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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Blue Lamp [Blu-ray]


(Basil Dearden, 1950)




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: 1:24:19.208

Disc Size: 31,034,831,215 bytes

Feature Size: 26,307,826,368 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.04 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 12th, 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

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



English (SDH), none



Audio Commentary by Jan Read and Charles Barr
Locations Featurette with Richard Dacre (13:01)

BBC Radio 3 Essay (14:22)
Location and Stills Gallery

Production Stills Gallery





Description: An immensely popular British crime film, Basil Dearden’s The Blue Lamp was scripted by ex-policeman T.E.B Clark, the writer who arguably did most to define Ealing Studio’s post-war identity. The film marked the first appearance of the character of Jack Warner – later to be immortalized in Dixon Of Dock Green. The story follows two London policemen whose daily routine is interrupted by a botched robbery and subsequent murder hunt. Starring Dirk Bogarde it was originally released in 1950.



The Film:

The film that spawned George Dixon, of 'Dock Green' fame, here presented as the perfect friendly bobby, teaching new recruit Hanley the rules of the game, until halfway through he is shot and killed by Bogarde's reckless delinquent. Thereafter the film details the search for the killer, but it's less interesting as a thriller than as a cosy, rosy depiction of both the police and the society in which they function, ever ready to help the bobbies in their quest for justice.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

In the aftermath of World War II, England saw a rise in crime in its urban areas as well as a new breed of criminal who was more reckless and dangerous than the organized gangsters of old. The Blue Lamp (1950) was an attempt to address this topical concern but also intended as a tribute to the police forces in Britain who often risked their lives in the line of service. More importantly, the film took a documentary-styled approach to its subject matter as Jules Dassin had done the previous year with his influential noir, The Naked City, giving the film a sense of gritty realism. Even today, The Blue Lamp is considered one of the best of the Britain police dramas released in the post-war years. It is also significant as a turning point for Dirk Bogarde, who excelled in his first major dramatic role, and led Rank, where he was a contract player, to build up his career as a leading man.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


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

The Blue Lamp gets an impressive dual-layered transfer to Blu-ray from Studio Canal.  It has a max'ed out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting rich, piercing, black levels, fine texture and some nice layering in the 1.33:1 frame.  It's very clean showcasing some pleasing consistency. This Blu-ray provides an excellent, home theatre, presentation taking into account the film's age.






















Audio :

Studio Canal use a linear PCM stereo track and although there is no credited score - there is some music; Bless 'em All sung by Cameron Hall at the police station, Sobre las olas (Over the Waves) played when Diana meets Tom outside the Coliseum Cinema (also played at the end) as well as some music by Jack Parnell that adds to the film's thriller components. It all sounds consistent but there may be a slight sync'ing issue in the dialogue - but, if it exists, it is minor. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Studio Canal provide an audio commentary by Jan Read, an important contributor to the film, and Professor Charles Barr - a 'Professorial Research Fellow'. It's monotone but is filled with detail. Read sounds quite old but I got a solid education from the discussion. There is also a locations featurette with Richard Dacre running just over 13-minutes and a 15-minute, audio-only, BBC 3 Essay from "British Cinema of the 40's" (also VERY good!). There are galleries for locations, posters and production stills.



Studio Canal are continuing to impress with their Blu-ray editions. This provides an excellent presentation and the commentary add significant value. Fans of British Noir, Bogarde, and this era of crime-dramas should definitely indulge. This is one of the better and we can strongly recommend!

Gary Tooze

January 18th, 2017


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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