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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful nostalgia
This excellent series seems to get better and better as each new volume is released. Of the four films in volume 12, perhaps the most long-awaited is the 1933 version of 'Three Men in a Boat'. Though the print quality is mediocre (apparently only a sole copy survives in the NFA) the infectious amateurism of Jerome's novel comes over well with some attractive photography...
Published 1 month ago by Brian Joplin

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Scraping The Barrel
As a 'brand', to use a fashionable modern term, 'Ealing Studios' summons up an image of all those first-class dramas and, particularly, comedies that it turned out from the early 1940s to the middle 1950s. It was the era of Sir Michael Balcon, the studio chief who inspired a generation of producers and directors to project the sort of Britain in which he believed. But...
Published 3 months ago by M. J. Nelson


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful nostalgia, 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection - Volume 12 [DVD] (DVD)
This excellent series seems to get better and better as each new volume is released. Of the four films in volume 12, perhaps the most long-awaited is the 1933 version of 'Three Men in a Boat'. Though the print quality is mediocre (apparently only a sole copy survives in the NFA) the infectious amateurism of Jerome's novel comes over well with some attractive photography of the Thames as it was 80 years ago, and some charming performances, especially from Billy Milton. The decision to update the action from 1889 to the 1930s was a bold one, but pays off handsomely. Of the other three films in volume 13, arguably the most interesting is 'Laburnum Grove', a 1936 transcription of J.B. Priestley's thoughtful play which benefits from Sir Cedric Hardwicke enjoying himself in an uncharacteristic role and Edmund Gwenn playing a forger with even more relish than he was later to do in 'Mr 880'. For those interested in the sadly neglected byways of British cinema, all these Ealing Rarities volumes represent outstanding value for money, with volume 13 (already issued) the most fascinating so far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its old but good, 30 May 2014
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This review is from: The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection - Volume 12 [DVD] (DVD)
Considering that these films are from the 1930's they are simple but good, although I don't think that the younger people would watch them.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Scraping The Barrel, 11 April 2014
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M. J. Nelson (Leeds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection - Volume 12 [DVD] (DVD)
As a 'brand', to use a fashionable modern term, 'Ealing Studios' summons up an image of all those first-class dramas and, particularly, comedies that it turned out from the early 1940s to the middle 1950s. It was the era of Sir Michael Balcon, the studio chief who inspired a generation of producers and directors to project the sort of Britain in which he believed. But feature film-making is a hazardous business and before Balcon took over in 1938 and even after then there were a lot of films that didn't measure up to the best. Many of these have now been resurrected on DVD in 'The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection' and this issue, Volume 12, has all the unfortunate hallmarks of 'barrel scraping'. Two of the four films are so-called comedies but they should have been left to gather dust : Three Men In A Boat (1933) is a version of Jerome K Jerome's famous comic novel, and The Bailiffs (1932) is a 25-minute short featuring two members of the Crazy Gang, Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen. Both are dreadfully feeble and the former, in particular, is of very poor technical quality. Loyalties (1933), based on a play by John Galsworthy, at least has the merit of a modestly intriguing story : to quote the box notes 'The sole Jewish guest at a Society gathering is robbed; when he exposes a fellow guest as the thief, he finds the veneer of racial tolerance to be disturbingly thin...' But Basil Rathbone's performance in the central role is very mannered and the presentation as a whole, stiffly theatrical. Again, the technical quality is poor. That leaves only one of the films really worth watching : a 1936 adaptation of J B Priestley's 'immoral comedy' Laburnum Grove, first staged in 1933. In a beautifully whimsical and underplayed performance the admirable Edmund Gwenn repeats his stage role as the mild-mannered, seemingly respectable suburban family-man, who, one Sunday evening, reveals to his bemused relations that he is actually a forger of bank notes working for a high-profile criminal gang. In only his second film as a director Carol Reed already hints at the qualities that made him one of Britain's finest directors : he handles the cast expertly and maintains a properly brisk pace to compensate for the film's theatrical origins. This feature, whose technical quality is quite satisfactory, rates *** but the rest drag the issue as a whole down to a bare **
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of the Ealing studio's best quartets ., 26 April 2014
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This review is from: The Ealing Studios Rarities Collection - Volume 12 [DVD] (DVD)
I cannot improve upon M. J. Nelson's excellent review and can award only two stars for much the same reasons. "The Bailiffs" is little more than a stocking filler and "Three Men in a Boat" is embarrassingly fifth rate. "Laburnum Grove" has the merit of some good acting from Edmund Gwenn and Cedric Hardwicke (you will hardly recognize him when compared to, for example, his part as Dickens's Ralph Nickleby). "Loyalties" gives an interesting insight into the early acting careers of Basil Rathbone and Miles Mander (he appeared with Rathbone in two Sherlock Holmes films "The Scarlet Claw" and "The Pearl of Death").

Not one of the Ealing studio's quartets best, I'm afraid.
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