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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Spy > Espionage > British TV > Moviemaking > The Adventurer - The Complete Series: Special Edition (1972 – 1973/Umbrella Entertainment/Region Zero/PAL)

The Adventurer - The Complete Series: Special Edition (1972 – 1973/Umbrella Entertainment/Region Zero/PAL)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     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.



At the end of the original cycle of Spy/Action series ITC made beginning with The Saint and Danger Man, the productions were still good and ended on a high note with The Adventurer.  Gene Barry made a name for himself in the TV Western Bat Masterson in the late 1950s, but found even more success as Amos Burke, going from the world of lawyers to spies over three hit seasons in a show that also launched Honey West.  Then he was in a Fugitive-like series called Name Of The Game, but it did not catch on as expected despite Universal television’s best efforts.  Sir (later Lord) Lew Grade immediately swooped in and landed him for The Adventurer and it is a really fun series that has been missing in action for too long.


That can be said for all of Barry’s shows, all just recently surfacing on DVD.  In this one, he plays world-famous actor and very wealthy businessman Gene Bradley, who finds himself (like Robert Wagner’s Johnathan Hart would later) involved in tough fights and action worthy of the toughest detectives and smartest spies.  Barry Morse (The Fugitive, Space: 1999) plays Mr. Parminter, his contact for his special assignments and Catherine Schell (who ironically replaced Morse for the disastrous later season of Space: 1999) played semi-regular Diane Marsh.  She was dropped when Morse’s father figure should have and that did not help the series in the long run as these father figure/leaders always slow down the plot.  Sue Gerrard was also Jane in a few shows.


The great directors on this series included Val Guest, Cyril Frankel, Paul Dickson and Morse in some rare directing work.  The very many guest stars proving that budget limits did not stop good actors from being on the show included an early performance by Ben Kingsley, Burt Kwouk, Stuart Damon, Adrienne Corri, John Moffatt, Gabrielle Drake, Patrick Mower, Donald Burton, Pamela Salem, Debbie Russ, Sharon Gurney, Ingrid Pitt, Carl Duering, Donald Huston, Eunice Gayson, Clifford Evans, Simon Lack, Stanley Lebor, Judy Geeson, John Savident, Maurice Browning, Ed Bishop, Alex Scott, Richard Marner, Anthony Ainley, Kieron Moore, Paul Maxwell, Angela Scoular, Fiona Lewis, Dennis Price, Sandor Eles, Eric Pohlmann, Michael Forrest, Anouska Hempel, Rio Fanning, Barrie Cookson, Robert Rietty, Silvia Syms, Basil Dignam, Richard Vernon, Roy Kinnear, Lance Percival, Tristan Rogers, Leslie Crawford, Cec Linder, Alexandra Bastedo, Karl Held, John Levene, Patrick Jordan, Sydney Tafler, Kevin Stoney, Janos Kurucz, Alf Joint, Anthony Nicholls, André

Morell, Prunella Ransome, Peter Jeffrey, Michael Gwynn, Arnold Diamond, Norman Bird, Barbara Murray, Dennis Price, Charles Kay, Angela Douglas, Maurice Kaufmann, Geoffrey Russell, Alan Judd, David Rayner, Nicholas Evans, Cyril Luckham, Stuart Wilson, Dawn Addams, Martin Benson, Jenny Hanley, Stephanie Beacham, Noel Willman, Alan Lake, Marc Boyle, Paul Daneman, Freddie Jones, Toby Robins, Victor Lucas, David Hargreaves, Paul Eddington, Ronald Radd, Doug Fisher, Joanna Jones, George Pravda, Geoffrey Reed, Anthony Dawes, Paul Hardwick, Peter Vaughn, Penelope Horner and Reginald Marsh.  You may not know all those names, but if you watch British TV, you’ll recognize more than you think.


There are 26 half-hours altogether and they are all very well done.  ITC went strictly Science Fiction until Return Of The Saint and this show is an underrated part of that legacy.  Nice to see it finally on DVD!



The 1.33 X 1 image is a bit soft throughout, but is still on the consistent side and was one of the three series (besides The Protectors with Robert Vaughn and Department S spin-off Jason King, all also on this site) to be shot in 16mm film instead of 35mm film to cut costs and by this time, 16mm could look pretty good for professional TV production.  While The Protectors had prints that look on the faded side, The Adventurer (and Jason King for that matter) may not be as faded, but still have detail limits that are from the transfer and not the source.  We have seen regular 16mm look very good on DVD (Criterion’s Gimme Shelter, both DVDs of America – Live In Central Park) and believe these shows could look as good and hopefully will when Blu-rays roll around.  Underrated Director of Photography Frank Watts, B.S.C. (The Avengers, Department S, Jason King, The Champions, The Protectors, Space: 1999, Return Of The Saint) shot every episode and really pushed the format. 


16 X 9 TV owners can zoom in on the image and will be surprised how good this looks widescreen, as it was still shot theatrical film safe despite the smaller camera negative.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is clean and clear for its age and plays back consistently better than the picture.  John Barry’s instrumental title theme song is a classic and along with The Persuaders offers his electronic music style from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that circumstances did not allow him to continue in that actual series after that film.  Don Kirshner was the musical supervisor for the show, though there is little Rock or Pop music in it.  Paul Clay did the regular episode scoring.


Extras are decent, though I hoped for even more.  However, we get Italian, Chevrolet, film rushes and 35mm-shot versions of the main titles, PDF DVD-ROM accessible promo text on the show, trailers for this and other Umbrella DVD sets, text guest cast profiles and text & stills from the ITC archives.  On camera interviews and audio commentaries would have been nice, but the show holds up well and if you like a fun, smart action series, The Adventurer will be a pleasant surprise worth going out of your way for.



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





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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