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The London Collection [DVD]

Bonar Colleano , Earl Cameron , Basil Dearden , Ken Hughes    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
Price: 24.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Bonar Colleano, Earl Cameron, Susan Shaw, Renee Asherson, Moira Lister
  • Directors: Basil Dearden, Ken Hughes, J. Lee Thompson, Norman Cohen, Douglas Hickox
  • Producers: Norman Cohen, Michael Balcon, Frank Godwin, Victor Skutezky, Michael Klinger
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Jun 2009
  • Run Time: 444 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001TJKVY6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,114 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

This collection brings together six films, all produced in and showing various locations in post-war London and covering a range of themes from blackmail in a bombed out slum in the East End to dockside smuggling and robbery. In 'Pool of London' (1951) a group of sailors, including Dan MacDonald (Bonar Colleano), a charmer who dabbles in smuggling and Johnny Lambert (Earl Cameron), a quiet and reserved Jamaican, arrive in London. Along the way MacDonald finds himself seriously set up by a gang of diamond smugglers and Johnny falls in love with a white girl. The film is noted as being the first British picture to deal with interracial relationships in the post-Windrush years. In 'The Small World of Sammy Lee' (1963), small time criminal and strip joint compere Sammy (Anthony Newley) has five hours to come up with the money he owes to a group of gangsters. Set in the back streets of Soho, the film follows Sammy trying to come up with a scheme to make some fast cash. 'The Yellow Balloon' (1953) is a tense tale of a young boy, Frankie (Andrew Ray), who is used and deceived by a crook. While playing in a bombed part of their neighbourhood, Frankie's friend falls to his death. When Frankie climbs down to help him he finds Len (William Sylvester) who is in hiding after committing a murder while robbing a pub. Len blackmails Frankie into helping him evade capture, but when he feels Frankie knows too much he sets about trying to get rid of him. In 'The London Nobody Knows' (1967), James Mason narrates as the viewer is taken on a tour round a side of London the tourists don't see. Documenting the street vendors and local characters, and giving a fascinating glimpse of a culture soon to disappear, the film contrasts starkly with the 'swinging sixties' vision of London at the time. In the short musical 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize' (1969), a young man falls in love with a fashion model after seeing her photograph. Most of the film involves following the characters, on bicycle, around the Hampstead area of London, to the accompaniment of a musical soundtrack. In the comedy/drama 'Sparrows Can't Sing' (1963) Charlie (James Booth) returns home from sea to the East End of London expecting to come home to his wife Maggie (Barbara Windsor), but soon finds the house is gone and she has moved in with a married bus driver and has a child. Charlie quickly sets about trying to sort things out while neighbours eagerly watch the ensuing chaos.

Product Description

Bonar Colleano London Collection

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
166 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Views of a lost London 22 Jun 2009
If you are thinking of buying this box set because, like me, you know one of the films, then I'd say it's worth taking a punt. I bought this primarily for Pool of London, an Ealing Classic which doesn't seem to be on any of the Ealing box sets, but all of the films here are worth seeing (though I haven't yet seen Les Bicyclettes de Belsize). And several appear to be released on DVD for the first time.

Pool of London is regarded by Charles Barr, author of the book Ealing Studios (highly recommended for putting the films in their sociological context), as the single film most representative of Ealing values. A tale of merchant seamen docking in London for a few days, there is a crime subplot, stylishly shot on location, but the heart of the film is the friendship and trust between Bonar Colleano and Earl Cameron, a young Jamaican. Cameron's character has a tentative romance with a young white woman, delicately handled, although the film does not shy away from depicting the prejudice of the time, a theme director Basil Dearden explored further in the later Sapphire (not on DVD). The movement between the various subplots is expertly handled and watch out for brief appearances by Leslie Phillips (too brief) and James Robertson Justice, the ship's captain who refuses to set foot in London, preferring to drink whisky and read poetry. There is a choric element to his character as he explains why: too much filth and degradation in the city.

