The Buccaneers - Vintage 1950s British series

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Bob Hug, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Here's one that flew in under the radar screen . . . Mill Creek Entertainment has released the entire 39 episodes of the Robert Shaw series "The Buccaneers." This had been released in the UK by Network, but this is the first U.S. release of the entire series (Alpha Video has released a couple of 4-episode volumes). I'm not expecting tip-top quality on this, based on my experience with Mill Creek's release of the 1954 Sherlock Holmes series, but it is the entire series. Deep Discount has this for just a little over eight bucks shipped!

    DDD Link: http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/dvd.cfm?itemID=DTO050543

    Mill Creek Link (TV-on-DVD releases): http://www.millcreekent.com/search.a...c&prodcatid=32

    "Let's go a-rovin', a-rovin' . . . . "
     
  2. docdoowop

    docdoowop Second Unit

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    I found the Mill Creek Holmes set quite enjoyable.
     
  3. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    Interesting that the series just had it's 50th anniversary (9/19/56). At a price like this, one can't quibble, but I assume that the image quality is nowhere near the level of "Sgt. Preston", i.e about par for public domain type releases?
     
  4. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Hard to say, as it all depends on whatever source material is being used by Mill Creek. My brother has the two Alpha releases of "The Buccaneers" and seven of the eight episodes looked pretty good considering that they were sourced from unrestored material. While I know that the series was shown in the early 1960s in syndication (when I remember seeing it) it hasn't, to the best of my knowledge, been broadcast in decades and so, possibly, the syndication films (which I assume are the source for this release) may be in reasonably good shape.

    There was a previous, official PAL/Region 2 release of the series by Network (link: http://www.networkdvd.co.uk/product....28&PROD_ID=123, but this is the first time the entire series is receiving a US release. At the price being offered, it would appear to be an unofficial release of public domain material. In any event, I ordered this today, it's in stock, and I'll report back after I've had a chance to sample it.
     
  5. Michael Alden

    Michael Alden Supporting Actor

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    I bought the UK release at the end of last year when Network had a big sale on all of their DVDs.
     
  6. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    I received the 3-DVD set of "The Buccaneers" yesterday and had the chance to watch the first three episodes on disc 1 and did a spot check on discs 2 & 3. I had fairly low expectations about this set given the price it's being sold at, but was pleasantly surprised at how good the episodes look . . . Millcreek has certainly exceeded my expectations for this set. Episodes are uncut, though the credits fade to black with the end theme continuing a few seconds in blackness, suggesting that perhaps a little time was allotted for a network or sponsor logo. Each episode has some very minor film specks, but certainly nothing that would seriously distract the viewer from the stories. Audio is generally solid, though in one of the early episodes, actor Alec Clunes (Governor Woodes Rogers) can be seen clearly mouthing a line, but music (by ITC regular Edwin Astley) plays over it which, I suspect, was probably an issue with the original production.

    I haven't a clue as to where Mill Creek obtained their prints for this series and I have no way to compare them with Network's official region 2 release but, frankly, the episodes are very crisp looking for a 50 year old series. The minuses on the set are that 13 episodes are packed onto each single sided, dual layer disc, but I didn't see any evidence of compression or digital breakup . . . the transfers are solid. The biggest negative is the inclusion of the Mill Creek logo which appears in the bottom right hand corner of the screen for about 15 seconds once or twice during each episode. I didn't find this too distracting (but acknowledge that purists will).

    Bottom line: This is a surprisingly good release from Mill Creek . . . much better that I ever had hoped for . . . $8 for the complete series with decent transfers? This one is a no brainer for anyone who likes the classic costume adventure series of the 1950s.

    Side note: The back of the box describes "The Buccaneers" as being television's very first pirate series. That's not correct; "The Buccaneers" was produced in 1956 whereas "The Adventures of Long John Silver" (with Robert Newton reprising his signature role from two theatrical films), was produced in Australia in 1955 for syndication in the U.S. and England. It was Australia's first television production (it wasn't even shown there for a few years until the country had a nationwide feed) and was filmed entirely in color.
     
