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150 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'It shouldn't have done that... '
The phrase 'Ealing Comedy' is so well known, there's a danger of taking these four fine examples for granted. They may have appeared on T.V. many times before, but now with DVD we get the chance to see them in excellent picture quality and without the interminable commercial breaks of television. It's stating the obvious, but these are (relatively) short films which were...
Published on 29 Aug. 2002 by Steve

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lavender Hill Mob Blu-Ray
The lavender Hill Mob is one of my favourite Ealing comedies unfortunately this Blu-Ray version has picture quality which is no better than the DVD. The film was made around the same time as Brighton Rock which recently came out with much better sound and picture.

This is a great film but is a big disappointment on Blu-Ray, buy the dvd instead.
Published on 7 Aug. 2011 by G. Wright


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150 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'It shouldn't have done that... ', 29 Aug. 2002
By 
Steve (Leeds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ealing Comedy DVD Collection - The Ladykillers/Kind Hearts and Coronets/The Lavender Hill Mob/The Man in the White Suit [1955] (DVD)
The phrase 'Ealing Comedy' is so well known, there's a danger of taking these four fine examples for granted. They may have appeared on T.V. many times before, but now with DVD we get the chance to see them in excellent picture quality and without the interminable commercial breaks of television. It's stating the obvious, but these are (relatively) short films which were meant to be seen at one sitting, without breaks disrupting continuity.
Of the four, Kind Hearts and Coronets is probably the most famous, as Alec Guinness famously plays the parts of eight characters. But there is an equally wonderful performance from Dennis Price, as an aggrieved member of the D'Ascoyne family who sets about killing off the eight others who stand in his way to the top of the family tree. It's Price's cool, dispassionate manner that adds the edge to the story. The parts played by Guinness vary considerably in character (and sex!), and Guinness is chameleon-like in the way he fits each part. The story itself is a cracker, with a couple of twists along the way.
The Ladykillers was, most unusually for a 1950's British film, shot in colour. It was also largely filmed on location close to King's Cross Station, so providing some fascinating glimpses of the area in the post-war period. Guinness plays 'The Professor', the mastermind of a robbery at the station, and Katie Johnson-then 77!- plays the landlady whose house Guinness and his gang use as their base. When she discovers who they are, they decide to kill her, and that's when the fun begins... The location (Ealing built the set above the entrance to Copenhagen railway tunnel, just north of Kings's Cross Station), really adds to the atmosphere; the little house is often shrouded in steam and smoke, and the clanking of trains is a constant backcloth. Oh, and a railway signal (the old semaphore type) performs a function unique in cinema, in my experience.
The Lavender Hill Mob is perhaps more conventional Ealing; a timid bank clerk (Guinness..) teams up with the amiable and extrovert Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) to rob his employers of bullion. Getting rid of the bullion is solved neatly by using Holloway's foundry. But then of course something goes wrong...
The outright masterpiece in this collection, though, is The Man in the White Suit. If you just read a plot summary, say 'a scientist invents a fabric which never wears out-workers and management are horrified..', it doesn't remotely do justice to what follows. Guinness (yet again) plays the misunderstood inventor, but the film is peppered with so many interesting characters-nervy laboratory assistants, an elderly washerwoman trying to make ends meet, a small girl who helps Guinness along the way, sinister industry mogul summoned from London (Ernest Thesiger)...the total really is far more than the sum of its parts. It's all filmed against a backcloth of a Lancashire mill town (I've always wondered-which one?) and the director Alexander Mackendrick keeps the film moving with a pace not quite matched in any of the other three. Not a single shot is wasted.
Above all, these are films about characters;there are many humorous, and some hilarious, moments, but it's the huge variety of people in these movies that makes you want to watch them again. They are the perfect antidote to 'special-effects' films.
Here, the people count.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful!, 20 July 2005
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ealing Comedy DVD Collection - The Ladykillers/Kind Hearts and Coronets/The Lavender Hill Mob/The Man in the White Suit [1955] (DVD)
A delightful collection, and evidence if evidence were needed of the brilliance of Sir Alec Guinness. These four films (along with Whisky Galore) are arguably the best known and certainly among the finest of the 110 fictional and documentary films produced by the Ealing Studios under the inspired leadership of Michael Balcon.
Although Balcon oversaw productions between 1938 and 1957, the golden years of Ealing Comedies started in 1947. These films represent a cross section, starting with the 1949 Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob and The Man in the White Suit both from 1951, and The Ladykillers from 1955. Although classic comedies, all four of these films possess a streak of inky darkness, and are much the better for that. The Man in the White Suit is by far the most satirical, and its arguments about the British suspicion of innovation are debatably still as true today as in 1951. These are simple stories, told with refreshing clarity, played as an ensemble and are still as fresh and witty as you'll find (just see the Hollywood remake of The Ladykillers to realise which ingredients have been lost!)
Ealing was a proving ground for British actors, young and old, many of whom cut their teeth in these films. Witness here Stanley Holloway, Cecil Parker, Dennis Price, Joan Greenwood, Sid James, Alfie Bass, Jack Warner, Katie Johnson, Herbert Lom (OK - born in Prague, but an honorary Brit!), Peter Sellers and Frankie Howerd, among many others.
These films belong in any DVD collection. Warmly recommended for the whole family.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best version you'll see, 2 Aug. 2011
By 
Chris White (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Regarding the picture quality on this Blu-ray, so long as you don't have high expectations, you won't be disappointed.

