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Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 8, Episode 16: The Menagerie, Parts I and II

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Volume 8 in the DVD series of original Star Trek episodes includes the fascinating two-part drama "The Menagerie." As if guided by the frugal wisdom of schlockmeister producer-director Roger Corman, Trek creator Gene Roddenberry found a clever way of using, instead of losing, extensive and costly footage from the then-unseen, discarded Star Trek pilot, "The Cage." Roddenberry's solution was to integrate pieces of "The Cage" into a whole new story context, and the surprisingly moving result was "The Menagerie." First, a bit of background: "The Cage" starred film actor Jeffrey Hunter (King of Kings, The Searchers) as Christopher Pike, the original captain of the Enterprise. Among Hunter's costars was Leonard Nimoy as Science Officer Spock, who eventually carried over, of course, into the reconfigured series starring William Shatner. Rather than write off "The Cage," Roddenberry conceived of a story line in which Captain Pike would re-appear on the show in a badly disfigured, paralyzed, and mute form--the result of a terrible accident in which the character saved a number of lives but took a pounding in the process. In "The Menagerie," Spock hijacks the Enterprise to transport Pike to a secret destination. During court-martial proceedings for this crime, Spock's defense is presented via archival footage of an old, pre-Kirk mission aboard the Enterprise. That footage, of course, is a re-edited "The Cage." A must-see for Star Trek fans, "The Menagerie" is a stellar example of Roddenberry thinking on his feet. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • Volume 8 Contains the Two-Part Episode #16: The Menagerie, Part I (Airdate: November 17, 1966) & The Menagerie, Part II (Airdate: November 24, 1966)
  • Digitally Enhanced and Remastered
  • Special Added Bonus: Original Broadcast Preview Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, DeForest Kelly
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2000
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305744874
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,195 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Hank Drake VINE VOICE on March 29, 2000
Format: DVD
"The Menagerie" has consistently scored as one of the top ten most popular episodes of the original series. Both the flashback and wraparound plotlines are among the best Star Trek had to offer. Spock is willing to sacrifice his career--and perhaps his life--to ensure that Christopher Pike, his former Captain--horribly disfigured by a recent space disaster--can spend his remaining years in comfort and happiness. If that is not an act of love, I don't know what is.
Paramount has simply outdone itself in the remastering of this episode. The flashback elements date back to 1964, yet they look so fresh they could have been filmed yesterday. It is also interesting to see the great care the original cinematographer took with lighting--most of the compositions are simply beautiful--and far superior to today's more flatly lit approach. The sound has been remarkably enhanced, with both the sound effects and score in stereo.
It is interesting to compare "The Cage" with the original series. Although it is very impressive as science fiction, there is very little chemistry between the characters (similar to "The Next Generation"). Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and the consistently underrated William Shater made a far more effective team in that respect.
This is a must for all Star Trek fans.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Simon on August 21, 2000
Format: DVD
I'm among those who find it a joy to watch enhanced cleaned up episodes of Trek on DVD. The question is: does anthing ever get overlooked in a 'restoration'? "The Menagerie Part I" proves that it does - though it might take a trekker to spot it.
Recall the scene on Talos IV when Spock finds those blue musical wind leaves and tests them out by holding them? In the original version, you hear the sharp contrast as the loudest of the eerie vibrations disappear abruptly, and then come back (in synch with Spock clasping and releasing the leaves).
All that is lost in the transfer to DVD. The "musical leaf" sound track has been beautifully dubbed on in full Dolby Surround - but with no break! Spock plays with the leaves to no effect; and the whole point of that little scene has been remastered out of existence!
Did anyone else notice?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Zagnorch on August 29, 2001
Format: DVD
I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I truly believe that the original 'Star Trek' ran for 80 episodes, and not 79, like most believe. Yep- I'm one of those Trekkies that believes that 'The Menagerie' counts as two eppies, rather than one. After all, every two-part cliffhanger that was broadcast on 'NextGen', 'DS9', and 'Voyager' count as two separate segments... why NOT 'The Menagerie'?

But, aside from this quandary, 'The Menagerie' is a wonderful showcase of the classic Trek producers' efforts to make the most of their budgetary limits. By framing the first (then-unseen) pilot 'The Cage' around a story involving the present Enterprise crew, Desilu managed to shave a couple bucks off of production expenses. It's also interesting to see who might've composed the original 'Trek crew had the first pilot been greenlighted into a TV series. Ah, what might've been...

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By W. Tracy Parnell on August 18, 2001
Format: DVD
I can still remember the first time I saw this-I was eleven years old. I was sure that Jeffery Hunter was the bravest and most dashing star fleet captain ever (next to Kirk of course). And that green woman-wow! Seriously, I think they did a fantastic job of reusing the old "cage" footage and this is certainly one of my favorite TOS episodes. It's wonderful to look back on something from your childhood and find you still enjoy it so much.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patrick W. Crabtree VINE VOICE on January 26, 2008
Format: DVD
In addition to being a great double episode, this one thus becomes an early "Star Trek Movie," and a darned good one too! I gleaned some of the following information (edited and mixed with my own comments) from Wikipedia for the benefit of consumers here.

Here we get to see the ORIGINAL Captain of the Starship Enterprise, Jeffrey Hunter, who played the role of Captain Pike. Hunter wasn't nearly as theatrical and overdramatic as William Shatner, who ended up in the role of Captain James T. Kirk, but would have, in my opinion, been equally great for the entire series had he stayed on board.

Part one of the two-part episode was broadcast on November 17, 1966 with the second part broadcast a week later on November 24, 1966.

Here, Spock has to trick Captain Kirk and essentially commit treason in taking the Enterprise to the forbidden Planet, Talos IV. At his trial for that infraction, Captain Pike, a man unable to move or speak except through an electronic device, ultimately reveals the story behind Spock's bizarre deception.

New filming took place for the framing story for "The Cage," the Star Trek pilot film which Gene Roddenberry shrewdly utilized in the production of this episode. Since actor Jeffrey Hunter was unavailable to reprise his role as Captain Pike, a look-alike actor, Sean Kenney, played the injured captain in the new scenes of "The Menagerie".

Sadly, in 1969, while flying back to the U.S. from Spain after filming "Viva America!," Jeffrey Hunter suffered the signs of a stroke. After recovering at a hospital in Los Angeles, he suffered another stroke while at home, causing a fall and a skull fracture.
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