Tony Spadaro | chapel hill, NC United States | 12/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The films are:
Kind Hearts & Coronets
The Lavender Hill Mob
The Man in the White Suit
The Captain's Paradise
The last is available only in the set while the others can be bought
separately. The movies, of course, are all excellent so I'm just commenting on the quality of the DVDs.
I got the collection for Christmas and haven't watched all the films yet but did go through the ones I haven't watched to see how the transfers looked -- all extremely good, probably the best I've ever seen them.
"The Ladykillers" is MUCH improved over the VHS versions I've rented which tended to have both very greyed out blacks and blown highlights. The film is in widescreen format with black bars at top and bottom. The rest of the movies were filmed in 4x3 ratio - which is how they are presented.
There are closed captions but only the type that must be set on the TV - the white lettering within a black band. There are none of the type available on many DVDs without banding, however I think most Tv sets, at least the ones owned by those of us who need the captions are now capable of showing the standard caption format. For everything I've watched so far the captions are quite correct.
Which brings up the sound. English film soundtracks (and the BBC -- especially the BBC) have always been somewhat poor. It isn't simply a matter of us Yanks not being able to comprehend the accents, but of truly terrible sound equipment and perhaps a somewhat less than skilled bunch of sound recordists. These DVD transfers sound just okay compared to something like the DVD of "The Maltese Falcon" but they sound much better than the VHS
editions of the same films so I'm pretty happy and I expect most people will be able to follow the dialog without problems. For one thing all these movies were made before the "F/X boys got control of the soundtracks -- yet another crime perpetrated by George Lucas and the other hacks who've made the movies practically a brain-dead medium.
In terms of extras:
Every film comes with the trailer -- for those who want to watch the damn things.
Every film is available dubbed into French -- don't ask me about the sound quality - I haven't listened.
Every film carrys a brief bio of Guinness. There is one oddity in that one of his best early films "The Card" (US title "The Promoter") is not mentioned in the course of the bio and is not included in the filmography. There may be others missing too, but I wanted to place The Card in it's time related to those the the collection and it simply wasn't there.
There is also no mention of the film appearance he made in 1936 which is left out of most lists but is in Halliwells book of movie people - I don't know if Halliwell was right or wrong on that.
The only other thing of major interest is on Star Wars, where (According to the bio) Guinness was supposed to be an on-screen presence throughout the film, but managed to convince Lucas that he would be much better as a ghost, and therefore got his character killed off early to avoid hanging around mouthing banal dialog for the entire shoot. As one who has avoided all Lucas films since my own children got old enough to go to the theater without me, I think Sir Alec made an excellent choice -- The Smart was with him.
Overall I am very happy with my DVDs and anxiously await the next set which I HOPE includes "The Card" along with "Last Holiday" "All at Sea" "The Horse's Mouth" and "Our Man in Havana". The third set could start with "Great Expectations" and "Oliver Twist". "HMS Defiant" would have to be in there, but "Tunes of Glory" although a great movie is perhaps too much of a downer to watch very often -- once a decade, perhaps... perhaps not that often. It's been at least 12 years since I last saw it, and I'm not sure I'm up for it yet.
If you like Guinness, get this collection. I don't care what kind of Guinness you like, I know this set will go down smooth."
If You Need a Definition for the Word Droll!