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  7. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Here's an interesting news item from TVShowsonDVD.com . . . . the announcement of Timeless Media's upcoming release of "The Buccaneers." Interesting from the perspective that Mill Creek Entertainment released the entire series (39 episodes) almost two years ago.

    Mill Creek Details Page

    I'm guessing that this series is probably in the public domain because in addition to the Mill Creek release, Alpha Video has also released upwards of 30 episodes from this series.

    The Buccaneers DVD news: Announcement for The Buccaneers - The Best Of | TVShowsOnDVD.com

    Well, at least Timeless has made a commitment to the early British "swashbuckler" series as they have already released some episodes from "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and will be releasing the complete "The Adventures of Sir Lancelot" and a "best of " for "William Tell." I like the cover artwork that Timeless is using for these releases.
     
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  8. michael_ks

    michael_ks Screenwriter

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    Indeed, Bob, very classy and ornate that "Buccanneers" cover! Makes me want to double dip just for the package.
     
  9. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    I doubt that I'll double dip on this simply because it's incomplete (missing 9 episodes). But Timeless has, in my opinion, the best looking episodes available in North America for their incomplete release of season 1 (30 episodes of 39) of "The Adventures of Robin Hood," certainly better than Mill Creek's recent season 1 release of that series, plus I doubt that Timeless will have their logo flash up as Mill Creek does on their set of "The Bucanneers." So I expect that Timeless' release of "The Buccaneers" will be a good release, just incomplete. However, I will be picking up Timeless' releases of "The Adventures of Sir Lancelot" which will have all 30 episodes from that series (though it remains to be seen as to whether or not any of the color episodes will be included), as well as "William Tell, which will be an incomplete release (30 of 39 episodes). I haven't seen a single episode of "William Tell" since I was a child.
     
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  10. JayHink

    JayHink Stunt Coordinator

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    Just picked up the Mill Creek 39-episode version of this series. I've never seen it so I'm glad I stumbled across it on Amazon for under $7.
     
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  11. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    Jason:

    I have had this on my wishlist for awhile. Right after it went OOP, the price jumped, but now that it is $7 range I might just pull trigger.
     
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  12. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    Trigger pulled at $7.54...being delivered next week.

    I have previously purchased Mill Creek's The Adventures of Robin Rood (as each season was released) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (the complete series release). Although the audio and video quality on both series was quite variable, I really enjoy the stories and the acting. I would like to pick Timeless' complete series release of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Si...ir lancelot&qid=1462157561&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1) but it's a bit pricey at the moment. I'm also eyeballing Timeless' The Adventures of William Tell release (http://www.amazon.com/William-Tell-...r=8-2&keywords=the+adventures+of+william+tell), although I would prefer complete series release of that show.

    Another show that I would love to see a complete series release for is The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel; two volumes of episodes were released by Alpha Home Entertainment (http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Sc...s=the+adventures+of+scarlet+pimpernel+tv+show) but no complete series as of yet.
     
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  13. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    I have the MC The Buccaneers release, and the Timeless releases of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot and The Adventures of William Tell. I was fortunate to find the latter (all three actually) at Big Lots several years back when they had lots of product from both companies. I paid $5 each (plus tax) for them. I don't remember if there was a MC logo on any of The Buccaneers episodes but for the price I would have only been mildly annoyed. I don't recall seeing it at all on any of The Adventures of Robin Hood seasons (like you, I purchased them individually). Those copies of Sir Lancelot and William Tell are still sitting on my "unopened" shelf. I should give them a viewing...
     
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  14. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    Howie,

    I'm very grateful to Mill Creek and Timeless for releasing these shows despite their technical limitations. For the most part, I have found the writing to be literate and acting to be be above par in these series. They definitely an entertaining way to spend a half hour. I will buy The Adventures of Sir Lanceleot if the price comes down. I'm still a bit on the fence with William Tell being incomplete, but given the state of physical media and the unlikelihood of a complete series release, I will probably pick it up at some point; the same goes for The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

    I don't remember seeing the Mill Creek logo on any of the Robin Hood episodes.
     

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