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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 29 May 2014
This film, made in 1930, was one of the first British musicals. This explains why the sound and colour are a little primitive by today`s standards. One is left wondering why narrator Tommy Handley did not protest at the material he was asked to deliver, for the `jokes` are not remotely funny; and what is Donald Calthrop`s purpose in the film? The sketch starring Jack Hulbert, Bobby Coomber etc., is without humour and Cicely Courtneidge shows a `non-talent` being unable to dance or sing, and her costume is ridiculous.
However, the dance sequence of The Three Eddies is breathtaking; likewise the dance duet between Jack Hulbert and Helen Burnell. Still on the subject of dancing, the routines by the Charlot and Adelphi girls are delightful, ,also they are good to look at! The Russian sequence is fantastic in the dance and choral sections, and Teddy Brown shows his musical talent to advantage.
Will Fyffe and Lily Morris provide a valuable film record of the music-hall, and let us not forget the wonderful Alfred Hitchcock sketch starring Jameson Thomas, and John Longden which I have entitled `The Triangle` with its surprise ending.
Well worth purchasing.

John Harman.
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on 24 May 2014
I have been trying to obtain a copy of this film for some years. Previously I recorded a copy on TV many years ago. You will not be disappointed with this copy from Network, which is very good, with only two small jump cuts and is a very clear copy.
The film is the British answer to the American releases at the time of their vaudeville type productions such as "Show of Shows" and "Paramount on Parade". Originally released in February 1930. it was the first British musical. The sound is very good, considering it was a new medium and is far better than the latest first episode of Jamaica Inn. The sound was recorded on the optical RCA Photophone system, which was much better than Warner's Parlophone big disc system. The way the sketches are introduced by Tommy Handley is similar to the method used by Frank Fay in Warner's "Show of Shows". There is also a similarity with a frustrated performer who keeps being denied his chance to perform a Shakespearean sketch. After the main title to the film, a radio antennae appears which sends "Elstree calling" in morse .This is similar to RKO whose antennae sends " a radio picture". There are several sketches in colour using the very laborious Pathecolour hand tinted system. I had to adjust the advanced colour setting on my Sony TV to see this but it did not alter my subsequent viewings. Don't be surprised by the slow picture fade in a the beginning of the film, this had me reaching for the control box even though I had read previous comments about this. All the stars perform well. There is some very good dancing, including acrobatic dancing by Jack Hulbert with Helen Burnell. The last number by Cecily Courtneidge even surpasses this. The Dance timing of the Charlot girls is spot on. Anna May Wong appears briefly in a sketch with Donald Calthrop, who impersonates Douglas Fairbanks . Miss Wong came to England when she was passed over for the part in Chinese Fantasy ,Show of Shows, with Nick Lucas. Lily Morris, an old Music Hall star, does two sketches very competently. "Little" Teddy Brown appears with his band and his xylophone playing is a joy to watch. Patrick Moore , the astronomer. also a player of this instrument, thought Brown was the best he had ever seen. Tommy Handley introduces sketches,although probably best known for his ITMA radio programmes during the WW2, he also appeared in many comedy films.
An excellent music score with contributions from Reg Casson, Vivian Ellis, Chuck Endor, Ivor Novello and Jack Strachey hold the whole film together.
This is not a film to be missed. However you might require the services of Harry Houdini to get into the reduced size disc holder!
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on 29 April 2014
This film is very good indeed,really excellent image quality from those boffins at networkdvd.Having recently reviewed "Dead of night"
a "Blu ray" disc,this film "ELSTREE CALLING" is outstanding in terms of sound and picture compared to the Blu Ray release.
Full marks to amazon for speedy delivery (48hrs from ordering,supersaver delivery) and network for going that extra length to bring the best recording of this very old film(84yrs old)!!
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on 17 November 2015
It appears that this was the very first British musical film created in 1930. Possibly of historical interest but a really awful production to view. Some 'top liners', of the time, perform their acts and they are simply pitiful. I guess you ought to buy it in order to have a good cry. Watch the dance routine of Cecily Courtneidge (her great vitality made her a great musical comedy favourite) and pass your opinion.
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on 11 February 2016
I bought this DVDs as it is sometimes nice to watch the old entertainers and see where all the films with their special affects started from the old time stage entertainers, such as Cicely Courneidge who I remember played the part of Stans mum in the TV sitcom On the busses before the actress Doris Hare took over
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on 10 January 2015
I have wanted a copy of this film for a very long time, for its historical value. It enshrines several wonderful performances by artistes of the late Music Hall and Variety periods, not least among them being Lily Morris's 'Why Am I Always The Bridesmaid?', and 'Only a Working Man' - those alone are worth the price.

Is it good? As a film - no. As a record of a time in entertainment history it's valuable (sound had arrived only a couple of years earlier).
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on 29 December 2014
I had often wondered about some of the clips that I had seen on youtube. Some of the acts are dire but for me the delight was seeing the great Lily Morris. A good record of these acts,worth seeing if you are interested in nostalgia.
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on 27 January 2015
Swift response, well packaged and cheap too. A great bargain with some tremendous footage. Very pleased indeed.
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on 30 August 2015
An early British 'Talkie' which shows some of the technical limitations of the period. However, it has great nostalgic value included in the big star line-up of both Radio & Film stars.
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on 14 June 2015
Cleverly joined sketches that make for enjoyable viewing. Not the usual Hitchcock style, but a pleasant distraction from the usual serious stuff.
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