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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > British > Sketch > TV > Diana Dors Double Feature: Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary?/My Wife Lodger (1953/1952/BFI Region Zero/Free Blu-ray w/DVD) + An Alligator Named Daisy/Value For Money (1955/DVD) + Terry Thomas Comedy

Diana Dors Double Feature: Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary?/My Wife Lodger (1953/1952/BFI Region Zero/Free Blu-ray w/DVD) + An Alligator Named Daisy/Value For Money (1955/DVD) + Terry Thomas Comedy Double Feature DVD: Too Many Crooks (1959)/Make Mine Mink (1960) + To Paris With Love (1954/DVD) + Upstairs & Downstairs (1959/VCI DVDs)


Picture: B (DVDs: C+)     Sound: C+     Extras: C+ (DVDs: C-)     Films: C+



PLEASE NOTE: The Diana Dors Double Feature is a Region Free import Blu-ray that can be ordered directly from our friends at BFI at the link at the end of this review and will play on all players worldwide.



There are many quality British comedy films that never made it to the U.S for whatever reasons, but they are now finding their way to Blu-ray and DVD on both sides of the Atlantic.


We start with three double feature singles.  Two feature then sex symbol Diana Dors, who is not known much to U.S. audiences (unless you remember the heavy set Dors much later in the Adam Ant video for Prince Charming) though she did make it to the States in some import Horror fare.  The two double features show her at her peak at two different times in her career.  The Diana Dors Double Feature: Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? (1953) and My Wife Lodger (1952) are black and white comedies tat BFI has issued on Blu-ray (and DVDs included in this Dual Format release, but we are only covering the Blu-ray) and are very entertaining lite comedies that play on her sexiness and looks.  They also share the same director, Maurice Elvey, who knew what to do with her.


In Necessary, she (in only her third film) is the ex-wife of U.S. Army airman Laurie Vining, showing up to announce that the original marriage is not over despite the new one.  I give Dors credit for knowing how attractive she was and how to work with that on the big screen.  Lodger has Dominic Roche as another soldier coming home to find chaos, finding out that Lodger (Leslie Dwyer) has betrayed him and grabbed his wife.  Dors plays the daughter of Roche’s Willie Higginbottom.  Both are entertaining comedies for their time, historic to some extent and reflections of a 1950s Britain we have not seen as much, worth visiting or revisiting if you ever saw them.  The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white image on the Blu-rays are excellent transfers with fine detail, depth and prints in great shape typical of BFI Blu-ray releases.  The PCM 2.0 48/24 Mono tracks on both are really nice and clean, but cannot help the age of the films, which have slight distortion form the time they were recorded, but I doubt these could sound any better.  The only extras is the great booklet included in side the Blu-ray case that includes illustration, technical information and seven essays that that cover the films and especially Dors rise as a star at the time.


She was so popular that Rank picked her up and had her star in two elaborate, big screen VistaVision comedies in 1955: An Alligator Named Daisy and Value For Money.  The format is now used mostly for visual effects, but Paramount introduced it and loaned it out occasionally, though only Olivier’s Richard III (also 1955) was a wide success on both sides of the Atlantic.  As entertaining and amusing as these films are, their U.S. release seems to have been sadly limited.


Daisy (sadly presented here in a 1.33 X 1 narrow vision frame that loses the sides of the original presentation) has Dors marrying a songwriter (Donald Sinden; love that record store) and he gets the title animal as a gift he would rather loose.  The underrated J. Lee Thompson helmed this very pleasant film that is no Bringing Up Baby, but is definitely worth seeing.  Money has a young man (John Gregson) inheriting a small fortune and the woman he proposes to (Susan Stephen) turning him down until he looses up and learns how to enjoy life.  Her suggestion is more than fulfilled when he meets sexy dancer Dors who her also proposes to.  This is a little more original than the Daisy and the likes of Donald Plesence and Joan Hickson also turn up.


Then we have the Terry Thomas Comedy Double Feature DVD: Too Many Crooks (1959) and Make Mine Mink (1960) are two hits black and white comedies for the popular comic in his early peak, the latter of which was a particular worldwide hit.  Mario Zampi directed Crooks about Thomas as a man with much money who does not trust banks, hiding his cash in unusual places, but gangsters kidnap his daughter to get his loot.  Now he has a plan to get her and get rid of them.  Mink has Thomas and company stealing furs to donate money to charity, but this wacky scheme is bound to backfire in this film partly spoofing The Third Man.  Robert Asher directed this comedy, both of which also come from Rank.  Watch for a young Billie Whitelaw.


Robert Hamer’s To Paris With Love (1954) had Alec Guinness falling for a much younger Odile Versois in a Technicolor comedy where Guinness is trying to help his son meet women when he gets luckier.  A classy comedy that is entertaining, it is not the best romantic film set with a romanticized backdrop, but is a smart one and Guinness steals several scenes.  Rank made this one too.


Finally we have Ralph Thomas’ Upstairs & Downstairs (1959), another color comedy, but this time Michael Craig finds plenty of French, Swedish and Italian beauties back in England.  He is married to a great wife (Anne Heyward) when her father (and his boss, played by James Robertson Justice) says they should get some hired help, which results in Myléne Demongeot showing up as a very sexy maid.  Joan Sims, Claudia Cardinale and Joan Hickson also show up and yes, Rank made this one too.  Note the wacky theme song!



The 1.33 X 1 image on Daisy cuts up the beautiful compositions, though color can be good, while the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Money may be more accurate, it has the same softness and aliasing issues as its butchered counterpart.  The 1.33 X 1 black and white image on Mink and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Crooks also have softness issues, but come from good prints, something that is repeated with the 1.33 X 1 color image on Paris and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 color image on Downstairs, lensed by the great Ernest Stewart.


The Blu-ray is not the only title here with a PCM 2.0 Mono track, as Paris has one at 16/48 and it is not bad, though is also shows the age of its recording.  The rest of the DVDs have Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound that is almost as good, but I wondered if the color Dors films had stereo track somewhere in the vault.  All the DVDs include trailers of their respective films.



To order Diana Dors Double Feature, here is the link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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