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A view on Blu-ray by Brian Montgomery

 

Penny Points to Paradise [Blu-ray]

(aka "Penny Points")

 

(Anthony Young, 1951)

 

 

 

 

Review by Brian Montgomery

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Adelphi Films Ltd.

Blu-ray: BFI

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:16:03.000

Disc Size: 48,816,754,171 bytes

Feature Size: 20,507,375,616 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

Chapters: 7

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 3rd, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 matted to 1.78

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

• The Slappiest Days of Our Lives (1953) - compilation of clips from vintage silent comedies re-dubbed with a flight-of-fancy voiceover commentary by Peter Sellers (1:16:03)

• Illustrated booklet containing essays, credits and film notes

 

 

 

The Film:

Two valuable early Peter Sellers performances, rescued from obscurity and restored by the BFI National Archive. Penny Points to Paradise sees all the Goons beside the seaside in a cheap and cheerful comic escapade climaxing in a Brighton waxworks. Shot around the same time Lets Go Crazy, is a madcap selection of variety turns, with memorable performances from Spike Milligan and Sellers in multiple roles. Both films provide an important insight into British comedy history and, specifically, chart the beginnings of Sellers' rise to stardom. A must-have for all Goons fans.

Excerpt of review from BFI located HERE

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

The story behind this print is fairly interesting. With the restoration financed by an American Peter Sellers fan, the BFI already had access to several 35 mm (on which the film was originally shot) and 16 mm prints of the film. Unfortunately, no known complete print of either stock survived. Thanks to the financing of the anonymous patron, the BFI reconstructed the 35 mm print with the best elements available, and the end result is stunning. The first 3/4 or so of the movie looks very, very strong with excellent levels of clarity and contrast in the image. In the last 20 or so minutes of the film, a few scenes come off softer than the preceding material because the print had to be taken from the 16 mm stock, but even they look quite good in high definition. There was one brief distortion that occurred around the 20 minute mark, but other than that minor event, the image is excellent. The story is more or less the same for "Let's Go Crazy". Here the short film was reconstructed using both 35 mm and 16 mm prints, with the majority of the film exhibited in the fine grain. Both films had extensive restorations where dirt and damage were removed, and the the image on the short, like that of the main feature, is quite clear.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:

The audio too is crystal clear. Using LPCM 1.0, the high definition soundtrack artfully and crisply reproduces the dialogue and music of the original without any unwanted background noises on either film. Both films sport English subtitles that are always easily read and do not disturb the image on the screen.

 

 

Extras:

The film comes with two main extras. First, there's a 29 page illustrated booklet with essays on both films, Adelphi films and studio head Arthur Dent, and the restoration project. Like most BFI booklets, the information here is invaluable to fans of the Goons and Sellers in particular. Also included is the feature "The Slappiest Days of Our Lives", which is surprisingly longer than the main feature in the release. The film is composed of early silent comedy bits featuring some of the biggest stars of the day (Stan Laurel, Buster Keaton, the Keystone Kops, etc.) with Sellers supplying dialogue for the characters. The film elements used are rather rough, but the sound is clear enough. You're enjoyment of the film will obviously be based on how funny you find the jokes. While I find Sellers to be a gifted comedic actor, I have to admit that most of the jokes in here fell flat for me.
 

 

 

 

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 0:32:53.416

Disc Size: 48,816,754,171 bytes

Feature Size: 8,791,953,408 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.70 Mbps

Chapters: 3

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 3rd, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 matted to 1.78

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom line:

Although I have often heard about them through various Monty Python documentaries, this was my first experience with the Goons and I must say that I was mildly impressed. Despite Peter Sellers's frank dismissal of the film as poor, I found just enough in the madcap zaniness of Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe to enjoy the viewing experience. Not everything work in either film, but more jokes connect than fall flat. When you add to that the impressive visuals of both films, then the recommendation is easy.

Brian Montgomery

February 21st, 2010
 

 

 

 


 


 




 

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