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  • Ealing Classics DVD Collection - Went The Day Well?/Dead Of Night/Nicholas Nickleby/Scott of the Antarctic [1945]
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Ealing Classics DVD Collection - Went The Day Well?/Dead Of Night/Nicholas Nickleby/Scott of the Antarctic [1945]


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Product details

  • Actors: Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver, Mary Merrall, Googie Withers
  • Directors: Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer
  • Writers: Angus MacPhail, E.F. Benson, H.G. Wells, John Baines
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Ealing studios
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Sept. 2003
  • Run Time: 400 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AGVOD
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,375 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

WENT THE DAY WELL? (1942)
Snug little Bromley End seemed safe from World War II, and the villagers welcomed the lorry loads of Royal Engineers rolling onto their quiet green acres. They didn't know they were disguised German parachutists installing radar apparatus to disrupt England's entire network. Nor did they suspect their community leader was a traitor. But gradually they learnt the sinister truth and bravely fought the Nazi occupation at the highest cost of all. Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti and starring Elizabeth Allan, Leslie Banks, Frank Lawton, Basil Sydney, Mervyn Johns, Valerie Taylor, Edward Rigby, Marie Lohr and David Farrar.

DEAD OF NIGHT (1945)
Five separate ghost stories are embedded in the framework of a country house party where an architect, Walter Craig, is experiencing sinister sensations of deja vu. The ghost stories are narrated in turn by the other guests and Walter gradually recognises them as the people and the house that constantly recurs in a dream that ends in unspeakable horror. Events gradually move into the realm of the nightmare... See it with a friend, it may have been made in 1945 but Dead of Night is still spooky. Winner of the Locarno International Film Festival Award for Most Interesting Screenplay. Features stories directed by Alberto Cavalcanti Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer. Lead stars Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, Googie Withers, Basil Radford and Roland Culver.

NICHOLAS NICKELBY (1947)
The classic Charles Dickens tale of 'Nicholas Nickleby,' played here by Derek Bond, a man who is deprived of his inheritance and travels to seek his fortune with a group of gypsies is brought to the screen by Ealing. Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti and starring Cedric Hardwicke, Stanley Holloway, Sybil Thorndike, Bernard Miles, Derek Bond and Sally Ann Howes.

SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC (1948)
Sir John Mills is Captain Scott in a thrilling account of the dangerous 1912 expedition to conquer the South Pole. Scott's intrepid team was beaten by Norway in the arctic race and the heroic journey ended in catastrophe. But the bravery of the ill-fated explorers as they battled blizzards on the treacherous glaciers captured the hearts of the British public and became a legend. Directed by Charles Frend and starring James Robertson Justice, John Mills, Kenneth More and Christopher Lee.

From Amazon.co.uk

The Ealing Classics Collection presents four films from the great British studio, which, unlike the two sets devoted to Ealing Comedy, have at first glance little in common. Apart from many of the same names before and behind the cameras, what really connects Went the Day Well? (1942), Dead of Night (1945), Nicholas Nickleby (1947) and Scott of the Antarctic (1948) is Ealing's commitment to well-written, high-quality drama realised with the best possible production values.

British patriotism at its best links Went the Day Well? with Scott of the Antarctic. The former is a wartime propaganda morale-booster that doesn't shirk from showing the cost of the conflict, but provides genuine excitement as a small German advance force take over a Midlands village--a plot later reworked in The Eagle Has Landed (1977). Director Alberto Cavalcanti handles events with neo-documentary efficiency and William Walton's score cannot fail to stir. No less a composer than Vaughan Williams scored Scott, delivering one of the finest in film history, while Ealing spared no expense on Technicolor location filming. The result is occasionally too tableau-like and historically inaccurate--the mini-series Shackleton (2002) is more commendable in this respect-–but remains a gripping and ultimately very moving drama.

The darker side of life is explored by Cavalcanti in a suitably stark version of Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, a film unfortunately overshadowed by David Lean's double whammy of Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948). Here Derek Bond is fine as Nicholas and a superb supporting cast, including Cedric Hardwicke and Stanley Holloway, ensure this is a first-rate production. Dead of Night offers one of the earliest examples of the anthology horror film, all wrapped in a decades-ahead-of-its-time framing narrative that nightmarishly twists reality inside-out. Most famous is the sequence with Michael Redgrave as a ventriloquist possessed by his own dummy, an idea later expanded to feature length with Anthony Hopkins in Magic (1978). Still unsettling six decades on, this all-time horror classic is only marred by a terrible comedy golf skit.

On the DVD Ealing Classics presents each film on its own DVD without extras. All four are in the original 4:3 ratio, in black and white, apart from Scott of the Antarctic. The audio is functional mono, and, while dialogue and sound effects are very clear, the music tracks are often distorted.

Picture quality is very variable, with Went the Day Well? being taken from an excellent print. Dead of Night, though, is constantly beset by small sparkles, with much more serious print damage being in evidence, making this a very below-par presentation for such a classic film. Nicholas Nickleby ranks somewhere in between, with a print showing various forms of constant but minor damage and offering a rather indistinct image in the darker scenes. The big budget Technicolor of Scott of the Antarctic is a little muted and the many snow scenes show a considerable amount of grain, but otherwise the print is in very good condition. --Gary S Dalkin

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Steve on 24 May 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great film but, as other reviewers have noted, this transfer is very poor. You will get a much better transfer if you buy the region 1 Dead of Night/The Queen of Spades double release available from amazon marketplace sellers or from amazon.com.
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109 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Cudsie on 31 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As mentioned before this truly is a British Classic and it is great that it has been made available on DVD. The film shows just what can be accomplished with minimal special effects and budget yet still come across as totally captivating and in some parts downright nerve tingling.

