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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Pool of London [Blu-ray]
(Basil Dearden, 1951)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: J. Arthur Rank Organisation / Ealing Studios
Video: Studio Canal (UK) / Kino Lorber
Region: 'B' /'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:25:26.833 / 1:25:56.943
Disc Size: 31,984,721,997 bytes / 34,202,995,604 bytes
Feature Size: 24,979,903,104 bytes / 26,933,852,160 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.89 Mbps / 37.91 Mbps
Chapters: 8/ 9
Case: Standard Blu-ray case (both)
Release date: October 24th, 2016 / May 5th, 2020
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
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS
Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), none
•Locations Featurette With Richard Dacre (17:20)
• New Interview With Earl Cameron (8:32)
• Stills Gallery
•NEW Audio Commentary by Entertainment Journalist and Author Bryan Reesman
• Interview with Actor Earl Cameron (8:55)
• Locations Featurette with Film Historian Richard Dacre (18:06)
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.
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.
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.
This appears to be a different source than the Studio Canal. The Kino is significantly darker (often obscuring details - see couple embracing in the shadows below.) It has different damage marks, slight disparity in framing (both 1.33:1 but more on the right side of the Kino - less on the left edge) and the ratio is skewed (much thinner faces on the Kino) by direct comparison (toggle between large captures to see.) Strange. The Kino image is 'rougher' (speckles, marks, light damage - see HERE) with less depth. I don't know which is more accurate to its theatrical roots but I prefer the Studio Canal 1080P. The Kino is also on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. We will look into why there are these obvious differences.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
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.There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Kino take another step
back with a 16-bit DTS-HD Master track audio that still sounds fine
technically less-robust. To me the dialogue seems sped-up (to the degree
that PAL is) but the running time supports it is in the correct
The score is by John Addison (A
Taste of Honey,
Strange Invaders) and subtly augments the films pace and tone. The Kino
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.
The Kino has the same 2 featurettes - interview with Earl Cameron and the locations video piece with Richard Dacre, but the US Blu-ray also has a new commentary by journalist and Author Bryan Reesman who reads of many details of the film production and cast - often focusing on locations and landmarks (statues, bridges, theaters etc.). He broaches racism and 'white privilege' but mostly rapidly reads through information he has researched and compiled.
Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
I will continue to investigate the disparity of these Blu-ray video appearances. I prefer the Studio Canal but the Kino has the commentary. Nice to have options - I still love Pool of London. Choose accordingly.
January 22nd, 2017
May 1st, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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