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Feature


Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) is a businessman with great ambitions. Spotting the development potential of London’s derelict Docklands area years before the Thatcher government, he tries to broker a deal with his American counterpart (Eddie Constantine) that will make them both millions. But who is killing Harold’s other associates and blowing up his businesses – and why?

Universally regarded as one of the greatest British gangster films ever made, The Long Good Friday rocketed Hoskins to international stardom. He’s given sterling support from Helen Mirren (as his upper-crust mistress), Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Derek Thompson (Casualty), and there’s even an early appearance from future James Bond Pierce Brosnan.

But it’s Hoskins’ film through and through, his towering performance taking on a Shakespearean intensity as he’s forced to resort to the down-and-dirty methods that he thought he’d put behind him in order to find out who’s muscling in on his territory on what should be the best day of his life. He quickly finds out that this will be a very long Good Friday indeed...


Video


Unfortunately the booklet that usually accompanies Arrow's releases wasn't available with my review copy, so I don't have explicit information about the transfer process. What I do know is that this presentation is based on a new 2K scan of the original camera negative, supervised by DP Phil Méheux. To say that its a fantastic transfer is almost a disservice, such is the quality of the image. In all honesty if it wasn't for the staggeringly obvious eighties setting one could be forgiven for thinking that the film had been shot very recently. Exhibiting none of the tell-tale sign of an ageing or simply poor mastering, the image is rock-solid and virtually devoid of film artefacts worth mentioning. The colour palette is very natural, detail levels are several orders of magnitude beyond the ancient DVD releases, while also trouncing the previous Blu-ray efforts. Grain is ever-present, but is finely resolved making for an incredibly filmic experience.

As expected the encode is extremely accomplished, with no obvious signs of unwanted digital tinkering such as low/high-pass filtering or automated dirt and scratch removal. Simply put, this is a fantastic presentation that puts many more recent features firmly in the shade.

Audio


An LPCM Mono 1.0 soundtrack is the order of the day here, presenting clean, clear dialogue and effects throughout. In all honesty there isn't a lot to say about this track, what with the rather limited nature of the original mono mix, but that it does such a good job of delivering convincing effects and dialogue speaks volumes. Of course there aren't any real highs or lows to speak of, nor any flashy surround effects (or stereo effects for that matter), but that's to be expected. The synth score is memorable and well-suited to the on-screen action, but beyond that there isn't much more to say.

Extras


The list below might not look particularly comprehensive, but looks can be deceiving. True, the bonus material here isn't as plentiful as it is on some of Arrow's other releases, but the material that is included happens to be of a very high standard.

  • Director’s Commentary: A solo effort from the film's director that appears to have been recorded some time ago and was previously available on the Anchor Bay release. It's a decent track packed full of information, if a little on the dry side.
  • Bloody Business: The making of The Long Good Friday: Another feature culled from the Anchor Bay release, this near-hour-long documentary includes interviews with John Mackenzie, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren and Pierce Brosnan among others (all looking much younger and, in Hoskins' case, alive). It offers as comprehensive a look at the making of the film as one could ever want.
  • Interviews: Newly recorded interviews with producer Barry Hanson, cinematographer Phil Méheux and writer Barrie Keeffe, who each offer their thoughts on the film (including some on the new restoration).
  • Hands Across the Ocean: A comparison of the differences between the original UK dialogue and the changes made for the film's US release.
  • Original Trailer: The film's original trailer.

Overall


As with many Arrow releases this Blu-ray marked the film time I'd ever seen the film, but I can't say I was disappointed with The Long Good Friday. Okay, so it wasn't the transformative experience that some people had promised, but I did find it very enjoyable overall. I was especially enamoured of the shots of nineteen eighties London, as a lot of the footage isn't a million miles away from the head office of the company I work for. I've actually found myself wondering around some of the locations close to Tower Bridge on those long, boring overnight stays in the capital.

Visually it's one of the most impressive things Arrow has put out in recent memory, looking better than even some of its most recent commendable efforts. Sonically it's no slouch either, while the bonus material offers a decent mix of interesting and informative material. In all honesty I'm fast running out of superlatives for Arrow's releases; in fact, I'm in serious danger of sounding like a sycophant. Suffice to say that this is a superb effort and one that should be high on any fan's 'to buy' list.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The
 Long Good Friday, The


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