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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Mystery > British > British Cinema – Volume 2 (Our Girl Friday/Dentist In The Chair/Runaway Bus/Carry On Admiral/Time Of His Life/VCI DVD)

British Cinema – Volume 2 (Our Girl Friday/Dentist In The Chair/Runaway Bus/Carry On Admiral/Time Of His Life/VCI DVD)

 

Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Films: B-

 

 

VCI’s British Cinema Volume 2 DVD set collects five low-budget comedies worth seeing for fun, even if they are not great films, they are all interesting and it is nice they are out on DVD.

 

Our Girl Friday (1953) is the only color film in the set, as Joan Collins plays a snob stuck on an island with three men (George Cole, Kenneth More, Robertson Hare) in an amusing romp that may be uneven, but Collins is amusing throughout and helps save it from how it has aged.  Hermione Gingold and Lionel Murton also star, while that is the voice of Peter Sellers as the parrot.

 

Dentist In The Chair (1960) is the first of two films for a series that never continued in the Carry On tradition, including some of its regular actors.  It is too goofy for its own good, but watching these actors try to make it work is interesting, even when it fails.  Don Chaffey directed and the cast includes Peggy Cummings, Eric Barker, Bob Monkhouse and Ronnie Stevens.

 

Runaway Bus (1954) is the surprise gem here, a comedy that is also a mystery and is even shot with authentic Noir atmosphere.  A group of people fed up with London’s infamous fogginess decide to get an airline bus from the airport they are at and find another airport!  Unfortunately, crime is afoot and whatever can go wrong does.  Sometimes, they cannot even find the bus!  Frankie Howerd is joined by a pre-Miss Marple Margaret Rutherford, the great George Coulouris and singing megastar Petula Clark past her childhood years showing her acting ability in this non-Musical.  This is a must-see for all serious film fans.

 

Carry On Admiral (1957) is also not a Carry On series entry, but tries to be like one and is passably amusing like actual films in the series as two men pretend to be each other for a time.  Co-stars include a pre-James Bond Eunice Gayson, Peggy Cummings, David Tomlinson and pre-Miss Marple Joan Hickson.

 

Time Of His Life (1955) has Ellen Pollock as the mother of a daughter about to have a birthday party and to keep it fun, she locks her ex-con/ex-husband in the basement.  Can she keep him there?

 

 

The 1.33 X 1 image in all cases is soft and Admiral was shot in the widescreen SpectaScope format, but you can only see this in the opening credits.  All are black and white shoots except Friday, which was three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor, but this print has poor color.  Detail and depth is an issue in all cases.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also flat and often is several generations down.  Extras include stills for some of the films and trailers for other British releases of the time.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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