On the Buses-The Best of Series 3 & 4-Volume 4 (1970)

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Released 7-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1970
Running Time 97:08
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stuart Allen
Howard Ross
Studio
Distributor
VCI
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Reg Varney
Bob Grant
Stephen Lewis
Doris Hare
Anna Karen
Michael Robbins
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The final volume in the set of On The Buses: The Best of Series 3 and 4 contains the first four episodes from series 4, initially screened in November and December 1970. Given that all episodes to date have been released on DVD, I would expect that the remainder of the episodes from series 4, 5, 6 and 7 will appear in the not too distant future. Despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the humour is lowbrow and the scripting unsophisticated, the series retains a freshness that many later TV comedies have lost. It is not all funny, but enough of it is to make watching these episodes again worthwhile. Series 4 seems to be slightly smuttier than series 3, probably a reflection of the change in British film and television culture that began in the late 1960s.

    It was reported recently that Mike Myers had acquired the rights to On The Buses, with a view to producing a new TV series or feature film with himself as Stan Butler. Hmmm.

    This disc contains:

Nowhere To Go (23:48)
   
Stan and Jack plan to bring two clippies home when Stan's family are away at Aunt Maude's, but Arthur's motorbike will not start.

The Canteen Girl (24:23)
    Blakey is romancing the canteen girl, but when they plan to marry and move to the country, and Blakey's replacement turns out to be a martinet, Stan and Jack need to act fast.

Dangerous Living (24:43)
   
A newspaper article suggests that bus drivers have shorter lives. Stan tries to exercise more and eat less. Blakey shows him the fine art of skipping without a rope.

The Other Woman (24:13)
   
Arthur tries to chat up one of the clippies, leading to a marital confrontation.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    As was the usual practice in British television until relatively recently, the indoor scenes were shot on video and the outdoor scenes on 16mm film. The result of this is that the outdoor scenes look a little fuzzy in comparison, and the colour differs between the two. The colour is adequate although mostly drab. You would not expect TV of this vintage to be sharp, and this series is no exception. Shadow detail is adequate, and there are no issues with murky lighting or loss of detail due to dark areas of the image.

    The first two episodes on this disc look worse than the other two, with the image being very fuzzy and showing signs of pixelization.

    While the incidence of tracking errors is less frequent on this disc, there is a very brief loss of image due to a major tracking error at 38:31. There are also some interference lines at 83:06.

    No subtitles are provided on this single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sole Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio track is adequate for the task. The audio transfer faithfully recreates the TV listening experience, which is clear dialogue, cheesy music and a loud laugh-track. The best that one can ask for with such material is that you do not notice any problems with the audio, and this is exactly what is delivered.

    I have been unable to turn up any information about the theme music for this series. There is no credit listed for this on any of the episodes, and a search of the Internet has failed to solve this mystery. The music is fairly banal, which suits the material.

    There is no surround nor subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Not even an animated menu.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is no Region 1 release. The Region 4 is a clone of the Region 2, so I will call this a draw.

Summary

    More of the same from this highly popular TV series.

    The video is adequate.

    The audio is satisfactory.

    The extras have missed the bus.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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