Starring David Janssen
Season Two - Volume One
Certain classic literature endures because the universality of a storyline that gets imbedded into mainstream culture with repetitious variations of its strong themes directly borrowed and often altered to suit modern lifestyles - one example of this might be Charles Dicken's Great Expectations. Another would be Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. The much awaited (to DVD) TV series The Fugitive starring David Janssen has definite leanings to the latter with Dr. Richard Kimble as the Jean Valjean character doggedly, obsessively and unjustly pursued by Lt. Philip Gerard (Hugo's Javert). I suspect it is a small part of my passion for this classic television - the only TV show I actually copied every single episode to VHS (a medium from the past kids). I suspect the other trait that I am so keen on is The Fugitive's link to Film Noir. It is not a strong association but it does share some of the 'black cinema' style with an ex-convict character, occasional flashbacks, the heavy use of shadowy confine sequences (examples below) and frequent circumstances of the economically depressed. Kimble floats from menial job to job (fruit-picker, cleaning man, farm hand, boxing cut-man etc.) meeting and helping often desperate characters - played by enduring stars (from season two - vol. 1) like Ed Begley, Suzanne Pleshette, Dabney Coleman, Kurt Russell, Leslie Nielsen, Tuesday Weld, Ed Binns , Ron Howard, Richard Anderson, Warren Oates and Strother Martin!
In case you are unfamiliar with the story - Dr. Richard Kimble is accused, tried and convicted of the murderer of his wife. The night before his execution, he escapes, because, as deep-voiced narrator William Conrad states '...fate moves its huge hand...' and there is a train derailment. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the one-armed man he saw fleeing the crime that horrible night. Kimble, relentlessly pursued by Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse), risks exposure several times when he is forced to reveal his medical knowledge to help others out of trouble. The Fugitive works for entertainment on many levels beyond simple suspense and drama and remains my favorite vintage TV series of all time (if I said it about Perry Mason I must have been lying).
DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
|Runtime||15 X approx 51:30 episodes|
Average Bitrate: 4.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
2, Episode 2: World's End
NOTE: It has come to our attention that the original score has been modified. I didn't notice it in my viewings but we will do some investigation. Caveat Emptor!
NOTE: - February 09': (From Joyce in email) - CBS/Paramount has now restored much of The Fugitive's original music and is offering a replacement program to those who buy (or already bought) Season Two, Vol. 1. Then, for the price of a stamp, the buyers just mail in the form along with the 2 Proof-of-Purchase tabs, and within 4-6 weeks, they'll receive 4 replacement discs, plus a new paper insert. Read about it at the below link to TVShowsonDVD.com - And here's the link to the form HERE: Also, a very knowledgeable fan posting on Home Theater Forum was given a review set of the replacement discs and here's his opinion: "... let me be clear about something. When I said in my review that a "vast amount" of the music had been restored, I was speaking in terms of a comparison to the prior Season Two, Vol. 1 set. And that would be true. Now if you want to compare the replacement discs to the standards of Season One, I would say, roughly, 75-80% of the music in the episodes I have seen has been restored, the bulk of that being Rugolo. But that is just one man's estimate. Everyone is going to have a different reaction to the set, but I am safe in saying it is a great improvement ... The shows feel like The Fugitive again, even if synthesizers occasionally pop up. But having the show FEEL like The Fugitive is the main thing. ... No matter to what degree of detail I go, or what conclusions I draw, if you are a Fugitive fan I believe you owe it to yourself to get this new replacement set and give it a chance. Decide for yourself." Home Theater Forum Here's to everyone who mentioned the music in their reviews (including you) and to all those who wrote letters, sent emails, and posted online to Amazon and other websites. Here's to the power of the pen and the Internet!! Thanks also to CBS/Paramount for now trying to do the right thing. (Thanks Joyce!)
Paramount's DVD package once again looks very strong. Only episode number eleven, 'Cry Uncle', has some untoward damage (see last large screen capture). The rest of the set has excellent contrast - advertised as 'transferred from the original negative with restored audio' and good faux grain/noise peeks through a lot in close-ups. The screen captures below will give you a good idea of how strong the transfer is. There are no optional subtitles and the audio 2.0 channel sounded quite clear and clean to me. I was very pleased with the progressive image and consistent sound.
To my knowledge these are the full episodes, at about 51.5 minutes long, not the 'cut' syndicated ones. This represents the first half of season two - 15 episodes spread over four dual-layered DVDs. Hopefully S2-V2 won't be too long in coming to digital. There are no extras but the price is a steal for approx. 12 hours of the best TV ever broadcast (IMHO). I'm surely biased and had a huge obsession with this series many years ago but the supporting cast is always great, the stories are gripping and unique in that it's a new environment and back-plot with each episode. Tack onto this they look great digitally and are immensely addictive. Supporting cast is strong with performances by the likes of Ed Begley, Suzanne Pleshette, Dabney Coleman, Kurt Russell, Leslie Nielsen, Tuesday Weld, Ed Binns , Ron Howard, Richard Anderson, Warren Oates and iconic character actor Strother Martin! Of course I strongly recommend if you are at all keen on this wonderfully entertaining vintage TV!
Man of shadows...