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  • Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden's London Underground (Sapphire / The League of Gentlemen / Victim / All Night Long) (The Criterion Collection)
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Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden's London Underground (Sapphire / The League of Gentlemen / Victim / All Night Long) (The Criterion Collection)

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Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden's London Underground (Sapphire / The League of Gentlemen / Victim / All Night Long) (The Criterion Collection) + Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku (The X from Outer Space; Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell; The Living Skeleton; Genocide) (Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Nigel Patrick, Jack Hawkins, Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes, Roger Livesey
  • Directors: Basil Dearden
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 399 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047P5FTK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,175 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After mastering the mix of comedy, suspense, and horror that helped define the golden age of British cinema, Basil Dearden (along with his producing partner Michael Relph) left the legendary Ealing Studios and, in the late fifties and early sixties, created a series of gripping, groundbreaking, even controversial films. In dealing with racism, homophobia, and the lingering effects of World War II, these noir-tinged dramas burrowed into corners of London rarely seen on-screen. This set of elegantly crafted films—Sapphire, a dissection of a hate crime; The League of Gentlemen, a deft heist adventure suffused with postwar melancholy; Victim, a landmark gay character study, starring Dirk Bogarde; and All Night Long, a provocative transposition of Othello to the swinging London jazz scene—brings this quintessential figure of British cinema out of the shadows.

Sapphire A beautiful female college student is found dead in a public park; the police soon discover that her murder may have been racially motivated. Basil Dearden’s bold, direct police procedural, starring Nigel Patrick as the detective in charge of the investigation, is a devastating look at the way bigotry crosses class divides, and a snapshot of late-fifties England’s increasingly interracial culture.

1959 · 92 minutes · Color · Monaural · 1.66:1 aspect ratio

The League of Gentlemen Jack Hawkins wittily embodies a colonel, bitter about being forced into retirement, who ropes a cadre of corrupt former British army men into aiding him in a one-million-pound bank robbery—a risky, multitiered plan that also involves infiltrating a military compound. A delightful cast of British all-stars, including Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes, and Roger Livesey, brings to life this precisely calibrated caper, which was immensely popular and influenced countless Hollywood heist films.

1960 · 116 minutes · Black & White · Monaural · 1.66:1 aspect ratio

Victim An extraordinary performance by Dirk Bogarde grounds this intense, sobering indictment of early-sixties social intolerance and sexual puritanism. Bogarde plays Melville Farr, a married barrister who is one of a large group of closeted London men who become targets of a blackmailer. Basil Dearden’s unmistakably political taboo buster was one of the first films to address homophobia head-on, a cry of protest against British laws forbidding homosexuality.

1961 · 100 minutes · Black & White · Monaural · 1.66:1 aspect ratio

All Night Long Othello is translated to the world of sixties London jazz clubs in Basil Dearden’s smoky and sensational All Night Long. Over the course of one eventful evening, during the anniversary celebration of the musical and romantic partners Aurelius Rex (Paul Harris), a band leader, and Delia Lane (Marti Stevens), a singer, Johnny Cousin (Patrick McGoohan), racked by ambition and jealousy, attempts to tear the interracial couple apart. This daring psychodrama is also remarkable for its on-screen appearances by such jazz legends as Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, and Tubby Hayes.

1962 · 91 minutes · Black & White · Monaural · 1.66:1 aspect ratio


Veteran British director Basil Dearden shaped mid-20th-century English film with his prolific body of work--but upended everything after World War II and going independent. The amazing Criterion Collection set Basil Dearden's London Underground shows Dearden's fearless take on weary postwar London. The films in the set--Sapphire, All Night Long, The League of Gentlemen, and Victim--share unsettling noir qualities, creative and unnerving scores, and groundbreaking takes on controversial topics.

Victim: Dearden takes a cue from Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train in this tale of homophobia, blackmail, and desperation. Dirk Bogarde gives an unforgettable performance as a respected barrister who gets caught up in a scandal that threatens to unravel the British judicial system--and, maybe worse, its status quo.

The League of Gentlemen: This seminal caper film influenced dozens of later movies like Ocean's Eleven and even the Beatles' Help! Jack Hawkins stars, along with Richard Attenborough (a favorite of Dearden's), Roger Livesey, and Bryan Forbes--though the shaping character in Gentlemen is the War--and how it shaped each man for the thrilling task at hand.

Sapphire: The only film of the four shot in color, Sapphire still carries deep elements of film noir in its mystery and affect. Nigel Patrick plays the world-weary inspector investigating the murder of a young college student--a murder that may have been racially motivated.

All Night Long: Dearden retells Othello against the backdrop of the London jazz scene of the late '50s and early '60s. The cast is headed by Patrick McGoohan and a spunky Richard Attenborough, but the true stars of All Night Long are the jazz musicians who play themselves, and who jam together during the entire film. Jazz fans will love seeing Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, and many others mill around as characters in an increasingly tense tale that can only end in tragedy.

