The Green Man (1956)

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Released 24-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1956
Running Time 76:11
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Day
Grenadier Films
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Alistair Sim
George Cole
Jill Adams
Raymond Huntley
Colin Gordon
Avril Angers
Eileen Moore
Dora Bryan
John Chandos
Cyril Chamberlain
Michael Ripper
Arthur Lowe
Case ?
RPI Box Music Cedric Thorpe Davie

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 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

    This is one of those British comedies in the tradition of Ealing Studios, though it was not made by that company. Harry Hawkins (Alistair Sim) learned his vocation at an early age: assassination. Now he is working on the case of Sir Gregory Upshott (Raymond Huntley), whom he discovers is going to be spending the night at The Green Man, a hotel near the coast. However, he is given considerable trouble by vacuum cleaner salesman William Blake (George Cole), and Hawkins' next-door neighbour Ann Vincent (Jill Adams), after his crony conceals the body of a victim in her piano.

    Alistair Sim is in his element in this film, and while he is the villain of the piece, the audience's sympathies are with him. His expressive face and bloodhound eyes lend themselves equally to cheerful villainy and the worried look of a man about to be found out. Some of his expressions are priceless. He is supported by a fine and familiar cast, including Cole who was virtually Sim's surrogate son. They appeared in 11 films together. Terry-Thomas appears as the randy Charles Boughtflower, Arthur Lowe as a radio salesman, Arthur Brough from Are You Being Served? as the proprietor of The Green Man and Michael Ripper as a waiter. Richard Wattis has a single scene as a doctor, and Peter Bull has a wordless cameo as a South American Generalissimo.

    The film was directed by Robert Day, but was produced and written by the team of Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, based on their own play. These two directed and produced some fine films in their time, and while this one is merely competently directed by someone else (the scenes with Colin Gordon as Ann's fiancée feel forced), it bears the whimsical stamp of their comedy films. This is a pretty entertaining film even if it is not one of the best British comedies around.

    The movie is paired on a disc marketed as an Alistair Sim double-feature with School For Scoundrels. That film will be reviewed separately.

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Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    It is a pity that we have to suffer a projection print with a lot of film artefacts. It is relatively sharp, looking like it is from 35mm material, but is not particularly crisp. Detail levels are acceptable. Contrast levels are a little lower than I would like, giving the film a flat look. Shadow detail is only just adequate, with the few dark scenes lacking a little detail.

    The film is in black and white, and has a slightly washed out look, with no deep blacks in evidence. The various shades of grey are adequate for viewing the film but I have seen better transfers of films made three decades earlier. Flesh tones are a little bloomy with insufficient detail for my liking.

    The transfer to video has its problems. The film is a bit jumpy at times, as if the print had been through a projector once too often. Film artefacts abound, with scratches, white flecks, dirt and debris throughout. There are also reel change markings, for example at 19:31.

    No subtitles are available. The film is presented on one layer of a dual layered disc, so there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The sole audio track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The audio is satisfactory without being exceptional. Dialogue is clear enough, and although the sound is thin and wiry, there is a reasonable amount of bass present. There is some audible hiss and some slight distortion in the louder passages.

    The music is by Cedric Thorpe Davie. It is not an exceptional score, but it suits the film and does not really impose itself on the viewer, so there cannot be too much wrong with it. The opening title music is very lively.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    No extras are provided.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc seems to be identical to the UK Region 2 release.


    An amusing and quite British comedy.

    The video quality is disappointing.

    The audio quality is adequate.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, November 12, 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.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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