33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Probably the best version you'll see,
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This review is from: The Lavender Hill Mob (60th Anniversary Edition) - Digitally Restored [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)
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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Initial post: 8 Oct 2011 00:36:59 BDT
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