Oct 27, 2009

New Spy DVDs Out This Week: Eurospy And Prisoner!

We're at the height of the spy season now! For some reason we're on a roll, which continues next week with Mission: Impossible: Season 7. But for today, we have a couple of major reissues! First up is Dorado Films' new release of the 1965 Ken Clark Eurospy classic From the Orient With Fury (also known under one of my very favorite film titles, Fury On the Bosphorus). This is one of the three official "077" films, featuring the adventures of Dick Malloy, Agent 077 (clearly one of the more blatant 007 ripoffs on the market in the mid-Sixties–and one of my favorites). The rip-off itself was in turn ripped off, with many other Eurospy films purporting to be 077 adventures on their posters. But the official ones (Mission Bloody Mary, Special Mission Lady Chaplin and From the Orient With Fury) are the best. Dorado has released all three before, but they've since signed a deal with a major distributor and decided to re-releases them with new, more professional cover art. The new versions should be much easier for the average consumer to track down, too, available on Amazon and presumably in better brick-and-mortar video stores as well. From the Orient With Fury is the weakest of the three 077 adventures, but that still puts it in the cream of the crop of the Eurospy output at large. (Plus, it's got the beautiful Margaret Lee, and you can never go wrong with her!) Make no mistake: this is an essential purchase for anyone who enjoys the genre at all, whether you're just getting your feet wet in the vast Eurospy ocean, or a seasoned veteran. If you've already got the previous version, get the new one for a Bond fan friend who has yet to discover the joys of sub-Bond spies! (Or better still, keep the new one for yourself and give your friend the old one!) It's crucial to support companies like Dorado, who painstakingly restore long-forgotten Eurospy prints and see fit to release beautiful, widescreen versions of these films. The company is planning to reissue the other two 077s in the near future, as well as two more Ken Clark Eurospy offerings, Tiffany Memorandum and The Fuller Report.

The other huge release today is A&E's eagerly-anticipated Blu-ray edition of the classic Sixties Patrick McGoohan spy series, The Prisoner. While simply being able to appreciate the show's amazing production design and cinematography in high-definition is reason enough to salivate at the prospect of a Blu-ray release, A&E have gone all out and included all of the fantastic special features available on Network's Region 2 40th Anniversary DVD release (and recent UK Blu-ray release)! This puts the new Blu-ray set head-and-shoulders above any previous U.S. releases of the series, all of which were fairly bereft of any substantial special features. Among the extras available for the first time in this country are the impressive feature-length documentary “Don’t Knock Yourself Out” (boasting loads of interviews with all sorts of key production personnel), a featurette on the show's music with music editor Eric Mival (including "a unique look at the Music Bible for the show"), the restored original edit of “Arrival” with an optional music-only soundtrack featuring Wilfred Josephs’ complete and abandoned score, audio commentaries from members of the production crew on seven episodes, trailers for all episodes, commercial break bumpers, behind-the-scenes footage, PDFs of all the scripts(!) and production paperwork, and loads of image galleries. On top of all that, there's also a preview of AMC's upcoming Prisoner remake, whose upcoming debut this release is timed to coincide with. Again, this is essential spy stuff for anyone with a Blu-ray player. If you haven't yet made that plunge, however, and already have The Prisoner on standard DVD, I don't recommend picking up A&E's new standard release. Unless I'm wrong (and I hope I am), it doesn't appear to include any of these new special features. It appears, in fact, to be a simple repackaging of the exact same DVDs A&E has had on the market for years. It is, however, considerably cheaper, so if you don't have any Prisoner DVDs yet, it's a good buy. Amazon is currently offering the new standard discs for $45.99 and the Blu-rays for just $50.49 (almost half off)! You simply can't go wrong with feature-laden, high-def Prisoner for fifty bucks.

1 comment:

Jonathan Melville said...

OK, once again I'm taking your advice - 077 is duly ordered. You're right about supporting these smaller labels, not sure if it'll ever get a Region 2 release