4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2007
Finally, a release of the full 26 episode Jason King TV series is available in the UK, but, unfortunately, only if you have a multi-regional DVD player.
In this, the most Seventies of ITC series, Peter Wyngarde, in a career defining role, portrays globe trotting, hedonistic, dandy, Jason King, ex-member of Department S, writer of trashy Mark Caine novels and now flying solo. Unfortunately, due to unpaid taxes, King was often blackmailed into working on behalf of Her Majesty. Through various escapades, King, with the usual glamorous girls in tow, takes on the villains of the world: nefarious gangsters, foreign spy's et al, usually on a studio backlot doubling for pretty much anywhere in the world, driving expensive motorcars against rear-projected screens. Camp, indeed it is!! And all the better for it. This was a series that knew not to take itself too seriously, unlike its predecessor, Department S. (which bizarrely, IS available on a two set, Region 2, DVD release from Amazon, Germany).
This new, Region 1, NTSC release from Image Entertainment contains the full 26 episode run over 7 discs. No extras, however. The picture quality is on par with the recent showing on ITV 4; there are no signs of any remastering of the original 16mm prints, but that's okay as the show itself is very entertaining, whatever the quality and very reasonable priced, unlike most UK releases of TV series.
For fans of great Seventies TV, especially British, then this is the DVD set for you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A strange one this, A spin off from the popular Department S series were the character of King dominated the screen, Jason King the series see's the character leading a playboy lifestyle, travelling the world and causing women to swoon left right and centre, but just like when he worked for Department S trouble is never far away leaving Jason to meet each challenge with his usual dashing daring do. It all sounds quite good and in a way it is, But Jason King is a series that doesn't quite work, The stories are usually quite average with massive gaping holes in the plot, some episodes never seem to quite get going, you get the feeling it's all a bit amateurish and meandering. In complete contrast the dialog is excellent, Jason has his usual sparkling wit and lightning fast one liners making me think more than a little add libing goes on. Despite the terrible stories Jason King is a series that does NEARLY work, most of the credit has to be laid at the feet of Peter Wyngarde ( Jason King), Peter really is one of the most intelligent, charming and skilled actors to have graced our television screens, but one man alone can't hold the fort.
There's a few stand out episodes and the quirkiness and Peters acting makes the not so stand out episodes very watchable, but at the end of the day Jason King doesn't quite cut it, I can't help liking it though and would recommend it to anybody who likes there entertainment a little on the weird side.
As for the quality of the DVD, well it's a shame but Jason King was filmed on 16mm film and with a tight budget so the programme is scratchy and grainy and prop items keep continually cropping up again and again, watch out for the Mauser with the Telescopic sight, it appears so often it should have got a credit.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2000
This tape is the one to get, out of (at the time of writing) the four volumes of this series available. Jason's Mark Caine research takes him to Vienna where his Secret Service history catches up with him. Ralph Bates is cast as the "Harry Lime" in this pastiche of the classic "Third Man" complete with zither score and genuine locations. Jason is slightly less flamboyant and Coiffed than usual but still has his moments. The more downbeat tone of this episode is swiftly reversed with "As Easy As ABC". This could be one of the best episodes of the series and we are treated again to real location footage occasionally the same as that seen in the last episode. As Mr King travels Europe he is persued by two "charming" crooks who take inspiration from Mark Caines exploits to commit the perfect crimes. Things take a turn for the worse after a nightwatchman is killed and the crooks relationship starts to break down along with their initial "charming" appearance. Mr King appears largely oblivious to this and spends his time indulging in reparte with representatives of the Official Police force who seem to be implying he may know something about these criminal activities and indulging his various passions with the ladies. 70s sexpot Yutte Stensgaard appears as Kings feisty judo chopping sidekick and it's all sorted out at the end by Jason who proves that he'd been setting a trap from the very beginning. Cue a great comic turn from the local policeman who takes all his fashion advice from the Master. Top notch stuff this despite it's disturbing fluctuations in tone.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2000
Jason King. Never before has a hero like him existed. Never will there be one again. Mr King, late of Department S is the Ultimate Playboy. His extensive researches for his bestselling Mark Caine crime thrillers enforce upon him a life of constant travel usually to the European capitals (generally established with a bit of stock footage, then topped off with some location footage in Berkshire or the Home Counties)but occasionally to International destinations. In these episodes we are introduced to the great man initially in the process of pitching an idea for a TV show to an American Exec and later shipped in a safe to East Berlin only to escape after extensive mincing about dressed as an East German General complete with monacle. The plots bely any attempt at Synopsis and are largely superfluous. Watch this show for the three piece suits, the outrageous ties and expansive cuff arrangements. Marvel at Mr Kings charm and gaze aghast at his enormous hair. This series is just about as much fun as you can get, enlivened with wonderful character turns by the likes of the late, great Ronald Lacey and played with tongue firmly ensconced in cheek by all present. Top this with a glorious Laurie Johnson theme tune and you have the perfect combination.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2002
Intelligent and sophisticated crime drama/comedy, sadly this kind of thing would never be made today.
This is a great introduction to Jason King. The only question is why won't Carlton release more episodes?
on 7 October 2000
Those unfamiliar with Peter Wyngarde may not be prepared for the sheer outrageousness of this classic series. Jason King author of the painstakingly researched Mark Caine novels minces around Europe getting embroiled in political machinations and international crime. His line in outrageous 3 piece suits, meticulously placed pocket hadkerchiefs, shirt cuffs and agonizingly tight leather trousers has to be seen to be believed. However the drama is played with such a high level of camp humour that one cannot help but grow to love this series. The two episodes on this tape are fine examples of the show which pretty much establishes it's own genre. In To Russia With... Panache. King is abducted and forced to work for the "Russian Police" wonderfully charicatured sterotypes abound even down to the icy Russian beauty who cannot resist Mr Kings not insignificant charms. In a Red Red Rose things get even more absurd as King is mistaken for a hired killer much confusion ensues conspiricy upon conspiricy is unmasked and Jasons trousers are quite frankly crippling to behold. If you're looking for an example of the ultimate 70s Playboy detective to brighten your life you could do a lot worse.
on 20 August 2006
this video contains both the worst and the best from playboy "jason king."
sometimes, this series seems to have problems in producing good entertainment.
the first episode selected here is a case in point; the characters don't serve any particular purpose except looking rather bored (as was i watching this), the plot doesn't make any sense and nothing of interest happens. utterly forgettable.
however, the next programme is an entirely different matter; an original storyline about a couple of upperclass crooks who copy each robbery that is committed in each mark caine novel to further their careers in crime. well made, some humour to begin with before things got serious. nigel green turns in an effective performance as one of the crooks and is one of the last acting jobs he did before his untimely death in 1972. such a pity.
my giving this video 4 stars rests entirely upon the second instalment. if only the rest were up to this standard, the series would be a classic as far as i'm concerned.