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4.9 out of 5 stars
Scotland Yard - The Complete Series [DVD]
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94 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2013
This is one of the best birthday presents I've ever had (but I had to buy it myself!). Having now watched all 39 films (and starting to watch them again), I can tell you they are great. The monocrome picture and sound quality are generally excellent and the stories are very good - as usual some are better than others, but all very watchable. It's great to see some of the actors before they became famous. I noticed a young(ish) Ballard Berkeley (the major in 'Fawlty Towers') playing an inspector in one film.

It is, of course, the great Mr Edgar Lustgarten who holds the stories together with his calm and well-mannered introduction, narratives and conclusion to each film. In some of the early episodes, Mr Lustgarten will take a stroll across his study, over to his drinks cabinet and, chatting away to his audience, will pour himself out what looks like an extremely large cognac. That's the way to do it.

As I find myself with some time to spare to devote to this review, I thought I would provide you with plenty of helpful details about the films off the DVD box cover, so that you can see exactly what you are getting for the money (about £40+ at the moment).

This is what it says on the box:

"Scotland Yard was perhaps the best-known series to emerge from Anglo-Amalgamated's output of crime drama. Shot as cinema support features at the company's Merton Park Studios in South Wimbledon, these half-hour thrillers based on real-life cases from the vaults of London's Metropolitan Police headquarters - were a successful regular feature in cinemas over nearly a decade from the early 1950s onwards."

"Like sister series Scales of Justice (also available from Network), Scotland Yard is introduced by celebrated writer and criminologist Edgar Lustgarten and presents case after intriguing case, with many solved onscreen by the redoubtable Inspector Duggan (played by Australian-born Russell Napier). This set comprises all 39 films, also featuring appearances by Harry H. Corbett, Peter Bowles, John Le Mesurier, Peter Arne and Robert Raglan, among many others."

Regular cast members:
Insp./Supt.Duggan/ Insp. Harmer RUSSELL NAPIER
Insp.Hammond RONALD ADAM

Produced By ALEC C. SNOWDEN (1953-57)and
Associate Producer JIM O'CONNOLLY
Rating PG

Disc One:
The aftermath of a wartime air raid reveals the body of a murdered woman.

The dream of a retired vicar's wife sets police on the trail of a man who has been missing since 1938.

An inspector unmasks the killer of an elderly hermit.

A salesman turns murderer after learning that one of his clients has just won the football pools.

A blind man who is witness to a murder on a darkened stairway is asked to identify the killer.

A routine investigation by the police into Joe Burrage unveils a thrilling tale of the man who died twice!

Disc Two:
A happlily married husband living in an isolated location returns home to find his wife collapsed on the floor.

A cat burglar adopts an unexpected disguise..

The strange case of the self-confessed killer who almost escaped the full weight of the law.

A highly unusual operation helps track down the killer of a wealthy woman sent to Tokyo in a trunk.

The case of a murder which baffled the police in two countries.

A late night crime in London's dockland baffles the police.

Disc Three:
A ballistics expert attempts to track down the killer of a widow's fiance.

An inspector sets out to prove that a blind man murdered his wife's lover.

15. THE WALL OF DEATH (1956)
A murder at a fairground proves a puzzling case for the police.

The police are summoned when a dead body is stolen from the morgue.

A body at London Airport,a photograph and a flask containing poison lead Scotland Yard to Lisbon.

A Polish spy changes places with a would-be assassin.

Disc Four:
A trap is laid for a couple running a phoney dating agency whose unsuspecting clients are tricked into proposals of marriage, and murdered.

An inspector investigating the shooting of an insurance agent finds a connection to cold case from years before.

A murder hunt is launched the morning after Bonfire Night, when it emerges that a real body was used as the 'guy'.

A combination of chance and hard work by the police lead them to question the circumstances of an apparent suicide.

Supt. Hammond hunts down the boss of a gang that stole a mail van.

24. THE TYBURN CASE (1957)
Supt. Reynolds intends to prove that a lawyer drowned a widow for the insurance money.

Disc Five:
A dead rocket engineer was being blackmailed. But why - and by whom?

The quiet of an idyllic port town is shattered when a body is found on the beach.

27. PRINT OF DEATH (1958)
A payroll van pulled over by a police car - the guards are shot and the payroll stolen.

28. CRIME OF HONOUR (1958)
A Thames Estuary dredger drags a man's body from the bed of the river.

A farmer finds caravanners trespassing on his land - attempts to rouse the occupants find dead bodies inside.

A nightworker returning home through a sleeping London Street sees smoke and flame coming from a building.

Disc Six:
A Hungarian girl is found murdered at a fairground; she has been stabbed by knitting needles.

A stolen car is used in a bank robbery. Unknown to the police, it has been tuned up to go faster - and proves too fast for the squad car.

33. THE LAST TRAIN (1960)
Duggan investigates a murder in the London Underground.

Initially thought to be an accident, a young girl's body found near a busy motorway, is eventually found to be something more sinister.

A horse rider is found dead in what comes to be revealed as suspicious circumstances.

