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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Love on the Dole [Blu-ray]

 

(John Baxter, 1941)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: British National Films

Video: BFI

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:38:17.041

Disc Size: 41,485,328,525 bytes

Feature Size: 31,097,407,488 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.94 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 18th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Our Film (Harold French, 1942): enthralling propaganda film contrasting the Russian and British home front (14:00)
The Call for Arms (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1940): Government sponsored film about life at a munitions factory (7:46)
Island People (Paul Rotha, 1940): a film surveying of aspects of the British way of life (10:21)
Illustrated booklet with new writing by Chris Hopkins and Jo Botting and full film credits

DVD of the film.

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Set in 1930s Salford during the Great Depression, Love on the Dole follows Harry Hardcastle (Geoffrey Hibbert, In Which We Serve) and Sally (Deborah Kerr, The Innocents), two young siblings who fall prey to poverty and mass unemployment, and must make terrible sacrifices in order to survive.

Although its stark portrayal of social deprivation led the British Board of Film Censors to ban the film as a 'very sordid story in very sordid surroundings'. Love on the Dole nonetheless retains an optimistic spirit, reinforcing the ideal that Britain's working classes could face any hardship. Through its impassioned performances, it shows faith in the values of liberal democracy which Britain upheld throughout the war, and looks forward to a better future.

 

 

The Film:

Filmed in the North Country of England, this is a film noir set in the 1930s as a family struggles with poverty and unemployment. Depressing and realistic, it portrays the lengths to which a family can go in order to survive., though there is some humor interlaced to keep the bleakness under control. The beautiful, sepia-tinted photography enhances the portrayals, which are excellent.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Despite the relevance of its theme, Walter Greenwood's sentimental tragedy remains very much a '30s period piece. The Salford slums look as irredeemably picturesque as the surrounding Pennine countryside, and 'Honest' Sam Grundy in his big car and check suit looks more like a teddy bear than a repulsive villain. Kerr is hardly the archetypical Lancashire mill-girl, but her mixture of coolness and fragility works surprisingly well in the scenes with the grumbling, bullying father she 'disgraces' and the fawningly lecherous bookie she pawns her body to. The real bite, though, comes from the gaggle of black-coated gossips - Mrs Dorbell, Mrs Nattle, Mrs Jike and Mrs Bull - who, Greek-chorus-like, pronounce judgment over their hap'orth of gin.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

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

Love on the Dole gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from the BFI.  It's dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. Minor surface scratches and frame-specific marks are visible but there is no noise in the darker sequences. The 1080P supports adept contrast layering and some pleasing grain textures.  It's solid in-motion and produces a reasonably consistent presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

BFI use a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 2304 kbp (24-bit). It's imperfect due to the age but the lossless exports the film's sounds and dialogue very well including the score by Richard Addinsell, who is notable for the Blithe Spirit and the 1951 A Christmas Carol and who also composed the score for the Vivien Leigh films Dark Journey + Fire Over England. It suits the film sentimentality and accentuates the tugging of heart-strings. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

BFI add three early 40's British shorts as supplements. Our Film (Harold French, 1942) runs 14-minutes and is an enthralling propaganda film contrasting the Russian and British home front. The Call for Arms (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1940) is less than 8-minutes. It's a Government sponsored film about life at a munitions factory and Island People (Paul Rotha, 1940) is juts over 10-minutes - a film surveying of aspects of the British way of life. In the package is an illustrated booklet with new writing by Chris Hopkins and Jo Botting as well as a listing of full film credits. Being 'Dual-format' a DVD of the film is also available.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Love on the Dole is a touching, and at time, brilliant slice-of-life drama with socialist overtones. It's a very enjoyable period-piece showcasing Kerr as a stand-out as well as the prevalent poverty of the times. The melodrama is kept in-check.  The BFI Blu-ray provides, firstly, the opportunity to see the film on digital (there was a DVD release somewhere) and looking and sounding top-notch - probably as good as it will get for this embraceable film. If you are, at all, keen - I strongly recommend watching this. 

Gary Tooze

January 2nd, 2016


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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