The Complete Series (1985
- 1992/Paramount/CBS DVD Box Set)/Mark
Of The Devil
Step Beyond: Film Chest DVD
(1959 - 1961)/Where The
(1965/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)
C/B/C/C+ Sound: C+/B-/C/C Extras: D/B/C-/C- Main
The Spies Are
DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the links below.
a new set of action releases, some with comedy and some
The Complete Series (1985
- 1992) collects all seven (yes, seven!)
seasons of the hit TV show with Richard Dean Anderson, of which I
have reviewed the first and fourth seasons elsewhere on this site.
The show is nothing if not consistent, but if the network running it
(an ABC in trouble at the time) did not need all the this it could
get and its star did not have any appeal, the weakness of the show
would be more so. If anything, the show got really
formulaic by the last three seasons (the final one with only 14
episodes!), so seeing them via this CBS DVD box set makes the case
for me, yet the fans that are out there would obviously disagree.
set is being reissued as part of a great set of CBS DVD Complete
Series box sets so fans
and consumers can catch up. The show just never stays with me, but I
forgot how superfluous it tends to be in its one-idea mode. Fans
will disagree, but to its credit, the spoof MacGruber
is worse. Otherwise, this is for fans only.
two TV movies made after the show ended are the only extras, which
have less energy than the show!
Armstrong's Mark Of The
Devil (1970) now sees a
U.S. release and the disc is the same exact Arrow Blu-ray the company
issued in the U.K. that we covered at this link:
a rated 'V' for Violence (!) in its original ad campaign, it is not
as bad as it sounds and has Herbert Lom as a villain, so it is worth
a look, though fans of the genre like my fellow writer tend to really
like it. Glad a U.S. release has been made available.
are the same as the U.K. version.
Chest has decided to issue their own set of the classic TV
Horror/Mystery anthology series One
Step Beyond and have
chosen to issue most of the episodes from the show's first three
seasons (1959 – 1961), though the quality is more like older
singles we saw a long time ago. The episodes are not bad and CBS
issued the first season in the best transfers to date, which we
covered at this link:
they get to the next seasons, this is the best colleciton of these
shows for now and Film Chest can take advantage of the gap with this
handy 6 DVD set. Don't expect each show to be as striking as the
original Twilight Zone,
but the show has its moments and a few unintentional howlers in the
paper episode guide inside the DVD case is the only extra.
Guest's Where The Spies
Are (1965) was an attempt
by MGM to produce a slightly comic spy romp via their British
division with David Niven (soon to be in many more spoofs of the
genre like the 1967 Casino
Royale and the related
mystery genre like Murder
By Death, both reviewed
elsewhere on this site) playing a doctor about to go on vacation when
a spymaster (Cyril Cusack) recruits him to find out if a spy has been
capturted or killed with the promiose of a rare car similar to a nice
classic he owns.
the way, he meets a sexy model (Francoise Dorleac) he becomes
instantly interested in as he lands up in the Middle East, among
other places. The comedy is not as outright as it could have been,
with the makers trying for something between the original Pink
Panther that Niven
appeared in and Donen's Charade
(both reviewed elsewhere on this site), but the result (co-written by
Wolf Mankowicz, Guest and James Leasor, whose novel Passport
To Oblivion this film
is based on) is very mixed and never reaches its potential as a Cold
War comedy thriller.
it is not from a lack of star power, though some visual effecvts look
bad and others are interesting (like some model work). The
supporting cast is impressive however, including the great Ronald
Radd (of the British TV spy classic Callan) as a head East
Block baddie, Eric Pohlmann, John Le Mesurier, Noel Harrison (soon of
The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., also reviewed on this siite), Paul
Stassino, Nigel Davenport, Basil Dignam, Derek Partridge and an up
and coming Bill Nagy. No shortage of talent here and Nario
Nascimbene's score is interesting too. It just does not totally gel
as a film, but is still worth a look for what does work.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
1.33 X 1 image on MacGyver is not bad in the first 3 seasons,
but the rest of the series and telefilms are finished on analog
videotape and are too soft too often, including aliasing errors,
while the 1.33 X 1 black and white prints on Beyond are on the
soft side due to the softness of the prints and transfers, plus the
age of the prints. They cannot compete with the CBS DVD set, but
both shows need Blu-ray releases.
1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Devil
has nice color, even when the print is a little rough showing the age
of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all
previous releases of the film and is on par with the import Blu-ray.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Spies was shot in
real anamorphic 35mm Panavision and processed in MetroColor, but this
print has uneven color and more than a few faded shots not counting
process work. It deserves an HD upgrade, yet is the best of the DVDs
here and was lensed by Director of Photography Arthur Grant, B.S.C.,
a legend from the Hammer Studios.
for sound, the PCM 2.0 Mono on the Devil
Blu-ray is again on par with the U.K. Blu-ray, which is as good as it
will ever sound and is the best performer on the list. The lossy
Dolby Digital on MacGyver
is 2.0 Mono on the first two seasons, then 2.0 Stereo the rest of the
way including telefilms. Despite being the second-best performer
here, it could sound better all around and these are older tranfers.
leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Beyond episodes
which can sound brittle and rough with background noise despite some
attempts to fix it (the CBS DVDs are cleaner), while Spies is
just a little too soft, so be careful of volume switching and high
levels in both cases.
order the Where
The Spies Are
Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: