Whisky Galore! [UK Release] Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
- Video Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
- Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English HOH
- Region: B (Region-Locked)
- Classification: PG
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: August 8, 2011
- RRP: £19.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
The first film for Britain’s legendary Ealing Studios from Alexander Mackendrick, who would go on to direct such classics as The Ladykillers and The Man in the White Suit was Whisky Galore!. From the novel by Compton MacKenzie and based on the true story of the S.S. Politician, which sank on its way to Jamaica off the cost of Eriskay, The Outer Hebrides, Scotland, during bad weather on February 5, 1941 carrying 250,000 bottles of whisky. The locals gathered up as many as they could before the authorities arrived to claim the cargo. It is truly one of the bona fide post-war comedy classics from Ealing.
It’s wartime, and on a tiny, isolated Scottish island, the locals are suffering a fate worse than any of them could possibly have imagined – there’s no more whisky! But hope has arrived in the form of a ship that has wrecked in a foggy storm carrying 50,000 bottles of usquebaugh, the sweet water of life. The only one in the way of their sneaking the whisky off the ship is the English Captain Paul Waggett, the Home Guard Captain, played to perfection by the incomparable Basil Radford.
There are numerous scenes that are filled with hilarity involving the islanders concealing their beloved whisky in all manner of ways, but one of my favorite bits from the film is when even the narrator’s voice becomes obviously tipsy while telling of the goings on as the whisky permeates the inhabitants. A classic through and through.
Another wonderful restoration of a wartime classic from the folks at Optimum and StudioCanal, Whisky Galore!‘s 1.37:1 framing is given a VC-1 encodement at 1080p/24. It looks just a little worse for wear and tear, but its black and white imagery has been cleaned up quite nicely with a film-like quality being preserved, rather deep blacks and stable greys with good shadow details remain.
The original mono soundtrack is provided in LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit). Of course it can’t and won’t sound like the soundtracks of today. The limitations of the recording of the day are apparent and dialogue sometimes sounds a bit shrill, but crackle and hiss has been suppressed and sound effects even sound rather full at times.
There are a good bit of extras here that offer plenty of information on the history of the film, its stars and Ealing Studios. The audio commentary in particular is rather well done as are all of the video featurettes, among them an original TV documentary about Whisky Galore!
The supplements provided on this release are:
- Introduction by George Perry (1.33:1; PAL; 00:05:06)
- Audio Commentary by John Ellis
- Distilling! Whisky Galore! Original TV Documentary (1.33:1; PAL; 00:52:05)
- The Real Whisky Galore! With Angus Campbell (1.33:1; PAL; 00:19:46)
- Hilary Mackendrick in Conversation with Anthony Slide (1.33:1; PAL; 00:36:55)
- Photo Gallery (1080p/24; VC-1; 00:01:16)
The Definitive Word
A marvelous work of post-war humor that was certainly much-needed at the time I am sure, Whisky Galore! finally arrives on Blu-ray in a nicely restored edition from Optimum. Go get it, you’ll like it.
Additional Screen Captures