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The Lavender Hill Mob: 60th Anniversary Edition [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Classification: U
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 1, 2011
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00525QHM8[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

The 1951 film that won the BAFTA award for Best British Film (1952) and an Oscar for Best Writing, Story, Screenplay (1953, T.E.B. Clarke), The Lavender Hill Mob is a madcap robbery caper directed by Charles Crichton, who would much later direct John Cleese in another madcap crime caper, A Fish Called Wanda (1988).

The shy, retiring Mark Holland (Alec Guiness) has worked for 20-years as a bank transfer agent for gold bullion and now he’s about to implement his long simmering plan to steal the gold. The only thing that’s been holding him back is a rock solid way to smuggle the gold out of the country. So he recruits Pendlebury, (Stanley) a neighborhood souvenir maker convincing him that they can use his smelting equipment to melt the gold down into toy Eiffel Towers and easily sneak them out of the country. Soon, the two are planting a story that gains the help of two professional crooks, Lackery (Sid James) and Shorty (Alfie Bass). The four then begin to implement what is meant to be a foolproof plan, but things take a wild turn when some of their golden Eiffel Towers are mistakenly sold and Holland and Pendelbury must try to track them down in France from the schoolgirls who bought them with the police getting hot on their trail.

It’s hilariously zany with unexpected twists. One of my favorite scenes is during car chase that has the detectives, and innocent caught in the fray all singing along nonchalantly to “Old McDonald” as they chase after the robbers in a stolen police car – thinking they are inconspicuous, mind you, while one is wearing a top hat! Priceless, good-natured fun.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

It’s a miraculous restoration, especially when you see the side by side comparison in the special features section. Optimum have really done well with the original source to bring this back to life. Although there are still some obvious blemishes in this 60-year-old film, it looks quite film-like with dark blacks and good shadow detail and nice bit of grain retained but not overwhelming in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The original monaural soundtrack is provided in LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) and while it still as the thinness in the dialogue associated with films of this era, it is rather clear and somewhat clean with a decent bit of range.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

This is a worthy supplementary package for a 60th Anniversary edition that includes a brief introduction from Martin Scorsese, and archival interviews with director Charles Crichton and writer T.E.B. Clarke in addition to a quite revealing restoration comparison.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Introduction from Martin Scorsese (1.33:1; PAL; 00:03:38)
  • Excerpt from BECTU Interview with Charles Crichton (00:12:51)
  • Good Afternoon: Mavis Interviews T.E.B. Clarke (1.33:1; PAL; 00:24:43)
  • Restoration Comparison (1080p/24; 00:04:11) – A before and after comparison of the original negative and restored version of the film.
  • Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery (1080p/24; 00:01:07)
  • Trailer (1.33:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

A more than award-worthy classic crime caper, The Lavender Hill Mob is spruced up quite nicely by the folks at Optimum for its 60th Anniversary and arrives on Blu-ray in a feature rich package that should be grabbed up by any film lover worth his or her salt.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00525QHM8[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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