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Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
U
K 1955

 

THE LADYKILLERS, director Alexander Mackendrick's third Ealing farce, is the final comedy produced by the famous studio and one of its most celebrated. Alec Guinness stars as the superbly shifty, toothily threatening Professor Marcus, the leader of a crime ring planning a heist. Marcus rents rooms from a sweet, eccentric old lady, Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson), in her crooked London house. The professor and his co-conspirators, blowhard Major Courtney (Cecil Parker), creepily suave Louis (Herbert Lom), chubby Harry (Peter Sellers), and muscleman One-Round (Danny Green), pose as an unlikely string quartet using the rooms for rehearsal. Dodging Mrs. Wilberforce's constant interruptions, the hoods hit upon the idea to use her in the daring daylight robbery (filmed in and around London's Kings Cross station). When the old girl discovers the truth, Marcus and company cannot persuade her to stay buttoned up about it and thus decide to do her in.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 1955 - UK

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Comparison:

Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

US Lions Gate Blu-ray Edition

Canadian Maple Films Blu-ray Edition

UK Optimum Blu-ray Edition

French Studio Canal Blu-ray Edition:

Distribution Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:36  1:30:41.541
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.9 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 35,012,969,638 bytes

Feature Size: 26,769,100,800 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080p / 24 fps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

DVD

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 ) DTS-HD Master Audio English 1606 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1606 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1622 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1622 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1611 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1611 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1583 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1583 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 1677 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1677 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles None Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• Alex Guinness 35-page Onscreen Text Bio
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: September 10th, 2002

Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  Home Video
 

Disc Size: 35,012,969,638 bytes

Feature Size: 26,769,100,800 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080p / 24 fps

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Philip Kemp
• An Introduction by Terry Gilliam (2:58)
• Documentary: Forever Ealing (49:37)
• Interview with Allan Scott (10:30)

• Interview with Ronald Hardwood (7:14)

• Interview with Terence Davies (13:48)

• Cleaning Up The Ladykillers - restoration demo (6:07)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:34 in HD!)

• 20-page liner Notes booklet with cast/crew information and photos

BD-Live Functional

Blu-ray Release Date: February 16th, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

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

Firstly, the Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal are offering the exact same Blu-ray disc. Packaging may differ in certain regions to suite languages but this is the same transfer and supplements available worldwide from the above listed distributors.

Like other Studio Canal Collection releases this starts with a list of country options of which Australia, USA, the United Kingdom and 8 - non-English choices are available. They have the same subtitle and audio options. All appear coded for regions A + B - but I did not verify for region 'C' coded disc as I have yet to see one. We will make the, not-so bold, assumption that this is essentially region-free. 

The Anchor Bay was also available in the Alec Guinness Collection Boxset HERE with Kind Hearts and Coronets / The Lavender Hill Mob / The Ladykillers / The Man in the White Suit and The Captain's Paradise  and like the single-disc editions via this distributor - now out-of-print.

The obvious discussion point is that the Anchor Bay DVD edition, which, like the Studio Canal Collection - starts with the French company's logo - has been transferred in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio where the Blu-ray is in 1.33. Do I think SC has made an oversight? I doubt it - this may have originally played in both ratios dependant on the theater OR the 1.33 is simply an open-matte as is conveniently does not lose an iota of information from the framing. It gains on all 4 edges although there seems an inordinate amount on the top (above people's heads). However, I didn't find this distracting one bit in my viewing. It is possible that the 1.66 is the more correct AR, but I'm not about to make issue with the restored feature improving so drastically in other areas.

The single-layered DVD loses on every detail of the visual quality from brighter colors( although appears to have chromatic aberrations), stronger detail, more visible grain and certainly more accurate flesh-tones. I understand the feature had general dirt and sparkle throughout but also very dirty opticals and suffered from some severe blue-staining that comes across as a 'green-ish hue' on the DVD. The Blu-ray has had a thorough manual cleaning to irradiate or lessen these weaknesses. It is a gigantic improvement.  

NOTE: Sent in email "What I saw was not chromatic aberrations but fringing caused by the mis-registration of the Technicolor YCMs. LADYKILLERS was shot 3-strip and unless the video master was made by someone or some company that knows how to re-register the separate images, time and chemistry will make them not fit properly. Technicolor prints, before anamorphic release prints, were never that tightly registered. Unless the print was destined for a major first-run house with a large screen (Radio City Music Hall, for example) the fringing was deemed acceptable. Prints for those venues were cherry-picked as they came off of the line. Prints that were somewhat fringy would be sent to lesser theatres and those that were totally f'd up would have the dyes washed off and would be reprinted. Still, I remember some pretty badly misaligned reels in theatres. When 'scope came into being, Technicolor had to resort to Eastman Color print stock until they re-engineered their print line to make registration more accurate." 

The Blu-ray sports a new lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at a decent 1606 kbps. It sounds quite good within the confines of the stereo rendering. It is significantly crisper and cleaner and I suppose that is all we could hope for.  There are some foreign language DUBs (French, German, Spanish) and many subtitle options although English is not included. The Anchor Bay DVD offered no subtitle options at all. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc.

The DVD has nothing but a theatrical trailer some text screen on Guinness but the Blu-ray is absolutely stacked starting with an excellent commentary by Philip Kemp who always gives solid discussion on the film's production and tidbits on the filmmakers and cast. Terry Gilliam provides a 3-minute introduction and there is a wonderful 50-minute documentary entitled Forever Ealing that covers a lot of ground. There are about a 1/2 hour's worth of interviews with Allan Scott (10:30), Ronald Hardwood (7:14) and Terence Davies (13:48) plus 6-minutes on the restoration with a split-screen demo called "Cleaning Up The Ladykillers" and a 1.33 theatrical trailer in HD. There is a professionally bound little 20-page liner notes booklet with cast/crew information and photos and lastly the disc is BD-Live Functional (untested at this time).

I love this film and was overjoyed that it was coming to Blu-ray. I'm very happy with the final product and we will investigate more about the AR and chromatic aberration but I'm not going to let that deter me (I suggest you don't either) and strongly endorse. This is a fabulous film and strong Blu-ray package. Enjoy!  

Gary W. Tooze

 



Menus / Extras

 

Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT


Supplements Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


DVD Box Cover

US Lions Gate Blu-ray Edition

Canadian Maple Films Blu-ray Edition

UK Optimum Blu-ray Edition

French Studio Canal Blu-ray Edition:

Distribution Starz / Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC Lions Gate / Maple Films / Optimum / Universal Studio Canal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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