Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $5.49 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden's London Underground (Sapphire / The League of Gentlemen / Victim / All Night Long) (The Criterion Collection)
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
of "message" movies that were very enlightening and very timely. I previously had three of the
titles on DVD. "Sapphire" from London (Region 2), but was not widescreened, it is in this
package. "Sapphire" is a murder mystery concerning race, "Victim" is about homosexuals
being blackmailed at a time in England when homosexuality was still a crime. "The League
of Gentlemen" is a great heist film - one of the best. My favorite kind of film. Wonderful
cast and another great screenplay from actor/director/writer Bryan Forbes. This title I had
also from London (Region 2). The only new title I got out of this package was "All Night Long."
This is the weakest title of the package, but if you are a lover of jazz music, this is for you.
Great cast of jazz musicians in this film based on Othello.
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.
*** THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (1960)
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.
Top international reviews
One of these movies is excellent, two are very good and one is a dud.
The excellent movie is The League of Gentlemen, which is the movie I bought this package to get. I have not been able to find this movie as a single DVD so I bought this 4 movie package to get it.
The League of Gentlemen stars Richard Attenborough, Jack Hawkins and Nigel Patrick supported by a stellar cast of British actors. The plot is about a British Army Colonel (Jack Hawkins) who is embittered at being forced to retire from the army after a long and creditable career. He spends his last days in the army going through the files to assemble a group of former officers who were experts in communications, logistics and creating general mayhem but who were each cashiered from the army for a various offences. He uses this group to pull off an armoured car robbery. Great movie, but not a well known one.
The two very good movies are Victim and All Night Long.
Victim stars Dirk Bogarde as a married, but gay, London barrister in the early 1960s when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. He comes across a blackmail scheme targeting gay men and decides to do something about it, even at the risk of destroying his marriage and career by revealing his own homosexuality. A very good movie.
All Night Long is about the late 1950s/early 1960s jazz scene in London and stars Richard Attenborough as a wealthy jazz fan who throws a first anniversary party for a couple who are both leading jazz musicians, one a pianist and the other a singer. Patrick McGoohan stars as a sociopathic drummer who wants to break up the anniversary couple so he can entice the singer into a new band he's putting together. She has but her career on hold in order to focus on her marriage; Patrick McGoohan wants to break up the marriage so she will resume her singing career, preferably with his new band. The plot centers around McGoohan's efforts to break up the marriage. Cameo appearances by Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus.
The fourth movie, Sapphire, is a dud. It was shot in 1956 and was clearly intended to be an anti-racism movie. The problem is that it is very dated and is full of stereotypes that are actually quite racist. The irony here is that an anti-racism movie from the 1950s is full of racial stereotypes that will be quite offensive to many 21st century viewers.
Bottom line: one excellent movie and two very good British movies by director Basil Deardon from the late 1950s and early 1960s, along with a really bad Basil Deardon movie from 1956.