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Spain released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), SYNOPSIS: The plot of the thoroughly captivating British comedy Genevieve can be summed up in a sentence: Two young couples participate in the Vintage Car Rally, a yearly race from London to Brighton. The title "character" is the 1904 Darracq auto owned by John Gregson and Dinah Sheridan. The couple's friendly rivals are Kenneth More and Kay Kendall, the latter graduating to stardom on the basis of this film. At first treating the race as a lark, the two couples become increasingly--and hilariously--competitive as they near the finishing line. Among the film's plethora of small pleasures are Joyce Grenfell as a wry hotel proprietress and Arthur Wontner as an elderly car fancier. Despite the many technical gaffes and continuity errors overlooked by director Henry Cornelius, Genevieve is a uniquely British delight from beginning to end, its charm enhanced by the uncredited harmonica score of American expatriate Larry Adler. The film was a moneymaker in every country that it played, and a multi-award winner in England and abroad.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Golden Globes, Oscar Academy Awards, ...Genevieve
For anyone who travels the congested roads of Britain these days the utterly delightful Genevieve will provoke a wistful, nostalgic sigh of regret for times gone by when there were no motorways, traffic jams were almost non-existent and friendly police motorcyclists riding classic Nortons (without helmets) cheerfully let people driving vintage cars race each other along country lanes. Even in 1953, Henry Cornelius gentle comedy must have seemed pleasingly old-fashioned, concerned as it is with the antics of two obsessive enthusiasts on the annual London to Brighton classic car rally. The principal quartet could hardly be bettered: though John Gregson is something of a cold fish as Genevieves proud owner, the radiant warmth of Dinah Sheridan as his long-suffering wife more than compensates. Kenneth More is ideally cast in the role of boastful rival enthusiast and Kay Kendall has possibly the best comic moment of all when she astonishes everyone with her drunken trumpet playing.
Cornelius also directed Ealings Passport to Pimlico, so his sure eye for gently mocking and celebrating British eccentricities is never in doubt. The screenplay by (American writer) William Rose now seems like an elegy to a way of life long disappeared: the pivotal moment when Gregson stops to humour a passing old buffer about his love of classic cars comes from a vanished era of politeness before road rage; as does the priceless exchange between hotel owner Joyce Grenfell and her aged resident: "No ones ever complained before", says the mystified Grenfell after Gregson and Sheridan moan about the facilities, "Are they Americans?" asks the old lady, unable to conceive that anyone British could say such things. Genevieve is both a wonderful period comedy and a nostalgic portrait of England the way it used to be.
On the DVD: the "Special Edition" version of Genevieve has a decent new documentary with reminiscences from Dinah Sheridan (still radiant), the director of photography and the films editor, who talk about the challenges of filming on location. Most treasurable of all, though, is legendary harmonica player Larry Adler, who remembers his distinctive score with much fondness and is not at all embittered by his Hollywood blacklisting, which meant he was denied an Academy Award nomination. Theres also a short piece on some of the locations used (which for economic reasons were mostly in the lanes around Pinewood studios), cast biographies and a gallery of stills. The 4:3 ratio colour picture looks pretty good for its age and the mono sound is adequate. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Kay Kendall's trumpet solo is a laugh and the tricks that John and Kenneth get up to are delightful. A true taste of English comedy and theater from an age when life was a little less complicated and thoroughly genuine.
I highly recommend this film to all, but have one criticism ...... the film re-mastering was a little disappointing..... but not enough to put you off a truly wonderful film
The fine comic acting full of high spirits enraptures one from the very beginning, and soon the cars become characters in the headlong race to the coast.
Enormously enjoyable one is left with two enduring memories, first Larry Adler's haunting theme, but even more for Kay Kendall and her unforgettable performance personally playing the trumpet whilst supposedly drunk in a night club in Brighton. Whenever one thinks of Kay one thinks of this scene, but this vivacious young actress made other fine films before her early death from leukaemia aged 33.
Incredibly the Rank organisation considered the film a total failure unsuitable for release, and it only found its way onto a commercial screen as a substitute for another film that was unavailable. After that all is history as they say.
The indifferent quality of the photography cannot be blamed on the digital remastering, it was always there as the director insisted on shooting regardless.
Genevieve is a 1904 Darrocq roadster, driven by the ordinarily levelheaded young barrister, Alan McKim (John Gregson), on the London to Brighton and back annual antique car rally. By his side is his indulgent and sometimes exasperated wife, Wendy (Dinah Sheridan). Joining him in a 1904 Stryker is Alan's best friend, the irrepressible Ambrose Claverhouse (Kenneth More). Joining Ambrose is the beautiful creature he hopes to have an emotional experience with overnight in Brighton, the elegant and slightly off-center Rosalind Peters (Kay Kendall). Stuffed in the Stryker's small back seat is Suzy, Rosalind's Saint Bernard. And off they go, the cars snorting and puffing, wheezing and sometimes breaking down. We have a chance to see how much the annual rally and Genevieve mean to Alan and how much Wendy, who'd rather be at a party that evening, loves him. We learn what a loud and funny man Ambrose can be, and how just below the surface is a competitive streak just waiting to break free. And we see what a beautiful creature the long-legged and fey Rosalind is, and that she just might be Ambrose's match. Says Rosalind to Wendy, "Ambrose only seems to think about two things. That silly old car - and the other thing." Says Wendy to Rosalind, "What other thing? Oh. My husband only thinks about the car."
The four reach Brighton and enough things happen to them to keep us smiling.Read more ›
Topped off with a brilliant score by Larry Adler, it is a beautiful film, with nostalgia and fun! Watch out for Joyce Grenfell; such a small part, but always lovely to see her!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oh how I wish I could go back in time ... to these times! You don't have to have been around in those times to see just how much better they were. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Miss B
A good nostalgic and amusing film of friendly rivalry on the London to Brighton rallyPublished 1 month ago by Ray Clarke
Very good service. Good old fashioned movie.. Much better than most of the modern rubish now days..Published 2 months ago by Nicholas Bourne