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Richard J. Goldschmidt | Oak Lawn, IL USA | 04/10/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Shame on A&E for using the syndicated masters on the series. In many cases hissy, 16mm prints with scratches in them. To make matters worse, the episodes are cut 22 minute syndicated versions. Another BIG disappointment. The packaging should have been the tip off here...COLOR pictures do exist from the series BUT so-so black and white shots used for the covers. This series deserves better!"
Terrible quality, and episodes are cut!
mister-mike | Vancouver, BC, Canada | 04/14/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Not only is the quality of the Peter Gunn episodes recently released by A&E substandard (it is more reminiscent of Madacy Video), the episodes are CUT, despite what it says on the box.I was checking The Chinese Hangman for quality against the Rhino/Image laserdisc and noticed that some lines in one scene were missing, as follows.[Cult leader Ahben Unesku is talking to Gunn about finding Joanna Lund, who absconded with money from his organization. The missing lines are in square brackets.]Unesku: The funds were in safe keeping. Joanna and I were the only persons who had access to them.
Gunn: When did she disappear?
Unesku: Last week. [I held hope that perhaps she would return to us. I sought forgiveness for her in meditation. By her act she has desecrated the sacred duty. She's shattered the very tenets of the philosophy.]
Gunn: How long have you known Joanna?
Unesku: She came to us almost five years ago.
Gunn: Any relatives?
Unesku: Not to my knowledge.Gunn: What about friends?
Unesku: WE were her friends.
Gunn: In other words, you want me to find a girl that could be anywhere. It's a large world, Mr. Unesku
[Unesku: Would you accept a thousand dollars?
Gunn: If I find Joanna and return her to you with the stolen funds...
Unesku: I would be greatly in your debt.
Gunn: There's no need for you getting in debt, Mr. Unesku, I'm sure we could settle on a figure right now.]
Unesku: (takes money from his sleeve) Shall we say a thousand dollars now and an additional two thousand when you find Joanna and the money?"
No frills, hard-hitting crime drama...
trebe | 04/11/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Blake Edward's "Peter Gunn" is a tough character. The private investigator is a big man, quick to use his fists, and used to carrying a gun. A smoker and drinker, his HQ is a bar called "Mothers" run by a woman called "Mother" (big surprise!). The singer in the bar, Edie Hart (Lola Albright) is Gunn's girlfriend. Every private eye has a buddy on the local police force, Pete's is Lt. Jacoby (Herchel Benardi). The two-disc set contains 16 half-hour episodes arranged in broadcast order. A half-hour TV detective drama is a challenging proposition. Almost all of the screen time must be devoted to plot development, with little time for wasted scenes. A concern was that the writers would take the easy way out, and resolve stories in some convenient fashion just because of time constraints. Having characters pull out guns, and shoot their way to a solution could be a tempting way to wrap up an episode running long. And truthfully, it does happen here more than a few times. There are however, some quality episodes in this collection. Gunn does his share of investigating, but perhaps because of the time-limited format, it often seems that trouble seeks him out, thus speeding up crime solving process. Gunn is like a lightning rod for trouble, drawing hoods, heavies and damsels in distress. When trouble appears, it usually means a fight, and Gunn both gives and takes his share of lumps. The level of violence in these episodes is very high, and they are not suitable for young children. Gunfights, strangulation, shotgun blasts, explosions, hangings, arson, car bombings, and plain old cold-blooded murder, is what you will find here.Peter Gunn is not about solving mysteries, with the audience following along, sorting out false leads, and attempting to guess the guilty party. There isn't time for that. Instead each episode usually opens with a murder or crime, and then it's more or less a straight line from there to the culprit. There isn't a long list of suspects to choose from. In the best of these episodes, there is still suspense generated in this rigid format. Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn, comes off as stiff and rather wooden, with a delivery reminiscent of a sedate Cary Grant. A gruff, low-key individual, that is somewhat hard to warm up to. Herschel Bernardi as Lt. Jacoby is deadpan, speaking with a dull monotone, at times he hardly seems alive. His conversations with Gunn do not make for the most animated TV viewing. Peter's relationship with girlfriend Edie is firmly established, but he has little time for her. And though we follow with some interest what happens to these characters, it may be a stretch to say that we actually "like" them. These black and white episodes are from 1958, and the picture quality reflects that age. Common flaws are streaks and dirt, lack of sharpness, missing frames and a "wavey" image. The quality of the episodes varies, but seems to improve as you get to the later ones in the set. Comparing the image quality of Peter Gunn to "The Rifleman", a program from the same time period also recently available on DVD, the transfer of "The Rifleman" is far superior. The images are sharp, texture is more visible, and dirty and missing frames are not evident. Based on A&E's high standards, the quality of the original Peter Gunn episodes must not have been very good to begin with, and they did the best job they could. While the video quality isn't the best, the audio track is clear, and sounds just fine. If you happen to own Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn TV soundtrack, you may recognize a track or two from the snippets of music played on the program.
Vocal numbers by Edie Hart are also frequently featured. In summary, Peter Gunn provides a look into TV's violent past. The set is a good value, providing nearly seven hours of hard boiled, two-fisted programming. The programs at roughly 25 minutes in length, make for quick convenient viewing. If you like a tough no frills approach, Peter Gunn is your man."
Carolyn Paetow | Proctorville, OH United States | 07/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best noir ever made for the small silver screen, this classy series exudes as much pizzazz today as in its heyday! The dark streets glisten with rain and neon, the nightclubs steam with sultry jazz and smokey-voiced women, and stalwart men stalk the unlit alleyways, shadowy docks, and hitman hideouts of the urban jungle. The storyline of each half-hour-slotted epidode is tight and to the point, but time is still taken to explore the relationahip between Gunn and his glib, glamourous girlfriend Edie, his matron-with-moxie chum Mother, and the dogged, job-bound Lt. Jacoby. The series has a timeless ambience. It oozes with hot, on-the-surface sexuality without being brazenly explicit, and the violence is palpably throbbing without being gratuitous or gorey. As terrific television, it's right on target!"
5 Stars for the show, O for DVD quality
Midge | The Heartland | 04/01/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's great to see these old shows again. Classic suave and sexy atmospheric noir. But shame on A&E for the terrible DVD transfer. Scratchy soundtrack and the grainy and flawed print detract from the enjoyment. A&E did the same with many of their other Cult TV releases. It shows a lack of respect for the customer."