Where this DVD suffers tho is in its presentation which is shoddy and shows a total lack of care, appreciation and understanding of the product.

The transfer is from the original VHS release from over 10 years ago now and it has in no way been properly remastered or restored. As to be expected the image is softer than you expect for new transfers and there are many blemishes and frame splices and cuts from the old print. These can be forgivable however the sound is atrocious. Wooly, muffly, distorted and heavily dampened down to eliminate the inherent hiss of the RCA original this audio really lets the film down.

I will say tho that it is slightly better than the even worse print that Channel 4 has shown in the past!

A great pity.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Steve TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Sept. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've seen this classic film almost every time it's been shown on TV for the last 30 years, and it's great to be able to have a permanent copy for one's DVD library. Perhaps because the TV prints have always been poor, I'm not so bothered about the print quality as others seem to be (although the sound is rough in places). Sure, this deserves to have the full restoration business done, but that is very expensive, and I've been disappointed in the past with some American issues of classic films (NTSC to PAL conversion?) so I haven't tried that avenue. Yet.

To the film itself. I am concerned that younger viewers coming new to this film may have unreasonable expectations; it has dated certainly, having a very middle-class 30's/40's Englishness about it that may put some viewers off straight away. This of course would be a terrible shame. Ealing Studios themselves did it no favours by having as a poster (reproduced on the DVD box) a depiction of some weird monster- completely misleading as these are human, psychological, tales.

Over the years, I've asked people what their favourite of the five (six?) separate stories is. Although everyone remembers Michael Redgrave's fine performance with the ventriloquist's dummy, it is The Mirror which is remarked on more than you might expect. This is I think the deepest tale in terms of character development, and we really get drawn into the drama gradually unfolding. I've also always had a soft spot for the delightful Naunton/Wayne golf sequence, a gentle comedy in the middle of the film - giving us a breather before we get inexorably dragged towards that astonishing climax; as surreal as anything you will see in British cinema.

At its current preposterously low price I would snap this up. A better U.K. transfer may come along some day, but this will do in the meantime.

So go on, join Mervyn Johns, and visit Pilgrim's Farm.

Again.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Longley on 2 April 2005
Format: DVD
Ealing may well be better known for its Ealing Comedy series but this quadruple set of films are excellent from direction to acting.
These period films somewhat represent old post war Britain with the quaint traditions, pleasantness and Received Pronounciation accents and dialogue. Certainly a trip down memory lane.
All of the films are well acted and interesting though personal taste is fundemental in liking any of them.
I wont go into the storylines as they are best watched with no preconcieved ideas.
My favourite in this series has to be Dead of Night. It is with true credit that the acting and direction of this film make it a Ealing classic. Without resorting to blood and guts effects, it conveys the real sense of intrigue and supernatural happenings that does keep you entertained throughout the film. It is more ghost story than horror, but thats fine in my opinion.
Unlike a lot of modern Hollywod films, it not pretending anything other and it is not altering history in favour of the American Empire!
I would recommend this series to anyone interested in the genre of Ealing films.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Oct. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The new types of horror films cannot hold a candle to this very creepy film. The lack of blood and guts, that modern film makers feel they need to put into new films, I feel adds to the tension.The final scene is the kind of nightmare we all dread.
The tale of the mirror is truly hair raising, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck raise on more than one occasion during the film.
A VERY SCARY FILM.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Tony Jones VINE VOICE on 26 Nov. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film scared me as a teenager when I saw it on TV. Many years later it scared me again. Finally I have it on DVD and it can now scare me again whenever I want.

The film itself is stitched together like a quilt from a set of individual stories all of which show that horrow needs merely acting and writing, not CGI. I defy anyone to watch this and ever be comfortable with ventriloguist's dummies again;-)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lazydrake on 11 Nov. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The quality of the film's transferance onto DVD is poor and the dubbing in particular is suspect, but this film is undoubtedly a classic.It's apparently the earliest example of a 'portmanteau' horror film(,a film which narrates a series of separate tales).Here, an architect visits a country house and tells the guests of a recurring nightmare he's had about the house and the inhabitants, prompting them to relate a series of supernatural experiences, the creepiest of which is the last one, involving a ventriloquist (Michael Redgrave) and a seemingly independent dummy. When the tales have been related, there is an horrific climax and a disturbing twist: the protagonist seems to be stuck in a nightmarish 'groundhog day' scenario.
All of the stories are entertaining but the light hearted 'comic relief' one about two golfers fighting over the same woman is something of an anachronism. Apart from this 'blemish', and making due allowances for the film's relative antiquity, I'd recommend horror afficionados to purchase this. This is clearly a very influential film and it's hard to see how Amicus films could have proceeded to make classics like 'Vault of horror' and 'Tales from the crypt', had it not been made in the first place. A retrospective pat on the back is due to Ealing studios, who obviously weren't just dab hands at making classic comedies.
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