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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fight And A Flirt--A Groundbreaking Detective Noir Hits DVD For The First Time
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer surely ranks as one of the most famous (or infamous) detectives in modern fiction. A lot of actors have embodied the hard boiled Hammer through various film and TV projects, but the quintessential representation for me has always been Darren McGavin in this series from 1958-1959. Obviously as a product of the late fifties, the show can seem...
Published on August 13, 2011 by K. Harris

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CORNY
Its watchable. A little on the corny side. Like seeing the stars before they became stars. Story lines are good, he's just too corny.
Published 15 months ago by Toni Wharton


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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fight And A Flirt--A Groundbreaking Detective Noir Hits DVD For The First Time, August 13, 2011
This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer surely ranks as one of the most famous (or infamous) detectives in modern fiction. A lot of actors have embodied the hard boiled Hammer through various film and TV projects, but the quintessential representation for me has always been Darren McGavin in this series from 1958-1959. Obviously as a product of the late fifties, the show can seem tame and dated by modern standards--but that certainly doesn't decrease its "cool" quotient. Ironically, the show was lambasted upon its debut for its use of excessive violence by contemporary critics--but that didn't detract viewers from embracing the program's offbeat charms. Always a fan of McGavin, his television work (particularly this as well as the before-his-time Kolchak) is what truly stands out in a career resume spanning over sixty years. His Hammer plays up tough guy cliches with refreshing humor and unapologetically sexist machismo. And when pushed to action, he moves quickly and with relentless determination (not to mention a healthy dose of contempt for authority).

As the episodes are short and action packed, character development often plays second fiddle to moving the narrative along. As such, many guest roles can seem fairly one dimensional. Women, in particular, get short shrift--usually portrayed as either simpering victims or as evil incarnate with little moderation. In many respects, therefore, the show's success sits on the reliable shoulders of McGavin. The stories themselves are better than expected, with plenty of twists and surprises. In fact, looking back at some of Hammer's cases--many are more intricate than what can be seen in today's cookie cutter procedural crime shows. It's all very brisk, exciting, and genuinely funny with a tough guy hero you can't help but root for (despite your better instincts and modern sensibilities).

As a representation of its time, "Mike Hammer" ranks as a strong five star recommendation that pushed the boundaries of acceptable television politeness. Anyone looking for an old fashioned noir reconfigured as a TV serial should appreciate this DVD release. It contains all 78 episodes from its two season run at a list time just shy of 33 hours over 12 discs. When you revisit any old TV show, there is a certain nostalgia factor that kicks in intrinsically. Part of the fun can be seeing actors pop up in guest roles long before they became famous. "Mike Hammer" is no exception with appearances by Angie Dickinson, Marion Ross, DeForest Kelly, Ted Knight, Lorne Greene and Barbara Bain among others. If you like hard edged detective fiction and aren't scared by classic TV--this is a must-have entertainment. One of the coolest and most risk-taking shows to emerge from fifties era television. KGHarris, 8/11.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another example of how great tv crime shows USED to be..., October 2, 2011
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This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
First off, let me preface this by saying I am 32 yrs old and honestly did not know this particular program had ever existed until I found it on Amazon. In the last year I had purchased a couple other classics of the genre (such as Johnny Staccato and M Squad) so I was happily suprised to find this set listed in my "coming soon" recommendations. As soon as I saw it was starring Darren McGavin I clicked pre-order without hesitation and waited for its arrival. When the set arrived I ate it up. Sure there are some clunkers, but the good outweigh the bad and McGavin makes even the lesser episodes watchable. The physical violence and eroticism are fairly heavy for the time which leads to it standing out among his peers. While its certainly not "the Wire" and only "popcorn" enterainment it is better acted/better written than other crime/detective shows on tv today...so if ya are considering making the purchase just click that order button.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the episodes look great!!, October 4, 2011
This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
I was one of those reading these great reviews from reviewers who seemingly love the series but haven't seen the set so let me be the first to say....THEY LOOK GREAT! I found this set at costco for $49 and took a chance knowing I could return it if it proved to be substandard but they look like film not video. I'm a long time fan of Darren McGavin and this reminds me of the character he played so well in Kolchak Kolchak - The Night Stalker. These are not in a league with Twilight Zone or as moody and retro as Peter Gunn so don't expect film noir sort of lighting and drama....but they are still good viewing at 25minutes an episode.