Archmaker | California | 10/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Then check out this collection of these wonderful, classic Ealing Studios comedies starring the inimitable Alec Guinness. Odd and whimsical, these films are loaded with not only astringent British wit, but also quirky and vivid characterizations, social satire, and just pure fun and outright slapstick. They cast a bemused and knowing eye on British attitudes of class & propriety, and poked sharp fun at them. Briefly:THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT: A brilliant but stubbornly obtuse and obsessed scientist pursues his dream of a miracle fabric in the heart of the British textile industry, in the end pleasing no one but himself. As he is beset by conservative owners on one side, and radical unionists on the other, we get a light satire on the mixed blessings of technology.THE CAPTAIN'S PARADISE: A ship's captain has a wife in each port, one for domesticity and one for fun. So pleased with his own pleasure he doesn't realize that each woman is only half-fulfilled by such an arrangement until the applecart is upset.KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS: Guinness plays all the members of an aristocratic family being done-away-with by a disinfranchised illegitimate heir (a deliciously arch Dennis Price). A bunch of clueless upper class twits are done-in by a clever and ruthless "tradesman". THE LAVENDER HILL MOB: An apparently meek and unambitious clerk masterminds the perfect gold heist with the aid of some bumbling cohorts. Everything that goes wrong turns out to go right and they bring off a huge robbery. But, of course, there is a snag....proving the "wobbewy" was the easy part. (Loved the lisp!)THE LADY KILLERS: Saved the best for last. Guinness is the "Professor" a brilliant, half-mad mastermind of a motley gang of crooks. Using his unwitting landlady in the train robbery, a brilliant but "flawed" stroke, the gang is stymied in their getaway and begins to deconstruct themselves one by one while trying to "deal" with Mrs."Lopsided". This delectably dark little comedy is a gem, building its hilarity bit by bit concisely and economically. A classic comedy.In all of these films Alec Guinness is ably supported by some of the cream of British acting, including: the aforementioned Dennis Price, plus Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker, Ernest Thesiger, Michal Gough, Stanley Holloway, Herbert Lom and Peter Sellars. For those with a taste for wit and whimsy, these classic films are a delight!"
GENIUS OF GUINNESS
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 09/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the Ealing Studios and the 50s via Anchor Bay comes a terrifc, long overdue set of sly, witty, intelligent satires and farces starring the late Sir Alec Guiness. All the titles are availbale as single discs, but the only way to get the marvelous THE CAPTAIN'S PARADISE is to buy the set.
In THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT, find out what happens when an idealist young chemist (Guinness) invents a fabric that won't wrinkle, won't get dirty and won't wear out. What's a miracle fabric to the consumer is the end of a job to mill workers and soon Guinness is the must hunted man in the UK.
No, THE LAVENDER HILL MOB is not about the gay mafia. It's about a meek bank clerk (Guinness) who devises a plot to steal the gold bullion in his own bank by melting it down and molding it inside little Eiffel Tower souvenirs to be shipped to France. Naturally things go wrong and the delicious suspense is in rooting for the bad guys to get away with it.
THE LADYKILLERS is a very black comedy about a gang of crooks who rent a room from a kindly, elderly lady. But her constant interference (tea and cookies anyone?) with their perfect crime plans is too much and they decide to kill her. Sadly, they don't know what they are up against when evil confronts pure innocence (or so it seems). Peter Seller is featured in his first major screen role. Guinness is wonderful as a pale, demented, buck toothed cold-hearted, cynical criminal mastermind.
In KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS Sir Alec plays eight very different roles. Dennis Price costars as a man who decides to knock off all his d'Ascoyne relatives that stand in his way of inheriting a dukedom. A terrific twist ending.
And THE CAPTAIN'S PARADISE is about a droll, confient ferry boat captain (Guinness) who has a dutiful British housewife in Gibralter and spitfire vixen spouse in Tangier -- his two ports of call. A careless anniversary gift spoils the charade. Not only must he outwit two betrayed women, he must outsmart a firing squad. A terrific movie that reveals just about all you need to know about the battle of the sexes.
This great set of nearly forgotten Guinness films will be fresh to a new generation of videophiles. I have the collection and the transfers look great. Limited extras include a Guinness bio and trailers. Worth every penny."
Same set as before
Ardeal | Atlanta, GA United States | 01/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set contains the same movies that were included in the Anchor Bay collection a few years ago (Kind Hearts and Coronets / The Lavender Hill Mob / The Ladykillers / The Man in the White Suit / The Captain's Paradise).