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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Regan - Get your trousers on, you're nicked!,
This review is from: Regan - The original Armchair Cinema pilot for The Sweeney [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)Before the Sweeney became the police show that redefined police shows, there was a pilot aired called Regan. Developed by Ian Kennedy-Martin, it was always intended (as he makes clear in a bonus interview with the man himself) that it would become a series. So all the elements had to be right from the off, and they were.
The film, 77 minutes in length and first shown as part of the Armchair Theatre strand, focuses on John Thaw's title character, Jack Regan. It's a great character, and a great portrayal. He is given the most memorable opening line for any character on TV - the now famous `Get your trousers on, you're nicked' are the first words he utters in character, and have gone down in TV history. From the off his tough, uncompromising thief taker is the template that would be used time and time again by pale imitations. A member of the Flying Squad, he is investigating the death of one of his team. He is not only fighting the villains (with whom he shares many qualities) but also his own police force, trying to modernise in the light of recent scandal. He seems far closer to the villains he is trying to nick than to his own colleagues, and an interesting tension results.
Also in this film is the introduction of the other essential element in the Sweeney formula - Dennis Waterman's Sergeant Carter. He is the perfect partner for Regan, the voice of reason but willing to join in with his escapades and a reliable back-up. Garfield Morgan is present as Haskins, the slightly stuffy superior that Regan is very out of step with, but who's aims aren't any different from Regan's, just his methods. If only Regan could see it.
Filmed largely on location, this captures mid seventies London in it's decay and grime to a tee. It's a fascinating look at the times and the attitudes. It was made by the same team who had made the third and fourth series of Special Branch a year or two earlier. In that series they started to set the template for the tough, gritty, non-studio bound production that sublimated itself with Regan and the Sweeney. It's got loads of cool cars as well!
Network have made a superb job of releasing The Sweeney on DVD, and I am pleased to report that they have continued their track record with this stand alone release of the pilot episode on Blu Ray. There are some limitations in the picture quality due to the original film stock, but in all honesty it has never looked so good, and is a film that deserves the loving attention given to it. I especially like the 5.1 surround sound. There is an option to listen in the original mono and there is a music only sound track, as with their releases of the four series.
It's 5 stars all round. A quality piece of modern crime drama (even from the mid seventies, with its attitudes, story and filming technique I would still call it modern) in a tip-top presentation. 5 stars. Lets hope the series look as good when released on Blu-Ray.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the Grain, a promise of much greater things to come!,
This review is from: Regan - The original Armchair Cinema pilot for The Sweeney [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)If you're a life long fan of The Sweeney (of which this is the pilot film) then you'll probably buy this in a heartbeat, simply because the Bluray format offers the best possible rendition of this much adored series. I did and I love it! But it deserves a few words of caution, especially to avoid it putting you off potentially committing to the acquisitition of the promised full BluRay issue of the subsequent series in this format.
As most die hard fans will know this series was in intentionally shot in way so as to capture the so-called 'gritty realism', by which I mean GRAINY, as set by films such as THE FRENCH CONNECTION (indeed if you're that die hard a fan you will know it was in fact this film, viewed by key members of the production team, that directly inspired their approach to filming THE SWEENEY).
In addition, the film stock used was 'half format' 16mm not the more costly and extravagant 35mm stock, used to film a lot of the sixties classic series such as THE PRISONER, SPACE:1999, THE PURSUADERS to name but a few - these series of course positively shone when transferred to HD format - THE SWEENEY can never deliver the same eye-popping detailing, because of the inherent limitations of the film stock used.
Having said all of this I for one am delighted that the series is to receive the HD treatment, with a full issue of all 4 series, spanning 53 episodes, promised to be 'coming soon' as emblazoned on the inner face of the slip cover of this release of the pilot film!
In many ways REGAN is not typical of the series in terms of rendition - it has always stood out a the most grainy of the lot - perhaps the producers felt that they had gone slightly over the top on the low lit forced grain, and recognised that this might impact viewer enjoyment and/or take up of the series by broadcasters - the subsequent episodes, with the odd rare exception such as episode number one, RINGER, were better lit with a far crisper and clearer picture.
So don't judge what it to come by this single example, certainly if Network have done their remastering work properly, what is to come should capitalise much better on what the high definition format has to offer.
This is still a great view - with a richness of colour not previously on show, but is certainly unavoidably grainy.
I for one can't wait to get the lot! Put simply this, in my humble estimation, is the definitive and best cop series ever!
5.0 out of 5 stars goo dvd,
This review is from: Regan - The original Armchair Cinema pilot for The Sweeney [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)I chose 5 star for this DVD as I am a big fan of the Sweeney In the 1970s, I would recommend this to anyone who likes fast pace action scenes and good storylines.
There was nothing about this DVD I didn't like.
5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse for one of the greatest TV shows ever,
This review is from: Regan - The original Armchair Cinema pilot for The Sweeney [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)Whoa, cops can be rude also. Superb acting and a great apperitive for what was to follow.
Shame those lacking subtitles
5.0 out of 5 stars Where 'The Sweeney' began,
This review is from: Regan - The original Armchair Cinema pilot for The Sweeney [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)'Regan' is a fantastic introduction to the wonderful world of 'The Sweeney', and the blu-ray version is a revelation. Happily the producers of this great disk accepted the fact that this is 1970s TV. They did not change the original aspect ratio or try to smooth away all the grain. The colour vibrant but not overdone, the picture quality is spot on and the sound excellent. As far as the show is concerned the incomparable John Thaw is superb as always as Jack Regan, and Dennis Waterman is great as the young George Carter. Great stuff!
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Regan - The original Armchair Cinema pilot for The Sweeney [Blu-ray] by Tom Clegg (Blu-ray - 2011)