On August 1, British distributors Optimum Home Entertainment will release on Blu-ray Charles Crichton's recently restored classic The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) to celebrate the film's 60th anniversary. We have the restored trailer now that will be included on this Blu-ray release (see below).
Intro from Martin Scorsese
Behind the Scenes stills gallery
Henry Holland (Alec Guinness) has worked faithfully for 20 years as a bank transfer agent for the delivery of gold bullion. A shy retiring man, completely inconsequential to his employers, he has long dreamt of a way to execute his plan of the perfect gold robbery - the only catch being how to move the gold on once stolen. One day he befriends Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway), a maker of souvenirs. Holland remarks that, with Pendlebury's smelting equipment, one could forge the gold into harmless-looking toy Eiffel Towers and smuggle the gold from England into France. Soon after, the two plant a story to gain the services of professional criminals Lackery (Sid James) and Shorty (Alfie Bass). Together, the four plot their crime, leading to unexpected twists and turns.
Because America's the most important country in the world.
I'm finally glad that a Region-B company is apart of many company's library building to rival the Criterion Collection. See these Optimum Vintage Classics, Eureka Masters of Cinema, and BFI Dual Format (my personal favourites).
What has me intrigued is the intro from Martin Scorcese, like the John Carpenter audio commentary on Rio Bravo, I love extras like these
metamorphic, it's not so easy to get a region-free Blu-ray player in the US. First, it's technically illegal, second, the few players that are modified to do this are much more expensive, and reliability is an issue, due to the dodgy aftermarket for modifications. When you modify a player, you void the manufacturers warranty. I don't know how this plays out in the UK, but that's the landscape in the USA.
Chattery, it seems like you've got a case of snobbery in reverse. I was merely expressing my desire to have the ability to own and view films like this, that you and your fellow countryman do.
The UK and other European countries have far more classic, genre, and art house films released on Blu, either before the US does, or may never get them for a long time or even never-ever. I have bought several UK region-free BDs from the Amazon UK site, that are either unavailable here, or at ridiculously high prices.
So... I hope you have the same difficulty in obtaining the Region A exclusive discs that YOU wish you had.
I have great sympathy with Great Artiste. I have an Oppo in Australia and it has proved marvellous. My brother in Houston bought one and added the slip in mod himself. He said it was fiddly but not difficult and it does NOT void the US warranty as it can be unclipped if repair is needed. Another option is pick up a cheap European model and add a voltage transformer or look for one that is dual voltage. This is not illegal at all.
Region-free players are not illegal. The worst thing that could happen is that you can void the warranty if you make a huge blunder.
The region system is just a convention established by studios and the Blu-ray Disc Association. It is no law (but it's legal, of course).
On the business side, when a player is too easy to be made region-free, the BDA could theoretically ask the company to change it, with the threat of revoking their license, but that's it.
On the user side, the solutions that make a player region-free can potentially infringe on some copyright: some are based on hacking the firmware, which is generally encrypted (and decoding the firmware would be illegal) but it's hard to prove that in court, even with the Millennium Act. An hardware kit requires some reverse engineering from the guy who created it but the infringement is also very hard to prove in court.
So far, nobody who owned a region-free player, DVD or Blu-ray, has been charged with anything. And I haven't heard anything about the hackers who edit firmwares.
Just about any no-namey brand Blu-ray player has region free capabilities built into it with the right number codes (which are all over the internet). I got a Seiki brand player up here in Canada for $78 that I use to play Region B content. Build quality is questionable, but it actually loads faster than my Samsung player and since I don't use it nearly as often should last me just fine for awhile. I'm bet the Magnavox brand Blu-ray players sold in the US are very similar to the Seiki.
As Dwight said, it's not illegal at all, and in fact there are many region-free players you can use that do not in fact require any hardware modifications or any custom firmware, including quite a few LG and Insignia models that cost from $80-100 even from places like Best Buy. All you need to do is a bit of research and just set your player accordingly.
A great little comedy for the guy who later directed "A Fish Called Wanda" and "The Adventures of Black Beauty" an early 70's TV show (I used to watch that a a kid when Nickelodeon was a cool channel abck in the mid 80's)
Might just have to buy a region-free player!