Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Arrest and Trial|
Actors: Chuck Connors, Ben Gazzara, John Larch
Director: David Lowell Rich
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Before Law & Order, there was Arrest and Trial, NBC's groundbreaking 1960s series starring Ben Gazzara and Chuck Connors. Truly ahead of its time, Arrest and Trial was a 90 minute show combining elements of police procedur... more »
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The Original "Law & Order"
Robert Huggins | Suburban Philadelphia, PA United States | 11/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"During the Fall of 1963, a new police and lawyer show debuted on ABC. Titled "Arrest and Trial," this unique show was made for a 90 minute time slot. The first half of the show featured the "Arrest," with detectives Ben Gazzara and Roger Perry gathering the evidence and apprehending the suspect. The "Trial" portion starred Chuck Connors aided by Don Galloway as defense attorneys, with John Larch and John Kerr as prosecutors from the district attorney's office. Sound familiar?
There's no question that the basic structure and format of "Arrest and Trial" influenced the modern "Law & Order." But there's a major difference in the two shows. "Law & Order" is, essentially, a well written and acted police and judicial procedural. "Arrest & Trial," while retaining many of the procedural elements, is much more of a character study of the accused and those around him - friends and family - and how law enforcement and the judicial system affect their lives. Disc 2 of the set represents the series well and features three episodes dealing with the theme of addictions: Mickey Rooney is a drug addict accused of murder; Nick Adams embezzles money from his employer to pay for his gambling habit; Dewey Martin is a paroled convict dealing with alcoholism who has a difficult time adjusting to the outside world.
The series was produced during the era of the early to mid-1960s when the bar for televised drama was set very high with shows like "Route 66," "The Fugitive," "Combat!," "The Defenders," "Naked City" and others sharing the primetime airwaves. "Arrest and Trial" shares the superior writing, acting, and direction of those other shows. So why wasn't it a hit? One reason may have been its odd running time - 90 minutes - rather than the standard 60 minute format for most televised dramas of the era. But there were other shows that ran for 90 minutes during the 1960s like the Westerns "The Virginian," "Cimarron Strip," and, for a time, even "Wagon Train." More probably, it had to do with the competition. Broadcast by ABC on Sundays from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., "Arrest and Trial" went head-to-head with the second half of "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Judy Garland Show" on CBS, while NBC offered "Grindl" and the second longest running Western in TV history "Bonanza." Sadly, "Arrest & Trial" was cancelled after only a single season of 30 episodes. Co-stars Gazzara and Connors would move on to more successful series, "Run for Your Life" and "Branded," respectively.
This release of "Arrest and Trial," as well as several other DVD releases from the Timeless Media Group, is the product of a unique licensing arrangement that Timeless has with NBC Universal. In a cost cutting measure, Universal is only licensing the use of the episodes to Timeless; it is not providing restored or remastered prints to Timeless. Instead, Timeless is assembling episodes on its own using 16 millimeter films from collectors and other sources. As a consequence, the prints utilized for this release are far from perfect, often exhibiting scratches, dirt and other imperfections. While this may not be the most ideal way to release a television series on DVD, the prospective purchaser of "Arrest and Trial" needs to consider the rarity of this series and the likelihood of a better release. Frankly, this was a series that I believed would never see a DVD release, and so I'm appreciative that a DVD releasing company would take a risk on such a comparatively obscure series. Each of the three discs contained in this box set contains three episodes, with episodes running in the 75 to 76 minute range, so you're getting a representative sampling of nine of the thirty episodes that were produced. There are no extra features included on this release.
The quality of the writing, acting, direction, and overall production transcend a flawed visual presentation. I can very easily recommend this to vintage TV fans and anyone who appreciates a quality televised drama, but videophiles will have numerous issues with this release and are probably best advised to steer clear. "Arrest and Trial" as a series merits five stars, but subtract a star for the lesser visual quality.
