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.
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
Ealing didn't do horror, and when you watch this you'll wonder why. Although it's as old as the hills, and the cover is totaly misrepresentitive, this has got to be one of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by r. j. harris
A great classic from ealing film's,a early triology of horror ,hammer horror and amicus would be proud,all good tales the dummy being the best and scariest,you don't need blood and... Read morePublished 12 months ago by the reader
For any Hammer or Amicus fan you must buy this movie. Dead of Night is an anthology that influenced films like
Dr Terrors House of Horror, Tales from the Crypt, Vault of... Read more
Very old DVD, but a great story. Lots of little films in one. If you haven't seen this, get it & watch it.Published 13 months ago by MARK HAMMERSLEY
Hence the word "triple." Three classic horror stories. My favourite story is the one starring Michael Redgrave as the ventriloquist. Read morePublished 13 months ago by TIV