Despite lauding whisky smuggling, bullion robbery and serial killing, this famous trio of Ealing Comedies are as cosy as cocoa and crumpets in the public memory.
And they buff up beautifully on Blu-ray, emerging sharp and full of nuance, much like the films themselves.
Informative, if slightly motley, extras also keep the quirky Ealing feel intact. John Ellis’ extensively researched commentary for Whisky Galore! shows up the post-war hatred of bureaucracy that creates a rule-baiting undertow in Alexander Mackendrick’s tale of Hebridean islanders battling to keep a wrecked ship’s cargo of whisky secret from the authorities.
Yet there’s no commentary to illuminate the bromance between Alec Guinness’ shy clerk-turned-gangster and Stanley Holloway’s sidekick in Charles Crichton’s classic The Lavender Hill Mob.
Spikiest and most subversive of all is Kind Hearts & Coronets, cheerfully attacking everything from the law to the class system, as Dennis Price’s orphan slaughters his way to a dukedom.
Alec Guinness’ octet of doomed aristos are a delight, but it’s Price’s silky voiceover that makes it a macabre masterpiece (with or without the ambiguity-killing alternate US ending).
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