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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
Inspector Montalbano: Collection Four [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 August 2013
I just love this series which I recorded during its most recent (2012/13) transmission on UK television. It is the Italian version of Inspector Morse in which the magnificent scenery plays a major part. I have never visited Sicily where the series is set but I have Googled (Street View) many of the locations visited in the series, including Montalbano's seaside retreat and the famous lighthouse, and I have come to know the area quite well. I am as much attracted to the film sets as I am the plot which transport my imagination to a different time and place.

I have now purchased all 20 episodes of the original series and would purchase others if they are ever filmed. There is a spinoff series concerning 'young' Inspector Montalbano which I have yet to see.

Luca Zingaretti (Inspector Montalbano) introduces humour into the plots which can be very dark and complex. Like Morse, Montalbano is a bit of a renegade cop' and he has little respect for his superiors and says so. But there are other well-crafted characters in the series, my favourite being Catarella, the police station's odd job man, whose eccentric behaviour has to be seen to be believed. This is one series you should not miss if only for the scenery which is a curious mix of both modern and ancient.
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on 25 May 2017
Only recently became aware of this series availability with English subtitles, Had tried to follow it on Italian TV but not understanding much Italian got frustrated at what seemed to be an exciting series. Extremely delighted now, and now a big fan of Montalbano series.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 January 2013
The Montalbano TV series is a gem of Continental detective television. Over 15 years and some 20 episodes it has evolved away from the books which spawned it, developing its own character arcs, relationships, humour and style. Yet overall the series remains faithful to the sophisticated spirit of Andrea Camilleri's books which so beautifully blend police procedural investigations, heartfelt human interactions, the oppressive atmosphere of corruption which pervades Sicily and - at its core - a good man, trying to do the right thing. He mostly succeeds. But not always.

Each episode is a self-contained story so you can just dive in (as Montalbano frequently does; pounding through the waves to exorcise his inner demons) with this set even if you've not read the books or seen any previous films. HOWEVER, you'll enjoy these far more if you understand all the back story, all the intricate weaving of character development and interaction which has been going on for over a decade. You can't really enjoy the slapstick antics of Catarella, or understand why Mimi Augello gets away with behaving like a total ass, or be gripped by Fazio's fate unless you've shared their previous adventures.
On the face of it, the Montalbano series seems to be rather more lightweight and flippant than many Scandinavian thrillers - but it's not. It is every bit as menacing and compelling... it's just that the action takes place on a sun-bleached Mediterranean island, amid crumbling rural cottages and abandoned stone workshops which we more typically (wrongly) associate only with fun-filled holidays.
This set includes four episodes, each of which runs to around 1hr 45mins. They're subtitled in English - although after years of watching I've understood that not all of the dialogue is translated. There are also a couple of weird edits here and there (feels like some scenes may have been trimmed, perhaps to hit a running time) so you do need to pay attention, to keep up with the details of each investigation. And don't get so absorbed by the subtitles that you miss out on the superb delivery of the dialogue; it's part of the pleasure. So much is said in a grunt, a shrug, a shared glance - never mind the exclamations of 'prego!' and 'pronto!' The cast work together beautifully, bringing depth and genuine tension to what could be superficial moments in other series.

Of these episodes, the most striking is August Heat (called August Flame, here) in which the cracks in Montalbano's long-term relationship with distant Livia turn into fissures. Luca Zingaretti plays the part to perfection; at turns bullish, intellectual, frustrated and vulnerable. Track of Sand is intriguing, too, highlighting Montalbano's friendship with the fiery free-spirit Ingrid with all the complexities of unrequited affection.
For Montalbano fans there is much to enjoy in these episodes; they all pay homage to the standing jokes and touchstones of the series; the Inspector's love of good food (and his tendency not to talk while dining), the omni-present background thrum of Mafia activities, Montalbano's ratty little Fiat which remains defiantly rubbish while the rest of the force upgrade their cars; his beachside apartment, the bittersweet exchanges with the coroner, Catarella's moments of savante, and so on.
However, two of these four aren't the very best Montalbano episodes. They're entertaining and intriguing and enjoyable - but not edge-of-the-seat stuff. The most gripping episodes come in the next batch (which was originally the eighth series broadcast on Italian TV); look out especially for Gull's Dance... Even so, this collection contains some perfect moments of Montalbano; intelligent drama, subtle, thought-provoking; witty and full of gritty observations of the human condition.

So overall, a treasure of crime TV: four mini-films with high production values, great scripts and pitch-perfect performances. Perhaps not the best of the Montalbano collections but very enjoyable nonetheless and a must-see for all fans of the series (and well worth watching more than once, so a series I'm happy to have on the shelf).
Special features are the only part which lets down the package.

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on 8 June 2017
cannot get enough of inspector Montalbano and this was up to the usual standard so thoroughly enjoyed the DVD
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on 2 November 2016
Great and entertaining Sicilian Detective series with Brit subtitles. Larger than life characters that add to the richness of the program. Stunning aerial views of Sicily ....... rewatchable - good purchase.
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on 11 August 2013
A taste of Sicily with the somewhat off beat detective Montalbano. The action revolves around the fictional town of Vigata with its narrow lanes, wonderful coastline and strangely deserted streets. Inspector Montalbano oversees a police station staffed by the lecherous Mimi, stolid Fatzio, the completely insane Catarella and sundry others. Along the way of solving crimes they meet some very eccentric and wonderful characters. Sometimes laugh out loud funny and other times tear jerking and all with a backdrop of Sicilian sunshine.
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on 7 May 2013
I had seen this series on tlevision and loved the actors as well as the stories. Unfortunately this was the same dvd as that series. I am a new fan and enjoyed the programmes so much that I went to Sicily but stayed in Palermo. This series is set in the south off the island but I enjoyed the whole flavour of the Sicilian experience thanks to Inspector Montalbano!
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on 13 August 2013
I gave all the Inspector Montalbano Collections purchased by me top marks. I can speak Italian, and as my wife relies on the subtitles, she enjoys watching all my purchases.
We own all the collections, and enjoy them all.
We cannot wait to hhave the new series of the "Young Montalbano" and hope that the subtitles will once again be in English
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on 9 October 2013
I gave it 4 star, delivery was quick and on time. Brought it as a present for my Brother in law's Birthday. Very pleasd with it. He had a job getting hold of collection 4, said I'd get it for him. Now he has the complete set, I've not seen an episode myself, but I hear that it a good series.
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on 27 January 2018
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