19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Thrills and Spills,
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This review is from: Thriller - The Complete Series (15 Disc Box Set) [DVD] (DVD)The entire six series of 'Thriller' which was originally made and aired on terrestrial tv (or just 'tv' as it was then called!) in the early to mid 1970's.
In lots of ways having viewed every episode I would have to acknowledge the obviously commendable and quite prolific effort involved in writing these television 'plays' but also for me on several occasions it was not the acting, sets, or presentation that let many of the stories down but the writing itself. They did quite often have the feel of presenting a scenario, characters, dialogue and action in quite an elaborate and interesting way only for an anti-climatic last quarter to emerge when the strings were drawn together in often the most implausible manner imaginable with adherence to a strict criteria of 'at this point hero turns up and saves the lady' I can only think there must have been some exterior commercial pressure present for each episode to be structured in such a formulaic manner and this was clearly not the best possible resolution in a number of episodes.
I have to say that the whole token American did get on my nerves also. I was happy to ignore this as a small point but by the time you get to the 20th episode and there's yet another U.S citizen on her holidays, marrying an Englishman, working here etc you have to wonder just how much this body of work was compromised to satisfy the U.S distributors/audience. Even American viewers must have got a bit fed up with seeing yet another American in 'jolly old England' after a while I imagine.
Some stories whilst the idea was good the execution let it down. I do agree with some of the points the 1 star reviewer has given this compilation. Often red herrings were presented too clumsily. Showing the seedy little caretaker cutting pictures of the 'victim' out of magazines and generally acting weird with the directors big invisible sign around his neck saying 'this is the murderer' but whenever the 'killer' is depicted in action you only ever see his shoes. Well we know it's not the caretaker mate otherwise you'd just show him doing it. It's one of the other guys she knows who has hardly been in it up to now and who has done nothing remotely suspicious at all! Oh he's inviting her to his country retreat, there's 10 mins left, that'll be him then.
Having said all that there are some good stories well presented and some of the not as well presented episodes are still entertaining. The acting is of a good standard, a young Helen Mirren is outstanding in the episode she is in as is Diana Dors aa well as many other UK and U.S actors. The stories cover a wide variety of subjects from the supernatural to general villany, murder most horrid etc. There are also a lot of episodes for your money though as intimated, of varying quality.
It's fun viewing life and social attitudes in the 70's where every gal dreamed of becoming a secretary and the police could make statements such as 'I'll accept help from anyone. Even a woman' (said by Brian Blessed to a woman posing as a private detective) without fear of repproach or riddicule!!
I can understand giving a rating of anything between 1 and 4 stars for this but not 5 stars as there are too many weak episodes to justify this. Even some of the 5 star reviews on this site have listed or acknowledged many of the fundamental flaws with this boxset but still equated it as deserving full marks. It is a slight shame that the 1 star review by George W. Iscariot has been so heavily marked down as I feel it provides some much needed balance and to that end is a helpful review.
So, has this compilation got repeat value? Yes.
Is it likely to appeal to anyone under 30? Unlikely.
Would I recommend purchasing? Possibly, there are a lot of episodes. If you can vaguely remember it from the 70's and liked it and can get it for less than half price it may not be a bad buy.
Overall good in parts but not enough real quality to make it an essential purchase.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Aug 2011 08:39:29 BDT
Mr. Steven J. Gore says:
I can't believe nobody has commented on this excellent review yet!
I just bought "Hands of the Ripper" (the Hammer horror film) and one of the special features on the DVD is a full episode of Thriller, "Once the Killing Starts" from the second series. I've been reading the Amazon reviews with a view to buying the full boxset and, to be honest, the 1-3 star reviews are far more helpful. Although I've only watched a single episode, I can see and appreciate all the flaws of the series (and agree with most them!) mentioned in reviews such as this.
The sad thing is... I'll probably still buy the boxset! The opportunity of seeing the huge array of fine British TV actors (Patrick Troughton and Brian Blessed, to name just two) is too much to resist.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Aug 2011 17:13:25 BDT
All of them Witches says:
Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that the 1 star reviews for this are particularly helpful. There is something about this series though, I'm thinking of re-watching it pretty soon. If you can pick it up for a good price (< £30) it's worth a leap!
As you say there is some fine homegrown talent and the performances are really good it's just a shame that the writing lets it down too often.
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2011 00:39:24 BDT
George W. Iscariot says:
I think if you watch a single episode as an extra you get a more favourable impression of the series. Watching them en masse is not a good idea. There is something to be said for watching AN episode in isolation as the period charm/nostalgia value & familiar faces only stretches so far. On paper, Thriller is right up my street & I wanted to like it, but the fact remains that the writing is just terrible & naturally the performances of the likes of Blessed, Troughton, Waterman, Le Mesurier & the dozens of other excellent actors suffer as a result.
One of the drawbacks of dvd is ironically the opportunity it gives to watch dozens of episodes of a series in rapid succession. These shows were originally broadcast once a week...watch 3 in one go, let alone 50 odd in a week or two, and the cracks really start to appear.
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Sep 2011 13:57:35 BDT
All of them Witches says:
True. I found that if you watch a few in rapid succession they all somewhat melt into each other as invariably there are thematically so many common plot devices, set pieces; token Americans, red herrings etc.
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