The Lavender Hill Mob was released in 1951. While it's true that there are older films on Blu-ray that look absolutely pristine, they tend to be those created by the Walt Disney studio with its 'no expense spared' preservation policy. Although this classic Ealing Comedy has undergone a digital restoration, your heart might sink when you see the visibly blemished Rank Organisation logo at the beginning. The opening titles don't fare much better.

However, once the narrative proper begins, the picture improves greatly - with one proviso. There is a fine negative scratch down the extreme right-hand side of the frame that is present throughout. It fades in and out of view depending on the brightness of the scene so most of the time it's quite possible to 'tune it out'. Nonetheless, as the restoration comparison included with this release demonstrates, it could have been so much worse. The vast majority of extraneous noise has been removed and the contrast adjusted dramatically. The PCM 2.0 mono soundtrack is also the result of a makeover.

The film itself is one of those Ealing gems that you can't help but admire. An adeptly written screenplay (which won an Academy Award for its creator, T.E.B. Clarke), spot-on direction by Charles Crichton and above all, two pleasing performances from Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway combine to make this tale of an attempted 'perfect robbery' an entertainment par excellence.

Other extras include a (rather muffled) audio interview with Charles Crichton and a vintage edition of Thames Television's Good Afternoon featuring a chat with T.E.B. Clarke.

The fidelity of the image on any older film (and therefore its potential for repair) is wholly reliant on the state of the source material. In this instance, it's obvious that the original negative had suffered some neglect. Please don't let that put you off because under the circumstances those responsible for its restoration have done a sterling job and when all's said and done, it's a big improvement over any previous release.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hugely enjoyable collection, 9 Feb. 2006
By 
D. Laurikietis "darkknight_uk" (North West England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ealing Comedy DVD Collection - The Ladykillers/Kind Hearts and Coronets/The Lavender Hill Mob/The Man in the White Suit [1955] (DVD)
Each of these films is a must view in it's own right but together they make an essential collection. Each retains the unique charm of the films of the era and each features a memorable performance from the late great Sir Alec Guinness.
This is a particularly interesting view for my generation who thinks of Alec Guinness and only sees Obi Wan. Likewise those well versed with his dramatic performances in Lawrence Of Arabia, A Passage to India or Bridge Over the River Kwai will be able to really appreciate the great thesp's range and eptitude for comedy.
Indeed it is a testament to the longevity of the films that I can enjoy them at the age of 21 (as I was when I bought this set) since they were made around 30 years before I was born.
The obvious classics such as the Ladykillers and the wonderful Lavender Hill Mob are here. Also present is The Man in The White Suit, a mixture of the scientific optimism of the atmic age and the boundless depths of good old British cynicism.
The star of the show in my opinion has to be kind Hearts and Coronets, a darkly humourous revenge story set in the Edwardian era which offers a cutting critique of British elitism while the great Sir Alec delights by playing a staggering eight roles.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The devious doings of desperate men, 23 July 2006
This review is from: Ealing Comedy DVD Collection - The Ladykillers/Kind Hearts and Coronets/The Lavender Hill Mob/The Man in the White Suit [1955] (DVD)
These four Ealing Comedies are some of the funniest and most entertaining films I've watched for quite a while. All involve desperate men pursuing their obsessions in various illegal ways. In The Ladykillers, The Man in the White Suit and The Lavender Hill Mob, the main desperado is played by Alec Guinness and in Kind Hearts and Coronets Alec Guinness plays just about the entire family (both male and female members) being targeted for termination by the desperate man (played by Dennis Price). Alec Guinness is a wonderful actor - just as suited to serious parts as comedy. There's no clue from his roles in various dramas, thrillers and historical epics, just how well he can do comedy. He's pretty much the epitome of a versatile actor. It's hard to decide which of the films I liked the best. I think The Ladykillers is my favourite, with a dear old widow lady (Katie Johnson) and her husband's parrots causing Professor Marcus and his gang of robbers every kind of inconvenience and foiling all their careful plans. The Lavender Hill Mob comes a close second. I so wanted Mr Holland (Guinness) and Mr Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) to succeed in their hair-brained scheme. The other two films are also sparkling and funny. Joan Greenwood puts in fine performances in Kind Hearts and Coronets as a gold-digger and temptress, and The Man In the White Suit as a factory owner's spoilt daughter who proves to be brighter, kinder and more resourceful than anyone guessed. These films deserve 5*s each, but they must make do with 5*s between them. An excellent collection.

The next miserable wet weekend I'm going to watch them all again.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lavender Hill Mob Blu-Ray, 7 Aug. 2011
By 
G. Wright (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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The lavender Hill Mob is one of my favourite Ealing comedies unfortunately this Blu-Ray version has picture quality which is no better than the DVD. The film was made around the same time as Brighton Rock which recently came out with much better sound and picture.

