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WELL SUITED
The Man In The White Suit is the latest Ealing film to get a Blu-ray release from Studio Canal. The story deals with biochemist Sidney Stratton (the brilliant Alec Guinness) who appears to have created a fabric which resists wear and stains in a textile mill up in the North of England. But he finds himself increasingly marginalised when he finds himself isolated and without allies when both the manufacturers and the factory workers want to bury his invention. Directed by American Alexander Mackendrick (The Sweet Smell of Success), The Man In The White Suit is more of a bittersweet drama than an out and out comedy, with Stratton first introduced on screen as a factory janitor rather than a fully fledged scientist. Guinness is the stand-out here but it also has an excellent supporting cast including British cinema staples like Cecil Parker as mill owner Alan Birnley and the mesmerising Joan Greenwood as his daughter Daphne. It has dated a little but it is still a wonderful snapshot of Britain in the early fifties, albeit a slightly artificial feeling North of England. It deserves a Blu-ray release just as much as The Ladykillers, Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets and if a viewer hasn’t seen this film and they’re an Ealing aficionado, they’re in for a treat.
http://www.studiocanal.com/

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ADMIRABLE CRICHTON
One of my favourite films of all time, The Lavender Hill Mob, has just got a cinema release for its remastered version and it’s also just hit Blu-ray. Putting aside the fact that there’s only so much you can do with a 60-year-old film, The Lavender Hill Mob is a very simple film but it is its simplicity that is part of its brilliance. Alec Guinness plays Henry Holland, a naive bank clerk whose job it is to make sure that gold bullion reaches its home safely once it leaves the bank hits on a seemingly flawless plan to steal the gold and get it out of the country. With the aid of his accomplice Alfred Pendlebury (the incomparable Stanley Holloway), owner of Gewgaws limited, a company that makes tourist tat to sell around the world, and thief Lackery Wood (Sid James), Holland puts a plan into action. But of course the plan doesn’t succeed. Director Charles Crichton, who also helmed Hue & Cry and The Titfield Thunderbolt, makes everything feel easy here with a deft hand for direction, packing everything into just 80 minutes. Guinness is fantastic as is the slightly hapless Holloway and even though James’s role is small, he makes a major contribution on screen. It’s also wonderful to see London just after the war to witness the devastation that continued into the 1950s, especially noticeable in the scene around St Paul’s Cathedral. The Lavender Hill Mob is a marvelous slice of 1950s British cinema, among Ealing Studios best, with a peerless cast and a great script. It deserves a Blu-ray release so it’s heartening to see it get oneā€¦