Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Classic British Thrillers

The Phantom Light (1935)                  Red Ensign (1935)

The Upturned Glass (1947)


Titles

 

Description

The British Cinematograph Films Act of 1927 was passed to give motion pictures made in the United Kingdom an edge over Hollywood imports. However technically crude, these low budget quota quickies provided on-the-job training for some of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of British Cinema.

The Phantom Light (1935)
The disappearance of two lighthouse keepers stationed on the desolate coast of Wales is linked to the specter of a rogue beacon that lures freight ships to their destruction on the rocks. Gordon Harker (Alfred Hitchcock's The Ring) and Binnie Hale (Love From a Stranger) star as bickering sleuths who must solve the mystery of The Phantom Light or become its next victims!

Red Ensign (1935)
With England s commercial fleet in decline, idealistic shipbuilder David Barr (The Most Dangerous Game's Leslie Banks) conceives a radical new design to revolutionize the industry. Denied capital to proceed by his firm s board of directors, Barr funds the project himself, attracting the support of a beautiful heiress and the attention of a ruthless rival who will stop at nothing, even murder, to obtain Barr s top secret design.

The Upturned Glass (1947)
After sparing the eyesight of a young patient, Dr. Michael Joyce falls in love with the girl s grateful mother, Emma Wright (Rosamund John), whose husband has been absent for years. When her man returns unexpectedly, Emma reluctantly ends the affair, only to be killed in a mysterious fall. Using his surgical skills to trace the killer, Michael begins his own investigation but has no intention of handing the murderer over to the police.



DVD Review: MPI Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

MPI Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:23:21, 1:05:56, 1:23:21
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.89 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MPI

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: July 28th, 2008
Standard Keep case

Chapters 13, 15 + 18

 

Comments: While I wasn't overly impressed with the two Michael Powell features - although I did enjoy them - The Upturned Glass had a bit more moxy with a young Mason filling the part well. Perhaps my expectations were high on the Powells but the real issue with this is that all three features are loaded onto one dual-layered disc. They are interlaced and quality is sub-standard for the transfers. If I had known they were as pragmatically housed as this I would have expected the quality to actually be worse than they are. They are certainly watchable with minimal damage.

Audio is acceptable considering the age of the films and they all offer English subtitles - albeit in a loopy, almost unreadable, font. There are no extras - which would have only overloaded the lone disc anyway but the film deserved something especially with the Powell link.

We have The Upturned Glass listed on our Noir page, but it's a stretch although the mood seems appropriate. Approaching them in the right frame of mind will suffice many and the price is sure right. No gems here but vintage Brit mysteries with some thriller aspects. Worth at least a ten'er.

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus
 

 


directed by Michael Powell
UK 1935

 

A creaky stage play is transformed by Powell into a cheap but splendidly atmospheric comedy thriller. Gordon Harker stars as a Cockney lighthouse-keeper who, with the aid of an insurance investigator (Hale) and a naval officer (Hunter), sees off a gang of wreckers intent on no good. The leader of the wreckers is one 'Dr Carey', the setting is Wales, and the climactic confrontation is intercut with a ship heading for the rocks. Any party, even the Welsh Nationalists, could interpret this allegory to their own ends.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Theatrical Release: August 5th, 1935

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


directed by Michael Powell
USA 1935

 

Red Ensign (1934) was the 12th of Powell's 23 quota quickies, and the first in which he felt able to insert a bit of his own personal sensibility. Powell and his co-writer, Jerome Jackson, got the idea for the film from a newspaper article about the decline of British shipbuilding. Their screenplay centers on an idealistic and patriotic shipbuilder named David Barr (Leslie Banks) who is determined to construct 20 new ships at a struggling Glasgow shipyard even without a guaranteed contract from a shipping line. (One company makes an offer, but Barr rejects it because the ships would be sold to foreign companies, not British ones). Barr wants to reinvigorate a depressed industry and supply a steady amount of jobs to the local Scottish workers. He gets the shipyard humming again, but reality intrudes, and he eventually runs out of money. As he scrambles around trying to raise more cash, hundreds of disgruntled workers start getting restless, and a riot seems very possible.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Theatrical Release: June 4th, 1935

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews 


Screen Captures

 

Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Lawrence Huntington
UK 1947

 

While a bit overly methodical and occasionally slow-going at first, it maintains considerable interest in the story of a brain surgeon (James Mason) who operates on a young girl, falls in love with her married mother, and then investigates the mother's supposedly accidental death.

At the end of the story's second act we are treated to a delicious plot turn which effectively plays with our expectations of how flashbacks usually work, and the final half-hour of his tale is as mesmerizing and breathless as it is unpredictable. It's also very "adult." Without giving too much away, I can say that the movie delves into psychology and mental illness in a provocative and stimulating manner while at the same time taking us deep inside Mason's character without our even realizing it. (It's hard to explain without revealing too much - just see the movie!)

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Theatrical Release: June 17th, 1947

Reviews        More Reviews  


Screen Captures

 

Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

MPI Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

 




Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!