He's one of the most popular and admired funnymen of all time, a master of comic timing and physical humor. Now four of the classic films starring the delightful Don Knotts are available on DVD for the first time in this f... more »un-filled collector's set. After catapulting to national fame as the often impossible but ever lovable Deputy Barney Fife on TV's The Andy Griffith Show, Knotts set out to conquer the silver screen in a series of unforgettable feature films. Now four of these hilarious farces are brought together in this amazing collection that keeps the laughs coming.« less
Four classic Don Knotts comedies from the late 1960s
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 12/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don Knotts is a national treasure, one of the most naturally gifted comic actors the world has ever seen. As big a Don Knotts fan as I have always been, and as many times as I have seen all of the old episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, I had actually never seen any of Knotts' classic comedies from the late 1960s. This Reluctant Hero Pack has helped alleviate this problem. Sure, I could have spent four times as much money and acquired each of these four films on individual DVDs, but frugality is one of the many small-town American virtues Don Knotts' characters usually embodied. These films have been compressed so that they will all fit on one double-sided DVD, but there is nothing wrong with the picture quality of this disk whatsoever. It's not like you're missing out on any special features on the individual offerings, either; unfortunately, there are also next to no special features on this Reluctant Hero pack - all you get are three of the four films' trailers. Still, what matters are the films themselves, and you're guaranteed to have over six and a half hours of unadulterated laughter with these four Don Knotts classics.
The four films included here are not necessarily Don Knotts' best four movies, but each of them is hilarious. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken puts Don Knotts inside a haunted house overnight. Remember how funny that haunted house episode of The Andy Griffith Show was? Well, this film is even funnier. It also features the lovely Joan Staley as the object of affection of Knotts' character. His character, by the way, is a truly reluctant hero, one whose heroics and honesty are put to an extreme test. Then you have The Reluctant Astronaut, which I consider to be the funniest of the four films included here. Knotts plays a grown man who goes off - very reluctantly - to become an astronaut - despite the fact that he is terrified of heights. Once he gets to Houston, he finds out his job is actually that of a janitor rather than a spaceman, and he is forced to live a lie because he is afraid to admit the truth to his proud father. Just when everything falls apart for him, though, he gets the chance to put everything right - if he can muster up the courage to answer the heroic call.
The Shakiest Gun in the West pits Knotts in the role of a newly graduated dentist who goes West to spread oral hygiene along the frontier. Along the way, he finds himself suddenly married to a mysterious redhead with all sorts of secrets. Despite his obvious weaknesses in the gun-fighting department (they call this film The Shakiest Gun in the West for a reason), he finds himself celebrated as a fierce Indian-killer and hero of the West. At the time, he doesn't realize how undeserving he is of the respect he garners, but he does get the chance to prove himself a true hero in the end.
The last of the four films included here, The Love God, is unlike any other Don Knotts film. This was a film way ahead of its time, as it addresses issues of sexual behavior and censorship head-on in an hysterically satirical manner. Knotts plays a timid publisher of a bird magazine who somehow ends up becoming famous as the country's premier playboy and smut peddler, the very standard bearer of the forces of the sexual revolution. This film has garnered a retroactive PG-13 rating, so it is not quite the true family film that the three other movies are, but there is nothing here that the most sheltered five-year-old hasn't already seen and heard in this day and age.
Why am I even trying to give a quick description of these films? This is, after all, Don Knotts we're talking about, so you know good and well these movies are basically guaranteed to be hilarious. Don't deny yourself - especially at this price - of the enjoyment of four classic films from one of America's funniest and most beloved comic actors."
Don't be reluctant about grabbing up the Don!
B-MAN | Earth, occasionally. Until I get bored. | 10/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a true bargain compiling 4 of Don Knotts' most popular films onto one nicely priced disc! This DVD collects 4 of the 5 films that Knotts made in the 60s where he had the lead role (the exception being 1964's "The Incredible Mr. Limpet"). The DVD is a flip disc with two films on each side. Side A has "The Ghost & Mr. Chicken" and "The Reluctant Astronaut", while side B has "The Shakiest Gun in the West" and "The Love God?". Another great aspect is that these films are in chronological order of original release from 1966-1969. In other words, these 4 films were released back to back. For those that are fans of Knotts' films or the live action Disney films of the 60s & 70s, these will be a rare treat to own. Great fun, exceptable for the entire family (with the possible exception of "The Love God?" which contains some mild adult humor, obviously tame by today's standard, but still maybe inappropriate for some ages). Knotts plays almost the same character in every film and just as the title of the set implies, he is at first reluctant, then the hero. For those unfamiliar with the films, here are some very brief plots:
Side A The Ghost & Mr. Chicken (1966) - Knotts is Luther Heggs, a local wanna be reporter who stays a night in the local haunted house on a dare. After Arthur witnesses some spooky happenings, no one believes him, including his boss George Beckett (Dick Sargent). It's up to Arthur to prove to the town that the old house has a ghost. Considered to be one of Knott's most successful films.
