BFI have excelled themselves with this release. The package contains a Blu-Ray of the glistening 2009 restoration of the 1978 version of Les Vacances (French and International languages, with subtities), and the original 1953 version (French with subtitles). The 1953 version has a different, more laid-back recording of the music, runs slightly longer, and does not appear to have been issued in any home format before.
The DVD contains all of the above plus the 1978 trailer and an interview with Dick Lester. This last item is strange in that is tells you as much about Dick Lester, Buster Keaton, Peter Sellers and A Show Called Fred as it does Jacques Tati. Lester seems not even to have watched the film for quite some time, and then he's only seen it 4 times. I would still recommend it for any fan of comedy.
Philip Kemp has written a revealing yet concise essay in the enclosed booklet explaining the background to the film and the origins of the different versions.
The film itself is of course 5 stars (although Playtime (Blu-ray + DVD)
is my personal favourite). For those unfamiliar, it's an extremely laid-back character study of a week's vacation on the French coast, crammed with visual jokes both subtle and obvious. Tati is, however, never afraid to take his time to set the scene and develop gags. It rewards repeated viewing and deserves to be placed near the top of any list of great comedies.