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Underground (DVD + Blu-ray)
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UNDERGROUND (DVD + Blu-ray)
A film by Anthony Asquith
Introduced as a 'story of ordinary people', Anthony Asquith's Underground masterfully balances the light and dark sides of city life to evoke the daily existence of the average Londoner better than any other film from Britain's silent canon.
The BFI National Archive has restored the film using the latest photochemical and digital techniques and present it here with a newly commissioned score by Neil Brand.
- Feature presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
- Newly commissioned score by Neil Brand presented in 5.1 and 2.0
- Alternative score by Chris Watson
- Restoring Underground (2009,9 mins): featurette on the restoration
- The Premier and His Little Son (1909-12, 1 min): previously unseen footage of Anthony Asquith as a child
- A Trip on the Metropolitan Railway (1910, 13 mins, DVD only)
- Scenes at Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner (1930-32, 6 mins, DVD only)
- Seven More Stations (1948, 12 mins, DVD only): a film about the expansion of the Central Line beyond Stratford
- Under Night Streets (1958, 20 mins): a documentary about the tube's nightshift workers
- Illustrated booklet featuring film notes and new essays by Christian Wolmar and Neil Brand
UK | 1928 | black and white | silent with music | 93 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
Disc 1: BD50 | 1080p | 24fps | DTS-HD Master Sound 5.1 (448kbps) and PCM 2.0 stereo audio (48k/24-bit)
Disc 2: DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio (448kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio (320kbps)
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Top Customer Reviews
Asquith is a great British director long forgotten which is sad as this and A Cottage On Dartmoor, leave us a tantilising taste of his skill.
Something that surprised me (although with DVD and BluRay discs included it's academic) is that the BluRay had fewer extras than the DVD! Both have a featurette on the restoration of "UndergrounD" and the short "Under Night Streets", the DVD has another four shorts including the celebrated footage shot on the Metropolitan Railway in 1910, travelling out from Baker Street (I bet that gets a good few YouTube hits!) although it is the feature, with the emphasis on ordinary folk, that is of course the main attraction.
The language of the silent film is different to that of the "talkie" and sometimes requires much closer scrutiny of the image on the screen (seems obvious, I know - sorry about that) - but features such as UndergrounD provide a window into a world that is gone forever although we are privileged to glimpse shadows and hear echoes via contemporary films and recordings.
Coupled with which, of course, it's a cracking good story. and British....
These are Nell who works in a department store, Bert who is an electrician, Kate who shares his boarding lodgings and is a seamstress and Bill who works on the Underground. Both Bill and Bert run into Nell on the same day and both are smitten with her womanly charms. Whilst Bert is a bit of a spiv, Bill is more dependable and cuts a dashing figure in his uniform and matinee idol good looks, so is already ahead on points.
Bert is a man who gets his own way and if he can't have Nell then no one can. He will use anyone to achieve his own ends. This means the story will inevitably build to a dramatic conclusion. This was made at a time when an appetite for melodrama was high and hence some of the `action' here may be seen as far fetched, especially the scenes shot at Lots Road Power Station in Chelsea. We also have proper old fashioned acting, with long stares and exaggerated emotions. The musical score, which is completely new, was written by Neil Brand (a silent film specialist) and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and tells the story as much as the on screen antics.
This is a beautiful restoration by the BFI but it is some of the scene quality varies. The real gems are some of the ancillary things that I found to be most interesting especially the underground scenes.Read more ›
It's pointless to judge eighty or ninety year old silent films by the same criteria as modern productions and, by the standards of its own time, it has aged pretty well. Yes, the stories are relatively simple - they need to be in order to be conveyed by mime plus a few intertitles - and the film-makers were still struggling to make the best of the technical limitations; but there are rich compensations.
The quality of the restored film is very good so that the location shots of 1920's London and the Underground are wonderful - especially for a `London and its transport' geek like me. It's also fascinating to observe the behaviour, manners and social attitudes of the time - something that modern `period' dramas never seem to capture convincingly.
Asquith's direction is perfectly adequate and incorporates many of the influences he picked up along his privileged way - notably, techniques borrowed from German and Russian cinema. The love-triangle (or rectangle) story chugs along with both humorous and dramatic moments, there are one or two good set pieces and the final chase at Lots Road power station ticks all the boxes.
The extras are pretty good too - mostly archive footage of undergroundy things
All in all, recommended - and a rewarding and worthy complement to the contemporary Hitchcocks. I'm still not convinced about blu-ray though.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
‘The “Underground” of the Great Metropolis of the British Empire, with its teeming multitudes of ‘all sorts and conditions of men,’ contributes its share of light and shade,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Trevor Willsmer
Wonderful film, lovingly restored with beautiful direction and great acting. The nearest thing to time travel and very satisfying to a lifelong London public transport enthusiast.Published 20 months ago by Leslie Bravery
Well it's '20's with all the sentiments and conventions of the time. However we loved it for all the nice shots of the underground of the day and an insight into the management and... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Gary Steele
oustanding service from amazon uk,great film highly recomended.patrick fayPublished on 3 Aug. 2014 by Patrick F.
It is a film of historical interest in addition to its dramatic effect, both superbly demonstrated by Asquith. Read morePublished on 25 April 2014 by Martin Gray