The Long Good Friday is a film which I didn’t really ‘get’ when I was younger. i would’ve been in my teens when I first saw it.
The late, great Bob Hoskins plays Harold Shand, a gangster with a finger in every pie, wheeling and dealing all over the place, but there’s dodgyness abound as the new boys in town want in on everything – and since they’re the IRA, what are the odds it’ll all go a bit tits-up for our leading man?
That said, you can sometimes tell when something bad is going to happen, as evil music plays out in the background, but at other times there’s quietness throughout until terrorism strikes, such as an early bomb where the victim was least expecting it.
Rewatching it after all this time, it’s amusing to see some of the cast who have since become mega-famous. This was one of Paul Freeman‘s first movie roles back then, but he later became very famous after he played the evil Belloq in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. His character was seen pulling very young Kevin McNally (in fact, everyone’s young here!), who was simply labelled “Irish Youth”. For me, his stand-out moment was pushing Lisa Faulkner’s head into a boiling fryer in Spooks, while last year, he made a brief appearance in 24: Live Another Day.
Elsewhere, there’s the Karl Howman, probably best known to TV viewers for Brush Strokes, as womanising Jack; P.H. Moriarty, aka Hatchet Harry from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (as was Dexter Fletcher who pops up as a ‘kid’); four-times James Bond star Pierce Brosnan, simply as “1st Irishman” here; and last but not least, it’s Charlie Fairhead from Casualty! Yes, Derek Thompson – still with the curly hair these days, even if it’s a little greyer!
There’s also plenty of great dialogue here, such as on the death of one friend, Harold cries out: “He wouldn’t hurt a fly! … well, only when it was necessary…”
Oh, and one quick spoiler..
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, and below is a full description, which is shown prior to the film, about all the work that went into the restoration. It’s quite simply astounding how good it looks, and there’s also one of the extras showing how the original version compares. It was a treat to rewatch this film on my Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV with a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
As for the audio, it’s in the original mono and, so it won’t be a special FX bonanza, but it delivers exactly what it was meant to, back in the day.
The restoration information reads:
- “The Long Good Friday has been exclusively restored for this release by Arrow Films.
The original camera negative was scanned in 2K resolution on a pin-registered Arriscan, and the film was graded on the Baselight grading system. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris and scratches were removed through a combination of digital restoration tools. Image stablity was also improved.
The film’s original mono soundtrack was transferred from the magnetic reels, and audio issues such as pops, clicks and audible buzz were repaired or removed.
The restoration of The Long Good Friday was fully graded under the supervision of Director of Photography Phil Méheux and was completed in 2K resoliution.
The project was supervised by James White on behalf of Arrow Films, with all work carried out at Deluxe Restoration, London.”
Go to page 2 for the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.