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4.7 out of 5 stars250
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 March 2010
First let me correct a major error in the synopsis. The girl is not murdered but commits suicide, a fact stated in almost the first minute of the film and never in question. But because the ending is itself both surprising and thought provoking I shall say no more about the story.

But I will say that it is no hyperbole to describe this film as one of the best ever made. J. B. Priestley seems to translate rather well onto the screen (were I to be reviewing Last Holiday with Alec Guiness I would be very nearly as complimentary, and certainly awarding 5 stars), and in my judgement the way that the capabilities of film have been used to bring the dead girl to life are an improvement. That said, I must add that some friends who saw the play at the theatre before they saw this film have said that they preferred the stage version. As it happens, I saw the film before I saw the play at the theatre and, for all that the theatrical performance was first rate, I prefer the film.

I don't think that Alastair Sim was capable of making a film that was less than excellent, but, just as with Green for Danger - another quite outstanding 5 star film in my opinion - the role of a police inspector brings out the best in him. The main supporting cast are also excellent: the pompous and unfeeling parents, the sensitive children prepared to learn from their mistakes, and the daughter's shallow fiance. The sound and picture are as good as a film of its age could be.

Summarising, this is a DVD that every film fan should have in his collection.
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on 6 April 2005
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 can to convince themselves that they have done no wrong, yet their consciences are awakened, when the eerie, calm and knowledgeable inspector enters.
The story flows smoothly; first one, then another, then the entire family gathering, are given an insight into their behaviour and attitude towards those less fortunate than themselves. It is a fascinating insight into the debauch behaviour of the "haves", towards the "have nots". As relevant today as it was then!
It says much about us all! An absolute must see; I've been waiting for years for this film to be released!
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on 6 January 2011
This great little film is as fresh today as when it was made. Some of the attitudes of the characters can be found nowadays in modern day Britain
This film has a screenplay that is well written and contains a brilliantly understated perfomance from Alastair Sim as well as fine support from the rest of the cast, especially a very young Bryan Forbes.
The story is pretty straightforward but it will keep you guessing right to the end.
I recommend that you buy it, watch it and enjoy it.
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on 7 March 2006
Just a quick note if you are buying this to show to your GCSE pupils and you haven't seen it since your school days: the DVD is excellent quality even on a large screen. The Inspector is great and it's good to show the pupils the costumes and setting. It's not entirely faithful to the script though: for a start we have flashbacks showing Eva / Daisy which I think take away some of the mystery (and on a personal level, any sympathy for the character!). And why oh why oh why do they change the Inspector's name to Poole?!
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on 15 March 2004
Alastair Sim is at his very best, playing the ghostly inspector, interviewing an upper-class family, in pre-First World War England. His masterful acting, combined with a brilliant cast and a script that is extremely believable, ensures that this gripping film holds the viewer's attention, right from start to finish, with that little extra susprise at the conclusion!

I do very much admire Bryan Forbes' portrayal of the alcoholic, uppper-class "boy" ("but he's only a boy", as his mother assures the inspector), while the father is absolutely convinced there won't be a war (perhaps he also believed the Titanic was unsinkable).

Each of the family has a story to tell about how their debauch, aristocratic lives affected a young girl; a girl who was seen as no more than a nuisance and a lower class worker, with no rights and no class. They claim the moral high ground, while their money supports their lifestyle of carefree, happy and irresponsible simplicity; they have wealth and status! The poor girl, eventually, dies under tragic and dubious circumstances and so it is that the eerie inspector calls on the upper-class family. Will his questioning reveal the truth? What IS the truth? Wait until the conclusion to find out and make up your own mind!

Even those that are not inclined to the quality of classic, British films, will find this a story that will command their attention and leave them wanting more!