As others mentioned it is always fun to see the future stars in their guest roles. Anyway....others go into much better detail about the series and I've only scratched the surface but I did want to let all who were , like me, wondering...they are very good prints you will not be disappointed.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darren McGavin as Mike Hammer: Brilliant 28-minute film noirs, February 15, 2012
By 
Alan W. Petrucelli (THE ENTERTAINMENT REPORT (ALAN W. PETRUCELLI)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series has been released by A&E Home Video, all 78 episodes, and the only reaction possible is: WOW! Only two seasons (1958 and 1959) were shot, and it must have been a grueling schedule. Darren McGavin plays Hammer with charm, insouciance and exactly the right amount of threat to make him consistently interesting and always somewhat surprising.
Somehow, by adding magnetism and menace, the actor is able to avoid the misogyny of Spillane's alter-ego. Remember, the three women involved with Hammer in the 1955 film Kiss Me Deadly end up painfully dead. Mike may refer to the women as "chickies", but he treats his amours as the knight in slightly rusted armor he is.
Considering the age, the quality of the sound and the visuals are nothing short of miraculous. Evidently, the interiors were filmed in Hollywood (as the credits suggest), but the exteriors are pure mid-century New York City, and a treat they are themselves. Dave Kahn's jazz infused score is a perfect background for Hammer's world: flawed, sometimes down and dirty, but always with hope and confidence.
McGavin is, as always, spot on; as an actor, it's a shame he remains tremendously underrated. Here, he worked with everyone from Anna May Wong to Hershel Bernardi to Angie Dickinson. The faces that pop up from the series are amazing, so extraordinarily young, preserved on film forever.
One complaint: 28 minutes is simply too short a time for such interesting characters and situations. Each episode would make a perfect film noir; still, as is, we are truly blessed in having this collection of "noirettes'
Any fan of old TV, noir or just darn good acting, writing, directing and presentation, should do themselves a favor and buy this collection. Today.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Standout series with Darren McGavin!, August 9, 2011
This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
I wasn't around to see this great series when it premiered on TV (though I remember a few reruns a few years later), so I was thrilled to learn that A&E is releasing it on DVD! Darren McGavin was the perfect choice to play the somewhat rambunctious, though intelligent and tough detective Mike Hammer and I remember that you never really knew who the killer was until the very end of the show - usually quite a surprise! I can't wait to watch all of the episodes.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Transfers, November 13, 2011
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This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
A&E did a great job with the transfers. The picture and sound (although there is some extraneous background noise, possibly due to sound track deterioration which does not detract from enjoyment of these episodes) are great for a show of its age. The show is not as good as some other shows of its era such as "M Squad", "The Untouchables", etc. Well worth it if you can get it for a good price.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Old Man" delivers as the tough P.I., January 16, 2012
This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
Darren McGavin most definitely delivers as Mickey Spillane's iconic hard-boiled detective in this classic television show. For its time period, the writing and action are edgy and on target. The cast of characters in each episode always deliver solid performances. This is a great show, and a good transfer to DVD. This is a definite box set for the genre's enthusiast.

Also, please take a moment and consider the following ...

There are so many versions of Mike Hammer available on DVD, except for the classic 80's show that had a short but great run. Unfortunately it has never seen the light of day on DVD and a lot of people are looking for it.

One way to get the ball rolling to get this classic show released onto DVD is to go straight to the source and let them know you want it. Go to

[...]

Scroll to the bottom of the page and under "About Us" click on "product suggestions" and let them know you want to have the 80's Mike Hammer show on DVD. Consider all the crap that gets released on DVD. This was a great show and Stacy Keach at his best with the character. If they don't know there are people who want it, it won't get released.

Thank you for helping ! Hope you enjoy the Darren Mcgavin series !
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Mike Hammer Available, March 9, 2012
By 
Ron Watts (Anacortes, WA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
Years ago I read Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer novels with relish, then watched part of the series on TV. Time passed and next Stacey Keatch became the next Mike Hammer and did a pretty good job of it. I bought the Stacey Keatch collection because I had forgotten Darren McGavin's original series. Well, I rediscovered the original, and what a treat! Darren plays the part like he was born to it. The stories are short and gritty, clearly made for folks who lived in simpler times, but they are exciting. No green screen, no computer animation/CGI, just all reality and done in a day before every Hollywood actress was surgically perfect and all looked alike. You can't beat this for the best old detective series around, back when TV was new and life was far less complex. If you're looking for a great Mike Hammer, look no further. This is it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Series!, April 27, 2012
By 
Greg From Oregon (Mcminnville, OR United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
I've only watched the first 8 episodes, which is the the whole first disk. But I think I can give my initial thoughts on this set.
Darren McGavin is a very underrated actor and this series underscores that conclusion.
Darren McGavin is of course Mike Hammer PI. He is a honest, hard working private investigator.
Mike lives in a pretty nice hotel room with a nice office and I have yet to see anyone give him any money for his services.
The Chicago police should give him a badge because he does all the hard work busting criminals and all the police have to do is come in for the arrest.

The video and audio transfer is excellent even on a big screen. This is a 12 disk, 78 episode set and worth every penny.
All of the disks are single sided and packed very nicely.

If you like 50's period tv you will love this show. The show does have violence but it is not graphic and we are talking tough guy Mike Hammer here.
If your going to take a swing at Mike Hammer you better be sure your tougher than he is, because he likely to beat the tar out of you and then smack you 3 extra times just for his own enjoyment.
Mike is a action problem solver extraordinaire.

This little known series is a real gem.
I would suggest this is a must have for your vintage collection.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AH! The good old days., October 13, 2011
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This review is from: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series (DVD)
Darren McGavin is the best in this series, he is a Mike Hammer, just like Mickey Splillane has written him. I am 76 years old and I loved this series, and if you are a true lover of detectives you will love this series too. Believe me, this series is well worth the price, I hope this organization will produce the reproduction of "RICHARD DIAMOND" starring David Janssen, it too is a wonderful series. Live a long life (and please bring back those wonderful cars and music).
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Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series
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