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4.4 out of 5 stars
Edgar Wallace Mysteries, Vol. 1 [DVD] [1956]
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Those dodgy releases & off-air recordings of the EW Mysteries have been swept away by this Network release. The black & white prints used for this 3-disc set are excellent, along with good sound quality - take a bow you guys! Unfortunately there are no subtitles. The six mystery/crime tales here are backed up with 2 bonus films classified as extras - "Urge To Kill" and "October Moth". Made at Merton Park studios (a name to bring a nostalgic lump to the throat!) and produced as support features & first shown in the early 60's, these quality 50-odd minute dramas with a noir feel were adapted from the prolific works of thriller writer Edgar Wallace & placed in a more contemporary setting. These B-movie productions provide an entertaining flashback to another world, a dated but nostalgic dip into the past that a fan of the genre like myself cannot resist. The stories feature a host of familiar faces (see below) putting in good performances. As a collector of the vintage crime output turned out by the likes of low-budget Butchers Films studios, this release will sit very nicely alongside them in my collection.

***SPECIAL FEATURES***
*Urge To Kill & October Moth (bonus movies - see details below).
*Illustrated 11-page booklet by author & critic Kim Newman.
*Image Gallery.
*PDF Material.

The 3 discs are stored in a single-size DVD case, which features an episode synopsis on the inside which I have replicated below....

***DISC ONE***
*CLUE OF THE TWISTED CANDLE...What do a wealthy foreigner in fear of his life and a young man who has confessed to a shooting have in common? Supt Meredith investigates - and he doesn't like what he finds.
Starring Bernard Lee, David Knight and Francis de Wolff. Directed by Allan Davis.

*MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE...A prison escapee's plans of getting his hands on £20,000 go awry when he discovers his girlfriend has married the ex-DI who arrested him in the first place.
Starring John Cairney, Harry H. Corbett and Moira Redmond. Directed by Clive Donner.

*SPECIAL FEATURE - URGE TO KILL...A local pub owner's daughter is found dead in the area of the town docks - her clothes ripped off and her body mutilated. The police are unable to find any definite leads, but the townspeople have other ideas...
Starring Patrick Barr, Howard Pays and Ruth Dunning. Directed by Vernon Sewell.

***DISC TWO***
*THE MAN WHO WAS NOBODY...Two men are searching for James Tynewood, a young tearaway: one is a police inspector, while the other is his solicitor. But Tynewood has mysteriously disappeared...
Starring Hazel Court, John Crawford, Lisa Daniely, Jack Watson and Paul Eddington. Directed by Montgomery Tully.

*PARTNERS IN CRIME...Wealthy company director Harry Strickland is found dead and his safe has been burgled. Only a small amount of money was taken, however, which puzzles the police.
Starring Bernard Lee, Moira Redmond and John Van Eyssen. Directed by Peter Duffell.

*CLUE OF THE NEW PIN...The locked door of a vault, with the key lying on a table beside a dead man, presents Superintendent Carver with a baffling case of murder, for he must find how the murderer managed to lock the door and replace the key on the table!
Starring Paul Daneman, Bernard Archard and James Villiers. Directed by Allan Davis.

***DISC THREE***
*THE FOURTH SQUARE...Bill Lawrence, a young lawyer, turns detective when one of his clients, Nina Stewart, becomes caught up in a murder and a burglary.
Starring Conrad Phillips, Natasha Parry, Delphi Lawrence and Paul Daneman. Directed by Allan Davis.

*SPECIAL FEATURE - OCTOBER MOTH...A disturbed young man lives with his dysfunctional family in an isolated house in the country. While out collecting moths in the dark he causes a car to run off the road: rescuing the injured female passenger, he takes her back to his room.
Starring Lee Patterson, Lana Morris and Peter Dyneley. Directed by John Kruse.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2012
Just received my first copy of Edgar Wallace mysteries Volume one, must say its great, Picture, Sound, Excellent well done to all who have been involved in bringing these films back to life. Reminds me of the days in the local ABC Cinemas in St. Helens Merseyside with my Orange Maid and Butterkist. Now it just needs a PATHE Newsreel and Pearl and Dean advertising the local cafe. Seeing all the British actors of the time was just wonderful. Thankyou.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2012
OMG! If ever there was a national cheer needed for a DVD release - this is the moment. The long awaited 'Edgar Wallace Mysteries' have finally become available from Network DVD in a fabulous seven box set featuring all the Wallace films made at Merton Park Studios in the late 1950's and early 1960's. These classic fifty minute B movies are the arch deacons of resourceful British film making, and a rare treat for those of us who've waited so patiently for so many decades.

As social commentary the films reveal a very different Britain indeed, still finding its post war way, proud of its traditional values and enjoying a freedom of life without today's political complications. In every respect there's a palpable comfort zone in the story telling, as one always knows that good will triumph over bad with villains excepting their 'fair cop' fate honourably. No rights for villains here, their only concession being the cops addressing them as 'sir' as opposed to 'mate'.

