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Espionage: The Complete Series [DVD]

Martin Balsam , Avis Bunnage , Anton Leader , David Greene    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 21.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Martin Balsam, Avis Bunnage, Madeleine Burgess, Maurice Durant, Alan Gifford
  • Directors: Anton Leader, David Greene, Fielder Cook, Herbert Hirschman, James Sheldon
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Mar 2008
  • Run Time: 1200 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00113NX0E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,600 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

All 24 episodes of the early 1960s anthology series following various spies around the world, real and fictional, as they go about their business. Episodes are: 'A Covenant With Death', 'The Incurable One', 'The Gentle Spies', 'He Rises On Sunday and We On Monday', 'To the Very End', 'The Dragon Slayer', 'The Whistling Shrimp', 'The Light of a Friendly Star', 'Festival of Pawns', 'A Camel to Ride', 'Never Turn Your Back On a Friend', 'Medal for a Turned Coat', 'The Final Decision', 'Do You Remember Leo Winters?', 'We the Hunted', 'Frantick Rebel', 'Castles in Spain', 'Snow On Mount Kama', 'Once a Spy...', 'The Liberators', 'Some Other Kind of World', 'A Free Agent' and 'A Tiny Drop of Poison'.

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Black & White, Box Set, Interactive Menu, Multi-DVD Set, Scene Access, Uncut, SYNOPSIS: Unseen for over 40 years, Espionage is one of the rarest and most sought-after ITC series. Produced by George Justin (Twelve Angry Men) and Herbert Hirschman (The Zoo Gang), this anthology series of 24 plays covered everything from the then-current Cold War to 19th century China, from Johnson's London to intrigue in Kenya and Moscow. Espionage is one of Lew Grade's first successes with a transatlantic production team, featuring both British and American writers and directors (including three plays directed by the Oscar-nominated Michael Powell (The Red Shoes). With one play, The Whistling Shrimp, actually shot in New York, it's no wonder that this series attracted talent of the calibre of Roger Livesey, Stanley Baxter, Anthony Quayle, Sian Phillips, Donald Pleasence, Dennis Hopper, Patrick Troughton, Barry Foster and others. ...Espionage - Complete Series 6-DVD Box Set


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long unseen, worthwhile TV series 1 Aug 2009
One supposes that a commercial incentive for Espionage's appearance on the small screen was the contemporary fad for spy-based drama, as the extraordinarily successful Dr No had appeared just the year before. But Espionage largely eschews the gimmickry, violence and sexual undertones of its big screen cousin, and replaces the particular time and place of James Bond's battles with something more varied. The television episodes do include stories addressing contemporary concerns, such as nuclear disarmament and the tensions of the Cold War. But others are set in different times (episode The Frantick Rebel, for instance, is set in 18th century London). Much of the series deals with the psychological as much as political suspense, and there is fraught contemplation by individuals rather than desperate action (although there is plenty of excitement). As one might expect of such a series, events still characteristically centre on subterfuge, but Espionage often focuses just as much on self-deception as it does on the confrontations and double-dealing in secret between competing security forces or political blocs. And whereas Bond externalises (and releases) the tensions of his glamorous missions in repeated, dangerous activity and sexual promiscuity, those in the TV show often have to face up to the greater stress of their own internal doubts and contradictions which can prove just as risky.

Thus in the episode The Incurable One an aristocratic spy (a luminous performance, incidentally, by one of Bergman's favourite actresses, Ingrid Thulin), recruited to assassinate Germans during the Second World War, finds herself unable to stop murdering when peace comes and she finds herself in London.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some very solid drama from the 1960s. 31 Oct 2012
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This one-season series (1963-4) was an American-British co-production, not simply a British imitation of American models, as was usual in those days. The American producers had a lot of money to spend, and it showed. The rather tacky look of the standard ITC series of the time was replaced by glossy production values, and there were big names involved. Malcolm Arnold and Benjamin Frankel did the music, Wilfred Shingleton did the sets; all three were more usually to be found in the cinema, and not on B-movies, either. A lot of American TV directors came over to do individual episodes, and the British directors involved were not the usual crowd who worked on "The Saint" and "Danger Man" - instead, we had Michael Powell, no less, making his debut in television, and Ken Hughes and Seth Holt. The British TV director David Greene had made his name in the USA and Canada, and so he bridged the gap between the two producing nations and did more episodes than anyone else. But the show wasn't just expensive - it was a highly intelligent, serious and largely cliche-free anthology series showing the world of espionage to be a dirty game in which good people got hurt. Particularly good episodes included "Never Turn Your Back On A Friend", the first of Powell's three contributions; "The Weakling", a savage World War II story with Patricia Neal and Dennis Hopper; "Do You Remember Leo Winters?", with a non-star cast; and "Medal For A Turned Coat", a highly sophisticated and ambiguous examination of what is really meant by "honour" and "heroism" - a drama which looks forward to later TV series on similar themes devised by its writer, Larry Cohen. It's dated a bit, but the seriousness of its moral ideas mark it as rather more interesting than most of today's time-passers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolution On Their Hands 1 Nov 2012
Espionage was first broadcast in the early sixties and is arguably the greatest cloak & dagger series ever made
(yes, even against those great shows with Alec Guinness as George Smiley and Patrick McGoohan as Dangerman.)

Great writing, producing, directing, and acting (James Fox, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Neal, and many more famous actors) made each episode look like classic B&W British cinema. Add to the list: one of the music composers is Malcolm Arnold, who scored The Bridge on The River Kwai.

The tales in Espionage are anti-war/spy/propaganda/imperialism...the list goes on. The theme these stories have in common: the characters are in terrible situations having to choose between the lessor of two evils, which is still evil, and then having to live with their choice. This series was WAY AHEAD of its time, i.e. episode "The Whistling Shrimp", the story flashes forward to 1974 (a decade ahead of the show's broadcast) to the main character, a journalist (Arthur Kennedy), who is tracing a rumor in Wash D.C. that the CIA are planning a coup d'état in a small emerging African nation. Mainstream media cover-up abounds as the journalist tries to ferret out the truth--and after all the denials from government officials--suddenly the African leader is mysteriously assassinated by rebel forces and replaced with a puppet for the west--(cough, cough) sound familiar?!!

After the initial broadcast of Espionage it disappeared down the TV memory hole-why? Because, given the turbulent times of the 60s, if this show had be rerun for people to see and think about, the majority (then and now) would not have been so naive about how the world "really" works and the powers that be might have had (and have) a real revolution on their hands.
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