Basil Dearden's London Underground is a fascinating piece of film history for fans of British film, film noir, and all mid-century filmmaking. --A.T. Hurley

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 11 customer reviews
Also, fun to see Patrick McGoohan playing a villain.
John Anthony in Boston
This is a very good mystery, with a couple of clever red-herrings, which will keep you guessing right up until the identity of the main culprit is revealed.
Michael B. Druxman
What I enjoyed about this film is its structure but how it was bold in showing racism from normal individuals to even one of the primary police inspectors.
Dennis A. Amith (kndy)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Basial Dearden, may not be one of the bigger names of classic British Cinema but in his 30 year career, the filmmaker has created 35-films.

With each film, Dearden had an emphasis on storytelling and creating an atmosphere and character but also boldly taking on sensitive issues at the time which include racism, homophobia and middle-class malaise.

And while many may not be familiar with the filmmaker and possibly know more about his son James Dearden (director of "Fatal Attraction" and "A Kiss Before Dying"), Basil Dearden along with writer and producer Michael Relph had managed to create a good number of films which many consider today as British cinema classics but unfortunately were not as accessible on video for viewers in America.

That is until now, as The Criterion Collection will be releasing "Basil Dearden's London Underground - Eclipse Series #25', a four DVD set which include the following films: Sapphire (1959), The League of Gentlemen (1960), Victim (1961) and All Night Long (1962).

After watching Criterion Collection's "Basil Dearden's London Underground - Eclipse Series #26', I had the utmost respect for Basil Dearden's work.

Watching all four of these films, I was truly blown away because although Basil Dearden never set to become an activist, his films were so bold during a time when colored people and homosexuals had no voice. His films created a dialogue and whether or not his countrymen supported his films, he with the support of producer Michael Relph did them because they felt it was right.

"Sapphire" was a risky a film for its time. With the UK having to go through the 1958 Notting Hill Race Riots, who would expect a film to make a statement on race relations, interracial relationships, racism.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Druxman on January 16, 2011
Basil Dearden was a fine journeyman British director who made some very good films over the course of his long career, though none are really deemed to be "classics". A possible exception is that he directed one of the stories in the revered 1945 chiller, DEAD OF NIGHT, and he was also responsible for KHARTOUM, the 1966 epic that starred Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier.

As part of their Eclipse Series, The Criterion Collection has now released a 4-disc set, entitled BASIL DEARDEN'S LONDON UNDERGROUND, which contains a quartet of Dearden films released 1959-1962. All of the pictures are well directed, superbly acted and feature engrossing stories, primarily dealing with such controversial subjects as racism and homophobia.

About the only negative comment I can say about this collection is that, because all of the films are about fifty-years-old, the ways that these contentious subjects are handled are quite dated and, in most cases, are no longer valid. Laws and public views have changed radically since these movies were made, thus they must be viewed as products of their time.

SAPPHIRE (1959) is the only color film in the collection. It stars Nigel Patrick as a Scotland Yard detective, investigating the murder of a young pregnant woman who, as it turns out, was a mulatto passing for white.
Such a revelation was quite "shocking" to movie audiences of that day.
Essentially a police procedural mystery, the film follows the efforts of Patrick and his bigoted partner (Michael Craig) as they try to find the killer. Is the culprit one of the girl's former black boy friends, or could it be a member of her baby's father's white family, who has just learned that the victim was of a mixed race.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on November 28, 2011
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**** ALL NIGHT LONG (1962)

Patrick McGoohan, in a role that seems to have been written for George Sanders, is great as drummer Johnny Cousin. Highly recommended.

***** VICTIM (1961)

Basil Dearden magnificently handles a sensitive theme (like racism in Sapphire [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import - United Kingdom ] while delivering an above average crime story. Alternating realist sequences on location and tense dialog scenes, the director manages to present the perfect mainstream movie with a social concern. It's Capraesque, it's a masterpiece.


Film Noir à la British without Femmes Fatales but with great actors and humour. Recommended.

**** SAPPHIRE (1959)

Very interesting police procedural film that allows us to visit the London (thank you Pinewood!) of the late 50's. Not the best neighborhoods but the more cinematographical ones: Jazz-clubs, seedy boarding houses or gloomy backyards. Basil Dearden also handles the theme of everyday racism and cleverly reminds us that there are a lot of shades between black and white. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Morbius on February 4, 2014
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Top notch super-duper stuff here.... Sapphire (the only film in color) is a fairly straight forward police procedural where racial prejudices play a large part.... The League of Gentlemen is a cool heist gone-wrong flick that is the least controversial of the bunch.... Victim is the true masterwork in this collection with blackmailers taking advantage of the anti-homosexual laws in the UK at that time.... All Night Long is an excellent kinda smoky claustrophobic drama that unfolds beneath a terrific jazz veneer with Mingus and Brubeck improvising as it all falls apart.... One of the best Eclipse releases so far.... The audio and video are as good as to be expected on DVD--each film comes from a very good print.... Well worth it for all you Basil Dearden fans out there.... Must-own....
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