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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 15 May 2009
Yet another repackaging of Ealing's finest hours.This is, in fact, the second outing for this particular box set, which came out a few years ago with a slightly different cover. The 5 films here, 4 of them starring Alec Guinness, are indeed all classics of the studio's output, although the inclusion of MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT, very much a minor success,rather than WHISKEY GALORE does mean that this is not truly a Best Of. Neverthless, for someone looking for most of the cream of Ealing's comedy crop this 5 disc box set is essential. My personal favourite THE LADYKILLERS is still as fresh today as it was in 1955 and features one of the best ensemble casts British film has ever mustered and is far superior to the very average Coen Bros/Tom Hanks 2004 remake.Guinness' tour de force KIND HEARTS & CORONETS is usually considered to be the other standout feature of these 5 films, but personally I prefer PASSPORT TO PIMLICO whose themes have remained curiously topical even 60 years on. THE LAVENDER HILL MOB is another of Alec Guinness' great performances and a sheer joy to watch. All of these films contain great performances from actors who were allowed to do some of their best work; Guinness, of course, Dennis Price, Stanley Holloway, Peter Sellers, Sid James,Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom and let's not forget Katie Johnson who just about steals the show in THE LADYKILLERS.

THE LADYKILLERS; 5 inept robbers led by a truly sinister Alec Guinness hole up in Katie Johnson's crumbling house by the railway to plan and execute a major heist.

KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS; Dennis Price's illegitimate heir to a fortune gradually bumps off his rivals, all of them played by Alec Guinness, until he gets his just desserts.

THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT; a naive young chemist (Guinness) invents an indestructible fibre that he thinks will be only beneficial, but soon finds out his mistake when the cotton mill workers and owners rise up against him.

PASSPORT TO PIMLICO; In dour, rationed, post-war London a charter is discovered dating back to medieval times which makes the borough of Pimlico part of France.

THE LAVENDER HILL MOB; A corrupt bank clerk (Guinness) befriends a souvenier maker (Stanley Holloway)and with the aid of 2 professional crooks (Sid James & Alfie Bass)cooks up an ingenious plan to steal millions in gold bars and smuggle them out of the country.

None of these films has been remastered, although they're all fairly decent prints, and it seems to be a straight reissue of the 2002 release by Studio Canal in slightly different packaging. Nevertheless, I'd highly recommend this box set to anyone not already if possesion of this marvellous collection. Not only does it contain classic comic performances and fantastic and very clever scripts, but it also provides a wonderful window onto post-war England.
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