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117 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, thought provoking and eerie
There couldn't have been a better inspector, than the brilliant Alastair Sim and a supporting cast of fine, talented actors, makes the story that much more convincing. The entire film, from start to finish, leaves nothing to the imagination. It is a masterpiece! The upper class family, convinced that they are of a better status than those not so fortunate. Doing what they...
Published on 6 April 2005 by UK Filmbuff

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alastair Sim Calls
Very good quality film with good acting all around. particularly by Sim as the inspector, a role he excelled in. However, not a typical murder mystery for those looking for a who done it. I will not say who did do it, but the film is more a critique of social mores in Britain that a detective film, told primarily in flashback. Nevertheless, an interesting film. Good...
Published 21 months ago by Mandog

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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST British film ever? Probably!!!, 28 Jan 2005
This review is from: An Inspector Calls [DVD] (DVD)
AAH YES!!! 'An Inspector Calls' - British filming at its very best - without exaggeration! This film is socially unique, the cast is exquisite and the acting is fine. Top spot must go to Alastair Sim playing the Inspector himself. Mr Sim was brilliant in 'Scrooge' but in 'A.I.C', he cannot be surpassed. I've been trying to get a copy of this film for years! A timely re-release is very much the order of the day and well overdue! The film is absolutely superb and its quality issues are timeless, so much so that its subject forms an integral part of the GCSE English in the National Curriculum. Today, thousands of secondary school students are working on it and debating its issues yet we cannot get a copy of this film anywhere. I really do hope that this file becomes available in DVD format and sooner rather than later. Incidentally, if you have an old VHS version of this film knocking around, please let me have it or a copy of it - this will do until the DVD becomes available! Oh, and if you like this film, you might also like 'Gaslight' starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer! Yes, I'm just a sucker for quality black and white films...!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of moralizing and a lot of irony, courtesy J. B. Priestly and Alastair Sim, make for a fine movie, 25 April 2007
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: An Inspector Calls [DVD] (DVD)
An Inspector Calls may be melodrama with moralizing, but it's great melodrama and the moralizing is aimed at a family, and a class of English society, that deserves every bit of it. It's 1912 and the Berling family is at dinner to celebrate the engagement of the daughter to a fine catch. The Berlings are well-intrenched members of England's wealthy upper-middle class. They are paragons of social certitude, complacency and condescension. Arthur Berling is an industrialist who bargains hard and pays his employees as little as possible. Sybil Berling, his wife, is acutely aware of their place in society and controls her children's' lives with an only partially disguised will of iron. Sheila Berling, their daughter, has been brought up to believe her place in society is a natural result of breeding. Eric Berling, their son, drinks too much and is too much the weakling to stand up to either of his parents. He still lives at home and works for his father. Joining them at dinner is Sheila's fiancee, Gerald Croft, a rather self-centered man with shrewd charm and good manners. Since his family's business, Croft Industries, is combining with Berling's business, the marriage is as much a business alliance as it is a romantic match. And as dinner is concluded and the women adjourn to the parlor and the men pour port and take cigars, Inspector Goole (Alastair Sim) appears. He informs them that a poverty-stricken young woman, Eva Smith, has committed suicide and he has just come from viewing her body. He intends to question them about their relationship with her. They deny ever knowing any one named Eva Smith. "If we had to take responsibility for everyone we came in contact with, it would be very awkward, wouldn't it?" says Arthur Berling. In the course of the evening, Inspector Goole will prove they know much more about Eva Smith than they care to remember.

In a series of flashbacks we learn Eva Smith's story. She had been a factory girl who was fired by Arthur Berling for asking for a small increase in her wages. She had been seduced and then abandoned after a few weeks by Gerald Croft, who met her when she had not eaten for sometime and had no place to stay. She had finally gotten a job at a millinery shop, but had been fired at the insistence of Sheila Berling, who was jealous because Eva was prettier than Sheila. She had been denied any charity from the city's charity board, headed by Sybil Berling, because she was pregnant but would not say who the father was. If she wouldn't tell so that the man could be exposed and punished, said Sybil Berling, then she should not expect a bit of charity from respectable people. At this point, alone and destitute, Eva Smith took her life. And, of course, we learn that Eric Berling while drunk had met Eva Smith and forced himself on her. When he learned she was pregnant, Eric had stolen money from his father to give her, but when Eva learned the money was stolen she refused to take it and refused to see Eric again.

During these revelations, Inspector Goole gently and insistently questions and prods for the truth. He does so with a smile, but with such irony that the Berlings begin to realize that Eva Smith had much more integrity and honor than any of them. They begin to realize, even the parents, how complacent and harsh their social values are. "I suppose," says Inspector Goole, "if we knew the consequences we'd all be a bit more careful." Ah, but wait. Do they really learn anything that will last? That may depend on whether or not there really is an Inspector Goole, who now seems to have vanished, and whether or not there was a young woman. Even more, it depends on the final phone call to the Berling residence that evening from the police.

