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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The picture quality is variable, but the shows are exceptional, 14 Sep 2010
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Criterion Collection: Golden Age of Television [DVD] [1958] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
In the 1950s, TV provided a rich source of material for movies, with films like The Hustler, Marty and Days of Wine and Roses all first hitting the small screen as acclaimed live TV productions before eventually working their way to the screen - usually with starrier casts, occasionally with a different director and often with a little bit of the impact of those original rough and ready TV versions lost in translation. You'll find eight of the best here - Marty, starring Rod Steiger; Days of Wine and Roses, starring Cliff Robertson and Piper Laurie; Patterns, starring Ed Begley and Richard Kily (so popular it was broadcast twice); No Time for Sergeants, with Andy Griffith, one of the few stars to play the same role on film and TV; Bang the Drum Slowly, starring Paul Newman and George Peppard; The Comedian, starring Mickey Rooney, Kim Hunter and Edmond O'Brien; Requiem for a Heavyweight, featuring a truly extraordinary performance from Jack Palance; as well as one that didn't make the leap to the big screen, A Wind From the South, starring Julie Harris.

The first thing you have to be aware of is that the picture quality isn't great - it's better than the cheap public domain DVDs of out-of-copyright titles you'll find floating around, but these were taken from 16mm kinescope prints that were literally filmed off the TV screen during the original broadcast, and as such there's really nothing that can be done to improve the quality. Yet as primitive as the TV technology of the day is, there's an immediacy and energy to the best of them that draws you in despite the deficiencies. Spread over three discs, the extras are carried over from the TV reruns the shows all received in the 1980s, with specially filmed introductions by Eva Marie Saint featuring interviews with cast and directors, with audio commentaries from the directors of four of them - Delbert Mann on Marty, Daniel Petrie on Bang the Drum Slowly, Ralph Nelson on Requiem for a Heavyweight, and John Frankenheimer, who also contributes an interview, on The Comedian. All extras are carried over from the original laserdisc set, but considering the rarity of the source material it would be churlish to complain about Criterion not coming up with anything new apart from a booklet - the shows alone make this a worthwhile purchase.
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Criterion Collection: Golden Age of Television [DVD] [1958] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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