A woman's dismembered body is found in a canal, and her edelweiss tattoo gives Duggan a vital lead.

Disc Seven:
A dead body found in a demolished building set the police on the track of a fraudster.

38. WINGS OF DEATH (1961)
A light aeroplane comes down in Kent, killing the pilot. Inspector Hammond discovers the crash was no accident...

When a travel agency is burgled by a safe breaker, Superintendent Hicks is brought in to solve the case.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2013
This is my second red letter day of recent times courtesy of Network and Merton Park Studios. I posted the following review when `Scales of Justice' appeared in 2012, and every word of it applies exactly to the newly released classic series `Scotland Yard', so here it is again!

At last! The red letter day that all Merton Park aficionados have waited for for fifty years! Edgar Lustgarten's presentation of producer's Alec Snowden & Jack Greenwood's seminal `Scotland Yard' series has finally landed on the mat from Amazon. And what a truly incredible package it is. Gone are the years of 4x3 bootleg misery where fourth generation VHS dubs reduced these wonderful stories to a pixelated stew of sheer awfulness.

Now, Network has released all 39 dramas (including the long lost `Wall of Death') in their original pristine black & white glory. Absolute full marks for such a terrific first generation transfer which now allows us to appreciate the fabulous technical work achieved by Merton's top gun production crews. But of course what makes these tales tick so loudly is Lustgarten's all knowing lugubrious presentation which so deliciously accompanies each dastardly deed. Next up for the third red letter day in the Merton Park dramas is the Edgar Wallace Box Set. These productions are TV heaven like no other. Don't even think about it - buy now!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I wasn't born when most of these were first released but I remember some of them from TV broadcasts in the 1960's or 70's. They always struck me a tightly written. well acted and well filmed for their era.

Roll forward to the 80's and 90's and these surfaced again on a satellite channel called Bravo. The broadcast quality wasn't great and the VHS recordings which were grabbed at the time (and which have been in circulation) weren't technically very good either. So the result was all a bit disappointing because one was constantly struck by issues of picture and sound quality.

This release is, therefore, a masterstroke and I hope that those responsible make a tidy profit for their endeavours. They have clearly gone back to the original masters and the picture quality is brilliant. Crisp and clear and I think enhanced by being in black and white - it just adds to the atmosphere. On occasions the sound quality may be a little less well re-produced but it is still perfectly acceptable and the sound doesn't distract at all.

The stories (apparently all based on true crimes) are skilfully presented in drama documentary style with an introduction and summing up by the incomparable Edgar Lustgarten, who also supplies a little additional narration and commentary as the story unfolds. There is also the chance to do a little "famous later" spotting as you come across someone on the way up.

If you've arrived at this page thinking about buying this box set then I can only say at just over £1 per episode (at the time of this review) you get 39 cracking stories which will provide hours of enjoyment so don't hesitate. These are just great.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2013
Scotland Yard, or as it was actually introduced: `Another action- thriller
In the celebrated series written around the work of Scotland Yard'.
Was produced from 1953 until 1961, the entire 39 films where introduced by Edgar Lustgarten and shot at Merton Park studios in London.
The first 26 films, made between the years 1953-1957, were produced by Alec C. Snowden ,the concluding 13 films, made between1958-1961, were produced by Jack Greenwood.
The opening narrator, often, in an American accent introduced each story saying `And here to tell you about it is Edgar Lustgarten famous both as a novelist and TV personality and one of world's foremost authorities on criminals and crime'.
Lustgarten's presence was sombre and dry, and he very much played the authority figure, the expert that he was.
Appearing in a studio resembling his own study, casual and occasionally pouring himself a drink, introducing and narrating these 39 short films ( roughly of 30 minutes duration) depicting fictional crime stories based on true events at `Scotland Yard'.
They were intended as cinema second features, although they made their way onto the small screen some years later.
All of these shorts are little gems, it's so nostalgic to see the vehicles, the back drop of London and the home counties of the 1950s'.
It's also a veritable Who's Who of British character actors from that period.
Look out for Roger Delado ('The Master' from 'Doctor Who') who appears in several films as a foreign police commissioner, and the unforgettable comedy actress 'Rita Webb' who can be seen in quite a few films.
Absent from our screens for many years, last seen on the `Bravo' cable channel in the 1990's.
Network has re-scanned all 39, 35mm prints and they look fantastic, well graded and beautifully sharp. The first 29 films were shot in 4:3 academy with the final 10 shot widescreen, aspect ratio 1.66:1(Roughly 16/9), these have never before been seen on television in this presentation.
Long awaited, and a definite must have for film and television aficionados.

