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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Pool of London [Blu-ray]


(Basil Dearden, 1951)



Released on Blu-ray in the US by Kino in May 2020:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: J. Arthur Rank Organisation / Ealing Studios

Video: Studio Canal (UK)



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

Runtime: 1:25:26.833

Disc Size: 31,984,721,997 bytes

Feature Size: 24,979,903,104 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.89 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 24th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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



English (SDH), none



Locations Featurette With Richard Dacre (17:20)
New Interview With Earl Cameron (8:32)
Stills Gallery





Description: Directed by Basil Dearden, 1951 Ealing classic Pool of London has been stunningly restored. Filmed on location in the City of London itself, on the River Thames and its wharves, on London Bridge and in the blitzed streets around St. Paul’s, this is an authentic and unmissable slice of film history. Everything changes for two sailors on shore leave when they inadvertently become caught up in a crime as murky as the great river itself. For one of them, Johnny, life is further complicated when he falls in love with Pat, a local ticket seller, forming one of the first inter-racial relationships in British film.



The Film:

After the success of the police drama The Blue Lamp (1949), Basil Dearden and Ealing studios continued in what passed for a realist vein with this tale of merchant seaman Colleano's involvement in a diamond smuggling racket and his subsequent flight when he becomes chief suspect in a murder investigation. Few surprises in the story, but the location work in the bustling Docklands captures a time and place now gone forever. And Earl Cameron's contribution is an early example of a black performer getting a significant leading role in a contemporary British drama.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Central upon its crowded canvas are two merchant seamen off a ship tied up just below the Tower Bridge and scheduled to sail with the Sunday evening tide. One is a glib and cocky fellow who is quite a hand with the girls and who does a tidy little business in smuggling minor items ashore. The other is a mild Jamaican Negro, almost painfully shy and restrained, who gratefully follows in the shadow of the more confident and arrogant man. And before the picture is ended and the ship departs, twelve hours late, a lot of water has gone down the river and a lot has happened to these two men.

The sharper fellow, played by Bonar Colleano, has got himself fatefully involved with a gang of slick safecrackers who contract him to smuggle their loot abroad and who, when their plot goes haywire, leave him holding the bag. And the Negro meets a pleasant white girl whose kindness so touches him that he almost falls in love with her, until he senses that this would bring pain.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE


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

Pool of London gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Studio Canal.  It sneaks into dual-layered territory and has a max'ed bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting healthy, rich black levels evident in the exquisite shadow and light play of DoP Gordon Dines. There are some pleasing layering in the 1.33:1 frame.  It's pristinely clean showcasing some impressive detail and fine, consistent, grain textures. This Blu-ray provides an exceptionally strong 1080P presentation.























Audio :

Studio Canal use a fairly robust linear PCM 2.0 channel (24-bit.) There isn't much in the way of effects and dialogue may have a slight sync issue. The score is by John Addison (A Taste of Honey, The Honey Pot, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Strange Invaders) and subtly augments the films pace and tone. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

There is another locations featurette with Richard Dacre for almost 18-minutes showing some of the shooting locales and how they have changed - or remained the same. There is also a new, 8.5 minute, interview with Earl Cameron (Johnny Lambert in Pool of London). Lastly is a stills gallery.



Pool of London is a real gem. Without being heavy-handed it addresses themes of racial inequality, desperation, morality, loneliness - all giving a wonderful tour of the city of London with a cornucopia cast of excellent support players. It's brilliantly realized by Basil Dearden.  The Studio Canal Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with a few interesting supplements. We give this a VERY strong recommendation! What a wonderful film. 

Gary Tooze

January 22nd, 2017


Released on Blu-ray in the US by Kino in May 2020:


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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