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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The excellent Original Danger Man series one., 23 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Danger Man - Series 1 [DVD] [1959] (DVD)
I had seen most of the most popular ITC series when they were originally shown or repeated. I had also seen The Prisoner that some people argue was a spin off series but I had never seen Danger Man before this DVD set. This original first series of half hour episodes turned out to be a jewel in the ITC crown for me.
It is an incredibly good series. I now know and understand why it was so popular. The show is a bit dated now but it is still interesting.

After producing costume type dramas such as The Adventures of Robin Hood that were easily sold to America in the 1950s Lew Grade, head of ITC knew he needed to make a more modern series. This led to the likes of "Man of the world", "Sentimental Agent", "Interpol Calling" and the Invisible Man. Each had elements that would appeal to the American audience. Danger Man also had the same formula but it was the most successful of these early shows. The series was created by Ralph Smart who had written many episodes of The Invisible Man.
Smart came up with the idea of a "Lone Wolf" character. Patrick McGoohan was asked to play the main role of John Drake but from the beginning saw Drake differently to Smart, and dramatic changes in both character and situations would be needed before he would sign for the part.
He didn't like the original idea of Drake being a rough, tough sexy womaniser of a guy who used a gun.
Instead he insisted Drake should dislike violence and only use it when really necessary. Drake would not carry a gun, be brainy and treat women with respect.
Each episode begins with a Drake voice over that says "Every government has its secret service branch, America, CIA, France, Deuxieme Bureau, England, MI5. NATO has its own. A messy job? Well that's when they usually call on me, or somone like me. Oh yes my name is Drake, John Drake"

The "Drake, John Drake" thing was similar to "Bond, James Bond" from the later James Bond films. This was not the only thing that Bond and Drake had in common. These similarities include the obvious secret agent element as well as the international travel thing and of course gadgets.
Unlike the later James Bond films, Danger Man strove for realism, dramatising credible Cold War tensions. The gadgets he uses are credible. In fact, most were off the shelf, and their appearance in the series spurred sales of such commercial items. There are things such as the folding binoculars, and the sub-miniature Minox camera. Also there is the miniature reel-to-reel tape recorder hidden inside the head of an electric shaver or a pack of cigarettes. There is also a microphone that can be embedded in a wall near the target via a shot from a gun. This allows Drake to eavesdrop on conversations from a safe distance.
Unlike James Bond, Drake is often shown re-using gadgets from previous episodes.
McGoohan is brilliant as Drake. His acting is fabulous. He creates a totally believable character. Drake is calm and suave. Unlike Bond he doesn't get romantic with the female characters. This adds to a more serious secret agent character than Bond.

There are 39 half hour episodes in series one produced between 1960-1962. Becuase of the time limit of half an hour the pace of the show is good but not rushed. In fact it is expertly handled. A lot seems to happen in that half an hour and each episode is very interesting.
Each episode sees Drake in a different location. Also of note is that some scenes were filmed in Portmerion in Wales. McGoohan would later use this location to film the TV series The Prisoner.

This is a great series and in many ways it is better than the later hour long series. The DVD presentation is very good although there are no subtitles for the hard of hearing and there is no Audio description for the partially sighted.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 May 2015 18:59:57 BDT
Angel says:
Marcia, are you sure about the lack of subtitles ?
The product details state : "Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English"

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2015 23:42:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 May 2015 23:59:20 BDT
Marcia says:
Angel, there are definitely NO subtitles on the Network release. But they are on the Carlton release. That's the older edition with red writing. My review was for the Network edition and Amazon have duplicated it on the Carlton edition. If you need subtitles go to that one. The one with Danger written in red.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Marcia
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

Location: england

Top Reviewer Ranking: 70