One shocking revelation in the social stakes however, is the sheer volume of smoking going on. Merton Park's prop store must have been stuffed solid with crates of Craven`A' and Capstan Full Strength. Hardly a scene goes by without sly fag being lit up mid line! Its a stark reminder that so many of our great actors who first trod the studio boards in these films are now lost to smoking related illnesses. What a tragedy we were so blind to the likely consequences.

Full marks then, to unstoppable Network for banishing the bootlegs with a river of restored and classic releases. Next up for 2012 are Merton Park's other great triumphs, `Scotland Yard' and `Scales of Justice'. How wonderful it'll be to once again hear lugubrious presenter Edgar Lustgarten ask his audience: `Have you ever committed a murder? - Perhaps you'd rather not say.'
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2012
I am a fan of late fifties and early sixties TV crime series. In my collection are the early black and white episodes of The Saint with Roger Moore, Patrick McGoughan in Danger Man, and boxed sets of Man From Interpol and Gideon's Way.
I have to say that this set is every bit as good as any of those and if you are interested in this type of programme then this series is definitely for you.
Being the cautious type that I am I pre-ordered this first volume and received it the day after its release, but held off buying the second volume until I had checked it out for quality.
We have only watched the first three episodes so far, but it's enough to see that the storylines are great. We were both glued to our seats throughout and both the sound and B&W picture quality are great. There are a lot of familiar faces from 1960s television amongst the cast of characters some of which I know by name, some not. Harry H.Corbett (admittedly with a dodgy Scottish accent) appears in one episode, Wilfrid Brambell in the next plus there's Bernard Lee, Rita Webb and lots more to come.
Being cautious I bought only the first volume just to check how much I liked them before buying any more. I have now (after two days) ordered volume two for immediate delivery and have pre-ordered vols three and four for next month.
Please note however that all seven volumes are due to be released in one package in November 2012, I for one cannot wait that long.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2012
The Edgar Wallace films made by Merton Park are simply the best British crime thrillers of their day, with twisty, suspenseful stories (often told from the criminal's point of view), distinctive atmospheric music, and casts full of well-remembered actors. In the Eighties they were one of the treats of late-night ITV, and later Channel 4. It's taken a long time for them to come to DVD, but judging by the first two volumes Network are doing the job to perfection. The films look gorgeous, gleaming clear black and white in their original widescreen. Special features include the Independent Artists one-off thrillers made around the same time - "extras" which would be great releases in their own right.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2012
Excellent transfers of these 1960s Merton Park films based, for the most part, on Edgar Wallace mysteries.
B features only in terms of budgets and supporting film running times (less than an hour each) only. Some folks might find them on the flat side, but they are so much of the period and style of British cinema they function as much as a time machine as British crime dramas. Fine performances throughout, and some familiar faces if not names. I pre-ordered both of the two first volumes and will be continuing on for all seven sets.
If you recall these from supporting feature status or when they were packaged for television, they are as good as you probably remember them. That, in my book, is a recommendation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2012
I really enjoyed watching all these edgar wallace films havent seen them for years,i couldnt believe how good the quality of the dvds
were, the best ive seen in fact for a dvd title,i will be buying the whole collection.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2012
WHAT A BREATH OF FRESH AIR IN THESE DAYS OF BAD PROGRAMING ON TV I SAT AND WATCHED ONE BOX SET AFTER THE OTHER HOW GREAT THE STORYS ARE CANNOT WAIT FOR SCOTLAND YARD AND SCALES OF JUSTICE QUITE LOVELY .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
Here is another huge slice of television nostalgia, for those of a certain age, which puts the current crop of modern TV dramas to shame.

Cracking stories, well acted by a panoply of well-known faces and filmed in glorious black and white! What more can you ask for?

If you wish to escape from the 21st Century (and who wouldn't?!), back to the good old late 1950s/early 1960s, then this is for you. It's worth it alone for the backgrounds, cars, fashions etc. As they say, 'The past is another country; they do things differently there'.

The crisp monochrome picture quality of these DVDs is first class. And, as they were filmed as 'B' movies for the cinema, they are in widescreen (which must have been cropped for the original 405-Line 4:3 TV transmissions).

Real gems.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2014
The Edgar Wallace Mysteries, being a seven volume set each comprising eight films (excepting volume 7 comprising six films) on three DVD discs per set, seven being renditions from Wallace, the eighth film having more tenuous roots with the crime writer of fiction.

The picture and sound quality are both consistently good throughout the series, however the films themselves are a bit of a mixed bag, which is only to be expected.

It is hoped to eventually review all the films individually but a few remarks of a general nature will not go amiss.

These are very much period pieces in one respect by featuring the imbibing of alcohol as routine where people meet and gather, likewise cigarettes light up as a matter of course. Most of the women have interesting figures, nearly all wearing seductive clothing and strutting about on high-heels. Nightclubs are a frequent feature too.

The plots invariably derive from an obsession with money (material wealth), human jealousy between the sexes (plenty of snogging), and so on. Perhaps one the most outstanding films is "The Partner" from volume 5, in which these attributes play a lesser role, apart from money of course! By contrast, from the same set, "Accidental Death" is plain silly.
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