I have been waiting for a long time, to add this brilliant film to my collection. I am extremely glad to see it is, at long last, being re-released.
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on 30 October 2011
I studied the play at school and I have also seen it in the Theatre. But Alistair Sim's performance is the one I can't forget. The way the he dissects the arrogance and detachment of the upper class family, is masterful. Anyone who's read the play, or needs to study it at school or college should buy this. Also, anyone in the field of investigations will enjoy his cool and calculating manner and razor sharp questioning. A classic.
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on 25 April 2004
Edinburgh's other great actor Alastair Sim; wonderful as a head mistress.More wonderful as Scrooge, the best Scrooge of all.
Another greatAlastair Sim film is the Green Man. And in an Inspector Calls as theghostly inspector perhaps his second greatest role.
A strange tail about a dead girl and an entire family who all have a partin her death. An Inspector who makes them all feel guilty. A strange butwonderful film, a story that holds you right up to the final scene.
This is British film at it's best ! Haunting must watch.
Alastair Simwas a great actor. This is a great film, on DVD you can freeze it if youfeel the need to go.....and put the tea on but I think you will forget thetea & be spellbound.
I love this film it would be in my top 20 films ever.
It makes you think after: should YOU behave better to other people?.
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on 22 April 2011
I first watched this film as a teenager during my English G.C.S.E and loved it. Highly recommended, great acting and a twist at the end worthy of a Tales of the Unexpected episode!
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on 25 May 2014
AN INSPECTOR CALLS [1954 / 2014] [60th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] Is He For Real . . . Or The Creature Of Concience?

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 Birling [Eileen Moore], to prosperous business man Gerald Croft [Brian Worth], a knock at the door announces the arrival of a visitor, who will change their lives forever.

Based on the play by J.B. Priestley, ‘An Inspector Calls’ stars the incomparable Alastair Sim. And with this special 60th Anniversary Edition has been fully digitally restored and features a brand new extra content.

FILM FACT: ‘An Inspector Calls’ was filmed at Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, under the auspices of the Watergate Productions Ltd.

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 (screenplay) and J.B. Priestley (play)

Composer: Francis Chagrin

Cinematography: Edward Scaife (Ted Scaife)

Video Resolution: 1080p [Black-and-White]

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English: 2.0 LPCM Mono Audio

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 80 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: STUIOCANAL

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: J.B. Priestley’s superb blend of morality play and thriller transfers well from the stage to the screen, gaining much from Alastair Sim‘s masterly performance as the angel of vengeance in the title role. This is a brilliantly successful adaptation of the play which, while remaining faithful to the text, intersperses the dialogue with flashbacks to alter the location somewhat. It's a trade-off and you sacrifice watching the reactions of the characters for a little variety in setting, but it works. It assists what is otherwise a very static piece of writing to become a very good piece of cinema. 60 years old but still tight, riveting and vocal even now, Guy Hamilton's take on J.B. Priestley's stage play 'An Inspector Calls' is worthy of a revisit, especially with this stunning CANALSTUDIO Blu-ray release, that has a lovely and even surprisingly crisp print, it's the perfect time to relive this mystery.

Set in a Yorkshire household during the early 1900s, Inspector Goole [Alastair Sim] calls at the home of a wealthy industrialist Arthur Birling [Arthur Young] to investigate the mysterious circumstances behind the death of a young woman named Eva Smith [Jane Wenham]. Each one of the family has a secret and a series of flashbacks reveals each one of the smug, well-to-do family is partly responsible for driving her to suicide; the father had fired her from his factory, his daughter had got her the sack from a shop, the son had made Eva Smith pregnant, and Sybil Birling [Olga Lindo] had refused her charitable aid.

It is strange to think that in the Swinging Sixties, ‘An Inspector Calls’ [1954] was thought of as a stodgy drawing room drama that had no relevance. It’s true that the action does indeed revolve around a drawing room, but only in the way the eye is at the centre of a hurricane. The drama starts at a dinner party to celebrate the engagement of Sybil Birling [Olga Lindo] to Gerald Croft [Brian Worth]. Her “hard-headed businessman” father [Arthur Young], mother [Sheila Moore], and feckless younger brother [Bryan Forbes] are also in attendance. However, when a policeman, Inspector Poole, is shown in, these evening pleasantries are exposed as sitting on a raft of lies and exploitation. The inspector is played by Alastair Sim in what is one of his most memorable roles and the determined Inspector slowly proves their collective guilt before a final supernatural twist in the tail.

Alastair Sim was a character actor best known for his role as Ebenezer Scrooge in ‘A Christmas Carol’ that he had played three years earlier, before this film. He was a very versatile actor who was happy in comedy roles too; also in 1954 he played both the role of the headmistress as well as her dodgy brother in the first of the St Trinians films. Here he is an august, inscrutable presence, keeping numerous secrets hidden beneath his hooded eyes, before making revelations at key moments.

Without giving too much away, the secrets that the inspector reveals all revolve around the way the family treats a young woman, Eva Smith, who has recently committed suicide. All of the party, man and woman, have treated her either thoughtlessly or even abominably. Each small story shines a light on a different aspect of the Edwardian British class system. This includes industrial relations, and remarkably for a play that was written in the prudish 1940s, sexual hypocrisy.

‘An Inspector Calls’ is a socialist wolf in frock coated sheep’s clothing and a great bit of storytelling too. The various encounters with Eva Smith are shown in flashback, while they are merely narrated in the play, which broadens the action. The script is also very quotable, “It isn’t only Eva Smith, and it is all the other Eva Smiths.” Quite! Directed by Guy Hamilton who went onto make four James Bond films, this is a first class drama that is unlikely to be bettered in its latest incarnation.

Ultimately it is a great snapshot of a changing period in time in British history when many rich old people still believed that war wasn’t coming, as shown in the first scene and that worker’s didn’t deserve any rights; while the younger generation were breaking free from the older generation and demanding change. It is also a great example of British film making even if it is slight at 77 minutes and does have a slightly confusing ending which keeps you guessing the outcome?

However, whereas this air of restrictiveness could prove a distraction in other films, here it focuses the attention on the unfolding drama. The arrogance of the Birling family, with their acute awareness of their standing in the local community and constant fear of how any hint of scandal may destroy it, is vividly brought to life by Young as Arthur, the pompous head of the family and Olga Lindo as his aloof wife, Sybil. Equally sharp are Forbes and Eileen Moore as their children Eric and Sheila who, unlike their parents, show remorse when the error of their ways are made clear to them. It's Sim, however, who steals the show. His depiction of Inspector Poole - who may not be all he seems, and has a sinister otherworldliness which haunts the viewer as much as it does the characters, leading ‘An Inspector Calls’ to linger long in the mind.

Blu-ray Video Quality – The Blu-ray transfer is excellent and the film is full of deeply crushed monochromatic blacks which stand up remarkable well, making this a real visual treat. Ted Scaife’s superb cinematography is not wasted one ounce here. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, and you get a brilliant 1080p encoded image. Generally speaking, depth and clarity are very 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. 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. To sum it all up, STUDIOCANAL have done a stunning restoration of ‘An Inspector Calls’ that will please fans of the film and especially of the brilliant actor Alastair Sim. STUDIOCANAL have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications

Blu-ray Audio Quality – There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release and that is in the form of a 2.0 LPCM Mono Audio track. For the record, The sound is very crisp and clear, plus there are no sudden spikes or drops in dynamic activity. Rather predictably, however, dynamic intensity is quite limited. All the clicks, pops, crackle, and background hiss have been removed as best as possible and the dialogue is stable and exceptionally easy to follow.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Interview with Actress Jane Wenham [2014] [1080p] [7:00] Sadly the Blu-ray disc is very light on extras, though does feature a nice interview with actress Jane Wenham [Eva Smith] 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.

Finally, I have to say that Guy Hamilton's ‘An Inspector Calls’ is one of the best entries in STUIOCANAL'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 STUIOCANAL and looks lovely on Blu-ray. Do not hesitate to add this release to your collections, as you will not regret it folks. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on 25 April 2011
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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