Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden's London Underground

Sapphire (1959)                                  The League of Gentlemen (1960)

Victim (1961)                           All Night Long (1962)

 

After mastering the mix of comedy, suspense, and horror that helped define the golden age of British cinema, Basil Dearden (along with his producing partner Michael Relph) left the legendary Ealing Studios and, in the late fifties and early sixties, created a series of gripping, groundbreaking, even controversial films. In dealing with racism, homophobia, and the lingering effects of World War II, these noir-tinged dramas burrowed into corners of London rarely seen on-screen. This set of elegantly crafted films—Sapphire, a dissection of a hate crime; The League of Gentlemen, a deft heist adventure suffused with postwar melancholy; Victim, a landmark gay character study, starring Dirk Bogarde; and All Night Long, a provocative transposition of Othello to the swinging London jazz scene—brings this quintessential figure of British cinema out of the shadows.

Sapphire - A beautiful female college student is found dead in a public park; the police soon discover that her murder may have been racially motivated. Basil Dearden's bold, direct police procedural, starring Nigel Patrick as the detective in charge of the investigation, is a devastating look at the way bigotry crosses class divides, and a snapshot of late-fifties England’s increasingly interracial culture.

The League of Gentlemen - Jack Hawkins wittily embodies a colonel, bitter about being forced into retirement, who ropes a cadre of corrupt former British army men into aiding him in a one-million-pound bank robbery—a risky, multitiered plan that also involves infiltrating a military compound. A delightful cast of British all-stars, including Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes, and Roger Livesey, brings to life this precisely calibrated caper, which was immensely popular and influenced countless Hollywood heist films.

Victim - An extraordinary performance by Dirk Bogarde grounds this intense, sobering indictment of early-sixties social intolerance and sexual puritanism. Bogarde plays Melville Farr, a married barrister who is one of a large group of closeted London men who become targets of a blackmailer. Basil Dearden’s unmistakably political taboo buster was one of the first films to address homophobia head-on, a cry of protest against British laws forbidding homosexuality.

All Night Long - Othello is translated to the world of sixties London jazz clubs in Basil Dearden's smoky and sensational All Night Long. Over the course of one eventful evening, during the anniversary celebration of the musical and romantic partners Aurelius Rex (Paul Harris), a band leader, and Delia Lane (Marti Stevens), a singer, Johnny Cousin (Patrick McGoohan), racked by ambition and jealousy, attempts to tear the interracial couple apart. This daring psychodrama is also remarkable for its on-screen appearances by such jazz legends as Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, and Tubby Hayes.

Posters

 

Comments

Eclipse Series from The Criterion Collection has been released sporadically since 2007 - 41 releases in total with 2014 only bringing us 2 sets - Late Ray  in January and Kinoshita and World War II being released in December. The lack of releases in this series lets us highlight worthy sets that we might have missed in the past, like Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s London Underground reviewed here. One of the drawbacks for these sets is lack of high definition presentation on disc in region 1 when they are available in HD on Hulu or released in other countries on Blu-ray, like Les Misérables in France or many Aki Kaurismäki films in Finland or Victim from this set released by Network in UK in July. Nevertheless, this set collects 4 feature films by Basil Dearden shot in and around London in late 1950's-early 1960's. All films complement each other, especially comparing the social commentary of Sapphire (1959) and Victim (1960) or interracial relationships in Sapphire and All Night Long (1962) - just three years apart, something controversial in 1959 is treated as a matter-of-fact in 1962. And finally there is a heist romp The League of Gentlemen (1960) with excellent cast and very engaging story. All around, there is really no weak link in this set.

 

4 films are presented in 4 slim cases, each film taking its own disc. Sapphire and All Night Long discs are single-layered while The League of Gentlemen and Victim are dual-layered. All 4 films are presented in their original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, so you get black bars on all 4 sides. Sapphire - the only color feature in the set - looks the weakest, mostly due to drab colors. The progressive transfers has little damage, but the contrast is strong. All 4 films feature mono soundtracks - no damage or distortions and jazz score of All Night Long is loud and clear. The lone extra is very informative liner notes by Michael Koresky. This set is highly recommended presentation of some of the best, but underrated British movies in one package.

  - Gregory Meshman

 

DVD Menus
 


 

 

directed by Basil Dearden
UK 1959

 

Basil Dearden’s bold, direct police procedural, starring Nigel Patrick as the detective in charge of the investigation, is a devastating look at the way bigotry crosses class divides, and a snapshot of the increasingly interracial culture of England in the late fifties.

Theatrical Release: 21 April 1959 (London)

Reviews                                              More Reviews                                                DVD Reviews

DVD Review: The Criterion Collection (Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s London Underground) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

The Criterion Collection

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:31:48
Video

1.67:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.31 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 Mono (English)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.67:1

Edition Details:
• Essay by Michael Koresky

DVD Release Date: January 25th, 2011
4 Slimcases in a box

Chapters 14

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Basil Dearden
UK

 

A delightful cast of British all-stars, including Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes, and Roger Livesey, brings to life this precisely cali­brated caper, which was immensely popular and influenced countless Hollywood heist films.

Theatrical Release: 5 April 1960 (London)

Reviews                               More Reviews                               DVD Reviews

DVD Review: The Criterion Collection (Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s Londo) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

The Criterion Collection

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:53:44
Video

1.67:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.8 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 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.67:1

Edition Details:
• Essay by Michael Koresky

DVD Release Date:
4 Slimcases in a box

Chapters 11

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Basil Dearden
UK 1961

 

Basil Dearden’s unmistakably political taboo buster was one of the first films to address homophobia head-on, a cry of protest against British laws forbidding homosexuality.

Theatrical Release: August 1961 (London)

Reviews                                                      More Reviews                                                    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: The Criterion Collection (Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s Londo) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

The Criterion Collection

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:40:27
Video

1.67:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.50 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 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.67:1

Edition Details:
• Essay by Michael Koresky

DVD Release Date:
4 Slimcases in a box

Chapters 15

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


  Damaged frame

 


 

directed by Basil Dearden
UK 1962

 

Othello is translated to the world of sixties London jazz clubs in Basil Dearden’s smoky and sensational All Night Long. This daring psychodrama also features on-screen appearances by jazz legends Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Tubby Hayes, and Johnny Dankworth.

Theatrical Release: 6 February 1962 (London)

Reviews                                                 More Reviews                                                        DVD Reviews

 

DVD Review: The Criterion Collection (Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s Londo) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

The Criterion Collection

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:31:36
Video

1.67:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.31 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 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.67:1

Edition Details:
• Essay by Michael Koresky

DVD Release Date:
4 Slimcases in a box

Chapters 12

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

The Criterion Collection

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:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!