The Yellow Balloon stars the young Andrew Ray as a terrified boy coerced into helping a petty criminal. It could be seen as a companion piece to director J. Lee Thompson's later Tiger Bay, also about a child being manipulated by an adult to escape the consequence of that adult's actions.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The London Collection 11 Oct 2009
A collection of films which might have been seen on the BBC on Sunday afternoon sometime in 1967. James Mason's guided tour of a London that is now buried under developers' wet dreams; Barbara Windsor in a role that few, if any, 'Carry On' fans will recognize her and the wistful 'music video' that should have accompanied Engelbert Humperdinck's hit "Les Biciclettes de Belsize' are just a few of the jewels to be discovered or rediscovered in this boxed set.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unwitting testimony 4 Dec 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
i'm no good at being erudite and i'm not a film buff ...we bought this collection because we wanted to watch 'Pool of London' and it was bundled with the others...some of which we had seen before....having lived in london in the 1960's most of it was interesting and nostalgic.
Pool of London is the best on the compilation, followed by Small world of Sammy Lee.
We watched them purely for views of London in the 60' and werent disappointed ....reminded me how grimy and poor everything was unless you lived in Hampstead, Chelsea or Mayfair....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, interesting, different 3 Mar 2011
By UK Filmbuff TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
An excellent value small collection, of some interesting and different films. There is quite a contrast between the films and this makes this collection even better value.

Extremely noteworthy is James Mason's walk around London, before so much of what remained after the war was destroyed, only to be replaced by ghastly, impersonal and characterless concrete structures. However, all is not "a bed of roses" in London Town; he interviews the less well-off, visits busy markets and even witnesses the utter sadness of the alcoholics, often to be seen drinking Methylated Spirits! It is a fascinating walk through history, with bleak views as well as interesting, hidden places. Very atmospheric and excellently brought to life by James Mason, who brings his own persona into this charming film, making it just that much more interesting.

I would have to do a review of each of the films in turn, in order not to turn you away from my brief text. Suffice it to say that I am not disappointed with any of the films in this set and consider them all to be noteworthy in their own right!

Very watchable!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun 21 Nov 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this to get hold of the Small world of Sammy Lee. This is a window into the 1950/60s
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By spotty
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
None of the films here is of top rate cinematic quality. Indeed, one at least, is banal, being inspired by a French model which is similarly banal. However I bought them, as others will, for their historical value and the opportunity to wander down Memory Lane - or rather, among London's picturesque past, some of it as I remember in the post war years. There are some very interesting places and some beautiful places that I don't recognise, either because I am simply ignorant of them or because they no longer exist.

Alas, so much of what was best about London's charm and character is dead and gone. Park Lane, for example: the basis for a film 'Spring in Park Lane'; now a veritable Hell of fast moving traffic.The wonderful Gothic St Paul's School wiped off the face of the earth, together with the majestic crescent of Victorian mansions that comprised Talgarth Road in West Kensington and the quiet backwater of Colet Gardens - now another Hell dedicated to an endless stream of fast, noisy and dirty traffic on its way west. Somehow, the Natural History Museum in Kensington, managed to escape the Developers' dreams. But go and see it while you can and before, like so much of what is depicted in these films, it, too, is simply a memory! Recapture a little of that magic, at least, preserved for posterity in these films.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service, great collection
Great service,great collection,many thanks.
Published 23 days ago by A. Szczechura
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia
I love these old films they remind me of a time gone by and it is great to see film of London in the early sixties.
Published 9 months ago by P. R. Childs
4.0 out of 5 stars Britwatch
This is a very good box set. A wander around post war London & a look @ a world long gone. IMHO the best movie in the set is The Yellow Ballooon. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Paul
4.0 out of 5 stars Great collection, really worth buying if you love this period.
Loved the films for their vitality, creative energy and intrinsic value. Most of the films are lacking in real gripping story-lines, but have loads of great direction and... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mickey Modern
4.0 out of 5 stars great value
Bought this for my partner who wanted just one of the films. When he saw the box set and titles, he was very pleased and thinks it is a great buy.
Published 16 months ago by early bird
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia for any Londoner
Being a Londoner I bought this box set purely for its nostalgia value. I recommend it for this and for its price with Amazon. Read more
Published on 5 July 2012 by Mr. Michael Peter Oliver
3.0 out of 5 stars THE LONDON BOXSET (DVD)
I purchased this boxset really because i wanted 'The Small World Of Sammy Lee' which i already knew was a tremendous film , but i thought i would try the set just to see what the... Read more
Published on 3 Dec 2011 by print boy "poby"
4.0 out of 5 stars a box of delights
I bought this boxed set only ever watching one of the films that was in the set the yellow balloon I could not remember much about the film as was a child myself when I watched... Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2011 by angela
5.0 out of 5 stars london collection dvd
a brillant set of dvd s ,showcasing various films of the fifties and sixtes in london
Every one a corker
Published on 16 Feb 2011 by A. Kenny
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