Feb 12, 2008
New Spy DVDs Out Today
Universal releases the long-awaited The Equalizer: Season One, in which Callan star Edward Woodward plays McCall, a former Intelligence operative who attempts to atone for his shady past by working for "The Company," using his unique skill set to right wrongs and generally equalize things. 24 mastermind Joel Surnow contributed a number of scripts, and got his start as a producer on this show. Season One, which ran from 1985-86, includes twenty-two episodes. Retail is $49.98.
Today also sees the release of Charlie Chan in City in Darkness as part of Fox's truly impressive Charlie Chan Collection Vol. 4. In City in Darkness, Chan (Sidney Toler) takes on a prewar Nazi spy ring operating in Paris during a self-imposed blackout (out of fear of German bombers). It's a good Chan movie already, but Fox's new special edition DVD makes it fascinating with a pair of documentaries that contextualize it. Yes, we all know what was happening in Europe in 1939, but the excellent making-of featurette draws other interesting connections. (I had no idea, for instance, that the Hayes Code specifically forbade "maligning" another nation, thus making it difficult for filmmakers to directly criticize the Nazis prior to the war.) The movie really takes on a new light when viewed in conjunction with the featurettes.
There are three other highly entertaining Chan movies in the collection, by the way; they just aren't spy movies. (Pretty much all of them from this point on are, though.) And there's a whole slew of really fantastic special features. It's amazing how well Fox is treating this seventy-year old series of B movies, and for a bargain price at that! I'll have a full review later today.