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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The Blue Lamp [Blu-ray]
(Basil Dearden, 1950)
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: 1:24:19.208 / 1:25:07.811
Disc Size: 31,034,831,215 bytes / 32,312,278,873 bytes
Feature Size: 26,307,826,368 bytes / 26,831,757,312 bytes
Video Bitrate: 35.04 Mbps / 37.91 Mbps
Chapters: 8 / 9
Case: Standard Blu-ray case (both)
Release date: December 12th, 2016 / June 1st, 2021
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
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555
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
/ DN -31dB
English (SDH), none
•Audio Commentary by Jan Read and Charles Barr
• Locations Featurette with Richard Dacre (13:01)
BBC Radio 3 Essay (14:22)
• Production Stills Gallery
NEW Audio Commentary by Entertainment
Journalist and Author Bryan Reesman
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 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 a dual-layered transfer to Blu-ray from Studio Canal. It has a max'ed out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The 1080P Can look a shade clunky but has fine textures and some nice layering in the 1.33:1 frame. It's very clean showcasing some pleasing consistency. This Blu-ray provides a strong, home theatre, presentation taking into account the film's age and source condition.
The Kino is also on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate and looks virtually identical from the same BFI-cited source. The Kino is still brittle but may be very marginally brighter although it was negligible on my viewing.
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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.
Kino go DTS-HD Master (only 16-bit) dual-mono, but I couldn't determine much of a difference. It may export bass better but Studio Canal's linear PCM, may export a superior high-end. Another wash. The KinoBlu-ray offers optional English subtitles and their disc is Region 'A'.
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.
Kino offer the same Charles Barr commentary, BBC 3 Essay from "British Cinema of the 40's" and Richard Dacre 'locations' featurette but add a new commentary by entertainment journalist and author Bryan Reesman who informs us that a 'Blue Lamp' is actually a moniker in front of police stations in England. He quotes from the first chapter of Eugene McLaughlin's The New Policing regarding procedural details of the past as compared to now. He describes how the film actually tuned into a franchise with TV series and a long-running play, its brisk pacing and much more. He does a good job talking a quickly and filling the time with valuable information.
Studio Canal (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Kino leap ahead with the new Reesman commentary duplicating the rest of the Studio Canal Blu-ray edition. Still a wonderful British Noir procedural with a killer on the loose! Strong performances from Dirk Bogarde, Jack Warner, Jimmy Hanley, Peggy Evans and a host of real police officers. It's great to see it come to Region 'A'. Strongly recommended!
January 18th, 2017
May 24th, 2021
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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