This is a great film but is a big disappointment on Blu-Ray, buy the dvd instead.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The port is with you sir!, 25 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Ealing Comedy DVD Collection - The Ladykillers/Kind Hearts and Coronets/The Lavender Hill Mob/The Man in the White Suit [1955] (DVD)
And may the port be with you! In a word magnificent and I am not concerned by the lack of so-called extras. Good films are like good books, do you really need to get in touch with the author to establish what kind of word processor or pen nib he prefers? then why so often in reviews is there all this fuss about behind the scenes drivel and extras ( let face it often best not to know & retain all of the magic ) Here we have four little Ealing gems safely tucked away in sensible packaging. All remind me of happy Sunday afternoons after the roast beef has been consumed and the good old BBC have laid on the entertainment. Most regular folks will be delighted by the selection, the prints are crisp (yes I am bothered about the image) It's a cliché, but they don't make them like this anymore.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem from Ealing Studios, 12 April 2001
By A Customer
This is Alec Guinness at the peak of his career. Both Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway make a great team. Sid James and Alfie Bass also appear and make this film a joy to watch. It is a film which is all too obvious of the era in which it was made but it is still a timeless piece of entertainment. There are some excellent nailbiting chase scenes especially the one in France. The Lavender Hill Mob is a film which makes you feel good after viewing it. It has a light hearted storyline which makes you sympathise with the crooks and it makes you route for them all the way by keeping your fingers crossed that they get away with it - do they get away with it? - Watch the film and find out. For any Alec Guinness fan this is a must have video for your collection and I would also recommend adding The Ladykillers to your film library which, although it has a rather sinister plot line for a comedy it keeps you laughing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Ealing Boxed Set - A Must Buy!, 25 Sept. 2007
By 
David Lusher (London England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ealing Comedy DVD Collection - The Ladykillers/Kind Hearts and Coronets/The Lavender Hill Mob/The Man in the White Suit [1955] (DVD)
This is a wonderful Ealing collection with four favourites to enjoy:

The Ladykillers (1955) - It never really got any better than this at Ealing - a comedy masterpiece. Loads of entertainment value here, from the gang of crooks posing as a string quartet, to the wonderfully dotty little old lady with a vivid imagination and a noisy parrot. Lots of nice little cameos here too (including Frankie Howerd as a frustrated barrow-boy). The casting is just perfect, including an outrageously disguised Alec Guinness as "The Professor", a "wide boy" Peter Sellers and a gangsterish Herbert Lom. The story is excellent and it's all in colour.

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) - A highly entertaining black comedy about an illegitimate heir (Dennis Price) who tries to bump off eight relatives (all played by Alec Guinness) who stand in the way of him becoming a Duke. It's a very clever story with an imaginative twist at the end. Guinness is brilliant in his galaxy of roles.

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) - This film is one of the masterpieces of British Comedy. Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway are an unlikely pair of "crooks". The inverted commas are there because neither the viewer nor the characters quite believe it themselves. The pair just want a bit of adventure and a taste of the high life. Guinness is brilliant as the timid bank clerk who despises the trust he is given because he knows he is seen by his superiors as too weak an individual to be a threat. That gives him the power to succeed in his daring plan. The catalyst is Stanley Holloway, a businessman with an eye for the main chance. However, he does not believe he can succeed until he meets Guinness, and Guinness does not believe that his little fantasy about robbing the bank can become a reality until he meets Holloway. When the pair meet up with a couple of real (but inept) crooks, the job is on! It's a wonderful cast and we like them so much that we hope they get away with it. It's a great story and highly entertaining.

The Man in the White Suit (1951) - A classic Ealing comedy about a scientist in a textile mill who invents a wonder fabric that won't stain, tear or wear out. The scientist becomes a target when a worried clothes company feel threatened. It nearly causes an industry-wide panic.

I highly recommend this boxed set.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars call me dutch, 20 Mar. 2008
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lavender Hill Mob [DVD] (DVD)
a classic british comedy comes to dvd. the film is the tale of mister holland, a lowly bank clerk who comes to work each day in his suit and bowler hat, and fusses a lot about his job, which is transferring gold bullion to a bank. everyone thinks he's a dull little man with no imagination, but he's really got more than anyone expects, and has been planning for years to rob the bank and get away with the gold.

When he meets mister pendlebury, a souvenir trinket maker, he finally has the last element of his plan. the two recruit a couple of crooks to help them, and the robbery of the century is go. but will they get away with it?

Depicting a long gone britain of the the early 50's, this is a fun gentle comedy. it's not laugh out loud for most of it but it's charming throughout, and it features a superb performance from alec guinness as holland, a little man with a big imagination. mind you the last fifteen minutes when things go awry and they have to improvise wildly to succeed are side splittingly funny, culminating in one of cinema's most memorable car chases ever.

the dvd has direct scene access and the original trailer for the movie.

A classic, and great to have it on dvd to enjoy again and again
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