New transfers and exclusive extras ensure that this boxset is well worth your bread and honey
The Long Good Friday stars Bob Hoskins as Harold Shand, an old-fashioned East End gangster who aspires to become a legitimate businessman. With the financial support of the American Mafia he dreams of renovating London's derelict Docklands, but not even Shand can keep things on track when his business is targeted by the IRA.
Made in the tail-end of the 1970s and finally released into cinemas in 1980, The Long Good Friday is a surprisingly prescient film that somehow managed to predict the mood of Thatcher's Britain within the milieu of the gangster movie. And what a gangster movie it is. From Barry Keefe's smart script and memorable dialogue ('Look at you… The Mafia? I've s**t 'em!') to the wholly believable performances that director John Mackenzie elicits from his cast, the film continually excels – a fact that is made even clearer when you compare The Long Good Friday to the glut of sub-standard British crime flicks it inspired over the past decade or so.
Hoskins is on excellent form again in Neil Jordan's marvellous 1986 British noir, Mona Lisa. Here he plays George, a tough ex-con with a good heart who falls for Simone (Cathy Tyson), the high-class call girl he is hired to chauffeur between clients. Like all the best film noirs, Mona Lisa is a tale of doomed romance, but the way in which Jordan's film spins this familiar tale and the beautiful performances of its two leads lifts it to an altogether different level.
Picture: The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa have both been exclusively restored by Arrow Films in 2K. Given the label's track record, it should hardly come as a shock to learn that both 1.85:1-framed AVC encodes look first rate. Whether it's the expertly-resolved grain and improved stability of The Long Good Friday or the brighter palette and added clarity that characterises Mona Lisa's visuals, both retain an authentically film-like sheen on Blu-ray and have been cleaned up magnificently.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: Being primarily dialogue-driven affairs, neither film would really benefit from 5.1 remixes, so what really matters is that the LPCM mono soundtracks have been restored as efficiently as the image quality, ensuring perfect clarity throughout and no unwanted pops, crackles or hisses.
Audio rating: 3.5/5
Extras: The Long Good Friday offers up a director's commentary; a 55-min retrospective documentary; three interviews; three trailers; and a look at dialogue changes made for the US cinema release. Mona Lisa adds a commentary by the director and leading man; three interviews and the trailer.
Exclusive to this limited edition boxset is a third Blu-ray platter containing an archival Q&A with Bob Hoskins and John Mackenzie; five further interviews; and a hi-def presentation of Apaches, Mackenzie's grim 1977 public information film aimed at warning kids about the dangers of playing in farms.
The set also includes an excellent 100-page book containing essays about the films, reviews and even the 'Cockney Rhyming Slang Glossary' produced for the US video release of The Long Good Friday.
Extras rating: 5/5
We say: This stacked boxset makes for one heck of a tribute to the brilliance of the late Bob Hoskins
The Long Good Friday + Mona Lisa, Arrow Video, Region B BD & R2 DVD, £35 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 5/5
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