PRECURSOR TO "LAW AND ORDER;" EXCELLENT 60'S DRAMA
Anthony Caton | Arkansas. USA | 12/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those discriminating viewers who want to see top-flight TV drama from the heyday of the medium (1955-65) do yourself a favor and order this fantastic three-volume set, "Arrest and Trial." Nine 74 minute shows are included in this reasonably priced compilation. Ben Gazzara (Det. Sgt. Nick Anderson) and Roger Perry (Det. Sgt. Dan Kirby) bring the perceived lawbreakers to trial in the first 35-40 minutes; John Larch (Deputy Dist. Atty. Jerry Miller) and John Kerr (Asst. Deputy Dist. Atty. Barry Pine) then try the state's case, with the defendant most-often represented by Chuck Connors (John Egan). When the show aired in the fall of 1963, ABC sunk a tremendous amount of money into the development of the 90-minute series; to that end they did their best to sign on two or three "name" actors for every episode. These actors included Roddy McDowell, Mickey Rooney, Katherine Ross, Howard Duff, James Whitmore, Marlo Thomas, Leo Gordon, Tony Franciosa, Martin Sheen, Steve Forrest, Neville Brand, Robert Webber, Vera Miles, Clu Gulager, Telly Savalas, Dorthy Malone, MacDonald Carey, Julie Adams, Jack Klugman, David Carradine, Dennis Hopper, Richard Basehart, William Shatner, Richard Carlson, Nick Adams, Barry Sullivan, and Oscar-winners Robert Duvall, Kim Hunter, and Martin Balsam -- a darn good line-up of guest stars for a 30-episode run! Watch these shows along with episodes of "The Defenders" (E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed, if you can find any copies), "The Naked City" (Paul Burke, Horace MacMahon, Nancy Malone), and "East Side, West Side" (George C. Scott), and you'll see just how far we've fallen in the production and presentation of television drama since the mid-60's. The prints of the "Arrest and Trial" episodes in this set appear to be 16mm and contain the expected specks and occasional streaks you'll find in 40+ year-old film -- but really the video and audio quality is quite good. Special thanks to Timeless Media Group and Universal for allowing these outsanding shows to be seen again. Here's hoping more compilations of "Arrest and Trial" will be forthcoming.
(episode 30) Birds of a Feather/ Jack Weston, Jim Backus
(episode 21) Best There Is/ Steve Brodie, Marianna Hill, Ken Lynch
(episode 3) Tears From a Silver Dipper/ Madlyn Rhue, Harold J. Stone
(episode 4) Shield For Hiding Behind/ Barry Sullivan, James MacArthur
(episode 7) Whose Little Girl Are You?/ Joan Freeman, Leif Erickson
(episode 11) We May Be Better Strangers/ Martin Sheen, Michael Parks
(episode 15) Funny Man with a Monkey/ Mickey Rooney, Bert Freed
(episode 22) A Roll of the Dice/ Nick Adams, M. Constantine, Whit Bissell
(episode 23) Black Flower/ David Carradine, Pat Crowley, Andrew Duggan
Something For Everyone
Only-A-Child | 03/13/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The 30 episodes (all in B&W) of the 90-minute crime drama "Arrest and Trial" originally ran on ABC during its 1963-1964 broadcast season. This three-disc DVD set includes nine of the episodes: #3, #4, #7, #11 (guest starring Martin Sheen and Michael Parks), # 15 (guest starring Mickey Rooney), #21, #22 (guest starring Nick Adams), #23, #30; seemingly taken at random from the series.
The series was an innovative concept as it was essentially broken down by the words in its title. During the first 45 minutes of each episode LA detective Nick Anderson (Ben Gazzara) would solve the crime, arrest the perpetrator(s), and hand them over for trial. The second half concerned defense attorney John Egan's (Chuck Connors) attempts to get them acquitted.
That Egan was for the defense and not the prosecution was what made the series unique. Guilt or innocence thus became a relative term. With better writing it could been a great series (think "Hill Street Blues" where the public defender is involved in a romance with the Precinct Captain). Unfortunately rather than actually working in opposition to each other, most of the episodes featured little if any interplay between Anderson and Egan. So what you got was more like a 45-minute cop show followed by a 45-minute lawyer show; with the only point in common being the same guest star(s); whose character might just as well have had different names for all it would have mattered.
The series tried to hold the cop show fans over for the second half by ingeniously breaking the show at the quarter hour when it was too late to change channels and watch something else. It must not have worked very well because the ratings were too low to support a second season.
Gazzara was excellent but Connors was horribly miscast. Most likely someone who is seeing Connors' various shows for the first time is mystified than he got so much television work in 1960's. All I can say is that a lot of people were just as mystified then.
Bottom line, despite its flaws the uniqueness of the series makes it well worth a look today.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
A lot of fun
David Priol | Blue Mountains, Australia | 05/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love these old shows ranging from Peter Gunn to Wanted: Dead or Alive... and this one is no exception and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Good stories, well told and tightly scripted and shot, and terrific acting. Recommended to any lover of old TV series...."