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Ellery Queen Mysteries

428 customer reviews

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(Sep 28, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the creators of Columbo and Murder, She Wrote… Match wits with Ellery Queen (Jim Hutton) in all 22 digitally restored, uncut and unedited episodes of this classic NBC series following the exploits of the famed writer as he assists his father, Inspector Richard Queen (David Wayne), in solving the mysteries that baffle the New York City police force.

Guest Stars include: Don Ameche, Dana Andrews, Tom Bosley, George Burns, Joan Collins, Troy Donahue, Anne Francis, Eva Gabor, Larry Hagman, June Lockhart, Robert Loggia, Roddy McDowall, Ed McMahon, Sal Mineo, Donald O'Connor, Dean Stockwell, Dick Van Patten, Vincent Price, Cesar Romero, Betty White, and many more!

The case of the missing TV series has finally been cracked, but why Ellery Queen lasted only one season (1975-76) and fell into obscurity is a real mystery. Based on the evidence in this six-disc set, this loving homage to the classic murder mystery created by Richard Levinson and William Link was, like their Columbo and Murder, She Wrote, nonviolent and intelligent television of the first order. Set in the 1940s, Ellery Queen stars boyishly charming Jim Hutton, one of the screen's most likable leading men, as the famed mystery writer and sleuth who helps his father, Inspector Richard Queen (David Wayne), solve the most baffling of cases. The pleasures this series affords are anything but guilty. Each intriguing episode begins with the preview of a murder, a roundup of the suspects (Was it the jealous wife? The dictatorial director?), and an irresistible challenge to viewers to "match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess whodunit." Before revealing the killer, Ellery breaks the fourth wall to ask if we amateur sleuths at home have the mystery figured out, offering last-minute clues such as, "Once you figure out how, you'll know who." As with Burke's Law, each episode of Ellery Queen is packed with enough Hollywood legends, venerable character actors, and TV faves to fill The Love Boat. "The Adventure of Veronica's Veils" features George Burns as the victim ("I didn't die of natural causes," he announces via a filmed presentation following his demise), William Demarest, Don Porter, comedian Jack Carter, Hayden Rorke (Dr. Bellows on I Dream of Jeannie), and John Hillerman in his recurring role as radio detective Simon Brimmer, forever trying to one-up Queen. Queen himself makes it a point "to be observant and pay attention to details," particularly for that "dying clue which makes absolutely no sense." You'd be advised to do the same. The intricately plotted stories turn on the most arcane of clues and circumstances, as in the pilot episode "Too Many Suspects," in which solving a fashion designer's murder hinges on the reenactment of a TV news broadcast (maybe that explains the one-season run). An interview with Link, not very lively, but interesting, is included as a bonus feature. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

Series pilot "Too Many Suspects,” Ellery Queen interview with co-creator William Link, collectible booklet with essays and episode summaries

Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Hutton, David Wayne, Tom Reese, John Hillerman, Nina Roman
  • Directors: David Greene
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010
  • Run Time: 1176 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (428 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003RHZ6CK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,520 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ellery Queen Mysteries" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

408 of 422 people found the following review helpful By E. Hornaday on June 15, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The 1975 Cult-Classic TV whodunit Ellery Queen starring the brilliant Jim Hutton is finally being released on DVD in its entirety, thanks to E1 Entertainment.

The series was based on the popular classic Ellery Queen mystery books from the 1930's. The show lasted only one season on NBC, but has remained a fan favorite.

Set in the post-WWII 1947, the show closely followed the format of the Ellery Queen mystery novels, which carefully laid out the clues before the reader/audience and invited them to attempt to solve the mystery before Ellery Queen presented the solution.

The show premiered March 23, 1975 with a telepilot, "Too Many Suspects," which was adapted from the book, The Fourth Side of the Triangle. Beloved veteran character actor, David Wayne, portrayed Ellery's crusty but loveable father, Inspector Richard Queen throughout the series. Wayne perfectly delivered folksy dialog ostensibly from the 1940's like, "Why don't we cut all the banana oil?"

Hutton (the father of actor Timothy Hutton) played Ellery to perfection, blending absent-minded goofiness with genuine emotional depth and boyish charm. Together, he and Wayne had the perfect on-screen chemistry, creating an authentic charm that remains undiminished after all of these years.

In all, 22 fun one-hour episodes followed beginning on Sept. 11, 1975, the last show airing on April 4, 1976.

In the early Queen books, just prior to the presentation of the solution to the mystery, a "Challenge To The Reader" was issued during which the suspects and clues were reviewed and the reader challenged to guess the solution to the crime.

This tradition was preserved in the series, when Hutton as Ellery turns from the scene to the camera and speaks directly to viewers.
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133 of 142 people found the following review helpful By trebe TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 4, 2010
Format: DVD
The writing team of Manfred B. Lee and Frederic Dannay, were cousins who collaborated together, and under the pseudonym "Ellery Queen", produced mystery novels featuring a detective of the same name. Their first novel featuring Ellery Queen, was published in 1929, and the detective would be featured in books for the next forty years.

Running just one season, the television series Ellery Queen Mysteries (1975-76) was based on the fictional detective, and was produced by William Link and Richard Levinson, the same team responsible for Columbo, and later Murder She Wrote. The series was set in New York sometime after the end of World War II, and opened with a provocative introduction and Elmer Bernstein's catchy theme.

The casting was simply stellar, as Jim Hutton (The Green Berets) and David Wayne in the lead roles, had wonderful chemistry together. Hutton was marvelous as Ellery Queen, a writer of mystery novels, with some odd personality quirks. Ellery shared an apartment with his father Inspector Richard Queen (Wayne), the NYPD's chief of detectives. It was through this connection, that the younger Queen often became involved in bizarre and challenging cases, mostly involving the upper crust of society. The cast also included Queen's muscular right hand man, Sergeant Velie (Tom Reese). Ken Swofford was slick reporter Frank Flanagan. And a pre-Magnum P.I. John Hillerman was the uppity detective Simon Brimmer, host of the radio program The Casebook Of Simon Brimmer, who often attempted to match wits with Ellery.

Dannay's and Lee's intricate mysteries were typically set in the times they were written, and the character evolved through the decades.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mary Kate on September 28, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I received my copy of the Ellery Queen Mysteries yesterday and watched a couple of the episodes last night. There have been a number of very helpful reviews of the series already posted, but since all of them were prior to release, I'm just chiming in here to add the following:

Most importantly, the series was every bit as good when I viewed it last night as it was in my memory, where, believe me, it was pretty danged good. That's no mean feat! The acting, the pacing of the episodes (I watched Too Many Suspects and The Adventure of Auld Lang Syne) and the mysteries themselves were all uniformly excellent. It was a pleasure to get reacquainted with Jim Hutton, too, whose work I've always enjoyed and have missed.

The picture and sound are very good. I'm not a video/audio techy person, so I can't go into particulars and while I could see that the picture wasn't up to blu-ray standards, I was completely satisfied.

The case is nice and includes a Reference Guide with a synopsis of each of the episodes, some color stills and essays from Janet Hutchings (editor of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine) and Andrew Gulli (Managing Editor of The Strand Magazine).

IMHO, the producers of the DVDs have done this great series proud and I'm so glad they finally got around to it!

Very highly recommended.

One last note: If there are any fans of this series who have never gotten around to reading the Ellery Queen books (the ones starring Ellery), I highly recommend that you give them a try as well. They're intricate and superbly plotted as well as being very entertaining reads. On my shelf, they sit alongside Agatha Christie, which is about the highest praise I can give them. :)
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