J. B. Priestly was one of Britain's most successful writers with a career spanning over 60 years. He said before he died in 1984, "There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age. I missed it coming and going." He was a socialist who found England's class system artificial and pretentious. He also was a fine writer whose books can still be read with pleasure. When his ironic point of view is combined with Alastair Sim's ability to use wry amusement to tease out the pretensions and self-centered snobbery of the Berlings and their class, we wind up with An Inspector Calls. There may be moralizing, but it's in a good cause, and there's not a little hint of the supernatural. An Inspector Calls, nonetheless, still works as a strong story and a strong, amusing and satisfying movie. The Region Two DVD has no extras but it contains a fine DVD transfer.

And for those who enjoy meaningless trivia, when the original stage play of An Inspector Calls opened in the late Forties in London, it was a smash hit. Among the cast on opening night was Ralph Richardson playing Inspector Goole and Alec Guinness and Margaret Leighton as the two Berling children.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quick dilivery, 27 May 2011
A. Robinson (Cornwall England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Inspector Calls [DVD] (DVD)
I ordered this dvd as my son found the book hard going and was panicing about his g.c.s.e - a review on amazon said it was as near as dam it to the book so I took a chance -
he watched it twice and found he could remember it for his exam so he was very pleased.
quick dilivery so all in all very happy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspector Calls perfect for Year 11 revision, 25 April 2011
Mrs. D. E. Weatherhead "Debs" (lincs U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Inspector Calls [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this for a Year 11 class that I work in as a T/a so that they could watch it after reading the play for their GCSE's although it is not completely true to the play it is very good and i would recommend it's purchase for the purpose of revision. A real bargain price as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaching aid, 15 April 2011
Savvy Gran "marnie" (West Country Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: An Inspector Calls [DVD] (DVD)
This easily enabled my little group of students to get the story and form ideas about the times and mores of 1940s Britain,and JBP, befire going on to read the play in the original form.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspector Calls - 60th Anniversary Edition [1954] [Blu-ray], 25 May 2014
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An Inspector Calls - 60th Anniversary Edition [1954] [Blu-ray] The Birling family are rich, pampered and complacent. It is 1912, and the shadow of the impending war has yet to fall across their lives. As they sit down to dinner one night, celebrating the engagement of the eldest child, Sheila, to prosperous business man Gerald, a knock at the door announces the arrival of a visitor who will change their lives forever.

Based on the classic stage play by J.B. Priestly, An Inspector Calls stars the incomparable Alastair Sim. This special 60th anniversary edition has been fully restored and features new extra content.

Cast: Alastair Sim, Jane Wenham, Brian Worth, Eileen Moore, Olga Lindo, Arthur Young, Bryan Forbes, Norman Bird, Charles Saynor, John Welsh, Barbara Everest, George Woodbridge and George Cole

Director: Guy Hamilton

Producer: A.D. Peters

Screenplay: Desmond Davis and J.B. Priestley

Composer: Francis Chagrin

Cinematography: Edward Scaife

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English: 2.0 LPCM Mono

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 80 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: StudioCanal

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – Based on the classic stage play by J.B. Priestley, this 1954 film adaptation of An Inspector Calls features Edinburgh-born actor Alastair Sim in the title role. The story takes place on a single night in 1912 and centres on the wealthy Birling family, who celebrate their daughter’s engagement. Their evening is interrupted by the arrival of the mysterious ‘Inspector Poole’, leading to revelations that will change the life of each family member forever.

Whilst An Inspector Calls began life as a play, it translates seamlessly onto film. Written by J.B. Priestly in the 1940s, it’s widely considered one of the classics of English mid-20th century theatre. Due to a strong writing, universal themes and a successful revival by Stephen Daldry in the 1990s, it’s still touring and wowing audiences in theatres around the world.

Set in 1912, a prosperous family sit down to a celebratory meal only to be interrupted by the unannounced arrival of Inspector Poole [Alastair Sim]. A young girl, Eva Smith [Jane Wenham] has committed suicide and he has one or two questions he’d like to ask them. There’s Arthur Birling [Arthur Young], a wealthy mill owner and local politician, and his wife [Olga Lindo] who’s the head of a women’s charity. Then there’s their daughter [Eileen Moore], and her fiancée Sheila Gerald [Brian Worth], not to mention their wayward youngest son Eric [Bryan Forbes]. Inspector Poole recounts Eva’s story, imparting revelations about each of their roles in her tragic life. As her sad tale unravels, the pieces begin to fit into place, but is the Inspector all he appears to be?

Alistair Sim is magnificent in the role as the interrogator, a truly powerful presence in front of the camera and an indomitable force upon the Birlings. What works so well in the film version is the addition of flashbacks illustrating the consequences of each family member’s actions on Eva’s life. The 60th Anniversary Edition has been fully restored, and still retains its potency and power. An Inspector Calls’ message is still as pertinent today as it was all those years ago: Our actions have consequences, and whilst we may do things without thought, they can have profound effects on others. Whilst the class divide may not exist in the same sense, issues with poverty, how we treat those less fortunate than ourselves and taking responsibility for your own actions, still remain.

