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Lunch Hour
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English PCM Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Skyhook (James Hill, 1958, 17 minutes): Sumptuous colour documentary film
  • Giuseppina (James Hill, 199, 32 minutes): Academy Awardģ winner for Best Documentary Short Subject
  • The Home-Made Car (James Hill, 1963,28 minutes): Fondly-remembered and hugely entertaining short film
  • Fully illustrated booklet

Lunch Hour

Dual Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: James Hill
Starring: Shirley Ann Field, Robert Stephens, Kay Walsh
1962 | 63 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: £19.99 | Series: BFI Flipside | Edition: #17
BFI Video

Release Date: April 25, 2011
Review Date: May 8, 2011

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SYNOPSIS

Shirley Anne Field gives a fiery performance as a young designer on the brink of starting an affair with a married male supervisor (Robert Stephens) at the wallpaper factory where she works. Based on the play by acclaimed writer John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey) Lunch Hour is directed by James Hill (Black Beauty, Born Free). With a tightly-focussed plot telling the story of an illicit lunch-hour rendezvous in 'real time', this is a stylish and highly enjoyable story of subterfuge, simmering tensions and sexual conflict. Also presented here are three of James Hill's acclaimed and fondly remembered short films, all of which have more recently garnered an appreciative fanbase amongst enthusiasts of so-called Trade Test films (which were broadcast to test the then-new colour transmission system by BBC TV engineers during the 60s and 70s).


PICTURE

James Hillís Lunch Hour comes to Blu-ray as the 17th film in BFIís Flipside series. The film is presented in a new 1080p/24hz transfer in its original aspect ratio of about 1.66:1 on this dual-layer disc.

Again BFI delivers an incredible looking image and again theyíve blown me away. First off materials are in terrific condition, looking as though the film has been given a hearty restoration and there are virtually no marks or imperfections of note. Despite some moments that can look a little fuzzy, which appear to me more byproducts of filming than the transfer, the picture remains crisp with clearly distinguishable fine details. The blacks and whites are strong, with distinct gray levels, and contrast looks spot on, all of which present some sharp looking shadows. I noticed some minor shimmering in some clothing patterns but beyond that there are no other noticeable digital artifacts. In the end a fantastic looking presentation.

(Though a UK release this Blu-ray is ALL-REGION and should play on all Blu-ray players. It played without issue on my North American PS3.)

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

BFI includes a lossless Linear PCM 2-channel mono track. Thereís a little bit of tininess but in general the track sounds clear and has excellent volume levels. Dialogue is clean and easy to hear and there is no background noise. An average mono presentation.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

BFI includes three short films by James Hill, all of which were financed by British Petroleum (BP). First is a short 18-minute documentary called Skyhook, which focuses on the use of helicopters to move equipment to build an oil rig in a rough location in the New Guinea jungle. Fairly straightforward documentary that reminds me of plenty of educational features I had to watch in my youth but itís expertly shot and edited together.

The next film, Giuseppina, is more of a fictional film, despite winning an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject (which I still donít get since itís obviously scripted and acted.) Made as a sort of promotional piece for BP signifying their entrance into the Italian market the 31-minute film focuses on an Italian gas station and the fairly quirky characters that pass through. Itís a cute piece, despite some of the stereotypes. Most impressive though is Hillís visual sense. The film is in Italian with subtitles but dialogue is not at all important, and thereís barely any; the film works entirely through its visuals, which ultimately, as notes in the booklet point out, made it playable in all markets.

The final film is then called The Home-Made Car, running 28-minutes. This one goes a step further from the previous one and contains absolutely no dialogue making it entirely reliable on the filmís visuals. It tells the story of a man restoring a car he has come across and is another little charmer with a few laughs, but what makes it of note is that it looks deceptively simple but really conveys a lot without any dialogue.

Having the filmís here is great but what will please most viewers is the fact all of these shorts have been beautifully restored and are each presented in new high-def transfers, all of which look beautiful.

The booklet then comes with a few essays, starting with one written by Sue Harper on the film, Hill, and the studio where it was made. BFI again provides a bio, this time for director James Hill, and then includes two short essays on his BP films, one by James Piers Taylor and another by Rob Harries.

Not a loaded edition but the short films are nice inclusions and are all worth viewing (or in the case of the booklet, reading.)

6/10

CLOSING

BFI yet again delivers a stunning presentation for an obscure film, going far and beyond what would be expected. Throw in the three short films and this release gets a strong recommendation.




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