Bob Hoskins was sadly taken from us recently but here is in my opinion, one of his finest performances as gangster Harold Shand in the classic Long Good Friday.
Shand is a businessman with great ambitions. Spotting the development potential of London s derelict Docklands area in the late 1970’s, 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?
Originally intended as a TV show but thankfully grew into a great feature film with a fantastic supporting cast including Helen Mirren and Derek Thompson and a brutal edge that would have been lost on TV of that era. Its gritty and realistic portrayal of London adds to the authentic feel with the city on the brink of the Thatcher era. The film really does showcase the talent of Bob Hoskins with his no-nonsense approach to problems, to his panic as he sees his plans crumbling to the final brilliant speech to his so-called American friends. Look out for a very early appearance by future James Bond Pierce Brosnan.
Arrow has remastered the film with a 2K restoration and the results are fabulous. The film has always looked drab on previous home video releases but here it sparkles with texture and stable colours. Audio is English LPCM 1.0 and is clear and precise, nothing spectacular but the original mono mix is solid.
Extras are as follows and a little confusing. You get on the Long Good Friday only release the following:
- Theatrical Trailers – two original theatrical trailers. (5 min).
- Hands Across the Ocean – this video piece focuses on five brief sections from The Long Good Friday that was redone in order to make them clearer for American viewers. Very amusing. (8 min).
- Interviews :
- 1. Barry Hanson – in this interview, the producer recalls some of his dealings with the late Bob Hoskins and discusses some of the Shakespearean elements in the film. (6 min).2. Barrie Keeffe – here the screenwriter of The Long Good Friday explains how the idea for the film emerged and how the main characters were profiled. (9 min).3. Phil Meheux – in this interview, the cinematographer recalls how he was approached by director John Mackenzie and asked to join the project and discusses what important correction that was made during the recent 2K restoration. (4 min).
- Bloody Business: The Making of The Long Good Friday – this archival documentary focuses on the production history and success of The Long Good Friday. Included in it are clips from interviews with director John Mackenzie, producer Barry Hanson, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, and Pierce Brosnan, amongst others. (55 min).
- Audio Commentary by director John Mackenzie.
The special box set which includes a new restored Mona Lisa also has the following extras on a 2nd Blu Ray:
- Apaches (1977) – a short film about a group of children playing “Cowboys and Indians” on an English farm and eventually dying there. The film was commissioned by the Central Office of Information on behalf of the Health & Safety Executive.
- Introduction – a short introduction to Apaches by cinematographer Phil Meheux. (2 min).
- Q&A with Bob Hoskins and John Mackenzie – presented here is a Q&A session with Bob Hoskins and John Mackenzie, which was moderated by Richard Jobson. The two gentlemen discuss the shooting of The Long Good Friday, with lots of interesting stories to tell. The Q&A session was filmed at National Film Theatre in March 2000. (28 min).
- Interviews – presented here is a collection of brand new interviews with some of the people that made The Long Good Friday.1. Barry Hanson (Producer) – (17 min).
2. Barrie Keefe (Screenwriter) -. (15 min).
3. Phil Meheux (Cinematographer) – (18 min).
4. Simon Hinkly (First Assistant Director) – (19 min).
5. Carlotta Barrow (Assistant Art Director) – (7 min).
- Booklet – collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and BFI curator Mark Duguid, illustrated with original production stills.
FILM : 8.5 PICTURE: 9 AUDIO: 7 EXTRAS: 8