Set and costume designs are both lavish, steeped in Edwardian opulence, and it’s all stunningly mounted by cinematographer Edward Scaife (who also worked on Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon). With his the death’s-head grin and his air of languid menace, Alastair Sim is predictably in his element, and there are also good performances from Olga Lindo as unrepentant, battle-axe Old Mother Birling and a young Bryan Forbes as the squiffy younger sibling Eric.

Blu-ray Video Quality – Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 and encoded with a stunning 1080p transfer. Generally speaking, depth and clarity are pleasing. The majority of the close-ups, in particular, look very good. During the outdoor footage, shadow definition is also convincing. Contrast levels are stable, but there are areas of the film where minor inherited fluctuations are visible. Some very careful corrections have been applied, but the integrity of the image has not been affected. To be perfectly clear, these corrections have targeted specific areas where damage and other age-related imperfections would have been. Light grain is present throughout the entire film, but it is slightly toned down. There are no traces of problematic sharpening corrections and serious transition or stability issues to report in this review. Lastly, the encoding is good, but there is room for some minor improvements. To sum it all up, this StudioCanal's recent restoration of An Inspector Calls will please fans of the film and Alastair Sim.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – There is only one standard English 2.0 LPCM Mono audio track on this Blu-ray release. For the record, StudioCanal have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. The sound is crisp and clear and there are no sudden spikes or drops in dynamic activity. Rather predictably, however, dynamic intensity is quite limited. Clicks, pops, crackle, and background hiss have been removed as best as possible. The dialogue is stable and exceptionally easy to follow.

Blu-ray Features and Extras:

Interview with actress Jane Wenham [7:00] In this new video interview, actress Jane Wenham [Eva Smith] recalls her collaboration with director Guy Hamilton on An Inspector Calls and her interactions with the rest of the cast during the shooting of the film. The only slightly negative aspect to this particular extra is that I wish it could have been really nice if the interview had lasted much longer, as we only got the tip of the iceberg of what it was like to work on this film.

Finally, I have to say that Guy Hamilton's An Inspector Calls is one of the best entries in StudioCanal's Vintage Classics series. I was very pleasantly surprised. I have seen other adaptations of J.B. Priestley's play, but somehow missed this film. An Inspector Calls has been recently restored by StudioCanal and looks absolutely stunning on this Blu-ray disc. Do not hesitate to add this release to your collections, folks and that is why I am so pleased to add this Classic British Film that is in a class of its own and I am so proud to add this to my extensive Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST - POSSIBLY, 20 Jan 2005
This review is from: An Inspector Calls [DVD] (DVD)
Is this the best British film ever - possibly. Very British but translates to just about every race colour & creed. The story is wonderfull, the acting superb , the message simple but true. I saw this film many years ago on TV, one weekday afternoon when I should have been studying. It completely stunned me at marked it down as one of the greatest films I had ever seen. It had a similar effect that One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest did on me. Up there with Lawrence Of Arabia, Le Huitieme Jour, Cinema Paradiso,Moulin Rouge, Play It Again Sam, Once Upon A Time In The West, etc Get it ! You wont be dissapointed
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4.0 out of 5 stars 60th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray (A Missed Oppurtunity ?), 26 Nov 2014
Nic B (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
This short review is only iro the digitally restored 60th Anniversary blu-ray edition, UK (Region 2) release, late 2014.
The Film itself is (as most already know) a Classic, if a little dated. But that really just adds to its charm.
Set in 1912, but released in 1954, it's the old English Class system shown in its true colours, by J.B. Priestley.
Excellent acting by all, especially of course by Alastair Sim. One of his best / most memorable performances.

No Holywood "Colorisation" here, you get the original classic in Black & White.
Picture detail / restoration is v good & I didn't notice any problems with the sound whatsoever.
My only criticism is the almost total lack of any "extras". Just one interview with the actress that played ...
er of the central characters (spoiler deleted LOL).
Very nice to see her in a more recent interview, but handly earth shattering.
I'm sure that there must be some on set photographs, etc someplace, that could have been added.
Shame, hence only 4 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The acting is fine and Alistair Sim is ideally cast, 19 Oct 2014
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Highly original and very clever. On the face of it, the idea that each of the five (if you include the daughter's fiancee) members of a family have wronged the same woman, separately and unknowingly to the other four, seems far-fetched, but the way the story is told makes it seem entirely plausible, much to its credit. The acting is fine and Alistair Sim is ideally cast, giving the part of detective an air of foreboding and a sinister feeling, as the family begins to writhe beneath its guilt. The plot keeps the audience gripped throughout.

The ending has a twist, but, in my humble opinion, detracts from the power of the film and reduces the moral power of this tale, but I expect that my opinion is in the minority. I think Priestley wanted to use this ending to show another side to the characters; whether they had learned their lessons or not and, interestingly, he shows two younger ones in this better light.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRUE BRITISH CLASSIC., 16 Mar 2014
Peter M "cinerama" (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
This is my all time favourite mystery thriller. It keeps you guessing from start to finish.The cast are impeccable. Alistair Sim gives the performance of his career.It is not simply a matter of who done it and why. Can't reveal anything else. As much as I adore Agatha Christie, nothing beats J.B.Priestley's classic story.It has only been previously released on video. They don't make films like this today.
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