Dangerous Assignment

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Bob Hug, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Fans of 1950s series will be happy to learn that Critics Choice Video has released the second collection of episodes from the early Brian Donlevy series “Dangerous Assignment.” I could not get much in the way of information on this release except to say that collection 1 had 20 episodes and, presumably, collection 2 will have the remaining 19 episodes of the series. Some of the episodes of this series fell into the public domain and have been released by several companies specializing in PD material. Critics Choice also releases PD material, but the episodes in Collection 1 were all among the best that I’ve seen for this series and were licensed. Not surprisingly, there were no extras on collection 1 and I’m guessing that there will not be any extras on collection 2 either. DeepDiscountDVD.com has both 3-DVD collections for just $13.50 each, shipped.
     
  2. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    Thats FANTASTIC news! I discovered the series when I got the 100 classic TV shows a year or so ago, and wished I could get my hands on more. I love the gritty, hard boiled cop/mystery shows of the 50's. Now if only I could get more Racket Squad, I'd be happy.

    And for so dirt cheap too - how can I go wrong? I'll pick this up next time DDD does the 20% in a couple of months.
     
  3. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    I have that 100 episode set from Treeline, too, and while I really like it, I think that you'll be impressed with the clarity of the episodes on the Critics Choice release. I'm not sure how Critics Choice ended up releasing this as most of their classic TV releases are of the standard public domain variety, i.e., usually 16 millimeter syndication prints of wildly varying visual quality (just like Alpha Video), but "Dangerous Assignment" is really a standout release for them. In fact, the clarity is so good that in the opening title sequence, you'll actually see the string that the knife rides along passing directly in front of Brian Donlevy's face!

    Speaking of Alpha, they've released several shows from the Cold War/espionage era including their own volume of "Dangerous Assignment," Robert Alda in "Secret File, USA," Cesar Romero in "Passport to Danger," and Jerome Thor/Sydna Scott/James Daly in "Dateline Europe" a/k/a "Foreign Intrigue." If you like "Dangerous Assignment," chances are good that you'll like these other titles as well, though none of them look near as good as the "Dangerous Assignment" release from Critics Choice. Alpha also has a few volumes of "Racket Squad" and star Reed Hadley's other TV series "Public Defender." Here's the link to Alpha's "Classic TV Series" page:

    http://oldies.com/genre/view.cfm/genre_tvser.html
     
  4. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    I curse the day I picked up that Treeline 100 shows set - it opened a Pandora's Box of old TV. I really cant wait to get ahold of the Dangerous Assingment sets.

    Also - if youre looking for pretty good sets of PD material, I recommend picking up the 1950's TV's Greatest Shows (there 4 sets - Greatest Shows, Greatest Detectives, Greatest Westerns and Greatest Comedys). The shocker is - they actualy did some restoration to the sets (Check out the results HERE) so the shows look pretty good. It's a bit more - about 15-20 bucks for 3 discs - about 12 shows all in all.

    I did get some of the Alpha Racket Squad, but I havent had time to watch more than one or two episodes. I've got Public Defender in my DDD wishlist, ready to go - but I'll have to look into those other shows you mentioned.

    If they're cheap like the rest of the PD releases seem to be, I'll happly blind buy them. Classic TV rocks.
     
  5. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    I picked up a few of those PD sets from the Falcon Picture Group . . . yes, there was some restoration done to the episodes included . . . and they're really great "samplers" of television in the Fifties. But they're also like the proverbial potato chip . . . once you see one you want more. It drives me nuts that I can watch a single episode of "Sea Hunt" on the "Greatest Shows" set but can't get any more episodes on DVD (especially now since "Sea Hunt" is a Sony property). But I'm grateful that these sets exist as sometimes these PD sets are the only way that you can see some of these older shows.
     
  6. Tom.W

    Tom.W Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for this info on Critics Choice and Alpha releases, Bob. Dangerous Assignment sounds like a solid investment, as well as many of the others as samplers. By chance, did you pick up Follow That Man (aka Man Against Crime)? There were a few episodes of this show circulating over the years, but they were very inferior quality, at least what I got my hands on. I'm curious if the Alpha releases are improved.

    BTW, fifties swashbuckler fans may be interested to know that The Buccaneers complete season series is being offered by hollywoodsattic.com at a hefty price of $42.00.
    I can't vouch for the quality since I haven't seen it.
     
  7. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Tom, by my account, there are 5 volumes of "Follow that Man" on the market: Three volumes from Alpha, each with 4 episodes, one volume from Critics Choice (again with 4 episodes) and a "dollar DVD" that I found at Wal-Mart with 3 episodes. There's also a single episode on the "Greatest Detectives" sampler from Falcon Picture Group. I've viewed all of these except for Volume 3 of the Alpha discs. Wish I could tell you that they were in pristine condition but, unfortunately, they're not. All of these are from (sometimes battered) 16 mm syndication prints. I don't believe that "Follow That Man" will ever get an official release, so what we are left with are these public domain releases. My advice on these . . . if you are looking for a harder to find series on DVD and are willing to accept lesser visual quality, then you probably won't be disappointed. On the other hand, I cannot recommend these for folks that are expecting "high definition" quality as these are far from it. Bottom line . . . it's a trade-off between rarity and quality.

