The Untouchables - Season 1: Volumes 1 and 2[DVD]
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The complete first season of the 1960s crime series. Set in the 1930s, the plots revolve around Special Agent Eliot Ness (Robert Stack) and his team as they tackle organised crime in Chicago. Episodes comprise: 'The Empty Chair', 'Ms. Barker and Her Boys', 'The George 'Bugs' Moran Story', 'The Jake Lingle Killing', 'Ain't We Got Fun?', 'Vincent 'Mad Dog' Coll', 'Mexican Stake-Out', 'The Artichoke King', 'The Tri-State Gang', 'The Dutch Schultz Story', 'You Can't Pick the Number', 'The Underground Railway', 'Syndicate Sanctuary' and 'The Noise of Death'.
Though certainly tame by The Shield standards, the inaugural 14 episodes from The Untouchables' 1959-60 season are still as potent as a shot of Al Capone's bootleg whiskey. Dames get slapped around. Mugs are mowed down in a hail of wall-pocking, mirror-shattering bullets. Upstanding citizens are brutally terrorised by thugs. Incorruptible Feds are brazenly rubbed out. Sometimes, criminals have the last laugh. It has the visceral kick of watching one of those pre-code Hollywood movies produced before the Hays Office stepped in to sanitise objectionable content. This set opens with the theatrically released version of the two-part pilot episode that set the noir sensibility of the series. Robert Stack (in his iconic and oft-parodied role) stars as Elliot Ness, a straight-arrow Federal agent who forms a special squad of "reliable, courageous, dedicated and honest" men who initially take on Al Capone's corrupt criminal empire in 1929 Chicago. Ness is "a real man," (as a "burly-q" stripper observes). He's just not exactly loaded with personality. Nor do any other of the squad members stand out, except perhaps for Martin Flahrety, and that's only because he's played by a pre-Dick Van Dyke Show Jerry Paris. But from Neville Brand's Al Capone and Claire Trevor's Ma Barker to an unbilled Harry Dean Stanton as a suspect blind newspaperman, it's the legendary criminals and their henchmen (and the great character actors who portray them) who give each episode considerable moxie.
Produced by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball's Desilu Studios, this groundbreaking series is based on the book The Untouchables: The Real Story by Ness and Oscar Fraley. Real? Not quite. Despite Walter Winchell's signature rat-a-tat narration that gives the proceedings a documentary-like tone, liberties were taken in retelling the sagas of Capone, Dutch Schultz, Lucky Luciano, "Bugs" Moran, "Mad Dog" Coll, and others. But the episodes are so pulpishly good that even if Ness was never really involved in a shootout with Barker (and he wasn't), more forgiving viewers will be of the opinion that he should have been. --Donald LiebensonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The material was previously issued in two volumes which is why this complete season 1 release is called volumes 1 and 2. The black and white prints have been beautifully restored and look fresh and vibrant; the mono sound limits the impact a bit but still sounds good for its age.
The Scarface Mob sets the scene and sees the final days of Al Capone in Chicago and the formation of the Untouchables. Later episodes introduce us to characters such as Dutch Schultz, Vinnie "Mad Dog" Coll and George "Bugs" Moran. There are also early appearances of actors such as Jack Lord and Lee Van Cleef - many other famous personalities appear in later series.
The semi-documentary style is enhanced by news man Walter Winchell's narration, and any time a bar mirror or shop window appears you can bet a burst of Tommy Gun fire will follow shortly to reduce it to fragments! Although there is quite a lot of violence it is very stylised and less graphic in black and white, hence the "12" rating.
Series two is now also available in the U.S.Read more ›
My favorite crime series as a kid but, although still gripping on viewing again for the first time more than 40 years on, the thing that strikes you most is the utter stupidity of the gangsters when shooting it out with the feds i.e. don't stay where you're safe, move out into the open to become sitting ducks! Also it's more than a little disappointing to find out now (through the internet) that nearly all the characters and events portrayed in the tv series which followed the original pilot (The Scarface Mob, which was based on Eliot Ness's own embellished account of how Al Capone was finally brought to justice) were entirely fictitious. But then of course several decades later, The Blair Witch Project and Fargo also successfully copied this marketing trick ("faction").
These great stories are set in the 20's, bear in mind that that is getting on for a century ago! The noir world is odd, different - almost costume drama now. This is cinematic television for me - from the voiceovers to the amazing character actors to the almost continuous violence! Why don't we see those interesting looking actors anymore? The larger than life people. All of the abiding gangster era images are here, power sliding a massive 20's saloon round a wet street while your passenger ejects a corpse from the rear door - and fires a rasp from his Thompson sub machine gun, while smoking a cigar and shouting at a sad alcoholic once beautiful dame who is gonna rat you out to the cops or the mob or both! Exciting stuff that brings a chuckle. This set is brilliant value - get it while you can! Capone's business was, apparently, turning over $120 million annually at this time - no wonder they could all afford those fancy suits. Love it!
It shows how good scripts use to be, the actors were the best of the best,and in some cases before they
became famous. The action shoot-outs were brilliant,the violence implied for the time was unbelieveable(1959-1962).
This serie cause more controversy I would think than any before or since. But anybody who is a ardent t.v. fan will
want to have this serie, all 4 of them. Young people who have never seen this serie will be amazed by the quality of
it,so go out and buy it on Amazon,the prices are unbelieveable for probably the greatest serie ever put on t.v..
My mum is deaf but she loved this program when it was on, it didn't say if it has subtitles, but thankfully it does.
She loves the DVD
It would be very helpful if all DVDs said if they have subtitles or not
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent DVD set. Great quality considering the age. Received on time & packed well.Published 3 months ago by David E York
Rediculous acting and charachter portrayal regarding themed looks, behavior and outfits. the women have beehive hair and torpedo bras. Dudes look like James Dean. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jeff A. Shultz
This is a smashing season1 box set of the untouchables, that I bought season 2 and 3 it's just a shame that I carn't get season 4 region 2 any one who can help me!Published 17 months ago by charley208
This series is excellent and exactly how we remembered it from our first time viewing way back in the 60's. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Ginny
Only negative is the breaks where there had been advertising breaksPublished on 23 July 2014 by Charles Tulloch