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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Spy > British TV > Hardboiled > Man In A Suitcase - The Complete Series: Special Edition (1966 – 1968/Umbrella Entertainment/Region Zero/PAL)

Man In A Suitcase - The Complete Series: Special Edition (1966 – 1968/Umbrella Entertainment/Region Zero/PAL)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Episodes: B-



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



With some of the crew of Danger Man in place, writers Richard Harris and Dennis Spooner decided to do a lone wolf spy thriller series about a CIA agent who botched a mission so bad that he was exiled from the U.S. and Richard Bradford (in an underrated performance) plays a man simply known as McGill in Man In A Suitcase, a very good, different entry in the many TV series (and feature films for that matter) involving espionage fiction.


Living literally out of his suitcase, McGill finds himself in unusual situations each show, some of which involve his past, others which simply involve deadly plots that he manages to get involved in.  The shows hold up well for the most part and though some are so serious that they tend to be more action drams than spy thrillers, McGill is really as much a tough gumshoe detective type as a spy, but that is one of the things that distinguishes the show from the many ambitious series of the time.  Only 30 hour-long shows were produced and they are all here in this DVD set from Umbrella Entertainment.


The camera likes Bradford and he is a good actor in a colder role that fans of the Daniel Craig James Bond era and Jason Bourne films will particularly find interesting, plus the show has a big following in Germany and the U.K., yet it is not available in the United States.  That is inexcusable and to the credit of writers on the show like its creators, the show was somewhere in the middle ground between the fantastic spies of the time and the colder realistic thrillers like Ipcress File, if not that complex and gritty.  But that makes it a one of a kind show in this cycle, usually made by ITC and Sir (later Lord) Lew Grade and his amazing creative team.


The great directors on this series included Robert Tronson, Charles Crichton (of A Fish Called Wanda), Peter Duffell, Pat Jackson, Freddie Francis (also a legendary cinematographer) and John Glen (the 1980s Bond films) in his first main directing work, though he did plenty of second unit work on this show.  Hot guest stars included Donald Sutherland (twice!), Colin Blakely, Philip Madoc, Jane Merrow, George Sewell, Stuart Damon, Judy Geeson, Bernard Lee, Anton Rodgers, Felicity Kendal, Jacqueline Pearce and Darren Nesbit.


The 1.33 X 1 image is pretty consistent and decent throughout, with good color, which helps when you get some noise or bad visual effects or other flaws here and there.  This is another good-looking 35mm-shot series with top cameramen as Director of Photography like Lionel Banes (The Saint) and Stephen Dade, both who were also on The Avengers.  16 X 9 TV owners can zoom in on the image and will be surprised how good this looks widescreen, as it was shot theatrical film safe.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is clean and clear for its age, but not as loud and clear as the isolated music and sound effects tracks, which are a revelation.  Ron Grainer’s instrumental title theme song is a classic and among his best works.


Extras are many and include episode introductions by Bradford, Merrow and Sewell, PDF DVD-ROM accessible promo text on the show, a mini-reproduction of publicity for the show in one of the DVD cases, trailers for this and other Umbrella DVD sets, text guest cast profiles, trailer for the feature cut together from episodes of the show, a video trailer for the show, text and stills from the ITC archives, an on-camera interview with Bradford, textless material, isolated music & sound effects tracks (as noted above) on “Somebody Loses Somebody… Wins?” and “Who’s Mad Now?” and audio commentary tracks.  They include Bradford on “Man From The Dead” and “Brainwash”, Writer Philip Broadley on “Day Of Execution” and Writer/Director Peter Duffell on “The Revolutionaries”.


A fine show for more than just completists, Man In A Suitcase is worth rediscovering and recommended.



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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