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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More GREAT PICTURES from A-B-P-C / the ASSOCIATED BRITISH PICTURE CORP. EMPIRE !
In common with many movies from the forsaken ABPC / Associated British Picture Corporation, this has taken decades to be given a new lease of life, in this case a beautiful Cinemascope 2.35:1 print in rich colours. By far Charlie Drake's best studio vehicle, light years ahead of the rest: the best of the stories Jimmy Wallis at ABPC lined up for him immediately after...
Published 1 month ago by Bertram Bisto the Gravy Baron WW

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Third time unlucky
Associated British Picture Corporation's third attempt at turning Charlie Drake into a big screen star is an improvement on it's predecessor, Petticoat Pirates, but that is not saying much. Once again lavishing Technicolor and CinemaScope on the popular TV comedian, the producers at least have the star playing a character, integral to the plot, with a name rather than...
Published 4 months ago by Al Baker


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More GREAT PICTURES from A-B-P-C / the ASSOCIATED BRITISH PICTURE CORP. EMPIRE !, 14 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Cracksman [DVD] (DVD)
In common with many movies from the forsaken ABPC / Associated British Picture Corporation, this has taken decades to be given a new lease of life, in this case a beautiful Cinemascope 2.35:1 print in rich colours. By far Charlie Drake's best studio vehicle, light years ahead of the rest: the best of the stories Jimmy Wallis at ABPC lined up for him immediately after this were subject to procrastination, and in three years during the swinging sixties enough tastes changed for his final film to fall flat. This picture captured the public mood, and took an absolute fortune. In 1966, when our Charlie finally had a fourth picture given the go-ahead, they gave him a cast-off that had been intended for Tony Hancock in 1964 (meanwhile ABPC had put the exceedingly difficult Hancock onto its ABC-Tv, into a filmed tv show format that had been a cast-off from another contracted comic).

Like many studios of the time (including, as is forgotten under the sound of their big guns, all the Hollywood ones) ABPC would try to subsist on a diet of medium-sized low-risk concepts, but now watch for a wonderful array of long-forgotten and often brilliant Associated British productions: recommended as try outs are GUNS OF DARKNESS (filmed 1961), BULLDOG DRUMMOND AT BAY (1936), CROOKS IN CLOISTERS (1963), CHASE A CROOKED SHADOW (1956), WILL ANY GENTLEMEN...? (1952), IT HAPPENED IN GROSVENOR SQUARE (1945), DANDY DICK (1934), HAPPY GO LOVELY (1950). Eagerly awaited from Network and studiocanal are the likes of EYEWITNESS (1969), the marvelous George Cole in his vehicle TOP SECRET (1952), Errol Flynn's THE DARK AVENGER (1954) as a starter.

Because of their need to avoid the monopolies commission, Associated British's (ABPC) vast array of filmed productions are mostly under the names of companies and groups they controlled. So, virtually all of Anglo-Amalgamated's productions - from pre-1966 Carry Ons to Fu Manchu, Merton Park Wallaces / Lustgartens and AIP co-productions - not to mention the western SHALAKO - were actually ABPC output. The grander British Warner Bros pictures done at Elstree, between 1946 and 1967, were also Associated British productions with their maker's-name changed for Warners favour: among these are THE SUNDOWNERS, THE NUN'S STORY and MOBY DICK. (ABPC actually also controlled British Warners in turn, as part of a ruling). ABPC had similar decades-long relationships with Allied Artists - ABPC were involved in making "Hollywood's" LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON for instance. You will find ABPC's colossal output also through the films of AB-Pathe, Pathe Newsreel, Anglo-Guild, ABC Television, Warner-Pathe, and their bloodline continued right into the late-1980s as EMI, startlingly entailing CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1976) and THE DEER HUNTER (1977).

Network and Studiocanal are really pulling out the stops on these new releases - every one I have received look as though they are straight back from the processing labs ! The low prices make it all the more appetising to make for a good collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, 29 May 2014
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This review is from: The Cracksman [DVD] (DVD)
Not a comedian not known for the films that he made but as popular as Norman Wisdom and his films
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good old fashioned laugh, 3 April 2014
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Set in London's swinging sixties, a look back at slap-stick fun. A strong cast, with Drake playing his role admirably.
Storyline a bit predicable but a good laugh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant 60s in one, 23 May 2014
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This review is from: The Cracksman [DVD] (DVD)
it took me back when I was groing up brilliant film you cant beet a bit of charley drake fantastic couldn't ask for better thank you so much
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good copy, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: The Cracksman [DVD] (DVD)
A movie I had wanted for some time and proper widescreen version and good transfer. Sound and picture quality good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hello My Darlings !, 18 July 2014
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This review is from: The Cracksman [DVD] (DVD)
Corny nostalgic fun without standing a hope of being a cinema classic. Drake is, as always, Drake but is backed up by a good supporting cast. I always loved the comedian as a kid and guess I still have a nostalgic affection for him.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Third time unlucky, 9 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Cracksman [DVD] (DVD)
Associated British Picture Corporation's third attempt at turning Charlie Drake into a big screen star is an improvement on it's predecessor, Petticoat Pirates, but that is not saying much. Once again lavishing Technicolor and CinemaScope on the popular TV comedian, the producers at least have the star playing a character, integral to the plot, with a name rather than himself. Unfortunately, the movie is killed by the snail's pace at which things proceed, with regular slapstick set pieces for it's star to demonstrate his pratfall abilities holding things up. Clearly intended by ABPC as a response to arch rival Rank's Norman Wisdom series (which had been raking it in at the box office for ten years), by 1963, the world was moving on from sentimental "little man" comedies and even Wisdom was on the way down. Trimming 30 minutes from the running time would have improved things, but if you must watch a Charlie Drake film this is probably your best bet. As with Petticoat Pirates, a cast full of familiar British character actors is on hand, including Ronnie Barker having a pre Porridge stint inside.
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