    Amazon has both of these up for pre-order now (March for the War collection; April for the comedies) and they are indeed pricier than I would have liked. But I've waited a long time for some of these (Run For Your Money, Whisky Galore and Passport to Pimlico especially) to pass them up now. Bummer about the lack of extras (the Anchor Bay website specifically says something like "No Extra Features" for them!), but we takes what we can gets.
     
  4. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Can anyone link me to a thread where the contents of these sets are listed? TIA.

    I went to Amazon, but they have no details [​IMG]
     
  5. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Should have looked at Anchor Bay first (but I thought it had gone out of business) :b

    Anyway, the comedy set features :The Titfield Thunderbolt; Passport to Pimlico; A Run for your money; Tight little Island; and The Maggie.

    Don't know all of them, but might give it a shot
     
  6. Mark Philp

    Mark Philp Second Unit

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    The British War Collection includes "The Cruel Sea", The Ship That Died of Shame, "Went The Day Well", "The Damn Busters" and "The Colditz Story". If you love British films both this and the Ealing comedy set are well worth a blind buy. I'll be placing my order tonight. I don't care if there aren't any extras, all I want are the films.
     
  7. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Most of the films in both sets will be "blind buys" for me, but I have seen THE DAM BUSTERS and PASSPORT TO PIMLICO.

    THE DAM BUSTERS is a truly excellent film, and its action climax provided a great deal of inspiration (nearly to the point of outright theft, IMHO) for the final raid on the Death Star at the end of STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE.

    PASSPORT TO PIMLICO is another amusing Ealing comedy, although not on quite the same high level as KIND HEARTS & CORONETS, THE LAVENDER HILL MOB, THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT or THE LADYKILLERS (1955), if you ask me.

    I'm especially keen on seeing THE COLDITZ STORY, TIGHT LITTLE ISLAND (a.k.a. WHISKEY GALORE!) and THE TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT for the first time, as I've wanted to see them for many years now.
     
  8. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    The Dam Busters spawned quite a few imitators, not least 633 Squadron; I wonder if you'll be getting the original code word, or will the axe of political correctness fall on the name of Wing Cmdr. Gibson's dog?
     
  9. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    The Dam Busters is a must buy for me... love the scenes with the low-flying Lancaster bombers.
     
  10. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    The Cruel Sea is one of my all-time favorite movies and Jack Hawkins is sublime in it! I am really looking forward to this one in particular, and both collections in general. [​IMG]

    Add in that Doris Day eight-film box set, and the Errol Flynn set and ouch my aching pocketbook!
     
  11. Jason-D

    Jason-D Agent

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    Thanks for the great response and advice from everybody. I will most likely get both of these sets. In regard to the SRP, the cheapest I have been able to find them for pre-order in at DeepDiscountDVD.com where they are $55 apiece with free shipping.
     
  12. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Well, I managed to find a copy of The British War Collection set at my local Borders Books & Music. I will post my impressions as I wend my way through the films. Each film is packaged in its own hard plastic slimcase. I'll be watching "The Dambusters" first. I've never seen it uncut. [​IMG]

    Regards,
     
  13. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    My BRITISH WAR COLLECTION set arrived the other day, and I watched THE DAM BUSTERS last night. What a great film. John Hodson will be happy to know that Wing Commander Gibson's dog is referred to by his politically-very-incorrect moniker, in this edition. This is the full-length British version of the film (about 123 minutes), not the cut-down American-release version of years ago.

    The print is in reasonably good shape, though not quite in the pristine condition that one sees with some of Warner Bros' higher-profile black & white releases. The mono soundtrack is fine. No extras, but there is a booklet in the box set that gives some background on each film.
     
  14. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  15. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    I'll have to get Dam Busters from Netflix. Here's the cover image they display--although it does look like "British War" up there in the left, can someone confirm that this is the cover of the Anchor Bay version? Not that I know of any other R1 DVD for this title.

    [​IMG]

    Regarding the politically incorrect dog name, Anchor Bay already included a line with the N-word, uncut, in their Alec Guinness collection from 2002. It shows up near the end of Kind Hearts and Coronets, in what I guess is an old British version of the children's rhyme "Eenie Meenie Minie Moe." The next line, as spoken in the movie (and uncut on the DVD), is "Catch a n***er by his toe." Us American kids grew up saying "catch a tiger by his toe."
     
  16. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Thank you Peter; sounds very much like the extant R2 version.
     
  17. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    That is not the cover of the Anchor Bay version. The slimcase has a shot of three bombers in formation laid over a union jack in the bottom 2/3. The title takes up the upper third, and the graphical look is consistent with the box set with a greenish metal and rivets look behind the pictures and text.

    The transfer is pretty decent, but not flawless. The contrast seems to have been pushed a bit too hard so the brightest whites and darkest blacks tend to consume detail. That being said, the film element appears very clean with minimal visible wear and tear excluding certain exteriors and the understandable exceptions of stock footage and optical shots. The DD 2.0 mono track is pretty solid, if a bit band limited, and those looking for noise reduction artifacts will find them, but no major complaints from me.

    There are no extras at all on the disc, no subtitles, no closed captioning, and no alternate language tracks, but the film is still afforded a dual layer disc. The layer change occurs around the 90 minute mark. For some reason it is placed just a second or two after a clean edit that would have seemed perfect for it, but instead, it is a bit unwieldy.

    In any case, it's a better presentation than I hoped for of a classic British war film that hasn't been seen properly in wide release in the US, and I'm happy to own it.

    Regards,
     
  18. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Thanks, Ken. Hmm...I wonder which DVD Netflix is carrying, then. But I haven't seen any indication of any other R1 DVD in existence out there--I didn't look that hard, but I did a quick web search--so I wonder where they got that cover from.
     
  19. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    That cover is the same - sans the British classification logo - as the R2, though Warners is to reissue it with a new cover soon as part of their R2 'Essential War Collection'.
     

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