Mar 16, 2010

New Spy DVDs Out This Week: The Prisoner and Wish Me Luck

EDIT: Whoops, guess I jumped the gun on The Prisoner!  It's not actually out until next week.  Hawaii Five-O: The Complete Eighth Season is out this week, however, so maybe use that to tide you over... 

Here's a release
that's sure to split Prisoner fans into two groups: purists and completists.  Purists likely won't have anything to do with this disappointing miniseries remake, though completists will probably want to pick it up for it's innovative production design and cinematography, for its fairly extensive bonus material, or as a curiosity and minor footnote in the annals of Prisoner history.  If you turn the volume off and just focus on the visuals, it's a very pretty show to look at.  The music is good, too, so an isolated score track would be ideal!  Sadly, that's not a feature on this DVD, but there are some nice ones, including unaired scenes, commentary tracks on two episodes, the featurettes "Beautiful Prison: The World of The Prisoner" (that sounds like a good one to me; I really did like the art direction) and "A 6-Hour Film Shot in 92 Days: The Diary of The Prisoner," plus the Prisoner Comic-Con Panel (which was very cool, if misleading, and succeeded in turning me from apprehensive to excited for this project) and "The Man Behind '2': Jamie Campbell Bower interviews Ian McKellen."  The 3-disc set from Warner Home Video retails for $29.98, but it's cheaper on Amazon, of course.  (Sadly, it's not available on Blu-ray, because these visuals would actually benefit from a high-def transfer.)  If you've never seen The Prisoner, though, it's definitely the McGoohan version you want!

Also out today, from Acorn, is Wish Me Luck: Series 1, the first season of a British show that ran from 1988-90 based on the true stories of female intelligence agents behind Nazi lines. It's not a series I know well, but it sounds interesting so I'm looking forward to checking it out.  For Your Eyes Only's Julian Glover plays a Special Operations Executive colonel who recruits civilians to work undercover behind enemy lines in order to gather vital intelligence. Based on the real-life stories of women recruited by Britain’s SOE, this suspenseful drama series follows wife and mother Liz Grainger (Kate Buffery) and half-Jewish factory girl Matty Firman (Suzanna Hamilton) from training in England through the terror of their daily lives in Nazi-occupied France.  Jeremy Northam and Jane Asher co-star. Besides all eight episodes of the first series, this 2-disc set includes historical background on the real operation that inspired the series and a photo gallery. Retail is $39.99, but naturally it's also cheaper on Amazon.

I missed this a few weeks ago, but the latest remake of The 39 Steps (first reported on here), starring MI-5's Rupert Penry-Jones, came out on DVD from BBC on March 1.  The action-heavy version of John Buchan's famous novel, set in the days before WWI, updates the story for the Bourne era.  At 90 minutes, it also truncates it and covers huge slices of narrative in voice-over.  This aired recently on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre.  The DVD retails for $19.99, but can of course be found for less online.

1 comment:

Dylan said...

I've seen a previous release of the first series of Wish Me Luck, and I thought it was fantastic. I hope it does well enough for Acorn that they release the other series.

I watched the first bit of The 39 Steps when it was on Masterpiece Theatre, up until the anachronistic biplane with machine guns showed up. As errors go, that wasn't too bad, but I found fairly little else up to that point to keep me engaged, so I turned it off.