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2013
Having last seen this series about 30 years ago I never thought I'd have the chance to see them again, but good old
'NETWORK' have got them together at last. These films last 30 mins each and are all wonderfully scripted and acted. Many familiar faces appear in the casts. They date from 1953 through to 1961. Really great entertainment particularly to people in their 60's upwards who can remember the times in which these films were made. Pure nostalgia.
Now the down points. Unfortunately these films now belong to that awful French company STUDIO-CANAL who insist on putting their 30 second logo not only at the start of each DVD (which is acceptable), but also at the start of each film within the each DVD. As these films are all 30 minutes long, that means there are on average 6 films on each DVD in the set. Therefore, if you watch one DVD all the way through you have to sit through STUDIO-CANAL's logo a total of seven times, wasting 3 to 4 minutes. What a bore!. At least STUDIO-CANAL have changed their logo from that awful clouded sky with the frightening sounds to a more serene scene, but why do they have to ram down our throats that they are the owners so many times? It's a pity so much classic British cinema is now owned by this company. Why cant we all get together and raise enough cash and buy all these classic British films and bring them back to their country of origin?
Anyone agree?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2013
I discovered this wonderful series as a boy in the 1950s, when although "only" fillers they were the highlight of a trip to the cinema; I also saw them on TV in the 1960s & when they appeared on Channel 4 in the 1980s I managed to record 13 episodes on VHS. After that, it was a disappointment when they appeared commercially as poor copies recorded off air from Bravo TV (the Bravo logo still in the corner), first on VHS & later on DVD. This new print is of excellent quality,some problems with the cropping (but not as bad on the Edgar Wallace Mysteries from the same vendors), but the terrible Studio Canal logo sequence fronts every episode, this is brash, vulgar and unnecessary. However,these are wonderfully crafted and produced mini-thrillers; tightly scripted and well acted with superb use of locations - now they are an evocative reminder of life in the 1950s - the cars, streets, roads, houses and interiors, airports, garages - the list is endless. And of course the clothes and manners - how polite the police were in those days! The series focusses very much on solving the crime, with clues liberally sprinkled throughout the build-up to the dramatic denouement. There is a great emphasis on the forensic science which may look naïve and even laughable by to-day's standards, but this is a realistic picture of just how primitive forensics were in those days. And police techniques really were that crude - impersonating a dead man to frighten a suspect, picking up a suspected murder weapon without gloves... I loved the chase of the villain on foot in a full cinema car park (I'm sure this was shot behind the Odeon in Barnet) - a reminder that in the early 1950s more than 90% of cars were pre-war and contemporary cars were almost nowhere to be seen. Unmissable!!
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2012
I have waited over 30 years for this, having seen it on Bravo TV in the 90's and Channel 4 in the 80's, it says 39 episodes so must contain the missing episode "wall of Death", it is magical and unique, Edgar Lustgarten adds to this like no other , highly recomended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2012
Have been waiting since 1960 to get my hands on a genuine Copy of all these fabulous yarns and now can Bin my unofficial, grotty "off the Tele" edition from E-Bay early in January 2013.
I have just received my 2 disc set of The Scales of Justice - and what Fabulous Quality from the Network folks ! Beautiful perfectly graded crisp Black and White photography with not a scratch or blob of dirt to be seen - not even a changeover cue dot.
The only complaint: The French Company Studio Canal have bought up the Library and they insist on forcing you to endure their Ear Splitting "Logo from Hell" at the start of every half hour episode ( 15 times on the Scales of Justice set ) - could be about 45 times on the Scotland Yard set so be prepared with your volume control set at minimum to start with !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2013
It was well worth the wait in order to see these films once again. I so well remember seeing these shorts back in the 50s when they invariably accompanied the main attraction. The added impact of these films was that they actually recreated true crime stories. The quality of these transfers to dvd is remarkable, and they look as fresh today as they must have looked when they were first released. Despite today's viewer having an understanding of the many advances which have taken place in police detection since these films were first made does not in any way reduce the enjoyment which they can get as they watch these stories unfold. From the introduction to each film to the actual police investigation and finally to the story's conclusion is as tight and as professionally made as anything of quality that was made in the 1950s. The acting is nicely low key and very convincing. Of course a bonus to film fans is in seeing many well known British actors in the early stages of their careers. Perhaps these films will have limited appeal to a younger techno savvy audience, but to us who saw them in the cinemas when they were first released is, and will be a joy to rediscover.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2013
I am way too young to have seen these when they were current but did enjoy catching some of them on satellite channel "BRAVO" in the early 1990's and have been waiting for a DVD release.
They are on the whole a very good series of stories, well written, presented and filmed(B&W) and the transfer to DVD is good quality, of course they are dated now but I would say they are a fascinating snap shot of their time, I particularly like them for the street/outside scenes where you realise just how much busier the world is today than it was 50~60 years ago.
If your a fan of the short story and period British film work then you will be delighted with this 7 DVD box set.
Just be careful how you get the disc's out of the case, on my case the central spindle holder is very reluctant to let go of its disc, if your heavy handed I can see disc's getting broken.
Has anyone noticed little "in Jokes" they must have had when making these programs??
For example in Episode 2 "The Missing Man" at the opening credits a "John Oldknow" is shown as the Production Assistant.
Then at around 7m 20sec into the episode there is a close up of the Police bulletin where the main character in the plot (Gerald Neil) is posted as missing. The next entry clearly visible in the bulletin is:-
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