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Genevieve

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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(Sep 06, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

A simply delightful romp, and easily one of the best-loved and most inventive British comedies of the post war ear, which follows the exploits and misfortunes of two highly competitive friends, as they race against each other in the famous London to Brighton car rally. John Gregson stars as a stiff-shirted lawyer, who gets baited by his boisterous friend (Kenneth More) to wager a bet on who will win the race. For support, the two car enthusiasts enlist the aid of their wives, Dinah Sheridan and Kay Kendall, who provide the glamour and much of the comic sparkle. Gorgeous color photography makes the beauty of the town and country scenes really come to life and a wonderfully inventive harmonica soundtrack by Larry Adler, keeps the movie s pace and everyone s spirits in high gear! Bonus Features: Documentary - A Profile of Genevieve : An amusing look at the madcap motoring movie - includes interviews with Dinah Sheridan (starring actress), Clive Donner (Film Editor), Christopher Challis (Director of Photography) and Larry Adler (Composer) as well as featuring the veteran cars themselves! Photo & Poster Gallery Product Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital 2.0 & 5.1 Enhanced; RT - 86 minutes; Color; Aspect Ratio - 1.37:1 - Video: 4x3; Year - 1953; SRP - $19.99

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Dinah Sheridan, John Gregson, Kay Kendall, Kenneth More, Geoffrey Keen
  • Directors: Henry Cornelius
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Enhanced, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005ET9OPY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,527 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

"Genevieve," (1953). This Oscar-nominated classic British comedy comes down the years not only in full color, most unusual for the time, but in lastingly saturated color of the green English countryside. The early road picture, directed by Henry Cornelius, follows two couples entered in the London-to-Brighton classic car rally. Their friendly rivalry heats up when during a quarrel, Alan McKim ,(John Gregson), wagers more than he can afford, that he and his wife Wendy, (Dinah Sheridan), in their antique car Genevieve, will win the race. Thereby beating Ambrose Claverhouse (Kenneth More) and his fashion model date Rosalind Peters (Kay Kendall) to their destination. They pull various dirty tricks which escalate to acts of sabotage as the two teams race back toward London's Westminster Bridge. Ambrose's date Rosalind must endure her wet and dirty maiden voyage on the rally; Wendy McKim, on the other hand, knows the drill, and has packed extra clothes. This fondly remembered movie has been hard to find for years; it is now available - with subtitles, how helpful!--though not so many extras on the disk.

I believe it was an accepted principle of comedy that a production should be filtered through the sensibilities of `normal' people. Thus we have the McKims, as played by Dinah Sheridan (who gets top billing), and John Gregson, given more screen time and higher star billings. But I can claim no knowledge of either of them. Much better known today are the comic actor Kenneth More, (The 39 Steps) as Claverhouse. And, outstandingly, though she left us shockingly young, Kay Kendall (
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VCI Entertainment present a clip (blu-ray resolution?) on their website, and it shows - in spite of the limitations of streaming - a beautiful and stable image, with secure and consistent colours and fine detail. This is far better than other DVD copies I have seen, and assume VCI worked with master material provided by Carlton Entertainment in the UK. For a 60 year old film, the quality appears fantastic, so it's disappointing to read that other viewers are critical. The film itself has a gentle, ironic humour, with some stunning acting from the lovely Joyce Grenfell: she steals the scene, as she did in a brief appearance in Hitchcock's 'Stage Fright'.
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In the late 1940s and early '50s, some of the funniest films were being cranked out by the Brits, films of great wit and sly humor. Numbered among these comedies of English manners were the Ealing Studio-produced The Lavender Hill Mob, The Ladykillers, and Kind Hearts and Coronets. And then there was Genevieve, called "the best Ealing comedy that never was" by the British Film Institute. Director Henry Cornelius, formerly of Ealing Studio, had offered Genevieve to that same film company but was turned down. Big mistake for Ealing.

Genevieve tells the tale of two couples, Alan McKim and his wife Wendy and Ambrose Claverhouse and his model friend Rosalind, who undertake a yearly vintage automobile rally which starts from London and ends at Brighton. En route, both Alan and Ambrose's vehicles take turns in breaking down.The resulting back-and-forth banter, compounded with the surfacing of certain old envies, turns a friendly rivalry between best chums Alan and Ambrose into a serious enmity. In the heat of the moment, Alan and Ambrose engage in a gentleman's bet of one hundred pounds as to who first gets back to London. Things, of course, then proceed to get progressively and comedically insane...

It's always neat (and a bit satisfying) to witness straight-laced, proper Englishmen turn into raving lunatics, reduced to formulating zany schemes and indulging in glorious pettiness. John Gregson as Alan, Kenneth More as Ambrose, and Kay Kendall as Rosalind are tremendous in their madcap roles. This was, in fact, Ms. Kendall's coming-out party and she was touted by critics as the next Carole Lombard. But her potential was never realized as she died of leukemia in 1959, at the age of 33.
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Again watching "Genevieve," after having seen it once and something like 50 years ago, my faint memory of it was vindicated as a cunningly charming and wonderfully delightful picture. To call it a masterpiece of British humor would be half-right; it is a masterpiece, but of a distinctly English brand -a type which often made innocent fun of their own reserved propriety and uniquely English chauvinism, resented by the Scots and Irish, but cherished by Americans. What a happy discovery it is to learn that "Genevieve," as well as other low-budget and precious gems such as "The Smallest Show on Earth (1957)," or, "Brief Encounter" (1945), has earned a continuing and current appreciation. What was shelved by Rank as unshowable proved to be a success, and, consequently a more enduring project than many immediate successes.
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"Genevieve" is one of my favorite films. I've loved it ever since it came to theatres in the fifties. I have an old copy of a VHS that I have looked at a couple of times a year, and it never failed to put me in a good mood. The new transfer is vastly superior and has marvelous extras, but "Genevieve" prevails because of the (1) four fabulous stars (Sheridan, Gregson, More and especially Kay Kendall), (2) sparkling script, (3) technicolor photography of the British countryside, (4) exciting and funny chase at the end, and (5) music written and performed by harmonica great Larry Adler. In short, "Genevieve" is about as perfect as a film can be. If you haven't seen it, I reccomend that you get yourself a copy immediately. ENJOY!
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