The Reluctant Astronaut (1967) - Knotts stars as Roy Fleming, employee at the local carnival where he dresses up as an astronaut. After his Dad sends his application to NASA, Roy is actually contacted, but to be a janitor! Luckily Major Fred Gifford (Leslie Nielsen with dark hair!) gives him a big chance to take a test flight into space. Classic stuff.
Side B The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968) - from the same director as Mr. Chicken, Knotts plays Dr. Jesse W. Heywood, a nervous dentist who you'd think would be the last guy to get involved with gun selling bad guys. Along the way he meets a beautiful sharpshooting outlaw, Penelope 'Bad Penny' Cushings (Barbara Rhodes). You might call this film a precursor to the Apple Dumpling Gang films where Knotts starred alongside Tim Conway.
The Love God? (1969) - definitely the most unique in the bunch because of it's subject matter. Knotts plays Abner Audubon Peacock, owner of Peacock Magazine for bird watchers. Abner himself is a bird watcher and is on the verge of losing his magazine when a second party offers to help him keep publishing it. While Abner is away collecting photos for his return issue, he arrives home to find his magazine is being used to publish pornography! For me this was the most enjoyable only because I had never seen it and watching Knotts within the context of the subject was hilarious. Again the humor is mostly for young adults and older here, the film was actually rerated PG-13 while all three other films are NR or G ratings.
I highly recommend the set to fans of the genre or style. For Don Knotts fans it's a no brainer. 4 great films on one low priced DVD. I can tell you all four films look and sound great. Also recommended with Don Knotts:
The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964) The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) Gus (1976) The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979) Private Eyes (1981) - My personal favorite! "
Great bargain with minor snags
B-MAN | 07/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set is bargain-and-a-half for anyone who grew up watching these silly but charming comedies on Saturday afternoon TV. For a ridiculously low price, you get 4 films with astonishingly good quality picture and sound (sound is mono but the video transfers are bright, colorful and sharp as a tack). True, they are all on a single "flipper" disc, but for this price it's a small qualm at best. The only thing I would mention to parents buying these for their children (which I assume many of you are), is the 4th film in this set, "The Sex God", is a PG-13 rated sex comedy made in 1969, and as such is a strange inclusion in a set of movies more-or-less made for children. It's pretty tame by modern standards (and not terribly funny either), but all the same I doubt you'd want your 8-yr old watching it. Still, a killer bargain on films I wanted, but didn't want to spend 20$ apiece for. Recommended."
UNDERRATED COMIC GENIUS!!
The Critic | Windsor | 07/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion Don Knotts is a comedy legend and his brand of hilarity has always been highly underrated. The reluctant hero pack is a steal at Amazon's price and any fan would be happy to own this incredible set. Personally I wouldn't have included "The Love God" in the mix. "How to Frame a Figg" or "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" would have been better suited for this release. As for the movies themselves, the picture is clear and the sound is crisp. I don't care for the packaging and prefer a single movie per disc for better compression. You can buy the reluctant hero pack at a fraction of what you would spend for the individual movies and for some fans on a budget this is the way to go. Everybody's taste is different when it comes to movie buying. I have some of the same titles on single discs and there is a noticeable difference in compression and quality. I am really disappointed that Universal has re-released these movies again and not bothered to include any commentary or interviews with Don Knotts while he is still living. A few words from this comic legend would have been a nice touch from the studio. Overall these four movies are pure fun for the whole family and hopefully they will inspire a new legion of Don knotts fans.
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.1 Mono) "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) "The Reluctant Astronaut" Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) "The Shakiest Gun in the West" Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) "The Love God?" Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) "
Don Knotts 4 Movie Reluctant Hero Pack
C. Burns | Texas | 09/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have kids, this is a must. These heart warming movies are fun to watch and offer an old fashioned charm unmatched by today's film standards.