Starring: Alec Guinness, Dennis Price, Stanley Holloway, Joan Greenwood, Valerie Hobson, Sid James, Alfie Bass, Cecil Parker, Michael Gough
Running Time: 272 Minutes
Ealing comedies are so wonderful aren’t they? Transporting us back to post-war Britain at a time when it seemed much easier to mix darkness and comedy. This collection of three films, each starring Alec Guinness (one of which stars him 8 times), is a reminder of the incredible talent and unique tone that British films once possessed. Not only does each film deliver the laughs and the more sinister plotlines, but they also make interesting observations on society.
Kind Hearts And Coronets sees a man kill his way through his estranged family in order to inherit the family title and see his mother buried in the family graveyard. Dennis Price takes the lead as the sociopathic and righteous Louis
Rudolph Klein-Rogge (Metropolis – 1927)
Although dated, Fritz Lang’s utopian masterpiece still has the unique power to fascinate. Not only did the film make a star of Brigitte Helm, it introduced the father of all mad scientists, C A Rotwang, played with eye rolling relish by Lang’s favourite actor Rudolph Klein-Rogge. The Austrian born star specialised in villainous roles so he was a natural for playing the nutty inventor who creates the legendary female robot used to impersonate Helm’s freedom fighter. With his exaggerated mannerisms and facial expressions,
Tonight, Turner Classic Movies (North America) presents a rare showing of the 1957 British B&W gem Hell Drivers. The film centers on the conflicts that occur when an honest driver for a lorry company (Stanley Baker) confronts corruption in the organization and takes on the criminal ring leader (Patrick McGoohan). The film, directed by Cy Endfield, was regarded as a "B" movie in its day, but has developed a cult following that appreciates its intelligent script and fine cast. Shot mostly at Pinewood Studios, featured actors include Sean Connery, Herbert Lom, David McCallum and his real-life wife Jill Ireland, Sidney James, Gordon Jackson and Alfie Bass. A trivia note is that McGoohan, Connery and McCallum would all shoot to stardom in the next decade playing legendary cinematic spies.
Directed by Richard Lester, who also directed the band’s debut feature film, 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night, Help! follows The Beatles as they become passive recipients of an outside plot that revolves around Ringo’s possession of a sacrificial ring, which he cannot remove from his finger. As a result, he and his bandmates John, Paul and George are chased from London to the Austrian Alps and the Bahamas by religious cult members, a mad scientist and the London police.
In addition to starring The Beatles, Help! boasts a witty script, a great cast of British character actors, and classic Beatles songs “Help!,” “You’re Going To Lose That Girl,” “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” “Ticket To Ride,
Help!’s Blu-ray edition follows the 2012 release of The Beatles’ digitally restored Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour feature films on Blu-ray, DVD and iTunes with extensive extras. Help!’s restoration for its 2007 DVD debut wowed viewers, earning five-times platinum sales in the U.S. and praise from a broad range of
I don’t mean continuity errors or bloopers. I mean those scenes which make you slap your forehead in disbelief and shout ‘No, no, No!’ at the screen.
You know what I mean: Roger Moore snowboarding to the sounds of The Beach Boys; Roger Moore climbing into a submarine that’s disguised as an iceberg. Roger Moore climbing into a submarine that’s disguised as a crocodile. Roger Moore in space. Roger Moore (do you sense a theme here?) driving a motorised gondola. Grace Jones doing anything. Eric Serra
This film is the latest in Optimum’s comendable programme of restoring and, importantly, re-releasing classics of the British film industry’s past into cinemas before the welcome Blu-ray and DVD release.
We’ll have our review of the restored film up on the site shortly but for now we have a clip from the film and its trailer, both of which should have you clicked frantically to see if this film is still playing in your local picture house, then hauling your cyber self across to the nearest DVDery to buy up the disc. It’s that good.
Here’s a synopsis and a hint as to the extras on the new Blu-ray,
Henry Holland (Alec Guinness) is a shy, methodical and trustworthy bank clerk who is responsible for the shipment of gold bullion to the bank. Following the same procedure for many years he has long lusted after the gold and dreamt of the fantastic life such wealth would bring. Understanding that he would have to get the bullion out of the country in order to enjoy it, Holland has refrained from attempting a theft with the knowledge that he’ll get caught. That is until novelty souvenir sculptor Alfred Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) moves in upstairs… Now with an opportunity to export the gold to France in the form of souvenir Eiffel Tower models, Holland entices Pendlebury into his scheme. Holland and Pendlebury set a trap
Directed by Charles Crichton.
Starring Alec Guiness, Stanley Holloway, Sid James and Alfi Bass.
A bank clerk finds himself drawn into a gold smuggling racket.
You may as well know something right now. You will have to get a new mouth after watching The Lavender Hill Mob, because the one you’ve got will have worn out completely from grinning ear to ear for 78 minutes. It’s not just that this film is funny. It is spleen-shatteringly funny, but somehow, that doesn’t quite cover how relentlessly joyful and excitable the whole experience is.
We start at the end, of course. Henry Holland (Alec Guinness) is a man taking very well to being filthy rich. He dishes out banknotes like they were jelly babies; a radiant Audrey Hepburn (in her first film role) pops over for a quick kiss and some walking around money. Holland
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A warm welcome back, after 60 years, to this Ealing gem written by Teb Clarke and directed by Charles Crichton. Alec Guinness gives a great performance as Henry Holland, the mousy, bespectacled bank clerk – a creation on which Hg Wells and Dickens might have collaborated – in bomb-damaged postwar London. His job is to accompany gold bullion in the special van with armed security guards and, with the help of his friend Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) figures out a way to pinch the gold and smuggle it out of the country into Paris smelted down into bogus lead paperweights in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. It's tremendously good fun, though lighter in tone than Ealing's two scabrous masterpieces Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers, and not quite matching their
Like the perfect eccentric elderly relative you always wanted as a child (rather than your actual nan), it's always a pleasure to welcome back The Lavender Hill Mob. Ealing Studios' deathless heist caper is about to enjoy a 60th-anniversary re-release and will, as always, represent a slice of pure comic wonderment. But it's also a landmark in the history of the big-screen cockney, bringing with it a distinctive waft of fag ash and dog tracks.
Not that it makes a song and dance about it. That's sort of the point. If the first part of the film's title is a sleight of hand (Battersea's grubby central thoroughfare never actually appearing on camera), the second is a gag in itself – the very idea of Alec Guinness's exquisitely straitlaced Henry Holland
Dr No also marked the debuts of Bernard Lee (the first of 11 films as M) and Lois Maxwell (the first of 14 as Miss Moneypenny). Lee had a brief turn as Tarmut in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973) and despite never starring in a Hammer horror, Maxwell turned up in their early fifties thrillers Lady in the Fog (1953) and Mantrap (1954).
As doomed double-agent Professor Dent, Anthony Dawson is best known as the vile Marquis in Curse
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Fantasy author and movie producer Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Stardust) was recently asked about the importance of vampires in cinema, and he ultimately said that vampire movies should go back to the grave from whence they came. Gaiman gave credence to a few vampire movies, however, which he said helped to broaden the genre. One movie Gaiman cited was Roman Polanski's Dance of the Vampires (1967), which called into question the long-established belief that vampires are afraid of crosses.
Dance of the Vampires has that wonderful moment where Alfie Bass as the Jewish innkeeper has been bitten and transformed by the vampires.
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