Having just been through a year of watching old Powell and Pressburger films and some of the lesser known Hitchcock films, we remembered how good all the Ealing films were, in our youth. Most people (us included) associate 'Ealing' with Ealing comedies, as opposed to Ealing films, but this set is a reminder that they made all kinds of excellent films, not just comedies. And with that particular gentle and subtle style both of production, and visual effects.
I was initially put off by a review which said the quality wasn't good and recommended another set - but money is tight and we decided to go with this set. It is absolutely fine. Picture quality is excellent we found - but then we only have a basic TV so no HD or anything - but it is a good quality print. We have only watched one of the films so far (The Maggie - a lovely gem of a film - and I reckon you need to see it more than once or you miss a few subtleties. Moving in places, gently humorous in places, fascinating historically and in terms of topic, a gentle slow place - and not as predictable a story-line as you might expect. Clever - and also a little piece of history in some ways. Some may say it is nostalgia, but as people who have stayed on remote Scottish Islands, we feel it is realistic and some things are similar even today. What it really does is remind you of lovely important things in life that seem to have been forgotten in a modern, fast technological age. It also has heroes who are not perfect and with real human qualities and frailties. It is a thoughtful and thought-provoking film that is quite difficult to describe or categorize in some ways.
Whisky Galore is in the set too - which we know we will enjoy - one of the famous ones. In fact it was seeing a stage production of Whisky Galore recently that reminded me what an excellent story it was and I had very fond memories of it being one of the better and more memorable films from my childhood, that I enjoyed over and over again - and funny. Looking forward to seeing it again.
Rather than finding these old films don't work for you any more - we found they actually work better - they stand the test of time and on top of that you have the life experience to understand different things in them than you would have done in your youth. To see beyond the simple story and plot.
I'm very glad we got this set, rather than one with the famous comedies on, which we have seen many times and remember well. But if anyone hasn't seen them - then definitely get those too!
I saw a most of the Ealing comedies a few years ago, on the big screen at an art-house cinema - where they did a whole season of Sunday double-bill Ealing comedies. Wonderful - they are wonderful films and seeing them as they were originally meant to be seen, on a big screen, was a real treat.
We are looking forward to watching the other films in the collection. I don't remember them - they are less well known - but my other half does remember them and remembers them as good films also.
These films will be a comfort and welcome distraction from life, whatever mood you are in - aside from the excellent script-writing, photography and production. They will probably enhance your life in some way too - make you think and remember what is important in life. They may seem a little slow at first - but that's in comparison with fast-paced, special effects-filled modern films - just relax and go with them - they are a joy.
I haven't had any problems with playing the DVD's - and if a previous reviewer had problems with something jumping maybe it was his dvd player, or a faulty set. Our set seems fine, and we have plenty of other dvd's from 'Canal' as well, and they are also all fine.
It is minimalist - no extras - just the films - and small sleeves for each dvd that fit into a box. But it's nice and compact - and nothing but the films to think about.