    Re: The Buccaneers. There was an official release in England of this Robert Shaw series by a company called Network earlier this year. I believe it may have been "all region" but certainly in the PAL format. I've not heard of any official releases of The Buccaneers here in the US so I wonder if hollywoodsattic.com is selling the Network set. I did find a single episode of The Buccaneers on a release called "The Swashbucklers" from Canada's Cascadia Entertainment a while back, but that's been it. Incidentally, Network has also released the entire series of "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "The Adventures of Sir Lancelot," and "Sir Francis Drake," in addition to "the Buccaneers." I'm envious of the Brits!
     
  8. Brian:C

    Brian:C Stunt Coordinator

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    Bob,

    Your right, I just received mine and am really impressed with the condition of the material and mastering they did. This release is nothing like other Critic's choice releases. I highly recommend it and will be picking up volume 2 to complete the series. Hopefully other releases will follow like this.

    CC sells it for 34.95 so go with DVD Deep discount 13.50 with FREE Shipping.

    Brian
     
  9. Tom.W

    Tom.W Stunt Coordinator

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    I envy the Brits too, Bob. There is a company - I don't recall its name - which is releasing the 1958 version of The Invisible Man for NTSC. Maybe they'll pick up some more of these british classics. But TIM seemed to be the exception in terms of the content of their catalogue.

    In the meantime, thanks for the lead on DDD, Brian. Hope Critics Choice releases more like Dangerous Assignment.
     
  10. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Just a heads up, Collection 2 of "Dangerous Assignment" is currently on backorder at DDD. Not to worry though, DDD is owned by the same company that owns Critics Choice. They should be replenishing stock soon.
     
  11. Brian:C

    Brian:C Stunt Coordinator

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    Didn't know they were owned by the same company. It now makes sense how they have better deals on these releases. They offer bundles of there other releases. Like Love the Bob (5pack), Private Secretary (4pack) and others. If your interested in these make sure to do a search and order the bundle for an extra savings.

    example:

    Love that Bob single discs: [email protected] and [email protected] = about $27
    Love that Bob 5 Pack: $18 for the same discs and boxes shipped together

    At critics choice the 5 pack sells for 39.96 and individuals sell for 3@$7 & [email protected]

    Pays to shop around,
    Brian
     
  12. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    I get all of my Critics Choice classic TV releases from DDD; you definitely can save some serious money by ordering from DDD versus Critics Choice. You pay more at Critics Choice because, in addition to their online business, they also have the mail-order business and those full color catalogs cost money to produce and mail-out, and those costs are reflected in the prices. Not so with DDD which, as far as I know, is an online only store (save for an outlet store in Illinois where they are headquartered). I used to order from Critics Choice (and I do miss their catalogs), but once I found out that DDD sold the same releases at significantly better prices, I stopped buying from CC.
     
  13. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Supporting Actor

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    I got a big kick out of the first volume, and plan to get the second. These old-time action/adventure shows are great fun; sort of like mini "B" movies. Lots of familiar faces, too. Who would think you'd find an affable Hugh Beaumont pop up in an episode as a secret commie agent? I hope Critics Choice can make some more deals like this, and release some neat sets (certainly better than some of their other p.d. releases, which are often eyesores).
     
  14. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Just wanted to update "Dangerous Assignment" fans that DeepDiscountDVD.com has Collection 2 back in stock; same shipped price of $13.50 for the 3-disc set. I received my shipping confirmation today.
     
  15. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    I hear these look great, like they were taken right off the 35s. I'm ordering them today.
     
  16. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    I'll second Bert Greene's comments . . . this is a great example of a show that's not going to have mass appeal but yet still gets a nice DVD release . . . nothing fancy, just good transfers sold at a modest price ($27 shipped for both sets from DDD). This is really a model of how lesser known vintage television shows can be released . . . "Mr. & Mrs. North" anyone?
     
  17. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Just saw that Alpha Video will be releasing two more volumes (likely 4 episodes per volume) of Ralph Bellamy's "Follow That Man" on May 23rd. No episode listings are available at this time though. Here's the link to Alpha's vintage TV releases for May 23rd:

    http://www.oldies.com/product/coming...nre_tvser.html

    It'll also be interesting to see what episodes Alpha will include on its "Dick Tracy" DVD . . . there are a few episodes of this series floating around on some public domain collections but, generally speaking, a very tough-to-find series (and Ralph Byrd's last work).
     
  18. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Supporting Actor

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    Glad to see Alpha continuing its delving into old-time television. "Follow That Man," with Ralph Bellamy, is one of my favorites of those early-era action shows. I'll definately be grabbing the two upcoming volumes. Wish they could put out some series like "Boston Blackie" or "China Smith," but I'm guessing they might not have fallen into p.d. status like many of their fellow shows.

    I also noticed that Alpha has a volume of "Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal" coming up. Plus, another "Biff Baker USA," for all Alan Hale, Jr. fans.

    I'm still hoping Critic's Choice will continue with their own sets, on the heels of their top-notch "Dangerous Assignment" and "Sgt. Preston" releases.
     
  19. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Bert, Alpha just came out with volume 3 of "Dateline Europe" a/k/a "Foreign Intrigue." This one is all Jerome Thor/Sydna Scott episodes. I thought that volume 3 looked reasonably good, at least when compared to volume 1. The filming (by largely European crews) of post-World War II Europe really adds quite a bit to these Cold War stories. I'm hoping that we might see some more of the similar "Secret File, U.S.A.," another European Cold War series with Robert Alda. Although a/v quality can sometimes be marginal, one has to credit Alpha with finding these buried treasures and releasing them at a modest price.

    With respect to "Boston Blackie," a single episode appears on Treeline Film's box set of 100 classic TV episodes as well as a detective's compilation from Navarre, but I've not seen any other episodes on commercially available DVDs.
     

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