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Interesting rarity from the 1950's
on 24 October 2012
As the previous reviewer has already said - this is indeed a rare and interesting series, so rare that although I'm always on the lookout for vintage TV series I must admit that I'd never heard of it until noticing the Amazon ad which sounded intriguing, so I ordered my copy - good purchase! The black & white picture and sound quality on this Network/Studio Canal release is generally good/OK. There are no extras or subtitles.
Not seen since it's original broadcast on ITV in the summer of 1957, OVERSEAS PRESS CLUB - EXCLUSIVE is an anthology collection of thirteen, 25-minute mini-dramas, each a dramatised account of real-life events from around the world, documented by foreign correspondents during the last century, a varied and entertaining collection which is well-directed with an occasional background narration. With such a relatively short running time the bitesize stories are often breezily told. The line-up of familiar guest stars of the time give good performances.
A welcome release of what must be a distant memory for some - and for fans of vintage drama series I would say this collection is well worth a look. While there is currently only a little info on the series on the IMDb, the inside of the DVD case includes an episode synopsis which I have replicated below....
*THE MAN WHO CHANGED FACES.... Reporter Bob Considine tells the story of the Norwegian Underground, and of a man who assumed the physical, mental and moral characteristics of a Nazi in order to aid the Allies - and the effect on his personal life.
Starring Kieron Moore, Andre Morell, Jon Farrell, Martine Alexis, Nigel Stock, Gerard Heinz & Gerald Anderson.
*THE GENERAL'S WAR WITH SCOTLAND.... 1930's China was in the grip of marauding warlords, with their private armies looting and burning along their line of march. Christian missions were certain targets, but in Miss MacPherson of the Shangehow Mission, the brutal General Ying Chang finally met his match.
Starring Eric Pohlmann, Dorothy Alison, Ewan Roberts, John Laurie, Stanley Van Beers, Cyril Luckham, Michael Mellinger, Michael Peake & Lee Montague.
*MONK OF CHIMAY.... In October 1944, a young British fighter pilot bailed out and fell through the roof of an old monastery in Belgium, giving a foreign correspondent a vital clue to a mystery that had puzzled the world.
Starring Claude Dauphin, Richard Thorp, Zena Howard, Hugh Miller, Jack MacNaughton, James Dyrenforth, Ferdy Mayne & Wolf Frees.
*FATHER TIGER.... The story of Father Maggiore Borrelli, a young Italian priest who lived and worked among Naples' 'scugnizzi' - wild backstreet gangs of abandoned children and teenagers.
Starring Peter Arne, Richard O'Sullivan, Harry Landis, Mark Mileham, Alaric cotter, Gawn Grainger, Wilfred Downing, John Ruddock & Maureen Beck.
*MY FAVOURITE KIDNAPPER.... In April, 1945, a war correspondent arrived in Munich in search of a world scoop - Hitler. Instead, in Hitler's home, he found and revealed one of the war's strangest exploits.
Starring Ron Randell, John van Eyssen, Ferdy Mayne, Desmond Jeans, Robert Brown, Iris Russell, Bill Nagy & Donald Morley.
*THE BILLION FRANC MYSTERY.... Paris, just prior to World War Two. In Montmarte, in the shadow of Sacre Coeur, a reporter plans to get an early night. Plans which are rudely interrupted when a stranger breaks into his room - a stranger with malice in mind!
Starring Lee Patterson, Nicole Maurey, Anton Diffring, Martin Boddey, George Howe, Gordon Tanner, Enid Lorimer & Alfred Burke.
*SANTA IN A JEEP.... Hal Lehrmann tell the story of an official working for the UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration), whose principal weapons are socks, seeds, cigarettes and candy bars...
Starring Ralph Bellamy, Robert Arden, Martin Benson, Alec Mango, Wensley Pithey, George Eugeniou, Alan Tilvern, David Spenser & Gillian Owen.
*THE MILLIONTH FRENCHMAN.... A national welcome is organised for the millionth Frenchman to be repatriated after the War, but the choice of Sergeant Renaud, a most reluctant hero, nearly results in a national fiasco.
Starring Serge Reggiani, Eugene Deckers, Lionel Murton, Austin Trevor, Launce Marascel, Nicholas Bruce & Sandra Francis.
*THE GEORGE POLK CASE.... Associated Press correspondent Helen Zotos recounts the story of the murder of American journalist George Polk: he was killed in Salonika, while making his way to a secret interview with Greek Communist leader General Markos.
Starring Faith Domergue, Eric Pohlmann, Peter Wyngarde, Larry Cross, Helen Misener, Lloyd Lamble & Julian Sherrier.
*THE LITTLEST SERGEANT.... The story of a pint-sized parachutist who proved too tough for the USAF to handle - a 10 year-old Polish orphan, wearing a Sergeant's uniform and found as a stowaway on a British cargo ship.
Starring Eddie Byrne, David Hannaford, Patrick Allen, Alan Gifford, Lionel Murton, Betty McDowall, Robert Ayres, John Harvey, Hal Osmond & Deering Wells.
*THE UNKNOWN MAN.... The extraordinary story of how a Polish journalist succeeded single-handed in bringing the Lord Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, and two destroyers to the rescue of an unknown prisoner aboard a Polish ship on the Thames.
Starring Kieron Moore, Karel Stepanek, Leonard Sachs, Robert Raglan, John Chandos, Julian Somers, Carl Duering, Jack MacGowran & Stratford Johns.
*TATIANA THE CZAR'S DAUGHTER.... Several claimants have come forward for the Romanov fortune, and one was Sister Katerina. Was she really the Grand Duchess Tatiana, daughter of Czar Nicholas 11 and heir to the fortune?
Starring Phyllis Calvert, Paul Carpenter, Leonard Sachs, Helen Haye, Ewen Solon, Enid Lorimer, Richard Shaw, Laidman Browne & Diane Aubrey.
*TWO AGAINST THE KREMLIN.... When Eddy Gilmore, Associated Press foreign correspondent, flew back to Moscow in 1946, he little knew that it would take a seven-year struggle to get his Russian ballerina wife and their two daughters out of the Soviet Union again.
Starring Ralph Bellamy, Julia Arnall, Nicola Braithwaite, Marianne Walla, Alexis Bobrinsky & Roger Delgado.