directed by John Mackenzie
UK 1980

Bob Hoskins, in his breakthrough film role, stars as a London racketeer fast losing control of his gangland empire; Helen Mirren shines as his classy moll. John Mackenzie’s stylish thriller is a marriage of gangsterflicks from both sides of the Atlantic.

****

The Long Good Friday is a textbook example of what a commercial British picture should be - which makes it all the more ironic that, due to various legal snarl-ups, the film was never actually given a wide release in UK cinemas. It's a fast-paced thriller that's strikes the right balance between humour and seriousness, and manages to function as both a penetrating psychological character study and a fascinating social and historical snapshot of a certain place at a certain critical point in history. MacKenzie's achievement is to blend all these elements together into a satisfying whole without ever pulling his punches - this is one of that rare breed: a gangster film for adults.

Whatever his shortcomings as a visual stylist, MacKenzie's pacing is faultless - the incredible bottle-attack scene starts with an ominously long spell of silence during which Harold is seen pouring himself a drink on his boat, and, while the audience is still absorbing the ferocity of its conclusion, the scene is followed by a powerful image of Harold in the shower, his squat head and shoulders refracting through the steamed-up shower door. This is the moment at which you realize just how skillfully and powerfully you've been caught up by the energy of this actor, this character, this remarkable film.

Excerpt from Neil Young's Jigsaw Lounge review located HERE.

 

Theatrical Release: November 1980 - London Film Festival

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Comparison: 

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Image Entertainment - Region A - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 26

Region 0 - NTSC

Anchor Bay (Special Edition)

Region 1 - NTSC

Image Entertainment
Region 'A'  -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:54:12 1:53:56 1:54:15.515

Video

1.70:1 Original Aspect Ratio

Average Bitrate: 4.62 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.23 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 18,552,768,120 bytes

Feature: 18,221,144,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0) DTS-HD Master Audio English 2036 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2036 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles None None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.70:1

Edition Details:
• British and American theatrical trailers

DVD Release Date: November 24th, 1998
Keep case

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay 
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director John MacKenzie
• Featurette: ' Bloody Business' (54:26)
• Trailers
• Cockney Slang Glossary
• Poster Gallery
• Talent bios (text)

 

DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2006
Keep Case inside cardboard box

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio:
Image Entertainment

 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 18,552,768,120 bytes

Feature: 18,221,144,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
Trailer

Blu-ray Release Date: August 24th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12  

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: (August 2010) Image Entertainment Region 'A' - Blu-ray: Firstly, I don't own Region FREE Anchor Bay UK Blu-ray edition available HERE  (currently at 70% OFF!) but suspect like the others it will technically be a superior transfer to this Image Entertainment disc. However one comment on Amazon does state that it is incorrect at 1.66:1. This 1.78 US release appears to be cropped on the left edge and the rendering is single-layered with a modest bitrate and no real extras aside from a trailer. It offers a decent lossless 5.1 audio at 2000 Kbps but the video rarely goes dramatically in advancement of the previous DVDs - colors (like reds) are notable and flesh tones appear to warm up. This has optional English subtitles while the UK Blu-ray does not - and my Momitsu has identified the Image Entertainment as being a region 'A'-locked. 

NOTE: like the Anchor Bay Blu-ray this has the original 'Brit' language audio (ex. 'poxy', 'in the boot', 'grasses' etc.) not the Americanized DUB.

Like we said about Time Bandits, Mona Lisa and Withnail and I - the most attractive feature to the Image Ent. Blu-ray is the asking price. The UK edition is even more reasonable at present but is supposedly cropped. ?

***

 

ON THE DVDs: NOTE: We have added one frame from the PAL UK (also by Anchor Bay) release below. It has the same commentary but the featurette is a 30 minute interview.

In an unusual circumstance Anchor Bay is besting Criterion whose ancient (1999) bare-bones 4:3 widescreen release seems like easy pickings to climb above. The Criterion captures are in their native resolution but the Anchor Bay have been reduced from 960 to 800 so judgment of detail via the screen caps is not 100% accurate. I still think the Criterion nudges ahead on detail - colors are about the same. The Criterion edition has a black border around the outer edge limiting horizontal resolution. The Anchor Bay skin tones are a little red indicating some possible manipulation.

Where the Anchor Bay vaults ahead is in the extras department - Criterion offers a UK and US trailer but Anchor Bay have a director commentary and an , almost hour long, featurette.

One note of disappointment - as the cockney slang can be quite thick until you catch on - optional subtitles, by either release, would have been appreciated.       

 - Gary Tooze

 


DVD Menus

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

 

 
 

 

Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitles Sample on Blu-ray

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - Region 1 - PAL - THIRD

4) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Anchor Bay
Menu: Anchor Bay

 
DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 26

Region 0 - NTSC

Anchor Bay (Special Edition)

Region 1 - NTSC

Image Entertainment
Region 'A'  -
Blu-ray




 

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